WWW Wednesday ~ 3.20.19

Hi everyone! Its Wednesday again! As I think you all know,  Waiting on Wednesday is brought to you by Taking on a World of Words, who revived this weekly meme for us book bloggers to use at our will. As always, the three W’s are:

What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What will you be reading next?

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15728452What did I recently finish reading?
I just finished reading (literally….as in my lunch break!) The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: The Apocalypse Suite! Of course, I started off with the Netflix series and now I am diving into the comic book trilogy, the third of which is actually set to release this July! Little known fact about the series (at least I had no clue about it): the author, Gerard Way, is actually the frontman and co-founder of the band My Chemical Romance (get out your hair gel, nose ring, sk8 shoes, and let’s go back to the ’00s and rock out with these guys!). Once I get through volume 2 as well, I will write my thoughts on the comics so check back soon!

36337550What am I currently reading?
I have two books in progress currently. The first one I am trying so hard to get through as quick as possible because I have been stuck in it for too long, and that would be The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I am listening to the audiobook on this and I think I might enjoy it so much more if I was reading a hard copy. I’ve heard great things about this book but ugh, it is painstaking to listen to this! 😫 Also, I am reading an ARC of Wicked Saints. I am so in love! You better believe a review of this is coming up soon!! I am seeing a lot of mixed reviews for this book coming out so far but honestly, I am really enjoying it so far. I hope that as more people read it, the ratings go up because I think…well, I really don’t want to say anything until I write up my review.

28186322What will I be reading next?
Well, as I mentioned, I am continuing on in the Umbrella Academy Suite. My next audiobook will be a group read of A Curious Beginning, which was recommended to me by a friend who knows my sense of humor. I am pretty excited to read this YA historical mystery since I recently finished up the Jackaby series. And for a physical next-up, I am moving on to an ARC of The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters. If you haven’t heard of this one yet, its actually a story of a young Edgar Allen Poe meeting his Muse. The synopsis doesn’t give too much more detail than that, but still, its another book I am really looking forward to checking out!

If you participate in this on your blog, drop me a link in the comments below! Or just answer any or all of the questions and let me know what book your nose is in because I always like to know what people are reading. I look forward to hearing all the deets!

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What would your book nook look like?

I was just browsing Pinterest today (a dangerous past time, I know) and I ended up looking through cozy reading nooks. Now I am designing my dream space and I’m just all warm and fuzzy and excited inside! So here are a couple spaces I am in love with:

42635117935_d508793f5a_nThis one is sheltered, but outdoors, which I love. Can we say ‘ambiance’? I love the candlelight. Plus the mattress and ALL.THE.PILLOWS.!!!! So snug. I can just hear the crickets and the wind blowing in the trees and envision ALL the reading I would get done. OMG, its heaven. I am so sold! This is my dream!

tumblr_inline_nfipm43cax1s7b3jyOk, this next one is just great. Doesn’t everyone need this?? Unfortunately, I don’t have a proper tub for baths right now but I absolutely wish that I did. I get so many bath bombs in book boxes so obviously baths + books go together! Plus, heaven knows that we all need more bookshelves. So basically, this setting pretty much has it all! Also the toilet is there too so you’ll never be bored while taking care of that business either. All bases are covered.

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And finally, for my grand finale, I had to choose my musical library. This baby is grand. Its got high ceilings, natural light, comfy seating (I might switch it out for something a little classier later on, but in the mean time I’ll take what I can get), a fire place, and of course books, books, and more books!!  I can only hope that some of those taller windows are doors. Maybe there is also a window seat somewhere around there? Oh, how perfect! I’m in heaven, you guys!

Have you thought about your dream library? What would your ideal book nook look like? Spill the tea in the comments!

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Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

34723130Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

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This was my second book by Kiersten White and this one was a completely different (and much better) experience than the first. I really enjoyed this book! I listened to the audiobook version, which is read by Madeleine Maby. She actually happens to be one of my favorite audiobook narrators simply because she also reads the Colleen Hoover books! She did an excellent job as she always does, at bringing the book to life. Seriously, her voice was absolutely perfect for this character and story! But let me go into detail regarding the rest of the book.

