Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer

31694016Stranger Than Fanfiction is a book for which the synopsis really doesn’t do the story much justice. True, the book is about teen celebrity and four graduating high school friends going on a road trip. We find out almost immediately that 3 out of the 4 friends have huge secrets. One is gay and going to an extremely conservative college. One is trans and can’t admit it to his family or friends or the guy who she(he) knows has a crush on her(him). And the third wants to attend a different college than her father is making her go to. This is all so that she can pursue what he views as a “good” career when what she really wants to do is become a writer.

I very much liked the idea of the road trip theme, as well as a celebrity peer randomly joining a group of his fans who were best friends all for the fun. Sounds like a good book, right? Well, turns out the celebrity has his own secret, is rather an asshole, and the friends are all pretty flat characters and nothing exciting happens. EVER. Until the very, very end.

Honestly, the final 40 pages all of a sudden are the only redeemable part of the book. My ears perked up, and I even shed a couple of tears! After considering not finishing the book a couple of times along the way, I finally found a reason to finish the book, however unreasonable the out-of-nowhere ending seemed!! I liked the twist and it finally brought the entire book together in a way I thought it needed.

So overall, yes, this book has characters who are LGTBQA+, but does it really discuss these issues in ways that are really important or shed light on the topic in interesting ways? Unfortunately not. I didn’t feel that I really connected with the characters at all, and I hated that I never felt that I had any idea what the show that the characters were always talking about being fans of, Whiz Kids, was about. It ended up just being an annoying, constant reference. Sorry Chris Colfer, this book wasn’t for me.

4919495Side note: speaking of Chris Colfer…just FYI, yes, Chris Colfer the author is the same as Chris Colfer the Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor best-known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on the FOX television series “Glee”!! I absolutely did not realize that until after I read the book and was writing my review! It, unfortunately, doesn’t change my opinion, but I do find it fascinating and now I have to connect the “Glee” soundtrack to this book!

Book Soundtrack: “Seasons of Love” by Glee Cast

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Tag Tuesday: Easter Book Tag

170412-better-chocolate-bunny-easter-se-335p_56963533f30696ec7e11f1525df3013c-focal-1000x500Happy (belated) Easter, everyone! I hope that your baskets were full of goodies and you had a nice weekend with family. If you aren’t an Easter holiday observer, then hopefully you had a good weekend in general. My fiance and I had a Star Wars marathon in addition to Easter festivities. His birthday was last Thursday and he was so excited about the release of The Last Jedi so you better believe we watched all nine movies. Oh boy!

Anyway, today I bring to you the Easter Book Tag. This tag was originally vlogged by Rosie the Reader. This is a pretty short and sweet tag but I’m working on a monstrously large one for next week – stay tuned!

Rabbits – A book you wish you could multiply

1505944943061594800_220I’ll kick this off with Outlander. I have only read as far as Voyager (book 3) in the series so far, but I simply love these books! And the show now too, of course. Yes, the two have their differences of course, so I have to keep them different in my mind and sometimes I feel like I need to keep my books handy by my side while watching. Or maybe I just need a “quick guide”! But back to the books. One cannot mention Outlander without expressing love for Jamie Fraser. He is a man of beautiful words and deep love and will make any reader swoon! Another amazing thing about these books is the historical detail. Its no wonder these books are so long. They are thoroughly researched and beautifully written. If only all books are so thorough and beautiful.

Egg – A book that surprised you

32766747My pick for this is one of my favorite reads from 2017: Library of Fates. I didn’t have high hopes for this book because Aditi Khorana’s first book didn’t have the highest rating on Goodreads, but this book blew me away! I was so surprised by the beauty of this book and how wonderfully the magic and folklore were woven into the story. I honestly did not predict most of the events of the book, which I had very much expected to. This book was one that I received for free as an ARC but loved so much, I bought a hard copy for myself when it was published. If you still haven’t read it, pick it up! Its a really great read! I would love to read more books like this–it was perfection!

