Monday, March 31, 2014

March 2014 Wrap-up [spoiler free!]


March was an amazing reading month for me! Perhaps my slump is over?




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1. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. This book was a perfect post-holiday read; just what I needed to get me over the hump of the "Well, it is no longer Christmas/New Years, but spring has yet to arrive and I am stuck indoors" blues. While it is, indeed, a holiday and/or Christmastime book, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is full of warm and fuzzy moments, quirky characters and witty dialogue that merge together and capture your heart, no matter the time of year.

David Levithan, I think I'm in love with you.




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2. Asylum by Madeleine Roux. Uh, hello gorgeous cover. I will admit, it was the cover that tipped the purchasing scale in its favor, as the book itself does not have the best ratings on Goodreads - and for good reason. The characters were not very well developed and the story was bland and a bit too difficult to get into. I did really like the creepy parts of the story: when they went exploring in the old, abandon rooms of the Asylum, for example; which, combined with the be-autiful cover, were probably the only things that saved the rating from going down any farther. I will probably pick up the second book, Sanctum, just to see what happens next.




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3. Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King. Such a quirky, fun read! Everybody Sees the Ants is another coming-of-age story about a boy who flees into the depths of his own imagination in an attempt to escape his not-quite-perfect life. A.S. King's writing is very reminiscent of John Green; crass and crude whilst remaining extremely witty and enjoyable. I really liked Lucky's character and enjoyed his progression from a kid who was content with just trying to get by, to someone who was able to accept the things he could not change and worked to change the things he could.



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4. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. Another drool-worthy cover. There were a few problems with this book—Nyx's indecisiveness, the confusing plot—but I loved how original and fresh the story was, despite it being a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The parts of the book that featured the different rooms in the house were some of my absolute favorites and I adored the gothic, rustic feel of the characters and setting. The ending was a tad confusing (which has been the main complaint of Cruel Beauty reviewers), but I think I managed to grasp a well enough understanding of what happened and am really, very impressed.




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5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K. Rowling. I have been keeping up with my 2014 Harry Potter challenge pretty well so far; reading at least one book a month! The Prisoner of Azkaban was always one of my very favorites.




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6. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. It's about time, eh? I have heard nothing but amazing things about this series on Booktube and in the blog-o-sphere, so I figured I would finally pick it up and give it a try. While I have yet to really connect to either of the main characters, the world is so complex and the story so unique that I found myself unable to put the book down until it was finished. I am very eager to get my hands on the next installment, though I currently have no idea when that will be. Curse you, book-buying ban!!




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7. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. A 24-hour bookstore? Sounds like my kind of haunt! This book, while not really possessing any sort of fantasy or paranormal aspects was, in a word, magical. I really enjoyed the setting(s) and characters; Clay, our narrator, in particular. The programing and Google bits were very confusing, but the rest of the story was quite inspiring and I am now adding Mr. Penumbra's to my list of fictional bookstores/libraries I would like to visit!




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8. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Graphic Novel) by Ransom Riggs and Cassandra Jean. I finally picked it up!! For months I have been on the verge of purchasing this book during my many expeditions to Barnes & Nobel, but each time I decided that it would be a waste of money, seeing as I already read the book (and then reread it earlier this year). But, alas, my resolve is not very strong and it was bound to happen eventually. I have seen Cassandra Jean's work featured on Cassandra Clare's Tumblr and, wow, is it beautiful. After reading this graphic novel, I am definitely on the look-out for some of her other books, which includes Beautiful Creatures.



. . . . 

March Stats:

Read 7.25 books
Read 2,374 pages


GR's 2014 Reading Challenge (Progress):

Read 18 of 70 books
Currently 1 book ahead of schedule


Upcoming Releases:

Gilded Ashes (Cruel Beauty novella) by Rosamund Hodge -- April 1, 2014
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige -- April 1, 2014
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins -- April 8, 2014
Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs -- April 8, 2014
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith -- April 15, 2014



What did you guys read this month? Are there any April releases you are looking forward to? I, for one, cannot wait for Rebel Belle!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday [March 25]


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. All you have to do is grab your current read, open to a random page, and share two teaser sentences (that don't give too much away).



