Wednesday, December 30, 2015

End of the Year Book Survey 2015

I thought I'd participate In The Perpetual Page Turner's End Of the Year Survey! You should join me, Head on over an link up if you want to join too!

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

I read the last three Ruby Oliver series this year and They. Were. Awesome. I love this series! I need to own it! I need to read it again and again! 

2. Book You Were Excited About And Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Girl Stolen by April Henry. I've been trying to get my hands on that on forever. It was a huge disappointment. Completely unbelievable and predictable.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Elevated by Elana Johnson. I thought it would be cute but I was very pleased with the message in this one.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I wish I could say the Ruby Oliver series but no one has read them....yet! I did push Bone Gap by Laura Ruby on my friend Suey and she read and loved it. Yay!

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Starter: Throne of Glass Sequel: P.S. I Still Love You Ender: Real Life Boyfriends (Ruby Oliver 4)

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
Rainbow Rowell. I've only read one of her books so far and, actually, I wasn't fond of the story but the writing was amazing!

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

I don't read coffee table books but this one was a pleasant surprise. So cute!

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

Poison by Lan Chan was very action packed and exciting!

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Uh, The Ruby Oliver series again. I'll be re-reading that one again and again.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

Didn't like the book but the cover is just lovely! 

11. Most memorable character of 2015?
Madeleine from Big Little Lies. She's hilarious and kind and I'll never forget her.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
Animal Farm by George Orwell. Whether you loved it or hated it you have to admit; this one makes you think.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?

The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb. Sadly I didn't love it but I've been meaning to read it forever. I can't believe I didn't pick it up sooner.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
I'm not a highlighter. I need to be better at that. As it is, I don't have a favorite quote. 

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Shortest was The Well Rested Mother the coffee table book I mentioned earlier. The Longest was Dune by Frank Herbert

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

I always spot the big twist or mystery a mile away but while I caught one thing in this one, something else shocked the crap out of me! 

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth from my reread of Persuasion.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Juliette and Kenji from the Shatter Me series.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen. I love her books.

21. Best Book You Read In 2015That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Dune by Frank Herbert. Jenni pushed this one on our entire book club. I'm glad she did.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Captain Thorne from Cress. My little girlish heart flutters at the mention of his name.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
Throne of Glass...that was Maas' debut novel right?

24. Best World building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Poison by Lan Chan. Very intricate world indeed!

5. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
I want to give another shout out to the Ruby Oliver series but I'll give another series some love. The Georgia Nicholson books. I read books 3 and 4 and liked them both. They're so funny.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
Out of the Easy by Ruta Septey. 1:00 am and I was crying like a baby.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Bone Gap. Seriously people! More people should be reading and talking about this book!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
We Were Liars. And not in a good way. It was the most depressing pointless book I've ever read.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll. Um, yeah. Unique. Let's call it unique.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
Flowers of Quiet Happiness

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
Ugh, I don't know. I'm really tired of my review format so it felt like writing reviews was a chore. I plan on changing that this year, though.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Uh, it's a toss up between the perfect recipe post I wrote and a new feature I started with Suey called Book Banter.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I didn't do much this year. I'd have to say I really enjoyed the Dewy's 24 Hour Readathons this year. I got to participate in both.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
Despite being a little light on money this year I still bought a ton of books this year. Now isn't buying books the best?!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Normal life getting in the way! It's tough being married. I love it and all but it really takes its toll on my reading.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Most comments and a lot of views too goes, ironically, to my post Hello, is there Anybody out there?

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
My Rant & Rave posts are something new I started this year. I wish they got a little more love because they sure are fun to write.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
The Pioneer Book Store in Provo UT is awesome. It's the most clean, organized, beautiful used book store I've ever seen. Check out the post I did all about it.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I only did one reading challenge. The Goodreads Challenge and I set a goal of 50 books and read 50 books! Wahoo!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best and Worst of 2015

Another year has come and gone! It's time for my best and worst books read in 2015 post. Normally I would do two separate posts, one about the good books and one about the bad but I only read 50 books this year and well, that's not a lot to choose from. However, my Goodreads goal was 50 books and I made it! Barely, but I did it.  So without further ado...


Big Little Lies
Loved my first book by Liane Moriarty.

Bone Gap
Magic Realism at it's best. Loved this magical book.

Absolutely adored the message in this beautiful verse novel.

