Monday, April 30, 2018

DNF&Y [4]

DNF&Y is used to explain why I gave up on certain books, and what about them just didn't work for me. What I didn't like about something, might be what you love, so it helps to share your thoughts even when they're negative! If you would like additional information, please click on the DNF&Y tab at the top. If you want to join, you can link up at the bottom!

Megabat by Anna Humphrey,
Kass Reich (Illustrator)
*Expected Publication: August 2018
Synopsis (via Goodreads): A sweet and hilarious chapter book about a boy and a bat, two unlikely friends who bond over loneliness, jellyrolls and Darth Vader.

Daniel Misumi has just moved to a new house. It’s big and old and far away from his friends and his life before. AND it’s haunted… or is it?

Megabat was just napping on a papaya one day when he was stuffed in a box and shipped halfway across the world. Now he’s living in an old house far from home, feeling sorry for himself and accidentally scaring the people who live there.

Daniel realizes it’s not a ghost in his new house. It’s a bat. And he can talk. And he’s actually kind of cute.

Megabat realizes that not every human wants to whack him with a broom. This one shares his smooshfruit.

Add some buttermelon, juice boxes, a light saber and a common enemy and you’ve got a new friendship in the making!

DNF after the first quarter or so.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quote I used may have changed or been altered in some way, but I am quoting from what I received.

I wasn't able to finish reading this book to my son, and I wasn't motivated to read it on my own without him. We stumbled through the first part of the story, and I think that's because the bat's words and phrases came across the wrong way. I'm not sure if he spoke another language, or if he somehow misheard how things were pronounced, or if he just had issues with saying certain things. The why wasn't clarified within the story (at least not what we read). Instead of being cute and endearing, it was obnoxious and detracted from the book.

"Daniel was no bat expert, but something about the shape of the face made him guess it was a boy bat." That statement and how it was presented really rubbed me the wrong way.

In the end, there were more than a few things about Megabat that bothered me, and my son also didn't seem particularly invested in what was going on. He did stop me once to ask what a "smooshfruit" was.

This was my only DNF for April and now you know why! Was there a book you just couldn't finish this month? Let me know in the comments, or feel free to link to your own post!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope | Blog Tour: Book Review

Hello! Welcome to the next stop on the Song of Blood & Stone blog tour hosted by St. Martin’s Press. I'm really happy to share my thoughts on this book with you! *On sale May 1, 2018 


Synopsis (via Goodreads): A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive--an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack's mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it's people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was later contacted by the publisher and given the opportunity to be involved with this blog tour. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

The cover for this book is what initially caught my attention. It's stunning! Also, I believe Song of Blood & Stone is being categorized as YA, but I would place it firmly on the adult side. The brutality in the beginning of the book was not sugarcoated, and the detailed description of a limp penis will forever be seared into my brain.

Despite the unsavory parts about someone's manbits, the start of the book really captured my attention and had me completely engrossed in the story. I was quickly invested in Jasminda and Jack, and I really wanted everything to work out for them. The fragments of lore were brief but interesting. With that being said... the book's unputdownableness waned after the first quarter. 

Something about Jasminda changed once she left her home. It was subtle, and I can't really put my finger on it, but she just wasn't the fiercely independent woman from before. She easily caved to Jack's wishes, stopped thinking for herself, and started believing she wasn't good enough. I hate it when characters feel inadequate for seemingly no reason, and especially after proving themselves to be pretty flarking important. I don't know what happened to her confidence and determination, but I wish she hadn't lost them.

Another thing that bugged me about Song of Blood & Stone was the side quests (for lack of a better term). She ventured off on her own to visit the refugees, left to sort out her finances with her grandfather, randomly stumbled across her aunt, and so on. A lot of things like this would happen, but then those threads were dropped and never picked up again. The author could potentially be setting up for the second book, but I kept waiting for some sort of conclusion that never came. 

Jack was devoted in his own way. I can't say I ever really liked him. He seemed flaky and incapable of making people listen to him. How to explain this... he was like a spider in a snake's nest. He was intimidating on his own, but completely out of his element. He didn't belong, but desperately tried to make the snakes understand spider-sense. Have I lost you? Moving on!

The end of the book picked back up, but I was supremely disappointed with how everything happened. It just didn't make sense. I felt like something else should have occurred, but the reality was anticlimactic and made me dislike almost everyone. She was underwhelming and not at all what I expected. The explanations for everything leading up to that were also sketchy at best. 

The lore behind the Earthsingers and the Silents was intriguing. I liked watching how their history unfolded over time, but I also wish there had been more to it. After everything that's happened, they still feel like a mystery waiting to be solved. I think it's because I didn't believe everything wholeheartedly, and that can happen when certain things don't add up. 

Overall, Song of Blood & Stone was interesting, but not enough to make me want to continue the series. (Side note: the Collected Folktales at the beginning of each chapter were often confusing, and I'm not sure how/why they were relevant to the story.)


About the Author:

Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (#13-17) by Jody Houser

The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (#13-17) by Jody Houser, Nick Roche (Illustrator), Ryan Stegman (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Jump eight years into the future with the web-slinging and wall-crawling Spider-Man family! Peter Parker and Mary Jane's super-powered daughter, Annie, is now in high school. But when this teen isn't in class, she's swinging through the streets with her parents. After all, keeping New York safe from super villains is a family affair! But what new threat has emerged to menace the wall-crawlers?  

