15 Aug

Monday Update #18

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Happy Monday! It’s time to update you on what I read last week, what I’m reading now, and what I plan to read next. I will once again be joining up with The Book Date for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Recently Completed:

Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives      The Sapphire Heist (Jewel #2)      The One and Only      Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers

Run Like a Girl//The Sapphire Heist//The One and Only//Unlocking Worlds

Currently Reading:

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)      Looking for Alaska      This Is Where It Ends      Where'd You Go, Bernadette      A Sure Thing (The Donnigans, #1)

The Lightning Thief//Looking for Alaska//This is Where it Ends//Where’d You Go, Bernadette//A Sure Thing

Orphan Train      Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story      Whiskey Beach      Every Day (Every Day, #1)      Until the Real Thing Comes Along

Orphan Train//Never Broken//Whiskey Beach//Every Day//Until the Real Thing Comes Along

Friction      One Less Problem Without You: A Novel      June      One with You (Crossfire, #5)      One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer's Art and Craft

Friction//One Less Problem Without You//June//One With You//One Year to a Writing Life

Up Next on the TBR:

The Martian      How To Say Goodbye      Angel Falls      Ender's Game      The Night Circus

The Martian//How to Say Goodbye//Angel Falls//Ender’s Game//The Night Circus

Home Safe      Frozen (Heart of Dread, #1)      Another Day (Every Day, #2)      Letters from Paris      Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)

Home Safe//Frozen//Another Day//Letters From Paris//Me Before You

**All covers link to Goodreads, titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

14 Aug

Sunday Post #15

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Life Happenings:

This past week was pretty busy. We changed my visits to Cheshire a bit, so I’m getting more time with him now. We did a lot of playing this week which is always fun, and usually ends up with a few war wounds for mom… this time was no different of course. More time at my brother’s house does mess up my blogging schedule a bit since I don’t have computer access, but if I can get everything written ahead of time, I can make it work, though I am starting this week a little behind.
I have been kind of obsessed with the Olympics this year. I don’t remember ever being this into the Olympics in the past, I know I certainly wasn’t in 2012. I have been checking on the medal stats several times throughout the day and even downloaded an app on my phone. I have been especially following the swimming events as well as women’s gymnastics. Our swimming team, men & women, are absolutely incredible. And all of our gymnasts on the women’s team are amazing but… Simone Biles… wow!
I also fit in a trip to the movies this week and saw Bad Moms… it was a lot of fun!
Unfortunately the heat has gotten the better of me though and on Friday I got really overheated and ended up with a massive headache.

Last Week on the Blog:

Sunday Post #14
Monday Update #17
Top Ten Tuesday~ Rewind to Meet and Greet
Review: Broken Pieces
Changing Up My Schedule
More Random Tidbits
Stacking the Shelves #8

This Week on the Blog:

Monday Update #18
Top Ten Tuesday~ Pacific Northwest
Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts~ Orphan Train
The Friday 56~ Every Day
Stacking the Shelves #9

This Week’s Reviews:

Unlocking Worlds

Book of the Week:

Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives

Quote of the Week:

“The beginning of our lives is now. This moment. What we were yesterday is not immutable. What we are today can be expanded upon. There is so much we are capable of. We will never know the half of it, but it’s worth the attempt. By seeking and finding happiness with deepest intention, we show others the fullness and possibility in life.”

Mina Samuels, Run Like a Girl {p. 268}

Last Week’s Goals:

I was not quite as successful this week. I did comment on 7 blogs, but did not make the 10 I had set as a goal. I also have not yet completed 5 books this week, though I may have 5 done before my update tomorrow. I didn’t post any reviews to Goodreads {I actually completely forgot about this goal}.