Lost Lake
Of course a Sarah Addison Allen book would make my top 5 favorites of the year.

Real Life Boyfriends, The Boy Book, and The Treasure Map of Boys
AKA, the rest of the Ruby Oliver series. This series rocks! Seriously, please, please, please read this series!


We Were Liars
This book was just so, so, SOOOOO sad. It depressed me for days!

Storm Siren
This one had all the right ingredients for me but the book fell flat. Big disappointment.

Not in the Script
Nothing happened! This book was sooooo boring. There needs to be more to a book than romance.

Girl Stolen
This was the biggest disappointment of the year. I've been looking forward to this book for a long time and it was just awful!

The Golem and the Jinni
Oh my hell! This one was the longest book to the worst ending ever. Not a good combination.

Did Not Finish

 Red Rising
I just didn't get it! You all raved but this book was so boring I couldn't finish it.

The Repossession Mamba
Just watch the movie. The book's not worth it.

And there you have it. What do you think of my favorites and least favorites? If I could push any of my favorites on you it would be The Ruby Oliver series. Just sayin'.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Review: P.S. I Still Love You

Title P.S. I Still Love You (To All The Boys I've Loved Before)
By Jenny Han
Genre YA Contemporary
Pages 352

Lara Jean is in a real relationship for the first time in her life. She didn't expect to fall for Peter but she has. Things would be perfect but Genevieve, Peter's Ex, won't let him go. To complicate things even more, John, a boy from Laura Jean's past shows up. He's charming and sweet and completely enamored with Laura Jean. Will Peter stay true to her? Can she stay true to him? Will Laura Jean's first relationship be her last?

First Sentence
Dear Peter, I miss you.

What it has going for it
I enjoyed the first book in this series, To All The Boys I've Loved Before, so much that I couldn't wait to get to this one. It was fun seeing how Laura Jean and Peter get along in a real relationship. I supposed on some level I was supposed to feel sorry for Genevieve but she just drove be crazy! And just when I was rooting for Peter and Laura Jean to make it, John showed up. Argh! He was so sweet and kind and the things he said....Sigh! I just loved him. Jenny Han is the true queen of the love triangle. You say you hate love triangles? Well, read one of hers. You'll be so confused and torn between the love interests you'll be pulling out your hair. If you're going to put a love triangle in your book it better be a real one. Where the MC can't choose between her beau's and neither can you. That's what I say, anyway.

What's lacking
This one felt a bit too meandering, if that makes sense. It had a lot of little things going on rather than one big thing and it was OK but kind of made it hard to keep reading. I wasn't sure what the big conflict was. Also, please tell me that's not the end of the series! Goodreads doesn't have any info on a third book. There has to be a third book! There just has to!

Yea or Nay?
I'll always recommend Jenny Han's books. You have to read a book where the love triangle is done right!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Review: Throne of Glass

Title Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
By Sarah J Maas
Genre YA Fantasy
Pages 404

With a mysterious past, Celaena was raised to be an assassin. For years she was the greatest assassin the land ever knew but then she was thrown into the mining pits of Endovier. When the crown prince and the captain of the royal guard come to her they offer her freedom if she will fight in a competition. The prize: the king's champion. Celaena agrees but when she arrives at the castle and enters the competition things begin to get tricky. Her competitors are being murdered and though magic has been outlawed it looks like magic is behind the attacks. Can Celaena stay alive long enough to win her freedom?

First Sentence
After a year of slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier, Celaena Sardothien was accustomed to being escorted everywhere in shackles and at sword point.

What it has going for it

I know I'm so behind the band wagon on this series it's pathetic. Because I'm so behind on it a lot of things have been spoiled for me. For example, I knew this first book of the series isn't supposed to be as good as the rest, and that a lot of people were mad about this one because Celaena is supposed to be this awesome assassin and she doesn't even kill anyone in this book. So I went into this one with a grain of salt, so to speak, and just enjoyed it for what it was: The beginning to an epic fantasy series. Mostly the book is set up for the rest of the series but it had an arc, conflict and resolution. I enjoyed the banter between Celaena and Choal and Prince Dorian. I was intrigued by the hint of magic and the set up for the rest of the series. I went into this book knowing I was going to read the second book too so I could see for myself if it's worth continuing the series and I plan on reading it and the rest of the series as of right now.

