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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Stefanie's Thoughts:Three Mini Reviews



Hi everyone,

Sorry about the lack of posts last week. The plague (or at least what I’m calling it) is going around my work and I think I caught a mild case of it, I wasn’t feeling like myself last week. I’m back to feeling normal and I decided instead of doing one longer review, I thought I’d do shorter reviews for a couple of the books I had read throughout the last couple weeks to make up for it.

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann
Showing Off (Upside Down Magic) series by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins




Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world. When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.



This was a 2.5 star read for me. It was suggested to me by one of my trusty book friends. We read it as a buddy-read and came to the same conclusion: awesome idea, but the plot itself was lacking. The cover was what drew me in and I loved the concept of twins. I have a sister, but she’s younger; the whole idea of twin telepathy really interests me.

The first couple of chapters were so awesome, I felt for sure this was going to be an awesome mystery. Then I got deeper into the book and realized just how much I hated Maddy as a main character; she was so mean to her sister and I just couldn’t forgive her. It got to the point that at any mention of Maddy I found I couldn’t continue reading. I was also hoping for some big in your face plot-twist or something and I was left with nothing. To be honest, I can’t really tell you anything that happened in the book.





Addie has always known what she was running toward. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places.



This was a 3 star read for me. I told myself this year I needed to read more out of my comfort zone- poetry is so far out it’s almost in another galaxy. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this one, but I must say I enjoyed the journal entries that were included. I think some of the plot points got lost and rushed over and I feel like this might be due to novel being in verse and each chapter was less than a page. I felt no connection to Addie and I felt like the character growth wasn’t ever achieved. Sure Addie goes through a huge life experience, but I don’t know if I felt she learned from it.

I really think this book would have benefited from full prose and not verse. It was like reading one page of Addie saying something and then the next page she completely changed her mind and that was normal. I felt too that Addie herself as a character was rushed, she wasn’t very fleshed out. Addie barely had time to deal with her pregnancy, when suddenly it was over and she acted like nothing had ever happened. I’m a little disappointed with this novel; I was expecting really strong characters and didn’t get that. I did enjoy reading the book itself; it was nice to read a book written in a different style. I’m tempted to read the author’s first novel, hopefully I can track it down at my local library.

 



Some people in school are afraid of the kids in the Upside-Down Magic class. Others just call them flops. But Nory and her friends in Upside-Down Magic won't let that stop them. Not with a school-wide talent show coming up! Except... Nory's afraid her fluxing magic will go wonky and upset her father. Pepper is worried that her abilities as a Fierce will make all the animals in the show run wild. Bax has some extreme new magic skills, but they can also be extremely embarrassing. And Elliott suspects there's a Sparkie spy who's looking to uncover UDM's talent-show secrets, and to use those secrets against them.






I saw this series at my library and thought why not try it out; I try to read as many middle-grade novels I can to stay up to date when it comes to ordering books for the library I work at. I must say, this series is rather adorable and I love the tagline for the copy I read: nobody puts this Dritten in a corner. Nice mix for adults to have a laugh, while it's appropriate for the target audience (kind of like Disney movies).

This was a fun light read, full of wonky magic and spells. I'm so happy the cover caught my attention and I started reading them; I would have loved this series when I was in middle school! It reminded me of Castle Hangnail, which I have reviewed and I have read Mlynowski's other middle-grade series Whatever After. This was a solid 3.5 rating for me.


Currently Reading:  

Take the Key and Lock her Up by Ally Carter
This has been one interesting series. I loved book one, but book two felt like nothing happened. I read it on it's release day, but I can't tell you anything that happened. It's been nice getting back into Carter's writing, she always makes espionage fun! I'll be reviewing it soon!



   

 Re-Read Update:

Ghostgirl wasn't as good as I remembered, but it was still as macabre as I wanted. I gave it a three star rating this time around, when it was originally a four. I still love the plot: Charlotte Usher dies after choking on a gummy bear; if you haven't read it I highly recommend it if you love some dark comedy.


My next re-read is going to be My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison. This is one of my all-time favorite books. I'd give it fifteen stars out of five if I could and I'm so excited to be reading this!







That's all for me today. Thanks for your patience about me missing last week. I'll be sure to be on the ball for my next full review and month-end post (it's crazy it's the 25th already!).


Until my next review,


Stefanie

Monday, February 20, 2017

Series I Probably Won't be Finishing

Hello friends, about a year ago I did an inventory of all the unfinished series and was a little stunned by what it revealed- check it out here. I had over fifty unfinished series, which is madness. Since then, I have finished a couple series, but I have also started a couple more.  I really hate starting a series, and not finishing them. However, after some serious thought, I have come up with a pretty substantial list of series I just will not be continuing. So, I thought I'd share those books with you.





