Friday, August 26, 2016

Bout of Books - Day 4 Update + A book in a song

Hi y'all!  Happy Friday.  I can't believe it's Friday already!  Anyway - I've been reading and reading (when I haven't been working) and now it's time to share my progress from Thursday of Bout of Books:

Books Started: 3
Books Finished: 1
Pages Read Thursday: 122
Total Pages Read: 328

I said that yesterday was going to be the day that I finally finished at least one book for the week: AND I DID!  I can now knock this book off my list:

In the meantime, I am still making my way through the following two books:

They are both so enchanting and amazing that I truly don't know which one I want to finish first!

Now, for some more FUN: Today's Bout of Books Challenge - picking a song or lyric that fits a book you're reading!  I just finished The Alchemist, which is described as "A Fable about Following your Dreams."  The song I think fits this book to a T is Don't Stop Believing, by Journey.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bout of Books - Day 3 Update

Hi Fellow Readers!  As you can tell, I am still in the midst of Bout of Books 17.  YEAH!   I am (still) working through the three books pictured below, but I work a short shift today at work, so I will have plenty of time to read when I get home tonight!  I am bound to finish at least one book  by nights end.

Here's my progress from Wednesday:

Books Started: 3
Books Finished: 0
Pages Read: 78
Total pages read this week: 206

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bout of Books - Day 2 Updates and a Peek at my Books

Hi Y'all!  It's the third day of Bout of Books 17 - but I'm not here to talk about that (yet.)  Let's talk about what I did yesterday.  As you know, I've been making my way (rather slowly) through 3 books:

Here's my update from Tuesday!

Books Started: 3
Books Finished: 0 (le sigh)
Pages Read on Tuesday: 45
Total Pages Read: 128

And now for the really fun part: 

The Show off your Shelves Photo Challenge: 

Because I am at the library at the moment, and forgot to take pictures of my paper books, I took pictures of my e-books!  Here are (just a few) of the books sitting on my kindle at the moment: 


(And yes, in case you are wondering, my kindle is named Luna Lovegood!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bout of Books - Day 1 Progress

Happy Tuesday!  It's day 2 of the Bout of Books readathon.  I've enjoyed every second of the week so far (even though it's only Tuesday) including today's challenge - which was to take 10 to 15 books, flip to a random page, pick out the first word from each page, and make a sentence.  You can see what people's responses are on the Bout of Books blog!

Day 1 (Monday) Progress:

Books Started: 3
Books Finished: 0
Pages Read: 83 (Not my all time best, but, again, it's only Tuesday!)

Here are the books I am currently working my way through:

These are all three fantastic books, and I am having a hard time deciding which one I want to finish first!  I guess we'll just have to wait and see where the day leads me.  Now, get back to reading! 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bout of Books - Day 1

Hi, fellow readers!  Today is the FIRST DAY of Bout of Books 17.  Yeah!  I haven't read *too* much yet (but it's only 10:45 in the morning.)  Anyway, I hope you're all as stoked for this week as I am!  (Don't deny it - you totally are.)  

My goals this week include:
*Finishing the 3 started books I have sitting around.
*Actually getting though the last two books in the Beautiful Creatures series (I know, I believe I said I wasn't going to finish the series.  I lied.  I can't help myself!)

Other than that, I don't really have any hard and fast goals set other than to just read a lot and have fun!  (The fun should be a given - after all I'll be READING....)

So far today, I have:
-Started book
-Read 15 pages (Don't judge, it's still early.)

Now, for those who don't know, Bout of Books has little challenges throughout the week.  Today's challenge is to pick your favorite and least favorite book to movie adaptations.  This was hard.  There were a lot I loved - and many more that I didn't love.  But I have made my choices, and they are: 

Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation:


 I only picked on, because this movie wowed me so much, and because The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is absolutely a stunning book!  Plus, Tilda Swinton was just amazing (she always is!)

Least Favorite Book to Movie Adaptations:

 I fell in love with the Divergent book, and its sequel Insurgent.  (I am still feeling kind of mediocre about Allegiant, thought....)  When I heard they were making a movie, I was hesitant, as I usually am, and when I saw it, I was just downright disappointed.  I don't feel that it lived up to the book at all!

I don't even know how to sum up my distaste for this book to movie adaptation.  I was absolutely enthralled with Pullman's entire His Dark Materials book series.  The movie was probably my LEAST favorite adaptation ever!  I couldn't jive with it at all. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

I'll Run to You - Nikki Vale

I'll Run to You, by Nikki Vale, was a book I bought on Kindle because it was free.  Let's just say that had it not been for the fact that the book was free, there is no way on god's green earth I would have read it.  This is a book that makes the writing and plot of 50 Shades of Grey look like War and Peace. 

I could find nothing redeeming about this book - so I'll just go right ahead and tell you what I didn't like.

The characters: They were childish and showed no personal growth throughout the book.  Evelyn/Evelynn (because apparently the author couldn't remember how to spell her main characters name) couldn't be bothered to ever ask her friends how they were doing or think about anyone other than herself.  She has a daughter that's actually her niece, and said child spends more time with her grandmother than she does with Evie.  Evie, the heroine of the book, seems more concerned with making Hunter, the "love of her life," jealous than she does with anything else. 

Hunter, the hero of our story, spends all his time wondering what he did wrong to piss Evie off.  In actuality, he didn't technically do anything wrong.  Before he knew that Evie was in love with him, he slept with her sister - and got her sister pregnant (thus the niece/daughter.)  Throughout the book, the most selfless thing he does is take a step back and let Evie decide if how often he should see his kid (though really, he *should* get to see her as often as he wants.)  Other than that, he's kind of a douche.  For example, he moves in with Evie, because he needs a place to stay. Then, less than a week later, with no warning, and after telling her he loves her, Hunter just packs up and takes off with no warning.  The communication between Evie and Hunter sucked throughout the entire novel - and yet they want to have a relationship with each other. 

The actual plot: The plot was mediocre at best.  It was mostly the two main characters crying to their friends about what they had done wrong now, and then they had sex.  There were no interesting events, no buildup, no romance, and minimal climax to the story.

The writing: Was downright horrific.  There were mistakes in this book that I would have expected a 10 year old to make, not a fully grown writer who should know better.  For example, here are some sentences taken straight from this gem of a book:

"I'm meeting him at Oishidesu's at 8 o'clock, and I'm meeting him at Oishidesu, so 7 o'clock should be fine."  (Was Evie so confused that she had to state the meeting place twice?  What's happening here?)

"What had the hell?"  (What does that even mean?  What had the hell?  I don't understand this sentence even a little bit.)

"Hunter this is Steve Fuller, a friend and colleague.  Steve this is Hunter Douglas, my brother's best friend and a friend of mine as well."  (Let's talk about how there should be comma's after Hunter in the first sentence and Steve in the second.  Also, the second sentence is awkward, clunky, and way to long.  Be succinct.) 

The writing continues like this throughout the entire novel.  It was just too much - and made me wonder why I continue to read indie books when so many of them lately have been absolute duds for me.  It would have done the author wonders to have an editor look through the book several times before publication.

The only reason I would rate this book with 1 star is because most you can't give 0 stars.  Spend your time on a different book - reading this book would surely fill you with regret, and maybe even a little shame.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett - Chelsea Sedoti

Title: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett
Author: Chelsea Sedoti
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: January 1, 2017

Hawthorn, a teenage girl with a hippie mom, an older brother named Rush who seems stuck in the past, and a pretty traditional dad, becomes obsessed with the disappearance of Lizzie Lovett.  Lizzie, four years older than Hawthorn, disappeared one day while on a camping trip with her boyfriend.  Hawthorn doesn't think much about it at first, but slowly becomes obsessed with Lizzie - and also believes that Lizzie did not, in fact, get killed or kidnapped or anything like that but rather that she turned into a werewolf.  Yep - Hawthorn thinks Lizzie turned into a werewolf. 

The story includes some history about Lizzie - including a photo of Lizzie from junior high where she had black hair and goth style clothing.  It turns out Lizzie just kind of changes who she is when she moves to a new place - perhaps so she doesn't have to let anyone see the real her.  Anyway, the story is not really about Lizzie, or at least not completely.  It's mostly about Hawthorn - a sort of coming of age story. 

I couldn't think of a single thing I didn't like about this book.  I loved it all.  There were moments that made me laugh, and there were moments that made me cry, and a couple times I thought this book was just going to break me wide open and leave me like that.  Hawthorn experiences a lot of...change and growth and some hard truth throughout the book.  When both her best friend Emily, and her brother tell her that life is not all about her, and that she seems to think it is, Hawthorn is kind of forced to open her eyes and evaluate who she is.  She and the other characters in this book all experience development in the book.  They all grow in some way, which is good.  It adds depth to the characters that so many books are lacking!

The story itself was great.  Sometimes it was a little weird - but even in the weird moments (like Hawthorn thinking Lizzie was a werewolf, or finding out that Hawthorn's mom prefers to be called Sparrow) the story was still great.  It had ups and downs, enough tension and dramatic moments, and the writing was excellent!  There wasn't a single moment when I wanted this book to end - and when it did, I felt just really sad at what had happened and at the fact that it was done. 

