Odd Things About Aud: Book Edition

I have some odd reading habits. (I imagine all voracious readers do, though I don’t consider my reading style to be “voracious.”) Perhaps you do some of these things, too. Maybe you think I’m a total nut who doesn’t know how to read properly. Either way, today I’m a open book. (Pun so intended.)

I always look to see how many pages a book has. Sometimes I even read the last page or paragraph of the book. I know I’m spoiling it, but sometimes my anxiety needs to know. Also, when I really love a character, I check the last page or chapter to make sure they’re still alive. #sorrynotsorry

I don’t enjoy thrillers. They make my whole body shake and I dream about them and I try to figure out “who done it” the whole time… but after reading The Woman in Cabin 10 I can accurately conclude that I tend to breeze through them much faster than any other genre. (And I definitely didn’t enjoy that one!)

I work better with a challenge. I like making a summer reading list or participating in Erin’s challenges because they give me a direction and a “to do list” for book reading. Even if I read things off that list, I have something that I’m working toward. I read best that way.

About halfway through a book I decide what I’m going to rate it on Goodreads/my blog. Then I give it the second half to up its score (or, unfortunately, wreck it).

If a book is good enough, I scour the internet for fan art/more details/background stories. I don’t think that’s too out of the ordinary, though, right? (I am all about the fan art with The Lunar Chronicles.) I try to curb the searching if I feel like it might ruin the ending/next book.

When I’m super into a book I typically force myself to put it down… even if I pick it up again 5 minutes later. I think my brain just needs a few minutes to process what I read or feel that urge to HAVE to jump back in. If someone were to watch me read they’d see me read for 30 minutes or an hour, set the book down and look out the window or toss the dogs’ toys a bit, then crack it open for another hour of reading.

I have a serious love/hate relationship with my Kindle. K gave me a Paperwhite for my birthday last year. I love it because it’s portable AND it’s backlit (that’s the term, right?) so I can read in bed while he’s sleeping. And therein lies the hate… If I’m not tired I will open up that Kindle and read for hours. Last week I read from 9:30pm to 2:30am. I have always been more productive at night, but I tried to change my ways after I graduated college. Kindle is making me regress…

I need to have at least 2 books going at the same time (and they can’t be similar). Also, there’s no limit to how many books I have going… Right now I’m reading seven. I switch based on what I’m in the mood for (like how one would pick a movie) and I scatter them all over the house so something is always at my fingertips 🙂

To be clear, I don’t always let myself spoil books. There are times I avoid GoodReads reviews or skip over a book during the #SUYB link-up. I’m not a total monster.

Do you have any strange reading quirks? Do we share any?

*I’m going to take next week off from blogging. I’ll still be hopping around and reading your posts, but my creative juices are lacking and I think a week off will help! 🙂

Books I Want to Read – Summer 2018

This is supposed to be a book review day where I link up with Steph and Jana, and share all my opinions on books. Well, I finished an impress ZERO books since the last Show Us Your Books so I’m flipping the script today.
Before I dive in, HAPPY 25th BIRTHDAY to my baby brother! ❤

I did a post like this last year in May and I’m impressed with myself that there were only two books I didn’t end up reading. With my last book challenge ending in April and the next one starting in July, I feel like I have some time to tackle a few of these!

Hopefully what I don’t finish I can squeeze into Erin’s next challenge somewhere.

One Dark Throne //#2 in the Three Dark Crowns series (Kendare Blake)
I finished the first books in the series earlier this year & I’m pretty motivated to read on and find out what happens… I’m avoiding all spoilers so I don’t know what it’s about.

A Court of Thorns & Roses (Sarah J. Maas)
I meant for this to be my next fantasy series, but I got sucked into the TDC series. Whoops. I own the first book in this series and the Throne of Glass series so hopefully I pick one up soon.

After Alice (Gregory Maguire)
You know I love me a good Alice in Wonderland spin-off/retelling. I picked this up from a bookstore a few months ago and put it on the short stack.

The Magnolia Story (Joanna & Chip Gaines)
I know this will be a quick read. I need to set aside a warm afternoon in the sunshine.

One of Us is Lying (Karen M. McManus)
I’ve heard nothing but good reviews with this book. I can’t wait to crack it open!

The Alice Network (Kate Quinn)
I remember hearing this was good. I bought it on a whim months ago.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows)
I feel like everyone loves this book. I think it’ll be a quick read.

