A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Hi friends! Hope you all had a good weekend full of many pages of reading! Throughout this week I finished reading the graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time, made progress on Siege and Storm, as well as finished A List of Cages in its entirety. There have been several bookish chats going on, as well as readathons and I hope some of you have been able to get out there and take part.

ALOCSo here is something I have learned about myself within the past couple weeks: stay away from reviews and past biases when going into a new book. These things  may have hurt my opinion on both of my last two reads. For example, in A List of Cages, I read on review where a blogger said it was the kind of book that stays with you and I just love books like that. It had a higher rating than another book that I was considering reading. So for those reasons, I chose this book over the other one. Based on the synopses, I wasn’t necessarily more interested in this book than the other, but like I said, a “book that stays with you”? SOLD!! Now I read it, it was good but I don’t think that I was fully swept away or anything.

It is pretty much A List of Cage‘s one year anniversary, I just noticed! It was released last January. The book is written in alternating POV’s between Adam, a popular senior with ADHD, and Julian, a quiet, insecure orphaned freshman. When Adam is assigned to escort Julian to the school psychologist, the two guys are reunited as former foster brothers. Of course, the two growing closer together means learning secrets about one another, and Julian has plenty of those. He just needs a friend with the courage to give him the help he needs to get through it.

simson-petrol-110900I did enjoy this book. There were a few moments where I literally said “AWW!” out loud and my heart melted a bit. There were a few moments where my heart hurt and I felt overwhelmed for the characters. Really, though, it was the characters that made this book. I’m just going to stick to the main characters, but know that the secondary characters are even extremely supportive of Julian and have growth throughout the book. Julian is a character who is a bit immature in how he acts–i.e. what he reads, how he writes, how he reads, etc. but is this because of trauma and his living situation? This is discussed a bit in the book and its a hard topic. Overall, he says genuine things to people around him without even realizing it and it really reaches them. Then there is Adam. Adam is described as “untouchable.” If something sad were to happen, his friends think he would still be happy. Adam is an absolute sweetheart and he is very loyal to his friends and to his own mom as well.

Overall, I felt that this was a really good YA contemporary involving mental health issues, close friends, family, and courage. And on that note, I need to leave you with this quote from the book:

“Hate ricochets, but kindness does too.” – Robin Roe

Book soundtrack: “Be My Escape” by Relient K

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Tag Tuesday!: Bookish Scenarios

This week I’m going to go a tag called *Bookish Scenarios*! I found this one on YouTube from a vlogger named Katytastic. These questions come with a warning, and I quote: “These questions will be the death of [you]!” Well, here we go!

THE SCENARIOS

1. You have to get rid of all your books and you can only keep one from each of these genres – contemporary, fantasy, non-fiction and one other genre of your choosing. What books do you keep?
The Light We Lost (C), Cress from The Lunar Chronicles (F), Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham (NF), The Hunger Games (YA).

2. You’re at the bookstore and you hear a teenager telling their mom they don’t like to read, but their mom insists they pick something. You walk over and recommend a book you think is great for people who aren’t big on reading – what book is it?
Flat Out Love. I remember that book as being relatable and absolutely EXTRAORDINARY!

3. You’re not feeling yourself and need a pick me up. Which book do you read to put yourself in a great mood?
Any Harry Potter book!

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4. You go back in time for a day to your teenage years. What book would you most likely have caught yourself reading?
Harry Potter, something by Laurell K Hamilton or Lurlene McDaniel.

5. Your friend surprises you with a 4 day trip and you have 1 hour to pack. Which book do you bring to read on the way?
My iPad–its got it all!!

6. Your house has been robbed! Don’t worry – everyone is safe, but your bookshelf has been raided. What’s the book you really hope is safe?
My Harry Potter collection. I have worked really hard on all of that!! All of those different editions…and that’s not even to mention the Pops and the candles and the other merch!

7. Your friend borrows a book and returns it in awful condition. Do you a) Just pretend you haven’t noticed b) Ask them to repurchase it or c) Secretly do the same to something of theirs.
I definitely hint about it and probably whine and mention it until they figure out that they need to repurchase it for me. Ruining my property…especially my precious baby–I mean, book!–is unacceptable!

So if you follow my blog you know how I do tags. Basically if you’re reading this, I’m hereby tagging YOU to answer these questions next. Have fun and goodluck!

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Tag Tuesday: The Winter Tag

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I’m going off of Danielle at The Introverted Book Nerd‘s tag.

THE RULES:

  1. Share 12 random facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 12 questions.
  3. Tag 12 bloggers.

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12 RANDOM FACTS:

  1. I am a virgo.
  2. I am not a big fan of chocolate. I prefer peanut butter. 😉
  3. I love baseball.
  4. I tend to read anywhere from 2-4 books at the same time.
  5. Titanic is one of my favorite movies of all time.
  6. When I read hard-cover books, I remove dust jackets so they don’t get torn or dirty.
  7. I love dogs but am very allergic to cats.
  8. I have a Bachelors degree in vocal music and am a classically trained singer.
  9. I teach voice lessons to kids and adults.
  10. I also work at a hospital with medical records.
  11. I used to work at a summer camp.
  12. But my first job was at a bowling alley.

THE QUESTIONS:

What are your favorite things about Winter?

Ok, I’m very conflicted about winter. I love looking at snow but I hate driving and walking on snow. The coziness of being inside in front of a fire or near lit candles or a Christmas tree, nestled in a blanket with a book and a blanket and a warm drink…this is the best part of winter. Being inside and not having to go anywhere. Its a different aesthetic and feeling than in the warmer months.

What is your favorite Winter outfit?

Warm, flannel-ish, loose pajama pants with a big t-shirt and zip-up fleece or hoodie. Basically the bigger and baggier the better. So cozy!

What is your favorite Winter food?

Either chili or broccoli cheese soup!

What is your favorite Winter drink?

Hot cocoa with mini marshmallows!!

What is your dream way to spend a Winters day?

Staying home all day with a book, my big cozy pajamas, a soft blanket, a window seat with snowflakes, and a bottomless mug of hot cocoa with marshmallows. Bliss!

How do you like to do your makeup in the Winter?

Nothing changes make-up-wise. Just the scent of my body wash and spray. Right now I have a chocolate-mint smelling like set. Its yummy and refreshing!

What are you hoping Santa brings you?

Oh, Santa already came and it was glorious! 😀

What are the first three things that remind you of Winter?

Christmas, Santa, snow

What is your favorite Winter song?

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

What is your favorite Winter memory.

My younger days of holiday magic before I was responsible for holiday planning and cooking and hosting Christmas dinners and driving here and there. I miss going to bed for Santa and waking up to tinsel on the tree.

What is your favorite Winter scent?

Some magical mix of pine and citrus and cranberry.

Finish this sentence…If I could have anything this Christmas it would be…

getting my wedding paid for.

And so with that, I hereby tag YOU if you are reading this and have not yet done this tag! All you have to do is copy and paste the format (12 facts + the 12 questions + tag 12 people) onto your blog and go forth!! I’m hoping spring is around the corner here so hopefully we can cease the winter tags soon. 😉

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On the 28th day of #blogmas: And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer

I think that in some way, whether big or small, every single person can relate to this short 96-page story. Therefore, be ready for heartache. I won’t even say cry necessarily, though many readers say that they shed tears over this story. Of course it depends on your opinion and your experience. But oh, is there ache in this book. This was my first time reading anything by Fredrik Backman but it seems like his books are everywhere these days. If all of his writings are this heartfelt, then I can see why they are so popular!
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And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer is about a grandfather who, coming to the end of his life, begins confusing his son with his grandson. His once brilliant mind is still filled with thoughts of love for his beautiful wife, of constellations in the sky, the power of mathematics, and stories of his family. Each day he comes to fear more and more losing these memories, but the words he uses to describe them are so poetic and wise they move us all as an audience.

The only reason I didn’t give this novella 5 full stars is because sometimes it was just so whimsical that I just didn’t know where we were. I suppose that was maybe the point–we were supposed to feel like we were floating around in grandfather’s mind?? Lost in the memories?? Lost in space? In dimensia?? But it became a little too abstract in those moments to me. I like my feet firmly in a storyline. Other than that, the book was all but perfect to me. The characters, the heart in the story, the vivid memories, and the writing were all absolutely beautiful.

Book Soundtrack: “The Prayer” by Josh Groban and Charlotte Church

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On the twelfth day of #blogmas …Tag Tuesday: ‘Tis the Season

Hey everyone! ‘Tis the season for some tag fun, huh? So this tag was created by RichardMediaGeek and can be viewed here. In the spirit of the holiday season, here we go!

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1. Do you have a favorite Winter read? Stealing Christmas by John Grisham (you all may know it better from the movie “Christmas With the Kranks”) is definitely one of my favorite winter reads. Its got all of the holiday feels and all of the cozy winter warmth for the heart.