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This is definitely a new favorite! I don't normally read Spider-Man anything (there are so many comics it's ridiculous), but this one kept catching my eye. Jacob seemed to be enjoying it, and I mostly trust his judgement, but it was the covers that really sold me on this one. The artwork for this series has been phenomenal!

I think I would have enjoyed this before becoming a parent, but now the story really resonates with me. I grew up with Spider-Man, and now he has a family with a teenager (mine are not quite that old, but I remember being that age myself). They fight crime together, but also make an effort to live their normal lives. Annie is in high school trying to figure out where she belongs, Peter is taking pictures and trying new things, and MJ runs her own business.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows highlights a lot of aspects about parenting: trusting your child, allowing them to be their own person, having discussions with your spouse about whether or not that child is actually being honest... it all feels so normal. They're just trying to make the day-to-day work while also being on alert for danger and mayhem.

And it's hilarious! I find myself frequently laughing out loud at some of the things being said. If you're new to comics, or just looking for something else to read, this is it.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Q [3] Should we read books that make us uncomfortable?

This is a post I've been wanting to write for awhile, but I wasn't entirely sure how to approach my question. There are a lot of different ways for books to make us uncomfortable, and it varies from person to person, but should we still read those books?

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma is about a brother and sister that fall in love. It is a beautiful, heartbreaking story that left me crying in a corner for at least half an hour. I also threw the book against a wall and my husband thought something awful had happened to me. This book wrecked me. Do I agree with the content? No. I don't think siblings should fall in love with each other, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible. The setting for this story, their circumstances... gah, you'd just have to read it to fully understand what I'm trying to say.

There are a lot of people screaming about how they'd never read something about incest, yet they love Game of Thrones. Aren't two of the main characters sleeping together and popping out babies even though they're brother and sister? Why is one different from the other?

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young (read my review here) contains a lot of animal sacrifices, which really bothered me. I don't like animal cruelty, and I've also been a vegan for over six years. Does that make this a bad book? No. I loved this book and the story. It was unique and brilliant, but those instances made me uncomfortable. I cringed and wished they weren't included in the story, but I can see how they were relevant to the time period the author was trying to convey. It was part of their culture.

King by T.M. Frazier was a book that made me sick to my stomach, and one that I refused to continue reading. The main character rapes a girl and then lets his friend take her away to be raped again (for more detailed information you can see my review here), and that completely ruined the book for me. It wasn't something I could read about and move on from, because I feel like that behavior should be condemned in every capacity. However, this is a book beloved by many. Are there certain topics that are okay to read about even if they make us a little uneasy? Where is the line? What makes it a yes or a no?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was amazing (read my review here), but I wanted to include it because of a few of the comments I've seen regarding this book. A lot of people don't want to read this because they feel as though it's demonizing white people. "Reverse racism" is a term I've heard more than once in relation to this book. I felt like Angie Thomas told a story that needed to be heard. Black Lives Matter and people are not getting the recognition they deserve. Should you read this if the topic of racism makes you uncomfortable? What about it's relevance to today's society?

Here So Far Away by Hadley Dyer (read my review here) is another book I really enjoyed, but received a lot of conflicting comments over. There is a relationship within the story that has a pretty big age difference. This fact alone is keeping a lot of people from even trying the book, and they have no idea what the circumstances are surrounding the two people involved. I thought Hadley Dyer handled a delicate situation incredibly well and created something lovey and thought-provoking. What would you do if you found yourself in their situation? What if you were a parent? Is there anything that would make this okay?

There are a lot of things that can happen within a book that will make people avoid it like the plague. What topics do you stay away from? Why? Do you think we should read books that make us uncomfortable if they provide a different perspective? Books that we wouldn't normally read might be the most enlightening. I've learned a lot from books that put me in situations I would never find myself in. They make me think. They make me question what I know. They make me want to learn and grow and find out more about myself and the world we live in.

Do you think that we should read books that unsettle us in some way? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Narrated by Michael Crouch,
Robbie Daymond & Bahni Turpin
Synopsis (via Goodreads): On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day. 
“I've spent years living safely to secure a longer life, and look where that's gotten me. I'm at the finish line but I never ran the race.”
I should have known that reading a book called They Both Die at the End would not end well for my face. The title literally says people are going to die, but I couldn't stop myself from wishing for the best. I feel like I've known these characters my entire life, and I only met them on their last day. Rufus and Mateo grew and accomplished so much in a very short amount of time. They were exactly what the other needed, and I'm so in love with both of them.

The audiobook for this is amazing. I already want to listen to it again, which is why I bought it for myself as soon as I returned my copy to the library. 

I cannot imagine knowing when my last day will be. It isn't possible for me to do everything I want in less than 24 hours. How could I be okay with dying when I know what I would be leaving behind? My kids... ugh, I can't talk about this. It's killing me to even consider the possibility. There was a situation in the book where a child was dying and the mother received the call, and I nearly lost it right there.

I love how Adam Silvera managed to connect every single character in this book. It shows us how the actions of others (or our own) can impact people more than they (we) realize, and They Both Die at the End really brings that into focus. Rufus and Mateo are intertwined with so many other characters, and they never really noticed. It's only our outside perspective that shows us the connections they made.

Rufus and Mateo are vastly different characters, but they genuinely care about each other. They make a point to try and help one another overcome issues they've been dealing with for a long time. They wanted to die without regrets, and I really enjoyed watching them live their last day.

They Both Die at the End mesmerized me. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My Weekly Pull [17]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, leave a link in the comments. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Hit-Girl #3 by Mark Millar, Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, Amy Reeder
All-New Wolverine #34 by Tom Taylor, Ramon Rosanas, David Lopez
Despicable Deadpool #299 by Gerry Duggan, Mike Hawthorne
Hunt for Wolverine #1 by Charles Soule, David Marquez, Mike Deodato

Legion #4 (of 5) by Peter Milligan, Wilfredo Torres, Javier Rodriguez
Moon Knight #194 by Max Bemis, Ty Templeton, Becky Cloonan
Old Man Hawkeye #4 (of 12) by Ethan Sacks, Marco Checchetto
Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man #303 by Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones, Rob Liefeld (Venom 30th Anniversary Variant)

Thanos Annual #1 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Mike Deodato
Venom #165 by Mike Costa, Mark Bagley, Mike Deodato
Venomized #4 (of 5) by Cullen Bunn, Kevin Libranda, Mark Bagley

I feel like most of these covers are very dark and foreboding! They definitely don't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. However, I am really excited about a few of them! Moon Knight seemed to wrap up an arc with the last issue, which makes me curious about where the story will go from here (especially with that cliffhanger...). 

All-New Wolverine is nearly over. There's only one more issue after this! The last one jumped waaaaaay into the future, and I loved seeing what people were doing in their "old" age. The president made me laugh, but I think it was the perfect choice. Gabby seems to be doing really well for herself, and I'm overjoyed that she's found so much happiness in life. There are still a lot of mysteries to be solved before it can end!

Deadpool might heal incredibly fast, but he still feels pain... right? Because if that's true, I think he's about to experience a lot of it at once. 

Hunt for Wolverine is finally here!!

I have a bad feeling about Legion. I read the previous issue recently and I don't think good things are about to happen. It's also really confusing being in his headspace. 

I'm still catching up on all of my Venom issues, but hopefully it won't take me too much longer...

Which of these covers do you like the most? Even though I refuse to read Hit-Girl ever again, I do love the covers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Mini Reviews [3] Little White Fish and His Daddy, Audrey the Amazing Inventor & Rusty The Squeaky Robot

Little White Fish and His Daddy
by Guido Genechten
*Expected Publication: May 2019
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Little White Fish has a lot of friends. And they all have amazing daddies. Little Sea Horse's dad is really fast. Little Whale's dad is the biggest in the ocean. But, of course Little White Fish's daddy is very good at something, too!

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

I know this is a children's book, but the language felt too simple. I wish there had been more dialogue between Little White Fish and the others, or maybe even a rhyme scheme, but it started to feel repetitive about halfway through.

I do think there is a valuable message there... Dad's are important and each excel at something different. It's good to acknowledge what other father's can do, but also be proud of the father you have.

Normally, when I read books to my children, the words and the story flow from page to page. Little White Fish and His Daddy felt choppy and wasn't very engaging. I think making the book longer with more dialogue would have better conveyed the message within the story.


Rusty the Squeaky Robot by Neil Clark
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Rusty is a friendly robot, but not a very happy one; he’s feeling down about the way that he sounds. The other robots on Planet Robotone – Belle, Twango, Hoot and Boom-Bot – show Rusty that being a little bit different is the best way to be, and together make a raucous song and dance that celebrates their differences. This charming story about friendship, self-discovery and the strength of pooling everyone's talents together has a strong, empowering message of acceptance and embracing individuality. With wonderful, contemporary illustrations that will appeal to young children and parents alike, the story will provoke thought – and conversation – about being different, and how we should all embrace our characteristics and be comfortable and confident in ourselves.

I received an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

I adored this book! My son made me read it to him three times in a row before he would go to bed, and he was still asking about it the next morning. 

Rusty doesn't like his squeak, but he meets other robots with similar differences. Everyone has something that makes them stand out, and they show him how to embrace the unique qualities about himself. His squeak mixed with their various sounds created something beautiful and brilliant. I loved the colors and the sounds... everything was wonderful!

I enjoyed how Rusty the Squeaky Robot was worded, and how easy it was for my son to follow along. He enjoyed making the noises with me, and it was fun watching him smile as he listened to the story. I highly recommend this one!
Audrey the Amazing Inventor by Rachel Valentine
Katie Weymouth (Illustrator)
*Expected Publication: June 2018


Synopsis (via Goodreads): Audrey wants to be an inventor, but her inventions are not entirely successful: the egg collectors and jam dispenser are a bit messy, and her faithful pet, Happy Cat, can only watch in horror as she tries out her spring-loaded trainers. It's enough for Audrey to lose heart and give up altogether, but with some encouraging words she gives inventing one last try. Hilarious, heartfelt and utterly bonkers, Audrey the Inventor is a new heroine with plenty to say and do.

