What I Read…

Happy Book Day! I had nothing to show last month but this one was a little better.

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

Ok. Here we go.

Lumberjanes: Friendship to the Max by Noelle Stevenson, etc.
★★★/5; Young Adult, Graphic Novel
These little stories take 15-20 minutes to read so I figured I’d give volume 2 a shot. Unfortunately, I still didn’t love it. The main characters (including counselor Jen) are all fantastic and wonderful in their own way but I don’t love the dialogue or how the story comes together or really anything about the actually plot so…. I’m done with these. This second book tied up the story from the first book so it makes it pretty easy to walk away. I don’t know… the whole thing felt random and spontaneous, but not in a good way. Haha. Maybe a younger audience would enjoy these, but I think I’d have had a tough time following and getting hooked when I was younger, too.
Read it? I gave them a second chance & didn’t love it, so no.

The Whisper Man by Alex North
★★★★/5; Thriller
This was the October pick for Influenced the Podcast‘s book club. I definitely wouldn’t have picked this up on my own- thriller isn’t my choice genre. That said, this one was great. I liked the spooky element, I really liked that there wasn’t an unreliable narrator in charge the whole time, and I love that I figured very few things out before the reveal. My issue with thrillers/mysteries is that I try to figure out the bad guy the whole time. I did that with this one, but I was only right about one thing and it was after a major hint. Of course, I have a few issues… there was one or two dangling storylines. And it was super convenient that this town was the crux of everything. I was wrong about quite a few things and sad about certain resolutions, but I’ll go into detail in the comments with y’all individually if you want to get into it 😉
Read it? Given that I don’t read thrillers and I really enjoyed this one, yes. Go read it.

Soulless by Gail Carriger
★★★/5; Fantasy, Steampunk, Romance
Man… I really wanted to love this book and dive into this series. I didn’t dislike the book, but I don’t think I’m going to continue. I enjoyed Alexia & I really enjoyed Lord Maccon. I liked their tension and romance. I think it was the victorian/steampunk slowness that turned me off to this story. I don’t mind historical or proper romances but this one didn’t feel consistent. I really liked the secondary characters and the supernatural parts and the reveal of the bad guys but… I don’t know. The speed felt off and I never really connected to the story. I know some people really love this book/series so it could definitely be a me thing. Haha.
Read it? I know a lot of people enjoyed this one, but my vote is no.

Three books is definitely better than zero. And while none were five stars, I still enjoyed them enough. We’ll see what I pick up between now and the end of the year.

What did you read this month?

Life According to Steph

What I Read… November 2016

I’m finally linking up with Steph and Jana for ‘Show Us Your Books’ (tomorrow ) and I’m so happy about it! I started doing book reviews at the beginning of this year and I’m ashamed that it’s taken me this long to join everyone for the best book-day of the month  🙂


If you’re new here this is how it works: I review the books in the order I read them. I start by summing up the book in a sentence or two, then I tell you why I picked it.  I share what I thought about it and whether or not I’d recommend it (and why)! Each book has a star rating:

Book Rating

So let’s jump in! (Images linked to the GoodReads page.) I finished two this month… *face palm*

Fairest by Marissa Meyer || ★★★★/5 fairest
Summary: Queen Levana is the evil queen, but even she has a backstory that may explain why she is like she is. Was she always “bad” or did something happen that shaped her path? | Why I Read It: This is #3.5 in the Lunar Chronicles and my brother & sister-in-law gave it to me for my birthday. | What I Thought: I haven’t seen Maleficent, but I imagine this is similar in that it gives a back story to the “evil queen.” Levana didn’t have it easy and I thought I might go into the fourth and final Lunar novel with some understanding for her because of a touching back story. I didn’t gain much sympathy for her, but I loved the story all the same. I don’t think you were really supposed to feel sympathy- I think this was just an explanation to her violent tendencies. I also really liked putting more pieces into the puzzles of other characters like Cinder and Dr. Erland
You Should Read It Because… you’re making your way through The Lunar Chronicles and this comes next. I wouldn’t skip this one- it’s satisfying to see things come together.

