Reading Challenge

My May TBR Stack

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For the month of May, I’m participating in #bookspinbonanza hosted by @TheAromaofBooks over on Litsy. If you’re haven’t heard of the Litsy app, you can find out more about it here. It’s the perfect app for readers!

Since the start of the year, I’ve been participating in the #bookspin, where the host draws a random number 1-20, and participants read the book from their list of twenty books that corresponds to that number. This month the bonanza twist is to read all twenty of the books in the order they are drawn. Here’s the graphic for #bookspinbonanza:

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So here are the twenty books I’ve chosen (they are all my own books so this also helps me with the #unreadshelfproject):

1. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

2. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeves

3. A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

4. The Flip Side by Shawn Johnson

5. Malice by Pintip Dunn

6. In the Hall With The Knife by Diana Peterfreund

7. The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

8. The Secret Horses by Megan Shepherd

9. The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

10. Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto (I’m reading this as part of @bookgizmo’s book club on Instagram)

11.  Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

12. Save Your Breath by Melinda Leigh

13. Shakespeare’s Landlord  by Charlaine Harris

14. Finish First by Scott Hamilton

15. The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis compiled by Caroline Kennedy

16. Secrets of Skating  by Oksana Baiul

17. My Side of the Story: Peter Pan by Kiki Thorpe

18. My Side of the Story: 101 Dalmatians by Daphne Skinner

19. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Mister Rogers

20. The Big Book of Disney Top Ten: Fun Facts and Cool Trivia

 

What are you reading plans for May? Have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!

 

Book Reviews

Straight On Till Morning Book Review

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Straight on Till Morning, by Liz Braswell, is part of the Twisted Tale series, a series of Disney books that retell the classic Disney stories with some kind of twist. This one is a retelling of Peter Pan.

Wendy’s brothers have grown up enough that they are now away at school. Wendy loves to tell stories about Neverland, but no on wants to listen to them anymore. After her parents tell her that she’s to be sent away to become a governess, she decides it’s time to escape her life by going to Neverland.

The twist in this book – Peter doesn’t bring Wendy to Neverland, instead she makes a bargain with Captain Hook to get there. Once there, she finds out it’s not quite the Neverland of her dreams.

I loved this book! In fact, it might be my favorite book of the Twisted Tales series. There are many reasons I enjoyed this book.

First, I really connected with Wendy. She loves to tell stories, even though others think she’s strange to still be telling stories at her age. She’s a dreamer who isn’t afraid to think outside of the box.

I loved seeing how she grew throughout the story. I liked how she developed a great friendship with Tinker Bell. Peter, while not the villain, is accurately portrayed as the immature, selfish boy he is, and Wendy realizes that he is not worthy of the ardent admiration she held for him. She also realizes that she can make choices that do make a difference in the world, and returns home with a new mindset.

I also loved all the nuances in this book. The were metaphors for the passage of time, and the reality that everyone gets older and sometimes dreams change because of that was a prevalent and relatable theme throughout the book.

Overall, it was a good read and a great addition to the Twisted Tale series!

Have you read Straight on Till Morning or any of the other Twisted Tales? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

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My Best Reads of 2019

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So I haven’t been as active on here as much I would have liked to lately. The holiday busyness, a sick dog (who is doing better now 🙂 ), a new position at my day job, and multiple car issues  have all contributed to a crazy start to the New Year.  Thankfully, things have calmed down some now and I’ve had the time I’ve needed to get in some writing time.

So, I had to share my best reads of the 2019:

1. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly – A retelling of Cinderella that’s more about one of the stepsisters than Cinderella. I love retellings and this one didn’t disappoint. If you’re a fan of retellings, you’ll want to check this one out.
2. The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine – Another Cinderella retelling. I love the worldbuilding and the characters in this world.
3. My Plain Jane by Jodi Meadows, Cynthia Hand and Brodi Ashton – At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of the humorous take on famous literary/historical characters, and then I read this almost 500 page book in two sittings. It was so good! You just have to read it to understand. 🙂
4. My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemmet – Sometimes the celebrity memoirs are a bit over the top, sounding more like made-up or at least exaggerated stuff. This one wasn’t like that. A fellow Midwestern girl, I found it really easy to relate to Ellie’s experiences as a kid.
5. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager – So I read all three of Sager’s books this year, and he’s become one of my favorite suspense writers. I can’t wait for the new book to drop this year!
6. Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody – An excellent writing source, and if you’re a writer you need to have this book in your library. It’s one of the best writing books I’ve ever read. It gets to the heart of what makes a story work.
7. Last of her Name by Jessica Khoury – Another favorite author, this book was a bit of different take for Khoury – a spacey sci-fi story – but I still loved it.
8. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – This one was so good! Braithwaite balanced suspense and humor masterfully. I loved the dynamic between the sisters, and as an older sister I can totally relate to the “always cleaning up my sister’s messes ” thing. I will read anything else Braithwaite writes without even having to read the blurb.
9. Educated by Tara Westover – Oh, this one! It hit me right in the heart. Her story is amazing and it shows the resilience of the human spirit.
10. Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco – Another great addition to the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. I really wanted to read Capturing the Devil last year too, but didn’t get to it, so it’s up next on my TBR. 🙂
11. The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson – This is part of another mystery series, and the third book comes out Tuesday! I can hardly wait.
So what about you? What was your favorite read of 2019? Did you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!
Top Ten Tuesday

