Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | An ECD Review

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

*deep breath* It's here (yes two months bad).  A hopefully comprehensive look at my thoughts on Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (since I know you are all just dying to hear what I thought).  This is VERY lengthy and I'm so sorry but I couldn't get it down any shorter.

The reason I chose this as my first book by this author is because I have been...involved with multiple fandoms in my life.  I also was very, very anxious about starting college back in the day - meeting people, having a roommate, the possibility of having no friends, etc.  I figured, at the very least, I'd be able to related with the MC, Cath, even if the story was less than stellar.  I needn't have worried, because I loved the book.

It's pretty much a coming-of-age novel that chronicles Cath's journey through her freshman year of college.  New classes, a roommate, the daunting cafeteria, classmates who try to screw you over, professors who help you grow, people making bad decisions, struggling to make your own decisions, etc.  An all encompassing college freshman experience with a hearty dose of fandom thrown in for good measure.

I will mention that, in between some chapters, are sections and excerpts from the Simon Snow books AND Simon Snow fanfiction.  I LOVED this part.  I think it gave a bit of legitimacy to Cath's interests (rather than this...illusive realm of life that Cath inhabits) for readers who are not necessarily familiar with it, some are even just unwilling to give it a chance. However, if, as you're reading it, you are just so heavily invested in Cath's friendship and potential relationship with Levi, you may find these pieces a bit distracting and unnecessary.

I don't think there was a character I disliked.  Take Nick, the jerk; I LOVED that at first I really thought he was going to be Cath's romantic interest. I loved that he was a part of the story.  Not everyone you meet is trying to build you up or help you out.  Some people DO have ulterior motives and Cath sort of standing up to him at the end really showed some great growth for her.  She wouldn't have had the backbone in the beginning of the story to do that.

And I loved reading about Cath's developing friendship with her roommate. It came full circle for me when Reagan refused to let Nick into the room when Cath wasn't there:

The door to her room opened abruptly, and Reagan looked out.  "Is this yours?" she asked Cath, nodding at Nick. "No," Cath said. "I didn't think so. I told him he had to wait outside." 

It was just an amazingly perfect description of the evolution of their rommateship - Reagan is now protective of Cath.  A few lines later in the same scene:

Reagan was looking at Nick like she was already tying him to the railroad tracks.

Yay for personal growth!

Last thing: I will just mention that (this may be a spoiler so skip to the bottom!) Cath shares her fanfic writing with Levi.  Perhaps it's just me but the fact that 1) Levi is genuinely interested in exploring and hearing about this part of Cath and 2) Cath even shared it really, for me, was a testament to the strength of their friendship/potential relationship.  I think that Cath really should have considered that aspect of their friendship when she was insecure/self-conscious about her feelings for Levi and in turn his feelings for her.

Eeep - I just loved everything about it.  I won't gush any longer...if you're into YA (and, really, even if you're not) please grab it from your local library and give it a try.  And if you end up not liking it I'm interested in hearing why - I sort of feel like I am incredibly biased with the whole fandom thing. I just wanna talk to everyone about this.

Top Ten Tuesday | Fave Books I've Read So Far This Year

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I am finally back for Top Ten Tuesday!  Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week: Top Ten Book I've Read So Far This Year. I've only read 26 books this year, and I didn't feel comfortable rating these books against each other, so I just rated them against all books and actually only 5 books made the cut for any kind of shortlist I might write.  This means that I clearly need some recommendations for better books.  Note that the list is in reverse order.

5. This Time Next Door (Oakland Hills #2) by Gretchen Galway
4. Wallbanger (Cocktail #1) by Alice Clayton
3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
2. Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
1. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

I am SO surprised by how this turned out, actually. I anticipate (and hope) that this will drastically change by the end of the year, though I'm pretty excited to see that. What made your TTT this week?

Finally Friday | I'M BACK and Other Things

Friday, June 6, 2014

Hellooooo!  I know, it's been a while - I was on vacation for a bit and before that I had to, well, prepare for vacation.  And then my motivation just went WAY downhill and my roles at work just like skyrocketed for a while.
I haven't made any significant reading progress - aside from a bunch of smutty short stories I found while perusing the free books on Kindle. I did also read Shameless (Nashville Nights #1) by Cheryl Douglas (on the plane to Nashville because this takes place in Nashville), This Time Next Door (Oakland Hills #2) by Gretchen Galway, and Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - all of which received 4 stars.

I would just like to note that the cover to Shameless received negative 80 stars because it is simply hideous.  (And now that I think back, I think I was high on actually being IN Nashville and that led me to the 4 star rating because...I don't remember the book being all that great).