What's lacking
Even though I knew Celaena wasn't going to be as kick ass as one might expect from the land's most notorious assassin, it still was annoying. I wasn't even bothered that she didn't kill anyone so much as how clueless she seemed. People snuck up her and surprised her and that just didn't fit. The author would tell you how amazing she was and then show you that she wasn't. I knew it was going to do that but it still bugged me. Other than that I have no other complaints.

Yea or Nay?
If you haven't read this one, I'd recommend it. It had faults but I'm willing to overlook them for the fun characters and crazy story.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Rant & Rave #4

                                      Rant & Rave
Two Jacks Pizza. If you're from Utah you need to go eat here. Everyone has their favorite little pizza place, and this one in mine. I love pizza but this pizza....sooo good. I go here a couple times a week it's THAT good. Look at that puffy warm crust! Seriously, people. It's heavenly. Every time I go there and see that someone just ate the inside of the pizza and left their crusts...makes me die a little inside.  I honestly can't say much more than that. I'll just let the picture do the talking. 

These new seat belt laws. I'm telling you, people. We're two inches from living under marshal law. I get a lot of laws. I really do but not this one. The only person you're endangering when you're not wearing a seat belt is who????You! That's it. It's not like you're a ticking time bomb just because your stupid seat belt isn't on. And don't give me all that "safety" crap. What if I don't want to be safe? Maybe I enjoy living on the edge. Or maybe I'm just suicidal...or maybe I just want to be able to choose for myself whether wearing a seat belt is necessary each time I get in the car. Some times, not all the time, but sometimes they DON'T save lives. They take lives. Just sayin'. I'd like to make the choice myself. Guess that's not an option anymore. What's next? A law on how you can wear your hair or how many piercings you can have? It's coming, people. It's coming. 

So there you have it. Go to Two Jacks and try their pizza...but wear you seat belt. It's the DAMN law! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Review: Secrets & Lies

Title Secrets and Lies
By Kody Keplinger
Genre YA Contemporary
Pages 100

Two short stories tell the story of Casey, Bianca from The DUFF's friend and her Christmas vacation romance and Bailey, Nathan from A Midsummer's Nightmare's sister and her high school drama.

First Sentence
"I have a surprise for you!"

What it has going for it
I like Kody Keplinger's books. My favorite being The DUFF so I had to read these short stories from the world of The DUFF and A Midsummer's Nightmare. There was a good message in these stories about keeping secrets and lying and I liked that. Of course I was glad to see what happened to Casey and the best part was these short little novellas helped me get closer to my Goodread's goal!

What's lacking
Um, I felt like Kody didn't even write these books...or if she did they weren't edited very well. Truthfully, I just don't like novellas. They're too short and don't have enough substance. Personally I'll just stick to Kody's full length novels instead.

Yea or Nay?
Uh, honestly I think these short stories are completely unnecessary. They're a quick read though.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: Ignite Me

Title Ignite Me (Shatter Me 3)
By Tahereh Mafi
Genre YA Supernatural/paranormal
Pages 421

Juliette is back from the dead, and apparently back with a new attitude. She's ready to take over the Reestablishment and lead the world back to peace and prosperity. But first she has to make up her mind about her new feelings for Warner. Learn to control her power and deal with Adam's hostility.

First Sentence
I am an Hourglass.

                                                             Warning: Spoilers Ahead! 

What it has going for it
Yay! I did it! I finished this series! And I must say. I don't regret reading it. That isn't to say I loved it or anything but I was satisfied with the ending. I loved in this one that there were no more crossed out sentences and that Juliette finally was strong and in control and ready to take on the world. I loved that she was smart enough to see how wrong Adam was for her. I wasn't in love with Warner but he was definitely the better man and a better fit for Juliette. I liked that the over the top poetic writing was not so overwhelming anymore. It was kind of scary how much this book changes from the others. It's like Tahereh knew her wimpy MC and poetic writing was driving me nuts and changed it all just for me. I know the change wasn't for me, though. I saw how the writing progressed as Juliette progressed and I must say, I was impressed with the change. Shout out to Kenji for being so awesome. I loved this character and I loved him most in this installment. (besides the small lie he told Adam) And yes, those steamy scenes!!! Sigh! They were perfectly titillating without being too detailed and they trailed off in the right places. This is supposed to be a YA series, after all.

