November Wrap Up

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I can’t believe I’m writing my November Wrap Up post. It seems like just yesterday I started this blog and wrote my October Wrap Up Post. I know it’s only been a month, but I’ve had so much fun already.  As always, there will be links to books I actually reviewed as well as mini reviews/my opinions for each one I didn’t.

Month: November, 2015

Books Read: 18

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Jackaby

Jackaby #1

by William Ritter

3.5 Stars

This was actually my first review on this blog.  You can read it here.

 

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The Spiritglass Charade

Stoker and Holmes #2

by Colleen Gleason

2.5 stars

I actually listened to the audiobook for this one. I would listen to it whenever I was in the car and while  they are cute books and the mysteries are interesting, I think I might be done with the series.  Although this one did end on a bit of a cliffhanger so maybe I’ll get it from the library at some point.

 

Cinder; Scarlet; Cress; Winter

The Lunar Chronicles

by Marissa Meyer

I did a reread of the first 3 books and finished the series with Winter. You can read my mini-reviews here.

 

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Illuminae

Illuminae Files _01

by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

4 stars

Read my review here

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Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things

by Jenny Lawson

Audiobook

3.5 stars

An honest, and often hilarious insight into one woman’s struggle with mental illness. I loved Jenny Lawson’s first book, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened and while Furiously Happy is more focused on her struggles with mental illness, it is still pretty funny at times.  Not only that, but it is also a rallying cry for better and more honest discussions of mental illness, something our society is in serious need of.

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Dark Reunion

The Vampire Diaries #4

by LJ Smith

1.5 stars

Honestly, the only reason I am even reading this series is because I already own it on my kindle.  I bought it years ago on a trip to the Grand Canyon when I had hours in the car to waste.  I loved the show (I say loved, because after season 3 it started going downhill. I haven’t even watched this season) so I figured I would try the books. BAD IDEA.  They are so bad.  The writing is horrible, the plots are boring and the insta-love is atrocious.  I honestly think this series should have ended with the 3rd book, The Fury, with Elena dying ( I actually gave it 3 stars mainly because she died).  But noooo. Not only was there this book, but then there are spin off series.  Unfortunately I already own The Vampire Diaries: The Return and The Vampire Diaries: The Hunter so I’ll be suffering through those eventually.   Maybe in a few months when I have forgotten how bad they are.

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Sleigh Bells in the Snow

O’Neil Brothers #1

Sarah Morgan

4 stars

Sleigh Bells In the Snow started off my Christmas-themed books for 2015.  You can read my review here.

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The Good Girls

by Teresa Mummert

1.5 Stars

Read my review here.

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Four to Score

Stephanie Plum #4

Janet Evanovich

3.5 Stars

I’ve been slowly making my way through this series by listening to it.  It was a few months between book #3 and book #4 and I’m glad I took a break.  After 3 books it was starting to feel a bit old, but I was able to go into it with a fresh perspective.  I laughed more in this book than I had in the previous one, and I really ended up liking Joe Morelli. I mean, he still comes off as somewhat sexist, but I was able to look past it in this one while it had been annoying me more in the previous books.  Plus, Stephanie and Joe finally take their relationship to the next level! Only like, 20 more books to go until I’m caught up.

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The Princess and the Penis

RJ Silver

3.5 stars

I’m not even sure I should count this as a book since it technically wasn’t.  It was only 71 pages but it was hilarious.  If you enjoy phallus-themed jokes (and who doesn’t every now and then) go check it out.  It’s free on Amazon for the Kindle.

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Inherit the Stars

Inherit the Stars #1

Tessa Elwood

1 Star

Read my review here.

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The Trouble With Destiny

Lauren Morrill

2.5 Stars

Read my review here.

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Dashing Through the Snow

Debbie Macomber

3 Stars

Another Christmas book. I just posted the review earlier today so you can read it here.

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Nuts

Hudson Valley #1

Alice Clayton

4 Stars

I’m from the Hudson Valley region of New York.  My hometown is almost exactly 60 miles north of New York City, more commonly called The City. There are no other cities to New Yorkers (even those from the boonies known as “Upstate”).  And this book was adorable.  It was Adult Romance, a genre I’ve recently been reading a lot more of, and thankfully picking some gems.  It was so good that I was almost able to look past the inaccuracies of “Upstate” life.  I really liked Roxie, and oh my sweet Lord I need to find myself a farmer.  Forget lawyers (sorry babe, love you). Farmers are where it’s at. The romance was so sweet and so hot.  AND SO MUCH FOOD.  Don’t read this book on an empty stomach.  I am eagerly awaiting the second installment and will definitley check out Clayton’s other work.