This book gets a solid 5 stars - read it and give it to your teens as well.  You will love it!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Love Like You've Never Been Hurt - SJ McCoy

I found Love Like You've Never Been Hurt and the next two books in the Summer Lake series, by SJ McCoy, for free on Kindle.  Let's just say that had it not been for the fact that the book was free, I probably wouldn't have finished it.  I went into it wanting to like it - after all, who doesn't love a little romance in their books?  But I was disappointed.  This book was not at all what the good reviewers would have you believe. 

The plot, in a short summary: Emma was hurt badly in her marriage when her husband cheated on her.  Because of that, she doesn't trust men and has not been in a relationship since her divorce.  Then she meets Jack, business partner to her dear friend Pete.  They find themselves in mutual attraction, and both end up spending some time at Summer Lake.  Sex ensues, followed by lots of hurt and misunderstanding, before reaching the final climax (sorry for that pun) and a cheesy ending that made me wonder what the author was thinking.

On with it: 

This book started out with promise - girl meets her best friends business partner and a cute romantic comedy ensues.  What really happened was that Emma met Jack, then knocked him to the ground when she tripped over him in Pete's office.  In her personal life, Emma decided to take a three month vacation to Summer Lake.  As luck would have it, Jack decided to go to Summer Lake as well - where he's spending the summer designing a house for Pete.  Jack and Emma think about their mutual attraction to each other, but Emma puts her foot down and says that they can only be friends.  Jack is persistent, and finally gets Emma to be the friend he has sex with regularly. 

After, like, a month - Jack decides he is in love with Emma.  But here's the thing - all they ever do is screw, eat, and drink booze.  That's it.  They have never had any of the getting to know you conversations that usually take place when people are, you know, getting to know each other. They never talk with each other about things they like or don't like, what they want from life, etc.  It's just a ton of sex followed by a rather unfulfilling "I love you Emma."  It feels hollow and unwarranted.  To top it off, Jack then decides he's going to propose to Emma despite her adamant declarations that she is never, ever getting married ever again because marriage just doesn't work! 

That little rambling should be a clue that I didn't like this book at all.  Let me go into a little more detail about just why:

Emma - She's a whiny little brat who is so scared of falling love that she shuts herself off from any sort of romantic relationship, even if the guy is decent and nice (and has a bunch of proof from people who have known him for years.)  It must have been hard to have her husband cheat on her, but Emma acts like that is the end of the world and shuts down, refusing to believe that their are men out their who don't cheat on their women.  This seems especially weird considering that Emma is surrounded by examples of people in good, healthy, committed, loving relationships - her grandparents who raised her, for example.  Their was also no mention of her parents, who died when she was young, having a bad marriage.  That should have been enough to convince Emma that not all men are like her ex-husband.  But no- her jealousy and trust issues remain.  She even goes so far as to call it quits with Jack after she sees him hugging his cousin on the beach.  She went to LA for two days, came back early, and was surprised to see Jack with Laura, but didn't think to ask him what was going on or find out who the woman was.  She just jumped to conclusions and called it quits - without even telling Jack.   She then gets told by her friend Holly, her grandpa, and a host of other people, that she basically needs to grow the hell up and start acting her age.  This was the best thing these people could have told her. 

Plot development: There really wasn't much - it was just basically a back and forth between Emma liking Jack, then Emma pulling away again.  The story wasn't very well developed, and the author didn't really put much thought into the events of the book. It was like the author just picked out a few things that she thought should happen and threw them into the book to create tension, even if the events didn't make sense for the story. 

The actual writing: the writing in this book was weak at best.  There were run on sentences, comma's everywhere, and crappy dialogue that made me question whether or not this book was actually written by a grownup?  I would expect better writing from someone who writes professionally for a living - an editor could have easily helped with that. 

Overall, I wouldn't give this book a single star.  Save your time for something else that's actually worth the paper it's printed on.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The 100 - Kass Morgan

I started listening to The 100 on audiobook without even knowing that it was semi popular and had been made into a TV series.  This is one of those book series I've been woefully behind on.  Apparently, that's okay.

When the book started, I was mildly intrigued.  I mean, radiation kills off humans on earth and only a handful escape to make their lives in outerspace on a spaceship? That sounds like a good story!  While the idea for this story is great, the actual story itself falls flat.  The writing is great - Kass Morgan is a good writer.  But, there are so many diverging plot points and so many different characters that it's hard to keep everything straight. 

