Thursday, August 24, 2017

Top Ten School-Required Reading Books that I Loved

I used to detest school reading, but then I hit my junior year in high school and everything changed.  Here are my ten favorites through high school and my undergraduate years

1.  Night - Elie Wiesel
2.  Beowulf - Seamus Heaney

3.  The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

4.  The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton

5.  Ordinary People - Judith Guest

6.  Lord of the Flies - William Golding

7.  The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls

8.  Abandoned Prayers - Gregg Olsen

9.  The Guardian - Nicholas Sparks

10.  Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson

Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
Author: J.K. Rowling
Rating: 5/5


When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt's fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Featuring a cast of remarkable characters, this is epic, adventure-packed storytelling at its very best.


I love plays in written form and I love J.K. Rowling, could this book get any better?

To be honest, I'm not sure how to review this book.  The characters are brilliant, I adore Newt and I feel such pain for Credence.  I love how it's not only set in a different wizarding community than Harry Potter, but it's set in an era of the United States that is one of my favorites.

My least favorite part of this entire story is the scene where the Obscurus attacks the party and kills the [senator's?] son (I can't remember exactly who he was anymore).  I'm not sure why I didn't like that part, but I didn't.

On the other hand, my favorite part is every time Newt spends in his case.  I love how so many worlds and so many climates and so many creatures are in such an unassuming place.  It was beautifully described and I wanted to climb into the book and feel it all myself.

I know they're continuing the movies with this series, but I so wish J.K. Rowling would also continue the books.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mini Review: Adulthood is a Myth

Title: Adulthood Is a Myth
Author: Sarah Andersen
Rating: 5/5


Are you a special snowflake?

Do you enjoy networking to advance your career?

Is adulthood an exciting new challenge for which you feel fully prepared?

Ugh. Please go away.

This book is for the rest of us. These comics document the wasting of entire beautiful weekends on the internet, the unbearable agony of holding hands on the street with a gorgeous guy, dreaming all day of getting home and back into pajamas, and wondering when, exactly, this adulthood thing begins. In other words, the horrors and awkwardnesses of young modern life.


Every time a new "scribble" comes out on Sarah Andersen's Facebook or Instagram I just love it.  This is a collection of many scribbles that have never been seen before and I read it in probably an hour.

The next book, Big Mushy Happy Lump, is now out and I cannot wait to pick up a copy.

For a taste here are some of her comics:


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Booktube-A-Thon Wrap-up

Stop the presses everyone! I actually participated in a read-a-thon and got through most of it!

Though I know I am not on Booktube, I watch many channels on there and decided to take part in the annual Booktube-A-Thon.  There were seven categories to read 7 books in seven days - I managed 6 of these!

Challenge 1 - Read a book with a person on the cover

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Rating 5/5

Challenge 2 - Read a hyped book

Title: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Rating: 5/5
Challenge fulfillment: This was so very hyped when it came out by every reviewer I know and I finally got to it - it was worth the hype

Challenge 3 - Finish a book in one day

Title: The Little Prince
Author:  Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry,
Rating: 5/5

Challenge 4 - Read a book about a character that is very different from you

Title: A Long Walk to Water
Author: Linda Sue Park
Rating: 5/5
Challenge fulfillment: I do no live in a war-torn country, am free to go to school, and have fresh water on demand

Challenge 5 - Finish a book completely outdoors

Title: Wonder Woman, Volume 1: The Lies
Author: Greg Rucka
Rating: 4/5

Challenge 6 - Read a book you bought because of the cover

Title: A Thousand Pieces of You
Author: Claudia Gray
Rating: Unknown
This is the one I haven't finished, but isn't the cover beautiful? Currently buddy-reading it with Harleen from Little Bookworm Reviews

Challenge 7 - Read seven books

Title: Openly, Honestly
Author: Bill Konigsberg
Rating: 2/5
Loved the first book, but I think it's been too long since I read it so this novella just didn't do anything for me

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Review: Baby Doll

Title:  Baby Doll
Author:  Hollie Overton
Rating: 5/5


Held captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.

This is what happens next... her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter...and to her captor.


I've had this on my TBR since before it came out last year.  I love psychological thrillers in most forms and have an odd obsession with [true] crime.  While this book was not based on a true story, it pulled a lot from the author's childhood as well as crimes we know of such as Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart.

Let me start by saying that I hate POV shifts.  If I hadn't wanted to read this so bad I would never have picked it up because of that.  Every chapter is a different narrator, shifting between Lily, her sister Abby, her mother Eve, and her captor Rick.  Somehow this worked though.

Lily was kept captive by Rick for 8 years and in that time had a daughter, Sky.  Now when I read that I wondered how this would differ from Room by Emma Donoghue (which I loved).  It's so different thought.  This book begins with Lily finding her freedom, and follows the treacherous path of fitting back into her broken family.

There were enough turns that I didn't see the ending coming for sure, and there was enough character depth that I wasn't aching for too much more.  The only thing I really wanted more of is how Sky, Lily's daughter, grew in the months after their escape.  The author touches on her heavily for the first half of the book, but then she falls by the wayside.


     Lily had been so consumed with keeping Sky safe, with making sure that Rick was caught, that she hadn't had time to really take everything in.  But now, in the early-morning hours, Lily stood watching the sun as it began to make its way over the horizon.  Lily had missed thousands of sunrises, and now here she was, gazing at the glorious start of a brand-new day.  Bursts of golden yellow, burnt orange, and splashes of red all mingled together--a sunrise so picturesque that it couldn't possibly be real.  Below her, the city was coming to life.  Nurses huddled together outside sucking on their cigarettes.  Worried family members paced back and forth, talking on their cell phones.  But not a single one of them seemed to notice the unimaginable beauty unfolding around them.

     Pay attention, Lily thought.  All of this could be taken from them in an instant, and no one cared.  That's not true, Lily told herself.  I care.  There was nothing she cared about more than this sunrise, and then it struck her.  This wasn't a onetime thing.  Lily would see the sun rise again and again.  She had a lifetime of sunrises ahead of her.

     Lily pressed her forehead against the cool pane of glass and imagined sunbathing in the backyard until her skin turned golden brown.  In the spring, she would lace up her sneakers, and with the scorching sun beating down on her back, she would run until her lungs ached.  There were so many possibilities now.  She could do all those things and more.  She was free.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2017 Reading Challenges

Goodreads Challenge:  Read 70 books in 2017

Around the World in 52 Books

1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view)
3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E"
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title
8. A book written by a person of color
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list
10. A dual-timeline novel
11. A category from another challenge
12. A book based on a myth
13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations
18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors
28. A non-fiction
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle)
33. A magical realism novel
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee
37. A book you choose randomly
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold)
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next"
45. A book with a one-word title
46. A time travel novel
47. A past suggestion that didn't win
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) 
52. A book set in a fictional location 

**Disclaimer** I plan to read half of the categories for this challenge, i.e. 26 books

What are you planning this year?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2016 Wrap-Up


Top 3 Favorites

The Martian by Andy Weir
One with You by Sylvia Day
The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Worst 3 Read

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Freedom by Jaycee Dugard
The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan