31DaysofBlogmas, monthly wrap up, Reading

November Wrap-Up!!

So…it’s actually December. Which is funny because on one hand I’m already starting to plan my January TBR and my 2018 bookish goals, but at the same time is slightly scary because Oh MY WORD THE YEAR IS ALMOST OVER AND I HAVE SO MUCH LEFT TO DO!!

And yet the universe is not listening to my cries of despair or my pleas for a TARDIS, so I guess the next best thing is to talk about the books that I read this past month. Yes, good plan! (kinda.)

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Somehow I managed to read 15 books this month, which considering my goal was 10, I am glad I read more then I thought. (Never mind the fact that I completely failed NaNoWriMo, I read more than I thought! Gold star for me!)

~Stats~

New (to me) : fourteen

Reread: one

From my personal library: four (three new, one reread)

Ones from the library I might buy: two, possibility three.

~The Great~ (4.25 stars and above)

I have been kinda strict about handing out 5 star ratings lately. And yet somehow this month I managed to read THREE 5 star books! I feel like the balance has been restored somehow in the universe! The 5 star books I read were: Dance, Stand, Run; Every bitter thing is sweet; and the Last Namsara.

Mr. Darcy’s Diary and Harry Potter both got a 4.25 star rating from me.

All these good books were spread out through out the whole month, which was kinda nice so I wasn’t thrown from one awesome book to another, but it was also kinda hard because I felt like my reading switched sides so many times- from really incredible books to books that were just…meh… and that’s hard to have those ranges in emotions so quickly.

 

~ The Really Good ~ (3 to 4 stars)

The Disappearances andย  Real Artists Don’t Starve both got a solid 4 star rating, very well done.

Out of the Silent Planet and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies both got a 3.5 star rating. I thought they were both well written and highly creative *(side note: I finally saw P&P&Z movie and it was absolutely hilarious, just saying)*

Wild Bird and The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole were both a solid 3 star. Wild bird was actually sitting at about a 2 star but the character arc that happened towards the end pushed it up a full star. And the Black Hole was a really good book about grief and how to grieve for kids (it was a mg), highly recommend if a kid you know is going through a rough patch.

 

~ The Meh~ (Below a 3 star rating)

 

Man…I had such high hopes for all these books. But sadly, not a single one of them lived up to my expectations. On the bright side, I didn’t buy any of these, so I didn’t waste my money at all, just time and driving from the library. ๐Ÿ™‚

I had heard so many good things about the Sculptor, but I felt like it was just boring, bleh and pretty narcissistic. I felt like it might have done better if maybe it was written more coherently or maybe from a different angle? The art was…pretty good…I guess? (It was a graphic novel.)

Refrigerator Monologues was one I had heard was like “anti” super heroes and about the girls saving the day…which was so not true it’s not even funny. It’s actually a collection of short stories all woven together, and they were without a doubt- boring, repetitive and depressing. I was prepared for a “strong girls kick butt” story, not several monologues about how the men were disappointing or didn’t save them or whatever. I really wasn’t paying attention towards the end, and I was mainly disappointed because I love this author’s previous works.

See what I have done was portrayed to me as a grisly account of what Lizzie Borden did to her dad and stepdad (Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her father forty whacks, and when she saw what she had done, she gave her mother 41) but in truth, it was told confusingly, had extremely graphic portrayals of vomit and rotting meat (so. much. disgusting. awful. descriptions of this) and was so very boring. How you can manage to make a narrative of a case that was never actually solved, where Lizzie not only went to prison but then was allowed to go free in a case where people still aren’t sure if she did it or not; and turn it into one of the most boring and disgusting books ever, I’m not sure. But seriously, don’t read this while eating. In fact, just don’t eat while reading this book, you’ll thank me if you decide to read this.

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Anyways, how was your month of reading? Did y’all get to any that you wanted to or any that were high on your list? What books were some disappointments for you? Let me know below!

~Remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading

September wrap up/book haul

Whoops, late again for another wrap up post. But it’s been a crazy and weird start to fall. Basically what happened in September (besides me totally not reading as much as I wanted to) was I got a second job, at Barnes and Noble. (I’m there all the time anyway and when the manager asked if I would be interested in getting a part-time job there, I had to bite my tongue to not scream out “YES PLEASE!” because I love working in a bookstore.)

So that happened, and with my weekends filled up thanks to that, and most of my evenings as well, this month I only read 19 books. Now that might not seem like a bad thing to most people, but my goal was 28 books; which was set before the job but still, failure here.

I did #SequelSeptember last month as well, and even though I didn’t get to any of the NEW sequels, which was actually kind of the point, I did manage to reread 6 books (5 that had sequels). The rest were new, but also were library books. So last month I didn’t make a dent in any of my TBR monster named Steve.

