Monthly Recap: February 2017

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February was a fun month for me! I tackled the venture of blogging daily (and I won…or will have won after tomorrow’s post, hah!), read some wonderful books, planned some future reads…. Overall, a fab month!

Blogging Daily


I enjoyed the challenge of blogging daily. For the most part, it was easy to do come up with things though I did find myself stuck on what to do some days. Thankful for book meme’s to assist me in having enough things to talk about! I started the What are you reading? Wednesday challenge, which I like enough to keep in regular rotation. I also started the Down the TBR Hole challenge, which asks you to take a step back at your Goodreads TBR list and really decide if the books on your list are something you want to read. I was so excited to come across this, as I had over (still have) 400 books on my TBR — which is just a ridiculous number, let’s be honest. I’ve been able to knock off a few, but I am finding it harder than I realized to say goodbye to some of these books!

I also had the pleasure of completing two book tags! I never thought I would be tagged for any of these, so seeing myself get tagged for a couple was super fun! I think these are great ways to learn more about the bloggers and it’s a great way to meet new bloggers.

I also made a few post just discussing some book topics: DNF-ing books, reading within seasons, choosing my next read, my case for reading multiple books, books and authors I enjoyed growing up.

I also finished my audible series…for now at least. I will add to it either mid year or at the end of the year, I haven’t decided yet.

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Books Read
I started February off with a list of TBR books. I had six books that I planned to read throughout the month. Let’s see how many I actually read:

  1. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
  2. I Hate Everyone, Except You by Clinton Kelly
  3. The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen (review coming soon) | Goodreads
  4. Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica (review coming soon) | Goodreads 

At the end of February, I am at 10 books read total, putting me at 29% of my challenge of 35 books in 2017 met. I am 5 books ahead of schedule.

I definitely did not meet my plans for the month of February. I actually only finished one book on the list I had planned on reading. I guess I’ll be playing a bit of catch up next month!

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Books Purchased
I didn’t buy too many books this month. I did, however, add a few to my collection.

I picked up Caraval by Stephanie Garber while out on Valentine’s Day. I have been seeing this book pop up on so many blogs and all over Instagram. When I saw it on display, I picked it up without a second though!

For Kindle books, I bought Foxcatcher: The True Story of My Brother’s Murder, John du Pont’s Madness, and the Quest for the Olympic Gold by Mark Schultz with David Thomas. I watched the movie inspired by this last year and found the story so fascinating. When I saw this show up on a Bookbub deal, I knew I had to have it!

Books In vs Books Out
So, in February, I purchased 2 books and finished 4 books. Definitely liking those figures!

Favorite Book Read
I’ll be honest — I wasn’t too thrilled with any book I read this month. They were all just kind of, okay. But out of the four I finished, The Forgotten Girls would probably be my favorite. It was intriguing, well written, and being a cop/detective thriller, slightly different than the usual thrillers I am used to.

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Book I Most Want to Read
I cannot wait to read Caraval. I hope to check it out very soon!


 

So tell me — what was your favorite read in February 2017? Least favorite read? Did you meet your goals for the month?

Down the TBR Hole: Week 4

Time for the next installment of my cutting down of the Goodreads TBR list!

For those not in the know, this was started by Lia from Lost in a Story. Here is how the challenge works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 


 

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is a keep. It’s actually ridiculous that I haven’t read this book. I read the majority of it (like 70% or so) a couple of years ago but fell out of my reading habit, so I put it aside. I keep looking at it and thinking I really need to pick it up again. I have no excuse; it’s a beautifully written book. Maybe that will get tackled this year, too.

 

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Look Behind You by Sibel Hodge
Yeah… I’ll pass on this one. Doesn’t sound interesting and the cover looks so cheesy. Curious as to why I added it to begin with….

 

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The Painter by Peter Heller
I’m starting to get into the books that I, for real, do not remember adding. Like this one. This sounds super interesting, though, and I am totally digging this cover. Keep it!

 

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The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
I remember adding this to my TBR list. I came across it at Books-a-Million and fell in love with the cover. The story sounds good, too.

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The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
I have heard such good things about this book. It is a keeper, as well! This sounds like a good literally fictional piece, and the character development looks promising!


 

So today, I will be taking just one off the list, bringing me down to…478. Getting there. So slowly. Hey! At least I didn’t add any since my last post! That’s a new one.

Book Emoji Tag

I’ve seen this tag on booktube and on some blogs; I thought the idea was super fun! I was so excited when Reg from She Latitude tagged me for it! The idea for this tag is to take emojis and to pick a book that goes with it. Apparently, you are supposed to do 5. I originally had 8 but cut it down to 6. This was fun!

 

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📚 The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I feel like I cannot do this tag without one of the book emojis. So for this one I had to pick The Shadow of the Wind, the first in a series I cannot wait to finish! This book is about a book. It’s about a library. It’s about literature. It’s about secrets. This book is so well written and so fantastic; it is one of the few books that I recommended to every person who enjoys reading, no matter their genre preferences.

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👯 The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Another favorite of mine! I chose this one to go along with the two women dancing since this story is about two women — I feel like I’m reaching with this one, but I’ll allow it! We follow Margaret Lea who is a biographer, given the chance to write the biography of reclusive Vida Winter, an author with an interesting past.

 

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✨ Stardust by Neil Gamain
What if fallen stars were actually people? This is a gorgeous piece of fantasy (a genre I’m not a huge fan of in general) that is just magical. Gaiman is a master at his craft and this became one of my favorites by him. If you are a fan of audiobooks, I greatly recommend listening to this one — or any of the pieces he narrates.

 

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🐶 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
There is something incredibly…magical about this book, as well, even though it isn’t part of the fantasy genre. Beautiful, beautiful piece of literature. I’ve read it has been turned into a play. I would be curious to see how this translates into that medium.

 

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🎨 The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
I loved this book. This was one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite, book I read in 2015. This does a great job at combining real art history with fiction. Beautifully written, fantastic characters. I think I may look for my copy and read it again this summer. [I kinda want to re-read all of these, actually.]

 

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🐭 Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
One of the first books I remember loving. I cannot recall if I read the book before or after the made for tv movie version I watched with my mother years ago. I loved Charlie and still, years later, find myself thinking of him and that dang mouse. Beautiful book. Just beautiful.

 

Haven’t done this tag but find it interesting? Please, consider yourself tagged!

Let’s Chat: DNF-ing Books

DNF.

Did not finish.

This is an interesting concept, one that I had not really thought about until a couple of years ago. Books I didn’t finish reading before, I totally intended to read again at some point. Because I completely believe that some books just need the perfect time/setting to be read.

However, I have come to the realization that although I do believe that some books do need just the right circumstances, not all books deserve a second chance.

I set up a DNF section of my Goodreads. And even though I have allowed myself to DNF books with the intention of never picking them up again, it isn’t a card I pull often. My DNF tag on Goodreads only features 9 books, 4 of which I added last year.

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What made me start thinking about this again is a book I am currently listening to, Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica. I am listening to this book now and have, roughly, two hours left. And I just don’t care about it. If I was reading the physical book, I am pretty sure I would have put the book down a long time ago. But for some reason, listening to it, I keep going with it.

I think it has something to do with the fact that I know just how long I have left for the book. And it’s easy for me to be okay with giving the book two more hours of my time.

In the same thread, though, I am not wanting to listen to the book. I have chosen instead to listen to music this week, putting off even attempting to finish the book. I could finish it in one commute if I could just care enough. But there is a small part of me that wants to know the end.

So…I wanted to ask you, book fanatic. Do you DNF books? And if so, what makes you decide to not finish a book?

Usually, for me, when the idea of reading/listening to a book give me stress as opposed to joy, I just give up on it. I’m sticking this one out, though. And I can’t give you a real reason as to why….

Down the TBR Hole: Week 3.5

Time for the next installment of my cutting down of the Goodreads TBR list!

For those not in the know, this was started by Lia from Lost in a Story. Here is how the challenge works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 


 

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Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois
Not sure where I heard about this one…. I remembered the book when I saw it on my list but not what it was about. Re-reading the synopsis makes me excited to read this one again, so this one will stay!

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One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak
Yeah, this one is staying, too. I think B.J. Novak is hilarious and I’ve enjoyed his television writing. Would like to see how he does with this medium.

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The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
Chevalier used to be one of my favorite authors; her art historical fiction pieces (Girl with the Pearl EarringThe Lady and the Unicorn to name two) are some of my favorite pieces.

 

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You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Ya know, when I clicked this one, I assumed I would keep it. Then I re-read the synopsis and…nothing. Didn’t feel like I strongly needed to read it anymore.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth
This one, too, I’m gonna pass on. Another series I wanted to check out but I’ve lost interest in over the years.


 

And with that, I am down to 479 books on my TBR list. I am almost to where I was when I first started this challenge! So many books, too little time, amiright?

