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February Wrap Up

This month felt like a slower month for me. It was a slower month in terms of blogging actually. Reading wasn’t as bad, though apparently according to my Goodreads challenge I am 2 books behind. I am not going to get too upset about that yet.

This month was busier than I planned on it being. I didn’t have as much time during the weekends to read or write as I am used to. Hence why I had much fewer posts than I have in the past. I plan on trying to make that better in March but we will see if I am able to that or if things pop up again.

Books read:
I was able to read 3 books this month. It was a decent reading month. I enjoyed this months books.

Crucible – James Rollins – I love this series. This was a good addition to the Sigma Force series. It didn’t focus on who I thought it should focus on though. I did enjoy that it made me more afraid for the main characters than the any other ones have ever done.

Black Wings Beating – Alex London – I was expecting more from this book. It was interesting but didn’t spark enough for me to anticipate the next one.

Fear the Fantastic – K.A. Applegate – I didn’t remember this one from my first readings. It was interesting but it felt kind of boring compared to the other ones.

Blog Posts:
The Crucible – James Rollins – Review
Black Wings Beating – Alex London – Review
Fear the Fantastic – Everworld #6- K.A. Applegate – Mini-Review
Down the TBR Hole #13

(Not only do I plan on making sure to post more I also will get back to reading and commenting more.)

Books I Bought:
Past and Other Things that Should Stay Buried – Sean David Hutchinson
Here and Now and Then – Mike Chen
The Masked City – The Invisible Library #2 – Genevieve Cogman
In an Absent Dream – (Wayward Children #4) – Seanan McGuire
Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

Writing:
My writing group is going well. I have found it is helping me stay on track with writing. I may be writing random things and not necessarily my novel but the drive is there. At this point that is what I needed.


ABC Challenge (D)

Time to dive into the next letter of the alphabet and check out what stands out. This got a little delayed because my books were in boxes for a while but they are out and now on their shelves!

Earlier Lists: (A) (B)(C)

Memorable Titles with Starting with D:

Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown – I loved this book. The twists and turn were amazing and compelling. It was also fun because my mom read it right before we went to France and Italy and we were able to see a lot of the art mentioned in the story.

Dread Nation – Justina Ireland – This was a fresh look at zombies. I loved the way it dealt with history and past issues while also creating stunning story. I can’t wait for more from this world.

Dance of Dragons – George RR Martin – I enjoyed reading the Game of Thrones series. This one set up so much and I really wish the next book would come out. But I guess I have the show to give me answers at least.

Decipher – Stel Pavlou – Another fun thriller adventure that ties in history.

Doomsday Key and Devil’s Colony – James Rollins – I have said before that I adore the Sigma Force series. These are two great parts of that series. Doomsday Key was the first one I read and I was hooked.

Darkest….– Gena Showalter – The whole Lord of the Underworld series has Darkest as the first word in the series. This skiers is a guilty pleasure for sure. It is almost done which is goo because these last few books haven’t been my favorites

Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater – This was Ronan’s book and solidified my love for him as a character. I cannot wait until we get his full series.

Books Starting with D on my TBR List:

End of the Year Book Tag 2018

Life has been super busy for the last month. I bought and moved into a new house (which is still filled with boxes), then there was Christmas. All of this made it difficult for me to do much blogging. I do have two books I want to review (as soon as I unbox one of them) and to do a another Down the TBR Hole tag, an ABC Challenge post and a Christmas book haul post. I will get to those soon but may be a bit after the New Year.

I wanted to get this one out before the end of the year. I though it would be a great way to wrap up the year and head off to the New Year! I am not sure where this tag started but I have seen it just about everywhere at this point.

Are There Any Books this year that you started and need to finish?
I am currently reading “The Archived” by V.E. Schwab. I would really like to finish that one before the end of the year but not sure I will have the time. If I don’t finish it before the 1st I will have it done in that first week of the year.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?
No, not really. I am not really a seasonal reader, more a mood reader.

