What I Read…

Happy Book Day! 📚 Linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books!

I actually finished a few this month. Yay! Let’s get to it 😊

The Lost World by Michael Crichton
★★★★★/5; Science Fiction
I FINALLY FINISHED. My slow reading had nothing to do with the book and everything to do with my slump. I really enjoyed the second installment on dinosaurs island, lol. Man, the bad guys were SO hateable- including the raptors, lol. For being 400+ pages (and taking me five months to read), the plot moved quickly. I loved how strong and badass Sarah Harding was. And even the kids were helpful- not annoying like the ones in the first book. These stories definitely have a science-y feel to them, but it’s only a few paragraphs or pages and I actually found it very interesting. Of course, it’s all fiction, but I know my heart was racing during the chase scenes and high stakes moments. I haven’t seen these films, but I really love the books.
Read it? If you’re ok with the sci-fi aspect, yes.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey
★★★/5; Contemporary Romance
First of all: Holy 🔥, Batman. This was a very steamy romance (and my first Tessa Bailey). I know I’m in the minority with my low rating but… I don’t know. They seemed hot for each other 24/7 and, call me cold, that seems unrealistic. Lol. I know K loves me but I know he doesn’t want to jump my bones every minute of every day. Haha. (Too far?) Anyway, that and the animalistic dirty talk from Travis was kind of… odd to me. Ha. The drama toward the end didn’t bother me and I think it fit in with everyone’s on going issues- and I loved how the 3 siblings issues kind of came together in the end- but the very end was a cheese fest to me. Again, maybe I’m just coldhearted. Ha. I wanted more from Rosie and Dom but I just saw there’s a new book featuring them out in January 2020! I will definitely read that; this wasn’t my last Tessa Bailey novel.
Read it? If you like steamy romance, then yes.

Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, etc.
★★★/5; Young Adult, Graphic Novel
This book has the ingredients for a badass female masterpiece. Lots of girl power and friendship (to the max!) and adventures… but it didn’t suck me in. I enjoyed the characters but the writing and story seemed ALL over the place. You’re dropped right into the middle of a wild adventure and I think it takes time for the reader to get a handle on what’s going on and who everyone is and what the heck is happening at the camp. (And honestly, you still never really find out- it’s a series, after all.) I put the next two volumes on hold at the library so I’m obviously interested enough to keep reading… plus it takes about 30 minutes to get through a book so it’s worth it.
Read it? Only if you love (very) young adult graphic novels… Otherwise it’s safe to skip.

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
★★★/5; Historical Fiction, Mystery
Ho-hum. I really wanted to fall in love with this story and this series. Kristen warned me a long long time ago that book-Phryne and TV-Phryne were two different people with different story lines, so that didn’t bother me much. I think I was just a *little* bored and it took some time for me to get into the story and the language was a little tough for me. (It’s an Australian story & author.) As of right now, I won’t be continuing with the series. Maybe if I’d have read the books before seeing the TV show I’d feel a little differently. It pains me to say this… but even if you skip the book you MUST watch the TV series. I love it!
Read it? Meh, maybe not. But watch the TV show. (My fingers burn just typing that!)

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand
DNF
My failure to finish had little to do with the quality of the book. This just isn’t my favorite genre and I’m already in a slump so I walked away before the guilt set in. Most people I’ve talked to about this book loved it!

An update on Erin’s 11.0 Challenge:
| 5 points| Freebie: Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
| 10 points | Starts with “F”: Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey
| 10 points | With rain(s), thunder, lightning, or monsoon in the title: The Lightening Thiefby Rick Riordan
| 15 points | With a picture of a building: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
| 20 points | The author uses an initial in name: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
| 20 points | An article of clothing/accessory in the title: The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
| 25 points | A book set in India: The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
| 30 points | Has won/been shortlisted for the Booker Prize: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
| 30 points | About a human with superpowers/supernatural powers: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
| 35 points | Has the same title as a book of a different genre: Soulless by Gail Carriger

15 points is better than 0, I guess. I’m currently reading Soulless.

I’m also reading Bringing Up Bébé. It’s the only parenting book I’ve read so far. Lol

What did you read this month?

Life According to Steph

What I Read…

Before I get in to what I read, I have a huge book-related THANK YOU to say to Alexandra, Olya, Stephanie, and Amber. My super sweet blogger pen pals friends sent baby & me some bookish goodies and they are TOO perfect not to share.

Everything is so ME (and, I hope, so HER)! I am so in love with all these items. Thank you, ladies ♥ I returned home from a business trip to this package and I think it’s made my entire week. You girls are so sweet and I’m so glad we’re friends!

I had another low number reading month. My brain and body are so damn tired in the summer (mostly from work) and this year is no different- possible a little more intense (mostly from growing a human). That said, I finished up 2 books (and they were both 4 stars so silver lining, I guess!).

Linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books!

Columbine by Dave Cullen
★★★★/5; Nonfiction, True Crime
Never in my life would I have picked up this book on my own. Frankly, I avoid death and terror when it comes to entertainment- there’s enough in real life. But I don’t regret reading this book for a second. Cullen did his research and unturned every stone to expose the shooters & the kids, teachers, and parents affected & the law enforcement protocol that happened at Columbine before the shooting, during the attack, and years afterward. He also wasn’t too graphic, which I appreciated. Obviously this book can be triggering and he doesn’t shy away from the havoc inflicted by Harris and Klebold, but he does everything (as) tastefully (as possible when talking about children being killed).
Honestly, I  don’t remember Columbine. I have a vivid memory of 9/11 just two and half years later, though. I would’ve been 8 when Columbine happened and I’m guessing my parents worked hard to shield me from it. (My husband, who is older than me, said he remembers.) The only thing I do remember was the circulating question, “If someone put a gun to your head and asked if you believed in God, would you say yes?” Turns out, that story wasn’t entirely correct anyway.
Read it? Yes. It was a difficult read, but it shines a well-researched light on psychopaths and the building blocks of violent disaster.
*I read this for Influenced the Podcast’s book club

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
★★★★/5; Fantasy
I saw this rec on Alexandra’s blog and I am SO glad I did. I devoured this book. I’ve always loved fantasy but it’s been a while since I picked up a book from this genre. Harper, Rhen, and Grey were SO incredibly likable and relatable while still being flawed and complicated. The love story, the good vs evil story, and the pulling ones self up from failure story were all so well done and engaging. I hated the bad guys, loved the good guys, and laughed outloud at the snark. Two things bothered me, thus the four stars. First of all, it almost felt like there was a forced love triangle between three characters. I didn’t see that; I only saw a friendship between two of them. (Highlight that if you want to- not a true spoiler but kind of.) Secondly, the ending (epilogue) was odd. I know it’s a precursor for the next book in the series- which comes out in January, UGH-, but it felt just a little out of character.
Read it? If YA fantasy is your thing, YES.

I’m not doing great with Erin’s Challenge but that’s because I had a bunch of books to finish up before I would let myself begin…

| 5 points| Freebie: Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
| 10 points | Starts with “F”: Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey
| 10 points | With rain(s), thunder, lightning, or monsoon in the title: The Lightening Thiefby Rick Riordan
| 15 points | With a picture of a building: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
| 20 points | The author uses an initial in name: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
| 20 points | An article of clothing/accessory in the title: The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
| 25 points | A book set in India: The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
| 30 points | Has won/been shortlisted for the Booker Prize: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
| 30 points | About a human with superpowers/supernatural powers: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
| 35 points | Has the same title as a book of a different genre: Soulless by Gail Carriger

I’m reading to launch into these now so we’ll see how many I can get through!

A few weeks ago members of my family that read my blog asked how I pronounce the title of this reoccurring series: “What I Red” or “What I Reed”? I have always said it in my head as “red” but now I’m curious. How do you interpret my title each month? Lol

A Very Potter Giveaway

Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag is celebrating 12 Years of Blogging! A while back she asked if anyone wanted to help her celebrate with some giveaways & I said of course!

She’s also doing a year’s worth of books (12) giveaway, too. Here’s the link to enter!

I was in 5th grade when I read Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was the generation that “grew up with” Harry and Hermione and Ron. I remember pre-ordering books, waiting in lines, and seeing bookstore windows FILLED with the newest HP release. Rowling & Potter nourished my love of reading and writing, turning me into the book worm I am today. Harry Potter strongly shaped my adult personality.

Whether or not you’re “into” the Harry Potter craze, I strongly believe there are some deep lessons to pull from this series.

[1] Friends are family. Harry doesn’t have living family (…spoiler alert?) so his friends easily become his family. Ron has a wonderful, large family… and his friends are still his family and openly welcomed into the Weasley home.

[2] We all have light and dark within us. Every character in HP has shining moments and dark moments. Even our favorite heroes make bad choices sometimes. It’s a story of choices and redemption and consequences.

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” -Sirius Black, PoA

[3] Sticking up for others, aligning yourself with the meek or victimized, and taking a stand against your own friends isn’t easy. How many times are characters rewarded for doing the extremely unpopular right thing? I hate that S.P.E.W. didn’t make it into the movies, especially since it makes a later moment between Hermione and Ron all the more sweet.

[4] Bad things happen- it’s how you react that matters. The characters don’t always react “correctly”, but that’s because they’re not flawless. So many of them- especially the adults- handle the battles, deaths of friends, and monumental hurdles with patience and grace.

“What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does.” -Hagrid, GoF

[5] Getting an education is incredibly important, but there’s a LOT to learn outside of the classroom, too. I think even Hermione would agree that she learned a lot about friendship and survival and life outside the Hogwarts classrooms.