This month I also tried to take a pic of every single book I read, which was actually pretty fun and I’ll be continuing that this next month! (Plus it makes my post all pretty with pictures! (I’m not sure if I’ll show every pic for this month, or just a few highlights)

 

 

~Best: (4-5 star rating)~

 

Of my 4-5 star reads this month, only 2 were brand new to me: Around the world in 80 Days (which is actually now a new favorite) and the Attributes of God (again, a new favorite). The rest were rereads: Mere Christianity was the only reread that I read this month that was a stand-alone, everything else was a sequel/first of a series.

 

 

~Okayish(2.75-3.75 star rating)~

 

All of these were interesting, but not fully worth the full 4 stars (the road back to you I think I gave a 4 star, but it was more like a 3.75) There were some problems with all of them. Mostly it was the characters that got me in the end, in a Darkness Strange and lovely the main character swapped what character growth she had made in the first one, which made me not very happy. The weight of ink didn’t really know what tone it wanted to take with this historical fiction. And the Thief Lord was an interesting read but I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something missing because it seemed to read like 2 different plot ideas, and was rather loose on what should be happening/too many characters to really care about.

(not pictured: what Jesus demands from the world. It was a good book but it seemed to drag on for a long period)

 

~Skip! (1-2 star rating)~

All of these had major problems mostly with the plot and the characters. Book of speculation tried too hard to be magical realism; Beastkeeper had absolutely NO CLUE what the story was or what they really wanted to do with the “plot” (of which there was none); spellbook of the lost and found also tried too hard to be magical realism but just pretty much lost all of it when the author tried to tie it together. And honestly, I don’t like Shel Silverstein’s writing style at all.

(Not pictured: welcome to nightvale and words in deep blue. WTNV was super boring and not at all like the podcast. Words in deep blue was a huge disappointment by not having deep characters, a good plot or any sort of conflict.)

~Book Haul this month~

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Look at all these pretties!! Ok, so this month I ended up purchasing/receiving 10 books.

Hunting Prince Dracula, WonderWoman:Warbringer and Enchantment of Ravens were all pre-orders (we aren’t going to talk if I’ve read those yet or not), I bought Americanah and Station Eleven because I’ve heard really good things about them. I found the Goldfinch in our bargain section at work for $6, with my discount came down to $3 (and I couldn’t beat that) and I got Language of the Thorns because it was autographed and a total impulse buy.

The Color Project is actually the replacement copy because there were some issues in the production and those of us who preordered got an ARC, so this was a replacement copy. And Gypsy Moth Summer and the Lost Letter were books I won in a giveaway in May, and finally received at the start of summer.

So that was my month of September. I’m hoping for October to do more reading of my TBR but I’m not sure if that will happen or not.

How was y’all’s month of reading? What was your best book you read? What was the worst? Let me know below!

Happy reading Dragons and remember, life is too short to read mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Books, Reading

June Wrap-up (otherwise known as I read HOW MANY books?)

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June was a weird month for me. Not because I didn’t do any reading (oh I did reading lads, lots of reading) but because I was dog-sitting at about 3 different places, making me only home for about 3 days in the past 3 weeks. Which isn’t bad, except when you have to come home, repack books and head back out. I’m finally home now, sitting in front of my lovely overstuffed shelves and thinking about how many books that I read over June.

I read a grand total of 27 books. Which is great! Until I look closer at my huge TBR mountain and realize that of that 27, 6 were from my personal shelves, and 3 were rereads. So technically while all the rest of them were from the library, I only managed to make 3 books off my physical TBR go onto my “Hallelujah, I read that book” shelf!

But at least I was reading, and I did save some money because I was at the library all the time. But that’s a different story for a different day! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, to the books!

The Best books I read in June (4-5 star rating)

  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (Can you be a LoTR fan and not have read this? I finally read it, and I really enjoyed it, though I feel like the LoTR and the Hobbit are tighter and more cohesive, I did enjoy it quite a bit, and I can finally say that I have read it!)
  • Unequal Affections by Lara Ormiston (this was so close to being a full 5 star rating, it got a 4.75 star from me. It was so good, a reimaging of Pride and Prejudice, but if Elizabeth accepted Mr. Darcy’s first proposal. I loved it and thought it was very well done, I didn’t like a few things which is why it wasn’t a solid 5 star, but if you like Pride and Prejudice, be sure to pick it up!)
  • The long way to a small angry planet by Becky Chambers (Road trip in space with what felt like the crew of the Serenity. I loved this book, it was a solid 4 star from me again)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (I read this in high school and let’s be real dude, I hated this book. But decided this year that I was going to reread some of the classics that people seemed to love and this made the list. I actually really enjoyed it, however I can understand why I didn’t like it when I was in school. But reading for pleasure and reading for a grade are 2 totally different things)
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandyha Menon. (Super cute book, I gave it a 4 star, it was super adorkable and sweet but it didn’t really blow me out of the water. It was honestly like a Hallmark movie but in book form, you knew they were going to get together and the fun was watching how they did.)
  • Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Retelling of Sherlock as the boy next door. Plus it was written by an Australian author, and I don’t know about you, but even if people don’t let me know it’s from ‘Stralia, I can tell, they have a very brash tone. Anyways, it was cute and gory and sweet…and yes there was murder and it’s quite nice, solid 4 stars)
  • All your worth by Elizabeth Warren (one of the better finance books I’ve read, and trust me I’ve read a lot of them, but this one made so much sense and I really enjoyed it)
  • The book whisperer by Donalyn Miller (this is a book that a lot of teachers use to understand/mimic how to teach kids to love reading. This was a lot of good points, not just for teachers but I would strongly say that if you have kids, this would be a good book for you too, or really any reader.)

