The Wrapping Up of All the Things

As always, the end of all things came too quickly. More specifically in this case #24in48, the Biannual Bibliothon, and even more significantly, JULY!! How did July get by us? I guess we say that every month. Ah, well. Time to wrap it all up.

o7f2dlnf_400x400To begin the recap, for #24in48, I completed my full 24 hours of reading plus just a little more and I felt so accomplished! In those 24 hours, I finished All Things New, and I came close to finishing Sarah Dessen’s Once and For All. I also made some progress on The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, but for whatever reason, that is a really slow read for me. It just doesn’t hold my interest very strongly.

dcj4gyko_400x400Next up was the weeklong Summer Biannual Bibliothon, which just wrapped up yesterday. My week was busier than I anticipated, unfortunately, but I did get some reading done and some books wrapped up. So during the Bibliothon, I finished Once and For All, I started a new cozy series (because they tend to keep me out of slumps and I am really anticipating fall!) called Curse the Day and I finished that book as well, I started and finished Erin Watt’s When It’s Real, and I have been reading First We Were IV and When I am Through With You. So that’s 3 finished and 2 progressed through. All things considered, I’m pretty happy with that!

And now for the overall July breakdown:

★★★★★ The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

★★★★ Hook’s Tale: Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself by John Leonard Pielmeier

★★★★ When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

★★★★ All Things New by Lauren Miller

★★★ Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

★★★★ Curse the Day by Annabel Chase

★★★★ When It’s Real by Erin Watt

So that’s it, folks. 7 books total finished for the month. 3 of them were ARC’s read before their publication dates. Average rating = 4.0

Its so weird for me to be reading so many contemporaries. As I mentioned earlier, I was craving that cozy/witchy mystery with fall coming up because I just felt a slump coming on and I think it is partially because of the genres I’m reading. I tend to read more YA contemporary romance in the summertime. It just feels right to me. I’m glad that I have been because I have been finding some gems and obviously, from the ratings above, I recommend them as well! Until next time, I also highly recommend finding yourself a readathon or two to participate in. It boosted my reading from 4-5 books read per month to 7! Sure it takes a little organization if you are going to commit and there are optional challenges you can participate in but they are all in good fun. Goodluck and as always, happy reading!

Currently watching: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

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“When Its Real” by Erin Watt

30731416When It’s Real was my first read by Erin Watt and I didn’t go into it with very high expectations. Having just come out of a let-down contemporary by another author, I was all the more ready to be crushed once again by the genre. To be completely honest, the book started off a little slow, but after about 30-40 pages, I was in love with both the “him” and “her” voices in the story. Hate-love is my trope and this was my type of book! Oak and Vaughn put each other in their places in the best of ways and it was just great. There was humor, sweetness, just the right amount of anger and snap in both characters. Plus every contemporary romance has to have an excellent cast of supporting characters and this book has it. Oak with his bodyguards (hilarious!) and Vaughn and her family…they were all a perfect compliment to the plot. I really enjoyed it.

Let me back up for just a second here and give you a more specific summary of the book. As I mentioned, the “him” is Oakley Ford–a super hot, teen rock star who hit it big when he was young. He is the son of super-star actor parents, so he has pretty much always been in the spotlight. He wants to be taken seriously and write his own music and really make a new and unique sound for himself. Enter: Vaughn Bennett. She hasn’t exactly had it easy growing up either. She lost her parents in a car accident and graduated early in order to help take care of her younger siblings. She and her older sister work hard to care for ‘the twins,’ and when the opportunity to be Oakley Ford’s fake girlfriend presents itself, the money that comes along with it is irresistible.

Then of course the fake relationship begins and Vaughn is repulsed by the arrogant Oak. Also, she has a “real” boyfriend that the publicists have to stage a fake break-up with. Needless to say, the real douche of the story is the boyfriend, but I’ll let you read all of that for yourself. The story really picks up and for me, I could not put the book down. To be honest, it was the first book I stayed up past my bedtime reading in a long time. Especially in this genre!