Fall 2019 TBR List – Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

It’s hard to believe it’s already fall. I always hate to see summer go, but I also enjoy fall and all the fun activities that come with it. This year I’m participating in a Halloween themed read-a-thon, so a lot of my book choices are based on that. Here they are:

1. Defiance by C.J. Redwine – I’ve had this book a long time, and have had it on my TBR even longer, so I decided it was time to get to it.

2. The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones – I just received this book in my Owlcrate, and it’s a perfect read for this time of year.

3. Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughter by Suzanne Weyn – I randomly found this on Book Outlet awhile back, and while I hadn’t heard of this book, I had read some other books by this author, so I bought  it.

4. Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris – I’ve recently started reading some of Harris’s books, and really enjoy them. Over the weekend I saw this at Goodwill and snatched it up.

5. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – This was also included in my last Owlcrate.

6. The Rules by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie – This was another Book Outlet purchase. Because I’d read some of the authors’ other works and enjoyed them, I bought it.

7.  Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli – I’ve had this on my TBR awhile and decided it was time to read it.

8. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw -I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, and the cover is just so pretty!

9. The Misery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos – This is a mystery I’ve heard a lot about, and it’s been on my TBR awhile too.

10. The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine – I love the Ravenspire books and pre-ordered this one, but hadn’t gotten to it yet. Now it’s time to read it. 🙂

What about you? What’s on your TBR list for this fall? Let me know in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday

Summer TBR – Top Ten Tuesday

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I’m so excited about today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme because summer is my favorite season, and I love finding great books to read at the beach or by the pool. 🙂 Here are the ones I’ve chosen for this summer:

1. My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton – I’ve read books by both Jodi Meadows and Cynthia Hand and really enjoyed them, plus this is a Jane Eyre retelling, so it’s a must read for me.

2. Save the Date by Morgan Matson – I’ve had on my TBR for awhile, and it’s a perfect read for summer – with the wedding shenanigans and all.

3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – My sister recommended this one, and I haven’t gotten around to reading it, though I’ve had it on my shelf a long time. I decided it’s time to read it.

4. For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig – I got this one at a book festival earlier this year. I met the author and got my copy signed, so I’m pretty psyched to read it.

5. The Jewel by Amy Ewing – This one has been on my shelf and my TBR for like years. So it’s high time I get to it.

6. The Beholder by Anna Bright – I got an advanced reader copy not too long before the book was released, and I loved the premise. Also, the author works at a local bookstore that hosts all kinds of great YA events.

7. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – I’ve also had this one on my TBR awhile. I loved the movie, so I’m sure I’m going to really enjoy the book.

8. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson – This whole series has been on my TBR for a long time as well. The premise sounds so intriguing, and every time I see it on my shelf I think “I need to read this,” so on the summer list it goes.

9. Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly – My summer list wouldn’t be complete without a mermaid tale. I meant to read this last summer, but didn’t get to it.

10. Lifeguard by James Patterson – I also got to have a good mystery on this list, and what’s more summery than a lifeguard?

In conjuction with these books, I’m also participating in the Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge. If you haven’t heard about that yet, you can check it out here. And if you haven’t added me as a friend on Goodreads, you can do that here. I’m always looking for new bookish friends! 🙂

How about you? What are you reading this summer? Are you doing the Goodreads challenge? Let me know in the comments.

 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

Book Tags

Chocolate Book Tag

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Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I decided it was the perfect time to do the chocolate book tag. I’ve seen this floating around on a few different book blogs and though it looked liked fun, so here are my picks:

1. Dark chocolate: A book with dark content/theme – Heartless by Marissa Meyer. This is the origin story of the Red Queen. She didn’t just decided to chop off heads – so many things happened to her to make her that way. This is a must read if you love villain stories.

