Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #200: Blogging Buddies

Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Book Blogging Buddies
Who've Been With Me For Years

Oh man, this kind of topic makes me feel so uncomfortable! What if I miss someone? So I'm going to apologize in advance if I've missed someone. I tried really hard not to. This is a list of the bloggers who've been with me since the beginning, or at least for a few years, through hiatus and slumps. I love all of you! 

Amber @ Du Livre
Greg @ Book Haven
Jessica @ A Great Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Weekly Recap: 8/5 - 8/11


Hi everyone! This week ways pretty low key, which was nice after being so busy the week before! I ran my first 10k this week, which was crazy, but I lived through it! I also visited a local art museum for the first time. It was small, but nice! Lots of places to sit around and do nothing if you're so inclined. There was another public library sharing the art museum's parking lot and I had high hopes that it might be nicer than the others in the area, but alas... I did make a couple of amazing trades this week! I was able to get Lady's Guide and the Goldsboro edition of Spinning Silver! Speaking of Spinning Silver, I'm slowly making my way through it. I'm always surprised by how much longer it takes me to read adult vs YA fantasy, but I'm making up reading challenge progress with lots of audiobooks!






Hi everyone!  This has been a really great week!  I was finally able to complete my Erin Bowman collection with the addition of the Taken and Forged ARCs!  It makes me ridiculously happy as she’s one of my favorite authors of all time. I also was able to go hang out with my family and boyfriend at the Canandaigua Steam Show(It’s a tractor show with a bunch of older steam engines all the way to newer tractors and pieces of farm equipment). And now I’m currently in Ohio having just saw some amazing drag racing cars the previous night. Those cars were so loud you could feel the vibrations in your bones!  At the track I was also able to get a pound of ice cream for a $1!!  $1!!!  I really don’t care if I just gained ten pounds. lol.






Monday ARC review of The Glass Butterfly
The topic was books that could coexist for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday mini reviews of Long Lankin, Without Merit, & City of the Lost
On Thursday Chelcie talked about reading multiple books at once
Friday book review of Leah On the Offbeat



We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Friday, August 10, 2018

Book Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Title: Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2) 
Author: Becky Albertalli 
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 343
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Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Back about a month or so ago I had the chance to read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and really liked it.  The humor that Becky weaved into that book made me want to read absolutely everything that she has ever written.  When I heard that this book was coming out I knew I just had to get and read it!  I also got to hear her talk more about this book at Epic Reads day which made me want to read it even more!

I tried to read Leah on the Offbeat a bit slower and try to take it in, but I ended up finishing it in two days as I wanted more yet didn't get it.  Don't get me wrong, there were some fantastic bits to this book, it just didn't live up to its predecessor.

The humor was fantastic yet again!  I really need to start taking lessons from Becky so I can add some humor like hers into my writing.  I often found myself laughing out loud, in the weirdest of places, because this book had parts that were just that funny. Leah has the best sense of humor ever.  Such a typical Slytherin!

I also loved that we got to see all the characters from the first book as well.  Simon is the cutest little cinnamon roll ever!  He will forever be one of my favorite characters ever.  This book also had so much diversity, which is really nice to see now-a-days.

One of the things I really didn't care for was the fact that the plot line was everywhere.  It went from one character doing something that affected Leah, to Leah complaining about her life, and then she would hurt somebody or make somebody mad, and the cycle would start again.  It got a bit redundant and predictable.

I couldn't stand how Leah treated some of the characters in this book.  There were times that she genuinely was nice, but other times she would bite their head off for what seemed like no apparent reason.  She also could have given her mom and her new boyfriend a chance.  They really tried to be nice to her and she was downright nasty back.  On top of that, I hated that she dragged Garrett around and toyed with his feelings.  It made me want to reach through my book and beat some sense into her.

I also felt absolutely nothing when it came to this romance.  There was very little build up at all and then it's over.  It was almost nonexistent for a large majority of this book.  To me it felt like she didn't know what to write at the end and was like, crap, I didn't do the romance yet, *writes it in*.

Plus, there are so many loose ends in this book.  I have been left with so many questions that I really want answers for.  I won't get into too many details as I don't want to prevent spoiling any of y'all, but it's a bit ridiculous.  I need answers!  It frustrates the crud out of me when a book leaves me with way more questions than answers.

With that said, I still did kind of like Leah On the Offbeat, but it really just wasn't my cup of tea.  I do wish that it could have been done a bit better.  Even with my dislike of this book I won't just give up on Becky's writing just yet.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Do you read more than one book at a time?

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you are out and about and find yourself waiting in a line where you could be catching up on some reading, but after a thorough search of your bag you realize you forgot your book?  Then you remember that you have a book on your phone, but you're not sure if you really want to start another one.

I find myself in this position a lot, so I'm no stranger to having multiple books going at one specific time.  I actually like having a variety of ways to read books for different situations.

A good majority of the time I have at least one audiobook and one physical book going at all times.  I will listen to the audiobook while driving and doing tasks around the house, and I'll read the physical book whenever I can sit down and focus on it.  I do this method because I have a ton of review copies that I have to read and have practically no other time to read finished copies.  So I'll take audiobooks of finished copies out of the library and read a physical ARC.

Sometimes I'll throw a third book into the mix if I'm feeling crazy!  Just kidding!  I will still read a third copy, but only if I ended up getting an eARC and I do not or cannot read my physical book.

Currently I am in the process of reading three books, and I admit, it can get a little crazy.  I find myself jotting down notes on my phone a lot when I come across and interesting plot point or something I want to make mention of in my review.  And yes, I've had to go back a bit on my audiobooks and turn back a few pages on my e-book or physical book.  It can be a little hard to keep them all separate, but I deal with it.

Do any of you read more than one book at a time?
What are your thoughts on it?
Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Mini Reviews: Long Lankin, Without Merit, & City of the Lost

Title: Long Lankin
Author: Lindsey Barraclough
Publication Date: April 7, 2011
Publisher: Bodley Head
Pages: 464
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Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss. . . .When Cora and her younger sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Byers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome. Auntie Ida is eccentric and rigid, and the girls are desperate to go back to London. But what they don't know is that their aunt's life was devastated the last time two young sisters were at Guerdon Hall, and she is determined to protect her nieces from an evil that has lain hidden for years. Along with Roger and Peter, two village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries -- before it's too late for little Mimi. Riveting and intensely atmospheric, this stunning debut will hold readers in its spell long after the last page is turned.

I heard of Long Lankin while reading reviews for And the Trees Crept In, a book I had high expectations for and was hugely disappointed by. This was supposed to be the better version of that, so I was ready for an amazing, terrifying read!

Honestly, I don't remember how far I made into Long Lankin, but a valiant attempt was made. The book begins when Cora and Mimi are sent to live with their aunt where they're unwanted. They make an attempt to enjoy their time with Auntie Ida while conforming to her strict rules and making friends with a couple local boys. They, of course, get into trouble and things supposedly start getting creepy...

I couldn't find the creep. Horror books need to be good and terrifying if I'm going to enjoy them and, despite the synopsis and the reviews, I just couldn't get into this. It dragged and, while it was atmospheric, it wasn't in a frightening way. Ultimately, I was way too bored and uninvested to make it to the end of Cora and Mimi's story. Coming in at 464 pages, this book is much more of a best than it needs to be.

Title: Without Merit
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 385
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Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

I have read and hated two books by Colleen Hoover in the past few years, but when I found myself in the mood for a contemporary novel and saw that she had published a YA book, I decided to give her one last try.

Merit is the MC of this story and, shockingly, I didn't hate her. She runs into Sagan one day and feels instant chemistry, but through a series of misunderstandings and assumptions, decides that they can't be together. Sagan was an enjoyable character who I thought made a good romantic interest. I wouldn't mind reading more about him, honestly.

Without Merit contains the usual angst and drama you would expect in a Colleen Hoover novel, but this one was actually bearable and kind of cute at times. I think part of what made it more enjoyable was that the angsty romance wasn't the main focal point of the story. Merit and her family was much more at the forefront and, even though that's not my usual kind of read, I enjoyed it a lot more than the author's other novels. If you've hated her other books, this might be the Colleen Hoover pick for you!

Title: City of the Lost (Rockton #1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong 
Publication Date: January 14, 2016
Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 471
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Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows that someday this crime will catch up to her. Casey's best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana's husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it's time for the two of them to disappear again.

Diana has heard of a town made for people like her, a town that takes in people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to live in Rockton and if you're accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, and living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval. As a murderer, Casey isn't a good candidate, but she has something they want: She's a homicide detective, and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving, Casey realizes that the identity of a murderer isn't the only secret Rockton is hiding—in fact, she starts to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.

This was my first Kelley Armstrong book and I picked it up after seeing it a few times over at Greg's Book Haven.  I was in a true crime (but not) kind of mood, so I decided to give it a try!

Casey and Diana have been best friends forever and both have troubled pasts that they could stand to escape from. The chance comes in the form of Rockton - an off the grid town that gives people a fresh start, for a price. Casey is allowed in as the town's new homicide detective because of the recent murder in the town that the current sheriff can't handle alone. Once she gets there, she must navigate the town and the murder with a town who keeps its secrets close.

I don't read a lot of adult fiction, so I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy this one, but I was pleasantly surprised! Casey was a fantastic main character and the Rockton characters were all well developed. I liked that I was never completely sure if anyone was who they said they were. The murder mystery part of the story was twisty and well written! My main complaint was that it did take a while to get moving and the story dragged for me until halfway through. Overall, I enjoyed it and I'll probably be picking up part two.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #199: Books that could coexist

Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Books I'd Mash Together

This week's topic was... weird. Honestly, I almost didn't do it because I had no idea what to do. I the end, I chose books that I thought had worlds that would mesh well together. Not necessarily books that could be put together to create something new, but books that could coexist in the same world. Hopefully I'm not completely off base!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.