What's lacking
As much as I liked the changes for the better I would have liked to see a bit of a more smooth transition. It was a bit rough. This series has way too much drama and talking and "not a lot going on-ness" if you ask me. Which, you didn't but, hey. I like more plot. This one had about 20 pages of plot at the end and a whole lot of drama for the other 400 pages. It didn't bother me too much though and that's saying something.

Yea or Nay?
I would actually recommend this series. If you can drag yourself through the overly flowerly writing and wimpy Juliette in the first two books there's a tolerable series buried here.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Book Banter #6 THGs

This week for Book Banter, Suey and I will be discussing the ending of The Hunger Games. With the final installment of the movies being released recently it's been on people's minds again. I actually liked the ending of the series. I know, I'm weird. Anyway,  I'll rebuttal Suey's dislikes here and don't forget to check out why I liked this crazy sad ending on Suey's blog.


So, they say make your characters suffer. But really? THIS MUCH? Does it HAVE to be that bad? I think a lot of people are wondering if Prim really has to die (not just me)… because I’ve seen much about this lately floating around in the cyberspace. And yes, maybe she did. Maybe. I don’t know. But did Finnick? Did he really? And the others on the team? The mute guy? (I forget all their names now.) Really? This book, this series really, is all DIE DIE DIE. That can get to a nice innocent reader after a while!

I actually agree with you about Finnick! I loved him and the fact that he dies, and the way he dies, just broke my heart. Still, this series is a tragedy. Not a love story, not an adventure or a mystery. It's a tragedy. This book is about a revolution, an uprising. People are going to die. Lots of people. It's not fair. It hurts. But it's the sad truth of war. I for one am glad Collins didn't sugarcoat anything. She was being honest about war and the reality of the pain it causes.

I don’t know exactly why, but I felt so sad and depressed after reading this book. (DIE DIE DIE perhaps?) I had to look up my review of the book (sheesh, five years ago!) and this is what I said then “This book seriously left me feeling blah, sad, a little underwhelmed, confused. Which I guess is what bugs me about the ending.”I really hate it when an ending leaves you with this feeling. Even though I’m not at all scared of tragic sad endings, still. And so, yeah, I was a little worried about the movie and sure enough, it sent me into a bad mood for a good 24 hour period. I literally couldn’t concentrate on a thing the next day. Probably it was more than just the movie, but I blamed the movie! :) Maybe it’s just that we were (are) all so invested in these characters and it was over. Maybe it didn't end very satisfying, even though the bad guy was eliminated. Maybe it’s just the nature of the story, the “dystopia” of it all that finally got to me. Maybe it was Peeta being so broken and not really fixed by the time everything ends. BUT probably it was mostly (see next reason)....

I like to use the word: reflective. Depression should get you thinking about why you're so sad. And when you figure that out you can hopefully learn something from your depression. I really hope it never comes to something like this in our world but, sadly, it might. Maybe it's a bit ridiculous to try to learn how to deal in a situation as horrible as the one in THGs from books and movies but where else can we learn it? OK, getting a bit distracted. I just know that tragedies are supposed to make us think and I hope this one gets us thinking. I know it did for me. 

The biggest problem I have with the ending is how Gale is treated. So, okay fine, she picks Peeta. I’m good with that. I like Peeta. I like him a lot. He’s good for Katniss. They need each other. Yes, fine, blah blah blah. But, BUT… Gale. He does NOT deserve to be brushed off and thrown out like Katniss does to him. It KILLS me! It breaks my heart! It makes me want to curl up and cry. he has been there for her no matter what, even if she freaking loves another guy, he’s still there for her. Not once does he moan or stomp off or throw a fit. He only says, “you only kiss me when I’m hurting” or “it’s like kissing someone who’s drunk” so you know he feels bad and his heart is breaking too. But he is STILL there! And he’s been there from the beginning… way way before the events of the book even start. He’s is steady and strong and loyal. And so what if he decides to fight… fight the rebellion that KATNISS started! And she hates him for it? And all he gets is a “goodbye Gale” after ALL THAT? It kills me.

Technically, Katniss didn't start the rebellion. She was defiant and rebellious and that gave other people courage but she didn't declare war on the capitol, not really. Not with out guidance from District 13. I liked Gale too and it broke my heart that he got the short end of the stick. But everyone, no matter what circumstances are thrust upon them, can make their own decisions. Gale chose his path. Yes, he didn't have much choice but he had some and he chose to fight. That's why I loved him. Why he bothered me was because he blamed Katniss for his misery. That's not fair! No one is responsible for anyone else's happiness. We are responsible for our own happiness. It is tragic. If things hadn't happened they way they had Katniss and Gale most definitely would have ended up together. But....circumstances. It sucks!  

So what about you? Did you like or hate the ending to this series? And if you did hate it have I convinced you not to hate it quite so badly? Don't forget to check out Suey's blog to see why I liked the ending. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

November Wrap Up

I knew my good reading habits of October couldn't last! I only read three books this month. I was actually doing pretty good until Thanksgiving started creeping up and I suddenly was hosting dinner and family. I do not handle stress well. Needless to say reading took a back seat to my stressful hosting. Hopefully now that things have calmed down I can get back to reading and finish my Goodreads challenge. I'm soooo close!!! Here's what I did manage to read.

Fairest (Lunar Chronicles 3.5)
Very sad but good addition to the Lunar Chronicles.

The Well Rested Mother
Fun coffee table book. Well worth the 10 minutes it took to read.

Unravel me (Shatter Me 2)
The feminist in me wants to kill this book. The editor in me wants to take scissors to it. But the romantic in me wants to swoon!

And that's it. So sad. For December I plan on finishing Ignite me (Shatter Me 3). Need to get this series over with! I also plan on finally starting the Throne of Glass series with the first book being a book club pick! Other than that I have no books that I HAVE to read! Wahoo!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review: Fairest

Title Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles 3.5)
By Marissa Meyer
Genre YA fantasy/scifi
Pages 222

This bridge book between Cress and Winter tells the story of Queen Levana and how she became the unassuming sister to the heir of Luna to its cold-hearted queen.

First Sentence
She was lying on a burning pyre, hot coals beneath her back.

What it has going for it
To be honest with you, even though I adore this series, I didn't have high hopes for this one. I didn't think it would be awful or hard to read but I just wasn't looking forward to it. Well, I sat down to read a few chapters and ended up reading the whole book. Of course I loved it! Don't get me wrong, it's hard to watch poor Levana become the cold-hearted beotch she is at the beginning of Cinder, but it was still entertaining. And interesting. I liked seeing how everything is fitting together. I loved seeing the start of the plague and the wolf soldiers. I loved getting a small glimpse of Winter and seeing where she falls into things. I can't wait to read her story. Meyer is an expert at weaving all the little details together into a beautiful piece of art and this book was no exception.

What's lacking
You can't really root for anyone is this story. It's Levana, for heavens sake! Seeing where she's coming from makes you a little sympathetic but she's still pretty awful. It's hard to read a book where you're not rooting for the MC.

Yea or Nay?
Is this one necessary to enjoy the series as a whole? I haven't read Winter yet, so I can't say for sure but I definitely would recommend it. It's very interesting to have all the little details that are only hinted at in the other books explained in full.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Review: Unravel Me

Title Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2)
By Tahereh Mafi
Genre YA Paranormal/Supernatural
Pages 461

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.
She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch. (From Goodreads)

First Sentence 
The world might be sunny-side up today.

What it has going for it
Oh, boy! These books truly drive me crazy!!!! I don't even know why I'm finishing this series. The writing. OK, I know most people think it's the most beautiful, poetic writing they've ever heard, and, yeah, there's a sentence or two worth admiring but, guys, these books could be like 200 pages smaller if it would just tell the freaking story and stop with all the fluffy, endless stream of words that make me want to strangle myself!! What? I'm supposed to be talking about the good stuff this book has going on? Oh yeah, um...there's this one scene, a certain romantic scene near the end that was absolutely beautiful. I was breathless. I also keep reading, I suppose, because I would like to see where the story goes. That's about all there is to say about that.

What's lacking
Well, I already mentioned the writing so I won't say anymore about it. I will, however begin now to complain about the characters. Juliette is the most over-dramatic, whiny, self deprecating, annoying character I've ever read about! Oh my freak! I want to reach into the pages, slap her face and say: "Hey, you are a woman! You are powerful! You have two men madly in love with you and guess, what? You don't need them! Girl, you have got to figure out how wonderful and amazing you are all by yourself! You don't need these men or Omega Point or anything else to make you mean something. You're that all on your own! Now quit whining and get out there and kick some ass!!!" Or something to that effect. Ugh, at least she sort of snaps out of it from time to time in this one, but the minute a man walks into her life (Adam, Warner, Castle, Kenji, Anderson) she falls apart. Grr! These books are incredibly sexist!