Today's teaser, courtesy of Veronica Rossi:

"Then she saw something roll downhill as if it had been bowled toward her. It hit a bump that shook loose a pale mask, and now she saw clear blue eyes and a nose and white teeth and black hair, tumbling over the dirt and trailing red."

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (page 149)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

BOOK HAUL [March 2014]




1. The Nightmare Dilemma (Arkwell Academy #2) by Mindee Arnett
2. Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
3. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Graphic Novel) by Ransom Riggs and Cassandra Jean
4. Half Bad by Sally Green
5. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
6. #16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler
7. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
8. Every Day by David Levithan
9.This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
10. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

NOT PICTURED:

11. Panic by Lauren Oliver
12. It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini



Obviously my book-buying ban is not going very well. What did you buy this month?

✿ TAG: Spring ✿



The "I Love Spring" book TAG was co-created by mysecretbookclub and Helene Jeppesen of Youtube.




1. How is Spring where you live?

Ohio does not seem to know what "spring" is. We usually have extremely cold weather throughout February and then, in March, the temperatures will hit extremes; ranging from below freezing to the 60s.

2. Most anticipated book release this Spring?


Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins—which is a new novel/series from the author of Hex Hall—and City of Heavenly Fire, the sixth and final book in Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series.

3. Show us a book cover that makes you think of Spring:


The new Anna covers are gorgeous and Isla and the Happily Ever After's cover, with the soft greens and blue, make me think of spring.

4. Where are you going to read this Spring?

In my room, probably. My bed is right next to a window, so it is very relaxing to just sit and enjoy the sounds/smells of outside whilst getting lost in a good book. Reading outside does not happen often, but that is also an option. :)

5. Find a cover with the sun on it!


Found one, peeking over the fence and flowers.

6. What are your favorite Spring reads?

I do not have any one book that I associate with spring, but contemporary and dystopian do seem to be my genre(s) of preference.

7. Find a book with many different colors on it:


You've got your pinks, purples, whites, blues, browns, blacks and grays. Pretty colorful cover, I'd say!



How is spring where you live? Are there any books you are looking forward to this season? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

If we were having coffee... [March 16]


I saw a few other bloggers do this—originally created by Ashley—and thought that I would give it a go. Good afternoon, friends; let's catch up over a virtual cup of coffee!



If we were having coffee... I would tell you that I am SO VERY READY FOR SPRING. Recently, Ohio has been experiencing some crazy weather; with below-freezing temperatures one day and really warm weather the next. I wish we could just skip the 40-60 degrees and jump right into the 80s!

If we were having coffee... I would tell you that I have recently become hopelessly addicted to Pottermore, and am currently on Book Four.

If we were having coffee... I would tell you that my unofficial book-buying ban has not been going very well. My physical TBR shelf has exploded and, because this has never happened to me before, I decided to hold off on purchasing anything new for a while. Unfortunately, my Walmart—which usually has a really crappy book selection—has suddenly decided to stock up on those that I have been particularly excited to have in my possession. And so:

Store within walking distance + (book isle x good selection) = crumbling resolve^immediate

If we were having coffee... I would tell you that we received our dog's ashes on Thursday. Two weeks ago, we had to put our thirteen year-old dog, Sydney, down because she was having a rough time going through the daily motions. She would not eat, could not make it up and down the stairs and had to be coaxed out of her cage just to go to the bathroom. When we took her in to see the vet, he said that her cancer—which we had found out about last year—had progressed. So, together, our family made the extremely difficult decision to put her to sleep. We were given her ashes a few days ago (along with some really sweet gifts from the vet) and are currently waiting for the ground to thaw so that we can bury her in our backyard with the others.

If we were having coffee... I would tell you that I am nowhere near ready for it to be Monday. My sister was sick on Saturday so, while everyone else spent the day out of town, visiting family, I stayed home with her to help out if it was needed. Today was spent cleaning and doing schoolwork and, even though I haven't done anything taxing or time-consuming, I still feel exhausted and completely repulsed by the idea of a new week.



If we were having coffee, what would you tell me? 
Leave your answers in the comments!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Teaser Tuesday [March 11]


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. All you have to do is grab your current read, open to a random page, and share two teaser sentences (that don't give too much away).