So if I “really enjoyed it” so darn much why didn’t I give it 5 stars? Well I’d say a solid 4.5 that I would almost have rounded up to 5 if not for the slow start. Also, there was a lot of underage drinking, drugs (pot, though not mentioned specifically), and sex. Granted its the ‘rockstar lifestyle’ and Oak is an emancipated minor but still…his ease of access to it bothered me. Oh well. Can’t knock a book too bad for that. It was still awesome and I will be checking out more Erin Watt in the future!!

Listening to: “Waiting for Superman” by Daughtry

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Day 7 Blogger Challenge ~ Biannual Bibliothon

This is it, folks. The final challenge for the Biannual Bibliothon! Today’s challenge is a fairly simple one: write a letter to a book character. I am going to write to Oakley Ford from When It’s Real by Erin Watt, because it is the most recent book that I finished. I will write from my own perspective as a reader and “fan” of Oak as a musician and character. (Just as a sidenote: I have not yet posted my review of this book, but if you need to reference the synopsis or other reviews, here is the link to the book’s Goodreads page.)

love-letter1Dear Oak,

First off, congrats on your latest record! I am so happy for you for finding your own sound and pursuing new projects with King. You really made the right decisions for yourself and it totally payed off. You are kicking ass on tour and doing amazingly–congratulations, man. Secondly, best wishes to you and Vaughn! I heard things with her are going well and for that I am so glad. She seems to be a good influence on you and your music. I also heard that she was able to put you back in touch with your mother and heal some old wounds between you. That sounds wonderful.

So Oak, as a fan and friend, let me just ask you one question: once your tour is over, can we expect to hear wedding bells? Its not too soon to ask that is it? I know that Vaughn is planning on going back to college, but you two are perfect for each other and practically attached at the hip. Plus her sister and the twins all approve so why not?  I know I said this, but I am so happy for you. You really deserve all the happiness after all the hard work you put into your music and your art. I hope you know that.

Well, congratulations again. If you ever need a new assistant or someone to help keep your hot bodyguards in line, don’t hesitate to give me a call. I miss you, buddy! Wave at the Statue of Liberty for me!

Listening to: “This is Love” by Oakley Ford

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Day 6 Blogger Challenge ~ Biannual Bibliothon

rapunzel-background_090955577_186Hello, fellow bloggers, Bibliothonners, and readers! I hope that your Friday is spectacular and that your reading progress is going well. Today’s challenge is to write 25 facts–no more, no less–about myself. This may seem easy, but I don’t think its ever really easy for most people (myself included) to talk about themselves. Especially today, since I had a job interview this morning and had to more or less sell myself to the lady sitting in front of me. Uck. Nevertheless, though, I shall complete the challenge and try to make it fun. I will not be doing all bookish facts, but I’ll do as many as I can think up. So here goes:

  1. I read 2-4 books at a time.
  2. My least favorite genre is Christian romance.
  3. I love Goodreads and am addicted to signing up for challenges.
  4. I am addicted to bookish merch, specifically candles and bookmarks!
  5. Another recent addiction of mine is bookish subscription boxes. Opening them is like Christmas!
  6. I collect books for my shelves. Hardcover, paperback…I don’t really care. But if books are from the same series, the editions MUST match!
  7. My preference for coffee or tea depends on my mood, but I do like both.
  8. The first big concert I ever went to was the Backstreet Boys.
  9. Speaking of the Backstreet Boys, I was a huge fan growing up and my walls were plastered with their posters. Literally, at least one (maybe 2) of my walls were not even visible.
  10. If you follow my blog or have read my bio, you know I am a singer. Well, I firmly believe that one of the reasons that I have an ear for harmonies is because of spending hours listening to, and singing along with the harmonies of boy bands.
  11. The first time I sang in public, I was in preschool and I sang “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from Oklahoma. The second time I was supposed to sing in public, I chickened out.
  12. In second grade, I was the “best singer” in my class and they made me be the Big Bad Wolf in our class musical of The 3 Little Pigs. I hated it because I was a girl. I’m still embarrassed about it to this day.
  13. My first car was a magenta Dodge Shadow that I named “Pinky.”
  14. I didn’t name my second car, which I owned for +10 years. It was a blue Dodge Neon.
  15. I now own a Chevy Equinox and her name is Georgie.
  16. I call my grandmother ‘Mormor,’ which is Swedish for Mother’s Mother.
  17. I still sleep with a teddy bear that I’ve had since I was a kid and a Build-A-Bear my fiancé made me. He doesn’t much love having to share the bed with them too. Too bad!
  18. I like scary movies, and definitely like movies that mess with your mind whether they are scary or not (i.e. Saw, Inception, The Cure for Wellness)
  19. My first paying job was at a Bowling Alley. I was a birthday party hostess. It sucked to come home smelling like that.
  20. My favorite paying job was working at a summer camp. I was a camper there for over ten years, and I was on the payroll for almost as long.
  21. My ideal reading spot would be in a hammock in front of or near a lake OR on a porch swing. Obviously I like gentle movement and the sound of waves.
  22. I love warm rain, and reading in rain/thunderstorms.
  23. While my mom is a reader, she doesn’t read as much as I do. She follows my Bookstagram though and always asks how I get so many books.
  24. I always travel with at least one book and/or my iPad. My phone has my reading apps too.
  25. I only recently learned to appreciate audiobooks, but I’m so glad I did. I am still a little picky about what books and genres I read though.