This Week’s Goals:

Since I didn’t hit my goals for last week, I am repeating them again this week:
Comment on 10 blogs
Complete 5 books
Post 2 reviews to Goodreads

Notable Posts from the Blog World:

The Serial Salutation from Beauty and the Bookshelf
Text: Oh the Horrors… Or Not: Spoilers| My Musings from Got My Book
Sex and Violence in YA Books: Is There a Difference? Let’s Discuss! from Feed Your Fiction Addiction

12 Aug

More Random Tibits

Two weeks ago I shared a collection of random observations about my life, today I’ll be sharing even more randomness.

~ If a Bookstagram photo features only a title or series I’m not a fan of, I don’t usually like the picture, even if it’s really creative. If there are other titles mixed in, I will overlook the ones I don’t like and give the photo a double click. So I apologize to everyone who posts pretty Twilight or Game of Thrones pictures that I don’t click like on.

~ On a similar note, you can almost guarantee a like from me if your photo includes books and a cat, combining two of my favorite things. Or if you post pictures of your bookshelf… I love shelfies! If there’s a cat curled up sleeping on a bookshelf… bonus points!

~ One disadvantage to library books is that you have them for a limited time, and if someone else is waiting for them there is no renewal. I have two books that I was not able to renew today that have to go back. So now I’m pouting. 🙁

~ Unfortunately I was in the middle of one of the books that I have to return, so I’m not able to finish it. That means I’ll have to wait for it to become available again before I can read it. Plus I had checked out the rest of the series and it’s the first book, so I’ll be returning the entire series for now. Hence the pouting mentioned above. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it again in the not too distant future.

~ There are, of course, plenty of advantages to library books as well, but the disadvantages are a bummer. At least I hadn’t started the other book that can’t be renewed. And I do have plenty of books to read currently, so maybe the other books will be available again when I need more to read.

~ I recently posted a 3-star review and realized that I generally only review 4 or 5-star reads because I like to keep things positive and tend to share the books I like most. Now that I am reviewing more ARCs, I’m starting to post reviews at lower star ratings. Regardless, I will always try to keep my reviews as positive as possible, I believe most books have at least some redeeming qualities that can be highlighted.

~ Just in case you’ve ever wondered, the reason I love memes and try to stick to a set weekly schedule is to help me remember what day of the week it is. One of the greatest disadvantages to my current state of unemployment {aside from the obvious}, is that I very easily lose track of time, including the day of the week and the date. If it weren’t for my posting schedule, and the fact that my computer posts both the date and day of week in addition to the time, I would have no idea what day it is most of the time right now.

And on that note, I think we’ll conclude this post today. What is your opinion on library books? Do you love them, or find them too much of a hassle?

11 Aug

Changing Up My Schedule

This is really a non-bookish post and is really intended as a brief update and a note-to-self to refer to down the road.

Due to changes in my sister-in-law’s work schedule, there have been changes to my schedule for visiting Cheshire. Right now I am reliant on my brother for transportation to and from his house, and since he lives about 45 minutes away, I usually hitch a ride with him when he is already in the area transporting his wife to and from work. My schedule has been to go up to their house on Thursday afternoon and come home Saturday morning every other week, giving me 2 nights and a full day with my fur-face when I’m there. My sister-in-law’s new schedule has her off on Thursdays. In order to not make my brother have to make an extra 90 minute drive, I will now be going up to their house on Wednesday afternoons and still returning on Saturday mornings, still every other week.

The big bonus here is that I will be having an extra night and an extra full day with Cheshire to provide the quality time that we both need. The downside of this is that I have minimal internet access while at my brother’s. I don’t have a laptop, so I essentially have my phone {and my Kindle}, and if you’ve ever tried to blog from an iPhone, you know it’s not fun. This means it’s very difficult for me to link up with my regular Thursday and Friday memes.

I already schedule my posts ahead of time, so I will still be posting on my regular schedule, just not linking up on the weeks I am on the mountain. On those off weeks I will be posting reviews, randomness, and maybe a few reflective or discussion posts on Thursday & Friday. So if you see any weird content {like this post}, this is why.

