Thursday, December 28, 2017

End Of The Year Book Survey 2017

It's that time of year again! I can never decide whether to just post my top ten favorite books and top ten least favorites or participate in Jamie's End Of The Year Survey. I think I usually rotate or something. Well, anyway, here we are and I decided to participate this year. Enjoy! 

Number Of Books You Read:
Number of Re-Reads: 4
Genre You Read The Most From: I have no idea. Probably contemporary/thriller/suspense

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?
Ketchup Clouds was my first five star review of the year and while I loved several other books this year too, this one sticks out in my mind. It's romantic, heartbreaking and humorous and I loved it!

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

Daughter of Smoke and Bone and it's sequel's were on my TBR list forever. I thought I'd love them but in the end. I found them too long and unimpressive.

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

Attachments blew me away, guys! I've disliked every other Rainbow Rowell book and then I read this one. I adored it! 

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

I wouldn't say I pushed The Sugar Queen but I did always think my book club should read a Sarah Addison Allen book and they finally did.

5. Best series you started in 2017?  The Winner's Curse.  
Best Sequel of 2017?  The Winner's Crime
Best (WORST) Series Ender of 2017?The Winner's Kiss seriously hated the ending of this series. And the series as a whole had so much promise. 

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Amy E. Reichert

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

This one was such a strange little story that I normally never would have picked up. I ended up loving it.

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

OK, this one was a little too long to be unputdownable but it sure wasn't hard to pick back up.

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

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

Frank from Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson. And this one didn't even take a minute to think about. Read the book and you'll see what I mean.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

Not a book I'd recommend AT ALL but it was beautifully written and I plan on giving the author another chance.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

I'm no good at these. I'm not a highlighter. 

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs
It by Stephen KingImg ruler 
112 pages
Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson:...
1,478 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Love her twisty endings!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Lincoln and Beth from Attachments. 

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Jane and Jasper from Jane Unlimited

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

Lincoln from Attachments. Seriously LOVE him!

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

I didn't read any debut books this year. Weird.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Not a favorite book by far, but a very fascinating world.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

Still not sure I understood what was going on in this one.

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

I don't like these types of endings at all!

~Blogging in 2017~ 

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?

Melody's Reading Corner and Do You Dog-Ear? 

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?

Sweet Lamb of Heaven was another favorite read of the year and I tried very hard to convince people to read it.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Guys, I only had one sort of discussion post on my blog this year! One! So sad. 

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

Can't think of any. I know I went to a few but I've really cut down on author events. 

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?

I love that even though all I post are reviews anymore that there's still people out there blogging and reading my blog. 

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Finding more time to blog! And finding the time to blog when I'm in the mood. I have a list of discussion posts I want to write but....yeah. 

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My Review of Forgotten got lots of views. Funny because I didn't like the book.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
I wish my Friday Flicks movie reviews got a little more love but it's all good.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Well, I love Overdrive and have come to adore audiobooks but I've also really gotten into book buying at thrift stores. The hunt is so fun! I plan on writing a how to post about this one day. 

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I did! I surpassed my Goodreads goal of 60 books and I was going to try to read some series. Not one book in a series but a whole series all at once. I read three this year and am very proud of myself!

It's been another fun year! With my growing love of audiobooks and the huge stacks of books I bring home from thrift stores reading is obviously still a huge love of mine! I can't wait for 2018 and what it will bring! 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Rewarding Myself!

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Jenny has
completed her goal of reading
60 books in

I did it! I reached and surpassed my Goodreads goal of 60 books. Now, technically I haven't read 76 books. I've read 71. When I DNF a book I mark it as read but don't give it any stars but of course Goodreads thinks I've finished it so it counts it. I DNF 5 books this year. But I re-read four books which I still haven't figured out if Goodreads counts so I'm just going with 71 books read this year.

BUT the point is. I reached my goal! This makes me happy! And I'm giving audiobooks a lot of credit because I've gotten into them big time this year and they've allowed me to read while still living my sometimes crazy life.

Sooooo, as a reward to myself I've been re-reading some books this month. I've read Graceling and half of Fire by Kristen Cashore and Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr. I still haven't read Bitterblue so I thought a re-read of Graceling and Fire was in order. Right?