This week's teaser is brought to you by Lucky Linderman:

"Apparently, smiling and joking was an additional sign that I needed 'real help.' And so I initiated Operation Don't Smile Ever. It's been a very successful operation. We have perplexed many an enemy."

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King (page 6)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

TAG: Too much information


The "Too Much Information" TAG was created by Carrie of ItsWayPastMyBedtime.





1. What are you wearing? 

 One of my sister's T-shirts and a pair of shorts; AKA: PJs. It is laundry day, don't judge me.

2. Ever been in love?

I have not.

3. Ever had a terrible breakup?

Thankfully, no.

4. How tall are you?

5'3''.

I am a shorty.

5. How much do you weigh? 

123 pounds.

6. Any tattoos? 

Nope. And I am still trying to decide whether or not I would ever like to get one.

7. Any piercings? 

Four; two on each ear.

8. OTP? 

Stiles and Lydia, Doctor and Rose. 

9. Favorite Show? 

Currently it is a tie between Teen Wolf and Doctor Who.

10. Favorite band/singers? 

A Rocket to the Moon, Britt Nicole, Coldplay, Selena Gomez, Ellie Goulding, One Direction, Owl City, R5.

11. Something you miss? 

Being young and carefree, waking up early and going to school.

12. Favorite song?

Currently it is The Popular Song by MIKA and Ariana Grande.

13. How old are you?

24 years old.

14. Zodiac sign? 

Sagittarius, represent!

15. Quality you look for in a partner?

Sense of humor.

16. Favorite Quote? 

"You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back." — Barbara DeAngelis

17. Favorite actor? 

Dylan O'Brien!

18. Favorite color? 

Purple.

19. Loud music or soft? 

Depends on the day and/or my mood.

20. Where do you go when you're sad? 

My room.

21. How long does it take you to shower? 

I used to take super long showers—about a half hour to forty minutes—but lately they have lasted 5-15 minutes.

22. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? 

I usually set aside about two hours to wash and straighten my hair, do my makeup, and get dressed. I hate being rushed, so I feel like that is a sufficient amount of time to get everything done.

23. Ever been in a physical fight? 

No.

24. Turn on(s)?

- kindness/thoughtfulness
- sense of humor
- glasses
- curly hair around the ears/base of the neck
- tall
- brown eyes
- good conversationalist

25. Turn off(s)? 

- BO
- needing constant verification
- being clingy
- indecisiveness
- cursing
- talking about people behind their back
- drinking to get drunk

26. Fears?

Growing up, growing old, being alone, change, losing the ones I love, spiders.

27. Last thing that made you cry? 

We had to put our thirteen year old dog to sleep on Thursday, so that resorted in several days worth of tears.

28. Last time you said you loved someone? 

Yesterday, whilst on the phone with my mother.

29. Last book you read? 

Asylum by Madeleine Roux.

30. The book you're currently reading?

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King.

31. Last show you watched? 

Liv and Maddie, which is a show on Disney Channel.

I am a child.

32. Last person you talked to?

My dad.

33. The relationship between you and the person you last texted?

Undecided.

34. Favorite food? 

Tacos, fried chicken, and A&W's coney dogs/french fries!

35. Place you want to visit?

Oh, so many places...

London, Scotland, Louisiana, Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, Hawaii, Alaska.

36. Last place you were? 


Besides my house, the last place I visited was The Happy Grape, which is a wine bar/restaurant in my hometown.

37. Do you have a crush?

I have an obsession crush on Dylan O'Brien.

38. Last time you kissed someone? 

I was loving on my rabbit last night, can that count? If not, it has been about two years since I have actually, legit, kissed someone.

39. Last time you were insulted? 

A few months ago.

40. Favorite candy/sweet? 

I love me some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, though lately I am partial to almond Hershey bars.

41. What instrument(s) do you play? 

I took about a year's worth of piano lessons and was a member of my church's hand-bell choir for nearly ten years. I also played the recorder for a few months, back in 5th grade.

42. Favorite piece of jewelery?

I have several bracelets that I am particularly fond of right now, as well as a  few rings and anything I own with an owl on it.

43. Last sport you played? 

Bahahahaha.

I do not even know.

44. Last song you sang? 

Burn by Ellie Goulding.