After this, I basically just read the first 75% of 3 different books.  They are as follows:

Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

And I'm so close to finishing ALL of these but...I've found myself sort of...hesitant to move forward because I am at the point in the book where the next few chapters will basically make or break the story line. And ALL of these stories, I feel, have the potential to be very disappointing if they go a certain way and I just...feel like if I don't even finish them, then they are DEFINITELY great books because I don't have the chance to be disappointed, you know?  (Except Tampa. it's not exactly great but I am enjoying it so far - which I sense will change once I get through the next few chapters).

If I finish them and they suck well...then I just spent that time reading a book that sucks. 

It's a crazy psychological weird thing I do and I wish I could stop and just...enjoy reading like a normal person.  Honestly, I think this is why I tend to move more towards cheesy romancey boy-meets-girl books because it's basically a guarantee that I'll like the ending (because it ends just like every other boy-meets-girl book which I LOVE).
Okay, now that I've prattled on about basically nothing, let's set some intentions. I INTEND to read at least 150 pages this weekend.  I also INTEND for some of those page to be in these unfinished books I've mentioned.  HOWEVER, I went to BookCon last weekend and got some might accidentally pick one of those up instead.

Moving along!  What are your weekend reading plans?  Do you ever get a lil anxious about the impending conclusion of a book?

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon | Wrap-Up

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Well.  7 hours later, I can do my wrap-up post.  Oops.  Fell asleep around hour 18 and woke at hour 24 for the last hour of reading. BIG thank you to #TeamWordsworth for their cheering!! Managed to finish 3 books (1 was more of a short story...).  Had to run some Sunday errands but here I am!  

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Well, I suppose hour 18 when I just couldn't keep my eyes open any more.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Honestly, I felt like Fangirl was a good first read for me because 1) I loved the shit out of it and 2) I absolutely had to keep reading it.  I think it depends on your fave kind of book.  Sometimes sleep wins - as much as I was enjoying Conquest by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard I just could not stay awake.  I would read a paragraph, fall asleep for a few minutes, and then have to read the same paragraph again.  I should have napped at hour 12.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I really don't.  I thought it was amazing - and so FUN!

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The cheerleader organization!  I mean, that was AMAZING.  I was a cheerer and everything was laid out for me.  All I had to do was cheer - Heather did an awesome job with all those spreadsheets.  Also, I didn't know there would be co-hosts on the readathon blog - that was pretty cool.

5. How many books did you read?
Ending up finishing 3 books total, 876 pages, totaling about 12 reading hours (and, as a first-timer, I'm letting go of the fact that my goal was 16 hours of reading time).

6. What were the names of the books you read?
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
His Need, Her Desire by Malia Mallory

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Definitely Fangirl which I was happy about cause you guys hyped the crap out of it!  Got 5 stars from me - review coming soon (I took notes, guys).

8. Which did you enjoy least?
Ha - His Need, Her Desire  it's a short, adequately written erotica novella.  Barely any plot, but the MCs met on a vacation which is one of my fave tropes, man.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
If you're cheering on Twitter, definitely use TweetDeck.  I just discovered it and it was amazing,

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Uh, I will absolutely be participating as a reader AND cheerer again in October.

I'm off to check everyone else's wrap-up posts!  Great Readathon! 

Stacking the Shelves #4 | Guess Who Got Their Library Card?

Stacking the Shelves is host by Tynga's Reviews.

Earlier this year, I moved to a new county and it's taken me this long to work out the library situation.  Apparently I moved to a town where there is a lot of tension between my local and country libraries.  Very weird.  Anyway!  Here's what I borrowed on my first trip!

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Conquest by John Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Did you stack your shelves with some nice finds this week?  Link your post in the comments!

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon | Hour 16

Man, I am TIRED.  I know if I try and sleep, I'll sleep til morning and then the Readathon will be over.
 Gonna read on my Kindle in bed as late as I can.

Currently reading
: Gonna try a few more chapters of Conquest by John Connolly and then move on to Summer Unplugged by Amy Sparling.  And then I will promptly fall asleep.

Books finished: 2 - Just finished This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Running total pages read: 787
Running total amount of time spent reading: 11 hours - though I'm not sure how I missed 5 hours...maybe my spreadsheet is messed up. 
Snacks: Had a frappuccino and some chocolate pudding - deish.

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon | Hour 12

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Aw, yeah, halfway there!!!  I am very sleepy - even thought it's only 7pm here.  

Currently reading: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers.  The writing style on this is very...weird and I'm thinking I might switch books.  It's 1st person and very choppy sentences. 

Books finished: Same as before - just the one.
Running total pages read: 563
Total amount of time spent reading: 7.5 hours
Snacks: Had some Goldfish!

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon | Hour 8

WOOOO - 1 book down!!

