“You Were Here” by Gian Sardar

32940733I have unfortunate news. I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. It was good, but not mindblowing. Here are my thoughts:

Let me start by stating that the Goodreads description of this book claims that “Readers of Kate Atkinson will delight in this suspenseful debut novel about a woman haunted by nightmares and her grandmother’s role in a doomed love triangle almost seventy years before.” I’m a fan of Kate Atkinson and in my opinion, this is why she doesn’t write suspenseful novels. Pick one genre or another and commit. There was just SO MUCH DESCRIPTIVE WRITING going on that I often found myself confused or bored or indifferent. Especially in the first half of the book. BUT THEN…..

Everything picked up in the second half and everything was magnificent. I was ready to call it quits and apologize to NetGalley and the publisher and then all of a sudden WHOA! Now we’re getting started here! The characters were fascinating. There were twists and turns I did NOT see coming. And the writing remains strong all the way until the end. So ultimately, if you have the patience to wade through at least 120-150 pages of reading before a plot really thickens, then this book will really satisfy you and you will not regret picking this up. However, if you are someone who needs a beginning to end page-turner (i.e. Dan Brown or the likes?)…..move on.

Listening to: “Witness” by Katy Perry

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“Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault” by Candace Robinson

c_-w5rluiaaya_eVery late last night, I finished a creepy upper YA book entitled Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault. The book begins in a small town in Texas with two best friends and cousins, Perrie and Maisie. All is not serene in the town, however, because for the past several weeks, people have been going missing. One day on their way home from school, Perrie, Maisie, and their mutual friend (and Perrie’s crush) August, notice a strange sight: a huge, creepy, dark mansion/museum that was never there before but that claims to be hiring. Maisie takes interest and the day after going in for her first day of work work, goes missing. Perrie and August go looking for her and the rest is a horrific history.

I think I would rate this at a really, really high 3.75 stars that I’ll round up to 4 because I LOVE the cover and there are just so many retellings–both classic and fairy tale–that its just so cool. Plus the characters were pretty decent so overall, I dug the book. Plus, its set up for a sequel so…I need to read on!

The biggest thing that ruined the book for me was the ending. ((Spoilers ahead so readers BE WARNED!!!)) Specifically how Perrie ‘gave herself’ to August and then he wasn’t who he thought she was. In my opinion, that is especially awful considering that this is a YA book. Maybe in an adult book it would be a little more acceptable but I would hike up the rating a bit.

Overall, this book is definitely in the horror genre. The cover looks beautiful but it is bloody and there is some gore and graphic descriptions. I like that type of thing though, but just a heads up.

Also, as I alluded to before, the book does end on a big of a cliffhanger. In my opinion, the book is really half of a book. The Kindle edition is only 168 pages and the paperback is 242. For a YA book, that’s pretty short. The author could have just kept writing and finished it out I think. Maybe there is much more to the story and it would have tipped the scales as a door stopper to put 2+2 together? But right now its pretty darn short. Even as it is, I felt there could have been a few more details in the book. It felt pretty thin.

Things I really did like though: I keep raving about the cover art so that’s huge. I love the retellings. We’ve got everything from Sleepy Hollow to Rapunzel so there is literally something for everyone. I think there are five or six total in the book? Plus references to a few more but they travel through five or six worlds so that’s pretty cool. The characters are interesting and no one drove me crazy so that was good.

