Thursday, December 4, 2014

December 2014 Reading Goals

Oh, look at that! I haven't posted in a month and my last post was another reading goal!!! Yea, I still have lots of goals and I'm still reading lots of book I've just lost my interest in reviewing. Reading has always been my passion and the writing is obviously not my strength. I may bounce back with the New Year, but I also may not. Whatever.

First off, we review last month's, just like always:

The Descendants
The Killing Moon
The Maze Runner
Ender's Game
The Silver Lining's Playbook
Magic Hour

Currently Reading:
Monuments Men
Mr. Mercedes
More Than This

So-- I hit my goals for last much with the exception of Monuments Men. I've discovered that this is a very dry book and it's taking me a while to get into/through it. As for which movies I've watched, I think I only watched Ender's Game and let me tell you, it was one of the worst movie adaptations I've ever seen. I really enjoyed the book but the movie was such a bust. There was no character development, no real plot, and I hated it. The hubby thought the special effects were cool but I couldn't get over how crappy the movie was to give it a chance.

You may also notice that I added some books to my readings of this month and I was very happy overall with the books I read. I look forward to watching the movies that are associated with them and now my husband can't complain about me not reading enough (just kidding, he's never claimed this unless it keeps him from seeing a movie he wants to see.)

For next month, I think I'm going to play it by ear. I perused my yearly goals for 2014 and haven't done too bad but I'm at 86 out of 100 and have a month to finish plus I still want to get my TBR list under 200. So I'm going to wing it this month. I'm going to read as many TBR books that I can to hit two goals by the end of the year and round out a few more. Wish me luck!

Maybe you'll hear from me before 2015 but maybe not. Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 2014 Reading Goals

Hello? Anybody still here? I know things have been quiet around here and I'm just going to stop apologizing for it. Life has changed significantly with my new job and I have zero free time at work these days which limits my blogging life. This is great because I'm way more efficient and getting paid for every second I work, but sad for little old bloggy. I'm satisfied doing what I can and I hope you continue to enjoy the sporadic posts that will pop up from time to time.

With that being said, you know it's time for our monthly goals. I did just ok in October with goals. I got more reading in than I expected but didn't quite get to everything I wanted to read.

Beach Music
Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World
A Rogue by Any Other Name
Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Currently Reading:
The Killing Moon

And didn't even attempt:
Land of Love and Drowning
Magic Hour

Ehhhh, not my best month. I'll obviously finish Killing Moon this month and I'm sure I'll get around to my other TBR books as wel,l but for November, I'm taking a little different route. I hereby declare November book goals-

 The DVR Goals!!!

What the heck is a DVR goal? Oh, let me tell you! This list consists solely of movies I have had on my DVR (I'm not even going to admit how long they have been on there) that I refuse to watch until I've read the books-- much to my husbands dismay. So I'm finally going to read and then watch. Maybe you'll get lucky and I'll 1) actually review the book but 2) also review the movie. A two-fer as my dad likes to say! I also don't have my hot little hands on all of these books quite yet but I'm going to try and acquire as the month goes on.

 The Descendants The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

The Perks of Being a Wallflower The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) Ender's Game (The Ender Quartet #1) by Orson Scott Card

The Silver Linings Playbook The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History The Monuments Me: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel

Pretty good lineup. Wish me luck for my husband's sake :) 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Rogue by Any Other Name

A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels, #1)Title: A Rogue by Any Other Name
Author: Sarah MacLean
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #1
Read: October 21, 2014

Summary: What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets...

A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.

A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.

Bourne may be a prince of London’s underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them... even her heart.

Review: As you may remember, I got this book in one of my Quarterly boxes and it was the first time I had heard of this series or author. I knew it was going to be a romance novel but not much else. The name of the series led me to believe it may be a raunchy but that's about all I started with. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. It was pretty basic for a romance novel but the characters were developed enough for me to connect with them and there wasn't too much raunch (just the right amount!)

I enjoyed that this story was set in the 1800s with the ladies and lords of that time. It gave the story a little more depth since courting and marriage was handled very differently back then. I was also ssurprisedby Bourne's job at that time period because I don't know much about the gambling dens of that time but now that I think about it, it makes sense.

The attraction and passion between the two main characters was obvious and while the lack of communication which resulted in sexual tension was redundant at times, I believe that overall, it worked. This is the first in the series and we got a little teaser about what the next book will be like in the epilogue but I'm not sure I will pursue it. If I need an easy, well done, period romance, I may seek it out but it's not going on the TBR list as of now.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery
Title: Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery
Author: Robert Kolker
Read: September 30, 2014

Summary: Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island and presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of online escorts, where making a living is easier than ever, and the dangers remain all too real. A triumph of reporting, a riveting narrative, and "a lashing critique of how society and the police let five young women down" (Dwight Garner, The New York Times), Lost Girls is a portrait of unsolved murders in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them. goodreads

Review: I have to admit, I had no idea these cases were going on over the last few years. I kept wondering if these stories were related to "the cragislist killer" who I had heard of, but they weren't. They were completely unrelated and I'm a little ashamed to say I hadn't heard of them. I guess I've been living under a rock...