I received an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Audrey is persistent and doesn't give up! I really enjoyed reading about the wacky inventions she created (wondering what they would be and how they would work), and they aren't small or simple. She goes big every time. 

Her father is incredibly encouraging, even though I'm sure his house/yard will be forever damaged. He wants Audrey to succeed, and I think that helps her stay motivated when things don't work out the way she wants them to. 

Eventually one of her inventions does what she intended it to do, and now her cat can rest easy (for now) without worrying about being cat-apulted into the air. I think this was a creative book about having big ideas and bringing them to life. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Synopsis (via Goodreads): OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
It was what we’d been taught our entire lives—vegr yfir fjor—honor above life.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quote I used may have changed or been altered in some way, but I am quoting from what I received.

Sky in the Deep was pretty violent at times, so this might not be a good book for the faint of heart. The two clans within the story have been warring with each other for generations, and they prepare their children for battle when they are still incredibly young and innocent. That innocence doesn't last very long when they are forced to kill other people to appease their gods.

Eelyn was a very interesting and complex character. She knew what she believed in, or at least she thought she did, and she held on to those beliefs despite the hell she went through. Family and honor were more important to her than her own life, so she didn't hesitate to put them before everything else. It caused her to act recklessly at times, and occasionally the consequences were severe, but she never let that stop her from doing what she believed was right. Her childhood and the lessons she was taught defined her, and it took a long time for her to view the world with a different perspective.

Fiske was undoubtedly a good person. He was always putting others before himself and saving people he shouldn't. Life was precious to him, but so was protecting his family and honoring his god. I could feel how conflicted he was during certain situations, but I never knew what he would do or how he would handle them. He was a constant surprise. I also adored his family, especially his younger brother. I think Halvard played a large role in helping Eelyn, even though he was just being a sweet kid.

I believe Sky in the Deep delivers an important message. The two clans have been fighting for too long, and it's just expected that their children will do the same. They fight, they die, and then their families want revenge. It's a never-ending cycle that gets passed down over the years. We should never want that to be the world our children live in. We should always strive to be better.

I thought the story started off strong and in-your-face, but the middle felt a little sluggish at times. It took awhile for certain things to happen, and while the information was interesting, I wish it had been condensed just a little. Other than that I really have no complaints (except for all of the animal sacrifices, because I could have definitely done without those). It was an interesting concept that was beautifully executed. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Final Thoughts [2]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters II (#1-5)
by Erik Burnham

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters II (#1-5) by Erik Burnham, Tom Waltz, Dan Schoening (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): The two beloved franchises reunite for a new adventure more action-packed and hilarious than ever! The Turtles are stuck in a ghost dimension by an old adversary and only the Ghostbusters can save them. The ensuing adventure will be an inter-dimensional romp like never seen before! 

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I've always enjoyed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I don't think their comics are for me. I did enjoy this arc, and I loved how much longer the story felt, but I think I prefer their shows and movies. (Although, not the recent movies... they're a little too weird for me. I think I'm a classic TMNT fan!)

I did like the Turtle-Ghostbusters mashup! It was interesting to see how the two interacted with each other, since they're not from the same time or whatever. (All of the space travel, parallel universes, alternate realities--it's incredibly confusing.) I also like how some of the artists tried to make the Ghostbusters look like their movie characters. The one is definitely Bill Murray.

If you really like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I think you'd love their comic! I didn't feel invested in the characters, but that's me. I like the Turtles, but I also like adopting new pets. It doesn't mean I need them. I already have plenty of pets to give my love and attention to, just like I have plenty of other comics I'm already reading and really enjoying.

My husband and son love to do Turtle stuff together, so I think I'll leave this one to them!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Lost and Found Sisters (Wildstone, #1) by Jill Shalvis

Narrated by Karen White
Synopsis (via Goodreads): They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.'s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she's looking for a missing piece she can't find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn't quite fit in right away, she can't help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there's another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn't a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she's searched so long for. 

“If it has tires or testicles, it’s gonna give you trouble.”
I almost stopped listening to this audiobook, but I'm really glad I didn't! I think the narrator threw me off because she read things in a way that I wouldn't have. Like, she would emphasize words or phrases that didn't always make sense to me. Can a narrator read too dramatically? Is that a thing? I think I would have enjoyed this one more if I'd read a physical copy instead of listening to the audiobook. Eventually, I focused more on what was being said instead of how, which seemed to help.

I'm going to go ahead and throw my negative out there... the steamy sex scenes were actually more like warm soup. It's edible, and you can swallow it in a hurry, but it's not how you'd prefer to eat it. Hot soup that needs to be blown a few times is almost always better. It lasts longer and ends up being way more satisfying. However, I did love how uncomplicated the sex was. They both new what they wanted and went for it, so that was nice.

Quinn was an enjoyable character, but I felt like she was a little oblivious at times. Yes, she was thrown into an unpredictable situation, but I'm referring to her life before. It's like being somewhere new really helped Quinn be the person she was meant to be. She started trying new things, opening back up, and really living again.