Ok. Sorry. I just can’t end this without talking about a few things.  Besides portraying it as extremely rural, the only thing that really annoyed me was that Roxie kept claiming to live in the Catskill Mountains, which just isn’t true.  They are west of the Hudson, not East ( and she clearly lived on the East side of the Hudson).  But these things are probably only annoying to me (I really shouldn’t read books set in locations I know and love), because otherwise I really loved how she described the Hudson Valley.  It’s beautiful. Go visit.

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This Raging Light

by Estelle Laure

3 Stars

The review for this should be posted in a few days, but for now just know that I was very conflicted and this book made me rant, quite a bit.

Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

It’s my birthday!  As of 11:30 am I am officially 26 years old.  I’m not terribly upset about getting older, it just kind of sucks that my 20s are more than half over. I was lucky enough to be able to celebrate with my family in New York over Thanksgiving, but today is just a normal day.  Just got back from the gym and now I have to get ready to go to work in a few hours. I did eat like 3 cupcakes though.

In celebration of my birthday, here is a review!

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Dashing Through the Snow

Debbie Macomber

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Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.

At first they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard—never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.


 

After having some bad luck in the Christmas books I found for the season (besides the wonderful Sleigh Bells in the Snow) I am happy to announcethat I have found another adorable Christmas read.

The banter between Ashley and Dash was delightful and it’s totally true that a puppy makes everything better. While there was of course instalove (it does take place over a 3 day road trip) I didn’t even mind it. I think that’s the thing about romances; I just expect there to be instalove so it doesn’t annoy me as much. And the fact that Ashley kept throwing around NCIS and Gibbs references totally helped. I do love me some Gibbs.

I probably would have rated this 4 stars if it hadn’t been for a few minor annoyances.

  1. The FBI plot was strange. It was annoying to have the POV shift to the agents, both of whom were pretty much cardboard caricatures. They didn’t come off as the most effective agents either. And then the whole plot point seemed rushed when it was finally resolved.
  2. The completely random POV shift to the two teenagers who steal their license plate. I get that there kind of had to be one to explain what happened, it just felt a little weak.
  3. And taken with the two points above, the fact that this was not an official dual-POV novel. I really wish I could have gotten some of the story from Dash’s perspective. I want to know more about his heartbreak and his time in the military!

I still totally enjoyed it. And I just found out it’s going to be made into a Hallmark Christmas movie (which kind of makes me think that Macomber wrote the book in order for a movie to be made). Meghan Ory, who I know as Red from Once Upon a Time is going to be Ashley. She’s not really how I pictured her, but oh well. The guy who will be playing Dash is super hot. I might actually even watch it.

photos taken from IMDB

 

A Charmed Week

I haven’t been very active this week because of Thanksgiving.  But now I’m back in Baltimore after spending a wonderful few days with my family and friends.

There was no post yesterday because I sat in a car for 5 hours due to crazy traffic. (I also didn’t read anything for 4 days…and that’s crazy!) It feels so weird not to have posted when I’ve tried to have something everyday so far! But it’s Sunday and that means it’s time for the Weekly Wrap Up!

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Reviews:

 

I told you shared 10 Books I’m Thankful For in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday and Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken, a book  I’m eagerly anticipating for Waiting on Wednesday.

I discussed some recent DNF victims and participated in the Bookish Alphabet Tag.

And like always, my TBR got longer.

I hope everyone had a wonderful week!  I have a lot planned for this coming week, starting with a review tomorrow, ON MY BIRTHDAY!

 

 

Just One More

I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m at home (I don’t think I’ll ever stop calling it home) in New York right now.  Just because it was a holiday week doesn’t mean I didn’t add more books to my TBR.  So it’s time for:

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Young Adult

I can’t believe I’ve added another book by LJ Smith since I am currently suffering through the 10 books of the Vampire Diaries series I already own on my kindle.  SOMEBODY STOP ME.

Adult

I’m hoping since I loved Sarah Morgan’s Sleigh Bells in the Snow I’ll also like her other Christmasy stories!

That’s all for now because I rarely make the 4 hour trip home, so I need to go spend time with my family and friends!

Have a wonderful weekend and HAPPY READING!