Hunt – A book that was hard for you to get your hands on

cb19f00d-3a9e-4884-8e70-0516e274ad32Generally I read books as I find them, rather than hunting books that I want to read so this one was tough for me. I’ll choose Dumplin’ though, because last year at a signing I got to meet Julie Murphy at a release party for Ramona Blue. I had her sign my copy of RB but what I really wanted her to sign for me was Dumplin’ because as a singer with body issues, I identified with that book. I looked around the shop and could not find a hard cover copy to have her sign for me! I was so bummed! I complained probably a little too loudly and a store employee overheard me. She went to check the store again and no, sure enough, no more copies. Julie was sad for me, the employee was sad for me, I was sad for me. Bummer all around. Well, then a manager overheard. She thought maybe there were one or two stashed in the back. Sure enough, there was one more copy in the back and it was all mine! And that’s how I got my signed copy of Dumplin’.

Lambs – A children’s book that you still enjoy

Hands down: The Giving Tree. There are several more, of course. I am a sucker for kids books and books from my childhood or books that we read to young campers at my summer camp, but man, The Giving Tree just gets me in the feels! I hope that everyone has read this book. If not, add it to your personal library. Share it with your children and with your friends’ children, and your family members’ children. Its just that worthwhile.

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Spring – A book with a cover that makes you think of Spring

35020380Wild Beauty! This book came in a Fall/Winter Owl Crate box and I haven’t been able to motivate myself to read it just yet because it hasn’t felt like the right season! But now that its spring, it feels like the perfect time! Either this month or next month I’m going to try to dive into this book. Its all about a family of women living on a lush garden estate which enchants guests from around the world. In their legacy, they may not fall in love too deeply or their lovers will vanish. Then one day a mystery boy appears in the garden and changes everything. From what I read in reviews, Wild Beauty is all about beauty and love–all the things we need more of in the world.

Rising From the Dead – A book from a deceased author

18373Get your Kleenex ready. My pick from this one is Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. I can barely say or spell the title without getting sad. I think I’m just scarred from reading this in my childhood. I remember reading it in, maybe sixth grade and becoming so engaged in the book and being extremely crushed by the ending! I have no idea how I would feel reading it now. If it would still bring out such an emotional reaction from me or not, but I know it made an impact from me and I thought it was a powerful book.

Baskets – A book that is in your Amazon cart or wishlist right now

37546906There are so many!! Right now I am debating on whether or not to pre-order Ace of Shades. I’ve been waiting on this one for months now (haven’t we all?!)! ARC reviews being posted are really great and are only making me more excited. Is it April 10 yet?!

Candy – A book that is sweet

23395098My pick for a sweet book needs to be Fangirl. I put off reading this one forever because I read Carry On first and didn’t like it too much (don’t hate me!). However, I’m glad that I gave Fangirl a chance because it was SO.GOOD.!!! I loved Levi and his sweetness. He went straight into my list of top 5 book boyfriends. Another sweet thing about this book was Cath’s relationship with her father. Her relationship with her sister was strained throughout the book but of course they had to work things out. So ultimately, a very sweet book that I very much loved.

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So that’s the tag, my friends! If you’re reading this and are still in an Easter-y mood, feel free to take this on. I picked out a few books I haven’t thought of in a while, so maybe this tag would give you the same opportunity as well! Until next time…happy reading!

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February Wrap-up…March TBR

amy-reed-408611-unsplashWho can believe that we are already going into the third month of 2018? Seems like I was just doing my 25 days of December and now we’re talking March! Crazy!