Crazy Rich Asians (Kevin Kwan)
This has been on my TBR list for a while and now it’s going to be a movie. Gotta read the book first, though.

The Casual Vacancy (J.K. Rowling)
Can you believe I haven’t read this yet? I’ve tried but I couldn’t get into it. I’ll try again.

I own all these books except ODT, Guernsey, & CRA. I’ve got no excuse to not read the ones in my possession. Lol

What’s on your summer reading list? Have any strong feelings about these books?

I promise I’ll have some reviews for June’s #SUYB post!

Life According to Steph

What I Read…

Woot woot! It’s book day!! April is the final month for Erin’s 8.0 Book Challenge, too.

I’m linking up with my favorite book gurus (Steph & Jana) for Show Us Your Books!

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman
★★★★★/5
In his old age, a grandpa looks back with fondness and regret over his relationships with his son and grandson. 
This entire story destroyed me. I read it in on sitting one a quiet Saturday afternoon. Thank goodness K wasn’t home because I bawled like a baby for the last half. I think that if you’ve ever seen someone close to you slowly (or quickly) age and fade from the person they used to be, this book will move you. This was my first Backman book and I enjoyed his writing and storytelling. I’m definitely going to check out some of his more popular books next.
Should you read it? Yes. But brace yourself.

The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch
★★★/5 
In 1659 Bavaria ostracized hangman Jakob Kuisl is tasked with torturing a friend accused of witchcraft and murder… unless he can prove her innocence. With help from his daughter and her suitor, the town’s physician’s son, can Jakob stop the madness before it escalates? 
This was a long book that felt even longer. (I really rate it 2.5 starts but I round up.) I half wonder if the translation made it drag on so terribly…? Sometimes the plot was repeated, similar to a TV show recaping what had happened before the commercial break. I’m not sure… something just made it feel slow and labored. The story itself was great! I loved the setting and the mystery and murders sent chills down my spine. Don’t even get me started on the devil character. ~eek~ I think the title and cover look a little playful, but be warned there are some torture details and most of the murder victims are orphan kids. Definitely not a light and fluffy tale. I know there are four or five more books in this series but I don’t think I’ll be reading on.
Should you read it? No. You can skip this one.

*I think both of these books were written in a different language. Lol


Now for an update on the book challenge… (It ends April 30th at 11:59pm.)

|5 points| Freebie: The Murder on the Links (Christie)
|10 points| Starts with the letter L: Last Christmas in Paris (Gaynor)
|10 points| Has a (mostly) red cover: Girl Waits With Gun (Stewart)
|15 points| A character’s name in the title: HP & the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
|20 points| From this list: Three Dark Crowns (Blake)
|20 points| “House” or “home” in the title: The House of New Beginnings (Diamond)
|25 points| Author’s first & last name begins w/ the same letter: Renegades (Meyer, M)
|30 points| Originally published in a different language: The Hangman’s Daughter (Potzsch)
|30 points| Most of the action takes place on a form of transportation: Dead Wake (Larson)
|35 points| A character suffers from a debilitating illness: Finding Audrey (Kinsella)

Up to 125 points.

Honestly, I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t be finishing Erin’s challenge this time. When I first started doing her book challenges I was barely reading two books a year. I typically average two or three books a month now so I’m not the least bit upset about not completing the challenges 🙂 I’ll get the next one, though. For some reason I left the +400 page books for the end. Even if I don’t get them done before April’s end, I plan to finish Dead Wake and Renegades.

So that’s all I’ve got. Tell me what you read this month!

Life According to Steph

What I Read…

First & foremost, Happy Birthday (yesterday) to my Kyle ❤︎

According to GoodReads I am right on track for my goal of 50 books this year. That makes me a little nervous since up until now I was ahead by a book or two. Hmm… We’ll have to see how the year progresses.

