Wednesday, June 30, 2021

It's My Birthday! ๐ŸŽ‚

 
Halito! Today is my birthday (whoop) so I wanted to do something nice for everyone! I'm going to be giving away everything in the photo above (yes, the bags are included), so make sure you tell your friends. ;) The first prize pack will contain the DK bag along with the entire WILD SEASONS series by Christina Lauren! It will also include most of the BEAUTIFUL BASTARD series, minus Beautiful Beloved and Beautiful Secret. Short story: I let someone borrow both and never got them back. 

The second prize back will be a secret! It's full of ARCs (most are from this year or last) and the Shelf Stuff bag is also included. It contains a wide variety of genres, but you can safely assume they're YA, MG, Romance, or Fantasy (since I don't read much else). I think one might be considered Women's Fiction. 


Rules:

This giveaway officially starts on June 30th and ends on July 15th at 12 AM. The winner will be announced on July 16th on this post within the Rafflecopter form, and also notified via email. Once the first winner has made their selection, I will have Rafflecopter choose a second winner for whichever prize is left. The winners will have 48 hours to respond or I will have Rafflecopter select another winner (read my full giveaway policy here).

International friends -- your giveaway will be a little different! Instead the books mentioned above, you can choose one book (up to $15) from The Book Depository! Just make sure they ship to you, which you can check right here. I know it's not the same thing, but I don't want to leave anyone out! If this happens, one of the books will be recycled for a later giveaway (or maybe there will be a third winner). Good luck!

*this post has been backdated

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

DNF&Y [38]

 
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 disliked about a book might be something 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!

Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie Grazer

Synopsis (via Goodreads): A hilarious new novel full of Hollywood glitz, glamour, and scandal.

When he changes the locks, she changes the rules.

Agnes Murphy Nash is the perfect Hollywood wife – she has the right friends, the right clothes, and even a side career of her own as a writer. Her husband Trevor is a bigshot producer, and from the outside it looks like they’re living a picture-perfect celebrity life, complete with tennis tournaments and lavish parties.

But the job description of a Hollywood wife doesn’t cover divorce, which is the way Agnes’ life is headed after she comes home one day to find her credit cards cancelled and the security passwords to get into her enormous LA home changed. Oh, and there’s a guy there whose job it is to tase her if she tries to enter…which she does. Needless to say, Agnes’ husband is dead set on making sure she loses big time, but Agnes isn’t the type to just lie down and take it. In a world of fremenies and hot nannies, personal psychics and “skinny” jello shots, Agnes may be losing her husband, but could that mean getting her own life back?

Been There, Married That is a drop-dead hilarious battle of wills that will make you laugh out loud, cringe, and keep turning the pages to see what crazy disaster will happen to Agnes next…and how she’ll rise from the ashes.


I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

Been There, Married That hurt my brain. It was like this book was written in an entirely different language - one that even Google was unable to translate for me. I didn't know what Agnes was saying most of the time, and her cultural references went over my head. I stopped reading this after eighteen pages, but would have stopped after ten if it'd been the end of a chapter (page breaks don't count). #BookReaderProblems #GottaFinishThisChapter

Examples: "Although, I thought, temporary blindness might be a relief. I find myself handicap-yearning lately. A fender bender that resulted in a broken-but-healable femur..." 

"All anyone cares about is who you're connected to and Waze." 

"I'm not sure why we named her Penelope. Neither of us is Brit-adjacent." 

"He'd left his beloved Red Sox cap at home, his team a bright brushstroke in an otherwise gray, broken childhood that exists only in East Coast towns and Ben Affleck movies. Dad was wearing the only suit he owned and a mock turtleneck he'd bought in the '70s, a splurge in menswear, level three at Sears in Hollywood."

"We were hemmed in against the bar like cattle by whippets in black suits huddled around Tinder or Grindr (or both), their hungry faces and neat, solemn beards illuminated by iPhones." 

"Great crowd!" she yelled. "We're soooo lucky because a lot of rapists couldn't come, you know."

I also felt like the author made a jab at the #MeToo movement when she called it "Hollywood's favorite hashtag." It was like she diminished its importance and insulted all of the people who've come forward because of the abuse they've suffered.

"I wondered how much of her hair was hers and how much was stolen off a sleeping teenage girl's head in Bangladesh."

"Aquaphor is the glue that held her face together."