I have really gotten into true crime books over the last few years and this was a great book to continue my fascination. I think the hardest part of this book is that there is no resolution. Some people saw this as a negative aspect of the book but if you go into this book with any other expectations, you obviously didn't read the title. It states that it is unsolved!!!

I really liked the way the author focused on the victims as individuals initially and told their unique stories one by one. I think this allowed readers to look at the girls as something other than prostitutes and understand a little of where they were coming from when they had to make the tough decisions that led them into that world. In later parts of the book, I became easily confused on which girl was which and who's family member was who, but I think that's my fault and not the author's.

A large aspect of this book that I enjoyed is that the author addressed all of the conspiracies as well as pointed out all of the unknowns and loose ends which kind of allows the reader to come to their own conclusions. It's obvious something very fishy went on in that neighborhood but it is hard to determine exactly what. I also think it's interesting that the disappearance of Shannan started this entire investigation and the police believe that she may not even be connected to the possible serial killer. This leads us to believe that there may be at least two murders involved in the deaths of these girls in this weird, small community. I think the unknown is what makes this story all the more interesting. As far as true crime books go, this one was very enjoyable, well written, and a little eerie. but overall, well done .

Monday, October 6, 2014


HornsTitle: Horns
Author: Joe Hill
Read: July 22, 2014

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.
At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.

But Merrin's death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside. . . .

Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power to go with his terrible new look—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. Being good and praying for the best got him nowhere. It's time for a little revenge. . . . It's time the devil had his due. . . . goodreads

Review: Well, I've finally ventured into the son of the King's books-- Joe Hill that is. Most of you know he is Stephen King's son but just to clarify, he is! And I think that if you were to read this book without knowing that, but being a King fan, you would feel the whisperings of classic King. That being said, I think Hill has definitely found his own voice in the horror/thriller genre and I will be exploring more of his books. 

Now, my feelings about the book. I was pleasantly surprised with this dark little tale. I really enjoyed Ig, horns and all. The story starts off introducing us to Ig and we very quickly learn of the "growth" on his head. It took me a little while to understand if they were really horns or what was happening but we learn quickly that yes, they are really horns. We also quickly learn that he has been accused of (though never tried for) murdering his girlfriend. We also learn that these horns provide Ig with the power to see into people's subconscious so he knows what they really think and feel. Some people may think this is a very cool gift but in Ig's case, it's anything but. Imagine everyone thinking you killed someone they love and getting to hear exactly what they thought of you. Not fun. Ig also gets to see the deep, dark, and sometimes evil sides of his family and friends. 

This book is much more than good vs. evil, heaven vs. hell, light vs. dark. Yes, those are all important themes but I think the focus of this book is more on how each of us has a little bit of both sides in us and explores how characters choose which one they follow. If you think about it, that's what life is all about. The choices you make and how they impact your life. 

Hill does a phenomenal job not only of writing a novel with a lot of depth but for also creating characters that can pull on the heartstrings as well as make you despise them. Following Ig's story specifically, there were times I wanted him to make different decisions than he did but by the time I got to the end of the book, even though the choices weren't the ones I would make, they made sense for Ig and made his character more complete. That's the best summary of what I think/feel that I can give you without spoiling anything. Basic point-- READ THIS BOOK! I'm not even going to qualify that with if you like King, you'll like this because I think Hill has earned a name of his own. Good for him!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October 2014 Reading Goals

In September, I literally posted twice. Bad blogger! But I have very good reasons for that and I will explain myself now! Number one, I didn't write even one review. I read a lot but never sat down to review which makes it hard to post. Oops. That being said, I guess I didn't even read a lot... I'll get into that a little later with my goals but it has been embarrasingly limited. Now for the real reason that I haven't been active on the blogger community: I QUIT MY JOB!!!!! Don't worry, I had another one lined up. Here's a little background: I'm a child and adolescent therapist and in June I earned my full license as a professional counselor which I have been working on for 2.5 years. Pretty big deal. Then over vacation (August) I was contacted about a job which I interviewed for when I returned from NY and I was offered the job the next day. It's in private practice which is where I've always wanted to be and a huge step for my career so I had to break it to my supervisor (as well as 60+ clients) that I was leaving and I've officially made the switch. I'm in the middle of my second full week at the new job and while there will be a lot to get used to, I'm sure it's the right decision for me. So-- hopefully that explains why I've been MIA. I don't know if y'all were aware but I did a lot of my blogging while at work in between clients and lots of reading during lunch. That free time has been missing for a while now but I'm hoping I'll get back on the blogging horse, starting now!