If their had been one narrator, that would have made the story much easier to flesh out.  The author could have still revealed all the details that needed to be revealed and followed the story well with one narrator.  Also, because their were so many characters with their own POV in the story, it made it hard to get attached to any of them.  Things kept switching back and forth so much I felt like my head was spinning. 

Because of all the different main characters and the lack of one POV, their was also a noticeable lack of character development.  Their wasn't a lot of growth in any of the characters, and that was too bad.

I wanted to like this book - but found it to be just mediocre at best.  Read it if you want - but overall, I'd give it just 3 stars.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Bout of Books 17

It's time once again for Bout of Books!  I loved 16 so much that I had to sign up for 17, of course!  What could be better than an entire week of challenging yourself to read more?  Nothing!  If you want to sign up (you know you do!) go check out the Bout of Books blog.  You'll love it - I promise.

Here's a little bit more about Bout of Books, in case you need to know:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 22nd and runs through Sunday, August 28th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 17 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I hope to see you all reading that week, too!  It's going to be AWESOME!

August Book Club Picks - YA Fiction

Because teenagers love to read - this month my book club picks are all YA fiction!  (Don't worry - some of you adults may find some books here that you'll love, too!)

Divergent - Veronica Roth
There wasn't a single page of Divergent that I didn't like.  It's sequel, Insurgent, was good as well.  This is a great discussion book for any teenage book club. 

The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman 
I have yet to read a Neil Gaiman book I didn't like.  This one is no exception.  Full of creepiness and awesome characters, this is a book that is sure to bring lots of discussion and love from any YA book club!

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Chances are there are tons of teens (and adults) who have already read this book!  So, get ready for a re-read, because this book is totally YA book club worthy.  Full of fantastic characters, a weird yet well written plot, and some death, this anti-war book leaves plenty for book clubs to talk about!

 The Book Thief - Marcus Zusak
I originally read this with my book club and fell in love with it. It was one of my favorite reads of 2010.  This book has a haunting, amazing plot that will break you open and leave you wanting more.  I am sure any YA and adult book club will have plenty to discuss with this book.

 The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin
Some people say this book is weird - and I agree, but I probably think it's weird for different reasons. I love this book!  Part thriller, part romance, completely amazing - this book will leave you reaching for the next in the series as soon as you finish.  There are plenty of things to discuss in this fantastic book.

The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkoski 
This book about a young woman who falls in love with her slave and a society on the brink of war will leave your book club with so many things to talk about.  There has yet to be a single moment in this series that I don't like - I think you'll love this book as much as I do.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Things that Are - Andrew Clements

Things that Are is the third book in a YA series by Andrew Clements.  I haven't read the first two, so I have no idea how this book compares to its predecessors.  Things that Are focuses primarily on Alicia Van Dorn, a blind teenager from Chicago.  Her parents are professors at the University of Chicago, and she is best friends with Bobby, a kid who turned invisible because of an electric blanket malfunction.  Yep - you read that right - Bobby became invisible because of an electric blanket.

When Alicia receives an accidental phone call from Bobby in the middle of the night, she knows something isn't right.  She hears him arguing with someone, then the call ends.  Later the same day, Bobby arrived back in Chicago.  He meets Alicia at the university library, where they talk and hang out in a private room.  When Bobby leaves, Alicia finds herself sitting on a bench getting ready to leave when a disembodied voice starts talking to her.  The voice belongs to William, another person turned invisible because of an electric blanket malfunction.  The rest of the novel, which only occurs over the course of one 24 hour period, includes another electric blanket, sleeping pills being fed to Alicia's dog, and a couple of visits from the FBI.

Perhaps it was because the book was so short, or perhaps it was because this was the third in a series in which I haven't read the first two books, but this book just kind of fell flat for me.  There wasn't much of a chance for character growth since the book was so short and took place over the course of one day.  That only slightly bothered me - I don't know many people after all who develop much in the course of 24 hours.  However, it did bother me that all the characters seemed superficial and felt just kind of stale.

Also, because the story was a quick, look what happens in one day kind of thing, it felt like everything was rushed. The author jumped from one thing to the next, and seemed to throw in certain events just because he could.  For example, when Alicia's dad killed some mice by putting them in the garbage disposal - that was an unnecessary event. There was really no rhyme or reason to because, GUESS WHAT?! The mice are invisible.  He could have found some other way of hiding the mice from the FBI if he was really that concerned.

Overall, I'd give the book 2 stars - read it if you must, but be forewarned that you might find other books more interesting.