I'm sure there were more, but those were the ones that stood out the most while I was reading (aka: trying to decipher whatever code Agnes was using). I know I didn't get very far into this book, but she wasn't likeable, and neither were any of the other characters she mentioned (fake, entitled, horrible people). Her jokes and commentary didn't land well, and every page was a chore to read through. Been There, Married That was a headache-inducing 15 minutes of my life that I really wish I could get back. (★☆☆☆☆)

Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Sunday Post [65]

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly at the Caffeinated Reviewer! It's an opportunity to share news, post a recap for the previous week, showcase books, and highlight what's planned for the week ahead.

News:

YOU GUYS! LOOK HOW PRETTY MY BLOG IS! Kat from Waffley Cute Designs has created a new look for my site, and I am thrilled with how everything turned out. She did the blog header, social media icons, profile picture (cartoon version), and post dividers. Once she was finished, I spent several hours toying with my blog's html (my poor brain ๐Ÿ˜…) and FINALLY got everything resized and perfectly placed. I also changed the colors so that everything matched (thanks for the color palette, Kat)! Originally, Kat was going to make sidebar headers, but it ended up being too complex (all the fonts I wanted to use were only available for personal use). Luckily, I stumbled across a new font that I love, so everything worked out. It's hard to see, but the letters have little hearts in them!

Edit: New font isn't working because I need to add some additional coding that allows it to be seen by others, but I'll do that later. Right now I'm going to sleep!

Edit: I tried ALL DAY but could not get the font to work. I'm using a different one because my brain needs a break, haha. 

Seriously, I started working on this around 9PM and now it's 2:25AM. I have spent HOURS of my life working on this, and I am SO HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS. I'm sure I'll make small adjustments over the next few weeks, but all of the really hard work is out of the way.

My son is officially finished with 1st grade! Hello, summer and lazy mornings. ๐Ÿ˜Ž My new job has been keeping me out late, so I am very glad I don't have to wake up at 6AM for a while. We've been going to the beach, hitting up all the playgrounds, and generally enjoying ourselves this week. Our local library is open and hosting events again, the weather has been beautiful, summer soccer has started - it's just been a really nice week.

My girls had their ballet recital this weekend, so we've been busy with that the last few days!

For those of you that follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen me posting pictures of beads and projects I'm working on. I have a friend that's teaching me more about my Native American culture, and beadwork is something that's been passed down through her family for generations. My mom was never a really crafty person, so I'm glad I'm finally getting the chance to learn now. My monsters have even shown an interest and asked me to teach them how to do it.

Previous week on the blog:

SUNDAY: Nothing   
MONDAY: Nothing
TUESDAY: Nothing    
THURSDAY: Nothing
FRIDAY: Nothing

What I'm currently reading:

The Accidental Apprentice (Wilderlore, #1) by Amanda Foody
To Sir, with Love by Lauren Layne 

What I plan on reading next: 

Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy 

What I'm watching: 

Loki and S3 of Making It!

Challenge updates:

Saturday, June 26, 2021

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
๐ŸŽง Narrated by Natalie Naudus

Synopsis (via Goodreads): From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that will stop readers in their tracks... 

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all. 

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.


I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I really enjoyed Red, White & Royal Blue so I had high expectations for One Last Stop! It didn't disappoint, and the chemistry between Jane and August was electric (iykyk). Although, I do think it was a little longer than it needed to be (small potatoes). A few times I found myself zoning out while listening to the audiobook, and it was usually when August started going into excessive detail about this or that. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it did make the book drag in some places.

Speaking of drag... I absolutely loved all of the QUEENS that made an appearance in this book. McQuiston made me want to go to a show! I thought the author did a really good job of writing wonderful LGBTQ+ characters and liked all of the representation in One Last Stop. Everyone was unique and amazing, so obviously I wish we could all be best friends forever.

There was Niko and his calm demeanor; how he just knew things and addressed them in very respectful and unobtrusive ways. He let his friends know he was there and put information (or made general statements) out there to be acknowledged or ignored. Myla was incredibly sweet and welcoming. She was also a brilliant badass that you definitely want on your side. I loved her and Niko's relationship and really want them to have their own story eventually! Wes was super awkward and a little weird, but I adored his quirky qualities. He kept getting in his own way, and I was happy to see him finally accept his feelings for someone and verbalize them. I really hope he gets his own story in the future, too!