 

So considering that February was a short month, I’d say that I did okay reading-wise. In January I finished 4 books but in February I bumped that up to 5–woo! Subsequently page count went up as well. I don’t have that number in front of me, but I promise, I crunched that number earlier and its the Gods-honest truth. So here’s my little overview:

Fangirl & The Kiss of Deception were audiobooks, Caraval & Siege and Storm both I flipped between digital and physical copies of. All of these reviews are up on the blog except for Caraval… that one is still a bit under construction. It should be done in another day or two. My favorite book of the month was definitely Fangirl. I am still swooning over Levi!! I am so glad I read that around Valentine’s Day!!

tbrmarchSegue to: I also was also glad to have finished Siege and Storm because now I am so ready to move on to Ruin and Rising and finish the trilogy this month!! Not that I want it to be over but I am so eager to see what happens!! That AND I want to move on to Six of Crows. Also on my TBR for this month are a couple I picked up from the library. Stillhouse Lake is a thriller that I picked up thinking I would read during #thrillerthon. Well, I missed that. Bummer. But I like thrillers anyway and this one has a wicked cool synopsis (dead bodies in the lake!) and a pretty high Goodreads rating. Plus its a book of the month for a group I’m in so I’m going to do my best to get to it. The other two I picked up–Invictus and Unearthed–are a little (a lot) more sci-fi-ey than I usually read but I couldn’t help myself. For whatever reason, I was just in the mood for time travel and aliens. So boom! I chose them also. So we’ll see where I’m at by the end of the month.

What are you planning to read this month? How much did you read in February?

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Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson

18490681There is no way to state my opinion of Kiss of Deception other than to just come out and put it bluntly: I expected far more from this book. The synopsis on Goodreads makes it sound like there will be action and intrigue and peril. I suppose there is, but the pacing of the book is so incredibly slow that its astounding anything gets done at all!

Currently there are three books in The Remnant Chronicles series, with the fourth set to release….sometime, I’m not sure when and I couldn’t find the information on GR. From those whom I have talked to about the series, the characters and relationships are enough to keep you reading, though the pace never really picks up. Fortunately I do really enjoy Mary E. Pearson’s writing, her characters, and the world building. I am curious to see the choices that the characters make now that the first book left off in the middle of a tense situation.

kiss-240x300The final comment I feel that I need to make was my confusion about the book’s fantasy genre tag. I noticed it on Goodreads and then just because of the slow pacing, for most of the book, I had no idea why the book was tagged Fantasy since there was no magic or fantastical beasts or system really in the book. Yes, the lands were made up but really that was all. What the heck was going on!? Who did I even contact to get this fixed?!!? Well, finally a change in the wind (metaphorically speaking) came along and answered my question so now all is settled. It was just strange to me.

So overall, Kiss of Deception does not hit anywhere near one of my favorite books, YA or otherwise. However, I did think it was okay and I am interested to see how things progress with the guys and the kingdoms. I think I’ll head to book 2, but not in a rush.

Book Soundtrack: “Dust and Bones” James and the Wild Spirit

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A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

13513205I have bad news, my friends. I have a relatively negative review to write. Now, I have to say that it has been a while since I read the original A Wrinkle in Time book by Madeline L’Engle. I know I have read it twice….once when I was quite young, and once when I was in my early 20’s? So maybe 5 or so years ago? So maybe my details are foggy but I feel I am generously giving this book a rating of “2 stars” simply because it is A Wrinkle in Time. Ever since I heard about this graphic novel three or four years ago, I wanted to read this one and man, am I disappointed. My mom loved the original book as a child and I remember reading it with her when I was young. I am pretty sure my Goodreads rating for the actual book is 5 STARS!….so where did this graphic novel go wrong?? What is the movie going to be like?!?!
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So now I am confused and concerned. I guess I need to re-read the actual book and have a refresher. All I know is that the graphic novel was, in my opinion, awful. For starters, I absolutely HATED Meg. She was/is a TERRIBLE character. Charles Wallace also is a MOSTLY awful character. In my opinion, the only redeeming character in the book is Cal, who is a tertiary character. The Mrs. Witches are so vague (just like in the book) and they stay extremely vague in the graphic novel. Meg/CW’s dad is pretty much useless. And the book’s resolution contains no answers. Just a big POOF! pretty much! But now that I have read this, I feel ready to read on in the series I think? Or maybe I’ll just read the actual novel and refresh my brain and reassure myself that the series is worth its grain of salt. I’m questioning my own opinion!! Yikes!!