Listening to: “Sweet Satan” by Beck

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Royalty Readathon + “Wires and Nerve” by Marissa Meyer

royalty-readathonSo first off, let me just announce that this week I have been participating in the Royalty Readathon! This readathon is being hosted by Kati (@toberead) and her gang. I applaud Kati’s enthusiasm for getting this up and running and her theme is so unique, its just been super fun to stick with the “royals” theme. I’ve been making some good progress (much better than the last RAT I did….oops….!!) and I’ve finished 2 books already!! So a big shoutout and thanks to Kati for everything she’s doing and I wish her all the success and growth in future reading and readathons!!

wiresThen, of course, I finished Wires and Nerve, which is Marissa Meyer’s graphic novel. It is set right after the the end of the Lunar Chronicles books so yes, you should finish Winter before you pick up this book. I had never read a graphic novel (nor a comic book nor anything of the sort) before this so I was skeptical about whether I would be able to even figure this out but it was fine. I even really enjoyed it!! The story is written from Iko’s point of view and between Iko and Thorne (who gets a lot of book time), this novel had me literally laughing out loud! Of course there is conflict and all of the heroes make their appearances but the humor and adorability factor is high. I absolutely loved seeing these characters come to life!! I was in no way disappointed. And the book is very much set up for book #2 so I am very highly anticipating that. Marissa Meyer, don’t keep us waiting too long!

Listening to: “Colors in Space” by Explosions in the Sky

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“The Simplicity of Cider” by Amy E. Reichert

4.5 really great, homely, nostalgic, midwestern, I-would-definitely-recommend-that-you-read-this-this-summer stars!

Not that I am biased or anything, but apple orchards are some of my favorite places in the world. I love apples, I love cider, I love apple cider donuts, I love apple crisp, I love the smell, the taste, the atmosphere, the time of year, the weather….I love it all. Hayrides, animals, (allergies), trees, mums….EVERYTHING!! Another thing that I love is Wisconsin. I am not from Wisconsin, but my family owns a “summer home” on a lake “up north” (not Door County, but I know plenty of fellow Illinois people–where I am from–who travel there and love it) and it is beautiful. Our home in WI is in a very small town that is extremely touristy in the summer months and extremely dead the other 3/4 of the year but still, it is so beautiful and serene up there. Families make so many good memories. AND THERE IS SO MUCH SNOW. So anyway, about the book. Sorry for the personal side track.

CiderThis is the story of an orchard grafting people together (read the book and you’ll see how clever this statement is – winkwink). First we have Sanna and her father who are the orchard owners in the beautiful Door County, Wisconsin. The orchard is in a little bit of trouble financially, however. Then, along come Isaac and his son Bass, who are road tripping around the country since the death of Isaac’s ex-wife. Much hard work happens, a couple little mishaps, some romance, a fair amount of information about tree growth and cider-making (which I, personally, found fascinating), all rolled into a really nice plot that was well-paced and I very much enjoyed.

As I mentioned, if you’re looking for a good summer or fall read, something pretty light and just nice to read, pick this one up. Didn’t take me long to get through at all. There is character growth, its multi-generational, and just an overall great read.

Listening to: “Home” by Phillip Phillips

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“The Circle” by Dave Eggers

20890470Ok. Oh boy. Wow.

So. I finished The Circle on Wednesday (today is now late Friday/early Saturday) and I needed a little time to mull things over before writing about it. Typically, I read a book in 2-3 days, 5 at the most but reading this one took me twice as long and it wasn’t because of length (though it was a little on the long side) but because of content. The subject matter was tough for me. Here is my synopsis:

Mae Holland is a young twenty-something who is hired to work at the world’s most powerful internet company: The Circle (think Apple/Google/Facebook rolled into one). This company does everything with the ultimate goal of bringing every person into the network to “improve” products, social media, crime rates, leisure activities, health and wellness, etc., etc., etc. At first, being transparent and sharing information seem simple, but not everyone in Mae’s life agree and some risk their reputations or even stake their life on it. Will Mae back down and side with those she loves? Or will she stand up and do whatever it takes to see The Circle be complete?