WWW Wednesday

I dunno about you guys, but I am having an incredibly stressful Wednesday, so I am very happy to take a few minutes out of my day to just think about books!


What are you reading? Wednesday: This meme asks us to post about three books:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words


 

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What are you currently reading?
I finally started my ARC for The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. I’ve not read anything else by her, but this is her first venture into adult literature. I’m roughly 75 pages in or so and I am really enjoying it. I have a feeling where the “big secret” is leading and I am hoping I’m wrong….

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What did you recently finish?
This weekend, I finished reading The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen. First time reading this author and first time reading a cop-thriller. I enjoyed it overall and hope to have a review up by next week.

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What do you think you will read next?
I See You by Clare Mackintosh was released this week in the US. I am looking forward to picking up my copy and reading it this weekend. I Let You Go was a quick read for me, so I am hoping this one will be the same.

Review: I Hate Everyone, Except You by Clinton Kelly

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Book: I Hate Everyone, Except You by Clinton Kelly [Goodreads | Amazon]
Genre:
 Nonfiction, Memoir
Publisher:
Gallery Books
Format: eBook via Kindle
Rating:
 3 stars
Cover Rating:
1 star

The Cover
If I were walking down an aisle at a bookstore, this book cover would definitely stand out to me. The colors are vibrant and not easy to ignore. However, I would not pick up this book based on the cover. The writer would entice me to check it out, though. This one is hard to rate. It is not a cover that would make me want to check out the book, though it is a cover that will catch my eye long enough to see who wrote it.

The Review
When I saw this book come up on NetGalley, I knew I needed to check it out. I know Clinton Kelly from his time on What Not to Wear. I do know that he hosts/cohosts The Chew — a show I’ve never actually watched so I’m not really sure what it is about exactly — and I was curious about what he had to say.

When I saw that these were essays, I was hoping to learn more about his time on What Not to Wear. This memoir consists of 16 different essays, ranging from him growing up, friendships, relationships, some humorous porn-related anecdotes, and yes, a little bit on What Not to Wear. While I do not feel Kelly was overly rude in his discussions of this show, he was honest. While he did the show — and appears to have formed some sort of friendships with some of the contestants who had been on the show — he was not a fan of the show. It was interesting to take a different look at the show, as not a viewer, but instead someone working on it.

The majority of this was funny and interesting. I read the last 75% of the book over a 24 hour period. Kelly comes across as very intelligent; his writing style is nice and he has a good way of telling stories.

I will say, though, I almost did not finish this book.

The very first essay, “Kamikaze”, discusses him as a teenager and wanting to go to the water park he had seen advertised on TV. He states that the children and teens in the commercial all looked cool, thus him going to the waterpark would make him cool. After he spends lots of time getting the family on board, they go. And he realizes quickly that this water park is not cool. When discussing the negatives of the park, there was quite a bit of body shaming. And I’ll just be honest — it caught me off guard.

Yes, as stated, I know very little about Kelly, other than the persona he had while co-hosting a fashion reality TV show. I know that he is snarky, sassy, all of that. But I also know that he was supportive of those women who were not stick thin. And it made me wonder — was that all fake?

I took myself away from the book and really looked at it. Especially after reading a couple of the other essays, I had to realize — this was written from the perspective of a thirteen year old boy. Of course he would think those things. It doesn’t make it right, but it was truthful.

And that is one thing I liked about these stories. I do not feel that Kelly had any sort of facade in front of him. He chose these stories, some of them I’m sure would be incredibly surprising to a lot of his fans, and he let us into his mind while these were occurring. He doesn’t offer apologies for who he was, but he shows us in the more recent stories the ways he has grown. I think that really added to the story telling.

Overall, once I got over the kind of shock of the first story, I was able to sit down and enjoy the rest. I think anyone who enjoys memoirs — and doesn’t mind some occasional discussion of sexual activities and drug usage — could find some enjoyment in this book. As I said before, this is incredibly well written and the stories are a great range of different topics.

The Author
You can check out Clinton Kelly on his Website and on Twitter. Find out more about this and his others books on Goodreads or Amazon.

 


 

Disclosure: I received this eBook from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the advanced copy!

Let’s Chat: Audible Books I Can’t Wait to Listen To

After finishing my favorite audio books series (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4), it got me thinking about the audio books I am excited to check out this year! So here’s a bonus installment. This will be a little longer than the previous ones, so I apologize in advance!