Yea or Nay?
Uh, I seem to be the only one, (once again) who has a problem with this series. So, go ahead and read it. Just look forward to men belittling women, way, way, way too much flowery writing and weak pathetic woman. Enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Review: The Well-Rested Mother

Title The Well-Rested Mother
By Brittney Smart
Genre Non Fiction Coffee Table Book
Pages 38
You might be wondering what this book is and why you should read it. Let me help you out on both counts.
First, The Well-Rested Mother is an anthology of arguably underwhelming insights that I’ve gained as a person and as a parent (specifically, a mother) of five young kids. And by “insights,” I of course mean, “random thoughts and stories that may or may not have anything to do with child-rearing or parenting.”
This book is meant to be lighthearted, faintly amusing, and spattered with gentle sarcasm and self-deprecating humor. Likely it won’t change your life, improve your ninja prowess, or make those last stubborn five pounds magically disappear.
As for the reason why you should read this book, that’s an easy one. It’s because you’ve already read a hundred books about improving your life, being better in areas X, Y, and Z, losing weight, being happy, making millions, and being more productive. This book isn't one of them, so you can consider it a valuable branching-out experience. An expansion of viewpoints. An exceptional sample of literary mediocrity. (From Goodreads)

First Sentence
I know now that I know nothing about cars.

What it has going for it
If you didn't read the synopsis of this one, go back and read it. It's hilarious and explains far better than I could what this little gem is. And what it is, is a delight to read. Short and sweet with fun insights from a mom that are both relatable and humorous. The best part was, I finished it and sort of thought I wouldn't be thinking of it again but I was wrong. I have been thinking about it all day. And one thing is for sure. I wish Brittney and I were friends.

"And as much as I'd like a visible six pack and a definitive glute-hamstring separation, I'm not willing to put in what it takes.
But there's good news, and I'll share it with you. I've discovered a little thing I like to call "Abs of Faith." You might have them too:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
And, as far as abs are concerned, that's starting to be good enough for me."
(Location 330)

What's Lacking
I wanted to see this one in hardcover form. With pictures and silky paper. The ebook was good enough but I wished it was a real-life coffee table book. That's really my only complaint.

Yea or Nay?
I'd highly recommend this one. It's a quick ten minute read that will leave you smiling.

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book to review.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Book Banter #5 Tom Hiddelston

Time for another Book Banter! Are you bored yet? No? Of course you're not. You love this stuff. Alright. This weeks topic is Tom Hiddleston. Yeah, OK, he's not book related but it's still a fun topic for Suey and I. She adores him. His looks, his personality etc. I, however, just don't get it. I mean, I get his personality is great but his looks...not so much. So here we go.

Smile: While I agree that he might not have the typical look of a heart throb, (though it can be argued that his untypical look is quite heart throbby enough) you can’t deny that he has one of the best smiles in existence. And I, for one, think that smile supersedes anything he might lack otherwise. (Though I could still argue that his eyes, his dance moves, and his general classic tailored polished look has a lot going for him too!) But his smile! It’s so contagious. It’s so brilliant and beautiful and bright. Seeing that for the first time in the theater watching Thor, I pretty much totally forgot Thor (who DOES have every single “normal” heart throb attribute going on in his favor) because of that Loki/Tom smile.

Why, yes...I suppose he does have a nice smile...once he opens those thin pursed lips of his to reveal it. (check out more of my thoughts on Suey's blog) 

Of course we none of us know what Tom Hiddleston is like in real life. All the celebrities put on a face for us no matter who they are or what they’re doing. But I feel that Tom must, he MUST truly have the charm that he exudes for us all. That charm, I think even more than the smile, is what has made so many of us fall for him. He is charming as himself, he’s charming as Loki, he’s charming as whoever he is in that haunted house movie (even though I haven’t seen it I’m pretty sure he’s charming, in creepy way, am I right?). It doesn’t matter the role he’s playing, or the face he’s presenting, he can’t help but be charming. The style he sports, the gentlemanly manners he practices, the ideas he professes to…. all charming and perfect.