So there you have it. In my opinion, this book could go in the horror genre. The idea of being watched and monitored all the time, and being required to vote and basically eat a certainly and fulfill a daily quota of social and health standards or what have you. There is a concept in the story called TruYouth where they propose implant chips in the bones of newborns to “prevent child abductions” but then obviously, the chip is permanent and then you are essentially tracked forever. The Circle wants to put cameras every to “track crime.” They want to put sensors in everything to “monitor product consumption and decrease waste.” Then your every move and stat is also public to every other person on the planet. What if someone doesn’t like that you decided not to finish your bowl of Cheerios? Or how you disciplined your child? Or how you accidentally ran a yellow light? Accidents happen. People have freedoms. But at the same time, we also tend to be critical of others. Mae, at one point, gets 43 frowns (and something like 26,000 smiles) and it eats away at her as to exactly WHO those few were who frowned at her. Honestly, this book seemed to me to be the prequel to every dystopian novel out there. This is how we end up destroying our society and ending up self-destructing. It just does not seem far-fetched to me.

As for the book itself, like I mentioned, I found it hard to read. I think the pacing was pretty difficult. There was a lot of mundaneness about Mae’s desk job and frowning and smiling and how many survey questions and this and that. I found Mae to be extremely frustrating, but I also found the contents of the book frustrating so I probably can’t totally blame Mae. The ending of the book was really “meh” for me. I had to read it twice to make sure I knew what was going on. So many things were extensively described and then all of a sudden….–plop–

Book soundtrack: “The Handler” by Muse

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Bout of Books *Read a Thon* Wrap-Up

Hi everyone! I hope the final stretch of your Bout of Books read a thon was productive!….or at least moreso than mine. Fortunately, though, this is one of the most encouraging RAT’s out there. My problem is that I’m doing so much multi-tasking these days that I don’t know where to invest most of my time. I’m involved in three group challenges, several ARCs, I’m working on getting a blog and a bookstagram going, AND preparing for a real life certification exam at the end of the month. I think I’m going to explode!!! But that’s not why you’re here. That’s all personal me bla bla bla. Reading progress:

The Circle – I’m ALMOST done. I read about 420 pages out of just over 500. The book is creeping me out so expect a ranting review coming soon.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Finished about 100 more pages so I’m about 2/3 of the way through. I was tempted to abandon this to start on a new ARC with a fast approaching deadline but I really dislike abandoning books so I’m just going to finish.

So that’s that, everyone. As I said, I hope everyone finished strong. I wish I could say that I completed these books, but I am much closer to finishing than I was a few days ago, so that is good. Until next time!!

Listening to: “Kowalski Rag” from Fantastic Beasts Soundtrack

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Bout of Books *Read a Thon* Day 6 & 7

#seasonsofbooks – This hashtag for today’s challenge got the song “Seasons of Love” from the musical RENT stuck in my head so of course that’s what I have to be listening to right now. This, of course, is making it harder for me to concentrate on choosing which books I think fit with which seasons, which is the challenge for today (this sounds like an exhausting, real-life version of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie….like, if you give a Music/Book Nerd a Challenge lol!). Okay, enough shenanigans. Down to business.

I’m going to be honest. I collect and hoard bookish Buzzfeed seasonal lists like they’re going out of style. I don’t know why but I just love them. I have all 4 seasons plus every holiday down to freakin’ Flag Day or something like that. I just love lists. And I love books. So I guess its easy to say that I love book lists! So here are the highlights of my seasonal book lists (note: I have read none of these. They are literally from my lists and they just sound good to me!):

Spring ~ The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon; Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham; Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Summer ~ One Plus One by Jojo Moyes; Love Like Crazy by Megan Squires; Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

Fall [my favorite season for books and ALL THE THINGS] ~ The Magicians by Lev Grossman; Dark Matter by Blake Crouch; The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Winter ~ The Likeness by Tana French; Heartless by Marissa Meyer; Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