1) The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare- I finished City of Fallen Angels, the fourth book in this series, and decided I was done. Personally, I think the series should have ended with City of Ashes, but what do I know?

2) The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini- I've read both Eragon and Eldest a loooooong time ago, and I really enjoyed them. But because it's been so long, I think I've just lost interest, and there are SOOOOOOOOO many other books to read.

3) Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl- I've only read the first book in this series, and I found it very unmemorable. I have zero interest in continuing with this series.

4) The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig- I was really excited to read this book when I read the synopsis, a ship and time travel- sounds like my cup of tea. However, the book was actually pretty boring. Nothing really happens, so I won't be reading the sequel, The Ship Beyond Time.





5) Fallen by Lauren Kate- This was one of the first books I read when I started blogging, and boy was it bad. I didn't think so when I first read it, but now that I have read so many other books and so many other stories, I have realized The Fallen series is not good, and I have no intention of continuing.




6) Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - I read this one before I started the Vampire Academy series and I Vampire Academy series, but I don't know, I thought it was fine, but, kind of boring. I may give this another go once I have finished the

7) Wildefire by Karsten Knight- This was another book I read my first year blogging, and I really enjoyed it. But again, it's been to long and I've lost interest.









8) Stork by Wendy Delsol- This is a little series that is pretty underrated. I read the first two books Stork and Frost and I really enjoyed them.  But, the synopsis of the third book sounds a little hokey.  I may read it, it's one book, but I don't know when or if that will happen.

9) Starbound by Amie Kaufman- I read These Broken Stars and wasn't so in love with it that I felt the need to rush and read This Shattered World when it came out. I am not opposed to reading the rest of the series, but I am not in any rush.

10) Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi- I just hated this book when I first read it. I am pretty sure I am in the minority with this one. But no, I can't.





11) The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa- Fairies are my thing, I love them. I was pretty excited about this series. I read The Iron King and thought it was okay, went on to read The Iron Daughter and again, thought it okay. I wasn't terribly eager to read the next in the series, and now it's been a few years, and my reading tastes have matured.

12) The Syrena Legacy by Anna Banks - Another series that I really enjoyed reading. I read the first two books, Of Poseidon and Of Triton, but when Of Neptune came out, I had lost interest.


The Maybe's 

So there are a few series that I haven't fully decided to let go of. But I need your input. on- should I keep going? I am on the fence a bit about the following.



13) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes- I am not sure whether it's worth reading After You. I really liked , and I loved Lou, but I am not sure if reading on will ruin things for me.
Me Before You

14) Choas Walking by Patrick Ness -  I read The Knife of Never Letting Go at the insistence of  Aylee from Recovering Potter Addict. I really liked it, but it was really my thing. I could keep going, but I don't know. What say you?

15) Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian- I think I liked this one (I've only read the first book). I am a little curious about where things went/ended. But again, I am not sure it's worth the time.





Well that's enough I think, there are other unfinished series I could talk about it. But I haven't fully convinced myself that I am quitting. Maybe this time next year there will be another post. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

All the Books





Hello Friends,

I don't know if you have noticed this, but I don't generally do book hauls. I used to do them all the time, back when I used to get a lot more ARCs and before I reigned in my book buying addiction, but these days I very rarely buy books and I just don't get that many ARCs anymore- I just don't have the space. But in the last month and a half (well, since Christmas really), I have found myself with a number of new books, some I bought and some I have been gifted. So I thought, why not share those books with you.



Gifts:


- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo from my lovely internet BFF Aylee from Recovering Potter Addict
- Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley from my other lovely buddy Sabrina from Beyond the Book Reviews 
- More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera & Heartless by Marissa Meyer from my #TBTBSanta, Wulfie from Youtube Channel Silly Little Ravenclaw 
-Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra  from my friend Anna 





Bought:
I didn't actually buy as many as I thought, but I did it all for the Plum Points at Chapters/Indigo. 

- A List of Cages by Robin Roe
- Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
- Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This may not seem like a lot of books, but for me it is. I am a big fan of the library. I would really love to have all eight of these books read by the end of the year- I have already read

Have any of you read any of these? Which are your favourites? I am pretty excited for them all, I am particularly excited for Shadow of the Wind.

That's it for me this week.

~Happy Reading Everyone


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Stefanie's Thoughts: By Your Side by Kasie West




When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?
 