The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill

First I’d like to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all who celebrate.  I’m writing this post ahead of time because hopefully I will be too busy watching football, hanging out with family and stuffing my face to actually post today.  I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

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The Trouble With Destiny

Lauren Morrill

Publication: 12/8/15

Source: Netgalley, e-ARC

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*I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.*


 

It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey…

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.

But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.


 

Overall, this book is cute. It definitely wasn’t the worst realistic YA I’ve ever read, I just think it seemed a little young. Even with the mention of drinking and drugs, I had a hard time picturing Liza as a 17 year old. She came off more like a middle schooler.

Like I said, this book was cute and I would have enjoyed it a hell of a lot more if there hadn’t been so much drama. Not just between people, but just in general. Everything was too dramatic. Maybe it was Liza’s character, who was very neurotic. It was almost painful being in her head. I am a pretty anxious person and she was driving me nuts with her constant worrying. And the worst part is she did it too herself. If she had just been honest with the band then she wouldn’t have had to carry the weight all by herself.

The romance aspect was ok. It was some sort of love square thing between Liza, Demi, Russ and Lenny. It was totally predictable, which of course I don’t always have a problem with, but it was just annoying to watch all the drama unfold when I know how it is going to end.

And this is just totally a side track because it’s not that I really think band kids are nerds. I actually don’t think anything about them because I’m almost 26 years old but when I was in high school I don’t think I thought about them at all either. But I feel like Morrill was trying really, really hard to disprove the stereotype that band kids are nerds. Band kids are cool. They drink. They get high. They have tattoos. THEY ARE JUST LIKE US. It went a tad far.

Ok, back to the review. The secondary characters besides Demi and Huck were pretty flat. Even both the male counterparts of the love square were somewhat bland. Huck might have been my favorite part of the book.

It probably seems like I hated the book, but I didn’t. It was a fast, easy read. It wasn’t the most fun I’ve had while reading a book, but it was certainly better then the last ARC I read. I’m not quite sure if I would recommend this because I know there is better quality easy reads out there, but I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it.

I’ve never read anything by Lauren Morrill, but both Meant To Be and Being Sloane Jacobs are on my TBR list. While I don’t think this book was for me, I am still totally going to check out her other work.

WOW: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

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About:

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.

Why I’m Excited:

I loooooveee books about time travel. And that cover! It’s so beautifulI didn’t read Bracken’s other series but I’m really looking forward to this oneI have an ARC and I plan to start reading this at some point in December!

Ten Books I’m Thankful For

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books I’m Thankful For

(2 books, 6 series  and 2 authors)

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The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain (and my dad) for instilling a love of reading before I could read by myself

Harry Potter & JK Rowling for reigniting that love and changing my entire life.  And Ron Weasley

*There’s 5 more books, but they didn’t have the covers I wanted

Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison for introducing me to British humor and always keeping me laughing, no matter how many rereads

Jessica Darling by Megan McCafferty (but only books 1 & 2) For being  my go to books all throughout high school. and creating my first OTP, Jessica and Marcus, before I even knew what an OTP was

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee for reminding me that not all “classic” literature and required reading is bad

A Song of Ice and Fire & George RR Martin for creating a love of epic fantasy and morally grey characters (but not for making me wait so long between books)

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Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins for producing my favorite ever quote about love

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins for awakening a love of Young Adult Literatue and leading me on a wild adventure that has landed me here

What books are you thankful for this year?

 

 

The Bookish Alphabet Tag

I was tagged by Heather at The Sassy Book Geek

What You Have To Do:

See if you own books beginning with every letter of the alphabet. The only rule is that you have to own it, or you’ve read it but don’t own it anymore.

All I have to say is thank God that I have a shelf on Goodreads of “Books I Own”.

Let’s see what I have!

A –Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund (TBR)

B –Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross (TBR)

C –Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn (TBR)

D –Daughter of Smoke and Bone  by Laini Taylor  (read)

E-Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot (TBR)

F –Falls the Shadow by Stefani Gaither (TBR)

G- Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (read)

H-Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock (TBR)

I-Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch  (TBR)

J-Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (read)

K-The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal  (TBR)

L-Love in the Time of Global Warming by  Francesca Lia Block (TBR)

M-Monstrous Beauty by  Elizabeth Fama (TBR)

N- The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett (TBR)

O-Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (read)

P-Pivot Point by Kasie West (read)

Q-Nothing

R-The Riverman by Aaron Starmer (read)

S-Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (TBR)

T-Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (read)

U-Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (read)

V-Vixen by Jillian Larkin (TBR)

W-Winter by Marissa Meyer (read and reviewed)

X-Nothing but that’s not that surprising

Y- Young Elites by Marie Lu (read)

Z-Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes by Cory O’Brien (Kindle-read)

 

That’s actually really good.  I didn’t expect to have anything for Q or X anyway!