Now let's get back to bookish things and goals. First up, my progress last month:

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery
Looking For Alaska
The Second Time Around
Hearts in Atlantis
Table for Two (Summer Desserts and Lessons Learned)

Didn't Finish:
Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World
Beach Music

For this month, I'm going to finish those two from above as well as focus on some of my subscription box books (from the one post last month) and fill in with ebooks. So for my reading pleasure I have these:

minus Landline because I already devoured that fab book

A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels #1) By Sarah MacLean
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
The Killing Moon (Dreamblood #1) by N.K. Jemisin
Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique


Magic HourMatched (Matched, #1)Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah

So this month is a little bit of a hodge podge but I hope to get some good reviewing and posts done in addition to some good reading. Here's hoping!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Quarterly/Book Riot Subscription Boxes

I'm sure most of you are familiar with subscription boxes but what you probably don't know is that I'm a sucker for them. I was one of the original Birchbox buyers as well as an early Stitch Fix  lover (ps that is my personal stitch fix link so if you buy from it, I get credit. I highly recommend it ;). ) So of course, when I discovered Quarterly and that Book Riot was a curator, I had to try it. 
This is what I got for my first month. Three books and a handful of bookish stuff. Super fun! 
Soon after this, Book Riot launched their own subscription box and I jumped ship from Quarterly: Book Riot to Book Riot: The Riot Read

I've received two months of the Riot Read so far and it is way more my style! It's $30 a month for a new hardcover and some extra info via Book Riot. Yes, I could easily buy a $30 book on my own but I'm always looking to expanding my reading and a new book delievered to your door each month is awesome! The Riot Read has already impressed me twice and I'm anxiously awaiting this month's. First month, I received my first Rainbow Rowell book, Landline, and I loved it! The second month I received Land and Love of Drowning which is one I've never heard of but am looking forward to. 

Book haul from both services so far

I recommend both of these subscription boxes for different reason. The Quarterly one is more expensive but you get three books (or at least I did) plus lots of bookish stuff. Riot Read is only one book, but it's a hardcover, and if you don't need the bookish stuff, you still get a new read each month for a cheaper price. 

Do you subscribe to any boxes?

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 2014 Reading Goals

Well hello old friends! Here I am! A week late and a few goals short but I'm here! And with a rare but glorious book haul! I'm going to go full old school this month and focus mostly on real books for my goals but I will supplement with ebooks at work during lunch. But before I get into all of that, I'll check in with last months progress. 

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
The Interestings

(and as of today, a week later, I've completed)
Life After Life
The Light Between Oceans

Didn't Read: 
Lost Girls (either one but they will both be my ebooks for this month)

And guess what, I haven't written a damn review all month! Sorry about that, but I'll pick up speed soon. As you have probably noticed, I've taken my sweet time getting back into the swing of things around here since my vacation. I'm also making some big changes in my work life which has kept me on my toes. Luckily, it is now football season which means lots of time on the couch with the hubby (which I love) and provides good reading/blogging time. I'm coming back my lovelies, I promise!

So for this month, let's take a look at my book haul (below.) I have made the best worst discovery of my life. It's called 2nd and Charles and it's a HUGE used book store. They also have tons of comics and musical instruments and all sorts of stuff but it's like Barnes and Noble sized used book store. Talk about heaven!!! This is a great discovery because BOOKS! but not such a good thing because I can easily find 50 books I need because they are a good price and still drop major bucks. 

The below books all came from 2nd and Charles and get this, at least 5 of them were free. Free books, my people. Can't go wrong. So yes, they aren't really on my TBR list but I love Nora and a good beach read, so I grabbed them up and will be exploring this month. There's also some good King on there and you know I love him. I highly doubt I'll read all of these but you know I love a challenge! 

These are leftovers from last month and I'll only be reading them when not at home (i.e. work, which I've mentioned is crazy) so they may rollover next month too...

How about that sexy iPhone picture?!?!
Table for Two by Nora Roberts (Great Chefs #1-2): This a two-for-one which was really free so it feels kind of like stealing books and I'm ok with it.

Inner Harbor by Nora Roberts (Chesapeake Bay #3): So I literally just realized this is the third in a series which means that I won't be reading this until I read the first two. I'm going to include this only because it's in the picture but I have just realized that it will be shelved in the meantime. Oh well. 

Joyland by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime 112): I've actually started this one and really enjoying it so far. And who knew this was a "series." Unlike the last one, I'm not concerned with reading the 111 before this. Don't think they are relevant to this story...

Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank (Lowcountry Tales #8): And another book I've picked up in the middle of a series. This is what I get for taking free books all willy nilly. 

Beach Music by Pat Conroy: Love Pat so I'm looking forward to this chunk of a book.

Looking for Alaska by John Green: This will be my second Green book and I've heard good things!

Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King: Another chunk but I'm interested in how these four stories come together. My husband informs me this is a movie as well so I'm sure I'll have to follow up with that. 

Through writing this list, I have realized that there are two books I actually won't attempt to read from my book haul this month. I'm very OCD about series and like to read them in order so I'll put those two off until I catch up but you'll see them again in the future. All in all, my goals for this month add up to 9 books (counting the 2-in-1 separately.) Let's see how I do!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bookish (and Not So Bookish) Thoughts/Hiatus


Link up with Christine from Bookishly Boisterous

  • You may or may not have noticed it's been a little quiet on this part of the world wide web. That's simply because, life happens. Fortunately, it's all good happenings but they leave very little time for book reviewing and blogging because most of the happenings are not so bookish.
  • While I have done a lot of reading, I've done zero reviewing and don't have any posts scheduled so I ask that you bear with me for a little while until life calms down (insert mini-hiatus).
  • Not intending to be vague but I will fill you all in once things have settled.
  • Just this week alone we have the beginning of college football season (my absolutely favorite time of the year, Go Tigers!!!), football viewing party, our fantasy draft, and our one year anniversary. Woooo to all of the above but there will be lots of calories and alcohol consumed which means very little free time or reading time. Not complaining, just explaining.
  • Since I know the #boutofbooks ladies hate to hear someone talking about how they "failed at BofB," I'll just allow my lack of bout of books related posts speak for itself...
  • I finally got my new social security card with my married name. For an efficient and effective process, I would not recommend getting married in upstate New York. Complicates things, I tell ya!
  • I just wanted to check in and update you on where I've been, why it's so quiet, and what to expect in the near future. I'm hoping to get some reviews written soon but I'm not making any promises for lots of action ASAP. I'll post when I can :) 