2. Find a book with blue on the cover!  Jay Asher’s What Light. I loved this book!

3. Find a book you’d use as the star on a Christmas tree? A Christmas Carol for sure. This book is a star on every tree! And there are so many lovely covers for this book!!

4. Pick one fictional place that would be perfect for a Winter vacation! Hogwarts! How beautiful would Hogwarts and the Great Hall be in winter?! I want hot cider and other magical food and beverages, snuggled in a huge chair in the common room in front of a fire! I would never leave!

51d0ll6azql-_ac_ul115_5. Pick one fictional character you’d take with you on your Winter vacation! Will Farrell as Buddy the Elf

6. Name one book on your Wishlist this year! Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

7. Favorite Holiday drink, treat, & movie? Drink = Hot Cocoa with lots of mini marshmallows; treat = peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses; movie = The Santa Claus

I hereby tag you all to go out into the world and do this fun set for yourselves!! Enjoy!!

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On the ninth day of #blogmas …

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Attention, Attention! Hear ye, hear ye! Have I got a link for you! I just found this on Twitter and it feels like Christmas came early! I am so excited that I found out, and I am so excited to share it with you! Sad I didn’t find it earlier! So, without further ado….(drumroll please)….I present to you Rivited Read’s 25 Reads of December!

dqje_fwxkamrnsxBasically what they are doing is making 25 books available for FREE for 24 hours. There is a different one each day, and they are all YA new releases! Yeah, its only 24 hours, but its the complete book and several of the books on this list are books I have wondered if I want to spend money on, or pass up. At the same time, several I have read, but they (Rivitedlit.com) still offer other books that are available for 2 days or a week. There are plenty of other things to explore around their website as well, if you’ve never checked them out before. Reviews, articles, etc. And just for the record, I am no way affiliated with Rivited….just a reader who likes free books (don’t we all??)! 🙂 Happy reading!

Listening to: They Both Die At the End (Audiobook)

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On the fifth day of #blogmas …Tag Tuesday: The Christmas Song Book Tag

This tag was made by Hail Hearts NYC on YouTube. The original video can be watched here.

#1 – “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” – Name a villainous creature you couldn’t help but love. The. Darkling.!!! So, I say this and I’m only in the first of the Grisha trilogy. I don’t know if he truly is a villain…as of now, I assume he is…but I love him!

#2 – “All I Want For Christmas is You” – Which book do you most hope to see under your tree this year? I have been itching to read anything by Megan Miranda all year long! Her covers just grab me and I’m always down for a good mystery.

tim-gouw-165547#3 – “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and still believes in themselves. Jordan from Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (my summary & review of the book is here). I loved this book because Jordan/Julian was a character who had a goal and did whatever it took to reach it. She stuck by that and worked so hard and truly believed that she could do something that no one had ever done before. And she did it.

#4 – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” – Which character do you think is at the top of the naughty/nice list? Naughty list: Queen Levana from the Lunar Chronicles. I just finished reading the novella Fairest and it was so insightful into Levana’s past. I wish we had books on all villain’s pasts. Wouldn’t it be amazing to know all of the Disney villains’ backgrounds? Nice list: Iko from the Lunar Chronicles. I also recently finished reading Wires and Nerve, which is the graphic novel that follows the Lunar Chronicles and oh. my. stars. it was MAGNIFICENT!! So it was my first graphic novel but it was easy to read and I literally laughed out loud. The book gave new life and personality to the characters and it was grand! Do NOT disregard this book! Its a must-read! (But only after you’ve finished the series!)

chinda-sam-185434#5 – “Frosty the Snowman” – What book just melts your heart? My go-to book for a heart-warmer is Anne of Green Gables. First off there is the childhood nostalgia behind the book for me, and then secondly Anne herself is such a charming and warm character. Then when you mix in the secondary characters–Diana, Matthew, Marilla, Gilbert–my very soul is warmed.

#6 – “Feliz Navidad” – Pick a book that takes place in a country other than your own. Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is set in London in 1818 and is a tale of mystery, spies, and dressmaking.

#7 – “Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Which Christmas book do you use to spread the joy? Either A Christmas Carol or Skipping Christmas. I didn’t realize, until a couple years ago while randomly shopping at Half Price Books, that the movie “Christmas With the Kranks” was based on this book by John Grisham, but I really recommend giving it a read! The movie is actually pretty faithful to the book and its a pretty quick, easy, cozy read so if you need some holiday cheer, give it a go!

