What I Read…

Every time I show up here I make excuses for why I’ve been absent, but I don’t have any excuse today. Sometimes I’m here and sometimes I’m not… I appreciate that when I show up you guys usually do, too.

Enough jibber jabber. On to the books.

Finally linking up with Steph and Jana today for Show Us Your Books! It’s my first one this year!

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore | Historical Romance | ★★/5
I know I’m in the minority, but I didn’t love this one. I thought the duke was aggressive and fickle and unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE a grumpy suitor, but this guy had an air of superiority that took him way too long to get over. And Annabelle was super uncreative when it came to escaping or fixing her circumstances. These two dingbats killed it for me.

The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton | Historical Fiction | ★★★/5
I wasn’t head over heels for this one like I thought I’d be, but dammit I love the way Crichton writes. He effortlessly makes you root for the bad guys. (And in Jurassic Park he made me HATE the bad guys, lol.) This was a little boring and not what I was expecting. It was like a period drama you’d turn on, watch 2 or 3 episodes, and forget about for another week or so until you had some down time. (Aka, not binge-worthy.)


Book Challenge by Erin 14.0

| 5 p | Freebie: The Unhoneymooners (Christina Lauren)
| 10 p | You’ve been meaning to re-read: HP & the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
| 10 p | The first book of a series you’ve never read: A Court of Thorns and Roses (Maas)
| 15 p | Mostly green and/or pink cover art: The World of Lore: Wicked Mortals (Mahnke)
| 20 p | A male relationship word in the title: The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers (Mullen)
| 20 p | Set in a place on your bucket list: Bringing Down the Duke (Dunmore)
| 25 p | Reminds you of 2020: A Vow So Bold & Deadly (Kemmerer) – dark, I know.
| 30 p | Written by an LGBTQIA+ author: Red, White & Royal Blue (McQuiston)
| 30 p | The name of a bird in the title: The Maltese Falcon (Hammett)
| 35 p | Protagonist has a questionable profession: The Great Train Robbery (Crichton)

55 points total

What did you read this month?

What I Read…

Hello. I thought I’d have three books for you today. I have one. #BetterThanNothing

I wish it was a higher rating… Also, some M picks are below!

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

Frogkisser by Garth Nix
★★/5; Teenage Fantasy
Ughhh… I wanted to love this story & I did not. It read like a middle grade marriage of The Phantom Tollbooth & The Hobbit. I love both of those stories but this one didn’t work for me. I loved the royal dogs & I loved Anya’s determination to not be a princess who needed saved… but it was such a young book. I wouldn’t call it a teen read. It was just long and silly in a weird way and… I don’t know. I loved the concept and hated the execution. Which is a shame because it really sounded like my kind of book.
Read it? No. Although I know some (Alexandra, Bev) really liked it.

And from M’s vast library… here are some favs this month:

If I Were A Lizard by Kidsbooks
This one is silly but cute & it has a bunch of lizards if that’s your kid’s thing. M just like color.

And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon by Janet Stevens, Susan Stevens Crummel
Not 100% on the illustrations but we liked all the nursery rhyme references.

The Brave Little Owl by Gill Davies
This was mommy’s favorite of the month ❤

God Is With Us by Amy Parker, Ramona Kaulitzki (Illustrator)
This is an ok one for Christmas… We were not aware it was the story of Jesus’ birth until we started and M doesn’t like to quit books.

Maybe next month’s mom book quantity will match M’s… lol.

What’d you read this month?

Life According to Steph

I Dare Ya -book tag-

I know last Tuesday was book day but can one ever really talk too much about books? I followed through to a commenter’s blog last week and found this book tag. (Thank you, Jade of The Elder Books!)

There are rules: Answer honestly, answer all the questions, tag four book people.

On to the fun…

🌼 What book has been on your shelf the longest?
My mom’s grade school copy of Alice in Wonderland. I love reading from it. The pages and the smell and everything about. Also, the books from my childhood that still sit on my adult shelves are The Cricket in Times Square, Little Bo, and Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile.

🌼 What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?
I finished a few of the Saga volumes recently. I can’t seem to finish The Lost World, even though I’m enjoying it. I’m also reading Wundersmith and Seduction. Next up is The Matrimonial Advertisement and The Other Lady Vanishes.

🌼 What book did everyone like, but you hated?
Hmm. This is tough because I know there are no universal “loves”… but hyped books that I didn’t love are The Woman in Cabin 10, Daisy Jones & The Six, and The Great Gatsby.

🌼 What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
I can’t seem to get thought The Casual Vacancy or Wicked.

🌼 What book are you saving for retirement?
This is a strange question. All books I don’t get to before then…? Lol. Probably the GoT novels. Hahaha. I imagine I’ll reread my favorites when I have all the time in the world (Alice, Harry Potter, etc.).

🌼 Last page: read it first or wait ’til the end?
I always look at the page count but I only read the final page if I’m worried a character I love might die.

🌼 Acknowledgment: waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?
I don’t really care about the acknowledgment section. Sometimes if the author was/is a blogger I’ll read through to see if I know any bloggers they thank. I think it’s Marissa Meyer/The Lunar Chronicles that lists acknowledgments in a creative way.

🌼 Which book character would you switch places with?
Ginny Weasley (Harry Potter after CoS), Vanessa (Winnipeg), or Amory Ames.

🌼 Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (place, time, person)?
Not really… Is that sad? Harry Potter will always remind me of my mom because she was/is into all the book and movie releases like I was. My grandma used to read Uncle Remus stories to us when we were little so those remind me of her, lol.

🌼 Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.
I don’t know that I have any… Most books were gifts or I bought them. A few ARCs here and there. I did buy Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone when I was in India because I wanted a British version of the book.

🌼 Have you ever given a book away for a special reason/to a special person?
I gifted a NEW version of a book I loved to my husband’s grandpa (The Sisters Brothers). Also, I loaned Evelyn Hugo to a friend… but she’s about to move to Tampa so it might be considered “gifted” at this point. Lol.

🌼 Which book has been with you to the most places?
When I was reading The Lunar Chronicles I took a few of them on a trip or two for work. I *think* I took the first GoT book to India with me…? But I didn’t read it.

🌼 Any ‘required reading’ you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?
I hated The Great Gatsby and Wuthering Heights. Spoiler alert… I still do. LOL

🌼 Used or brand new?
I don’t really have a preference. I just like a certain font size and a good spine.

🌼 Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?
Yep- I read both Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code when they were popular. I remember really liking A&D.

🌼 Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?
I can think of a bunch of books I loved & movies I HATED. Haha. I couldn’t get into Crazy Rich Asians (book) but I enjoyed the movie. And like I said- I just can’t get through Wicked, but I loved the musical.

🌼 Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?
The only one I can really think of is Heartless. The main character was a pastry chef and her creations sounded amazing.

🌼 Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
Most of my real world friends don’t read like me. (Although my cousin is a reading fiend.) On the world wide web I usually end up loving the books that Kristen, Alexandra, and Olya recommend. Many blog friends make awesome suggestions, but those three typically read the genres I love.

🌼 Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g. outside of your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?
I think the recommendation came from both Jana and Erin. The Sisters Brothers is a rough and tumble, violent and gory, almost unredeemable western. And I loved it. Saga is also a far cry from my normal read, but it has me hooked right now.

Now I’m supposed to tag people, but I feel like lots of bloggers would have fun with this 🙂 I know Tanya and Rebecca Jo especially enjoy these kinds of posts. I think Alexandra would have fun with it, too. But no one need feel obliged! And if you want to “steal” and post, go for it 😉

What I Read…

Last (standard) Show Us Your Books link-up for 2018! WHAT EVEN!?

Seriously, though. I truly feel like this year flew by. I wouldn’t call it my best or worst year- just another year. But we’ll do a recap some other time. Today is all books, books, books.