Mick was perfection. Everything you want a guy to be = Mick.
  • Fantastic listener
  • Always honest
  • Understood when Quinn needed to be alone
  • Got rid of bugs with zero judgement
  • Happy to satisfy
  • Great with kids
  • Cared about his town and the people in it
  • Loved and cared for his mom
  • Successful
  • Patient
  • Adores his ancient dog
The little excerpts at the beginning of each chapter were my favorite parts of the book. They almost always made me laugh, and were usually very unexpected. I don't want to be spoilery, so I'll leave it at that!

Overall, I did end up enjoying Lost and Found Sisters. There were a few things I wish had been done a little differently, but nothing major. I'll likely continue the series to see what happens next, even though this one wrapped up quite nicely.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

My Weekly Pull [16]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, leave a link in the comments. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Optimus Prime #17 by John Barber, Kei Zama, Thomas Deer
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #21 by Paul Allor, Mark Torres
Kick-Ass #3 by Mark Millar, John Romita, Daniel Warren Johnson

Amazing Spider-Man #799 by Dan Slott, Stuart Immonen, Alex Ross
Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #18 by Jody Houser, Nathan Stockman, Ryan Stegman
Daredevil #601 by Charles Soule, Mike Henderson, Chris Sprouse

Infinity Countdown #2 by Gerry Duggan, Aaron Kuder, Ron Lim
Tales of Suspense #104 (of 5) by Matthew Rosenberg, Travel Foreman, Yasmine Putri
Venomized #3 by Cullen Bunn, Iban Coello, Gustavo Duarte

Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows is my most anticipated comic this month! It quickly became one of my favorites, and since a lot of my others are ending, it's now the favorite. I love it so much!

The Daredevil cover has me worried...

Husband and son are reading Optimus Prime together, but I haven't had a chance to read it for myself. The Tales of Suspense is ending soon, and there were some big revelations in the last issue! I'm curious where the trio will go from here. Have I mentioned how much I love the Hawkeye and Bucky combination? They're handsome hilarious together! 

Ohhh, I love the Venomized cover with the Statue of Liberty!

What comics are you reading this week? 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Maybe Someone Like You by Stacy Wise


Synopsis (via Goodreads): Katie Capwell is a bright and accomplished recent law school graduate, and she has her shiny future all mapped out. It's brimming with courtroom victories and creating change. Ryan Brincatt is a tattooed and impossibly cool martial artist, and he’s mastered a fierce roundhouse kick.

Their paths never should have crossed.

But when Katie lurks outside the kickboxing gym where Ryan works as a trainer, she’s immediately drawn to his casual confidence and playful green eyes. Without making her usual list of pros and cons, she impulsively signs up to train with him.

She never imagined that one decision would change. Absolutely. Everything. 

He’s wearing the tie he wore on the night I met him, the one that’s covered with tiny foxes. I used to think it was cute, but now it only looks useful—like something I could choke him with.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quotes I used may have changed or been altered in some way, but I am quoting from what I received.

I adored this story and it called to me in an unexpected way. Katie decides to start kickboxing with a trainer, and I fell completely in love with it. The author makes it sound both elegant and fierce. I liked the idea so much that I researched local kickboxing gyms--I start next week! I hope it's as exhilarating as Stacy Wise made it sound.

I'm curious if the author has personal experience with kickboxing, or if they just did really amazing research. I could hear the ropes pounding on the floor, and Katie's gloves hitting their target. I devoured those parts of the story, and now I'm mentally addicted to the idea of doing it myself. Let's hope I enjoy it as much in practice as I do in theory.

Maybe Someone Like You is another one of those stories where a little more communication would have saved everyone a lot of heartache, but I enjoyed their journey. It was refreshing to read about things like lawyering and kickboxing, because I've had no experience with either. There were a few phrases and some terminology I was unfamiliar with, so I had to stop and do a little research. Maybe a little more clarification within the story would have helped? Having to stop and look things up did pull me away from the book.

The setting for the book was ideal, too. It was lovely and makes me want to live in a quiet, quaint town near the beach. Even though I abhor having sand on everything, Stacy Wise made me fall in love with the idea. Running along the beach with my dog, the views at night, and the smells that are associated with sand and the ocean.

Katie is far more patient with her boss that I would have been. Kenneth was such an ass. I wanted to spit in his face and knee him in the balls. He deserves worse than that, but those two things would make me feel a little better. She put up with way more than she should have, and she should have confided in someone other than Craig. Speaking of Craig, I really liked him by the end of the book, but his initial impression was wrong. I thought he was going to be an adversary, but it's like a monster apologizing and becoming a kitten. It didn't make a lot of sense how their friendship happened, especially with how their first conversation went.

The other characters within the book were nice. I felt like I knew them on the most basic level, and I wish there had been a little more depth to them. For the most part, they sounded like interesting characters, and I wish those friendships had been built upon a little more. Instead, the book mainly focuses on the boys and her job.

The character development was a little weird, and I was never too sure of someone's importance to the story. Like, they may have seemed super involved in the beginning, but then we just stop hearing about them. Others, like her mom, were prickly one minute and kind the next. I don't know how to explain it exactly, but it felt off. However, Ryan was like banana pancakes in the morning: unexpected but utterly delicious.