Anyway, I’m obviously linking up with Steph & Jana today for Show Us Your Books! Here’s what I’ve been reading…

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
★★★★/5
The Kopp sisters were seemingly good at keeping their noses clean but then their buggy is struck by an automobile driven by the ruthless silk factory owner, Henry Kaufman. How much will Constance sacrifice to bring the rapscallion to justice?
I loved Constance. She trusted her gut and her shooting hand and her instinct. She was brave with apprehension, smart with self-doubt. Her humor and fierce loyalty to her sisters made me giggle and tear up. I freaking loved that she wasn’t afraid to push back. For some reason I had reservations about this book. I had some weird expectation and it didn’t align with the story told. I don’t know why… but that’s why it got 4 stars from me. Under different mental circumstance it might’ve been a five.
Should you read it? Absolutely! Especially if you like strong females, mysteries, and/or historical fiction.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
★★★★★/5
On the island of Fennbirn triplet queens are born, separated, and raised by foster families in accordance with their strengths. Then, on their 16th birthday, they are called to kill one another in pursuit of the crown. 
I loved this story. Be warned- it starts off very slowly. All the action takes place in the final+30% of the book. The author weaves in world building with character development- and there are a lot of characters. I liked how each sister had totally different personalities and unique story lines with different issues going on… but a similar goal of surviving. I thought I’d love one sister more than another, but I felt myself hoping for the best for all three. Dang… this was just a twisty, fully developed first book. I am dying to get my hands on the next one in the series. Lastly, when are my naturalist powers going to kick in? Obviously my familiar would be a fox. Lol.
Should you read it? If you enjoy fantasy mixed with friendship & romance & action, YES.


I regards to Erin’s 8.0 Book Challenge…

|5 points| Freebie: The Murder on the Links (Christie)
|10 points| Starts with the letter L: Last Christmas in Paris (Gaynor)
|10 points| Has a (mostly) red cover: Girl Waits With Gun (Stewart)
|15 points| A character’s name in the title: HP & the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
|20 points| From this list: Three Dark Crowns (Blake)
|20 points| “House” or “home” in the title: The House of New Beginnings (Diamond)
|25 points| Author’s first & last name begins w/ the same letter: Renegades (Meyer, M)
|30 points| Originally published in a different language: The Hangman’s Daughter (Potzsch)
|30 points| Most of the action takes place on a form of transportation: Dead Wake (Larson)
|35 points| A character suffers from a debilitating illness: Finding Audrey (Kinsella)

Up to 95 out of 200 points.

Right now I’m (still) working on Dead Wake and I’ve started The Hangman’s Daughter. All the books left on my challenge list are +450 pages. Nice going, Audrey.

What did you read this month? What are you reading right now??

Life According to Steph

Currently

Happy Thursday! And happy belated Valentine’s Day, friends! 💗

What are you currently doing/feeling/looking forward to? Here’s what’s going on with me!

Reading… to distract myself. When we fly I engross myself in books to distract me from my anxiety. I finished Girl Waits With Gun on our last flight. I’m still working on Dead Wake. I’m about to start Three Dark Crowns.

Eating… out very often. Trade show season drops us in new hotels and cities so we get to check out the local cuisine. This week it’s guacamole and steak and so many good veggies!

Drinking… mixed drinks. And also coffee. And tons of water. #TradeShowSeason

Feeling… proud of myself. After lots of prayer and some serious self-talk, I managed to get on a plane and fly without totally freaking out. My palms got sweaty, but I didn’t death-grip K’s leg and my stomach stayed out of my throat. Haha.

Wishing for… a new president, a world without school shootings, no homeless dogs.

Thankful for… our fabulous dog sitter/house sitter. I feel so good knowing Ly and E are being loved on when we leave.

Planning… a vacation. It kind of sucks because by the end of spring we are sooo traveled-out, but our five year anniversary is in April and K has agreed to go on vacation. (Whew!) I’m trying to find some place interesting but relaxing. Bonus points if we can find a direct flight 😉

Loving… Kyle. We didn’t really do anything for Valentine’s Day, but we were together all day. We’re together all day, every day. I couldn’t spend this much time with anyone else. He’s the best (and the most annoying sometimes, lol).

Praying… for God to take my worries and for our travels to be safe and uneventful. Also praying for those hurting from tragedy, sickness, financial struggles, etc. I can’t stand these shootings. Every week, guys. Multiple times a week, in fact. WTF. (In addition to praying I’m also voting, donating, volunteering, etc. I think you should pray for the guidance and opportunity to help and remedy the pain people feel- not just hope it gets better for them.)

Excited about… K’s birthday (nothing planned), being home for a few weeks (nothing planned), the *hopeful* slowness of March (nothing planned), & a food and wine night in Cleveland with my favorite gals next Friday.

Ok, your turn! Tell me what’s new with you! What are you excited about?

What I Read…

February has not been a good reading month for me, but fortunately I finished four books by the end of January.

I’m all over the place with ratings today but nothing drops below a three. Maybe I’m too nice? Or maybe I’ve just been good at picking books this year. I don’t know…

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
★★★/5
When Scarlet joined Robin Hood & his merry men she buried her secrets, her identity, and her long hair under her hat and took on the roll off Will Scarlet, thief. When Scarlet’s past suddenly catches up to her she’s forced to make a decision: run or fight.
This book should’ve be right up my alley. It’s been on my TBR list forever & when Alexandra sent it to me this Christmas in our blogger gift exchange (thank you!!) I finally cracked it open. Unfortunately, there were three big things that irked me. First, I hate love triangles. Second, there was SO much self loathing. Damn. Everyone has demons, but geeeez. Third, and most irritating of all, the entire book was from Scarlet’s p.o.v. and she used very poor grammar to imitate English peasants. As a coping mechanism, I forced my brain to correct it while I was reading. Scarlet was a bad ass character, though, and the story itself was very quick and interesting so overall it was a decent YA Robin Hood retelling.
Should you read it? Maybe… keep in mind it’s YA and it needs to be your kind of story.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
★★★★★/5
In his second year at Hogwarts Harry can’t stay out of trouble. With a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher wreaking havoc on his life, Harry tries to continue his studies, catch the snitch, protect his friends, and solve the mystery of the sinister Chamber of Secrets.
Harry Potter reviews are weird because I love these stories so much. #biased CoS isn’t my favorite book in the series, but I love that you can get lost in these stories like you’re falling into an old memory stored in a diary. 😉 This book reveals a little more about the Weasley family and their way of life. And I’m obsessed with the illustrations in all these editions.  Also, if you’re familiar with the stories, some foreshadowing and “Easter eggs” appear that support future story lines. I love how Rowling weaved the books together. This was obviously a reread for me.
Should you read it? Yep, but only after The Sorcerer’s Stone.
*I shared my thoughts on this book last Thursday!

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking
★★★/5
The Hygge (hoo-ga) trend is sweeping the nation & this book dives into the titular traditions, lifestyle, and behaviors- further proving why Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world.
I am a skeptical person. While I like the idea of happiness and coziness throughout the home (as hygge represents), I took issue with the author making broad, general statements about Denmark and the Danes. I’ve never been and I don’t really have any Danish friends, but they ALL can’t possibly be candle lovers and bread bakers, right? The book was informative about hygge, but not without sounding a little… uppity? arrogant? I’m not sure… Again, I’m skeptical and cynical so I didn’t enjoy the *voice* of this author. (It wasn’t an audiobook- I’m referring to his textual tone.) You might like it- it just wasn’t for me.
Should you read it? No, not unless you’re really interested in this new millennial craze 😉

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb
★★★★/5
Evie Elliott is stunned and excited when her brother Will & his best friend Thomas leave England to fight in WWI. Letters travel to & from France for four grueling years as the threesome and their friends and family keep in touch during those dangerous years.
Halfway through the book I decided it was three star-er… then the last 80 pages happened. The entire story was told in letters and telegrams. I haven’t read a book like that in a while. I loved all the friendships and relationships. I loved the slow romance and the build to the final year of the war. There were big gaps in letters and heartbreak and happiness- pretty much everything you’d expect in a WWI romance novel. I cried at the end, too. Big surprise. Lol
Should you read it? If you’re a fan of historical fiction, specifically wartime romance, then yes.

Erin’s Challenge has been progressing…

|5 points| Freebie: The Murder on the Links (Christie)
|10 points| Starts with the letter L: Last Christmas in Paris (Gaynor)
|10 points| Has a (mostly) red cover: Girl Waits With Gun (Stewart)
|15 points| A character’s name in the title: HP & the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
|20 points| From this list: Three Dark Crowns (Blake)
|20 points| “House” or “home” in the title: The House of New Beginnings (Diamond)
|25 points| Author’s first & last name begins w/ the same letter: Renegades (Meyer, M)
|30 points| Originally published in a different language: The Hangman’s Daughter (Potzsch)
|30 points| Most of the action takes place on a form of transportation: Dead Wake (Larson)
|35 points| A character suffers from a debilitating illness: Finding Audrey (Kinsella)

Up to 65 out of 200 points.

Linking up with Steph & Jana again! What’d you read this month?

Life According to Steph

What I Read…

It’s the very first Show Us Your Books link-up of 2018!

As I mentioned last year, I’m changing my reviewing process just a bit. Nothing to write home about. You’ll navigate the new waters just fine. Hopefully I’ve settled on this format.

I included my favorite quotes from some of the better books. I won’t do that all the time, but if the words truly speak to me I’ll probably pass them along here.

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
★★★★★/5
A somewhat quirky, sad but hopeful & unique story about Father Christmas.
I added this book to my TBR list at the beginning of 2017 and made a note in my planner to start it in December. Good call, past-Audrey. It was whimsical and cute, but it wasn’t all fluffy and unconditional happiness. I loved how Haig tied traditional Christmas elements into the storytelling. While I believe this book is aimed at middle schoolers and teenagers, there were so many applicable lessons for all ages.
Should you read it? Yes! Especially around the holidays!
*read in 2017

There was a gasp. ‘A human? Will he eat us?’
‘No.’
‘Should we run away?’
‘It’s perfectly safe, I’m sure. And even if it’s not, we must never let fear be our guide.’

. . .

‘That’s impossible.’
Little Noosh gasped as Father Topo covered her ears. ‘Elves never ever say that word.’ He shook his head. ‘An impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet…’


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
★★★★★/5
Summoned to the grand apartment of living Hollywood legend Evelyn Hugo, Monique Grant is surprised to find that the once-private mega star is suddenly ready to talk and specifically requesting Monique to tell her story.
This was my first TJR and obviously it didn’t disappoint. I loved the old Hollywood drama and the complex characters and the spirit and drive and cruelty and fierceness of Evelyn. Man… she wasn’t a flawless heroine or a soft and gentle role model. She was just….. determined and human and calculating and smart. And that makes for an extremely interesting character. I picked this book up one night and devoured 100 pages, then came back for more the second evening, and sat down after work on the third night and knew I’d finish it. I felt like the story was easy to read and understand, but it kept me guess and craving more.
Should you read it? Yes, I believe that you should.
*read in 2017

“When you dig just the tiniest bit beneath the surface, everyone’s love life is original and interesting and nuanced and defies any easy definition.”


Finding Audrey by Sophia Kinsella
★★★★/5
Completely devastated and broken by an incident at school, 14 year old Audrey hides from the world behind her family, therapist, and black sunglasses, but then she meets Linus and her brain starts to change.
First, and totally unrelated, it’s fun to read about a character with your name. That’s rare for me. I loved when they called her Aud 🙂 That’s my nickname, too. Anyway… the story was cute and quick. Audrey’s family was SO frustrating but they meant well. I loved the way Kinsella tackled tough issues like bullying and depression and social anxiety. The focus of the story was never on the drama of Audrey’s past. Rather, it focused on her present situation and her healing and her different outlook on the world. I thought the story and characters were likeable and relatable. It ended a little neatly and the last half felt rushed, but I didn’t mind. The video camera moments were fun.
Should you read it? Yes, if you enjoy the occasional quick YA novel.


The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
★★★/5 
A cry for help summons Hercule Poirot and Cpt. Arthur Hastings to France but they arrive too late and are suddenly swept up into a murder with many suspects, clues, and victims.
I very much enjoy the mystery and pace of Christie’s novels. She/Poirot reveal most of the clues and details, but I have yet to solve any of her damn mysteries. Lol. The Hastings character makes me absolutely insane with his stupid naivety. He always so quick to judge or fall for a pretty girl or doubt Poirot. Seriously dude, just chill. But anyway, it was another solid mystery set in a quaint 1920s French seaside town.
Should you read it? Maybe. If you like English mysteries.


Right now I’m participating in the Book Challenge by Erin 8.0:

|5 points| Freebie: The Murder on the Links (Christie)
|10 points| Starts with the letter L: Last Christmas in Paris (Gaynor)
|10 points| Has a (mostly) red cover: Girl Waits With Gun (Stewart)
|15 points| A character’s name in the title: HP & the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
|20 points| From this list: Three Dark Crowns (Blake)
|20 points| “House” or “home” in the title: The House of New Beginnings (Diamond)
|25 points| Author’s first & last name begins w/ the same letter: Renegades (Meyer, M)
|30 points| Originally published in a different language: The Hangman’s Daughter (Potzsch)
|30 points| Most of the action takes place on a form of transportation: Dead Wake (Larson)
|35 points| A character suffers from a debilitating illness: Finding Audrey (Kinsella)

Kicking things off with 40 out of 200 points.

Linking up with Steph and Jana today!! Comment and tell me what you read this month!