So there you have it. 25 facts about little ol’ me. Several are bookish, several are not. If you would like to leave a few facts about yourself, I would love to get to know you more as my readers and followers as well!! Please tell me some things about you!

Listening to: “Larger Than Life” by Backstreet Boys <– yes, now I am craving BSB

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“All Things New” by Lauren Miller

Title: All Things New

Author: Lauren Miller

Publication Date: August 1, 2017

Publisher: Three Saints Press

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Lesson learned: Never judge a freebie book based on its “freebie” status! So not only did I receive a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, it was also a ‘download now’ free copy, meaning that I didn’t have to be approved or anything in order to read it. I usually equate these books–in my mind–to the freebies of the ARC world. That aside, I thought that this book was a really good read and I very much enjoyed it.

Jessa has suffered from an anxiety disorder since her father left her mother when she was just twelve years old. Now, at 17, she is barely getting through school living with her mom in L.A. and clinging to her prepster boyfriend. Until one night at a party changes everything. A near-fatal car accident leaves Jessa’s face scar-ridden, and her brain nearly as damaged, she decides to leave everything behind to live with her dad in Colorado. Here she meets new people, reconciles with her father, and learns about the true measure of healing both inside and out.

On to the nitty-gritty opinionated part of my review. First off, I was surprised at the intelligence level of this book. Now, I am no doctor, psychologist, or philosopher and I have no idea what an actual practicing physician or thinker would say about the topics in this book, but for someone at my level of knowledge, it was awesome! I mean, we got deep about Dorian Gray and van Gough! We were talking about heart surgery and brain surgery and the reflections of the soul! Plus, that ending though!! Secondly, I did feel that the book had a bit of a rough start and sometimes it is difficult and not for everyone to read books from the POV of a main character who has a panic disorder. But guess what? Having a panic disorder is rough. This book deals with a tough issue. In all honesty, this book deals with a LOT of tough issues. Jessa isn’t the only person who goes through trials. She has her panic disorder and gets in a car accident, but then she meets Marshall who has a heart defect, and Hannah who isn’t perfect, and she is basically in a community of not perfect people and this is basically her new life. So the final point I will make: a lot of the reviews I have read talk about how much people like Marshall. Yes, I really like Marshall as well. But who really comes through as an amazing character is Super Dad. My favorite moment is when Dad is encouraging Jessa to drive to school again because she can’t live in fear forever; can’t let the fear control her life and he says:

“Because there’s something I want for you even more than safety. I want you to be free. Free from the panic and worry, free from all that terrible self-doubt I see in your eyes and blame myself for. But you have to want it too, Jessa. You have to decide not to let fear win.”

So yeah. I loved this book. I tend to like books where characters have to find their light. I love strong, powerful moments of tenderness and strength. They all still have their scars but they have found some consolation or some way through them and I think that this book did a good job of doing that. I recommend.

Listening to: “Numb” by Max Jury

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Day 5 Blogger Challenge ~ Biannual Bibliothon

Hello everyone! I hope that if you are participating in this challenge, your reading is going well and you are finishing mountains and mountains of books!! I, for one, am not. Not for lack of trying though. I’m less than 3 hours from finishing When Its Real by Erin Watt and I am LOVING. IT. Apparently Hate –> Love is my favorite romance trope. Or one of them, at least. I am also about 150 pages into First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy. I hoped to have this one finished by its release day on 7/25 but that didn’t quite happen, and that’s ok. Book’s still good so far!

Anyway, day 5’s challenge is a Character Connection – picking a character whom I connected with on a personal level and discuss what they should have done differently in a certain bookish situation. The character I choose is Louna from Sarah Dessen’s Once and For All. I didn’t give the book the highest rating but I felt a connection with her past and I finished the book recently so its fresh in my mind.

So Louna is a girl who is just finishing up high school and is in her last summer before college. She works for her mom’s wedding planning company and she is extremely skeptical about happily-ever-afters (pretty rough for someone who works in the wedding industry!). The scene Louna definitely needed to do differently was one where a bride was getting cold feet and worrying about her future, and she looks Louna directly in the eye and asks directly “Am I going to be ok? Am I going to have my happily every after?” And Louna absolutely freezes in terror. She cannot answer this bride who is literally about to walk down the aisle!!! If it were me, I would swallow down my past, put on my big girl, professional panties, and make something up. Wouldn’t you think that you should have a plan for a scenario like that? Wouldn’t you think her mother would have helped her plan for a moment like that? I mean (I don’t want to give away spoilers in the book as to WHY Louna doesn’t believe in love), her mom and her partner know her history so you would think that they would help her to figure out something to say, or some way to deal with these situations!! So basically, if it was me, I would ALWAYS have an Ace in my sleeve. Some cliche pearls of wisdom to share. And I feel like most wedding planners do!

And that, my friends, is my input for today! Happy reading!

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Day 4 Blogger Challenge ~ Biannual Bibliothon

How did we make it to day 4 already?! We’re basically halfway through the week!! Yikes! For today we’re talking about a book or books that we gave less than 3 stars. I want to back up to a book I read before I had a blog for this because I think its a bit redundant to reblog about a book I already blogged about. So I’m consulting my Goodreads reviews (thank heavens for Goodreads, right??) for some juicy negative reviews…

28962906Book: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Read: November 22, 2016

Rating: 2 stars

My Review: Please don’t hate me. I was really looking forward to this one and then to me, this was just a flop. “Audrey Rose”/”Wadsworth” was so snobby and easily offended it just drove me insane. Thomas was okay but his character seemed shallow to me. It took me forever to read this book because I was BORED. See also: predictable. I got into the ending a little bit, and the asylum visit was exciting. But otherwise…meh. If this was just a first in series, I really, really, really, REALLY hope this picks up. I like the premise and the setting but MAN did I dislike this first installment!! I’m so bummed!

15748293Book: Eighty Days Yellow

Read: March 25, 2017

Rating: 1 star

My review: There are not many books that I have given 1 or 2 stars to but this is one of those few. Even though I saw that this book had relatively poor ratings, I still had a bit of hope for it because it was a “steamy romance” and the main characters were a) a professor so he should be smart, right? and b) a musician so she should be interesting, right? Well, yes, that was sort of true. But it just wasn’t true enough to float the book and save the rating. The music part in the beginning was interesting for me as a musician myself. I enjoyed that. Then of course its all sex, sex, sex and drama, drama, drama for the other 65% of the book. Now speaking of the drama, it happens…..and then it drops dead. Nothing really resolves. Charlotte just sort of disappears after Dominick gives her her “scene”…there isn’t a big hissy fit and “we’re done forever” big breakup resolution moment. Whatever happens with Victor? Summer and Dominick find each other and then leave each other and the book ends and then that’s it? Uhhhh……yeah. NO connection. NO romance. NO nothing. 1 star.

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So there you have it, folks. My day 4 post. If you are curious, I am currently listening to When its Real by Erin Watt and reading First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy for the Bibliothon. I also just started When I Am Through With You on my iPad. 

♫ Listening to: “Stone Cold” by Demi Levato

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Day 3 Blogger Challenge ~ Biannual Bibliothon

Today’s challenge is (dun dun DUNNNN!!!) the Villain Synopsis. This one is hosted by Dominique at Pirates and Pixie Dust and this one is, indeed, a doozie. The directions are:

1️⃣ Pick a book you love

2️⃣Imagine that the story was written from the antagonists perspective.

3️⃣Rewrite the books synopsis from the VILLAINS point of view.

So I think I’m going to choose “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” Cliche but….I don’t want to do a fairy tale because there are SO many fairy tale villain tellings and a lot of YA villains aren’t very strong. In HP, however, we all know how that goes.

Synopsis:

P-p-p-poor St-st-st-stuttering P-p-rofessor Quirrell. Oh, they have no idea what I can do. How strong I am. Who I came across in the woods one stormy day last summer and how he would change my life forever. As a professor at Hogwarts, I went about my days teaching students and going about my seemingly average life. However, I always knew I was destined for great things. Ever since my days as a student at Hogwarts when I first heard about the dark arts, I felt them tingling in my bones and just knew I was fated to be a servant of the Dark Lord. But then he found me, and my fate would never be the same….

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Day 2 Blogger Challenge ~ Biannual Bibliothon

Day 2 of the summer Biannual Bibliothon is hosted by Kassie of Miss Sassie Kassie. The second day challenge is to write a book review. Last night/early this morning (about 1:30 am) I finished Once and for All by Sarah Dessen so I will use that as my review for today!

32078787So as I’m sure many of you Bibliothon-ers are aware, Once and for All was a summer release by Sarah Dessen. The book revolves around Louna, who has just graduated from high school and is working her final summer for her mother’s wedding planning business. (What a cool business for your mom to run, huh? I think so! Stressful, but unique, right?? Honestly its one of the only reasons I picked up this book–I’m honestly not a huge Dessen fan.) Louna meets Ambrose at a wedding when she is the designated wedding assistant who has to chase down the missing groomsman….Ambrose. He is, of course, involved in another wedding later in the season and ends up involved in the family business and in turn, involved with Louna ‘once and for all’ (see what I did there?).

I’m sorry to say that I set my expectations a little too high and I shouldn’t have. I think my brain was a little confused, and honestly, I feel a little set up! Sarah Dessen brainwashed me a little bit here. It feels kind of like the TV show The Vampire Diaries (I just saw someone rant about this the other day). Those people are supposed to be teenagers! They don’t look like teenagers. Just like here in the book. In no way do Louna and Ambrose act like just-graduating high school seniors. They mention going away to college, but they’re working this mature job, driving cars, ordering kegs for weddings, going to parties, dating without curfews or talking to parents and having parental involvement…this does not feel like a teenage-ish book. The characters go through their daily lives like way more mature beings than high school seniors/college freshman. BUT THEN the romance aspect and the actual getting together part feels so slow and lame that I wanted to throw things. The two just didn’t add up! Does not compute!! Aside from that, though, the book does have its cute moments. And definitely its funny moments. William is hilarious! Ambrose can be funny sometimes. My heart ached for Louna and what happened to Ethan, even if some aspects of their relationship were juvenile as well, they are young so that’s okay. If you like an easy, mushy romance, then this book is for you.

Listening to: “All of Me” by John Legend

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#24in48 Read-a-thon Wrap-up

Hello everyone!!! As of about 10:15pm this evening I hit my goal of 24 hours of reading!! I know this because I used the BookOut app to track the books I was reading on my iPad as well as my physical books, plus I added those totals to the times in my audiobook and voila! 24 hours and counting!

So here’s what exactly I finished reading:

  • All Things New* by Lauren Miller (a NetGalley ARC)
  • Once and for All* by Sarah Dessen (review will be posted tomorrow morning)
  • Curse the Day by Annabel Chase

And I made some progress in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. The books with an asterisk* I had already started reading, and I just finished them during the read-a-thon.

Here are the wrap-up questions posted by Rachel, Kristen, and Kerry:

  1. How many books did you read? Pages? (If you didn’t keep track, tell me that too!) Not sure about exact page #, but I finished 3 books and was working on a 4th.
  2. How many hours did you read? I read for +24 hours! Close to 25.
  3. What do you think worked well in this readathon? Using the hashtag on social media, especially Twitter.
  4. What do you think could be done to improve the readathon for next time? Instagram could be more active.
  5. Will you participate in a future 24in48 readathon? Absolutely!

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