Below is a giveaway for a new illustrated Harry Potter book (+ some goodies).

It says “Sorcerer’s Stone”, but you can pick which book you’d like. (For example, if you have SS and want CoS. Or if PoA is your favorite book.)

Click to Enter Rafflecopter Giveaway

And be sure to pop over and wish Lauren a Happy Blogoversary!!

Good luck, friends!

What I Read…

Happy Book Day, beautiful friends!

We had our gender reveal on Sunday but I’m not sharing about the party until Thursday because- duh- it’s book day!

But I won’t make you wait (assuming you haven’t seen IG) 😊 We’re having a girl! More about everything on Thursday! On to the books!

Linking up with the book lovers Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books!

The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews
★★★★★/5; Proper Romance
Alexandra and I buddy-read this in June! This was the steamiest proper romance I’ve ever read and I did not mind one little bit. Phyllida, a uniquely beautiful and kind orphan, is shipped off to her Uncle in London to be groomed for her coming out season. She soon learns that those closest to her have alterer motives and interests. Captain Heywood, though gruff and bitter, immediately sees the compassion in Philly and offers her the quick solution of a convince marriage. But will that truly save her from her former fate? I loved Philly. Her love for dogs and her patience for all creatures was a beautiful trait. And Heywood was a tortured soul (perhaps a little *too* tortured at times), but I loved his devotion to Philly and her beloved pets. This story also had a little twist- almost a proper thriller in its own rights. It was sweet and a little suspenseful and very enjoyable!
Read it? If you like history and romance and a little mystery, yes!
*ARC provided by NetGalley. All opinions are my own. Releasing July 23rd, 2019

The Idea of You by Robinne Lee
★★/5; Contemporary Romance
When she’s forced to attend a boy band concert with her young daughter, Solène had no idea she’d become Hayes Campbell’s biggest fan. I thought the age difference would bother me, but it didn’t. (She is 19 years his senior.) The secretiveness bothered me a bit and the end of the book/outcome of the relationship irritated me more than a bit. But the major reason I gave it 2 stars? I was just kind of bored the whole time. There were some beautiful locations and swoony scenes between Hayes and Sol, but it was just the same over and over until the end. I know some people loved this book, so I’d never call it “bad.” I was just kind of bored and over it by the end.
Read it? Mm… I would say no but others have loved it.


Erin’s 11.0 Book Challenge has kicked off and here’s my mid-July update!

| 5 points| Freebie: Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
| 10 points | Starts with “F”: Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey
| 10 points | With rain(s), thunder, lightning, or monsoon in the title: The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
| 15 points | With a picture of a building: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
| 20 points | The author uses an initial in her name: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
| 20 points | A book with an article of clothing/accessory in the title: The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
| 25 points | A book set in India: The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
| 30 points | A book that has won or been short-listed for the Booker Prize: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
| 30 points | About a human with superpowers/supernatural powers: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
| 35 points | A book that has the same title as a book of a different genre: Soulless by Gail Carriger

Kicking it off with 0 points 🤗 But I’ll change that soon.

Your turn! What did you read recently? Come back Thursday for party details!

Life According to Steph

What I Read…

Sometimes bloggers kick these posts off by saying, “I had a pretty terrible reading month” and then go on to review 7-11 books. Lol. That ain’t me. I had a terrible month and, as evidence, I present to you one single book.

Hahaha.

Linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books!

I admire those who consider 7 books a “bad month.” I’m not picking on you. I have no real excuse except general disinterest and overall exhaustion. I think some of that is starting to subside but the struggle has been real.

I’m so glad I finished this book, though, because it was an ARC from NetGalley and, as pathetic as this is, it’s my first one that I read & reviewed from there. I feel less like a poser now. Ha.

Also, I pushed hard to even finish this one- turning the final page last night.

The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen
★★★★/5; Historical Fiction, Gothic
If nothing else, Andersen did her homework when it comes to Irish geography and folklore. This story jumps between present day, the early 90s, and the late 1880s, but predominately follows the Gallagher family. Carragh is brought in as an outside contractor and is intimately swept up in the family mystery of the Darkling Bride and, more recently, the Gallagher family murder-suicide. There were some slow and disconnected moments, but the story was engaging and I loved Aidan. How I wish the moments between he and Carragh had been a little… steamier, haha. But still, it was an enjoyable partnership. I figured out the motive for the violence before I figured out who dun it. But all that happened for me at the end anyway and unfolded beautifully. It’s a 3.5 star book for me, but I round up.
Read it? If you really enjoy a slow historical fiction gothic mystery, yes.
*ARC provided by NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

That’s all, folks. What did you read this month? Tips on getting my reading mojo back?

*If you want to participate in the next #24in48 readathon you can now sign up! It’s happening July 20 & 21. Sign up here!

Life According to Steph