Friday, August 15, 2014

A little change of heart...

via Pretty In Fiction
In the most unsurprising event of a book bloggers life, I've come over to the dark side. I've started a DNF shelf on goodreads. If you've been around these parts for awhile, you know that I pride myself on reading a huge range of genres and finishing everything I've started. Until recently that is. I'm not sure why this was a source of pride with me but at some point, I felt like every book deserved a chance and I was open to anything so why not? Now that I've matured, (*coughcough*) I've realized that my time is better spent reading the great books than feeling sorry for the crappy ones and I've just about had enough.

I think my change of heart stems from finding random books that I have downloaded on my nook and wondering how they got there and why I am reading them. As I look through these books, I realize that a lot of them are the free books that I got from B&N when I first got my nook and I was downloading willy-nilly. Big mistake, let me tell you! I've stumbled across a handful of horribly written, hard to follow, who-published-this? crap. That is why, I've proudly made my DNF list and I'm sticking to it.

Now, with that being said, I'm still going to read a lot of genres and the majority of the books I pick up. If it makes it onto my TBR list, I assume it was there for a reason and am more than likely going to give it a shot. If it's randomly on my nook, it stands less of a chance. I really liked Julia's idea from The Broke and The Bookish where she decided to give a book 30 pages before determining whether she continues or not. I will probably bump my limit to 50 pages but if it's painful to get through by that point, I'm giving myself permission to call it quits and DNF that sucker. At this point, my DNF list is at 2 (and I need to add one more) but I'm open to adding as I go along and no longer scared of missing out. There are plenty of great books that will hook me 50 pages in!

Do you DNF?!?!?

Monday, August 11, 2014

How I Live Now

How I Live NowTitle: How I Live Now
Author: Meg Rosoff
Read: July 19, 2014

Summary: “Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

A riveting and astonishing story. goodreads

Review: I'm pretty sure this book has been making it's way around the blogosphere so you have probably already heard about it. To be honest, this book was a little weird. And no, I'm not referring to the cousin-love, I can deal with that, but it surprised how basic this story was. Now, let me try to explain (which I may fail miserably at because I'm not entirely sure how to put into words what I'm feeling), there isn't much background to any of the characters, the war is never fully explained, and the story, while yes, there is romance and that's part of it, really only boils down to basic survival skills. That being sad, I enjoyed the overall book but it took me a while to understand why.

First off, the characters. We know very little about Daisy other than she has been sent off by her father and wicked step-mother to live with distant relatives. We know she has a eating disorder (which I thought was cleverly revealed as the story went on) and a best friend in NY but that's about it. We know basic facts about her cousins but not much else as far as background goes. The relationship between Daisy and Edmond is lightly developed but it never gets too deep. Like I said, it's all very basic.

There there are the what-the-heck parts of the book that are never fully explained. For example, what was the telepathic thing? Who all had it and did they really have it or was it just a coping skill? Also, who started this war? Who all is involved? Why? There is a lot of unknown. Usually, this would really bother me but it didn't in this story. I took it for what it was an found an appreciation for the story of survival that really developed.

I think the blase attitude that Daisy and her family had about this "war" was very relatable. There are constantly battles going on around the world and we find a way to function despite them. That is, until they affect us directly. Take 9/11 for example. We all knew something was going on in the middle east but I guarantee the knowledge of the politics and what is happening over there increased ten-fold after the towers fell. So it makes sense to me that Daisy didn't really take the war seriously (you know, besides the fact that they were all just kids) until it showed up on her door step and she saw the immediate effects like no water or electricity. That's when the survival story of Daisy began.

The writing of this story was a little odd with very little punctuation and lots of random run on sentences but when we are introduced to Part Two of the story (which I wasn't expecting at all) it all makes sense and I actually think it was kind of genius! I liked the wrap up at the end and the ability for Daisy to explain a few things but mostly, I liked seeing the honest portrayal of how war can affect a family. It would have been easy to wrap it all up in a nice little bundle but instead, we were shown how Daisy lives now which is not perfect, but works for her.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Be Back Later...

As of 5 o'clock today, I'm officially on vacation. I'm road tripping with my sister to upstate NY and checking out for a solid week. I can't wait! The only down is that the hubs and puppy don't get to come but I'm going to comfort myself with plenty of gin & tonics and sunshine. #sorrynotsorry. 

While I have some reviews/posts planned, I will not be around this little blog next week. I'm hoping to come back strong with Bout of Books but I may just spend all of my time reading and very little blogging. Who knows, I'm flexible I tell ya. But, due to literally being on an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, I will not be active in the blog world for a week or so. I promise I will read your comment and respond when I get back, but until then, HAPPY READING!!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bout of Books 11!