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez || ★★★/5 wench_book_review
Summary: Set in the mid-1850s, this is the story of four black slave mistresses and their struggle with loyalty, love, freedom, and family. The women come together each summer at Tawawa House, a northern resort in Xenia, Ohio where slave masters bring their “wenches” for vacation. The story is based on a real place and time in our history. | Why I Read It: I picked it for the #SCWBC16. | What I Thought: I don’t typically pick out books about slavery or the Holocaust because I hate that humans are capable of such cruelty. That said, we will repeat our history if we don’t educate ourselves. I’m floored that this place existed. This story was hard to read. There was no happy ending, similar to the fate of most slaves in the 1800s. Just on the brink of the Civil War, this story makes you question whether or not you would risk it all (including your life or the lives of loved ones) and make a break for freedom or if you’d continue to live under the thumb of a white tyrant. And if you did choose to stay because of family or loyalty or out of fear, would you have had the strength to survive? It’s a heartbreaking look at a heartbreaking time in history.
You Should Read It Because… you’re fascinated by human behavior and/or the pre-Civil War time in history. This book isn’t easy to read. It’s not PG.

Megan’s Semi-Charmed Winter 2016 Book Challenge:
|5 points| Freebie! Read any book that is at least 150 pages long: The One by Kiera Cass
|10 points| Read a 2016 finalist for one of the following literary prizes: National Book Award, Man Booker or Man Booker International: Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
|10 points| Read a brand-new release: Heartless by Marissa Meyer
|15 points| Read a book by an author of a different race or religion than you: Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
|15 points| Read a book featuring a main character who is of a different race or religion than you: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
|20 points| Read a modern retelling of a classic: Winter by Marissa Meyer
|25 points| Read a book with an alcoholic beverage: The Whiskey Affair by Raymond Armstrong
|30 points| Read a book with a character that shares your first or last name: Tender Grace by Jackina Stark
|30 points| Read two books: a nonfiction book and a fiction book with which it connects: Etta Place by Gail Drago & Etta by Gerald Kolpan
|40 points| Read two books: one by an author whose first name is the same as the last name of the author of the other book: After Alice by Gregory Maguire & The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory.

Starting strong with a solid 15 points. Lol.

Still working on The Joy Luck Club. Haven’t had much time to read lately.

Can’t wait to see the other posts in this link-up!


Life According to Steph

What I Read… July 2016

It’s officially the end of month 1 in Erin 5.0’s Book Challenge! I think I finished one book last year so I’m over the moon that my reading mojo is finally coming back. I think it helped that I had a week-long vacation and got some reading done!


Here’s the reviewing system:

★- terrible | ★★- I finished it but it was a struggle | ★★★- not bad, not my favorite | ★★★★- a good read that kept my interest | ★★★★★- I’ve already bought the book for my collection & I’m recommending it to everyone

I’ll also tell you why I read it, what it’s about, and whether or not you should read it. The book images link you back to their GoodReads pages.

. . .

the horse and his boyThe Horse & His Boy by C.S. Lewis || ★★★★/5
I’d like to re/read all the Narnia books and this one is where I left off years ago. Plus it fulfilled a requirement for Erin’s challenge and the one with my friends. I know the order of books is debatable, but this one seems to pick up somewhere after The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe. This book follows the story of Shasta & Bree on their journey to freedom. I think it hints at the value of humility and bravery and trust. It’s a light adventure tucked into a short, easy read. I love reading ‘the classics’ and I consider The Chronicles to fall into that category.

I’d recommend this book for anyone looking for a feel-good, light, classic story. It’s kind of an odd pick, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it easy to get through!


Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline|| ★★★★★/5
My grandma recommended I read this book. A friend loaned it to her and she to me. Oh, my heart- I just completely and totally loved this book. It was the kind of story that you think about all day long. It told the story of Vivian (1929) and Molly (2011) and their struggles as orphans to find love, acceptance, strength, and family. This story had so much heartbreak but also so much resolution- it was an absolutely perfect mix. I’d honestly recommend this book to anyone, but especially those who love historical fiction. It’s a gorgeous work of art & storytelling.



the_selectionThe Selection by Kiera Cass|| ★★★/5
This book ended up on my to-read list via bloggers. (I can’t remember who- I’m sorry!!) I don’t usually read novels set in the future, but my weird interest in The Bachelorette drew me to this book. I’d say this is The Bachelorette meets The Hunger Games. It’s a little odd and a little futuristic, but it works. For me, at times this book was five stars and at times it was two. I loved the main character, America, but sometimes her love-triangle-situation annoyed me. I’m going to finish the trilogy, though. I’d recommend this one to those who like a strong female lead with a little romance and lots of dialogue.




Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda|| ★★★★/5
I chose this book because it checks the box on two different challenges. (Yay!) It’s a story about family, motherhood, India, and self-discovery told from multiple points of view. It spans from 1985 to 2004 and is set in India and California. When I started into the book I was afraid it woouldn’t resonate with me- it starts off with upper class and lower class struggles with motherhood. In the end, though, I found myself tearing up with every family moment and loving each character for their own personal growth. I’d recommend Secret Daughter to anyone looking for a warm story filled with culture.

. . .read

| 5 points | Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages: Cress by Marissa Meyer
| 10 points | Read a book that starts with the letter “R”: The Royal We by Heather Cocks
| 10 points | Read a book with five words in the title: The Lady of The River by Philippa Gregory **
| 15 points | Read a book that has a (mostly) blue cover: The Selection by Kiera Cass
| 20 points | Read a book with twins as characters: The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
| 20 points | Read a book from this list of books made into movies: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
| 25 points | Read a book set in a country you have always wanted to visit: Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver (England)
| 30 points | Read a historical fiction book: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline **
| 30 points | Read a music related book: Wicked by Gregory Maguire
| 35 points | Read a book originally published over 100 years ago: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

**I switch to Orphan Train instead of March and The Lady of the River instead of The Taming of the Queen.

So I’m at 85 out of 200 points.

I’m not very happy with the way I review books. I think I might revise it for next month. Thoughts?

What did you read this month? 🙂 Linking up with Michelle, Cat, and Alison for Reading Lately!



What I Read… April & May 2016

I am a pathetic blogger reader. To be quite honest, I don’t understand- I used to be an all-star. While in high school I went out west for two weeks and I started/finished four books- all at least 250 pages (one that was +400 pages). Granted, I had a lot of down time and the alternative to reading was watching Homestar Runner videos with my brother, but still… one book in two months is pathetic.


Per usual, here’s the reviewing system:

★- terrible | ★★- I finished it but it was a struggle | ★★★- not bad, not my favorite | ★★★★- a good read that kept my interest | ★★★★★- I’ve already bought the book for my collection & I’m recommending it to everyone

I’ll also tell you why I read it, what it’s about, and whether or not you should read it. The book images link you back to their GoodReads pages.

Alright, let’s do this.


Exposure to a Billionaire by Ann Menke|| ★★/5
I received this book for free from the author through Kay & Kari & Kristen‘s Literary Ladies book club. (All opinions are obviously my own.) This book was not my favorite & probably contributed to my lack of reading this month. (Excuses, excuses…)

It’s written in a first person p.o.v. and tells about the fabulous, jet-setting life of Anna St. James, a personal flight attended for Stuart Manning- one of the richest men in the world. I will give this book credit for its descriptions of foreign countries and cities and experiences… but that’s all. It was a lot of retelling- similar to reading a journal. Anna was annoying and her description of her wealthy friends was obnoxious and repetitive. The actual author was a flight attendant and I feel like this was one of her flight-daydreams in novel form. I felt it was uppity and impossible to relate to. I didn’t find myself liking any of the characters, despite Anna’s repeated lines about how the pilots were “like brothers to me” and Stuart and his wife “are like my family.” No. Just stop. The ending was so fairytale-y and bad. I need some wine because this book was so cheesy.

I’m curious to see what other bookclub-ers said, but I would not recommend this one to you or anyone. Sorry guys… (It looked/sounded like it had such potential!)

. . .

Right now I’m doing a reading challenge via Google Drive with some friends in Arizona. They’re going to kick my butt…
Erin’s Read My Books Challenge starts Wednesday and lasts a month & her summer challenge categories are going to be posted soon! I’m excited for another challenge. I’ll post my selections on Friday!

Currently Reading: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs for my Google Drive challenge 🙂