Currently reading: About to start This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Books finished: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Total pages read: 434
Total amount of time spent reading: 6 hours
Snacks: Eating a super late lunch cause I didn't want to put the book down.  Parmesan crusted meatballs over pasta.  This will likely be my dinner, haha!

I'm gonna take a look at some mini-challenges - see what that's all about.  

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon | Hour 4 (completed)


I started an hour late, but I'm in full readathon mode now!

Currently reading: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - LOVING IT SO FAR.  I can't even contain my feelings, I am feeling so many things.

Books finished: None so far - moving right along, though!
Total pages read: 209 - I feel like I should be making better progress :/
Total amount of time spent reading: 3 hours
Snacks: Just coffee, so far.  I ate breakfast during hour 1, though.  

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon | Kick-Off Post

***FYI - I will be updating on Twitter more frequently than here - probably once an hour.  My blog posts will be every 4 hours (ideally).  

I'm probably still sleeping.  I probably went back to sleep after I linked this to the Kick-Off Post.  Eventually I'll get up and start reading...

SO!  Readathon day!  I changed my stack because I went to the library on Thursday.  I tried to use mostly short books but I found out I have like 3 books under 300 pages and I'm not in the mood to read any of them. I wasn't able to get The Elite for free anywhere so I took it off my list. Here's the updated dealio:

These romancey books:

And for when I get tired of romance:

Kick-Off Qs

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
New Jersey, US

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Hmmmmm.  I think Fangirl.  The hype is overwhelming but I'm excited.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Last night I made blondies.  So I'm definitely looking forward to that.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Eep.  I have a regular job and in my spare time I buy books, makeup, and decor for my new (ish) apartment.  I like all kinds of books!  I tend to lean towards romance, but if I'm reading a non romance book, I like there to be almost NO romance in it.  I don't like adding romance for the sake of adding romance, that's silly. I also like fantasy books, and books set in other realities and things like that!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
It's my first readathon!!  Woohoo!!!  I'm most looking forward to interacting with other readers and cheerers.  I love seeing what other people are reading and I think it's AMAZING that there are 600 of us doing this!

I'm also cheering this year! I'm on #TeamAusten and I hope I can do the cheering thing justice. It's my first readathon for reading AND cheering so we'll see.

Happy reading everybody!

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon | My "Draft" Stack

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's almost time for my VERY FIRST Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon!  I've been in somewhat of a reading slump, as I have mentioned, so I'm hoping to make some progress this weekend. I wanted to take a picture of my real life stack, but frankly, I'm writing this at work - oops!  Here are the books I'm choosing from.
 I'm gonna try to finish Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Finish (or just read some more of) How to Discipline Your Vampire by Mina Vaughn
The Elite by Kiera Cass (Extended note about this: I don't have this yet but will find a way to obtain for free because I am NOT paying, let me tell you. I think the $6.99 price tag on Kindle is too much. I have a LOT of feelings about the first book that stem mostly from frustration with America in relation to Aspen (fucking Aspen). So I was annoyed when I finished the first book and continue to be annoyed as I consider reading the second book.  I know I have to read it because I need to find out about Maxon and America.  Obviously.)
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher (I read Butcher during my last readathon and it went well)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - v. excited for this!
(VERY SHORT) Summer Unplugged by Amy Sparling
The Unidentified Redhead by Alice Clayton 

So that's my tentative plan - who knows what will really happen.  What's your stack look like?  Link to your #readathon stack in the comments!

Stacking the Shelves #3 | Library Sale Edition!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I know it's Wednesday already - but I started this on Saturday.  That counts, right? Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Well, guess who went to a Library Sale this weekend.  Yeah, it was me.  Grabbed 11 books including The Word Exchange and Room which I am so pumped about. Missing from the list below is The Bradbury Report by Steven Polansky because it's the odd book out.  Oh well.

Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie - Had to buy due to Jennifer Crusie.
Simply Irresistible by Rachel Gibson -  First in a series for which I accidentally purchased the third book.
Smart Mouth by Erin McCarthy -  It was 50 cents!  I couldn't resist.
It all Began in Monte Carlo by Elizabeth Adler -  I LOVE "on a vacation" romances.
One Hit Wonder by Charlie Carillo - Music-ish - automatic buy!
Room by Emma Donoghue -  Critically acclaimed and all that - two bucks!
Contents May Have Shifted by Pam Houston - Love books re: flight attendants
Beach House No. 9 by Christie Ridgway - Again, on a vacation!
Be Mine by Jennifer Crusie, Victoria Dahl, & Shannon Stacey - Again, Jennifer Cruise
The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon - Reviews for this seem to be popping up everywhere! Super cool story concept for ONE DOLLAR

And of course, this is all well and good, but I haven't read anything in 11 days (which is actually a lot less than I thought because I was thinking it had been a full month).  Gearing up (hopefully) for Dewey's Readathon this Saturday, working on my (virtual) stack and trying to decide if I want to do a theme or something.  Look for that post soon!

Did you stak your shelves with anything good this (last) week?

Bout of Books 10!

Monday, April 21, 2014

This is my very first Bout of Books and I'm SUPER excited.  I've been in a reading slump since the
#24in48 (which is super annoying, since I read so much then).

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, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I've grown my OWNED TBR stack by at least 30 in the past month, and I haven't read anything in the past 2 weeks - yikes! Soooo, that means I gotta kick ass in the next few weeks.  Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is on Saturday 4/26, so ideally I should be able to make some progress. 

And then Bout of Books 10 begins on 5/12.  Hopefully I'll be able to wade through some of my unread collection...

Waiting on Wednesday | Rusty Nailed

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that spotlights our most anticipated upcoming release.  It is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

I know I usually do Wishlist Wednesday, but honestly I've purchased so many books in the past few weeks that I can't even imagine wishing for anymore right now.  I AM, however, waiting for the release of a few books.  This week's feature:

Rusty Nailed
By Alice Clayton
Publication Date: June 24, 2014

In this sequel to Wallbanger, the second book in the Cocktail series, fan favorites Caroline and Simon negotiate the rollercoaster of their new relationship while house-sitting in San Francisco.

Playing house was never so much fun—or so confusing. With her boss on her honeymoon, Caroline’s working crazy long hours to keep the interior design company running—especially since she’s also the lead designer for the renovation of a gorgeous old hotel on Sausalito. So with her hotshot photographer boyfriend gallivanting all over the world for his job, she and Simon are heavy-duty into “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mode. Neither has any complaints about the great reunion sex, though! Then Simon decides he’s tired of so much travelling, and he’s suddenly home more. A lot more. And wanting Caroline home more, too. Though their friends’ romantic lives provide plenty of welcome distraction, eventually Caroline and Simon have to sort their relationship out. Neither wants “out of sight, out of mind,” but can they create their own happy mid-ground cliché?

I LOVEDDDDD Wallbanger.  I'm trying to write a review of it that contains more than that sentence.  I'm also really into this cover, tbh.  I only wish I had purchased Wallbanger in paperback because then I would buy this in paperback and I'd have a nice little collection.  I have the first book on Kindle and there's no point in buying this one IRL because then it will be so lonely on my shelf! 

Also, I'm very interested in seeing Simon and Caroline play house... ;)  What does your WoW look like this week?

Stacking the Shelves #2

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Oh, so soon, you say?  Yeah. I went to the bookstore. TWICE. It was an accident. Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  Here's what I stacked my shelves with this week.

Did you buy more books than you could read this week?

The Amityville Horror | An ECD Review

Friday, April 11, 2014

Heather @ Stacks & Shelves and I have a book club, and our March/April book was The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson.  We're super smart, and we used to pick a book using our compared to-read shelves on Goodreads.  I have a lifelong goal of finding a book that really and truly scares me.  I thought this was going to be it.  It wasn't - and I am sure it is due to the writing style. Since this book is marketed as a true story, the author is basically just writing short sentences with the "facts" of what took place.  Very matter of fact.  It's basically a journal article without sources. 
The shocking true story of an American dream that turned into a nightmare beyond imagining...

In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their new home on suburban Long Island. George and Kathleen Lutz knew that one year earlier, Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters in the house, but the property - complete with boathouse and swimming pool - and the price had been too good to pass up. Twenty-eight days later, the entire Lutz family fled in terror...

This is the spellbinding, bestselling true story that gripped the nation - the story of a house possessed by spirits, haunted by psychic phenomena too terrible to describe.
Upon moving in, the family notices strange temperature changes (George can't get warm despite the oil burner working and thermostat reading 80) and weird happenstances of windows and doors banging open and not being able to be closed right away. Also flies swarming a window of the mother's sewing room.  All very biblical. The front door actually comes off its hinges. One mildly scary aspect was the youngest daughter, Missy, having an "imaginary friend" named Jodie - who is a pig.  Children saying creepy things always scares the bejeebus out of me.

Alongside the story of the Lutzes, Anson describes the troubles of Father Mancuso, the Lutzes' priest from their hometown.  Mancuso blessed the house on the day the Lutzes moved in, and has been shaken up ever since.  He gets blisters on his hands (which are never addressed as stigmata, but...I thought it was pretty clear), gets the "flu" for several days (three times), the smell of human excrement permeates his apartment at the rectory (which he helpfully points out is the "sign of the devil!"), and each of these instances happens after he speaks with, offers advice to, or visits the Lutzes.  Mancuso's observation is that whatever is in the Lutzes' house, it's punishing him for helping the Lutzes drive "it" away.