It's that time of year again, we're gearing up for Bout of Books! I dropped the ball on the last round but I feel like this round will work perfectly for me. It starts right in the middle of my vacation so I'm hoping to get plenty of good reading done. If you are new to BoB, head over to grab the button and blurb from below and link your post to this page to sign up. Pretty easy!

Bout of Books 11

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 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th 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 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I will probably set some goals later this week but considering I'm leaving on vacation on Friday (can't wait!!!) and my birthday is tomorrow, I may not get around to it and will have to play it by ear the week of the 18th. I'm not putting strict parameters on myself this go-around (pshhh like I did last time?) because life happens but I would like to get a couple books in as well as a handful of challenges. I'll let you know as I go.

Join me in linking up and participating in Bout of Books 11!

Friday, August 1, 2014

August 2014 Reading List


It's that time again! This year is flying by and every month I do my goals and can't believe how quickly everything is going. And to tell you the truth, it's not a bad thing. First of all, August is my birthday month (Aug 5, holla holla.) And while I'm not one of those girls who require an entire month of celebrations, I still tend to enjoy the whole month more than others. It's also the month I'm going on vacation which I can't even tell you how much I'm looking forward to. Sad my husband will not be able to come but excited for him to start his new job. At the end of this month, the hubs and I will be celebrating our one year anniversary as well which blows my mind. Do we officially graduate out of "newlyweds" after year one or does it last until year 5 or something? I don't know but I'm definitely looking forward to eating our cake. 

I'm also ok with this year flying by because my husband and I are kind of in limbo with our future. He is trying to figure out what the next step is and it requires a lot of moving pieces which I'm waiting to fall into place. I would be nice to know what the future may resemble but even if we don't get that lucky, we are getting pretty good at this fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants thing. And that will work until babies. No more flying and lack of plans when babies come. That would kill this mama. Alas, I have completely drifted off into bookish and not so bookish thoughts a la Christine but let's rear it back in to focus on reading goals for this month!

How I Live Now

Currently Read: 
Helter Skelter: Close to finishing off this book but the 800ish pages slowed me down a little. 

Look at that, I actually achieved my goals! It always feels nice to look back and feel good that I stuck with it and even managed to review a big chunk of them before this post. Go me! Now for August: 

Real Books

Got this in my BookRiot monthly box and am super excited to read it. It will be my first Rainbow book and after a couple other bloggers recently reviewed this, I think that if I like this one, I will love her others. Yay!

Even though I didn't really like this movie, I'm really looking forward to reading this. It also nails one of my challenge prompts so win-win.  



Yes, I'm working through my TBR list alphabetically and I have two books of similar names on this month. Adding these books I realize I know almost nothing about most of them. I add them to my TBR for various reasons and just trust myself that I wouldn't have added them if I didn't have a reason at the time. All of these look vaguely familiar and I'm looking forward to them but not entirely sure of the premises. I also decided to include 10 books this month because I'm going on vacation and hoping to get an extremely large amount of reading done (if I have any say in it.) Woo Hoo for new books!!!! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eight Authors I Own The Most Books From

I'm once again linking up with The Broke and The Bookish for TTT. Link up and join along!!!

Eight Authors I Own The Most Books From

1. J.K. Rowling: I bought each of the Harry Potter books as they came out and I even got one early when a friend traveled to London which was a huge deal! I also have all of her newest non-Harry books except for Silkworm (which may not count because of the pen name and whatnot but we all know the truth) which I will acquire soon. 

2. Diana Gabaldon: Outlander is one of my all-time favorite series and while I don't own all of them yet, I will. But they have to be in the same format (with the exception of my signed 20th anniversary edition of Outlander) so I have to wait for them to come out. 

3. Stephen King: I read a lot of King but I'm working my way through his back catalog so I've still got plenty more to read. 

4. Charlaine Harris: I bought the box set of the first 6 or so of the True Blood series. The series has seriously dropped off but I will continue to read/buy them because my OCD takes over and the paperbacks are dirt cheap so I can justify it. 

5. Jodi Picoult:  Who doesn't love a good cry?!?! Own a lot but haven't read half. Working on it. 

6. Nora Roberts: When I need a good, easy, romantic story, Nora is my go-to. Not the best literature that was ever written but Nora is my homegirl. 

7. James Patterson: Once again, if I need a quick, thriller read, James is it. He co-writes a book every month or so so I doubt I'll ever run out. 

8. Nicholas Sparks: James and Nicholas have their formulas for their books that become repetitive if you read too many of them. They have similar themes and characters in a lot of their books and while that annoys me, I can always count on the quality being consistent. 

Ok. I know this isn't an official Top Ten Tuesday since I only came up with 8 but these were the first ones I could definitely think of. I probably own multiples in a series but I haven't read them yet so I didn't count them. A ton of these books are e-books or hand-me-downs but the majority of 1, 2, and 4, do actually sit on my grandfather's bookshelf which I thoroughly enjoy admiring regularly. E-books are convenient but I will never give up my love for real dead-tree books. 

Which authors have you read the most from?

Monday, July 28, 2014


Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4)Title: Inferno
Author: Dan Brown
Series: Robert Langdon #4
Read: July 15, 2014

Summary: In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date.