On a slightly related note, I got a new weekly planner this week {courtesy of my sister-in-law} to replace the monthly calendar that I have been using. I think this will make it much easier for me to plan out my reading and reviews for ARCs. It’s certainly better than the index card I currently have all of the due dates listed on, and give me a lot more room that the monthly calendar.

If you have actually read this far, let me know what you’re favorite scheduling tool is for your blog in the comments below.

10 Aug

Review: Broken Pieces

Broken Pieces Book Cover Broken Pieces
Kathleen Long
Fiction
Lake Union Publishing
July 19, 2016
eARC
Net Galley

From Net Galley:

"Destiny Jones is doing just fine on her own, thanks. From her thriving one-woman carpentry business to the loving support of her small-town community, Destiny has constructed a life as sturdy and polished as her best cabinets. Twenty years ago, Destiny’s world collapsed when her mother died and her father, Albert, abandoned his daughter to pursue acting in New York. His devastating exit taught Destiny a lesson in self-reliance that has kept her safe—and alone—ever since.

Now Albert Jones is back, begging for a second chance. Destiny suspects he’s simply staging another performance, starring himself as the prodigal father. Should she act on her misgivings? Or listen to her inner child, who still yearns for a family? When Albert divulges a shocking secret, Destiny’s life will again be turned upside down."

Warning: You will need tissues for this book. I cried.

This is a truly moving story about family, forgiveness, and loss. It is definitely an emotional story that will break your heart, but it does end on a positive note with hope for the future.

The plot of the story is beautiful and the relationships between Destiny, Sydney, Ella and Marguerite highlight the power of family, whether you grow up with them or find them later in life.

I really wanted to love this story and the plot, as I said, is beautiful, but I am very character driven and just did not connect with the POV character Destiny. In general, I love flawed characters who find strength through adversity, and Destiny has definitely done this, but her relationship with Albert is so flawed and I had trouble with some of the decisions she made and some of her reactions to events. Ultimately she overcomes her issues, but it wasn’t enough to make me fully connect with the character. I connected more with Sydney, Ella and Albert than I did with Destiny.

It took me longer to read since I didn’t have the connection, which also made it difficult for me to decide on a rating. For the plot and emotion, I would rate the book a 4 star, but the lack of connection with the POV character made it a 3 star read for me {if I had the option for half stars, I would say 3.5}

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this book through Net Galley and the publisher {Lake Union Publishing} in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

9 Aug

Top Ten Tuesday~ Rewind to Meet and Greet

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Tuesday, the fun meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is rewind week, meaning we get to choose a past topic that we missed or that we want to revisit. This week I decided to go with 10 Bookish People that I want to meet.

Authors:

Nora Roberts~ I’ve talked about Nora Roberts before, and I really can’t say enough how much I love this prolific writer. Honestly from her early romances with Silhouette to her current novels and trilogies to her In Death series written under her alter ego J. D. Robb, I can’t think of a single story that I have not enjoyed. I would love to meet her and just shake her hand, or enjoy lunch and talk about her amazing career.

J.K. Rowling~ Really, how could I not want to meet the woman behind Harry Potter. It was the Harry Potter series that opened the world of YA to me as an adult. Considering I was in my 30’s when the Harry Potter books became popular in the US, I was not exactly the target audience. I actually didn’t start reading the books until I was 39 and instantly fell in love with the world of Hogwarts. She is another person who I would love to meet and shake her hand, or enjoy a cup of tea.

Elizabeth Gilbert~ Ms. Gilbert has lived an interesting, complicated and amazing life, in my opinion. Through her writing I was able to embark on my own spiritual journey and embrace beliefs that truly resonate with me. Her writings have also empowered me to embrace my own creative spark and to not be dissuaded by the naysayers in my life. I would love to talk about meditation, Bali, and India with her.

John Green~ Simply because I absolutely adored Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars.