Maybe Someone Like You was delightful and made me smile often. It also inspired me to try kickboxing (should be an awesome and enjoyable workout), and maybe get a new tattoo...


"Thoughts are rose petals in my head, drifting and floating, but words stick like thorns in my throat."

"His muscles are so sculpted, if I knew the names of each one, I could take a Sharpie to his skin and label them. They’re that perfect."

"My head feels like there’s a cinder block jammed in the center with one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs pounding at it with his pickax. Dear God. I think I’ve swallowed the dwarf’s wooly hat."

Friday, April 13, 2018

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Narrated by Kate Rudd
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 
“We never really talked much or even looked at each other, but it didn't matter because we were looking at the same sky together, which is maybe even more intimate than eye contact anyway. I mean, anybody can look at you. It's quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.” 
I've always been a fan of John Green's books, but I think Looking for Alaska is still my favorite. There was just something about the story that's always stuck with me. Turtles All the Way Down was also really, really good. It taught me something about myself, and showed me a mindset I'll likely never experience.

Aza was a very compelling character. From the outside, she might come across as self-centered and oblivious to most things around her, but in reality she has an ongoing issue that she struggles with constantly. How would you deal with having something nag at you over and over again at the back of you mind, and never escaping it? She's a young girl struggling with herself and her thoughts, but also trying to navigate the life of a teenager.

I really enjoyed how John Green showed Aza battling with herself throughout the book. She has this voice in her head, her voice, so she cannot get away from it. It's always present, and frequently shouts at her to do things she knows are unreasonable. It's like she's both marionette and puppeteer. However, in her case the other thoughts usually win and she caves into her downward spiral. 

Daisy was an awesome best friend. They had their moments, like all friendships do, but she's never wavered from Aza despite how difficult things could be. She understood that her friend was different, even if she couldn't grasp the extent and severity of it. Their "falling out" was probably one of my favorite parts. It allowed Aza to see how Daisy felt, and made her aware of thoughts and feelings she had previously missed.

Despite all of the problems Aza faces, John Green throws in a mystery to be solved. I liked how that tied everything together, and brought her closer to Davis. Davis was interesting all on his own, and seemed to share her knack for words and intriguing thoughts. He may not have had the same mental issues that Aza was dealing with, but he was going through a lot. He still viewed the world in a positive way, and I think his presence had a positive impact on Aza.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read. I might not have understood most of the Star Wars references, but it made me like Daisy even more!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

2018 Beat the Backlist Challenge


I stumbled across this challenge while visiting other blogs and decided to check it out! It sounds like so much fun, and definitely motivates me to do something I've been wanting to do for years. I have sooo many books on my shelves that need to be read, and they keep getting skipped for something else. There's absolutely nothing wrong with them, but there's always another book to read (being a mood reader doesn't help).

Beat the Backlist focuses on reading titles that have been on your TBR for a while, which is a wonderful way to tackle the remaining unread books on my shelves! I've almost caught up on everything, and I'm hoping this challenge is the push I need.

Guidelines (via Novel Knight):

The challenge will run from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.
You have an ENTIRE YEAR to complete your goal!

Books must be released prior to 2018 to count for this challenge. Although we love new releases too, this isn’t the challenge for them.

I also love that re-reads are included in this challenge, because that's also something I've really been wanting to do! This will also be my first official challenge since coming back to blogging! If you want to start a few months late (like me), you can join and include books that you've already read this year (as long as they fit the criteria!) so you won't be too far behind.

Oh, and there are teams! It's completely optional, but I love the idea of having support while participating in a challenge. There is also an opportunity to win a prize, if your team has the most points at the end! I feel like I'm missing vital information, but you get the gist. Check out their blog (linked above) if you'd like to know more!

My goal for the 2018 Beat the Backlist Challenge: 100 books

Are you participating in any challenges this year? What are they? What do you think about this one? Let me know!

Edit (04/18/18): I'm a Dewey Dragon!
What I've read so far:
  1. Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #2) by Amanda Bouchet
  2. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
  3. The Baller by Vi Keeland
  4. You Don't Know My Name (The Black Angel Chronicles, #1) by Kristen Orlando
  5. White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2) by Ilona Andrews
  6. Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3) by Ilona Andrews
  7. Deep (Stage Dive, #4) by Kylie Scott
  8. Begin Again (Again, #1) by Mona Kasten
  9. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  10. Binti (Binti, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
  11. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer
  12. How to Love by Katie Cotugno
  13. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
  14. Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2) by Marissa Meyer
  15. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
  16. The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1) by Jessica Townsend
  17. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  18. Lost and Found Sisters (Wildstone, #1) by Jill Shalvis
  19. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  20. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
  21. Caraval (Caraval, #1) by Stephanie Garber
  22. You by Caroline Kepnes
  23. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  24. Autoboyography  by Christina Lauren
  25. Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2) by Melina Marchetta
  26. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
  27. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling *re-read
  28. Geekerella (Starfield, #1) by Ashley Poston 
  29. Royally Screwed (Royally, #1) by Emma Chase
  30. Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer
  31. Renegades (Renegades, #1) by Marissa Meyer
  32. Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
  33. Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends, #1) by Kelley Armstrong
  34. Empire of the Night (Age of Legends, #2) by Kelley Armstrong
  35. Forest of Ruin (Age of Legends, #3) by Kelley Armstrong
  36. Silver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #1) by Nalini Singh
  37. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  38. Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter
  39. Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, #1) by Suzanne Collins
  40. The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  41. Wintersong (Wintersong, #1) by S. Jae-Jones
  42. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
  43. Royally Matched (Royally, #2) by Emma Chase 
  44. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling
  45. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
  46. Royally Endowed (Royally, #3) by Emma Chase
  47. Roar (Stormheart, #1) by Cora Carmack
  48. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