I can officially say I love Kasie West’s books. I know when I pick one up I’ll end up with a smile on my face and I’ll leave it feeling good. By Your Side was no exception. I even cut down the time of buying it vs. the time I take to read it (it was bought on a Saturday and I started it Monday, I’m taking that as a huge win for me).

I have to start off with the obvious: is it really believable that two people would get trapped in a library over a long weekend? I work in a library and I know I would never leave it before I triple check for students (I guess mine is a little different since I’m in a school library and the couple of locked rooms we have are only accessible by staff who all have keys to get in and out). How was it that not a single door opened from the inside? I also found it a little unbelievable that the librarians there didn’t have any food; I have an entire food cupboard by my desk! Yes she was without her cellphone, but the librarians didn’t have landline on their desks? I know landlines are becoming a foreign concept, but all libraries have phones in them. Also, how come neither one of them read anything! Seriously, an entire room of books and nobody reads, that just depresses me.

Even if I do find this a little bit unbelievable, it worked with the story. It provided a great backdrop for Autumn and Dax to be forced into getting to know one another, even if it started off that neither of them was really sincerely interested in sharing personal information with each other. I really enjoyed watching their relationship grow. Like all of Kasie West’s books, the relationships grow naturally and don’t feel rushed. She spends time on her characters and gives us lots of time to see them transform into the characters they are on the last pages.

Kasie West also always makes great parental roles. Autumn’s parents are so supportive of her anxiety disorder and it’s so refreshing to read about parents that actually act like parents and support their children. I loved her mom; she checks up on Autumn, and regularly after the library incident, encourages her to take days off of school to rest and just be.

Autumn’s friends were something else. I liked Lisa at times, but overall her friends were real jerks. Dellin or whatever his name was, was just so mean to Autumn all the time. Plus, not one of her so-called-friends realized she wasn’t with them and just left her in the library. What kind of friends do that! Especially if you text her and she never replies, wouldn’t you check where you last saw her to make sure she’s ok?

The downside: love-triangle. Well a sort-of love-triangle. I’m not sure which is worse? Autumn has a sort-of-boyfriend Jeff, and then meets Dax in the library and starts falling for him. This story would have worked perfectly without the love-triangle.

Plus the ending, I loved it. I’m always a fan when everything gets wrapped up nicely and we’re not left wondering what’s going to happen after the book ends.

This is a solid 4.5 star (that half star got removed due to the love triangle) from Kasie West. She’s an auto-buy author for me and I need to get my hands on a copy of Pivot Point.


Re-Read Update

I love Princess Diaries and this re-read left me with a smile on my face, because it was written seventeen years ago so the references just made me laugh. It actually made me feel old at how outdated the technology was already (like instant messaging). It was also nice to come back to this and having currently read Royal Wedding not long ago, it’s nice to see how much Mia, Michael, Lily, Lana (oh Lana, I still picture her being played by Mandy Moore) and company have grown up.

Next up is Ghost Girl by Tonya Hurley

That cover! I was initially drawn to it when I bought it and knew nothing of the synopsis, but I’m in when it involves a girl dying from choking on a gummy bear. I think book three is around Valentine’s Day, so I’m going to be re-reading these three back-to back.








Happy Thursday everyone.

Until my next review,


Stefanie


Sunday, February 5, 2017

January Recap






Whelp, it's February. How did that happen? January flew by!! I can barely believe it.

January was the month I recovered for the craziness of Christmas. I took the week between Christmas and New Years off, which was a much needed break. However, it went by way to quickly and real life has since resumed. Other than work, I have been keeping it pretty low key. I barely socialized at all in January, I played homebody this month. I did go to a Teen Trivia night hosted by Chapters/Indigo I brought my little twelve year old friend, it was actually a lot of fun, I got some pretty sweet bookish swag. I also got together with my local book blogger "book club" and we were finally able do our Holiday gift exchange. It's always fun to get together with those girls and discuss all things bookish, pop culture, politics. I always look forward to our little hangouts.


A photo posted by Sara (@jstanotherstory) on


The last couple of weeks though have been all about The Fall





I watched the first season of this show a few years ago, and really liked it. At the time season two wasn't yet on Netflix. When it was finally added I didn't immediately watch. I needed to be emotionally ready for the roller coaster that is Paul Spector. I would petition anyone who would write Jamie Dornan off due to his role as Christian Grey to check out The Fall. This man is a brilliant actor, Gillian Anderson also is marvelous. I started season two of this series at the insistence of a friend, I hopped in and whew. I am have two episodes left of the series and WHOA!  British television is so smart, It's remarkable. 



