ARC August Update

Hello, everyone! Its about halfway through August, so I am figuring that now is a good time to officially declare my goals and update my status for the ARC August event. So here is what I am working with:

Physical ARCs:

  • The Best Kind of Magic ✔
  • Little & Lion
  • The Spellbook of Lost and Found
  • Girls Made of Snow and Glass
  • First We Were IV ✔

eARCs

  • Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined – in progress
  • Assaulted Caramel
  • Grave Errors
  • Meddling Kids – in progress
  • A Conspiracy in Belgravia

 

The ten on my list are the ten being published the soonest, or whose dates have just passed and I need to get my reviews in to the publishers/Netgalley (oops!). Basically the ones that I need to catch up and keep up on. Finishing all ten would be a dream, but if I finish half of them I’ll be pretty happy. As always, the more the merrier.

Are you participating in ARC August? What are your goals? How is your progress?

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Tag Tuesday: The TBR Tag

Happy Tag Tuesday, everyone! Today’s tag is The TBR Tag and it is brought to you by the darling Maggie @ The Caramel Files. She did this one a few weeks ago and now its my turn!

How I Keep Track of My TBR Pile: My TBR is A) on my bookshelves and B) on my Goodreads account….and its a very big list!

Is My TBR Mostly Print or E-books: Honestly its hard to say. I went to one book convention and have gone on several book buying binges, but most of the ARCs I get are ebooks.

How I Determine Which Book From My TBR to Read Next: I consider mostly ARC deadlines, any challenges I’m doing, and what season it is and what I’m in the mood for.

A Book That Has Been on My TBR the Longest:

6493208 – Since 1/2/12

A Book That I Recently Added to My TBR:

335741431 – Added 8/6/17

A Book on My TBR Strictly Because it Has a Beautiful Cover:

12578305

A Book on My TBR That I Never Plan on Actually Reading:

17926775 – I mean, maybe. It has a good rating but it is super-low on my list of priorities.

An Unpublished Book on My TBR That I’m Excited for:

32336276 – Of course. Coming soon!!

A Book on My TBR That Everyone Has Read but Me:

7896527 – Wow, old cover!

A Book on My TBR That Everyone Recommends to Me:

16096824 – Yes, this is on my TBR!

A Book on My TBR That I’m Dying to Read:

22055262 – I know, I am so behind on all the goods!!

The Number of Books on My TBR:

1,112 on my Goodreads TBR list. Who knows how many on my shelves!! How about you?

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Upcoming Challenges & Readathons

All right, friends, I am charging ahead at full speed with my reading. I found myself some more mischief to get into (wink-wink). I’ll start small and get big.

20616344_992337268009_763503611_oSo first off, for this week, I am participating in the #Alphabethon . This is the third year for the event, which was created by @banterbooks. This round’s “theme” revolves around the letter C so all books should be connected to the letter C somehow. Author, character, title, setting, cover item, etc. There are seven challenges going on throughout the week as well as sprints being hosted through Twitter and overall it seems fun! I have already posted my TBR and completed one challenge (read a book in a location that begins with ‘C’ other than a couch for an hour…I read in my car).

For the first two weeks in August, I am participating in the #Unhaulathon . Since I am on a buying ban for this month, this is a great time for me to participate in a challenge and readathon like this. Basically, the goal of the readathon is to read books that have been on my TBR for over a year. The hosts encourage readers to then “unhaul” (give away, sell, trade, etc.) books once we finish them or decide we just won’t get around to reading them…but I doubt I will be going that far. I recently went through a culling of my shelves so I’m in a pretty good place. However, I do have plenty of books on my shelves to choose from and I do not need to buy more right now as much as all of the new releases (and old releases and just all books in general) I see are tempting. So that’s that. I have not come up with an “official” TBR for this readathon yet, though I plan to within the next couple of days.

The final event I am signed up for (so far) is ARC August. As the title suggests, this runs all month. I will dedicate a full post to this within the next few days as I round up the ARCs that I have that are “due” in August and early September that I will be prioritizing. I have a couple that I am really excited about. I will aim a little high, knowing that I probably won’t hit them all.

And there you have it, folks. That’s how August is rolling in! Let’s keep it strong, shall we? Game on!

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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 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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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

28458598Let me start out by saying that I really enjoyed “When Dimple Met Rishi.” I tend to enjoy contemporary YA fiction much better in audiobook format, and this book was no exception. The alternate points of view were great and the chosen narrators especially helped to depict the diversity.

The book begins with the ambitious Dimple Shah graduating from high school and getting ready to go to college for computer science. She values hard work and intelligence and has no plans to marry like her traditional parents want her to (“that’s what college is for after all,” they think!). When she convinces them to let her attend Insomnia Con, she is shocked by how easy it is, but it is a chance to meet her idol! On campus under….surprising circumstances….she meets Rishi Patel. Rishi is a bit of a romantic and was raised more traditionally, yet humbly. Surprisingly, the two are paired together for the contest. Push comes to shove, circumstances happen, you’ll have to read the book to find out the details, and that’s the gist.