 

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Books that were meh (3-3.75 star rating)

  • Nikola Telsa: A spark of Genius by Carl Dommeruth-Costa. (This was an interesting book, and since I really didn’t know much about Tesla it was good knowledge but it was a bit dry in the middle, mainly when it was talking about the science behind a lot of his experiments, still good to read though)
  • Make your bed by Admiral William McRaven (Don’t get me wrong, this was a decent book, but because it came from a rousing graduation speech, that is pretty much the feel you get through the whole book. And it was interesting, especially the Hell Week part, but for the most part I flew through this book quickly and it didn’t make too much of an impact on me)
  • Frogkisser by Garth Nix (retelling of the frog princess, sounds great, but in reality it felt too cobbled together, didn’t have much of a plot and seemed more MG then YA. It was still a decent read, but I think that had there been some more editing and lengthening of the story and plot, it would have been better)
  • The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron (disclaimer, this did get a 3.75 but I’ve heard that the other books in this series are much better. I enjoyed this one but even though it was fast paced and quick on the draw, it kinda forget some things, like introductions…world building….that sort of thing. And some of the stuff, hopefully will make sense when I read the sequel, but it didn’t make sense when I was reading it. I will be picking up the sequel though, cause I’m curious to see how it goes)
  • The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (so it was….weird….and different…and I feel like if it had been a bit longer I would have liked it more, but it just kinda dropped you into this story, but then was so open-ended at the ending…it wasn’t for me. I know lots of people who loved it, but I wasn’t one of them.)
  • The incredible adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil (I had so many high hopes for this book, but sadly it just didn’t live up to my hype. It was interesting but it…just felt like it dragged on and on without any real point?)

 

The books I wish I hadn’t read (1-2 stars)

  • The little book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (Did you know that Danes are the best at being comfortable? Well if you didn’t, you will by the end of this insufferable, blowhard book which basically told me nothing new except that I now have a newfound hatred for the word Hygge. It was so not worth a read at all)
  • The zookeeper’s wife by Diane Ackerman (maybe if the wife of the zookeeper was done more in first person, rather then third; maybe if she showed more empathy towards the humans hiding from death and concentration camps then feeling bad for the animals; and maybe if we got it in a more linear way, I would have liked it more. But we didn’t, so I didn’t.)
  • Holding up the universe by Jennifer Niven (I was really hoping that I would like this one, I heard so many rave reviews, I was hoping that I would fall in love with this book, but sadly it was not to be. I didn’t like one of the main characters, had such a hard time liking even the writing style and …ugh…nope. not for me)
  • The Anatomical shape of a heart by Jenn Bennett (published under the title Night Owls for the UK….and I am a sad little melon of discontent cause I WANTED to like this book but seriously, it was not to be. Girl on girl hate, double-standards and manic pixie dream boy…not my cuppa to be honest.)
  • Hunted by Megan Spooner (black sheep opinion y’all, I had such a hard time with this book and I really wanted to like it. I love BatB and was really hoping that this book would be awesome but sadly it is a nope. I felt like there was very little character growth, I was MASSIVELY confused by the “twist” at the end and I just…I don’t care for it)
  • We were liars by E. Lockhart (I thought this was a pretty interesting book but the main reason I didn’t end up liking it was the tone throughout the whole book. Rich snobs and money and nah bro I’m good)
  • Books for living by Will Schwalbe (Nope. memoir disguised as a book about books which I didn’t ask for and certainly didn’t want. Also the tone of this “author” was pretentious, snobbish and downright rude. Hard pass)
  • Jane Austen: A life by Claire Tomalin (Y’all know I’m nuts about Jane Austen, and so I have a tendency to get books about her, and this one….was…so….BORING. Like it was about everyone else BUT Jane. And dry. And sleep inducing. And boring. pass)
  • The Assistants by Camille Perri (I love when I go into a book with little to no expectations and when I finish I think “That pretty much played out about how I thought it would” and this was one of those books. I think I would have liked it more had the characters been a bit more fleshed out…and if we possibly got a different view then the MC, who I can’t even remember right now. )

 

Books I reread:

  • Radical by David Platt
  • Restless by Jeannie Allen
  • Pride and Prejudice audiobook read by Rosamund Pike
  • breaking free by Beth Moore

 

So that’s what I read this month. There were a surprising amount of books I didn’t care for, whereas I feel like in May I had more books I liked. But this is the burden of being a reader, some months you get amazing results and others, you limp by and hope that the next month you do better.