The Books:


Number of books completed 
10 

Physical books 
4


Audiobooks 
6
Physical Books:
Worth the Scandal by Karen Erikson (2.5 Stars)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (3.5 Stars) 
Blood Vow by JR Ward (4 Stars) 
A List of Cages by Robin Roe (5 Stars)  


Favourite Read of the Month 





I don't think I need to say much about this book. I shared my full thoughts in my review. But this book was magical and it's done something to me. There are a few books that have really changed my life and this is certainly one of them. 
 Audiobooks: 
Winter by Marissa Meyer (4 Stars)
Listen to Me by Kristen Proby (2.5 Stars)
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (4 Stars)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (5 Stars) - reread
The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones (5 Stars) - reread
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones (4 Stars) 


Favourite Listen of the Month




This was a reread for me. My book club was reading it, and I wanted to reread it. It was just as wonderful the second time and it was the first time. Don Tillman is such a wonderful character. 


2017 Resolutions Update: 

I think I am starting off this year in an okay way. Check out my resolutions here
 
I have read 10 books which is two books ahead of my reading challenge
I have listened to more audiobooks than physical books read and I haven't actually listened to any audiobooks in my stock pile (but I'll get there)
I read TWO 2017 releases in January- Eleventh Grave in Moonlight and A List of Cages
I Read A Wrinkle in Time - which was on my list of seven books to read this year. 
For February I would like to focus on reading more. I initially thought I would try and read 100 pages a day- It's the second as I sit here and write this, and I have already failed. But I would like to aim for 2500 physical pages read this month. 


This Month on the Blog

Stefanie's 2017 Reading Goals
2017 Bookish Resolutions 
Stefanie's Thoughts: Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
Stefanie's Thoughts: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
My Thoughts: The You I've Never Known by Ellen Hopkins 
Stefanie's Thoughts: Sea Change by Aimee Friedman 
My Thoughts: A List of Cages by Robin Roe


That was my month! I hope you enjoyed. Till next time. 

~Happy Reading Everyone!






Friday, February 3, 2017

Stefanie's January Recap



Hi everyone,

How is it already February; I can’t even believe it. Where did January go?
January was a great reading month, I was able to get more books off my tbr (including the first book I ever added back when I first joined in 2013). The only thing is that I feel like I went through a reading slump this month; nothing except three books really struck me and stood it. I was so excited about starting all of them and I hate when they don't live up to your expectations. I don’t think I’ve ever had this many two stars reads in a single month before. I guess if there’s a positive it’s I have more room on my bookshelves now for more books! I’ll be moving next month so I’m not sure how much reading will get done. Actually the more important question is how long it will take me to unpack all my books and get them into their shelves. I’ve slowly started packing and my current shelves are starting to look a little sad and empty. I’m thinking about keeping a couple books set aside to make sure I have some books at the ready when I get tired in between moving boxes and before I get my cable set up.



New Books Read:

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder (two stars)

Trouble with Flirting by Claire LaZebnik (two stars)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay by J. K. Rowling (four and a half stars)

Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer (four stars)

Sea Change by Aimee Friedman (three stars)

Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West (four stars)

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg (one star)

Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (two stars)

Archie, Vol. 1: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid graphic novel (two and a half stars)



Re-Reads:

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard (3 stars)

Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnik (two and a half stars)

International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams (three and a half stars)

Hex Education by Emily Gould and Zareen Jaffery (three stars)


Total: 13


    


I didn’t really do much else this month, except seeing La La Land in theatre. It was so good; I loved all the little hints at Classic Hollywood (I love Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and the whole era really). If you haven’t seen it I recommend it. I’m not a big fan of jazz, but even the jazz parts weren’t that bad. I just wish Emma Stone sang more! 

      

I’m starting to get really pumped about the new Beauty and the Beast movie ever since the full two-minute trailer was released; the animated one is my absolute favorite movie of all time so I have extremely high expectations of this live-action one, to the point that when it was first released I almost didn’t want to see it. That has quickly changed.

I binge-watched Fuller House season two and am now desperately waiting for season three to be released. I started watching Stranger Things based off of numerous recommendations, but it hasn't been what I was thinking it would be. My goal is to  finish watching the season by the end of February so I can start watching A Series of Unfortunate Events. Neil Patrick Harris looks perfect for this show.


February Reading Goals:

Keep up with the weekly re-reads. I’ll be starting February off with re-reading The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.

Read as many romancey-contemporary books I can find and binge-watch as many Hallmark cheesy movies I can find. Half of that is book related, but for February I like to watch and read as many Valentine things I can get. Maybe eat some chocolate, or a lot. Chocolate is always a good idea!

When I look over this, I feel like I had a pretty low-key January and I really like that. More time for reading and watching movies!

Until my first February post,

Stefanie
"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl