Thursday, December 1, 2016

Months in Review: The Fall


I feel like I only blinked, and now it's December. This fall has been a whirlwind of activity, between a new job, I feel like I only blinked, and now it's December. This fall has been a whirlwind of activity, between a new job, new opportunities at my old jobs, and the crazy little thing called life. Sometimes it still seems unreal that I'm teaching math, and now teaching at a college as well. I've enjoyed getting to know a new set of students, and some of the life stories that I've learned have amazed me. I hope that I'm able to do some good and maybe make math a bit easier along the way.

Outside of work, there was some radio silence on the blog during November, because I tried to do NaNoWriMo. I didn't win, unfortunately, but at least I got a good start on a new book! I was fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving with my best friends (and best furry friend, of course). I braved Black Friday shopping at 2am. Surprisingly, the stores weren't bad at that hour. Gotta love Utah! I even managed to buy for other people, like my TBTB Secret Santa. Finally, I finished Thanksgiving break with a whirlwind musical weekend, which was the perfect way to start Advent.

And finally, here's what happened on the blog!

Books Reviewed:

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Pasadena by Sherri L. Smith
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard


Snapshot Musings

This post series features discussions on a variety of topics - namely whatever bookish things are on my mind. One of my blogging goals for 2013 was to have more discussion posts, and this feature is how I'm holding myself accountable.

Portrait of Society: A Personal Perspective


Go Indie:

This feature isn't back yet, but I hope it will be soon!


Blog Tours:

My Rogue, My Ruin by Amalie Howard and Angie Morgan


Quick Six:

Currently Reading: The Infinity of You & Me by J.Q. Coyle
Favorite Fall Reads: Splintered by A.G. Howard, This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills, Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Most Anticipated December Release: Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill
Total Books Read This Year: 17
Song of the Month: Roller Coaster by Luke Bryan
Television Binge: Frasier Reruns


What did your summer look like? What books are you most excited about for December?


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


TEACH ME TO FORGET
By: Erica M. Chapman
Published By: Merit Press
Release Date: Dec. 2, 2016
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: This is the story of Ellery, a girl who learns how to live while waiting for the date she chose to die.

Ellery's bought the gun, made arrangements for her funeral, and even picked the day. A Wednesday. Everything has fallen into place.

Now all she has to do is die.

When her plans go awry and the gun she was going to kill herself with breaks, she does the one thing she has control over--return it and get a new one. After tormenting the crusty customer service associate by trying to return the gun with the wrong receipt, Ellery gets caught by the security guard who also happens to be someone she knows--the annoyingly perfect Colter Sawyer from her English class.

Colter quickly uncovers what she's hiding and is determined to change her mind. After confessing a closely held secret of his own, he promises not to tell hers. Ellery tries to fight her attraction to him as the shadows of her past cling tight around her, but when she's faced with another tragedy, she must decide whether her love for one boy is more important than a lifetime of pain.




Why it's Wanted:

This book sounds like a romance between two tortured souls, which has the possibility to be a story with all of the feels. I want to follow Ellery's emotional journey.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Blog Tour & Book Sketch: My Rogue, My Ruin by Amalie Howard and Angie Morgan




MY ROGUE, MY RUIN
By: Amalie Howard and Angie Morgan
Published By: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Release Date: Nov. 21, 2016
Series: Lords of Essex
Pages: ebook
Genre: Historical Romance
Reading Level: Adult (Crossover Appeal)
Source: Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: The Marquess of Hawksfield’s lineage is impeccable and his title coveted, but Archer Croft is as far from his indulgent peers as he can get. His loathing for the beau monde has driven him to don a secret identity and risk everything in order to steal their riches and distribute them to the less fortunate.

Lady Briannon Findlay embraces her encounter with the Masked Marauder, a gentleman thief waylaying carriages from London to Essex. The marauder has stirred Brynn’s craving for adventure, and she discovers an attraction deeper than the charming thief’s mask.

Brynn is a revelation, matching Archer in intelligence, wit, and passion. Stubborn and sensuous in equal measure, she astonishes him at every turn, but when someone sinister impersonates Archer’s secret personality, and a murder is committed, Archer begins to think he doesn’t stand a fighting chance without her.




First Thought After Finishing: I wish I could have been courted by royalty in Victorian England!

I used to read a fair amount of historical romances as a teenager, but many of the characters seemed far removed from my teen self. This romance, however, has the benefit of young adult authors trying a new genre, with characters who are relatable for their ages. Even though this is a historical romance book, it definitely has crossover appeal for new adult readers who enjoy a little extra steaminess in their books.

Lady Briannon Findlay is soon to be introduced as eligible for marriage in Essex’s aristocracy. However, she would much prefer horseback riding and fencing to more ladylike pursuits such as needlepoint. Although she knows she must marry eventually, she is in no hurry to relinquish her freedom. Archer Croft is a marquess, one who would be an eligible match for Brynn, if only he were interested in finding a wife. Instead, he has family matters to contend with first and his own legacy to establish. However, when the childhood friends are thrown together again, they find that stray thoughts—and hearts—are not so easy to control.

In many ways, this book has it all—romance, history, and mystery. There are layers to the story, just as there are layers to the characters. Archer is the classic “rogue” that you want to hate, but then you get to know him and he becomes irresistible. He has that smoldering, aloof quality that inspires fantasies while also having a hidden good heart that makes you want to melt. Brynn is just the right amount of feisty to be a good match for Archer, and their chemistry is undeniable. Even though it is a romance, they had good reason to go back and forth with “will they or won’t they,” which made for an engrossing read.

On top of the romance, there is mystery. Archer’s secret identity is in danger of being revealed from the beginning, and while the mystery is put on hold for a while as romance begins, it does come back as the book goes on. It gave the story more interest and allowed the slow pace of the novel to work rather than becoming stagnant. Overall, I enjoyed my time spent in this world, and if there are sequels to this book, I would definitely be interested in reading them as well.

Most Memorable Aspect: I loved the moments of witty, wry dialogue between Brynn and Archer. As passionate as some scenes were, the early banter in their relationship jumped off the page.






~ ~ ~ ABOUT THE AUTHORS ~ ~ ~



AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 25 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts. She is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 Amazon bestseller, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national silver IPPY medalist. She is also the co-author of the adult historical romance series, THE LORDS OF ESSEX. As an author of color and a proud supporter of diversity in fiction, her articles on multicultural fiction have appeared in The Portland Book Review and on the popular Diversity in YA blog. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children.

Find Her Online: Website | Twitter


ANGIE MORGAN is the author of several critically acclaimed young adult and middle grade books written under two other names (Page Morgan and Angie Frazier), and is now thrilled to be taking a much-anticipated leap into the world of adult romance. My Rogue, My Ruin is the first of three books in her new Lords of Essex series, co-written with good friend and fellow author, Amalie Howard. Angie lives in New Hampshire with her husband, their three daughters, and a menagerie of pets.

Find Her Online: Website | Twitter

DON'T MISS THIS GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecoptergiveaway

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (101)



I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"I look at the ceiling; the dark water stain overhead shifts and swirls. It's my birthday. I'm fifteen...And I don't know what the hell I'm turning into.

The room seems to shatter, its pieces scattering."


Taken from THE INFINITY OF YOU & ME
by J. Q. Coyle

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Book Sketch: This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills


THIS ADVENTURE ENDS
By: Emma Mills
Published By: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date: Oct. 4, 2016
Series: None
Pages: 240
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Netgalley
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.




First Thought After Finishing: Did I just read my biography?

This Adventure Ends had a lot of things in the premise that I loved. It’s a book about friendship, there’s a road trip, and it promised witty dialogue. And this book delivered on everything.

Just before her senior year, Sloane’s family moves from New York to a small town in Florida. Her father, a romance author, needs inspiration for a new book, but to Sloane, it’s just a new city to attend high school until she can go to college. She misses her voice teacher in New York, but little else. She never expected to start putting down roots in Florida, but that was before she met Vera, Gabe, Remy, and Frank. This group of friends has a closeness that she’s never had before, and she can’t help but begin to open up to them. Her search for a painting by the Vera and Gabe’s mother takes her around the East Coast, but really, she is on a journey to discover who she is and who she wants to be.

“'You’re like weirdly passionate about this.'” I smile. 'We should all find something to be weirdly passionate about, don’t you think?'”

This book hit close to home. Before Vera, Sloane was mostly a loner. She reads, she sings, she does not lead an exciting life. But one invitation to a party—and a social butterfly named Vera—change all of that. Suddenly Sloane has a circle of friends, ones whom she would do anything for. She also has a crush, even though she doesn’t want to admit it. I loved, loved, loved this circle of friends. They had some issues, yes, but they also supported each other and had so much fun. And even though there were relationships, they were not the main focus.

Sloane’s wit is so similar to mine, and it was sometimes fun, sometimes alarming to see it on the page. I enjoyed seeing how she showed her friends that she cared. Vera is the kind of friend that everyone wants to have (and I am lucky enough to have a friend like her). Vera brings out the best in everyone and just generally makes you feel happy. Remy is proof that it is possible to have a great guy friend, and I wanted to see him find his happy ending too. Frank is someone I wished I would have known in high school. And finally Gabe conjured old memories—it’s likely that everyone has a Gabe in their past. This book definitely has dynamic characters who will make you celebrate your own friends.

"I think about that kind of love as we increase in altitude. How maybe it doesn’t just stand for romance—maybe it works for friendship, too. Maybe there’s a kind of friend love that opens you up—maybe you didn’t have a place for it within you before, but once it finds you out, crawls inside, and makes space for itself, you can’t live without it ever again."

Most Memorable Aspect: I’m going to remember this book as the first one where I didn’t just relate to the main character—I felt like I WAS the main character.




Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


OF FIRE AND STARS
By: Audrey Coulthurst
Published By: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: Nov. 22, 2016
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.




Why it's Wanted:

Did you see the cover?? Seriously though, I love fantasy stories. I love journey-of-self-discovery stories that are packed with emotions. This book seems like it offers both.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (100)



I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"It's totally crazy. I don't even know him. And I could get caught. And how much of Paris can you see in just one day? And this could all go disastrously wrong in so many ways. All of that is true. I know it is. But it doesn't change the fact that I want to go.

So this time, instead of saying no, I try something different.

I say yes."


Taken from page 30 of JUST ONE DAY
by Gayle Forman

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dewey's 24-Hour #Readathon: Introduction



It's one of the most wonderful days of the year--the October date of the 24-Hour Readathon!

Every year I wish I could participate. This year, it happens to be over my fall break, and the stars have finally aligned! I'm very excited to be part of this community of readers. I can't wait to dive into some good books, get some new reading suggestions, and have fun!

I have realized that I am very much a mood reader, so I do not have a planned stack of books. My goal is to use today to read some older books that I've wanted to read for years but never picked up in the interest of keeping up with the blogging life. This will also give me an excuse to go splurge on sequels! First on my list:


Splintered by A.G. Howard


And let the reading begin! Good luck to all my fellow readers!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


THIS IS OUR STORY
By: Ashley Elston
Published By: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: Nov. 15, 2016
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she and Stone investigate—the ageing prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot—she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.




Why it's Wanted:

Every once in a while, I love a good mystery-thriller book. This sounds intriguing, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the true story is here!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Portrait of Society: A Personal Perspective

I generally do not comment on political goings-on in the country. I read what others post, I consider, I form opinions, and I discuss them with those who are open to listening. On this blog, I rarely share lots of personal thoughts and feelings that are not directly related to books. However, something has been on my mind for a while, and I feel the need to put it in words and send it into the universe.