Book Soundtrack: “Day One” from Interstellar by Hans Zimmer

First Readathon of 2018: Winter Biannual Bibliothon!!

Its here! The #winterbib began at midnight today, January 20th! In case you didn’t know, readathons are pretty much my favorite things in the whole entire world. I love any excuse to put everything aside and read as much as possible. Unfortunately I’m not quite as dedicated to them as I used to be because I work more now than I used to but I do the best I can. The Biannual Bibliothon can be found and followed on Twitter if you’d like to jump in and participate!

Here’s a preview of what my very ambitious reading list looks like for the week! Its going to take a trip to the library, as well as the use of an Amazon gift card I got for Christmas (lol):

The group book: Otherworld by Jason Segel

A sequel + A backlist title = Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

A book about mental illness + A book you’ve never (hardly) heard of = A List of Cages by Robin Roe

A book mentioned in another book or movie + A book less than 200 pages = The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Are you participating? What does your reading list look like? Are you doing video, blog, or Instagram challenges?

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#blogmas Wrap-up … 2017 Grand Finale … December 31st

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And so, my friends, as both December and 2017 wind down, its time to begin wrapping things up and take a look back at the month and the year. I mad a big push for the end this month since I knew I wasn’t close to hitting my reading goal, but at the same time, I must take a step back to look also at quality and not just quantity. This is the first year that I would say I was choosing and reading books that I truly wanted to read and wasn’t just being guided by Goodreads challenges that I was participating in. That being said, however, my wallet suffered a little more than I would like because of sub boxes and support of other amazing small shops. But all in all it was totally worth it because this was such a monumental year for me book-wise. I made new bookish friends, met some amazing authors, and of course read some amazing books! So without further ado, here’s some 2017 reflections:

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Number Of Books You Read: 84
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read The Most From: YA, contemporary, mystery/thriller

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1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

Either The Hate U Give or The Light We Lost. Two very different books, but both so very good and very memorable.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Carnivalesque. I thought this was going to live up to standards set by many other circus-like books that have been coming out (The Night Circus, Caraval, etc.).

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

Definitely The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana. I noticed that her first book got an ok star rating on Goodreads so when I was gifted an ARC of her second book, my hopes weren’t all that high. However, I was BLOWN. AWAY!!!

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Oooh, good question. Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh. It has a unique setting back in the Ice Age and I had several comments and likes about that.

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

Best Series Started: The Grisha Trilogy!
Best Sequel: The Rose and the Dagger
Best Series Ender: Winter by Marissa Meyer

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Well, I read my first new stories by Gillian Flynn and Fredrick Backman. I don’t know if I am ready to call them favorite authors, but they are popular authors, and I will definitely read more from them in the future!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I read (listened to) a couple of biographies this year but I most enjoyed Lauren Graham’s Talking as Fast as I Can. I listened to the audiobook and I highly recommend it!

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Wires & Nerve was unputdownable for me. Not necessarily for the ‘action’ of it, but just because I am, apparently, addicted to this series and this book (graphic novel) is so hilarious and appealing to me that I just couldn’t put it down! I can’t wait for number 2 to release at the end of January!!

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined because the book was so beautiful and I related to it on so many levels. However, the book was heartbreaking so perhaps not…but it was just SO BEAUTIFUL (can you tell it was one of my 5* reads for the year?).

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?
34058936The Goblins of Bellwater was a great book with a really vivid cover. It has details that I keep picking up on each time I look at it. I love covers like that!! I really enjoyed reading this one as a NetGalley ARC and I definitely recommend giving it a try sometime. Though it has bright flowers on the cover, it works as a winter read too, for those of you who like to read seasonally (I know I do).

 

 

 

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?

I think all of them, because I don’t think I have ever really ‘followed’ blogs before, only clicked on them randomly when I needed something. Now I actually consider them friends and check/follow them regularly!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?