BfyAside from that, though, I went into Slayer pretty blind and distant. It was one of the first anticipated releases of 2019 I was reading, I didn’t like the last K-White book I read, and I’m not really a Buffy follower. I thought the book was literally ‘about’ Buffy, the vampire slayer, but instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find a kind of spin off who rather despised Buffy. Don’t get me wrong–the book isn’t about disliking Buffy or anything, but the concept is that our MC, Nina, comes from a line of Watchers. Her father was Buffy’s Watcher–or one of them–and she is the reason her father was killed, as well as the reason the world is ending, and the reason for this and that and the other and, well, you get the point.

wloSo anyway, what I loved about this book: Nina was a great female character. She went from weakling (the clumsiest, first aid geek and Watcher flunkie we could ever imagine) through a progression towards slayer-in-training throughout this book. And it really was a progression. She had her ups and downs, she made her mistakes, she trusted the wrong people at times, and I thought that was all realistic and relatable enough for me. Well, as relatable enough as a PRN fantasy can be. The side characters were pretty fun. There wasn’t really romance but–surprise!–there was a f/f relationship in the book. So take that for what you will! Lastly, I really enjoyed Nina’s sense of humor and sarcasm. Maybe its not for everyone and maybe its something that was brought out more in the audiobook, but I absolutely thought that that was a fantastic addition to the book!

And there you have it, folks. Slayer was my first 5-star rating of the year 2019 and I was in no way expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. I am so glad that I picked it up, and even more happy that I went for the audiobook.

So what do you think–have you read it? What do you think? Are you anti-Buffy like Nina is? Post your thoughts in the comments!

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Cure My ‘Stranger Things’ Hangover!

Its only March and last I saw, we aren’t getting new episodes of Stranger Things until July. I have already re-watched both seasons and reading the spin-off books just isn’t the same, so I have compiled a list of other books that have some similar concepts and themes that will maybe help to tide me over until the new season finally gets here. Let me know what you think of this list:

410150381. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix – Right off the bat, know that this book was written in 2016 but has solid 1980’s vibe–right on target! Strange things start happening once the new girl arrives? Check. Of course, the overall plot and outcome is different, but it could be somewhat satisfying. Never know til I try, and its been on my TBR for quite a while.

406421722. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab – Talk about being on my TBR for a long time, I really need to get to this one. Now, I know this book is about monsters. Big-time urban fantasy here. Also familiar is the concept of Monsters + Music….”Should I stay or should I go?” Right up our stranger alley. Well, more-or-less.  In the show the monsters don’t play the music but I’m doing what I can here.

328240583. Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton – This book has ‘strange’ in the title so how can we go wrong here? From the reviews that I have read of this book, it is dark, spooky, and well-crafted (pretty much how I would describe Stranger Things). The strangeness in this story can’t be denied because it affects the entire town. There are benefits and heavy sacrifices. The synopsis and reviews are so intriguing that this book just might be the one I start with. Very, very strange indeed….

381394094. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand – I have been wanting to read this book since (before) its release. My understanding is that this book has a creepy setting and is basically just mystery after mystery unfolding around this small group of friends (a la Hawkins friends?). I must be friends with some brilliant reviewers because they are giving away no spoilers so other than how spooky the story is and scary the setting is and how amazing the writing is, that’s really all I know! Guess I just have to read it for myself!

So that’s all I have for my list and I think that will keep me busy because, while I do have to wait until July for Stranger Things, I will have Game of Thrones pretty soon to keep me busy for a little while.

But now, having seen this Stranger list, have you read any of these books and do you agree with me placing them on this list? Would you disagree and take any off? Do you have any additional recommendations for ‘stranger’ books?

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February Wrap-up

Hi everyone! February was insane and I am so happy its a short month! My posting was pretty sporadic due to my work imposing mandatory overtime, my dog having puppies, the midwest deciding we are going to try out arctic temperatures and weather patterns, and of course, my business is running and I’m trying to maintain my sanity all the while. So that’s that! I have been doing my best to post and read and keep up but…like I said, its crazy! Hopefully March will be better. My fingers are crossed.

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo …. 2/6/19 …. ★★★★★
The Dreamers …. 2/18/19 …. ★
Dread Nation …. 2/23/19 …. ★★★★

Screen Shot 2019-02-03 at 12.12.29 AMFebruary HaulScreen Shot 2019-02-03 at 12.12.29 AM

 

feb haulGodsgrave – signed! – by Jay Kristoff
Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
The Cerulean by Amy Ewing
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

And that, my friends, was my February! I had a severe case of I-can’t-decide-what-to-read-itis so I started and stopped a couple of different books. And I’m super-mad because the book I’m reading now didn’t quite meet the February reading cut-off. I didn’t quite finish it in time to count it for February. Oh well. I have a good TBR line-up for March with some awesome ARCs to read that are releasing in April and I am really looking forward to them. How was your February? Did you read or haul anything really great? Any flops? Let me know!

