September/October Book Haul | 2015

These are the books I’ve purchased in the last couple months from thrift stores. I’m not going to include ebooks I bought on sale for my nook because I can’t remember which ones I recently bought since I have so many ebooks waiting to be read on my nook; I usually always buy an ebook when it goes on sale if it’s a book that I’ve been wanting to read. I feel like by purchasing books when they’re only a dollar or two, then I have less restriction over buying books than if I bought them at full price. Basically, no limit to book buying when I buy books at bargain prices.

Forever Princess by Meg Cabot – This was a thrift store find and since I didn’t own the book (I read all of these books through the library), I figured I’d add it to my shelf. Plus it’s a hardcover and in really good condition still. It was only a buck, too.

Call the Midwife by Jenny Worth (books one and two) – Another thrift store find that I felt I needed to read because I love the BBC/PBS miniseries so much.

Goosebumps: The Girl Who Cried Monster by R. L. Stine – I read this back when I was a kid. These books were what started me on horror before I dived into Stephen King in jr. high. I ended up rereading this for the Dewey 24-hour readathon. Again, it was a thrift store find.

Baby-Sitters’ Club: Claudia and the Recipe for Danger by Ann M. Martin – Another thrift store find that I couldn’t say no to since I loved reading these when I was younger. I ended up reading this for the Dewey 24-hour readathon.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – I got sent this by my secret sister and I fully intend on reading it. I just have been busy and haven’t been able to read nearly as often as I’d like. But it’s high up there on my TBR.

The Writer’s Daily Companion by Amy Peters – It was bargain priced at b&n and it had some awesome writing prompts (of a variety of genres) in it from what I skimmed so I decided to purchase it. Plus, it’s been a while since I bought a book on writing so I figured it was time to remedy that.

Top 5 Wednesdays | Halloween Recommendations

Hello all, it’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another Top 5 Wednesday. T5W was created by gingerreadslainey and anyone can join the goodreads group. Here are my top picks that I enjoy reading in the fall and near Halloween.

  1. All Around the Town by Mary Higgins Clark – This is a psychological thriller I read back when I was in high school several years ago, though I’ve reread it a few times since (the last being earlier this year). The main character has multiple personality disorder, though the author tells the story in third person from a few different characters’ perspectives and we only meet her alters when she’s with her psychologist and it’s from his perspective. It’s also a murder mystery. I definitely recommend checking this one out as it’s my favorite Mary Higgins Clark suspense.
  2. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lygra – I’ve only read this first book, though I think you could probably read it as a stand-alone without feeling the urge to read The Game straight after. Sure, there’s a cliffhanger, but the main plot ends. The cliffhanger is just there to hint at what to expect in the next book. I did enjoy reading it, though. I’d probably compare it to the show Dexter.
  3. The End Games by T. Michael Martin – Even if you don’t like zombie novels, there’s a strong chance you’ll like this. It’s written as more of a contemporary read than your stereotypical zombie novel. Also, video gamers might enjoy this because the main character makes it a game on how many points one gets when they kill a zombie or get away with a point system. There’s a little bit of a romance, but not really. The main relationship is brotherly love between the main character and his younger brother. I’m not a fan of anything zombies, yet I really enjoyed this story. Side note, the ebook is on sale for 1.99$ on b&n for nook until November 2nd.
  4. Don’t Turn Around trilogy by Michelle Gagnon – I’ve only read the first two books in this trilogy, but I fully intend on reading the final book at some point. It’s a fast-paced thriller that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. You could probably read it in a single sitting if you had the time stretched out before you. It’s that gripping.
  5. Second Glance by Jodi Picoult – This is a historical fiction/paranormal ghost story. I enjoyed it a lot the first time I read it and I’m tempted to pick it back up to read it again at some point down the line to refresh my mind. Some of it still stuck in my mind enough that I remember I enjoyed it and would like to read again.

Hope you have a great Wednesday and enjoy the rest of your week. Let me know if you’ve read/heard about any of these books.

September/October Wrap-Up | 2015

I didn’t nearly as much reading as I would have liked this month, but I was also busy with work/babysitting/running. I started training for the half marathon I’m running on Thanksgiving this month. But I did still manage to read, which is all that counts. So long as I get some reading time, then all is well. These are the books I got to this month:

  • Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson (Volume 1) – My #otspsecretsister sent me this at the end of last month and I was able to read it one evening I was home. I absolutely loved it and I needed a comic book to read because I was in a comic book mood. Kind of still am, actually. Just not sure what to read next.
  • This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee – I’m not going to talk about this one since I’ve already posted my review for it, but I will say that it’s the best retelling/reimagining of a classic lit novel that I’ve read by far. I loved this novel so much. Everything about it was just perfect. Outstanding plotting and writing and characters, and just everything. Gah. Loved it. I can’t emphasize how phenomenal this novel is. Just read it. Now. I’m serious.
  • My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Foreman – A memoir about one man’s year of running half marathons, marathons, and an ultra marathon (50+ miles) in a year. It’s very motivational, especially if you’re a runner.
  • Moon Called by Patricia Briggs – The first book in the Mercy Thompson series. It’s an urban fantasy. Mercy is a shape shifter (coyote) and there are werewolves and vampires that work with each other and against each other. It’s hard to explain without giving it all away, but it’s quite the addicting read as far as mass market paperbacks go.
  • Goosebumps: The Girl Who Cried Monster by R. L. Stine – I’m planning on re-reading all of these books because I loved them so much when I was in elementary school.
  • Babysitters’ Club: Claudia and the Recipe for Danger by Ann M. Martin – Ditto this series. Sometimes it’s nice to re-read some of your favorite books from your childhood.
  • Never Never by Brianna Shrum – I haven’t finished this yet, but hoping to by the end of the week. I’m also not going to say anything about this one now as I’ll be posting a review after I finish it, so look for that if you’re curious about this book. I will say that I’m really enjoying it.

And that wraps up what I read in the months of September and October.

Top 5 Wednesday | Top Authors I’ve Discovered This Year

Hope everyone’s having a great week so far! It’s time for another Top 5 Wednesday, which was originally created by gingerreadslainey. Anyone can participate by joining the goodreads group. This week’s topic is the top authors that you’ve discovered so far in 2015.

  • Ernest Cline – I don’t know why it took me up to this year to read Ready Player One, but it’s easily one of my favorite novels now that I have read it. I felt like I was living in the virtual reality that the majority of the novel is set in. The description and readability is just that enriching and addicting. I felt like I had been sucked straight into a video game and loved every single page.
  • Andy Weir – He only has one novel out, The Martian, but man is it outstanding. The dark humor told in first person from Mark Watney’s perspective is just spot on perfect. It really made the story stand out from all the other hard sci fi novels out there. And while the movie was a decent adaption, it’s just no comparison to the outstanding writing of the novel.
  • Patricia Briggs – A mass market author who writes urban fantasy. So far I’ve only read Moon Called, but I intend on reading Blood Bound soon. If you like werewolves, shape-shifters, vampires, the fae, and other creatures of the night, then I recommend you check out this author’s novels.
  • Jandy Nelson – I read I’ll Give You the Sun with my book club in July and oh my goodness is this author a wonder. The way she crafts a story and its characters, stringing it all together from past to present is just wondrous. Definitely check out this novel and I plan on reading her other (The Sky is Everywhere) at some point.
  • Ginny Rorby – I read How to Speak Dolphin at the beginning of summer and loved it. It’s very realistic to the subject matter and a great middle-grade contemporary novel that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Let me know if you’ve read anything by any one of these authors, or if you’ve marked any of these authors’ books on your to-read lists. I’m always up for some book talk.

Liebster Award

Much thanks to Rachel at (bargain)book bliss and Ojaswani for nominating me!

liebster-2This award is given to smaller bloggers to help gain recognition and also bring the book community closer together.

The rules for the award are:

Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award.
Answer 11 question that the blog gives you.
Give 11 random facts about yourself.
Nominate 5-11 blogs you think are deserving of the award that have less than 200 followers.
Let the blogs know you have nominated them.
Give them 11 questions to answer.

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. I have a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in History.
  2. I drive a green Nissan Sentra that I’ve named Emrys (another name that Merlin goes by from the BBC show).
  3. I’ve never broken a single bone in my body, however I have sprained an ankle and a wrist (separate times). I’ve also had to get 12 stitches in my leg from falling on a stick when I was ten.
  4. I work as a Behavioral Health Teacher Assistant in a K-2nd ASD classroom.
  5. I babysit an autistic 5-year-old boy a few afternoons a week.
  6. I enjoy running and am turning into quite the distance runner.
  7. I love singing in my car to the radio, which is typically on 96.1 FM, but sometimes 96.9 FM.
  8. I’m currently on draft two of a YA contemporary novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2013.
  9. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2008 (only lost in 2012), but in 2013 I wrote 112k words in 30 days (don’t ask me how because I couldn’t even tell you… still baffles me to this day how I managed to write that many words in a month).
  10. I plan on getting my teaching certificate to be an elementary teacher (preferably 1st or 2nd grade).
  11. I taught myself how to read at the age of four.

My Questions

What is your earliest book memory?

My dad reading Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White to my sister and I when were little.
What’s your favorite food?

Macaroni and cheese (homemade)
What is the best book you’ve read lately and why?

The Martian by Andy Weir (it’s the best hard science fiction novel that I’ve read, plus the first person perspective and dark humor tone just paints this novel in such a way that I found it entertaining from start to finish.. I was never bored).
Do you collect anything?

Collector Editions of the pocket books of classic novels.
What’s your favorite genre to read?

Science fiction and Fantasy (I love both genres for different reasons and can’t put one above the other).
If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

Always cheerful and smiling. It takes a lot to upset me because I don’t generally let the stress show unless there’s been so much of it that’s been piling up without being resolved.
Why do you love books and reading?

My parents always read to my sister and I before bed, which gave me a love of reading at a young age. I’d like to one day own enough books so that I have my own personal library.
Who is the smartest person you know and why?

My mom. She’s not the best at electronics, but she’s always there to help me sort out any problem I’m having. Then there’s always my dad when I need help with my car, or figuring out a new electronic device (if I can’t figure it out myself).
What is your favorite book cover?

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Aside from necessities, what is one thing that you couldn’t go a day without?

Leo, my macbook pro.
What is your go-to book that you recommend to everyone?

Nonfiction/Memoir: Little Princes by Conor Grenan (so heart-felt and motivating)

Fiction: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Hard Science Fiction: The Martian by Andy Weir

I’m not sure if these people have been tagged or not, but I nominate:

Current Gen

Tea & Titles

Megnificent Books

Ana Reyhs

xbookloverxx

Here’s 11 Questions to answer:

  1. What was the first book that really made you into a book lover?
  2. What are you most passionate about?
  3. What’s your career, or what career do you hope to land yourself into in the future?
  4. What’s you go-to book for when you’re feeling down?
  5. What snacks do you enjoy while reading?
  6. Do you write? If yes, what genre do you prefer?
  7. What’s your favorite genre to read from?
  8. Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?
  9. What’s book/series do you recommend the most?
  10. What’s your favorite physical activity to do to get in your exercise for the day/week?
  11. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?

Movie Review | Pan 3D

First things first, I don’t think it was quite worth it seeing this in 3D. It just didn’t pop out as crisp and multi-dimensional as it could. That said, I still enjoyed it and think it’s worth a trip to the theatre to view it.

If you’re expecting the tale of Peter Pan (whether it’s the Disney version or the true tale), then you may not like it unless you’re open to a fresh take with a twist. The main story arc was using the ever popular ‘Chosen One’ trope. It was still an epic low fantasy, though Neverland was set into a dystopian world. Also, James Hook helped Peter find the tribe that would help him find his mother because apparently something his mother wrote in the letter she left with him when she set him on the stoop of a boys’ home made him think that she would be in Neverland. Well, he was right and she was actually a warrior from Neverland and his father was a fairy that took human form (but could only live for one day as a human before perishing away to nothing), and in that day Peter was conceived. It all just is a bit too much of a fairy tale for me. I was hoping to see Peter as more of a villain (like he is in the original tale of Peter Pan) than a hero, so I the film was a bit of a let down on that front.

About the tribe… the majority of them weren’t indians/natives like they are in the tale. They were warriors, sure, but why call them a tribe if they aren’t natives. Just a bit misleading. Also, Tiger Lily was white, not indian, and I didn’t like that one bit; it was completely out of character.

The villain: Black Beard. His motive was to use fairy dust as a way of living forever (just think of Lord Voldemort wanting the philosopher’s stone in the book one so that he could be immortal). He heisted people from London with a flying ship of pirates to bring back to Neverland to mine for fairy dust (pixies). In the end, Peter defeated Black Beard as he fell, with his ship, to his death in the hidden kingdom (where the fairies live in harmony in NeverWorld).

Peter goes back to London with Hook and Tiger Lily aboard an old, wrecked ship that Hook had got running again and named the Jolly Roger for the rest of the boys from the boys’ home he had lived in since he since he was a baby. It ends with the ship flying back to Neverland, “second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.”

It was an origin tale. I can see them making a sequel to tell the story of Peter taking Wendy Darling and her brothers to Neverland. I don’t know that they will, but I can see it happening just from where they left off. It would have to be a retelling of sorts from the Disney version since they painted Peter as a hero. I did like that Hook wasn’t yet a pirate, yet you could still tell that he was far from honest, while at the same time he still had Peter’s back at the end even after you thought he had left him and Tiger Lily hanging.

Overall rating: B-

Top 5 Wednesday | Diverse Characters

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another Top 5 Wednesday and this week’s topic is Diverse Characters. Top 5 Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and anyone can join, even you reading this right now; all you have to do is join the goodreads group. And now I’m going to dive into my favorite books that have diverse characters in them.

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – I read this back in university for my Adolescent Lit course and it was definitely one of my favorites where required reading is concerned. I loved the detail that Alexie delved into in explaining life on an Indian Reservation for a teenage Indian who also goes to a school off the reservation that has mostly white kids. He also tackles alcoholism and other sensitive topics so believably well.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – Both Park and Eleanor are such an unlikely match, as well as these two oddball characters that end up falling into each other’s lives in the best possible way. I also love that neither one of them is seen as attractive, nor are they popular. This truly is a perfect book written about misfits for misfits.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon – While Olly seems like your typical smart and attractive pretty boy, Madeline is unique. She’s half asian and half black, sure, but she also has a rare disease that causes her to be allergic to everything. It’s for this reason that she’s forced to remain indoors for her whole life. There’s also quite the plot twist at the end that completely throws Madeline a curveball.

Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling – All of the books include side characters of different nationalities. Dean is black and muggleborn; Cho is asian, though I’m not sure if she’s pureblood or mixed or muggleborn; and Hermione is the smartest witch of their class, yet she has buck teeth and frizzy hair and she’s also a muggleborn. Also, the way the werewolves are treated in the Wizarding World makes Remus a diverse character (and one of my favorite at that).

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan – This book as a full cast of diverse characters and it’s also told from a unique perspective of characters from the gay community that passed away from HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. There’s even a trans character on top of the handful of gay characters there are. Plus, Levithan is just one of the best GBLTQ authors that there currently is in the book market.