This month was a month of short ones. Kind of. I don’t know… just keep reading. Lol

Until Harry by L.A. Casey
★★★/5 
Lane’s been away from home for 6 years and she’s devastated to be returning just in time for her Uncle Harry’s funeral. The time and distance hasn’t changed a thing for Lane… Has it changed anything for her childhood bff Kale?
This book was depressing. And kind of forgettable. Honestly, it wasn’t my favorite and it was a true 2.5 ★ (but I round up). There was a ton of death in this book- a depressing amount. I mean, the titular character dies right off the bat. I can’t remember why I downloaded this to my Kindle, but the romance wasn’t even that spectacular. I hated the cheesy af nicknames and the overly protective ENTIRE family. Again, there was just a lot of heavy stuff squeezed into a romance novel. I like the back-and-forth timeline, though. And Kale, the male protagonist, sounded hot at least. *shrug*
Should you read it? Nah.

Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid
★★★★★/5 
As Carrie reaches out to David she has no idea what to expect. What do you say to the husband of the woman your husband is having an affair with? And what will he say back?
This is my second TJR book. (The first was Evelyn.) Obviously I loved it. I’ve never read any of her contemporary stories, but I feel like I’d love them. This almost felt like a Daisy Jones teaser- if only because there’s a quick reference to her in the story. I really loved this book, though. It was short and sweet. I absolutely felt for Carrie and David (the affairees) and I wanted things to work out… which sometimes meant their marriages getting fixed and sometimes didn’t. It was sweet and complete. I loved getting lost in another TJR vintage story. And obviously now I’m salivating for Daisy Jones.
Should you read it? Yes. It’s short and captivating and worth it.

A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews
★★★★/5 
Sophie doesn’t mind marrying beneath her if it will help her family… so long as it’s for love. After months of being courted by Mr. Sharpe, Sophie makes the executive decision to end the arrangement… but was she too hasty?
My summary sucks and doesn’t do the book justice. Sorry. First of all, that cover art 😍 Secondly, this was the sweetest little holiday novella. Tons of cheeky banter and winter wonderland scenes. And the romance really seemed genuine. I was sad to see the story end. It was the perfect read to kick off the cozy holiday season.
Should you read it? If you enjoy clean romance & historical fiction, yes.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
★★★★/5 
After the passing of her aunt, Willowdean is at a loss. Drifting away from her bff, feuding with her mother, and juggling the stress of boys isn’t helping the situation. Throw in a beauty pageant and Will’s just about ready to throw in the towel.
I have mixed feelings on this book… I certainly didn’t hate it, so let’s get that out of the way. Also, I loved the two main boys in Willowdean’s life. I thought they were both respectful and sweet as Texas tea. I also loved the gals from Odessa 😉 The teenage drama annoyed me at first (Will’s angst, her feuds, everyone’s attitude, etc.) but I just so happened to read through one of my hs diaries while I was reading this book. Daaaaang- I was an angsty, senseless teenager, too. I get it. This is teen/ya book through and through. So any point docking I did for that was reversed. Some folks on GR disliked the ending, but I was good with it. I wish we’d have gotten more pageant fun and shenanigans. Overall, it was an enjoyable teen book. And now I can watch the movie on Netflix 🙂
Should you read it? If any part of my review strikes your fancy, sure.
*I watched the movie the day after I finished the book. The movie left a lot out, so read the book first. That said, the pageant party is more fun in the film.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
★★★/5 
Holly Golightly can’t be caged, occasionally suffers from the mean reds, and is pursued by playboys and criminals alike. She is fragile but resilient, bold but self-conscious.
I watched the film a long time ago, so I can’t speak to the similarities and differences. Also, this book has NOT held up well to the political correctness of time… So just fyi there. I loved the story, though. You know how on Mad Men everyone is a little effed up and broken? I would say that Miss Golightly would fit right in. She’s bold and spontaneous, but so sad and lonely and self-conscious deep down. Part of the time she’s a lovable doll, sometimes she just a child, and half the time you want to smack her. She’s definitely an interesting literary character- and even a little relatable when you boil it all down.
Should you read it? If you like the movie, you owe it to yourself to read the book.