Did you reach your Goodreads Goal yet? If so, how do you reward yourself?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Flicks: The Man Who Invented Christmas

The Man Who Invented Christmas
Rating ★★★

What It's About
It's about the man who invested Christmas. Duh! I tease! This quirky little tale follows Charles Dickens as he is inspired to and writes A Christmas Carol. After his huge success with Oliver Twist Dickens has bitten off more than he can chew. His latest books were flops and he needs something to succeed. As Christmas approaches, Dickens is inspired in little ways by those around him to write a Christmas story.

Hey look! A Christmas movie review! There's tons of classic Christmas movies to pick from each year and I'm happy to say we have another one.

The Man Who Invented Christmas is quirky and fun. I'm not sure how accurate the story is but I enjoyed it all the same. And I'm not even a Dicken's fan. The man annoys me. But not in this one. Well, OK, he was a bit eccentric and hard headed but I enjoyed watching him work through his personal issues in order to write one of the most beloved Christmas stories we have.

The cast was fun. Christopher Plummer was great as Scrooge. I want them to make another Christmas Carol now starring him! And Dan Stevens (from Downton Abbey) was great as Dickens.

It's always fun to for me to watch movies that take place in London and it's even better if they take place in the past. Mix the two and you can't go wrong, am I right?

Beautiful to watch and entertaining, I recommend this new addition to Christmas movies.

Let's Talk
You're all going to go see it now because of Dan Stevens, aren't you?  

Normally, I'd say it was cute but you don't have to pay full price, but I think you should go see this one. It's the only  family friendly Christmas movie in theaters this year and Star Wars is sold out anyway!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review: The Simplicity of Cider

Title The Simplicity of Cider
By Amy Reichert
Genre Adult Romance, Magic Realism
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sanna has lived on her families apple farm her whole life. She loves the life. Her cider making has consumed her life, so much so, that she's only just becoming aware of how badly things are going for the farm. With the arrival of the handsome Isaac and his son Bas, Sanna's troubles are just getting started.

First Sentence
Sanna Lund's thoughts of apple blossoms and new cider blends stuttered to an end with the grunt of her dad's snore.

My friend Kami discovered this author this year and loves her books. Since she and I have some similarities in our tastes for books, I knew I'd have to give this author a shot. This one popped up on Overdrive so I downloaded and started listening.

What a cute little book! When I need a comfort read I reach for Sarah Addison Allen or Emily Giffin but since I'm coming to the end of reading everything they've written I needed a new go-to author. Amy Reichert will be great.

I liked the setting of this book. I'm not a huge apple fan but I swear I could smell apples while reading it. I even bought some apples (rare for me) and snarfed them down because of this book. The setting sounded heavenly. A cute little touristy town with apple orchards, a lake, and yummy food, sign me up.

The characters were your typical small town characters. I wasn't blown away by them but I liked them and wished the best for them. Bas was adorable. I feel for that kid!

The story was great too. Not too heavy but it had plenty of substance. I struggled a little becoming emotionally invested but it got me in the end.

With just a touch of magic and a whole lot of drama and romance, I liked this one and can't wait to try more by this author.

  Should you read it
If this one sounds like your type, you should definitely read it. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Review: You Are A Badass

Title You are a Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness And Start Living An Awesome Life
By Jen Sincero
Genre Nonfiction Self Help
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Um, See the big long title of the book and that about sums it up.

First Sentence
Many years ago I was in a terrible bowling accident.

I actually bought this book at a thrift store to send to my friend as a "sort of" joke. But mostly because I believe she is a badass who sadly doesn't quite see herself that way.  Of course I decided to read it before sending it to her to make sure it wasn't completely stupid. And I was pleasantly surprised.

It's another "law of attraction" book like The Secret. But where The Secret fails to talk about taking action in controlling the universe, this one has all the awesomeness of The Secret with a more realistic, take action approach.

I loved the set up of each chapter as well. She talks about a subject and then has several tips/directions for action which I loved. As much as I like common issues we all face being pointed out and giving me something to think about, I also want answers; a "how to" of getting over said issues. You know? So this one was perfect for me.

Some of these types of books aren't understandable. Which is pretty sad. If a self help book can't even be understood how can it offer help? This book was easy to read. Had a great set up and the author had a good voice.

I know self help books aren't for everyone but I don't go into self help books because I'm unhappy with my life and desperately seeking help. I read them because I like looking at things in a different way.

I seriously loathe that people are brought up a certain way by their parents or community or religion and taught to think a certain way and they go their whole lives thinking one thing one way. How sad is that?!  If they never get out of their ingrained belief system how limited their experience. How much they miss!