Is there a new release you are still waiting for?
I am eager to read “Queen of Air and Darkness” by Cassandra Clare. It was the most recent one I that came out in mid December. I am also eager for James Rollins news Sigma Force novel, “Crucible.” It isn’t coming out this year but it will be out in early January so that is close enough.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?
Since the end of the year is literally a handful of days away I am not going to get three books read. I will like to read as much of “The Archived” as I can. I also liked to get through a few stories in a collection I got for Christmas called Dystopians and Utopians.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite this year?
I doubt it. I am liking “The Archived” but I doubt it will become my favorite of the year.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2019?
Sort of. I would really like to read more diverse books as well as books about psychology. I love the way the human mind works and would like to read more about that. I also would like to read a bit more about major events in history.

I tag anyone who is in the mood to end do an end of the year tag. Since I won’t be back until after the New Year, hope everyone had a great holiday and has a safe and Happy New Year!

The ABC Challenge (B)

I saw this challenge over on A Book. A Thought. I liked the idea of going through my shelves and thinking about some of the books that stick out in my mind. I have fun going through my shelves and picking out books. I found some that I want to reread soon.

Memorable Titles that Start with “B”

Beneath the Sugar SkySeanan McGuire – This was probably my favorite of this series so far. It was a fun, twisting story that I felt connected me best to the characters.

Blind Faith – Ben Eaton – I bought this when I was in London years ago. I remember it being about following a government without thinking for yourself. I need to read it again now and see how it relates to our time.

Because You Love to Hate MeVarious Authors- This was an interesting short story collection. It told stories from villain’s POV. Victoria Schwab has one about death that is just fantastic.

The Book ThiefMarkus Zusak – This is a classic and it is as good as the reviews have said. It heart-breaking but in the best way possible.

Books Starting with “B” on my TBR

What are your opinions on some of these books? Any that you love?

Vengeful – V.E. Schwab – Review

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Being an EO sounds great in theory. You get awesome powers and can do anything that you want. But you have to die in the process. You have to experience you breath stopping, your heart beat going silent. You wake up and then have to live with those memories. What if your death is caused by someone else? How do you live day to day with that memory in your head? What if revenge is all that you want and need? Can you be stopped? Should you be stopped?

(This is a review for a second book in a series. There will may be spoilers from the first book.)

 

 

What I Loved_-4

I have been waiting for this book since it was announced. I love V.E. Schwab, she is one of my favorite authors. I liked the first one because of how it concentrates on anti-heroes. Victor and Eli are not good people, they destroy what is around them and enjoy watching the world burn. Yet you are drawn to them, you understand them. I was curious how their story could and would continue.

This book picks up five years after Vicious. We see the results of Sydney bringing Victor back from the dead. We learn that bringing people back from the dead doesn’t always goes as planned. I enjoyed Victor’s journey throughout this book. He is desperate to find a way to save himself. As he dies over and over again he looks for anyone who can save him.

It was interesting because Victor is still his selfish self. His first concern is about how to save himself. He wants to live and he wants to survive. Though there is this small piece of him that really cares about Sydney. This is his saving grace. We see him trying to find a way to save himself without harming her.

I like how Schwab is able to make us care about these characters even though they are not good people. All of them kill at one point or another. They destroy lives yet I wanted them all to win. She does a great job and giving us a sympathetic side to them, giving us something to latch onto and relate to. Victor wants to keep Sydney safe. He wants her to not turn into him.

The new characters Marcella and June are two people who have been broken down and are now standing on their own two feet. Marcella was treated like a side piece. She was nothing but a figure to admire and use. After she rises again she takes her power back. She is no longer weak but a strong woman you can’t fight or deny. She is easy to relate to.

Once we see how she was treated, especially at a certain party scene you want her to win. You want her to kill and destroy those who hurt her. You want her to show that she can be just as strong as any of the men. I didn’t despise her. She was a woman wronged and she found a way to make things right for herself.

I loved June, she is my new favorite character. June is mysterious and I want to know everything there is to know about her. She has a past were don’t quite know. She was killed, but we don’t know how. She is a shape shifter who refuses to use her real face. I want to know why? I want to know what destroy her self image. I need to know why she is hiding.