More and more in the media, and now in the election campaign, it has become acceptable to objectify women’s bodies. Men have all the rights they want, and women have no right to make up their own minds about who or what they give consent to. “Consent” has lost all of its meaning, because being a woman implies that we want attention from a man in any form they want to give it. If you are an attractive woman, or dress a certain way, you must want attention even more. That is flawless logic, right?

After the Trump comments were leaked, so many women started tweeting or sharing their stories of assault. It’s shocking, it’s demoralizing, and it is ridiculous that we as a society are actually regressing in our treatment of women.

The statistics show that 1 in 6 women has been a victim of rape or attempted rape, and 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in college. Only 3% of child molesters are ever convicted and punished. Three. Percent. Children, male and female, suffer every day from sexual predators. When you average everything, an American is sexually assaulted every two minutes.

It’s heartbreaking. And it is atrocious.

I am thankful that I have never been in this situation. I’m one of the lucky ones. My heart goes out to all who have suffered this kind of abuse. I cannot imagine it, but I know that it is wrong and it needs to stop.

But objectifying women as sexual objects is not the only thing that happens in this country.

On the other side of the spectrum are the women who rather than being desired for their bodies are villainized because of them. Yes, I am talking about fat-shaming.

Before you click away thinking that I’m going to equate these two things, please keep reading. I know that these are different types of problems, but both are very real and very prevalent.

Women who are overweight fight their own battle—the battle to be seen as humans. Obesity is a problem in our country. Over 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese. If you are overweight, you are asking for “help” from others. You are seeking out the judging, condescending looks and the pointed, snide comments regarding food and lifestyle choices. On the other hand, perhaps you are asking to be invisible, undateable, unloveable, simply because you are choosing to be unattractive. More flawless logic.

Thin privilege is real.

I know because I do fit into this category. I can benefit from diet and exercise I know, because I have been told that for much of my life. I also know that I am still a person who deserves dignity and respect despite not being “thin.” I have been bullied, I have been the brunt of jokes, I have watched men’s eyes slide right past me because my size makes me less than human and therefore not worthy of a simple “Hello, nice to meet you,” in group introductions. I am sure I am not alone.

I understand that what I’ve discussed are very different types of attacks. One is physical, one is verbal. One is illegal, one is generally accepted. One can elicit endless sympathy and outrage, one can elicit thoughts (if not comments) of, “Well, they kind of had a point…” It’s clear which one is worse. But in other ways they are similar attacks. What they have in common is that the victim—the VICTIM—is almost always blamed. The victim is left to suffer alone with the physical and/or emotional ramifications—the fear, the anger, the shame, the self-loathing, the sorrow. Far, far too often, it is the victim’s fault.

When will we as a society finally stand up and place fault where it belongs—with the attacker?

The evidence continually shows that the answer is never. Because we as a society have two fundamental problems.

A inflated sense of entitlement, and a shrinking sense of empathy.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, so the saying goes. And it’s true. But when did this become, “Everyone is entitled to treat everyone else however they want, with no regard for the feelings of others?” I am not that old, but I grew up learning the Golden Rule:

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

When did this fly out the window? When did it become okay to attack, to assault, to blame, to dehumanize, to destroy, and NOT to feel any remorse about it?

This problem is everywhere. We see it clearly in the election campaign. We see it in our justice system, in how a white rapist is sentenced to a mere three months but an African-American found in possession of marijuana is sentenced to years in prison. We see it in education, where teachers are blamed for test scores and students are not held accountable for their actions. We see it in religion, where only one group can be right and others should be condemned to hell in this life and the next. We see it in movies, TV shows, and on our daily news, when natural or man-made disasters happen but only nations and people who are “good enough” receive airtime and Facebook photo filters and an outpouring of aid. We see it in mass shootings, in hate crimes, in the lack of support and eagerness to judge that occurs repeatedly in daily human interaction.

“We” are good. “They” are other. “We” deserve the best. “They” deserve whatever “we” choose to give them, because “they” are other.

This is how society operates.

This is not okay.

I certainly don’t have answers. I know there is not a magical cure-all for how the world has become.

But I hope, pray, and believe that we as a society can do better.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...