2. White chocolate: A light-hearted, humorous read – From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon. This is such a fun, uplifting read, and it made my top ten reads of 2018!

3. Milk chocolate: A hyped/popular book you really want to read – The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine. I love Redwine’s books, and I’ve heard so many great things about this book. It comes out later this month. It’s a retelling of Cinderella, one of my favorite fairy tales!

4. Chocolate with a Caramel Centre: A book that made you feel gooey on the inside – To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.  This was another fun read, and the relationship between Lara Jean and Peter was adorable.

5. A wafer-free kit-kat: a book that surprised you – To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. This is a Little Mermaid retelling, so I was immediately interested in it. Before I had a chance to read the book, I saw some negative reviews, so I lowered my expectations and hoped I wouldn’t be disappointed. I needn’t have worried.  I could hardly put the book down. (Just FYI: it is a darker retelling, so that may be why some people gave it a lower rating.)

6. A Snickers Bar: a book you’re going nuts about – Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco. I love this series for so many reasons – it’s set in the Victorian era, it’s a suspense series, and the romance between Audrey and Thomas is superb. Each book gets better and better and I can hardly wait for the final book which comes out later this year.

7. Hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows: a comfort read you turn to time and time again – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I recently read the edition I had read so many times as a child, and  I still love it just as much as I did back then. The family dynamic reminds me a bit of mine own, and I can relate to so many of the experiences Jo,Meg, Beth, and Amy have.

 8. A box of chocolates: a series that has a lot of things readers will like – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. If you’ve been following my blog long, you know I’ve recommended these books over and over. They are just so good! The world building is magical, the characters are dynamic and the settings are memorable. Even if you think you not into the whole space thing, you may be surprised to find you still like these books.

What about you? What books would you pick for these chocolates?

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Books You Wanted to Read in 2018

I read a lot of books in 2018, but as any bookworm knows, there are always more books to read. So here are ten books I wanted to read last year, but didn’t get to.

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So, I’m going to read this year!) 🙂

And bonus perk – most of them are books I own, which will help me meet my #unreadshelfproject2019 goals. If you interested in reading about the reading challenges I’m participating in this year, check out this post.

1. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton.  I put this book on my TBR list as soon as I first heard about and before it even came out. I received a copy for my birthday, and, as often happens with my own books, it got pushed down my TBR list so I could finish library books that had to be returned. (I’ll be reading this book next month as part on my local library’s reading challenge.)

2. Caraval by Stephanie Garber.  I’ve heard so many good things about this book. I’ve had it on my TBR awhile, but I sort of hate waiting for the next book in a series, so sometimes I hold off on series until I know I’ll be able to read all the books.

3. Legendary by Stephanie Garber. This is the second book in the Caraval trilogy, and since the final book comes out this May, I’ll have just enough time to read both books before the final book releases.

4. Fierce by Aly Raisman. This is another book that’s been on my TBR list. Aly Raisman is an Olympic gymnast and her story is inspiring. She competed as a teen in the 2012 Olympics and then came back even better (at 22 yrs. old) for the 2016 Olympics.

5. Persuasion by Martina Boone. I’ve already read the first book in the Heirs of Watson series, and really enjoyed it. I purchased the next two books in the series and have had them on my TBR since.

6. Illusion by Martina Boone. This is the third book in the Heirs of Watson series.

7. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer. I love The Lunar Chronicles, and Iko is such a great character, so of course, once I finished the series I added the graphic novels (starring Iko) to my TBR.

8. Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer. This is the second graphic novel about Iko.

9. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve heard so much about this series as well, and I know it’s wildly popular. So hopefully, it lives up to it’s reputation. 🙂

10. A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Same thing with this series. It seems that a lot of people actually like this series better that the Throne of Glass series. So, I guess I’ll have to read them both and see what I think.

What about you? What books did you mean to read in 2018, but didn’t get to? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!

 

Top Ten Tuesday

2018 Top Ten Reads

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So, I know this was a Top Ten Tuesday post for last Tuesday, but I didn’t have time to get it up by then. I really wanted to do this one, so I decided to do it for today. Hope you enjoy!