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered. goodreads

Review: I feel like people either really enjoy Brown or they love to hate him. Personally, I fall in the former category. I think I've read all of this books at this point and I've enjoyed the Robert Langdon series. My favorite part of his books is that the conspiracy have a sense of reality to them. Yes, it's a far stretch most of the time, but his information that backs up these crazy stories is legit and it makes it seem like it may possibly happen someday, maybe. (Ok, I know it won't but I like that it could.)

This book just like the Da Vinci Code is set in Italy but this time, we visit my beloved Florence. I have to say, the reason I enjoyed this book so much was because of the setting. I studied abroad in college and after my program was over, my mom, a friend, and I spent a week in Florence/Tuscany and I absolutely fell in love. I enjoyed being able to remember what the various landmarks actually looked like and it helped me imagine the events more vividly. Always a plus!

I also enjoyed that Langdon was a little out of his element in this book after catching a case of amnesia. One of the possible annoying things about Langdon is that he knows everything about everything. I'm sure at times, this can be very cool, but there are also times where it's just enough already. So the fact that there was a huge space of time that he couldn't account for really got to him and made him a little more human rather than the all-knowing historian.

Overall, this book moved quickly and was filled with some great history, art, and conspiracies. If you are a Brown fan, you'll enjoy it. If not, stay away. Duh. But if you've never read Brown, while I wouldn't suggest starting here, if you did, you might find yourself hooked.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Girl You Left Behind

So I've finally read Jojo Moyes and now I understand what all the hype is about and I'm hooked for life! 

The Girl You Left Behind
Title: The Girl You Left Behind

Author: Jojo Moyes
Read: July 12, 2014

Summary: What happened to the girl you left behind?

In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything - her family, reputation and life - in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie's portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting's dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened...

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most - whatever the cost. goodreads

Review: We start this story in 1916 France. I fell in love with Sophie and her family very quickly which I think is easy to do when you see how smart, tough, and fiesty she is. When she goes toe to toe with the Kommandant in one of the first scenes, how could you not love her? I also really enjoyed a glimpse into life in France during WWI and how their little village was surviving. Just as I was getting attached to the characters, what do you know??? We jump to present day London with a completely new set of characters.

I've seen this type of story line absolutely crumble and fall on numerous occasions but Moyes did a beautiful job of connecting the character of Liv with the reader as much as she did with Sophie. If I had to chose, I couldn't pick one over the other which is a sign of great character development. In dual narratives, sometimes one of the characters gets lost which is very disappointing, but let me tell you, Moyes did not disappoint and I loved how these stories were interwoven and I cared about the outcome of each. Very well written! (Not that she requires my opinion, many better bloggers have given her this credit way before me!)

*Definitely going to explore Moyes' back catalog...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Characters I would Want with Me on a Deserted Island

Top Ten Five Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island 

1. Jamie Fraser from Outlander: Yes, I love my husband but he isn't a book character so all bets are off and I would pick this ginger over anyone else. Not to mention his sexy, manliness and his swoon-worthy accent (which is obviously the main reason for my pick. That man can ravish a woman with the best of them!), but he was a Highlander. Dude would know how to survive, keep warm, and pass the time ;-)

2. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter: First of all, she knows everything about everything. Second of all, she can do some serious spells that could keep us alive and fight off angry animals. And last but definitely not least, we know the bitch would bring great books. 

3. Locke Lamora from The Lies of Locke Lamora: Once again, the magic factor plays a part. I'm all about survival, people. But I also like his snark  so our days would be filled with witty banter.

4. Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind: You can say a lot about Scarlett but you have to give her credit for one thing, girl is a survivor. If she could make it through the war with Tara intact, I think she'd help me survive an island. Plus, when we are bored, we can sit in the corner and talk shit like classy southern belles do. 

5. Verity from Code Name Verity: Once again, this is one tough chick. I think she would help me survive anything that came our way and plus, she's an awesome best friend and everyone needs one of those. 

I'm going to stop there because these are the first ones that really jumped out at me and I'm not going to fill up a list with second-tier characters because, who wants to bring second choice people with you to a deserted island?!?! Not this girl. So here are my 5 solid characters!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ya-Ya Sisterhood Double Review

If you read my monthly goal posts (not like in the World Cup. It's over, let the soccer futbol references go) or follow my currently reading shelf, you will know that I have recently read Rebecca Wells' books based on the Ya-Ya sisterhood. I really felt that reading Little Altars Everywhere goes along with ready Divine Secrets so I've lumped them together into one post. I figure I'll mention a little on each book then compare and contrast at the end. Sound good?

Little Altars EverywhereTitle: Little Altars Everywhere

Author: Rebecca Wells
Read: July 5, 2014

Summary: Little Altars Everywhere is a national best-seller, a companion to Rebecca Wells' celebrated novel Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Originally published in 1992, Little Altars introduces Sidda, Vivi, the rest of the spirited Walker clan, and the indomitable Ya-Yas.

Told in alternating voices of Vivi and her husband, Big Shep, along with Sidda, her siblings Little Shep, Lulu, Baylor, and Cheney and Willetta — the black couple who impact the Walkers' lives in ways they never fully comprehend — Little Altars embraces nearly thirty years of life on the plantation in Thorton, Louisiana, where the cloying air of the bayou and a web of family secrets at once shelter, trap and define an utterly original community of souls.

