Uncategorized

My Best Reads of 2019

rose-2101475_1920

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

fall tbr 2019

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

summer tbr2019

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.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Characters that Remind Me of Myself

 

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.

relatable characters

I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday in awhile, and this was such a fun topic, I had do it even though it’s going up so late in the day. So here are the characters that I relate with in some way:

1. Lost in a Book – Belle. Belle’s curiosity reminds me of my own. I would’ve totally gone in the west wing of the castle to see what the Beast was hiding. In this book, Belle enters a book world, another place I would go to see what was there. I’ve also always identified with the “there must be something more” feeling.

2. Little Women – Jo. One of my first ever bookish heroines, I identified with Jo’s tomboy spirit, and I always had long, long hair. I would hardly let my mother even trim it. I may have finally cut my hair a little shorter, but I still identify with Jo’s dream of becoming a writer.

3. The Lunar Chronicles – Cress. I’m little, and even now that I’m grown, people still think I’m younger than I really am (which I like now 🙂 ). I also get anxious around big groups of people I don’t know, and would prefer to stay home. I do well with computers, not on a hacker level or anything, but I am my family’s go-to tech person.

4. Secrets Can Kill (Nancy Drew Files) – Nancy Drew. I couldn’t leave Nancy off the list. I lived in a small Illinois town (just like Nancy) when I flew through all the Nancy Drew files. Also, I’ve always had a thing for mysteries and true crime. I love solving the mystery before the book is over and I’m rarely ever wrong or unable to do so. I know it’s a clever mystery if I haven’t figured out who the baddie by the time I’m halfway through the book.

5. Pretty Little Liars – Aria. I enjoyed this series and the tv show. I relate most to Aria, because she is the creative one – she enjoys photography, art, writing ect. (In the tv show, she’s also the littlest one.)

6. Wendy Darling Series – Wendy. This series is so good, and I think one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was because I really connected with Wendy. I’m the oldest of four, so I totally understand the need to protect and care for younger siblings. She loved to read and was interested in always learning more.

7. Worlds of Ink and Shadow – Charlotte. This is a fictionalized story of the Brontes. I related to Charlotte, as the oldest sister. Her father was a minister, my father is also a minister. Her family didn’t have a lot growing up, but her and her siblings created their own worlds to entertain themselves. That is much how it was growing up was for me too. We didn’t have much, but we did have our imaginations and we ran wild with them. If you love Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte, you need to read this book.

8. Before She Ignites – Mira. Mira loves animals, and even had her own dragon! Who wouldn’t want a dragon? Also, she experiences a lot of anxiety.

And in a throwback:

9. The Saddle Club – Stevie.  Stevie was the one I most related to in the Saddle Club series. She was a little disorganized and a bit of a tomboy, and of course, loved horses.

10. The Babysitters Club – Claudia. Claudia loved junk food and had long hair she always styled different ways. She also loved Nancy Drew. 🙂

 

What book characters do you most relate to and why? Let me know in the comments.

Book Reviews

The Lunar Chronicles – In review

lunar post

I finished The Lunar Chronicles over the last year, and I loved them all!  I enjoyed these books so much, that I wanted to share a little about each book and what I loved about them. If you haven’t read them yet, maybe this will convince you to. 🙂

For those who don’t know: The Lunar Chronicles is set in a futuristic world where some people live on Earth.  Some more powerful people called Lunars, who can create glamours and control humans, live on Luna. The Lunar Queen is evil and she is determined to rule all of earth as well as Luna.

There are four main books. Each book introduces a heroine and a hero based on a fairytale. I love they way their stories intertwine and each one’s story continues until the very end of the last book.

Cinder – A retelling of Cinderella. Cinder is a cyborg girl who serves as a servant to her mean stepmother and her two stepsisters, one cruel, one kind. In a nod to the original fairytale, Cinder goes to the ball and falls for the prince. When she rushes out she leaves behind her robotic foot instead of a slipper. (I lent out my copy of Cinder which is why it’s missing in the picture.)

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Cinder’s courage and resilience. When things weren’t going well, she took action to try to change them. Also, I loved Iko, Cinder’s android friend. Iko was full of personality and was incredibly entertaining.

Scarlet – A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, with hints of Beauty and the Beast as well. Scarlet lives on a farm with her grandmother. She meets Wolf, a beast-like man trained to be a special operative for the Lunar army. In a nod to the original fairytale, Scarlet always wears a red hoodie.

Some of the things I liked best about this book: I loved Scarlet and Wolf’s relationship. Even though he was trained to kill, Scarlet’s love for him and his love for her kept him from turning into a beast. I also enjoyed the many different locales visited in this book, a trend which continued into the next book as well.

Cress – A retelling of Rapunzel. Cress is trapped in a satellite, and has to do the Lunar Queen’s bidding. In a nod to the original fairytale, a guy named Thorne frees her from the satellite, and is blind for a period of time. (In the original story, it was a thorn that made the prince blind). Cress also has really long hair that she ends up cutting.

Some of the things I loved about this book:  This book was my favorite of the Lunar Chronicles. I could relate to Cress with her small stature and her anxiety about new things. I also loved Cress and Thorne’s relationship.

Winter – A Snow White retelling. Winter is the stepdaughter of the Lunar Queen. She is beautiful and well-loved by the people, so of course the queen hates her. Winter refuses to use her glamour to control others even though  doing this makes her see things and gives her nightmares. In a nod to the original tale, the Queen tries to kill Winter by glamouring herself as an old woman and offering Winter toxic apple candies.

Some of the things I loved about this book:

It ended happily ever after!  It tied everyone’s stories together so well. We really get to see Winter’s strength and personality. Prior to this book, she seemed to just be crazy, so I had been wondering how Meyer was going to have a whole book about her. It was the perfect ending to a great series.

lunar extras

Some companion books to the series include  a shorter book that tells the Lunar Queen’s origin story, a book of short stories, and a coloring book. There are also two graphic novels that tell about Iko’s escapades after the main books end. I just finished the first one and enjoyed it just as much as the other books.

The Lunar Chronicles has made Marissa Meyer an autobuy author for me. 🙂

If you’ve read the series, which book is your fave? What’s your favorite thing about the Lunar world? If you haven’t read the series, why not?! Let me know in the comments!

Book Tags

Chocolate Book Tag

chocolate book tag

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.

top ten shoulda read 2018

 

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!