Saturday, January 31, 2015

February 2015 Plans

January has come and gone. I've had a great start to 2015. I've exercised and read to my hearts content. I have a lot of reviews I have yet to write and a lot of books I still plan to read. I wasn't able to read a series in January but I was able to read a bunch of books for the Reading Road Trip Challenge and other challenges. I know I'll have many challenges I need to get through in order to keep along this path with school, books, blogging, and exercise but before those happen I want to go back to January and see all I have accomplished.

January Stats

Total Books Read: 19
YA Books: 8
MG/Children's Books: 3
Adult Books: 3
Graphic Novel/Manga: 3
Picture Books: 2

Books that fit into my yearly challenges:

Reading Road Trip Challenge: 7
Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge: 5
2015 Monthly Motif Challenge: 1
The Color Coded Reading Challenge: 4
2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge: 0
Prequel and Sequel Challenge: 0
Fairytale Challenge: 2
2015 Audiobook Challenge: 1
Snagged @ the Library Challenge: 12
Graphic Novels and Manga Challenge: 3
The Re-Read Challenge: 0
NetGalley Reading Challenge: 1
I Love Picture Books Challenge: 2

Pages Read: 4,252 

Books Read:
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins 
In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang
Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexander
Blue Heaven by C.J. Box
The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski
Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes
Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson
Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde
It's a Tiger by David LaRochelle and Jeremy Tankard
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
The Summer I Got a Life by Mark Fink
The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith
Ella Takes the Cake by Carmela D'amico and Steven D'amico

Favorite Reads:
My Little Monster 1 and 2 by Robico
Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

February Plans

My book plans for February is to read a series like I wanted to in January. I want to re-read at least one book, read eight new books, review all or almost all the books I read in January, review at least 3 NetGalley books, and start the Redwall series. My first February read will be:

What are your plans for February?
Are you going to read any romances?
What were your favorite reads of January?

Friday, January 30, 2015

#FitReaders: January 30th 2015 Check-In

#FitReaders: I didn't do so well last week but I killed it most of this week. I made sure to add 0.100 mi. every time I ran/walked this week. It was tough because it was cold this week. Also, I keep on stopping basically on Saturdays and that effects a few days after that. I don't know how not to do that.

Fri/Jan. 23rd:
1.2 mi. walk/jog/run - 19 min. 48 sec.
Upper Back, Arms, and Chest Workout - 23 min.
Intense Abs and Cardio Workout - 12 min.
Restorative Yoga Pilates Workout - 13 min.
60 oz of water
Thoughts: I felt the regret of not working out regularly really quickly into my run. The ab workout did nothing for me. I think I'll just stick to Blogilates for ab exercises because I always feel something with her.

Sat/Jan. 24th:

1.3 mi. walk/jog/run - 20 min. 7 sec.
Cardio and Total Body Toning Boot Camp - 14 min.
Fluid Yoga Stretches for Flexibility and Strength - 15 min.
36 oz of water
Thoughts: I'm doing too much cardio and not enough strength training. I need to keep that in mind later this week.

Sun/Jan. 25th:

1.4 mi. walk/jog/run - 22 min. 4 sec.
Express Calorie Blaster - 10 min.
Tank Top Arms Workout - 25 min.
44 oz of water
Thoughts: It was cold outside so I could feel the cold in my throat as I ran. It wasn't very fun but I'm keeping great time. It looks like I'll be going for 2 miles by the end of January. I realized that I need to up my weights. I've just been using 5 lbs weights which was fine before but it doesn't do anything for me now. I can also do pulses if I feel like the workout is too easy.

Mon/Jan. 26th:

1.5 mi. walk/run - 20 min. 58 sec.
HIIT Cardio Sweatfest - 30 min.
Better Posture Workout - 17 min.
34 oz of water
Thoughts: I felt fantastic today! It was still cold out but not as bad as yesterday. I blasted through my workouts. Although, I wonder if I'll feel sore tomorrow at all. I feel like soreness validates my efforts. I've noticed I haven't been drinking that much water which I want to change soon.

1.6 walk/run - 23 min. 13 sec.
Upper Body Split Workout - 42 min.
EXTREME Abs Workout - 12 min.
58 oz of water
Thoughts: It was cold again but I felt good running. The Ab workout was hell. I don't know how people have defined abs. It feels like I'm killing my insides.

Wed. Jan. 28th:

10 min. walk
36 oz of water
Thoughts: I'm feeling a pattern. I don't do anything on Wednesdays and then it goes in the next few days. It's annoying.