Who can resist such cadences of Sidda Walker and her flamboyant, secretive mother, ViVi? Here the young Sidda — a precocious reader and an eloquent observer of the fault lines that divide her family — leads us on a mischievous adventures at Our Lady of Divine Compassion parochial school and beyond. A Catholic girl of pristine manners, devotion, and provocative ideas, Sidda is the very essence of childhood joy and sorrow.

In a series of luminous reminiscences, we also hear Little Shep's stories of his eccentric grandmother, Lulu's matter-of-fact account of her shoplifting skills, and Baylor's memories of Vivi and her friends, the Ya-Yas.

Beneath the humor and tight-knit bonds of family and friendship lie the undercurrents of alcoholism, abuse, and violence. The overlapping recollections of how the Walkers' charming life uncoils to convey their heart-breaking confusion are oat once unsettling and familiar. Wells creates an unforgettable portrait of the eccentric cast of characters and exposes their poignant and funny attempts to keep reality at arm's length. Through our laughter we feel their inevitable pain, with a glimmer of hope for forgiveness and healing.

An arresting combination of colloquialism, poetry, and grace, Little Altars Everywhere is an insightful, piercing and unflinching evocation of childhood, a loving tribute to the transformative power of faith, and a thoroughly fresh chronicle of a family that is as haunted as it is blessed. goodreads

Review: I saw the Secrets movie way before I read any of these books so I was really looking forward to learning more about the characters and this book definitely provided that. This was a book told from various points of view that was charming at times, unexpectedly dark at others, and completely heartbreaking as well. I enjoyed getting to see the world through these various characters lives and how events that happened to them shaped the way they grew up and how they interacted with their family. Overall, the book was enjoyable but it didn't wow me as expected and really disappointed me at times, which I will get to later.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Title: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Author: Rebecca Wells
Read: July 12, 2014

Summary: When Siddalee Walker, oldest daughter of Vivi Abbott Walker, Ya-Ya extraordinaire, is interviewed in the New York Times about a hit play she's directed, her mother gets described as a "tap-dancing child abuser." Enraged, Vivi disowns Sidda. Devastated, Sidda begs forgiveness, and postpones her upcoming wedding. All looks bleak until the Ya-Yas step in and convince Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of their girlhood mementos, called "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." As Sidda struggles to analyze her mother, she comes face to face with the tangled beauty of imperfect love, and the fact that forgiveness, more than understanding, is often what the heart longs for. goodreads

Review: Now, this is the book I was looking for which I didn't find in Little Altars. This is the book for the movie I fell in love with and wanted to read to help me connect better with Sidda and Vivi. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed! This has become one of my very favorite books. I loved the way the story was told through memories of different people and the Ya-Ya scrapbook. The friendship the Ya-Ya's have is something to be coveted and admired. The family ties and tangles that are described in this book are common for the time period (as well as often relevant today) and could have happened to anyone. And my absolute favorite part, Wells nailed the complicated relationship between a mother and a daughter. This book tugged on every one of my heartstrings. I hurt with Sidda, I was confused with Connor, and empathized with Vivi. I loved every part of this book!

Now for my comparisons of the books. I'm going to talk candidly about these books as if you have read them, which may open this to a discussion so I'm going to warn now, 


I think all of the characters were relatively consistent throughout the two books with one main exception: Vivi!!!!! In Little Altars (LAE from here on out) , Vivi was made into a monster and even a child molester. WTF?!?!?!?!?! I so wish I had read Ya-Yas (YY from here on out) first, if only to get that image out of my head. Since I didn't, I chose to ignore it as best I could and focus on the Vivi from Ya-Yas who was extremely flawed but still a human who was trying to do her best. I hated her in LAE. She didn't have any redeeming qualities. She was a drunk who traumatized her children and was a poor mother. 

That being said, in YY, her flaws were out there in the open and while she made bad parenting decisions and was an alcoholic, it was clear that these were coping skills for the traumas she had growing up and she was always trying to do better. She had great parenting moments, even if they happened few and far between, and she is one of the most loyal people there has ever been. The fact that she can have the relationships she has with the Ya-Yas speaks volumes for her and her ability to connect and show love. And I love that the girls love her despite all of her faults and flaws. I thought this character was so well done and perfectly developed that I become pissed the more I think about how butchered she was in LAE. Supposedly there is a third book that I'm obviously going to have to check out because I need more validation for Vivi. 

Please tell me someone has read these books or at least YY, because I need to discuss. Comments, thoughts, feels? Anyone?!?!?!

Friday, July 18, 2014


Gated (Gated, #1)Title: Gated
Author: Amy Christine Parker
Series: Gated #1
Read: July 3, 2014

Summary: A fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths.

Appearances can be deceiving.

In the Community, life seems perfect. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited Lyla’s family to join his group and escape the evil in the world. They were happy to be chosen, happy to move away from New York and start over in such an idyllic gated community. Now seventeen, Lyla knows that Pioneer is more than just their charismatic leader, he is their prophet . . . but his visions have grown dark.