August was a little annoying at first, but she also needed to get out of her own head. She's lived her whole life afraid to let people in, so it was nice to see her accept love and affection from others. The friendships she developed with her roommates and coworkers, the relationship she had with Jane, and even the unconventional dynamic she had with her mother were all something she had to work at. I liked that she was confronted with hard choices and unbelievable circumstances, because we get to see how those shaped her as the story progressed.

Jane was hot. She made my toes curl and gooseflesh prickle along my arms. If I hadn't already known I was into girls, this book definitely would have made that very clear, haha. She was also a really interesting character that I loved learning about. Her entire existence was a conundrum; a problem I didn't mind solving. Like August, I wanted Jane to remember who she was, but I also didn't want her to disappear. It's a good thing I wholeheartedly believe in HEA's, and that RW&RB had one. 

I love books with amazing characters, and One Last Stop had plenty! The secondary characters were fleshed out, and the main characters weren't overly obnoxious. They didn't fight (much) or keep secrets (though August does occasionally withhold information when she thinks people aren't ready for the truth), and their main conflict was believable and easily resolved. I was okay with how it was handled, but wish August had been a little more straightforward and honest with people from the start. I also wanted her to talk to her mother way sooner than she actually did, but I can see how that would have been problematic. Overall, it was a fantastic book that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Audiobook review: Natalie Naudus was an amazing narrator and one I will definitely be looking for in the future! Everyone had a very distinct voice, and I was never confused about who was talking (even after zoning out). Her voice flowed and had a very soothing quality to it that I enjoyed. (★★★★☆)

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

My Weekly Pull [173] & Can't-Wait Wednesday [148]

 

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, there's a link-up at the bottom. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Undiscovered Country #13 by Charles Soule, Scott Snyder, Giuseppe Camuncoli
Shadecraft #4 by Joe Henderson, Lee Garbett, Antonio Fabela
Marvel's Voices Pride #1 by Various Artists 

V.E. Schwab's Extraordinary #1 by V.E. Schwab, Enid Balam, Ana Godis

Jacob's comics for the week!

Transformers #31 by Brian Ruckley, Anna Malkova, Chris Panda
Transformers Back to the Future #4 by Cavan Scott, Juan Samu
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #118 by Sophie Campbell, Nelson Daniel, Kevin Eastman

Comics for the kiddos!

Clark the Shark and the School Sing by Bruce Hale, Guy Francis, Harper Alley
Fish and Sun by Sergio Ruzzier, Harper Alley
Friendbots Blink and Block Make a Wish by Vicky Fang, Harper Alley
Tiny Tales Shell Quest by Steph Waldo, Harper Alley


Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature that's hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. It highlights the upcoming releases we're really excited about reading! CWW is a spinoff of the feature Waiting on Wednesday (WoW), that was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune 
Expected publication: September 21st 2021 by Tor Books

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy with TJ Klune's signature "quirk and charm" (PW) about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop's owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn't ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo's help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this absorbing tale of grief and hope is told with TJ Klune's signature warmth, humor, and extraordinary empathy.

*Share your My Weekly Pull post! Please leave the direct link to your My Weekly Pull post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

My Weekly Pull [172] & Can't-Wait Wednesday [147]

 
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, there's a link-up at the bottom. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Miles Morales Spider-Man #27 by Saladin Ahmed, Carmen Nunez Carnero, Rose Besch
Seven Secrets #9 by Tom Taylor, Daniele Di Nicuolo

Jacob's comics for the week!

Venom #35 by Donny Cates, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Ryan Stegman, Jock
Transformers Escape #4 by Brian Ruckley, Bethany McGuire-Smith
Silver Coin #3 by Chip Zdarsky, Michael Walsh 
Stillwater #8 by Chip Zdarsky, Ramon K. Perez, Mike Spicer


Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly feature that's hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. It highlights the upcoming releases we're really excited about reading! CWW is a spinoff of the feature Waiting on Wednesday (WoW), that was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Mom Jeans and Other Mistakes by Alexa Martin
Expected publication: September 7th 2021 by Berkley Books

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Two best friends say I do to living together, for better or worse, in this bold women's fiction novel from Alexa Martin.

Jude Andrews is famous. Well, at least on Instagram. Her brand is clean eating, good vibes, Pilates, and casually looking like a sun-kissed goddess. In real life, however, she's a total disaster. She has a strained relationship with her fame-hungry mom and her latest bad decision emptied out her entire savings account.