Have a great day Dragons! And remember, life is too short to read mediocre books (apparently that’s what I was here for this month!)

Cheers!

~Stephanie

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My marvelous May wrap-up

Ok, so this is slightly late, but at least it’s not in the end of say June where I’m talking about the books that I finished in May. Priorities y’all. ๐Ÿ™‚

Seriously though, I somehow got through 26 books in May.

I really don’t know how, perhaps witchcraft was involved because let’s be real, May was a crazy month for me. I had stuff happening every weekend, my birthday happened and Memorial Day, where I didn’t do anything but dog sit. So yeah, I’m as shocked as you to learn how many books I actually read this time around.

Out of all the books, they are separated into pretty much 2/3 categories, ย new/library and rereads. I try to reread quite a few books each time, not that it helps me to conquer my TBR monster but hey, it makes me happy. The problem I’m finding is because I’m a mood reader, when I have a huge stack of library books around I need to tell myself that I’m in the mood to read such and such book. Which sometimes works, and sometime I have to renew them so that I can get them done.

So I read 18 new books and 7 rereads this past month. Of those 18 new books 15 of those were from the library. Which means I really only read 3 books that were brand new to me and were off my TBR. Which means that if I continue this rate of reading, I will read all the books in the library but yet I will still have a TBR that crushes me to death. I might have to work on this for this month.

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My 5-4 star reads this month

In May I managed to finish the Finishing School (haha lame pun I know) series by Gail Carriger. I had previously read her adult book and didn’t care for it, but the finishing school series worked really well for me. I felt like there was a ton of snark and sass, along with evil genius’, were-wolves, vampires and of course how to be a spy while still being a lady. The whole series is 4 books long and I rated it a collective 4.5 stars for the whole thing, (and all the books pretty much got a 4 star rating, or even a 4.5 rating) I strongly think it’s worth a read. (I got them from the library but I’m probably going to be picking them up in the next couple of months because they were so good)

I also got an ARC of The Color Project, and let’s be real, I geeked out over this book! You can read my whole review here The Color Project

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I also read The Careful Undressing of Love, which to be honest is a strange magical book which I quickly got involved in and really liked. I gave it a 4 stars, it had strange and beautiful writing, and I really liked it. (I will state though there is some bedroom times, not very graphic but they are there so just so you are aware.)

Other 4-5 Star books

  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • Curtsies & Conspiracies, Waistcoats and Weaponry, Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Lord Edgeware Dies by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (reread)
  • Grace for the good girl by Emily P. Freeman (reread)
  • God is Able by Priscilla Shirer (reread)
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (reread)
  • The Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson (reread)
  • Let me be a woman by Elisabeth Elliot (reread)
  • Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs (reread)

 

3-4 star books

  • The only Necessary thing by Henri Nouwen (basically a rehash of many of his books, not really a fan)
  • Writing down the bones by Natalie Goldberg (the tone was so much talking down to people that I could barely stand it)
  • Kissing in America by Margo Rabb (I really really really had a problem with how the MC treated her friend, I loved it up till that point which is why it’s only as a 3)
  • Until we meet again by Renee Collins (science and logic took a break with this book though it was semi-squishable, the fact that nothing was really explained made me unhappy)
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl (I kinda had a problem with this, mainly with the portrayal of the adults and such. Granted I wasn’t the intended audience but still…wasn’t great)

 

Major disappointments

  • The Assassin’s Curse/The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Man I had such high hopes for this duology but in all aspects it failed and failed miserably. The first book was pretty decent, but both of them had a tendency to drag on and on and on, even though they both were small books, it felt like they had been going on forever. I was not pleased)
  • The life changing magic of cleaning up by Marie Kondo (this one had some good points but on the whole, not worth my time. The only redeeming factor? It was a quick, easy read.)
  • The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis (ugh. rich snobs who share a necklace that cost more than my car. Not a fan)

 

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So that’s what I read this past month. I actually did read quite a few books that were really amazing and some that missed the mark. As always, what I don’t like is just my opinion. If y’all like it, or want to try it, please do! What works for me might not work for you.

That being said, have you read any of the ones I listed up there? What were you’re thoughts? Did you disagree with any of my ratings? Let me know below (courteously of course)

Have an awesome day Dragons!

And remember Life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

 

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