Uh, can't really argue against his charm, though, no, he's not charming in Crimson Peak. He was creepily disgusting. Yuck! Plus, I think he's type cast into a well mannered gentleman and us girls fall all over ourselves for it but lets not forget he's just acting that way. He's not actually royalty from another plant or a gentleman from the distant past. He's probably not as charming as we think. He can probably burp the alphabet with the best of them.

So I’ve only seen him in a couple of movies and I really haven’t seen him sing yet except random YouTube clips. But what I HAVE seen makes me tend to declare that he is one amazing actor. And I can’t wait to see him in more stuff, especially the upcoming singing one! I find it interesting when someone like him plays a role for someone like Loki and we all fall in love with Loki, the villain, and a pretty awful sad sorry mean old villain too, then that says something for the way that villain is acted. Know what I mean? He’s amazing. AMAZING! I don’t know how else to say it. Just. . .amazing.

Tom sings? Hmmm, who knew? Not me. I'll have to check it out. I actually have only seen him in a few movies but personally, I'm not blown away by his acting. I think he acts the same in all his movies. Not to say he's not a good actor just not versatile. But that's just me. 

So, there you have it. If you want to know what I really can't stand about Tom, you'll have to check out my thoughts on Suey's blog. There's pictures! 
Also, it's Suey's birthday today! Wish her a happy birthday while you're there! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Review: The Happiness Project

Title The Happiness Project
By Gretchen Rubin
Genre Self help
Pages 292

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.
In this lively and compelling account—now updated with new material by the author—Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference. (From Goodreads)

First Sentence
I'd always vaguely expected to outgrow my limitations.

What it has going for it
I've been hearing about this book for years it seems like. I was intrigued. I'm not the most happy, optimistic person in the world so I thought it might have at least a line or two of advice. Mostly the book reads as a autobiography of Gretchin Rubin for a year. She organized each month to have a certain goal and then had smaller goals each month to reach her ultimate goal. Mostly, I thought her goals were great and each were things I think most people would benefit by reaching for. I've heard some nasty reviews on this book and poor Gretchin herself. Things like: "She's a privileged rich girl who doesn't understand the real trials of life". Ouch! I, however, think those people missed the mark. The goals that the author sets for herself are totally doable for anyone, in any situation of life. Things like de-cluttering, exercising, being kinder to you spouse and kids, and focusing a little more on things that make you happy all sound doable to me. I particularly liked how she talked about how happiness comes from growth. I couldn't agree more. When I'm not learning something knew or growing and maturing, I feel stagnant and grouchy. That idea I can get behind!

What's lacking
Like most of these books, I didn't find any mind blowing revelations. There was nothing new and groundbreaking. Which isn't surprising, considering the author researched happiness from books that have already been written. Still, it offered her opinion and everyone has an opinion and sometimes that opinion coming from a certain person is just what you need. My biggest issue with the book was that I didn't feel like the author really changed much in the whole year and I don't think she's going to stick to any of her goals so...what was the point?

Yea or Nay?
If you enjoy these sorts of books and are looking for some ways to be more happy, I'd recommend this one. If you need something more drastic, maybe skip it and go straight for a trip to Bali to meditate your way to happiness....I think I might need to do that.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Review: Me Before You

Title Me Before You
By JoJo Moyes
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Pages 369

Lou Clark used to have plans to see the world and go to school. Now she still lives at home in a small box room with no windows, dates the same man she's dated for 7 years and works at the local diner. In a small town known only for it's tourist attraction, not much happens. But when Lou loses her job and finds a new one as a companion for a paraplegic everything she has settled for is going to change.

First Sentence There are a 158 footsteps between the bust stop and home, but it can stretch to 180 if you aren't in a hurry, like maybe you're wearing platform shoes.
My Jarbeled Thoughts
I know I usually try to break up me reviews into "what I liked" and "what I didn't like" but with this book....nope, I just can't do it. I read this book for book club so I thought I'd get an early start. I was worried it would take awhile to read. It didn't. I flew through it. So I guess if you demanded I tell you what I liked I would tell you I liked that this book was so incredibly readable. The writing was practically flawless. So, there you have it. That's what I liked about it...sort of. Grrr!

This book was like driving in a snow storm and coming up on a red light, but when you tap on the break your car doesn't stop...and then everything slows down and you're just staring at the inevitable wishing you could open the car door and bail but you can't, you're are just sitting  there helplessly slamming the break to the floor and watching IT coming.

The funny thing is that somehow, as you're reading, you think that well, maybe everything will be OK. Maybe it will turn out, but you know it won't. You know exactly what's going to happen and it's painful and emotional and wretched and there's nothing you can do about it! Sigh! Honestly, I can see why this book was such a huge success. It's a great discussion book. I'm quite excited to discuss it in book club. Hopefully others felt the feels and will vent with me.

And the whole story is readable. It's interesting. You're into what's going on with each individual character. The story is interesting and funny and entertaining. See? It wasn't all bad.

On a side note, I found it highly amusing that the author writes chick lit and that some people referred to this one as chick lit. What?! I'd hardly call this chick lit.

So, bottom line, It's readable and draws up some interesting questions that make for great discussion, but it's so horrifically sad, in the guise of bittersweet.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Review: Real Live Boyfriends

Title Real Live Boyfriends (Ruby Oliver #4)
By E. Lockhart
Genre YA Contemporary
Pages 225

Ruby is back for the final installment in her series. Finally having a real live boyfriend is working great for Ruby. But when Noel leaves for New York for a month something changes. Suddenly everything is falling apart again. Can Ruby figure out what happened with Noel and keep the panic attacks at bay?

First Sentence
A definition: A real live boyfriend does not contribute to your angst.

What it has going for it
Ah, Ruby. I relate to you too well. I absolutely loved the ending to this perfect series. This book, as well as the rest of the series, always have these laugh out loud moments that just get me. I know that phrase is overused but there's no other way to explain it. You're reading along and something happens and you burst out laughing. You can't help it. I love it! This one was written so well that I honestly didn't know what was going on with Noel and was so worried. I loved Noel and I really didn't want to see them break up. It was sweet and sad and romantic and just perfect!

What's Lacking
Absolutely nothing!

Yea or Nay?
READ THIS SERIES!  Seriously, you'll love it! Even if you don't love it, I guarantee you'll like it.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Review: We Were Liars

Title We Were Liars
By E. Lockhart
Genre YA Contemporary
Pages 242

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth. (from Goodreads)

First Sentence Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family.

What it has going for it
Since I loved Lockhart's Ruby Oliver series I knew I had to try some of her other books. I started with this one because of all the buzz it got. Lockhart's writing is beautiful. It flows along and grips you in its grasp, evoking all sorts of emotions in you.

What's lacking
Sadly, the emotion this books evoked in me was sadness. What a sad, sad, SAD story!  Why did I read that? What redeeming lesson was to be learned? Why? Why?! Argh!

Yea or Nay?
I can't recommend such a sad story. One without a reason for all the sadness.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

October Wrap-Up

October is over. My favorite month of the year. :( Oh well, November is my second favorite month, so it's all good.  I actually read quite a bit this month. Check it out.

Storm Siren
All the right ingredients but something fell flat for me.

The Fill In Boyfriend
Nothing new or unique enough.

Real Live Boyfriends (Ruby Oliver 4)
Perfect ending to a perfect series.

We Were Liars
So beautifully written but oh so SAD!

Me Before You
Still trying to wrap my head around this one.

The Happiness Project
All in all a good read. Nothing really groundbreaking or anything.

Wow! Can you tell that I have not felt like blogging? I promise reviews are coming. Favorite of the month was Real Live Boyfriends. Least favorite was Storm Siren.

Friday, October 30, 2015

What Makes It Work?

Because of two books I've read recently and because of a post on my friend Kara's Blog I've been thinking about the ingredients in books.

Ingredients? There's ingredients in books? Why yes, yes there are. If you were to look at the perfect book for me the recipe would look a little something like this.

4 cups of unsifted plot (unsifted meaning no skimping on plot)
3 cups suspense (I don't mean murder mystery, just something that hooks me and makes me keep reading)
1 cup relatable, fleshed out characters
2 table spoons of romance ( not too much)
1 tsp humor
2 tsp wow factor
a pinch of unpredictability.
Stir well, add a lovely cover and serve

That's how I like my books...but what happens when you read a book that has all the necessary ingredients you enjoy and somehow it falls flat? Tastes sour? Doesn't satisfy? The book Storm Siren was such a book for me. It had everything I enjoy just didn't work for me. Maybe it was my mood or maybe there was an ingredient that got overlooked or maybe the author substituted artificial sugar for real...I don't know. It just didn't work.

So, what would your perfect book's recipe look like? Do you ever read a book that has everything you normally love and it just doesn't work?