Either my review of Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined or The Goblins of Bellwater. Everything Beautiful… because that was a book that I really connected with on many personal levels so that was a very personal review for me to write. Bellwater because that review was one that got back to the author and she really liked it and reached out to me personally and it triggered a really cool conversation and I’m very proud of that.

3. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Either #blogmas because it was very healthy for my blog traffic and for myself to write that frequently OR attending ALA in Chicago and getting a whole pile of new ARCS as well as spending time with bookish friends. That was a huge win for me!

4. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?
Starting this new blog and keeping it up! The networking with you wonderful readers has been humbling and nothing gets done without friends and followers so its really thanks to people like you for keeping this all going!

5. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
NetGalley and Bookstagram.


So that’s all I’ve got for now. New Years celebrations are beckoning me. I admit that I did shorten these questionnaires a bit due to time constraints, but I think we all have the idea. I hope that all of you have a safe and happy New Years celebration. I will see you all again in 2018!!

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#blogmas day 30: 2018 Beat the Backlist

2018 Well, 2017 is coming to an end and 2018 is upon us! That means its about time to start looking ahead to reading plans and goals for the upcoming year. How are you feeling about what you read? Are you feeling like you missed out on anything you wanted to get read this year?

This has been a monumental year for me in terms of my relationship with books. This year I discovered NetGalley and Bookstagram!! I had already been a big reader but I started really networking and found my voice and more of an identity for myself once I started my blog. Looking back, I am amazed at how far I’ve come and how much I feel that I have grown as a reader. It just goes to show that even as an adult, we never stop growing, learning, exploring, and experiencing.

btb2018_ddteamSo aside from a regular yearly reading goal, I have also decided to participate in Beat the Backlist. For anyone who doesn’t know, the objective of this challenge is to set a goal consisting of books from your TBR published from 2017 or before, and then earn points for your team. Along the way there are also Bookstagram challenges and prizes and it sounds like a fun time, so I’m looking forward to it!! I’m setting my BTB goal at 40. I think that’s attainable and exceedable for me…I hope! Everything is a bit different for me now that I have a new job. Even with that number I know I’ll have to work hard.

Are you doing any 2018 challenges? What is your yearly reading goal for 2018?

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Merry #blogmas Eve!

Merry Christmas (Eve) to all who celebrate Christmas! It is amazing to me how December 24th and 25th looks so different to so many people. Some people are at home both days watching sports or movies or general television. Others travel across town, state, or country to visit friends or family and feast on traditional foods and exchange gifts. Some still attend services or other gatherings or volunteer in the community, or even have nowhere to go or no familiar faces to go home to. Maybe these days aren’t considered a holiday. 12/24-12/25 is different for everyone and that’s okay.

For me as a musician, today was insane. I woke up for a 9-10:30 am rehearsal across town. Then I came home to whip up a salad for a family gathering tonight, wrap a couple more gifts, take a shower and get into performance mode. 3:00 call for rehearsal before a 4:30 pm performance. Then check out this picture and how beautiful this service. Singing from the loft gives you such a beautiful perspective, I tell you. So this is what it looks like when +100 people light candles to celebrate the birth of the Christ child.

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The photo, of course, barely does it justice, and I only captured about 1/3 of the people in the picture. And I had no choice but to also capture the stand lights of the string quartet as well…but it was all such a beautiful aesthetic to have the strings and the candles and the congregation singing “Silent Night” all together….SO BEAUTIFUL!!!

Anyway, singing in this church service, I went to my aunt’s house for my family’s dinner party. We did a ‘white elephant’ gift exchange. Does anyone else do those? To be honest I was very unexcited to participate (I have plenty of my own unwanted junk…why do I want other people’s surprise unwanted junk?!), but fortunately everyone was very kind (probably too kind) in what they brought to trade. Then after that we had the “midnight service” at our family church and I had to sing again there. Doesn’t the life of a musician sound so thrilling? So here I performed ‘O Holy Night’ and rocked the house and that was that!

At this point, I am exhausted and ready for Santa! I hope you all enjoy your evenings. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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