First, characters. I admire a young woman who is career-driven and intelligent. Dimple wears her glasses all the time, despises make-up (though I don’t know think its completely the make-up as much as rebelling against her mother and dating in general), and is entitled to her opinion and her own choices. (almost to a fault) Rishi is the eldest son of the CEO of a large company, but he completely breaks the mold of the phrase “snobby rich kid.” He does, however, fall in line with his family’s traditional Indian values and he is planning to(expected to) follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue engineering and enter into an arranged marriage. In his heart, however, Rishi is an artist. He loves drawing comics and he is a romantic. Also, he is quick, witty, and loyal. (almost to a fault)

There weren’t very many secondary characters, but the ones that were around were pretty good. Celia–Dimple’s roommate–brought the little bit of ‘feminine’ and guidance that Dimple needed every once in a while, and vice versa. They were there for each other to get each other through lots of obstacles and awkward moments. Ashish, Rishi’s brother, brought in another tangle of a relationship and a fresh voice of guidance and opinion. He turned out to be more mature than I expected him to be. Then there were other contestants and Jenny Lindt herself, who seemed to be all the L.A. “hip.”

I have several thoughts on this book, especially after having read and heard a lot of the buzz surrounding Dimple & Rishi. First off, I think that we adults who read YA need to remember that Dimple and Rishi are teenagers and this book is written for teens. WE are the adults here. I didn’t have any feelings about this really until the last 30 or 40 pages, as I mentioned, from what I have read and heard people saying, I think we can give the kids a little bit of a break. There are a few gushy , cheesy parts where they are cuddling and the dialogue is just downright roll-your-eyes “really?!” but come on, we’ve all been there. Its that honeymoon stage in a young relationship! Another note re: the relationship. I loved that the two of them brought out the good in each other. Really, I thought they worked well together. HOWEVER. Dimple says “I don’t want to marry” and “I don’t want to get married” and “No, I won’t be getting married” and then 2 minutes later they are mutually saying “I love you!” and it is a completely serious relationship! So I know what I said…young love and all that…cut them slack, you never really know when you’re young. But I’m just saying. Chill out on the extremes, please. Just a bit. kthanks.

A quick quip about Insomnia Con: was the Talent Show really relevant? Was it really necessary? No? I didn’t think so. Maybe its a cute thing to put in a YA book for couples to do together but man, it does not seem to fit realistically with app building. Sorry, Sandhya Menon.

All right, those are my thoughts on “When Dimple Met Rishi.” Overall, I am super impressed at how well this book has done for a debut! Congratulations and best of luck on your future endeavors, Ms. Menon!

Listening to: “No Man’s Land” – Wonder Woman Soundtrack

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Paintbrush by Hannah Bucchin

32452313So I admit that I was drawn to the beautiful colors on the cover of this one. And its quite fitting because the plot centers around two teens who were raised “in a commune full of hippies and mountain folk.” That being said, just like hippies and mountain folk, the book is very laid back and pretty slow moving so don’t expect much action or quick pacing or even very much angst. Things just happen, and the characters deal with them. Mitchell (athletic, funny, good-looking, ready for college away from the commune) and Josie (sunshine-loving, overall-wearing, community lifestyle proud) grew up together and slowly develop a relationship after Mitchell’s mom admits to having an affair.

For me, this book never took off as much as I hoped. I always appreciate books with diversity and books that have new and different settings, which this certainly did (I mean, an old woman who does naked yoga every morning? Show me another book that has that!). But I found it to stretch far wider than it did deep. I like depth as well. For being so different, Josie and Mitchell actually sounded pretty similar to me in their reactions. And then for liking each other, they were so judgemental of each other. What gives?? Oh well. By the time their romance was in bloom, it was cute and sweet and well written. Which was a huge plus. Not only was the romance writing great, but the writing of the scenery and the community was wonderful as well. I really enjoyed that.

** Thank you to Blaze Publishing for providing me with an eARC in exchange for a honest review **Book release date: July 11, 2018**

Listening to: “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison

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“The Library of Fates” by Aditi Khorana

I was a little skeptical about this book because the author’s first book, Mirror in the Sky, received ratings that were quite low on Goodreads (3.29 as on 7/9). I decided to give this book a try because I was offered a free ARC from Penguin’s First to Read program, the cover is beautiful, and YA book companies were making quite a buzz about it. I am SO glad I gave it a go. Now I am on the bandwagon and recommending that everyone mark the release date of July 18th on your calendars and go buy it and read it on that day!!

32930680The Library of Fates opens with a really neat story called The Parable of Trees. (I, personally love trees and nature so I was hooked in a second!) Then we get into the rest of the book with our main character Princess Amrita, who lives an easy, sheltered life in the kingdom of Shalingar. Until the day that the Emporer of Macedon–known for being a brutal man–comes to finalize the terms of their arranged marriage and Amrita loses everything. She flees the palace and sets off on a journey that will completely transform not only her, but all those she loves.

What I really loved about this book is that most of the things that I expected would happen did not. I would think to myself “She’s going to abandon the plan to go to X and go to the Library in stead. I mean, that’s the title of the book.” But nope! The plot absolutely did not happen how I thought it would, and I loved that!!

The characters surprised me around every turn, and part of the beauty of it all was how magic and folklore was seamlessly woven into the story. There were so many elements to it and they weren’t so complex that I was bored or confused like in some fantasy books. It was a really good balance so as to make it just mystical enough to be really beautiful and special. Plus everything came out full circle in a really great way. I just loved it.

So overall, I enjoyed it enough to where I was given a free e-copy and I will probably purchase my own hard copy for my shelves. I know it won’t be for everyone, but that’s my take on it. It was a pretty quick read at 354 pages. I devoured it in about 2 days and could have read it faster if I didn’t have a lot of things going on. But this is one I could see myself reading again, and I don’t see myself forgetting anytime soon.

Listening to: “The Gateway” by Ahmad Ebadi

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