 

I’m not going to tag anyone and instead leave it open for all to join in the fun!

Thanks again Heather for tagging me!

YA DNF Report

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My review on Saturday was for the book, Inherit the Stars, and when I say I forced myself to finish, I mean it. From very early on in the book I wanted to DNF it.  I wanted to throw my kindle across the room in frustration and just be done with it.  But I powered through and it sucked.  I probably should have just given up and not wasted my time.

For the longest time I always tried to finish every book I started.  Sometimes I would be reading and enjoying it just fine, put the book down and forget about it, but I don’t think I ever consciously decided to give up on a book. Until recently, that is.  I’ve learned that there are just way too many books out there to force myself to finish a shitty one when I would rather be sticking a fork in a socket.  It still doesn’t happen all too often, and I usually never rate them (unless the author or the content is particularly offensive). And sometimes I still do force myself to finish, as with the case of Inherit the Stars.

Sometimes I try to make it 50 pages, others maybe 25%.  Others I give up within the first few sentences.  It really just depends on the book and my mood at the time of reading.

So here are some of the  YA books I have DNFed.  It ended up being pretty longso I decided to break it into a few different posts.  This week I’m featuring:

Books Where I Read Less than 50 Pages

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Hmm.  I don’t really remember much of this book. I didn’t give a reason for DNFing, but I’m sure I was bored and then influenced by negative reviews.  Maybe I’ll try again?

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Another one I don’t really remember, which might indicate why I stopped after 50 pages.  It was about faeries.  I’ve yet to really find a book about faeries that I’ve really enjoyed.

Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

I kind of remember why I DNFed it even though I didn’t give a reason.  I don’t think I was able to buy the “It’s the future but we’ve reverted back to the 1800s” plot line.  Maybe it was the writing.

Love Lucy by April Linder

dnf on page 23. I know that’s really early to give up on a book, but I knew from page 1 that I didn’t like Lucy and I’m not a huge fan of the writing style. So, I read a few reviews, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better, so why waste my time?–Goodreads “Review”

Remembrance by Michelle Madow

12%. I’m not going to invest any more time in a character who lets her boyfriend treat her the way he does. Fuck that. –Goodreads “Review”

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

I stopped reading when her grandfather’s rival stole her gpa’s glasses off of his corpse at the wake. Ummm. I’m sure it’s a super cute book but WTF?–Goodreads “Review”

 

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

I didn’t give a reason but I think I really just ran out of time on my library check out and just decided not to renew it?  I’ll probably give it another chance if I like the book she has coming out in 2016.

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

This one suffered from a major Manic Pixie Dream Girl and I just couldn’t deal with it.

 

What about you?  What are some of your recently DNF victims?  Or do you always finish what you start?  Should I give any of the books above a second chance?

 

Weekly Review

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Happy Sunday all! Hope everyone one had a wonderful week and weekend! I don’t want to go back to work tomorrow but at least it’s only a 3 day work week! On Wednesday I’ll be making the 4 hour drive up to my parents house in New York with the boyfriend and my two cats.  Should be a fun ride.  But it will be nice to see my family and friends!

This weekend I went to Oyster Riot in DC.  Third time going and it was just as wonderful as always.  All you can drink wine and all you can eat Oysters is my type of party.  On the train ride back to Baltimore I met the most wonderful girl who made me realize  how important it is, as a soon-to-be (hopefully!) librarian,  for me to read, not only for myself, but for tweens and teens.  Unless the book is so bad that it is impossible, I will always try to find the good in a book.

Here at The Charmed Reader I had quite a week as well.

Reviews:

Challenges

I joined 3 more challenges for 2016.  These are the first 3 that aren’t personal challenges so that’s exciting.  I really want to meet some other book bloggers so hopefully this helps!

And while I didn’t participate in Top Ten Tuesday this week (I’m not much of a quotes person anymore.  I was going to put together 10 of my favorite HP quotes but there are too many and I felt bad choosing!) I did pick a Waiting on Wednesday book.

This week I chose Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner because I CAN’T WAIT to find out how the series ends.

And of course I added a shit ton of books to my TBR list in this weeks Just One More .

I have a lot planned for this coming week!

Thanks for stopping by!