Even though she is hiding though she still is strong. She is able to stand on her own two feet and she doesn’t let anyone tell her who she is. She can be anyone and she can take on any form. She is hiding but she is also showing the world who she can be. I want a whole book about her.

What I was just okay with
I had this same issue with Vicious, the end was quite quick. I felt like the book was setting up this huge fight. There were so many players and we saw them setting up so many elements. But the end fight was done quite quickly. I pictured a sort of cinematic fight, with all the people going after one another. In the end we got a quick fight with a definite end. I just wanted a bit more.

What I Wished was Different_
There was nothing that threw me out of the book. I loved the characters. I was impressed how much I felt connected to these despicable people. I thought the plot kept things moving.

I have this book five stars because I adored the characters so much. The end fight left me wanting more but the end it self left room for more and I hope to see these characters again.
Five Star

Copy of What I was just okay with
“Eyes were fickle. Minds were weak.” – pg. 57

“But there was, it turned out, a crucial difference between destroying things and destroying people.” (pg. 132)

“‘What does normal look like?'” (pg. 165)

“Men ahead of their time were always, by definition, outside of it.” (pg. 215)

“How many men would she have to turn to dust before one took her seriously?” (pg. 266)

“People can see an awful lot, and believe none of it.” (pg. 275)

“Every end may be a new beginning, but every beginning had to end.” (pg. 460)

Down the TBR Hole #10

I am close to a month since the last one of these. I am almost done with my current book but not sure when I will have time to get the review out. So I figured I would do another addition of this one in the meantime.

This was originally created by Lost in a Story .
It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!

Dress Codes for Small Town – Courtney C. Stevens – A book exploring sexual fluidity while also questioning how to understand what you want despite the labels laid on you? Yes, please.
Decision: Keep

The Bookseller  – Cynthia Swanson – I love the idea of not knowing what reality is real.
Decision: Keep

Love is the Higher Law – David Levithan – I do love David Levithan’s books. This one seems super emotional so it will be one I have to be in the mood for, but I do want to get to it eventually.
Decision: Keep

Of Breakable Things – A. Lynden Rolland – I like the idea of choosing to stay in the spirit world instead of coming back to life.
Decision: Keep

The Lantern’s Ember – Colleen Houck – Love the idea of a deal with the devil and a defiant woman who won’t listen.
Decision: Keep


The Book of Lost Things – John Connolly – Whispering books. I am in.
Decision: Keep

If You Could Be Mine – Sara Farizan – Wow, this seems intense. Two women in love in a country that could end in their death if found out. A decision to change sexes to be together? I am extremely interested.
Decision:Keep

Nothing is Strange – Mike Russell – It seems alright but nothing really pulls me in.
Decision: Remove 

The Culling – Steven dos Santos – Sounds a lot like the Hunger Games
Decision: Remove 

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy – Nova Jacobs– A mystery that is kind of vague and generic sounding but there is also something pulling me in. I’ll leave it on for now.
Decision: Keep 

Keep – 8
Remove – 2

Didn’t do the best job clearing anything out this time but I was reminded of some books that I want to move up my list!

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley – Shaun David Hutchinson- Review

the-five-stages-of-andrew-brawley

Andrew should be dead. He was supposed to die in the accident that took his parents and little sister. He now hides in the hospital where they died. He is intent on evading Death, who is after him. That is until the night a boy his age comes through the door. Now he must save Rusty. But how do you save someone else when you have no idea how to save yourself?

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4
The characters in this story were compelling. Andrew was interesting because he acted beyond his age. He was able to take care of himself in the hospital. He was smart and clever enough to hide from the authorities. He wasn’t afraid of being alone. He showed wisdom beyond his age.

Normally this would throw me off. I would wonder how a child could manage all this, even a teenager. But it is well established that this kid has been through a trauma that allows him to grow up fast. We see that what happened to his family threw him into a whole new world. One where he had to learn to sink or swim.

I also really liked Rusty. This wasn’t his story per se but it felt like his story as much as Andrew’s. We learn what happened to him and why. The details that Andrew gets give us a clear picture of what is going on.

I also really liked that Rusty connected to Andrew so quickly. He saw a kindred spirit in this lost boy. Both of them were lost kids who needed someone to understand them. They saw that in each other and connected over it.

The addition of the comic Andrew was working on was great. I really liked being able to see and read the comic. I think something would have been lost without that addition. I don’t think just describing it would have been able to give the whole picture. With the periodic looks at the comic I felt the connection to the story as a whole. I liked the mix of these types of story telling to give one full story.

What I was just okay with
I felt like there were some stories missing. Each of the characters had a tale of their own and you got hints of them from everyone but never the full story of anyone. I wanted to know more about all of them. There was definitely something missing from Father Mike’s story as well as Aimee’s story.

I found myself anticipating what was coming for them and was disappointed when we didn’t learn what was going on. I could discern most of it but I didn’t want to guess at it. I wanted to know that these people all had problems just like Andrew. I think each of them revealing their secrets would have helped Andrew grow and find his way.

What I Wished was Different_
I adore Shaun David Hutchinson’s other books. I know this was written before those and you can see him finding his way as a writer. While this book is great it is very heavy handed with its message.

You didn’t have to guess at the message even a little bit. There was no room for interpretation in the message. It was plain and written out over and over again for you. I am used to his much more subtle way of telling you something in his later books.

I think that if I read this book first before the other ones I wouldn’t have had an issue with this way of telling the message of the story. But I know what he can do and am glad to see how he grew as a writer. You can see he found his groove with We are the ants and it is great to see.

 

I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads. While I enjoyed it it was missing the punch that his later books have.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“It begins there because it’s important to know that a superhero with no past began as a man with no future.” (pg. 8)

“Maybe hell is seeing the lost loved painted over the faces of the strangers we meet.” (pg. 58)

“Maybe our beliefs decide our fate after death.” (pg. 99)

“No one unravels all of life’s many mysteries. They grow older and become better liars.” (pg. 123)

 

September Wrap Up

September was an odd month for me. This is the last month that I had a bunch of things planned for the weekends. I had a wedding out of state, a clambake, work events and just random things. This weekend was supposed to be the busiest of them all with a visit from a friend but decisions were made that changed those plans.

I didn’t write nearly has many posts as I would have liked to mostly because I was so busy. But I did find myself writing more after work and realizing that I am not as tired anymore which is nice.

As for reading I hit my Goodreads goal this month! I have officially surpassed my 40 book goal! I have three months left this year and I am curious to see how far I go above that total before 2019 hits!

I also went on a bit of a book buying spree. Initially I ordered from Amazon, but after they yet again lost a package, I decided to go with ordering from Target. October will be a another buying binge because I know of a handful of books coming out that I cannot wait to read.

Books I read:


Enter the Enchanted (Everworld #3) – K.A. Applegate – I am really enjoying this reread.

Circe – Madeline Miller – This was a such a great book. Love the look at a character I knew next to nothing about. I bought Song of Achilles and I cannot wait to read it!

Hamilton: The Revolution – Lin-Manual Miranda, Jeremey McCarter – This gave me a whole new appreciation of this musical.

Aaru: Halls of Hel (The Aaru Cycle #2) – David Meredith – I was sent this for a review and it was interesting. Good look at the dark side of a utopian tech society.

Posts for this month:

Obsidio – The Illuminae Files #3 – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Review
Enter the Enchanted (Everworld #3) – K.A. Applegate
Circe – Madeline Miller – Review
The Great American Read List
Down the TBR hole #9
The ABC Challenge (A)
Hamilton: The Revolution – Lin-Manual Miranda and Jeremey McCarter
The Burn, Rewrite, Reread Tag (Take 2)
Aaru -Hall of Hel – David Meredith – Review

Books I bought:

Shows I watched:

british-baking-show

I started watching the Great British Baking Show on Netflix. This is the oddest show to me because everyone is just so nice and quiet and pleasant to each other. I am used to competition shows with yelling and disasters and dragging everything out. Instead this is just calm and fun to watch!

October will be a  fun month for TV for me because just about all my shows are back. I am particularly interested to see what Walking Dead does with Rick’s last episodes. Going to end up as whole different show hopefully.