45. Last time you hung out with anyone?

Friday. We went out to dinner and came back to my place and watched The Woman in Black and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

February 2014 Wrap-up [spoiler free!]


I have recently found myself falling a bit behind in my reading. I used to get through 2-3 books a week. Now I am lucky if I get through one...




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1. Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #2) by Ransom Riggs. Oh. My. This book was an emotional roller-coaster ride! Filled with action, adventure, suspense and romance, I never knew what to expect or where exactly the story was going. The creepy pictures were excellent, and I really enjoyed watching Jacob and his friends continue on with their quest to save Miss Peregrine. To see my full review, click here.




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2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K. Rowling. Another Harry Potter reread! I am really enjoying this experience—coming back, following Harry and his friends on these adventures and encountering all of the magic that comes along with the series. I did not realize just how much I missed Hogwarts until I was, once again, within its walls (so to speak).




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3. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler. After the excitement of both Miss Peregrine and Harry Potter, I was very much in the mood for something short and contemporary; an easy read. And considering Why We Broke Up is about 40% pictures, I figured it could not get much easier. An avid fan of Handler's Series of Unfortunate Events, I was really looking forward to reading some more of his work. The pictures were a really cool addition, I will admit, helping me to better grasp the narrator's stories, but the rest of the book was bland and uneventful; due in part to the fact that the entire book is a flashback, with zero to no suspense. I had trouble connecting to the characters (in fact, I found the main character, Min, to be extremely annoying) and I struggled to finish the book in a reasonable amount of time. The writing was beautiful, however, and there were some stories/moments that I did enjoy, so I could not give the book anything less than three stars.




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4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. After months and months of hearing nothing but amazing things about this series, I decided to give the first book a chance; laying aside all the ideas about vampires that Twilight had previously instilled in my brain. Unfortunately, I did not love this as much as everyone assured me I would. It was okay, interesting, but the characters were a bit one-dimensional and the dialogue and actions seemed very clich├ęd and predictable. I saw the ending coming a mile away, and the "tension" between the characters, such as Rose and Dimitri or Lisa and Christian, was not very exciting. I did not hate the book, however, so I think I will continue on with the series and see if it gets any better.




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5. Unite Me (Shatter Me #0.5 & 2.5) by Tahereh Mafi. While I did not technically read the entire book, from cover to cover (I completed Destroy Me a couple of months ago, back when it was just an eBook), Fracture Me and the pieces of Juliette's journals took up more than half of the book, so I am counting it. As much as I dislike Adam, I knew that reading Fracture Me would probably give me some insight into the third book, just as Warner's story did to the second. Instead of making me sympathize with him, however, I found myself loathing his character even more. Where Warner pushes Juliette to try her hardest and take risks, Adam only works to shut her down; constantly assuming that she is a weak, scared little girl who cannot make her own decisions. In my mind, there is no competition between love interests. Fracture Me received a 4/5. However, given that this was a bind-up of two novellas (one I happen to love) and a journal, I ended up giving Unite Me five stars.












6. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. I was not able to complete this book before February's end, despite how much I am loving it. The review will be in next month's wrap-up!



. . . . 

February Stats:

Read 5.75 books
Read 1,537 pages


Upcoming Releases:

The Nightmare Dilemma (Arkwell Academy #2) by Mindee Arnett -- March 4, 2014
Half Bad by Sally Green -- March 4, 2014



How was your February? Any new bookish discoveries I should know about?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

BOOK HAUL [February 2014]



1. This Star Wont Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Earl by Lori and Wayne Earl
2. Born of Illusion by Terri Brown
3. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
4. Asylum by Madeleine Roux
5. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
6. Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
7. Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi
8. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi [Hardback, to match the last two books in the trilogy]
9. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
10. Unite Me (Shatter Me #1.5 & 2.5) by Tahereh Mafi
11. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
12. Angelfall by Susan Ee
13. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
14. The Selection Stories (The Selection #0.5 & 2.5) by Kiera Cass
15. Harry Potter (books 1-7) by J.K. Rowling [Special Edition paperback box set]


. . . . 

Quite a lot of purchases this month; I don't know whether to be overwhelmed or ashamed, for spending so much money excited! Did you buy any new books during the month of lo-ooove (and, apparently, copious amounts of snow)?