#8 – “Sleigh Ride” – Which character would you choose to spread holiday cheer with? Me and Luna Lovegood all the way, just to see what unique, creative mischief we can come up with!

#9 – “Baby, its Cold Outside” – Which book, that you didn’t like, would you sacrifice to warm yourself up on a cold day? First We Were IV . What a pity 😦

#10 – “Do You Hear What I Hear?” – What book do you think everyone should read? Hmm… tie between The Hate U Give, The Library of Fates, and The Light We Lost. Those are my top 3 reads for 2017.

If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged!! Spread the love around and feel free to let me know if you have any thoughts on any of these books!

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On the second day of #blogmas ….

andrew-neel-48762I present to you my wrap-up for the month of November. Regarding books read, I hit my average, which is four books read. I miss the days when I was finishing 6 books every month. Those were the days! So here is a re-cap of my completed books for the month of November:

32682118 – 4 stars     22663629 – 3.5 stars

34058936 – 5 stars!!    28016509 – 3.5 stars

In 2016 I read 127 books in total. I was so proud of that number – it was my largest ever! This year my goal was 100! I’m currently at 75, so I’m not likely going to hit that number, but I’m still going to try to get as close as possible to it so we’ll see!

What reading goal(s) did you set for yourself for this year? Are you close to hitting it or did you reach it already?

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Tag Tuesday: Falling for Fall

Hi everyone! Today is the perfect fall day and how could I possibly do any other tag than the “Falling for Fall” tag from my fellow GREAT Blogger Jackie at The Bookworm Cafe. So here we go!

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  1. What is your favorite Fall scent? Nothing beats Mother Nature’s fresh morning dew on fallen leaves. Or the smell of an apple barn in the fall! Oh, love it! But I guess when it comes to commercial scents, Bath & Body Works’ Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin and/or Apple Pumpkin. Both are SO GOOD!! Yum!
  2. Do you prefer apple stuff or pumpkin stuff? Apples in September and Pumpkins in October. But really everything all the time, lol!
  3. What is one thing that you look forward to every single Fall? Going to apple orchards and pumpkin patches. Reading mysteries and suspense books. Decorating. Wait, the question only called for one thing didn’t it? Whoops! ;P
  4. How do you like to spend the more chilly/cloudy days in the Fall? Cuddled up with a book and a cup of tea or cider.
  5. Which do you prefer: Halloween or Thanksgiving? All of the above!
  6. What is one thing you do to embrace the Fall season? ALL THE THINGS!! lol. Decorate my house and office desk, light candles, read seasonal books. 
  7. What photos would you like to get this Fall season? I just took fall-themed engagement photos!
  8. Favorite childhood memory from this season? Carving pumpkins with my mom and brother.
  9. What is your favorite trend (fashion/makeup/etc) so far this season? Oooh, this is probably the area that I follow the least. I do know I like the slouchy sweaters/cardigans though.
  10. Describe what the Fall weather really looks like where you live. I’m in the midwest so the leaves are changing and falling and pumpkins are growing and we have apples and gourds and all the good stuff!

I hereby tag:

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Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

25062038Little & Lion is the story of two siblings who go by the nicknames Little and Lion. Little, aka Suzette, comes home for the summer from boarding school after experimenting with her female roommate and is still questioning her own sexuality. Meanwhile her stepbrother Lion, aka Lionel, has been struggling with severe bipolar disorder. As Suzette settles in at home, she finds herself falling for the same girl as Lionel, and Lionel’s bipolar spirals out of control. Suzette has to confront all that she has said and not said to help her brother before it is too late.

In my opinion, Lionel was a fantastic character who, in his illness, was fantastically portrayed. I was not a fan of how Suzette handled it, but honestly, it was probably a realistic reaction to how a sibling or close friend might react to those confessions. Suzette was constantly monitoring and overreacting to Lion’s confessions and it drove me crazy. I hated the back and forth between his issues and her issues. It was all just too much for me. I wish the book had just been about either his troubles with bipolar and summer drama or her struggles with sexuality and summer drama. Having the book be about both just crammed so much drama and emotion into one little book.

All of that being said though, it was still a pretty decent story. I still liked all of the diversity and appreciated Brandy Colbert’s writing. If you’re into diverse books and/or can relate to either of these scenarios, then you’ll probably enjoy this book so give it a shot!

Book soundtrack: American Jesus by Bad Religion

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