My Weekly Pull [15]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, leave a link in the comments. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #81 by Tom Waltz, Brahm Revel, Kevin Eastman
Despicable Deadpool #298 by Gerry Duggan, Mike Hawthorne
Domino #1 by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Greg Land
Falcon #7 by Rodney Barnes, Sebastian Cabrol, Jay Anacleto

Spider-Man Deadpool #31 by Robbie Thompson, Chris Bachalo
Thanos #18 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Mike Perkins (Venom 30th Anniversary Variant)
Venomized #2 (of 5) by Cullen Bunn, Iban Coello, 
X-Men Red #3 by Tom Taylor, Mahmud A. Asrar, Inhyuk Lee (Venom 30th Anniversary Variant)

Do you remember when I said we were going to cut back on our comics? Well, that's very difficult to do when more comics are being released that I really want to read! Do you see that Domino cover? It looks amazing! X-Men Red is only on it's third issue, but it's already sooo good. I'm not entirely sure what Venomized is (still reading through all the Venom issues), but I love that cover of him eating pizza on the wall.

It's not a big pull this week, but that gives us more time to sort through what we already have. I don't think we can fit any more comic boxes in our closet. 🤷

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Rules of Rebellion by Amity Hope | Blog Tour: Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

#TheRulesOfRebellion

Hello! Welcome to the next stop on The Rules of Rebellion blog tour hosted by Entangled Publishing. I'm really happy to share my thoughts on this book with you, as well as an excerpt from the story! The Rules of Rebellion was released into the world on April 2nd and can be found here.



Synopsis (via Goodreads):
1. Skinny dip (her idea)
2. Stargaze (his idea)
3. Prank someone (her idea)
4. Go on a date (his idea)

Leo Zimmerman has had a crush on his curvy friend Kylie Jenkins since forever, so when he discovers the girl with a flair for candy making has a newfound plan to rebel against her overbearing parents, he’s determined to be the one to help her carry it out. Who better than himself to show her the ropes of letting loose?

Sure, taking her to her first high school party, helping her sneak out of the house, or watching a sunset together isn’t exactly a hardship, but much harder is masking his feelings the more time they spend together. And when he suggests adding “a first date” to Kylie’s plan and she accepts…suddenly all his dreams seem to be coming true.

But Leo’s got a secret that could change everything between them, and it’s only a matter of time before it comes to the surface. 

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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. 

This is my first book by Amity Hope! The Rules of Rebellion was cute and managed to tackle a tough topic: bullying. In high school, Kylie's sister was body-shamed and bullied so intensely, she begged her parents to let her move in with an aunt. I liked that the author addressed such a serious issue, and brought attention to something so important.

As for the story itself, I started off incredibly confused. Kylie has three older siblings, three girlfriends with three boyfriends, and then Leo. Leo also has three or four older siblings, so it all became a bit too much. There were a lot of names being thrown around in the beginning, and I kept getting them mixed up. Was Meg dating Adam, Nate or Luke? Which guy lived out of town? Did he date Julia or Maddie? Wait, no... Maddie was one of the sisters...

I was almost finished with the book before I started to sort people out. It didn't help that the secondary characters (other than Allie) didn't get addressed very often. They were just fluff for the story and didn't really have any defining characteristics of their own. I think if they had been fleshed out a tad more, I wouldn't have felt so lost when names were tossed around.

I will admit to being super judgmental of Kylie's parents. They wanted to control every male aspect of their daughter's lives, and I felt like they went a little overboard. You can tell two teenagers to keep their hands in "safe places" until you are blue in the face, but you can't watch them forever. I'm pretty sure hands will wander, because that's what teenagers (and adults) do. I think parents should trust their kids, and be confident in their ability to make good decisions. They shouldn't be terrified to bring a love interest home with them.

However, Maddie's circumstances did warrant a little extra protectiveness, and I can see why her parents were on edge when it came to boys. It just sucked for all of Maddie's sisters.

I loved the idea of having a list to cross off. I am a big fan of lists and love how it feels when I complete one. It's like I've accomplished something spectacular! I wish I had made lists like this in high school, because I think it might have made me take a few more chances and try new things.

Leo was adorable, and I loved his projects. I think he and I would have gotten along smashingly, but only after I punched his dad in the face. He's sweet, considerate, but lacked the ability to say what was important. A little more honestly on both sides, and this book would have turned out a lot differently.

This review got away from me, so I guess I had more to say than I thought. I liked the book and thought it was fun, but I wasn't wowed by their story. There were too many things nagging at me while I read this, so it took away from my overall enjoyment.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Venom (#1-6) by Mike Costa

Venom (#1-6)  by Mike Costa, Gerardo Sandoval (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): VENOM IS BACK AND BADDER THAN EVER! The symbiote you know and love has returned to New York City. No more "Agent of the Cosmos." No more "Lethal Protector." It's time for a new Venom, and it's great to be bad. 

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I've always been fascinated by Venom! He's a symbiote from space that bonds with other hosts. His first host on earth was Spider-Man. When you see the black and white Spider-Man costume, that's when Venom is around. However, Spider-Man is never Venom, he remains Spider-Man. Everyone else actually becomes Venom.

Venom has bonded with a lot of people, but not all of them were good. Lee Price is the perfect example of an asshat that only wants to use Venom for personal gain. He sees Venom as a suit, and he's only interested in what he can get out of their pairing. He imprisons the symbiote within his mind (a scary place to be), and essentially treats him like a thing. It's disgusting and I despise Lee Price.

I did enjoy this arc, though. It allowed us to see how Venom has changed since coming to earth, and what he's learned being bonded with other people. He's changed over time, but he genuinely wants to help people and be a good person. He wants to be a hero.

I'm not crazy familiar with Venom and all of his hosts, but I do know of Flash Thompson and Eddie Brock. In the sixth issue we move from Price (yay!) to Eddie. I'm not sure how the story will continue from here, because I still need to read the issues after this one. I'm way, way behind on this series, but I wanted to read them all before the new Donny Cates series starts.

If you're looking for a slightly darker comic, with a lot of ties to Spider-Man, this might be something you'd like. Venom is interesting on his own, but it's always fun to see how things work out when he is paired with someone else. He retains their information and abilities, which makes him a formidable opponent in any battle. He's also scary in general, haha.

*Spider-Man does do something slightly awful, so I might be a little miffed at him right now. I'm also really excited about the new Venom movie! Ahhh! #WeAreVenom

Friday, April 6, 2018

My Name Is Venus Black: A Novel by Heather Lloyd

Synopsis (via Goodreads): In this stirring, life-affirming debut novel, a young woman must reconcile her past with its far-reaching consequences on her quest for redemption.

I think about this a lot lately, trying to figure out how I got here. I trace my life back in time, looking for all those places in the past where, if I could change one key detail, I would never have seen what I saw or done what I did that terrible February night.

Venus Black is a straitlaced, straight-A student obsessed with the phenomena of astronomy—until the night she commits a shocking crime that tears her family apart and ignites a media firestorm. Venus refuses to talk about what happened or why, except to blame her mother. Adding to the mystery, Venus’s developmentally challenged younger brother, Leo, suddenly goes missing.

Five years later, Venus emerges from prison with a suitcase of used clothes, a fake identity, and a determination to escape her painful past. Estranged from her mother, and with her brother still missing, she sets out to make a fresh start, skittish and alone. But as new people enter her orbit—including a romantic interest and a young girl who seems like a mirror image of her former lost self—old wounds resurface, and Venus realizes that she can’t find a future while she’s running from her past. 
"If you ask me, we’re all born by accident and there’s no such thing as God. We travel through this life with no real trajectory, ricocheted here and there by the consequences of other people’s actions. And it works both ways, of course. The stupidest little thing we do can alter the future for so many people."
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, the quotes I used may have changed or been altered in some way, but I am quoting from what I received.

My Name Is Venus Black made me feel a lot of things. I thought I knew what to expect when I started this, but I was wrong. I was pleasantly surprised with the story and how beautifully it was portrayed. I was also heartbroken and insane with uncertainty on more than one occasion.

The beginning is hard to read, because you have no idea what's going on. The author keeps the specifics to herself, and slowly lets things slip as the story progresses. You have to very patient with this book, because nothing is rushed. It was painful at times, especially when her brother goes missing and years pass before the story continues. 

The writing was phenomenal! I loved the way the author spoke through the characters.

"That’s another thing that got me here. Nothing is as it appears. It’s like that with space. Objects that look round might not be, and stars that look close to each other might be billions of miles apart. And it’s the same with people. Only instead of standing too far away to see the truth, you’re probably standing too close."

I can't say I would have done things the same way Venus did, but I can see why she made certain decisions. Her mother was...ugh. I really wish she had done more for her children. We get an idea of what her mindset was like, but I still don't agree with her reasoning. She seemed disconnected.

I really enjoyed the parts that are told through Leo's perspective. He's developmentally challenged, and I think the author did a great job conveying his thoughts. I can't imagine that is an easy thing to do, but I felt like I understood a lot about Leo. It was fascinating to see how he viewed what was happening around him, his choices for dealing with what happened, and other things that occur later on.

I also like that this book brings attention to how hard it is for someone being released from prison. They've served their sentence, but the world doesn't make it easy for them once they get out. It's a constant battle for them to try and make something with their lives, especially when they've been kept away from the world they are now expected to live in.

My heart was so torn while I read this. I felt conflicted about my feelings and how I wanted the story to end. I didn't agree with a lot that happened (and I think it's great when an author can help me perceive viewpoints so different from my own), but I can also understand why certain choices were made in the moment. It all comes back to the first quote, and how one small thing can alter the future for so many other people.