Sorry, rant over. It just comes from my soul. I believed a certain way for so long and am just waking up and realizing there's this whole world of different opinions and guess what? They're not wrong. They're just different. I love kicking my old stubborn beliefs in the butt and telling them to shut up while I look at things in a new light.

And that's why I loved this book. It was another opinion. Another view on things. If I'm lucky, I glean the useful and move on to other experiences and ways of thinking and learn from those too.

I loved this book so much, that I told my friend if she doesn't like it to send it back to me. It's one I want on my shelf.

Should you read it

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Flicks: Wonder

Rating ★★★

What It's About
We have this cute little boy (yes I said cute. Because he is!) who was born with a facial abnormality. His mom has home schooled him but, starting with 5th grade, he'll be going to real school. Here he'll struggle to make friends and face the world, face first, and learn the true meaning of friendship.

I read the book this movie was based on back in 2015 and, while I wasn't blown away by it, I thought it was cute. I was very interested in how the movie would be and thought the previews looked adorable. So me and my friends went to check it out.

As often happens, the movie was just so beautiful and fun to see. The characters were perfectly cast. Each kid did such an amazing and cute job with their parts.

They also stuck very closely to the book, if I'm recalling right, and I appreciated that. It's always annoying when they go way, way off from the book.

The kid that played Jack Will was so freaking cute! I know, I was supposed to be in love with Auggie but I couldn't help it. This kid was so cute and did such a great job with his part. They all did.

Much like my review of the book, I felt that this one was cute with an important message but not anything life altering. I did get a little choked up at one point but that was it. Meanwhile I know my friends cried through most of it so maybe I just have a stone heart.

Let's Talk
Do you like when movies follow the book or do you like when they take their own twist?

Redbox or Netflix. It was cute but maybe not full price at the theater good.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Review: Beauty Queens

Title Beauty Queens
By Libba Bray
Genre YA Contemporary/Adventure/Comedy
Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

When a plane full of beauty pageant contestants crashes on an island there's only 13 survivors. Will they survive long enough to be rescued? And can they keep up their looks and dance routines until then? The longer the girls are on the island the more they discover who they really are and just how strong they are.

First Sentence
"Are you alright?"

I've had this book on my list for 6 years. The number of years it's been released, I think. I enjoyed the Gemma Doyle books enough to give the author my attention and this one sounded just plain hilarious.

I listened to this one on audio and it was my first audio book read by the author. That was a treat! When the author does all the different voices you know they're done exactly as she imagined the characters sounding. Her voice for Tiara cracked me up!

Filled with "a word from the sponsor" moments and commercial breaks this one was written to be an audio book.

While I was expecting a total comedy I was surprised to find a very feminist "girl power" twist on this one. I had mixed feelings about this. While I enjoyed the message, I sometimes found it a bit heavy handed and taking itself too seriously. But it actually gave depth to the story too so I don't know. I think I ended up liking that it chose to take that road. And of course it was still funny too. I laughed a lot.

There was a lot of eye rolling, yeah right, moments but I think any annoyance I had for those moments was ME taking things too seriously.

My biggest problem with this one was the length. (this seems to be an ongoing annoyance of mine as of late) I'm fine with long stories but needlessly long stories are another story. This one just kept going on and on! And on!!!

Should you read it
If you can buckle in for the LONG ride I'd recommend it for a laugh and a look at some cool messages about the awesomeness of girls.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

November Wrap-Up 2017

November, you and I really need to stop seeing each other. Last year I wrote about my heartbreaking miscarriage that happened in November and this year I'm having to write another sad post. I'll keep it short. As I mentioned last month, my mother had cancer and has fractured her spine and was bedridden. Some of you know already, but for those of you who don't, my mother passed away on November 11th. I've been through the gauntlet of emotions and am still struggling but I think I'm going to be okay. I won't dwell on the sadness. I just wanted to update you.

 I did manage to read some books though and since this is a book blog lets just get to that, shall we?

Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff, Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey, All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry, Be Frank With Me by Julia Clairborne Johnson, The Sugar Queen by Sara Addison Allen,(review on Goodreads)  and Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Favorites of the month were Fiendish and Be Frank With Me. Least Favorite was Haunting Violet.

 I promise I'm not heartless but since my mother had been diagnosed with cancer for over a year and we knew the end was coming I feel like I was somewhat prepared. Of course that means nothing when I want to call and tell her something and realize I can't. Then the water works come on and I get lost in grief but mostly I'm okay.