I actually thought the brief look into the priest's reactions (and physical manifestations of his reactions - or of the spirit, if you feel that's what it is) and dealings with the diocese in terms of how to proceed (professionally) was way more interesting that the goings on inside the house with the Lutzes.  Nothing that went on in the house was super scary.  Sure it was weird as hell, but certainly not "too terrible to describe" as the description suggests.  Besides - it was barely described at all.

I gave this book 2/5 stars on Goodreads because, while I was not scared and did not like the writing style, it was still fairly interesting to read the alleged recount of the goings on in the home.  Though, I wouldn't actually recommend this book to anyone. I'm going to watch the movie to see how that adapts the story. 

Top Ten Tuesday #3 | Most Unique Books

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted byThe Broke and the Bookish. This week: Top Ten Most Unique Books I've Read (maybe the MC was really different, maybe it was the way it was written, a very unique spin on a genre or topic, etc.)  Yes, I know, there's only 8.  One day I'll get to 10 again.  Just you wait!

1. Night Film by Marisha Pessl - I really like books with images and stuff that aren't just pictures of characters, you know?  This has case files and journalist notes and stuff pertaining to an investigative journalist's journey to the truth behind the death of the daughter on an infamous horror film writer/director. Super cool, and I felt cool when I read it.

2. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews - I include this because SPOILER: the brother and sister do it.  However, this is not the first story I've read with incest, and tbh, it probably will not be the last.  Familial relationships are interesting developments (under different circumstances than being locked in a closet and poisoned by your grand/mother) all around, and it's a good detour to take once in a while from the usual fiction I read.  In case you're not familiar and you're fooled by the gross misrepresentation of the new cover, this is not a love story.  It's actually pretty fucking disturbing, the least of which is because of the incest.

3. God Save the Queen by Kate Locke (Immortal Empire Series) - So basically, a steampunk series wherein there are races of vampires, goblins, etc.  And it's pretty awesome.  I wish I had more to say about this but it's just so different (to me). While there is a pretty common trope involved (rich guy - well, vampire - falls in love with a regular girl - well, goblin queen), I felt like the rest was so unlike any book (supernatural or not) I'd read.

4. The Lunar Chronicles by Marisa Meyer - Ugh, I have so many feelings about why I love this series.  Maybe it's not unique, but I just feel like it has so many great aspects and ties to multiple genres that it just...makes me want to hug the books so tight and roll around on the floor.  Was that TMI?  I don't care I love it so!  It's not the most gripping set of books (so far), but the potential for greatness keeps me reading.  I am actually a little worried about the final book next year.  What if it doesn't blow my mind?!

5.The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Pretty sure this is the first dystopian novel I read (except pretending to read The Handmaid's Tale in high school).

6. The Fearless series by Francine Pascal - YA about a girl born without the fear gene. That's pretty cool, come on. I'm sure there was more involved but tbh I read this more than 10 years ago.  I LOVED it, though.

7. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly - Sort of a fairy tale but like, super creepy.  Reminded me of Pan's Labyrinth in that way. Another dimension, scary creatures, an axe man, a revolution in kingdom that may or may not even exist.  Good stuff.

8. The Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson - As you can imagine, this is not your average autobiography.  I don't even know what made me pick it up, because I have never even had the desire at all to listen to Manson's music. I think I read this the same time I watched Bowling for Columbine where he speaks to accusations that his music is the reason these kids made their decisions and how the town cancelled his concert there but still allowed the NRA to have their convention/gun show the same week. I'm sure I thought "Hmm, how fascinating, better read up on him."  It's an insightful read.

Leave your TTT in the comments - I'd love to check it out!

#24in48 Wrap-Up & What's Next

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ah, Monday, we meet again.  This weekend I participated in the 24in48 readathon hosted by Rachel @ Home Between Pages. She posted a set of follow-up questions so I'm gonna fill them out here.

  1. How many hours did you read, if you were tracking?I capped out last night at 22 hours and 5 minutes.  SO CLOSE!
  2. How many books did you read, if you were tracking?
    I read The last 2/3 of The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, all of Blood Rites by Jim Butcher, all of Snowed In by Rachel Hawthorne, and the beginning 2/3 of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
  3. How many pages did you read, if you were tracking?
    Some rough addition: about 1,200
  4. Favorite book of the ‘thon?I think it's going to be Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  Of course that is hinged on the ending, and if I don't like the ending then it'll be Blood Rites.
  5. Least favorite?
    The Amityville Horror. 
    I'll be reviewing this, but basically because it's (allegedly) a true story, it read more like a newspaper article or like a textbook sequence of events.  Rather than a proper novel.
  6. Thing you learned from this ‘thon?
    • Don't forget that sometime in the 48 hours you should be sleeping.  
    • And that, if you work a traditional job, you gotta get up for work on Monday morning. 
    • And remember that wine makes you sleepy; usually I stay up late on Fridays, but I...drank too much wine and fell asleep at like 10:30.  So I didn't start until 9 Saturday morning
    • Switch books!  I have a weird mindset about books and I actually think the goodreads challenge exacerbates it because I keep thinking in terms of finishing books and not in the fact that I read for 22 hours (which is pretty amazing)!  When I felt meh about a book, I would be hesitant to switch books because then I would finish less books but read the same amount of time. So there were a few times near hours 18-20 where I felt like I was doing homework which was so annoying (I was mostly annoyed at myself).  
    • Make a tasty meal on Friday and eat the leftovers all weekend.  Because cooking takes away from precious reading time, but eating crappy food is depressing.

What's Next

Finishing up Miss Peregrine, likely tonight, and then I am going to attempt to get over my mental roadblock that screams "Back away!  You'll never finish!" when I look at A Clash of Kings and cower into a corner. This is my book for Once Upon a Time VIII (which I haven't started and ends on June21 which is growing closer and closer!). If that's unsuccessful tonight, I will probably spend 2 hours choosing my next book and then fall asleep before I can start.

I'll be reviewing The Amityville Horror, and I think Miss Peregrine and hope to have them posted by the end of the week(end).

How was your weekend?  Did you do #24in48?

#24in48 Check-In - Hour 12

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Well it's technically hour 14, but, no matter!

I've completed 5 hours of reading and I always get frustrated when it takes me a long time to read a short book, so I have to keep reminding myself that this is simply based on the amount of time spent reading, not how many books I blaze through this weekend.

My Stats:

Books read: Finished The Amityville Horror  (and I haven't chosen my next book)
Pages read: 222
Time read: 4 hours & 45 minutes

I'm gonna make some popcorn for a snack while I mull over what to read next.  Turns out I'm not in the mood to read anything from my pre-selected stack. Ugh.

How's your readathon coming along?

#24in48 Kick-Off!

So, ahem, yes the readathon started 8 hours ago but...when you have a bottle of delicious wine and new bath bubbles...sometimes you fall asleep early, okay?

I'll be starting ASAP right after I brew my coffee.  This is hosted by Home Between Pages.  She posted a quick bunch of Qs on her kick-off post to be answered when readers start!

1. From what part of the world are you reading today?
Northwest New Jersey!

2. What book are you most looking forward to?
The conclusion of The Amityville Horror because I'm getting anxious waiting to see how it all pans out. I think I'll read that first since I'm limited to daylight hours with that one.

3. What’s your plan for the weekend, if you have one? 12 hours a day? 18 today, 6 tomorrow?
I thought I had a plan, but. I really don't. I'm just gonna read whenever I'm not doing something else. Most of my reading will be tomorrow, I think, as I have a prior commitment this evening.

4. Are you going to be tracking anything specific this weekend besides time, like page count, books read, snacks consumed?
When I started formulating my "plan" in my head, I was like ooh, I'll finish so many books! But I think I will just count time read, because when I try and finish books or read a certain amount of pages, I think I start to rush through books to get to the next one.

5. Is this your first readathon? If its not, leave our newbies your best readathon tip.
It IS my first readathon! I'm excited!

6. Where are you going to be updating this weekend? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, a blog?
Mostly here and MAYBE on Twitter.

Onto the mass amount of reading!!!!

What are you book are you starting with?  (Or...what book did you start with?)

Finally Friday - Once Upon A Time VIII

Friday, April 4, 2014

Aw yeah, it's Friday, baby.

A few weeks ago I found out about Once Upon A Time VIII, a three month reading challenge hosted by Carl @ Stainless Steel Droppings.  And of course it's taken me this long to write up a post about it (aka make a commitment).  The challenge runs from March 21 through June 21, and it encompasses 4 broad categories: Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology ("including the seemingly countless sub-genres and blending of genres that fall within this spectrum").

The challenge has multiple levels to which you can choose to commit.  I have elected to get started with the first option *cue movie announcer voice*: The Journey.  From the OUATVIII post:

This is really as simple as the name implies. It means you are participating, but not committing yourself to any specific number of books. By signing up for The Journey you are agreeing to read at least one book within one of the four categories during March 21st to June 21st period. Just one book. If you choose to read more, fantastic! If not, then we have still had the pleasure of your company during this three month reading journey and hopefully you have read a great book, met some interesting people, and enjoyed the various activities that occur during the challenge. It has always been of utmost importance to me that the challenges that I host be all about experiencing enjoyable literature and sharing it with others. I want you to participate. Hence, The Journey.

I went book shopping yesterday and by pure chance, bought two books that could easily fit into some of these categories. (Looks like I'll be Stacking the Shelves a little more frequently that once a month.) And, taking a look at my current TBR pile, I see a handful of contenders.  However, I think I will take this opportunity to read (and COMPLETE - hopefully) A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) by George R. R. Martin.

I'm currently reading The Amityville Horror, but I'll finish that soon (my reading is limited to daylight hours only - scary stuff!) and move on to the battle for the Iron Throne.  (That's what it's about, right?  I can't remember - it's been a year!)

Wishlist Wednesday #1

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wishlist Wednesday (hosted by Dani of Pen to Paper) is a book blog hop where we post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.
A Lot Like Love by Julie James

As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city's top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there's only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother's release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her...

As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This "date" with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment—one they're both determined to pull off even if they can't be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick's investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they're a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more. - As seen on Goodreads

I may have mentioned before how much I love Julie James and I am just dying to read this next book in her FBI/U.S. Attorney series.  AND this is actually the first time I'm reading the full description and, look at that they have to PRETEND TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP!!  "He and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they're a couple." This is by far one of my favorite tropes in romance.  Give me ALL the fake relationship and then we fall in love stuff!

Julie's books are funny and sexy and so perfect - I can't wait to start on another.

This must jump to the top of my to-buy list because I need this right now. What wishlist item do you need right now?

Top Ten Tuesday #2 | Gateway Books

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Yay to me for keeping with something for two whole blog posts!
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the topic is Top Ten Five "Gateway" Books/Authors In My Reading Journey.

Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel
This is the first book I can remember reading, and it's about, you guessed it, potty training.  Well, it's not exactly about potty training - it's about using a potty and it's for the kid to read (or the parent to read to the kid). I actually loved this book and I read it for a while after I learned to use the bathroom.  It was like my bathroom reading of choice.  I was a weird kid.  I am dubbing this my gateway book into reading.

2. Daughters of the Moon Series by Lynne Ewing - Gateway to new releases/YA supernatural/fantasy genreThis was the series of books that introduced me into the supernatural/fantasy genre. I read these as they were released - not that I tracked them or anything (was there even the internet in 2000?) it just so happened that I went to the bookstore (in the mall) super frequently and checked for new books.  I also think these were the first books I had as hardcovers and I felt super fancy with them all next to each other on my bookshelf.

3. The Dallas Women's Guide to Gold-Digging With Pride: A Novel by J.C. Conklin - Gateway to Jennifer Crusie

The image for this book is just not working! I borrowed this book from the library during the summer of 2010.  This was the summer I didn't work or intern so I just sat around and after a while I couldn't take it any more so I went to the library.  It was like going into a new world because, hello, it's FREE. I'd never really perused the library for non-academic purposes before.  Anyway, this was the first contemporary romance I'd ever read (I think) was pretty much the gateway into it because when I returned it the next book I borrowed was by Jennifer Crusie and, well, we all know how that ends.  (Hint: it doesn't ever end.)

4. Author Jennifer Crusie - Gateway to Contemporary Romance genre
The above blurb provides a jump-off point for me to wax poetic about the Great Jennifer Crusie.  Bet Me is one of my favorite books of all time. My goal is to read all of Jennifer's books.  After I read Bet Me read all of the Crusie books in my local library. I've read Crazy About You twice. I really should make more of an effort to reach my "author expert" goal. Maybe the April readathon...

The Dresden Files Series by Jim Butcher - Gateway to adult supernatural/fantasy genreMy dad bought me the first book in this series because I "like that Harry Potter guy so much."  I put off reading it for a while because, well, my dad has never really given me a book that I enjoyed reading.  He must've researched this series or something because I can't imagine how he came across it.  The series follows the life and times of Harry Dresden, a wizard in the Chicago area who sometimes consults with the Chicago P.D. on "weird" occurrences (aka supernatural shit). It's a really great world and Jim Butcher does a fantastic job building it without boring the shit out of some horror/supernatural specialists we know. The books are not particularly thought provoking or complicated, but they are really interesting.  And ALSO - I was very, very pleased that Jim didn't try to force a romance into the storyline.  Any romance (if you could call it that) happens so naturally and amazingly in the background of every book.  

Stacking the Shelves #1 (March 2014)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Time for my first Stacking the Shelves - woot woot!  I think I will do this monthly. Stacking the Shelves is a (technically) weekly blog hop hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

I've been buying tons and tons of cheap books on my (brand new!) Kindle so this is gonna be a long ass list.  Normally I will include pictures of the covers but it would just be overwhelming for a list of this size.  Some I have already reviewed(*). The cheap books are basically smut/romance, so this is not a recommendation list.

Super Cheap (and free!) Books for Kindle:

  • Cuddle Buddy by Nate Tanner*
  • His Roommate's Pleasure by Lana McGregor*
  • BTW I Love You by Nico Jaye
  • Freshman Orientation by Brandon Reed*
  • How to Discipline Your Vampire by Mina Vaughn
  • The Hazards of a One Night Stand (which is the second books in a series and I didn't know so now I have to get the first one).
  • Fate by Nikki Sex
  • Late Night Snack by Lou Harper
  • Summer Unplugged by Amy Sparkling
  • Yes, Sir by Ellis Carrington
  • Negotiation Skills (Boardroom Acts) by Laurel Crement
  • His Need Her Desire (Dominating Billionaires Erotic Romance #1) by Malia Mallory
  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman

Paper Books:

  • One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy
  • The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson (currently reading)
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney
*Takes breath* Okay, that's all of them.  Goodness gracious.  I bought all of these and I only read 3.  What the hell am I doing?  I frustrate myself because I know most of these are crappy books, why did I even get them?  

What did you stack your shelves with this month?  Anything you LOVED?

Julie James: An ECD Fave Author

Thursday, March 27, 2014

This post was originally a review for Julie's book Just the Sexiest Man Alive which might make has made it onto my Goodreads favorites shelf. But then I read a third book, Practice Makes Perfect, and it's official.  Julie James is one of my favorite authors.  I actually wish she had a more extensive's less than 10!

I read the three above (the first of which is #1 in Julie's FBI/US Attorney series) and all received either 4 or 5 stars. However, given the fact that there is no concrete scale or rubric for my rating system, my rating is pretty irrelevant. One downside to Julie's writing (that I am more than willing to overlook), is that all three female leads I've read about so far are lawyers. (Julie graduated from law school). Which is fine in itself. But they are all employment discrimination lawyers or sexual harassment lawyers, etc. Just an interesting note, I suppose.  I could go for a bit of variety though.

There is always a male privilege/female oppression push-pull that I could do without. (Especially in Practice Makes Perfect, where Payton competes against her co-worker J.D. for the top spot in their law firm.  Payton is convinced that J.D. gets preferential treatment from The Partners - better cases, more important work, the big clients, etc. The ending is truly the best and I really was not expecting it so it all works out in the end.)

But, in reality, I don't care about that - I'm only in it for the "I've been in love with you the whole time I just didn't know it" bit (which may or may not show up in all three...insert heart eyes emoji). ALSO I'm a huge (read: sucker for) fan of not-usually-distressed damsel in distress "saved" (just ONCE) by the cocky, male lead.

I was literally swooning during Just the Sexiest Man Alive when SPOILER the male MC, Jason, leaves in the middle of filming his next movie to go to the hospital because Taylor was in a car accident and has a concussion. I mean, come on, he says "They said you were in the hospital, Taylor, of course I came." Then my eyes turned into hearts and everything was rainbows and sunshine.

Super sweet and sexy reads - and quick, but not too quick that it's barely worth it.  As soon as I can get my hands on her other books, you can bet I'm gonna!

Who are you reading (and loving) right now?

Top Ten Tuesday #1 | Bookish Bucket List

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I'm always nervous to engage in a more regular posting schedule because I know I'm not gonna keep up with it - yikes!  But, here goes. 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the topic is Top Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket List.  So let's see how it goes!

1. Attend BookExpo America!  I think this would be so fun and such a great experience for all book lovers.

2. Don't know how it's gonna happen, but one year I'd freaking love to read 100 books.  How sweet would that be?  The downside would be that they'd likely have to be short books which means I'll have to finish GoT way before that.

3. What a great segue into finishing A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin before I die.  I've read A Game of Thrones and now obviously I'm "reading" A Clash of Kings. It's been like a year.

4. I'd also like to re-read the entire Harry Potter series.

5. Buying a Kindle has always been on my Bookish Bucket List and I was able to purchase one at the beginning of this month!

6. Read a book that truly scares me.  I don't want to make it seem like I'm trying to give myself nightmares but...I'm kinda trying to give myself nightmares.

7. I'd like to go to a book signing (really any book signing).  That experience seems like it'd be cool.  Except I don't like waiting on line so.  We'll see.

8. Regular blog posting, anyone?

9. So, most of my "reviews" on here have been lame because, let's face it, most of the books I'm reading have been lame.  I'd like to read a nice piece of literature and write a well thought, nicely developed book review.

10. Uh. Read all the unread books I own?  A girl can dream, right?

What's on your bookish bucket list?