It doesn’t start until January 1st, but here are my choices for Erin’s Book Challenge 10.0! All books must be 200 pages (unless noted) and only one reread is allowed. No doubling up on categories- 10 different books for the round. Find all the rules on the linked fb/gr pages!

| 5 points | Freebie: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
| 10 points | A book that was made into a movie: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
| 10 points | Set in Europe: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
| 15 points | A Newberry Award winner: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
| 20 points | A friend or family member’s favorite: Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
| 20 points | Published over 100 years ago: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
| 25 points | Six words (exact) in the title: The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
| 30 points | A compass or cardinal direction in the title: The North Water by Ian McGuire
| 30 points | Published in a different language: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
| 35 points | Begins with the letter “N”: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Find her rules & all the details here. We participate on GoodReads, too!

Thanks for hosting Show Us Your Books, Steph & Jana!!

Life According to Steph

What I Read…

I was one of those weirdos that enjoyed school for the learning aspect. With the exception of my roommates, my favorite part about college was time in the classrooms. I loved taking notes, writing stories/essays, and learning new things.

I did NOT love how little time I had for pleasure reading. I’m very grateful to be out of school and free of the obligatory text book reading. Bring on the fun books 🙂

This month I only finished 2 books. We had some crazy travel & work weeks. Linking up for Show Us Your Books with Steph & Jana!

Not So Nice Guy by R.S. Grey
★★★/5 
Sam & Ian are co-workers, teachers, best friends, and NOT dating. But when all the teachers find out that Ian and Sam are both on the market, their relationship becomes a little more complicated.
Ehh… This was more like a 2.5 star book but I round up. I won’t lie- the END of romance novels are usually the best part. Or at least the last third of the book. It’s where the sparks typically fly & catch everything on fire. I actually enjoyed the first half of this book WAY more than the second half. The romance was weird and almost too friendly-to-lovey. And that’s coming from someone whose own romance went from friends to lovers. Ian wasn’t appealing to me at all. He was moody and touchy (personality-wise, not physically). I didn’t like that. Also, Sam was kind of tough on herself appearance-wise when it came to Ian’s amazing awesome attractiveness. *eyeroll* Girl- if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Don’t worry about being in his sex appeal shadow- move out the shade and soak in that sun. But I digress.
Should you read it? I would say no… It’s not my cup of tea romance-wise. If you’re a HUGE friends-to-lovers fan then maybe.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
★★★★★/5 
Days before Harry enters his third year at Hogwarts, the notorious Sirius Black escapes Azkaban prison. Everyone’s worried that he’s after Harry but Harry just wants to pass his classes and win the Quidditch cup.
This has always been my very favorite HP book. While Jo definitely ties books 1 & 2 into the whole series, I feel like we really start to get into the history and core story with this book. I love the introduction of Sirius and Remus with this book. When you’ve read this story before, I feel like you find a large chunk of the book frustrating. Oh well- deep, strong feelings are what makes the world of HP wonderful. What’s your favorite HP book? I’m really really loving my journey of rereading the illustrated versions as they’re released. They’re SO beautiful!
Should you read it? Duh, but only after you’ve finished the first two books!

*On Thursday I will share my Thoughts While Rereading HP & the PoA!

|5 points| Freebie: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
|10 points| Starts with the letter N: Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
|10 points| Has a mostly orange color: A Tyranny of Petticoats by various authors
|15 points| A book with an unlikable character: An Act of Villainy by Ashley Weaver*
|20 points| From 100 books PBS calls “The Great American Read”HP & the Prisoner of Azkaban (illustrated version) by J.K. Rowling
|20 points| Related to water in the title: On A Cold Dark Sea by Elizabeth Blackwell
|25 points| Owned/TBR the longest (GoodReads): The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
|30 points| An emotion word in the title: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
|30 points| Each word in the title begins with the same letter: After Alice by Gregory Maguire
|35 points| A book featuring a character who shares your profession or similar one (i.e. does the same kind of thing as you do day to day): The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

I have 130 points out of 200.
*I changed this selection. It was The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling.

What did you read this month?

It feels weird to post today and not mention September 11th… I think it’s called Patriot Day now. I know exactly where I was 17 years ago when I got the news. Today my thoughts are with the loved ones of the innocent people who died at the hands of hatred and fear, as well as those who mourn the loss of a friend or family member that’s since fought the terror in our world.