I read a total of 160 books in 2018, and it was hard to choose my ten favorite, but I finally narrowed them down. Here they are:

  1. To All The Boys I Ever Loved by Jenny Han and From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon I put these two together, because they are both fun YA contemporary reads, and I couldn’t decided which one I liked better.
  2. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kirsten White This was a clever retelling of Frankenstein. Perfect for an October read, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  3. A Light So Lovely: The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L’Engle by Sarah Arthur The new Wrinkle in Time movie came out this year, and sparked several new books about the author. This was a nice look at L’Engle’s life and faith, and how it influenced her writing. It was inspiring, and the title was taken from my favorite L’Engle quote:                  light so lovely
  4. Ghost by Jason Reynolds This is a middle grade book, which I read as part of The Great American Read, and I really liked it. I’ve found I really enjoyed anything Jason Reynolds has written.
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood I was inspired to read this after seeing the TV show based on it, and was surprised to find out it was written in the 1980’s. Of course, it is better than the show.
  6. Becoming Madeleine by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy This book was a biography of L’Engle’s life written by her granddaughters. A really nice tribute, it was a shorter book aimed for a YA/MG audience, but was great to read even as an adult. It was inspiring and I’d recommend it to any aspiring author.
  7. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson This was the best YA mystery I read during the past year, and I can’t wait to read the next book. I already have it on hold at my public library.
  8. Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows This was one of the best fantasy books I read, and I was able to meet the author and get the second book in the series signed. 🙂 

  9. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie I also read this book as part of The Great American Read. I can’t believe I hadn’t read it before, because it is Agatha Christie at her best! Typically, I figure out the ending before I get to it, but this one had me still trying to figure out what was going on until the end. If you love mysteries, you need to read this one.
  10. Cress by Marissa Meyer And last but not least, one of Marissa Meyer’s books! I love her books and she is an auto-buy author for me. Truthfully, I could have put all of the books in the Lunar Chronicles on here, but I decided to just choose my favorite. If you love YA fantasy, this series is a must read.

What about you? What were your favorites reads of 2018? How many of these have you read? Let me know in the comments!

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The National Book Festival

This past Saturday, my husband and I went to the National Book Festival, and it was so cool! They are now hosting it in the convention center rather than on the National Mall. It’s a lot easier to move around and it’s air-conditioned. 🙂

We got there right when the doors opened, so we were able to visit all the exhibits before it got really crowded. I loved the Parade of States exhibit.  Each state had its own table and there was a state booklet you took around to get stamped by each state. The people there from Indiana actually knew of the little town I grew up in, and the people from Illinois knew the tiny town I was born in, so that was cool.

Also, PBS had booth for The Great American Read that was fun. They had a wheel you could spin to win a prize. I landed on the special space that allowed me to pick a prize from a box. I got a journal.

I had heard about The Great American Read, but didn’t know exactly what it was about, so I was glad I was able to find out more about it, because now I’m participating in the event. (More to come about The Great American Read in a later post, so if you’re interested, be on the lookout for that.)

There were three authors I was hoping to meet and get books signed by, and I was able to meet all three and get my books signed.

I got When Dimple Met Rishi signed by Sandhya Menon,  Wonder Woman and The Language of Thorns signed by Leigh Bardugo, and The Darkest Minds signed by Alexandra Bracken.

All in all, it was a great day, and if you ever have the chance to check out The National Book Festival, I’d highly recommend it!

What about you? Have you been to any book festivals?  What did you like best about it?

Reading Challenge

Reading Challenge Check-in – #unreadshelfproject2018

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So since we are halfway through the year (hard to believe, isn’t it?) I decided to do a check-in to see how I’m doing with the #unreadshelfproject2018. If you haven’t heard about this challenge or missed my first post about it, you can check it out here.

I have read 86 books this year, and 23 of them were my own unread books. My original goal was to read 120 of my unread books, so I have a lot of work left to get to that goal. I love my local library, and every time I go, I find more books to read. I’m going to have to limit library visits so I can finish more of my own unread books! 🙂

These are the 23 books of mine I’ve read so far:

  1. Dead to Me by Mary McCoy
  2. Finding my Edge by Karen Chen
  3. Winter by Marissa Meyer
  4. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
  5. In Her Skin by Kim Savage
  6. Veronica Mars: The Ten Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
  7. Fall of Night by Rachel Caine
  8. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  9. Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
  10. Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine
  11. Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned From a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow
  12. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  13. Black Dawn by Rachel Caine
  14. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  15. The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
  16. Private by James Patterson
  17. War of the Cards by Colleen Oakes
  18. Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  19. Ferdinand and the Bullies by Walt Disney Company
  20. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  21. Cress by Marissa Meyer
  22. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  23. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

How about you? How are you doing on your challenges for this year? Let me know in the comments.