What was your September like? Favorite book of this month?

The ABC Book Challenge (A)

I saw this challenge over on A Book. A Thought. I liked the idea of going through my shelves and thinking about some of the books that stick out in my mind. I also like the idea of going through my TBR and looking at books from this angle.

I will periodically update this, not weekly, but once in a while. I like being able to add this ongoing posts in-between reviews. I like the idea of having different things to break up what I post.

For A I chose books that began with a word that started with A, not just A itself. I saw a few I loved that started as “A…” but I am going to use those for when the letter of the main word comes up.

(I will link to the review if I have done a review for the mentioned book )

                  Memorable Titles That Start With “A”

At the Edge of the Universe – Shaun David Hutchinson – I have sung Hutchinson’s praises so many times before. This one is my second favorite of his books. It is a unique look at what happens when you realize you are not the center of the universe and start living with the outside world.

Ash and Quill – Rachel Caine – The third book in the Great Library series. I love this series and the way it explores what happens when knowledge is controlled by a select few.

Alice Takes Back Wonderland – David D. Hammons – A reimagining of Alice and Wonderland. It was fun and full of imagination. It does justice to the source material while taking you on an even more fantastic journey.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz – A poignant coming of age story. I was swept away and cannot wait or the sequel!

Books starting with “A” on my TBR

(I am not going to go into detail about the ones on my TBR list. I will be doing that in my “Down my TBR Hole” posts)


Have you read any of these books? Which are your favorite books that start with “A”?

Down the TBR Hole #9

It has been about a month since I’ve done one of these posts so I decided to jump back into my TBR shelf and see what can come off. This is a handy thing to do since I have a tendency to continuously add to this list, so taking off some is not a bad thing!

This was originally created by Lost in a Story and seems like a good way to go through some of my TBR on Goodreads and see what is there and what I can get rid of or push me to start reading. 
Links will be  on the titles for the books Goodreads page. (I am going to do ten for this round of this tag).

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!

Current TBR: 252


The Children’s Home – Charles Lambert
The summary tells me very little. It also barely has 2 stars on Goodreads which is a bit disconcerting. I don’t find myself wanting to run out and get this one, so it’ll go for now.
Decision: Remove

Ren: The Man Behind the Monster (Book #1) – Sarah Noffke
I like the idea of someone realizing that having too much power has corrupted them. I am curious how this one explores the idea of someone understanding they are a monster and fixing that side of them.
Decision: Keep

Soul’s Asylum: The Parasite Lives – Derek E. Pearson
Holy crap there are at least 4 plot lines in the summary alone. Aliens, telepaths, an epidemic and a murder mystery. I am already too overwhelmed.
Decision: Remove

How to Suppress Women’s Writing – Joanna Russ
Exploring the the barriers that are in place for women and minorities in the art world? I am all for that.
Decision: Keep 

Envious – Katie Keller-Nieman
Sound alright but nothing new or exciting.
Decision: Remove 


Riders (Riders #1) – Veronica Rossi
Someone dies and becomes one of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Yes, please!
Decision: Keep

Figment (Insanity #2) – Cameron Jace
Why do I have the second in a series on my list without the first? I mean I like the idea of Alice in our world but I’m gonna have to read the first book then decide if I go onto the second.
Decision: Remove

Time on Her Hands (The Lineage 3) – Melissa Jarvis
Again somehow ended up adding the third book in a series. I have to stop doing that!
Decision: Remove

The Rook (The Checquy Files #1) – Daniel O’Malley
A mystery with a number of elements, sounds interesting.
Decision: Keep

Breeder (Arrow’s Flight #1) – Casey Hays
Not sure I like the idea of someone being forced to breed and then fighting that, especially since the summary sounds like there is a lot of harsh punishments involved.
Decision: Remove

Kept: 4
Removed: 6
Current TBR – 243 (Again found a few books that I have read and thought were on my “Read” list but somehow weren’t. This is a good exercise for finding the glitches on the shelf too)

Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts on what I decided to keep versus get rid of?

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