So there you have it, folks. My not-at-all brief list of books for all seasons. I guess my spring books are pretty light and have some humor to them, and there’s even a non-fiction in the mix (I rarely read non-fiction…only a couple each year). Summer books are also pretty fun. I might try to get through a series in the summer. I was thinking about tackling a Sarah J. Maas this summer. Maybe. Fall is all small towns and paranormal and thrillers and cozies. I read like crazy in the fall. Winter I read a lot too. Lots of holiday books and fun series re-reads. I tend to feel Harry Potter/Hunger Games/Arcana Chronicles-ish in the winter time. What did everyone else pick? I’m so curious now! I want more lists and recommendations!! 😀

Soundtrack for today: RENT original cast recording

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Bout of Books *Read a Thon* Day 5

Yesterday’s reading stats:

⇒ 22 pages read in The Circle

⇒ 35 pages read in  The Sweetness in the Bottom of the Pie

⇒ Read a one chapter preview on “First to Read” of Woman No. 17. I am intrigued! Added it to my TBR!

For my first day jumping into this read-a-thon, I’m not very happy with this reading but I did a lot of social media/ARC research and I started my #bookstagram account and I’m trying to get ahead in taking a few pictures for it! Personal goals for my IG: get on some Storygram tours, maybe rep for a company at some point, find some followers. I don’t have a company of my own, but I have been slowly building up my blog so I’m hoping to break more into the world of YA reviewing (which is what I mostly read, though so far I mostly get approved for adult fiction), and I want to figure out how to get hard copies of books, not just digital copies. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?!

Ok, for the grand finale for today, the Day 5 challenge for Bout of Books is book spine rainbows! I will leave you with my little one. Until next time:

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Listening to: “Carolina” by Harry Styles

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Bout of Books *Read a Thon* Day 4

Clearly, since I am new to the blogging world, I am always the last to know about awesome things. So here I am playing catch up…but that’s okay, because at least I caught it!! I have 4-6 books that I need to finish plus some major studying that I need to do, and then I am not doing this to myself again!! So here goes!

Day 1 was introductions #insixwords …no more, no less. So here is what I would say: Colorful ~ Singer ~ Reader ~ Teacher ~ Loving ~ Organized

Day 2 was typography titles, which I thought was really cool. Fact: my little brother is a big, fancy graphic designer in NYC and I’m super proud of him. He works with this company that does projects for companies like Kashi and M&Ms and Budweiser (I’m allowed to say all of this pubically, right? Hope so…I don’t know why not). Its a great company and they do good work. Anyway, back to the books here.

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Day 3 is always a favorite topic for everyone: THE SHELFIE!! If you want to see mine, you’ll have to click the link here to see my Twitter page. I posted my favorite shelfie, of course….my Harry Potter shelf! I’ve got my favorite set of HP paperbacks, a few Funko figures, a few candles, a few creatures, a few magnetic bookmarks, the Elder Wand, my Blu Ray set, my illustrated books thus far (I can’t wait until all of those release!!!).

So now I’m going to go do my reading for Day 4 and think about this “Dating profile for a literary character” thing. I’m awful at this type of thing but we’ll see if I can come up with anything. Happy reading, all!

Currently listening: “Fawkes the Phoenix” by John Williams from HP & The Chamber of Secrets

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WWW Wednesdays #1

WHOA, I just found the coolest, funnest *new* thing to blog on Wednesdays. I’m still fairly new at this book blogging thing, but I’m trying to connect with other blogs and social media platforms so here goes! So WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words. If you are a guest stopping by, please answer the following questions in a comment:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Here are my answers:

♦ Currently reading:

6218281  18302455 8177154 7799247

♦ Recently finish reading?

3143874733323269

♦ Read next?

30753645 31707012 9969571 29772863

So, am I the only crazy one who reads more than one book at a time? Usually I read one or two books on my iPad, plus one physical book and one audiobook. My family or friends sometimes ask me how I keep the stories and characters straight but everything is in different formats and usually different genres so its easy to keep things separate in my mind. Makes sense to me!

Soundtrack: Theme from “Gilmore Girls” (love this show!!!!)

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