Jay Kristoff~ I just completed Nevernight and Illuminae and I would really love to sit down and chat about the amazing world building that went into both of these books!

Jennifer Niven~ Just two words… Theodore Finch. I want to meet the woman who created Finch.

Bloggers:

Cait from Paper Fury~ Without a doubt, Cait is one of my favorite bloggers. She is creative, eloquent, and completely hysterical whether posting on her blog, Twitter, Bookstagram, or Goodreads. While we may not always have the same taste in books, I know that I can trust her reviews to be thorough and objective. If you read my Sunday Posts, you’ll probably notice that I frequently share my favorites from Cait each week. Of course considering we live on opposite sides of the world, I don’t see a meet up happening any time soon… but if she’s ever in the US or I’m ever in Australia…

Lisa & Becca from Lost in Literature~ Another blog I frequently visit and adore is headed up by the team of Lisa & Becca. In addition to their beautiful blog, both ladies have the most amazing Bookstagram accounts {click on their names}. I’d love an in person tutorial with them.

Kim from Caffeinated Book Reviewer~ When I first considered closing my previous blog and starting a book blog, Kim was one of the first bloggers that I connected with and it was through reading her blog that I came to the decision to switch gears in my blogging life. I would love to talk books with her.

Social Media:

Dayle from The Literary Llama~ This is probably my favorite Bookstagram account. I want to meet them just to ask them about their amazing chalkboard drawings to match each book.

8 Aug

Monday Update #17

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I will be once again linking up with The Book Date for It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

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Ok, before I share my reads with you I have a confession. As you will see below, my currently reading pile has grown astronomically again. This is because I am crazy. Seriously though, I go through waves when I am reading just a few books at a time {I’ve gotten down to 3} and then waves when I am reading a lot of books at once {the most has been about 25}. I still usually have one or two books that are my main focus, but I do read from each book every day. I think it’s because I simply have way too much time on my hands and a short attention span. And before you ask… yes, I can keep the plots and characters straight in my head.

Recently Completed:

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)      Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)      Broken Pieces      Sweet Reunion (Hope Falls, #1)

Illuminae//Nevernight//Broken Pieces//Sweet Reunion

Currently Reading:

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)      Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives      The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)      One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer's Art and Craft      Orphan Train

A Discovery of Witches//Run Like a Girl//The Lightning Thief//One Year to a Writing Life//Orphan Train

One Less Problem Without You: A Novel      Every Day (Every Day, #1)      June      Whiskey Beach      The One and Only

One Less Problem Without You//Every Day//June//Whiskey Beach//The One and Only

Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers      Looking for Alaska      The Sapphire Heist (Jewel #2)      This Is Where It Ends      How to Say Goodbye

Unlocking Worlds//Looking for Alaska//The Sapphire Heist//This is Where it Ends//How to Say Goodbye

Up Next on the TBR:

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)      One with You (Crossfire, #5)      Letters from Paris      Where'd You Go, Bernadette      Hot as Hell (Deep Six 0.5)

Shadow of Night//One With You//Letters from Paris//Where’d You Go, Bernadette//Hot as Hell

Ender's Game      Until the Real Thing Comes Along      Another Day (Every Day, #2)      Friction      Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)

Ender’s Game//Until the Real Thing Comes Along//Another Day//Friction//Me Before You

 

**All covers link to Goodreads, titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

7 Aug

Sunday Post #14

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Life Happenings:

This week was pretty uneventful. I was sick the first half of the week, though finally felt a bit better on Wednesday. I spent most of my time either reading, sleeping, or staring at the TV. Unfortunately I didn’t get as much reading done as I would have liked.
I did sign up with Edelweiss and requested a couple of books, but I am still waiting to hear on them. In the meantime, I have plenty of books between NetGalley and the library to hold me for a little while.
The only other real item of note is that I published my 100th post on Thursday.
Oh, and I’m trying to decide whether I want to up my Goodreads goal for this year or just leave it as is and finish well over the total. My original goal was 100 books, but I’ve already completed 83 with over 4 months left. Of course, once I find a job my reading will drop off dramatically, so I don’t want to over-reach either….

Last Week on the Blog:

Sunday Post #13
Monday Update #16
Review: Forged in Smoke
Top Ten Tuesday~ If I Could Buy Them All
Review: Only Her
Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts~ A Discovery of Witches
The Friday 56~ The Lightning Thief
Stacking the Shelves #7
Review: Nevernight

This Week on the Blog:

Monday Update #17
Top Ten Tuesday~ Rewind
Schedule Changes
More Random Observations

This Week’s Reviews:

Broken Pieces

Book of the Week:

Sweet Reunion (Hope Falls, #1)

Quote of the Week:

“As he walked to the truck, his chest tightened with the thought that, if they were together, if this were their home, this cozy little morning routine, it could be his every morning. This could be what his life was like.
It seemed almost too amazing to dare to think about.”

Justin, Sweet Reunion by Melanie Shawn 67%

Last Week’s Goals:

Goals were hit and miss this week. I was able to leave comments on 7 blogs, but it was a challenge, and I did finish 4 books. But I didn’t add any new strength exercises to my routine or donate my stack of used books.

This Week’s Goals:

Complete 5 books
Comment on at least 10 blogs
Share 2 reviews on Goodreads

Notable Posts from the Blog World:

“I Want to Follow These Characters Forever” from The Broke and the Bookish
More Than Just a Blog| Relationships Forged from The Book Addict’s Guide
Ask Me About Blog Followers from Forever Literary
Why “Reflective Posts” Instead of “Discussions”? from A Mismatched Reader
Should the “Special Snowflake” Trope be Retired and Left 20,000 Leagues Underground or is it Still Fun? from Paper Fury

6 Aug

Review: Nevernight

Nevernight Book Cover Nevernight
Jay Kristoff
Fiction; Fantasy
St. Martin's Press; Thomas Dunn Books
August 9, 2016
e-ARC
NetGalley

From NetGalley:

"In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.

Revenge."

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got this book. I had heard such amazing things about Jay Kristoff’s work, but hadn’t read anything by this author yet {I read Illuminae while reading this book}. I knew that I could go either way with this book and either really love it, or really not. For the first couple of chapters, I wasn’t sure if I was going to love it, but once I got the rhythm of the story, I was hooked.

There is a lot of action {and violence} involved in the plot, and the reader is kept guessing throughout. With many stories, I am able to predict who the villain is long before they are revealed, but I was initially wrong with this one. I was not able to predict the outcome.

While there is a lot of violence, blood, and killing, I didn’t feel that this was a dark story {no pun intended}. Yes, we are talking about assassins, but even assassins can have good hearts. I feel that there was an element of optimism in the end… or maybe that was just me.

Mia is a very complex character. She is seeking revenge and justice, but beneath it all, she is fair, honest, and caring. While she tries to convince everyone and herself that she doesn’t care, the friendships she develops along the way prove that she is capable of giving.

The supporting characters around Mia are also strong and bring their own demons to the table.

While others have critiqued the sex scenes in the book, I don’t find them to be a problem. This is not a YA book, so the inclusion of graphic sex is not inappropriate. I also find it interesting that people are more concerned by sex scenes {there are 3}, than with the violence and murder that are at the heart of the story and much more prevalent and described in much more detail. But again, that may just be me.

The only true negative for me are the footnotes included in the story. I loved them, but in an electronic version, it is very difficult to read them in context {they are all grouped at the end of the chapter}. If there had been a way to flip to them easily, I would have liked them more.

Overall, I loved this book. It ripped my heart out in places, but put the pieces back together again in the end. And there was one line that gave me hope… now I just have to wait for the next book!

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley and the publisher {St. Martin’s Press & Thomas Dunn Books} in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.