Lauren Turner had a plan: graduate medical school and become the top surgeon in the country. But when she became unexpectedly pregnant, those plans changed. And when her fiancรฉ left her, they changed again. Now navigating the new world of coparenting, mom groups, and dating, she decides to launch a mommy podcast with all the advice she wishes someone had given her.

Jude and Lauren don't have much in common, but maybe that's why they've been best friends since the third grade. Through ups and downs, they've been by each other's sides. But now? They're broke, single, and do the only thing that makes sense--move in together, just like they talked about when they were teenagers. Except when they were younger, the plan didn't include a five-year-old daughter and more baggage than their new townhouse can hold.

*Share your My Weekly Pull post! Please leave the direct link to your My Weekly Pull post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Read the Alphabet Challenge
[MIDYEAR UPDATE]

 
This year I am partnering with the lovely Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag, and we're doing a little something called: Read the Alphabet Challenge. What? Another challenge? Yes! Why not? We all love challenging ourselves, and this one has very unique limitations. Starting in January, you will be challenged to read books that start with specific letters, and obviously some months will be harder than others (what books start with Q, X & Z??).

The months will be organized like so:

JANUARY: AB
FEBRUARY: CD
MARCH: EF
APRIL: GH
MAY: IJ

JUNE: KL
JULY: MN
AUGUST: OP
SEPTEMBER: QR
OCTOBER: ST
NOVEMBER: UVW
DECEMBER: XYZ

Guidelines:
  1. This challenge will run from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021 (your local time). You can sign up now or in June -- it doesn't matter! The form will remain open all year (on this post and the corresponding post at Shooting Stars Mag).
  2. The goal is to read books that start with a certain letter, and each month will present a new challenge.
  3. The books can be in any format (audio, ebook, physical -- whatever floats your boat).
  4. Any and all genres count -- whoop.
  5. Re-reads are also allowed! If you read the book this year -- and it starts with the right letter -- it counts.
  6. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate! You just need a way to track your progress (Goodreads, Instagram, LibraryThing, YouTube, etc.).
  7. Create a post somewhere that states your intention to participate. If you're a book blogger, you can just grab the button from the top of the page (please give credit and list the blogs hosting this challenge), and do a quick post letting everyone know that you've accepted the RTA challenge. Sharing is caring! Competition is fun!
  8. We will do an update and a giveaway every quarter (that's once every three months: March, June, September, December), and there will be a Google form that you can fill out all year! Read a book. Add a book. There is no limit to the number of books you can read for this challenge!
  9. You have to review the book in some capacity (on any platform). It can be a tweet, an IG post, a vlog -- whatever makes you happy. You'll need to leave a link for each review that you want an entry for.
  10. Have fun! Re-read some old favorites, challenge yourself to read a title you've never heard of, or dig deep and only read books with specific letters every month. It's entirely up to you!
  11. Books that start with the can be used during October, or you can choose to go with the next word in the book's title. We're not going to be picky about this, just play honestly!
Don't forget to SHARE your updates on social media! Official Challenge Tags: #ReadTheAlphabet2021 #ReadTheAlphabetChallenge2021 #RTA2021 #RTAC2021

You can sign up for the Read the Alphabet Challenge 2020 here. It's also where you'll be able to link up the books you've read! Just save/favorite the page for future use.


Lauren and I said we'd choose a winner every three months, but time got away from us! We've randomly selected two winners for June to make up for it. ๐Ÿ˜…

And the winners are... *imaginary drumroll* 
Thank you both so much for participating in this challenge! Lauren is going to email you with more information. Please make sure you respond within 48 hours, or another winner will be randomly selected. 

Everyone else: It's not too late to sign up for the Read the Alphabet Challenge! We'll be giving away two more books (up to $15) in December, so make sure you're logging your books on the form.


BOOKS I'VE READSO FAR:
Ant-Man #4 by Zeb Wells, Dylan Burnett, Eduard Petrovich
Ant-Man #5 by Zeb Wells, Eduard Petrovich, Dylan Burnett
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Float Plan by Trish Doller
Guardians of the Galaxy #4 by Al Ewing, Juann Cabal, Ivan Shavrin

Guardians of the Galaxy #5 by Al Ewing, Juann Cabal, Ivan Shavrin
I'll Meet You in Your Dreams by Jessica Young, Rafael Lopez
The Last Witch #4 by Connor McCreery