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Review: The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden

49132572_570238783424831_8695217748097105920_nThe Bear and the Nightingale really has so many aesthetics within it–it is magical, whimsical, spiritual, family-oriented, and just plain beautiful. The story is about Vasya, the youngest child of Pyotor and Marina Vladimirovic. Marina dies in childbirth, and Vasya grows up to be a fiercely independent and strong-willed young woman who cares not only for her family members, but for the spirits of her house and of the woods. But these are the “old gods,” pushed out when Christianity comes to the villiage.

To me, the story unfolded incredibly slowly. I was very tempted to walk away in the beginning. But then, the Russian folklore begins to weave into the story–snowdrops in midwinter, Father Frost, the Sea-King’s Daughter, and Vasilisa the Beautiful (feel free to use Google for any of these stories!). How they were written and their seamlessness in the story was so great. What I did not like, however, was how confusing a few of the characters were, as well as the passing of time. Katherine Arden’s writing can be so beautiful and descriptive about certain things, but then I feel like I’m completely missing out on details regarding certain other things.

lily-seika-jones-vasilisa-the-beautiful-2017Now, here is my final comment: I realize that so many people loved this book. Maybe I took the wrong path by listening to the audiobook. I really did not enjoy this book, so I am going to give this one some time and try to pick up a hard copy later down the line and see if reading it with my own eyes gives me a different experience. Or maybe I should just move on and read book two in hard copy format. I’ll think about it. Either way, I am interested in the plot and the folklore aspect so I’m not ready to give up on Vasilisa yet.

Soundtrack: “Monsters” by Seafret

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Its Wednesday! WWW, that is!

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Today’s (and all) Waiting on Wednesday is brought to you by Taking on a World of Words, who revived this weekly meme for us book bloggers to use at our will. As always, the three W’s are:

What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What will you be reading next?

If you participate in this on your blog, drop me a link in the comments below! Or just answer any or all of the questions and let me know what book your nose is in because I always like to know what people are reading. As for me….

What did I recently finish reading?
41818282Within the last week I have finished two books: an audiobook of The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker, which I gave 1 star (not at all what I was expecting–very unique 3rd person writing style), and an ARC from NetGalley called And Then You Were Gone by R.J. Jacobs. This one it a mystery/thriller that releases on March 13th and I gave it 3 stars. I will be posting my review closer to the release date, but in the mean time just in case you seek it out in NG, here is a big trigger warning for mental health/bipolar for that book for you, just FYI.

What am I currently reading?
30223025I have two main reads at the moment (and about two more books that I have started and am not really focusing on, but they’re there on the sidelines): The Dire King by William Ritter (this is the 4th and final book in the Jackaby series) and Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. I’m trying to keep up with New Years resolutions here – finish up series and improve my Goodreads rating so I’m actually working towards that! Pat on the back!

What will I be reading next?
36987007I never commit to this. Right now I am in a Goodreads challenge group and I am on a “VILLAINS” team and this is the last week for the paranormal/sci-fi theme. I have an ARC to get started on called The Stranger Diaries and I really want to get to Colleen Hoover’s Verity. The buzz about this book is just incredible! If you have read it, you must tell me what you thought about it. So we’ll see where I get on to!

Now its your turn. Don’t forget to drop your links or let me know what you’re reading. OR…have you read any of these books? Are they on your TBR? Let me know!

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February 2019 Readathons

We’re almost through the week and I hope that you all are having a good one. Happy Valentines Day if you’re into that. 🙂 I hope that your reading for the month is going better than mine is. I’m actually a bit behind. I would have thought that with the snow and ice we’ve had I would be farther along with my goals but nope! Oh well. Here are some readathons I have found to catch me (and maybe you) up for the rest of the month:

42-65375859InLoveAthon – Sunday 2/10 thru Saturday 2/16 … Reading books about love. Books and sprints and watch-alongs, oh my!

Fierce Females Readathon – Friday 2/15 thru Thursday 2/28 … Group Read = Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

VaLITines Readathon – Friday 2/1 thru Thursday 2/28 … BINGO and Challenges all month long!

Lost-A-Thon – Friday 2/1 thru Thursday 2/28 … A wide variety of genres to read from any time in the month.

So there we have it. I know I am going to jump in on Fierce Females and VaLITines, and maybe the others….I’ll see. I’m also in a couple group challenges on Goodreads as well. Are you active with groups on Goodreads? Are you doing any other monthly challenges or readathons? Tell me which ones–I’d love to know!

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Pardon my absence…

I’ve always said that I don’t really believe in apologizing for absences from social media, and I really don’t. So this isn’t an apology as much as it is a reason, as well as an excuse to share with you my BABIES!! Okay, not really babies but even better….PUPPIES

Today I am straying away from the bookish to share with you what has been a big part of my life since the holidays: my family’s puppy endeavor! The last three dogs we have had, my parents have talked about trying to have a litter of puppies. A golden retriever, a miniature schnauzer, and now with the second golden retriever, we’ve finally stepped up and taken the jump. Our baby has had babies!

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Of course she isn’t a baby any more, but your dog will always be your baby. Ellie has been such a champ going through this whole process. We did a lot of research going into this event and from what we read, some mamas can be very territorial of their pups, not letting their humans near in the beginning and not wanting to leave the area much. Ellie, however, is a perfect mix of taking care of the littles when she needs to and letting them get their rest and having her own (and her owner’s) self-care. She needs her own space and cool off period (the room where the puppies are has to be a consistent 82-degrees F! It gets pretty warm!).

Right now, the puppies are 3 weeks old. There are 6 adorable, purebred golden retriever pups–5 boys and 1 little girl.

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This little guy we’ve been calling ‘Rizzo’ after our favorite Chicago Cub

At 3 weeks, they are just starting to open their eyes and their hearing is just developing. They are also just starting to walk, which is honestly the funniest thing. I never really thought about dogs figuring out how to walk, but some of them use their two front legs and drag their back legs–kind of salamander-ish. A couple of them can get up on all fours for about 5 or 6 steps and then just flop down in a little puppy pile. Mostly they just sort of climb all over each other to get from point A to point B and its just adorable. And of course, I can’t forget to mention (as you can see from this picture) that right now, their tiny nails and tiny teeth are incredibly sharp!

image4Obviously, I am loving these little cherubs grow and change, and as my dad keeps saying “Its amazing, the instincts that Mother Nature has instilled in them.” And he’s not just talking about the babies, but mama pup too. She had her litter and pretty much knew what to do! Life is so messy (and smelly and gross) but so sweet and so beautiful. I hope you can all take some time to enjoy it today.

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3 Of My Favorite ‘Romance’ Books (So Far)

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Well, it can’t be February without me listing some of my favorite romance books, now can it? Now in all fairness, I will limit my list to only one Colleen Hoover book because–I’m just saying–she’s pretty much the queen of love. So without further ado, here is my list of love:

1. The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski – I read this book all the way back in 2014 and it has stuck with me ever since, that’s just how good it is. The Edge of Never is about Camryn and Andrew–two people who meet on a cross-country bus. Camryn is running from a break-up, divorced parents, and a fight with her best friend. Andrew’s father is dying of cancer. After an incident at the bus stop, they hop in a car and decide to travel wherever the road takes them. Their bonding is so fun and their story is so beautiful. I loved every moment of this book.

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Cath and Wren are twins starting their first year away at college, but not everything starts out as expected. Cath feels like she’s losing her sister, her voice as a writer, and herself. College is a hard transition, but as all we college students know, there is no getting through without coffee. And with coffee comes Levi. Levi is such a charmer, and he is so amazing to Cath. He isn’t the perfect guy, he’s not the most popular, or the school jock. But he is kind and funny and he’s good to the girl he likes. I loved this book because I thought it was so real and I can’t help but applaud it for that.

3. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover – In my opinion, this is pretty much the most heartbreaking, love-filled book you can ever read. Also, this was a very tough book to read. There are trigger warnings for infertility, miscarriage, depression, minor self-harm, cheating.  However, as with all CoHo, it is written in a way that is past to present dual narrative and woven together very nicely. As I said, this book is so raw and so real, I can’t help but feel that Colleen Hoover is so brave for daring to take on such a tough topic as infertility because I know what a struggle that is and how it is just not talked about. She really does not go lightly on the grief and pain that it puts into a relationship and the love that Quinn and Graham have to give to each other just to get through their days. This book is so well written that I ended up quoting small pieces of it in my wedding vows.

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Well, there they are, my top 3 from the top of my head. I tried to choose differing sub genres.

Have you read any of these? Do you have recommendations for good romance reads? Or do you steer clear of the love bug?

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