Lyla is a loyal member of the Community, but a chance encounter with an outsider boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community—everything. And if there’s one thing not allowed in the Community, it’s doubt. Her family and friends are certain in their belief. Lyla wishes she could feel the same. As Pioneer begins to manipulate his flock toward disaster, the question remains: Will Lyla follow them over the edge?

From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story of the Community from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Amy Christine Parker’s beautiful writing creates a chilling, utterly unique YA story. Perfect for fans of creepy thrillers and contemporary fiction alike. goodreads

Review: This book came out of the blue and I'm so glad it did! For some reason, I thought this was a dystopian thriller. I'm not sure where I got that idea but it colored the first half of the book for me in a completely different way than if I would have know the whole thing was a crazy cult to begin with. When I was introduced to Lyla and her family, I really thought the "end was coming." The "breathren" were a stretch but I thought it was some sci-fi thriller thing and just went with it. Yes, the community sounded a little cult-ish but it didn't hit me that we were dealing with full-on Jonestown, drink the kool-aid, cult.

When the community is visited by "outsiders," we quickly learn the real world still exists and they don't know the world is coming to an end. As Lyla starts to see some of the cracks in Pioneer's teachings and beliefs, we start to understand how crazy this cult is. And if there is one thing I love, it's crazy cults! I think the psychology behind them is so interesting and the indoctrination is so creative. It's super creepy but I love that stuff.

So not only did I enjoy the premise of the story but I thought the plot was well developed and I enjoyed how we learned more and more that the real world still existed. I wonder what other people think the story is going in and how that affects how they view the various characters and their beliefs. I'm glad I thought this was dystopian because it helped me align with Lyla and I was learning the truth right along with her. Well done and I look forward to the next one!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Favorite TV Shows

It's been a really long time since I've participated in TTT hosted by The Broke and The Bookish but this is a topic I can easily participate in. 

Top Ten Favorite TV Shows

Before we begin, I should share that I love my DVR. If I have free time, I'm either reading a book or watching my DVR. I don't believe in live TV and I think commercials are a waste of time. If I'm going to watch TV, I'm going to do it efficiently. That being said, I have a lot of favorite shows I record so here we go (in no particular order)!

1. Scandal
Oh, I love me some Olivia Pope. I binge watched this show the week before my wedding during any down time I could grab (while doing a lovely puzzle) and I was hooked. The plots are scandalous and the characters are flawless (you know, other than all the rules they break and people they kill.) I'm hoping the next season lives up to it's predecessors. Can I get a shout out from fellow gladiators?

2. Nashville
I love the lead female characters in this show not to mention the fabulous country music. Even if you don't understand  like country music, I can guarentee you'll find one on here you can relate to. Some of my favorites are Fade Into You and Black Roses.

3. All of the Real Housewives and all of their spin off shows
I'm a trashy, reality TV junkie!!! And the housewives have my heart. The only one I never got into was Atlanta because I discovered it after a couple of seasons and didn't have all the history which annoyed me. But other than that, give me all things housewives!

4. Southern Charm
Really, Bravo can do no wrong in my eyes but this show was absolutely phenomenal!!! It's set in good ole Charleston, SC and let me tell you, it's a huuuuuge controversy down her and I absolutely love it! Everyone knows somebody on the show or knows somebody who knows somebody on the show. The South has been buzzing since this gem aired and I can't get enough! 

5. The Real World
I may be the only human alive who admits to watches this and I can't get enough. I also love the spin-off The Challenge but I'll just link these two together. This is one of those reality shows that still rings a little realistic because the situations are so ridiculous sometimes. It may be Hills-fake but I still love it. 

6. Orange is the New Black
I haven't read this book yet but it's on my TBR and I'm a little worried it won't compare to this hilarious/touching show. I didn't see this one coming, Netflix but thank you!

7. Keeping up with the Kardashians (how about that throw back pic?)
I told you I love trashy reality TV. Now, I'm not dumb enough to think any part of this is reality but I can't get enough of this crazy fam. That being said, I utterly despise Kim and Kayne and get easily annoyed with Kris. But I'm obsessed with Khloe, Kourtney, Lord Disick, and Rob. They should have a show of just them because they are freaking hilarious together. Love it. Not ashamed. 

Now for some of my favorites that are no longer on TV and break my heart

8.Veronica Mars
Obsessed!!! I'm so sad this show fell off at the end and is no longer on but my life was complete with the movie. I'm in love with Logan Echols (can't explain it, can't even try) and I'm so glad they came back to wrap up him and Veronica's story line. Thanks, Kickstarter!

9. The O.C. 
This was probably the first show that I ever watched religiously. If I missed an episode because my siblings wouldn't change the channel I had a major meltdown. Luckily, in college, watching this show was a weekly event prior to going out so I didn't have to worry about siblings with sub par taste. Love Ryan and Seth!

10. Laguna Beach (The Real O.C.)
This is where my love of reality TV started. What teenage girl didn't want to be friends with LC (and secretly frenemies with Kristen)? And the meta-episode where they were watching The O.C.!??!?! Oh, I couldn't get enough!

There are all my guilty pleasures for all of my readers to see. Are you judging really hard right now? Any you would like to share with me or reminisce on?