 

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Trouble Maker by Leah Remini
I don’t know much about Scientology but I am super interested in it at the same time. And I have a lot of love for Leah Remini. I have been trying to find a way to watch her A&E series, since I forgot to try to watch it while it was on air (I just suck at watching TV regularly anymore), but I think it will be a good supplement to this one.

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Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Another book I have attempted to read in physical form but just have not succeeded. I have started in numerous times and got farther in each time; I think there is something daunting, to me, about the commitment for a book this size. I love Maggie Gyllenhaal, as well, and I am excited to give this book another shot with her taking me down the journey.

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First Bite: How We Learn to Eat by Bee Wilson
I came across this, I do believe, through a NPR article. For my work, I occasionally work with families who have children who are “picky eaters”. When I came across this, I thought it would be an interesting way to learn more about food from a psychological perspective. I am not 100% sure this will actually be helpful for my job, but I think it will be interesting nonetheless.

 

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Why You Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica – the Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds by John Powell
I found this one one day in 2016 while just browsing through different offering from Audible. I used a credit on it immediately. While I work with children now, I did go to school for a psychology degree for two years – I realized in that sophomore year that I was more interested in child development, and after a break, I changed gears to working with children – and I still like to learn more about that science when I can.

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Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica
I have read Kubica’s two other books – actually, I listened to those as well! – and really enjoyed them. When I got an email from Audible about her having a new book, I knew I had to get it. This book promises to be an enthralling tale of deceit and obsession. Sounds interesting!

 

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I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro
Tig Notaro is one of my favorite people, ever. I Think she is so incredibly funny and she is so honest with her life. I have been incredibly excited to listen to this one. I am expected some humor throughout, but I know that this book will tackle a lot of her experience with her having cancer. I know these parts will not be easy to listen to, which is why I think I keep pushing it farther down my to listen list.

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Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging
Another memoir! I am a huge fan of Dick Van Dyke; Mary Poppins was my favorite movie growing up and I loved The Dick Van Dyke Show growing up, as well. I have his other memoir, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, as an eBook that I want to read before I check this one out. I am excited to hear how he does his reading for this!


 

So these are my definite To Listen to books this year! I have others, of course, in my library, but these are my musts as of now. Do you have any audio book suggestions for me to check out?

Down the TBR Hole: Week 3

Time for the next installment of my cutting down of the Goodreads TBR list!

For those not in the know, this was started by Lia from Lost in a Story. Here is how the challenge works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 


 

As of my last post, I was at 479 books on my TBR list. As of today, I am at 482, so I have added three new books since then. This adding of the books thing is really messing up any chance I have of conquering this TBR list! However, I will continue to move forward.

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The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim
This book will remain on the list. I knew the author at one point and have been wanting to check out her books. This was her first one.

 

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The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
Another keep! This was one of my favorite movies growing up. I am actually surprised that I’ve never read the book.

 

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The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Gonna keep this one, too. I have tried to read this one in the past, but had a hard time getting into it. I recently got the Audible version, so I have plans to listen to it sometime this year.

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Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I had planned on passing on this one, until I re-read my friends reviews on Goodreads. So this one will stay, too! [Are you guys seeing why my list is so crazy?? I have such a hard time turning down a book!]

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Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
I want to like Virgina Woolf. I enjoy the diaries of hers that I have read, but the fictional pieces just don’t do it for me. This may be another one I decide to check out in the future, but for now, it is off the list.


 

Well…getting rid of one is better than nothing, I suppose….

Anyone have a case for me to not give up on Woolf just yet? Or suggestions on which novels of her to try?

Reading Within the Season

Recently, I was asked by a friend if I read books based on the seasons. Meaning, do I read holiday books during/around their related holiday seasons? Do I read winter books during the winter? Do I read vacation/beach books during the summer?

I thought about it and I realized that, no, I do not. I may occasionally read a book that is partly based in winter during the winter time, but it isn’t a conscience decision to do so. For example, I finished reading The Forgotten Girls by Owen Laukkanen today and it is based during the winter months. But I did not pick that book because of the setting.

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I occasionally think about reading horror books during October. Halloween is pretty much the only holiday I incredibly enjoy, so it would make sense if I were to tweak my reading into matching into the season/time/holiday/what-have-you, Halloween would be the one I would do this with.

But it made me curious, so I wanted to put it out into the world: Do you plan your readings to match the seasons or the holidays? 

I am intrigued by this idea, though, and am thinking I may play along with it this year, starting with the spring season, maybe. Or possibly the fall holiday season. I will need to research some book options in see how possible this will be for me, regarding my interest in the books that match the time/setting.

 


 

Image from StockSnap.io.