Thur. Jan. 28th:

15 min. walk
40 oz of water
Thoughts: Again nothing much but I do have class all day.

How did you do this week?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Paper Things

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

When forced to choose between staying with her guardian and being with her big brother, Ari chose her big brother. There’s just one problem—Gage doesn’t actually have a place to live.

When Ari’s mother died four years ago, she had two final wishes: that Ari and her older brother, Gage, would stay together always, and that Ari would go to Carter, the middle school for gifted students. So when nineteen-year-old Gage decides he can no longer live with their bossy guardian, Janna, Ari knows she has to go with him. But it’s been two months, and Gage still hasn’t found them an apartment. He and Ari have been "couch surfing," staying with Gage’s friend in a tiny apartment, crashing with Gage’s girlfriend and two roommates, and if necessary, sneaking into a juvenile shelter to escape the cold Maine nights. But all of this jumping around makes it hard for Ari to keep up with her schoolwork, never mind her friendships, and getting into Carter starts to seem impossible. Will Ari be forced to break one of her promises to Mama? Told in an open, authentic voice, this nuanced story of hiding in plain sight may have readers thinking about homelessness in a whole new way.

I already know where this book is going but I'm pretty sure the journey is going to get me crying. The promise of seeing homelessness in a whole new way also has me interested and a little apprehensive (in a good way) to read Paper Things.

Release Date: February 10th 2015

What book are you eagerly waiting on?

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Winter's Respite Read-a-Thon: Goals and Updates

A Winter's Repite Read-a-Thon is hosted by Seasons of Reading


I want to read everyday. I also want to be able to read three specific books: The Host by Stephanie Meyer, Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. 

Monday, January 26th, 2015
Currently Reading: The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Pages: 21
Thoughts: I forgot to read! And on the first day. I need to keep up with my reading and my poor show of comments this last week. My goal for tomorrow is to read 150 pages of The Host and catch up on my comments.

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015:

Currently Reading: The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Pages: 20
Thoughts: Well, I'm reading everyday which was my goal. I'm surprised by how little I'm reading lately.

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Currently Reading: The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Pages: 9
Thoughts: Another small reading day. I'm going to get a lot done tomorrow since I have time at school.

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Currently Reading: The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Pages: 227
Thoughts: I did so well today! The Host is longer than I expected. This is probably the only book I read this week which is fine with me.

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Currently Reading: The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Pages: 39
Thoughts: This was an okay day compared to yesterday. I'm not expecting much but I do plan on finishing The Host by Sunday.

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Currently Reading: The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Pages: 34
Thoughts: Will see if I finish this tomorrow.

Sunday, February 1st, 2015 

Currently Reading: The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Pages: 0
Thoughts: Wah wah wah... Didn't read and didn't finish The Host. I was too busy with an online project. I really want to finish this massive book. maybe tomorrow will be a better  day. I did get up to page 349 in The Host so that's a great accomplishment. I still have a ways to go but I'll get there.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Post: 1/25/15

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Last week I didn't exercise as much as I wanted to so I've been pushing myself for the last couple of days which has been great although I regretted not exercising regularly very fast into my routine. 

I've been looking at how many reviews I need to do and books I'm planning to read for February and I'm way ahead of the posts I want to. If you didn't notice I went crazy with posts this January. I plan to not go as crazy next February especially because I'm sure school will get more intense since the first two weeks are done. I didn't do a review on Saturday like I planned but I will be reviewing All the Bright Places in February.

Last Week on the Blog:

This Week on the Blog:
  • A Winter's Respite Goals and Updates
  • Endless by Amanda Grey
  • Waiting on Wednesday: Paper Things
  • Popping the Cherry by Aurelia B. Rowl
  • #FitReaders: January 30th 2015 Check-In
  • The Host by Stephanie Meyer
  • February 2015 Plans

Around the Blogosphere:

I didn't comment basically at all this week so I didn't disover anything new book wise. I plan to catch up tomorrow. Here's a video I really like originally shared by a #FitReader on the group Facebook page.

Book Arrival for Review:

How was your week?

Friday, January 23, 2015

#FitReaders: January 23rd 2015 Check-In

#FitReaders: I did so bad this week! I didn't even record everything like I wanted so I have an overall weekly exercise of walking 70 min and water intake of 276 oz of water. I'm really angry at myself that I didn't do more but I'm just going to have to kick it up a notch this week. I guess school caught up with me? Whatever, I'm going to do awesome next time around.

How was your week?

Blue Heaven by C.J. Box

Standalone. St. Martin's Minotaur (January 2008) Library

A twelve-year-old girl and her younger brother go on the run in the woods of North Idaho, pursued by four men they have just watched commit murder---four men who know exactly who William and Annie are, and who know exactly where their desperate mother is waiting for news of her children’s fate. Retired cops from Los Angeles, the killers easily persuade the inexperienced sheriff to let them lead the search for the missing children.
William and Annie’s unexpected savior comes in the form of an old-school rancher teetering on the brink of foreclosure. But as one man against four who will stop at nothing to silence their witnesses, Jess Rawlins needs allies, and he knows that one word to the wrong person could seal the fate of the children or their mother. In a town where most of the ranches like his have turned into acres of ranchettes populated by strangers, finding someone to trust won’t be easy.

Blue Heaven is a little out of my usual reading. The summary was calling to me and I had to see what would happen to these two kids that were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

What I liked about Blue Heaven is that I got to read through many of the characters point of views including one of the villains who doesn't feel right about hunting down and killing a couple of kids. Newkirk is an ex-cop who was one of the guys who shot and killed someone in the woods. There is also Gonzalez - who is so messed up in the head as in run away screaming from him if you ever got close - and Singer the ruthless leader. There's another bad guy but I won't mention him because it might take away from the suspense of the book. They all have done really messed up things that can be pretty graphic and disturbing so you might want to take that into account if you are ever considering reading this book. They are all apart of something big that you don't realize until another ex-cop named Eduardo Villatoro starts digging up dirt. 

The other point of views I got to read were from this banker who also has something to do with all the ex-cops. After a visit with Villatoro he goes slightly off the rails worrying about what he didn't do long ago. Meanwhile Jess Rawlins, a rancher who can't afford to pay his bills, finds the missing kids Annie and William shaken up by what they've seen. There's also their mother who becomes a prisoner in her own home by the ex-cops who have essentially taken over the investigation from the Sheriff.

Literally no one believes these kids when they tell them what they saw which truly frustrated me. Just because it's a quiet town doesn't mean that bad things can't happen. Annie and William are both likable characters. Annie in particular is very brash and in your face. She was by far my favorite character and all the time I hoped she would make it out alive. Blue Heaven built up it's suspense and was able to connect all the story lines wonderfully. Also, I know it's a lot but the POV's worked really well in this story. It didn't overwhelm me or anything.

Blue Heaven was a really intense, suspenseful read that could be quite graphic at times yet it helped the book portray a sense of urgency in helping Annie and William. There's a lot that went into this story to make it a really great read especially if you are craving some suspense and mystery in your reading life.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes

Standalone. Greenwillow Books (August 2003) Library
"Olive Barstow was dead. She'd been hit by a car on Monroe Street while riding her bicycle weeks ago. That was about all Martha knew."

Martha Boyle and Olive Barstow could have been friends. But they weren't -- and now all that is left are eerie connections between two girls who were in the same grade at school and who both kept the same secret without knowing it. Now Martha can't stop thinking about Olive. A family summer on Cape Cod should help banish those thoughts; instead, they seep in everywhere. And this year Martha's routine at her beloved grandmother's beachside house is complicated by the Manning boys. Jimmy, Tate, Luke, and Leo. But especially Jimmy. What if, what if, what if, what if? The world can change in a minute. 

I was startled by the summary of Olive's Ocean. It's been so long since I wanted to read it that I completely forgot what the book was about or maybe I never knew. The cover is what attracted me and bonus it's by Kevin Henkes who wrote one of my favorite picture books: Chrysanthemum. 

It was strange realizing that the protagonist was not going to be named Olive but the book would be about a girl named Olive who died. The first chapter had me crying so much because Olive's mother came around and gave Martha (our protagonist) a note from her daughter. She receded from Martha's house saying: "And thank you. Thank you, Martha Boyle." which of course is when I started crying because her shy little daughter was now gone from the world. Olive had no friends so it must have been wonderful to see she made a connection with somebody or at least her daughter wasn't teased by Martha for her quietness. 

The note mentions all of Olive's hopes for the future and that Martha Boyle is the nicest person in her whole entire class. Martha doesn't know what to make of this because she never did anything or say anything to Olive that was nice. She wasn't mean to her of course but she couldn't understand why Olive felt that way. Right away Martha proves herself. Even in her flashback about learning about Olive's death she was kind. Throughout the whole book you understand why Olive wrote what she wrote.

"She had been trying to piece together the facts about Olive Barstow, the outline of Olive's life for the short time it had intersected with her own. Martha realized how little she knew. For the most part Olive was a mystery. Martha knew nothing about Olive's home life, nothing about her family, except that her mother rode a bike and wore her hair in a braid. Olive's school life, from Martha's perspective, didn't offer many answers either. Olive had seemed nearly invisible, passing through the halls and days unnoticed, except when she was being teased by Josh Sweeney or Dana Lewis."

Martha and Olive's connection is writing. They both want to become writers. Martha hasn't told anyone of her desire because her father is a writer and she doesn't want to make it seem like she's copying. Martha goes on a trip right after her interaction with Olive's mother and she has this feeling of dread around her. She doesn't know what to make of the note and can't help feeling sad and scared of death especially since her grandmother is getting very old.

"The ocean made her feel insignificant and slightly afraid, but in an exhilarating way. Her inclination was not to walk or dance across the water's surface. Nor to swim through it. She wanted to be the ocean."

Godbee is Martha's grandmother. Martha loves her grandmother. They share secrets with one another during her stay. You can tell she's worried about her grandmother but also about this new feeling in her heart - the fluttering of having a crush. This is where the book turns into an obvious route. I knew what was going to happen and that's always frustrating. It actually annoyed me quite a bit; her situation with Jimmy. One other thing is the slight cursing in this book from the Manning boys which surprised me. I wanted to mention that because I think this is a book more for preteens than younger children even though it feels like it could be for both. It's a very light read and the chapters soar by very quickly and the story is beautifully written so it didn't matter much to me. 

“As she wove in and out of all the people - rushing, talking, eating, laughing; some in clumps, some alone - she realized that no one, no one at all in the airport, or on the entire planet for that matter, knew her thoughts, knew what she was carrying inside her head and heart. And at that very minute, what was inside her head and heart made her feel as though there was no one else in the whole world she would rather be.” 

It was interesting to read about Martha's take on love and death. Martha could be very sweet and then unkind to her mother. I liked seeing the relationship between her parents and her as well as her siblings Lucy and Vince. She's a very introspective girl who really proved herself to have a kind heart in the end. I enjoyed reading her writing as well as her grandmother's story idea. This was very nice read that was written beautifully, it was a little predictable, but with a very caring protagonist.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Villain Keeper

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

Unexpected magic, villainous teachers, and dragons in disguise await readers in the first book of a delightful new tween adventure series by debut author Laurie McKay.

All his life, Prince Caden has dreamed of being sent on a quest to slay a dragon. But before he has the chance, he is ripped from his home in the Winterlands of Razzon and finds himself in Asheville, North Carolina—a land with no magic and no dragons. But a prince must always complete his quest. And the longer Caden is in Asheville, the more he realizes there is magic in this strange land after all. More important, there may just be dragons here, too. But what if Caden’s destiny isn’t to slay a dragon, like he's always believed?

Fans of Soman Chainani’s The School for Good and Evil and Chris Colfer’sThe Land of Stories will be transported by this first book in an epic new series for middle grade readers about a brave young prince’s quest to find answers, honor, friendship—and what it really means to be a hero.

For some reason I'm thinking the main character has mental health issues instead of time travel - I think that's what going on here. That subject really intrigues me and would be a great plot twist but I honestly don't expect it in this middle grade novel. I like that Prince Caden is going to learn what makes a real hero. Real heroes don't slay dragons - at least not in the real world. I like the blend of fantasy and realistic fiction in this book. Everything about Villain Keeper completely intrigues me.

Release Date: February 3rd 2015

What book are you eagerly waiting on?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde

Standalone. Harcourt (April 2013) Library
A princess should be as good as she is beautiful.

So says The Art of Being a Princess, which Princess Imogene is supposed to be reading. But since she is neither particularly good nor all that beautiful, she skips her homework to visit the pond. There she meets a talking frog who claims to be a prince under a witch's spell. Imogene kindly kisses him to remove the spell - and gets turned into a frog instead!

Now the only way for the princess to un-frog herself is to convince someone else to kiss her. But before she can figure out a plan, Imogene gets kidnapped and becomes the unwilling star attraction in a third-rate traveling theater company. Can she find a way to undo the witch's spell - or will she be frogged forever?

I'm a lover of fairy tales and all that goes with it - dangerous journey's, daring rescues, princesses who save themselves (girl power!), witches, good versus evil, and of course happily ever afters. Telling me that you just read or I should read a book that is a retelling will instantly make me want to read the book. I do not need to know anymore just give me the book. I decided to read some retellings this year after I told myself I would last year. 

So here I am with Frogged - a retelling of The Frog Prince. Have you ever read the original Frog Prince? The princess is a total brat who after getting something precious back from a kind frog (a golden ball - I'm being serious) she runs away from him and refuses to keep her end of the bargain when he is able to retrieve the ball. Basically she agreed for him to eat off her plate, be her friend, and sleep in her bed. Kind of weird but, a frog isn't going to do anything to you so why not? And you know how she breaks the spell? By throwing the frog at a wall. No kissing like you have been taught with other books and certain movies. I felt a little snuffed with the no kissing part and why should this bratty princess have a happily ever after? The weird and interesting thing was with the prince's loyal companion and servant, Henry I believe his name was, if anyone know of a retelling with him let me know because I would totally read it. 

Frogged, thankfully, did not have a bratty princess - more like a snarky one who didn't care to act like a lady or in her case a princess. Imogene, named after one of her grandmothers - lucky her - is a little wild and she feels her mother is cold towards her. Her mother wants her to read a book entitled The Art of Being a Princess but Imogene can't bring herself to read more than a few sentences before she finds herself tricked and turned into a frog. She doesn't believe herself to be good but she was very nice to kiss a talking frog/human who needed some help. Imogene then journey's to the worst witch conversationalist ever and then gets kidnapped to work in a traveling theater by two witless teenagers - Luella and Bertie - who don't believe a talking frog when she tells them she's a princess under a spell. 

"By concentrating, she could make out what the frogs were saying, and that was when she realized their language only had a few words. Imogene didn't like to judge, but she felt that the frogs didn't have much to say."

While Imogene is at the traveling theater she makes witty and humorous remarks and gives advice to Luella who makes the mistake of following Bertie to a traveling theater. Imogene's funnier than I expected and I really enjoyed her perspective as a princess trapped in a frog's body. I kind of felt bad for frogs and their bad wraps even though I will still never get near any of them or at least not any toads *shudder*. 

Then, in the kind of voice quite a few people use for pets and very young children, Luella said, "Can you say Polly'? Say: "My name is Polly."
Imogene couldn't help herself. "You," she told Luella, "are a twit."
But Luella only laughed.
"Better be careful," Bertie said. "Some parrots have picked up quite rude language. The same might be true for our Chinese speaking frog."
Imogene told him, "You're a twit too."

I liked the bond Imogene and Luella both made and the somewhat change in strength of character with Luella. The villain - Ned, the owner of the traveling theater - was a horrible playwright. He was pretty wicked and lacking in smarts which was a theme in the story. Imogene's story was entertaining especially since she was amongst fools and would make light of it by making fun of them. She was also always nice to Luella which proved herself wrong. She was a very good person even when she was in such frustrating circumstances. That sounds a little contradictory but she was nice to the right people who didn't blatantly keep her against her will.

The ending was satisfying but there was one thing that I was so-so on. I liked how it all came together with Imogene but I don't know about Luella. There was kissing in this story which thoroughly made me happy. I'd never read a Frog Prince retelling before Frogged so now I'm really interested to see other author's perspective on the original tale. This was a really cute and funny retelling that I'm sure will entertain lover's of children's fiction and fairy tales.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Winter's Respite and Other Challenges...

Hosted over @ Seasons of Reading

Technically this is a read-a-thon but I'm joining some other challenges which you can see further on in this post so this title sort of makes sense... I did so well in Bout of Books but I'm not giving much time to reading now with school. My goal is just to read everyday. 

I love rereading books but sometimes I put those books on the back burner to read new books I have yet to read but I really want to reread some books this year so I signed up for this challenge. I really like the way I can update my challenge too:

I don't have time to re-read because I don't want to get behind. 

Don't want to take time away from review books and get behind on posts for your blog? We don't either! If you feel like re-reading will set you back, you could write a re-read review. This portion is optional, of course, and not required to participate in the challenge or qualify for the giveaways. But if you're interested, highlight your re-reads with a re-read review. For example, we'll be answering these questions:

WHEN I First Read

WHAT I Remember

WHY I Wanted to Re-Read

HOW I Felt After Re-Reading

WOULD I Re-Read Again

BOOM. You're done! Post it. Add it to the monthly re-read recap post. Tweet with the hashtag #ReRead2015. You've got a post for your blog AND the challenge. Each post you link counts as an entry to our giveaways.

So this challenge is doable to me and will encourage me to reread.

Hosted over @ Fictively

"The point is to get your feedback ratio closer to the recommended 80%."

This is what I want. I don't know if I'll get there but I'm going to do my best. My goal right now is:

Hosted over @ Book Dragon's Lair

I don't usually count picture books towards my Goodreads challenge goal but this year I am because books are books. So keeping with this theme I decided to take part in this challenge so I make sure I read picture books this year. I don't know how much I'll go for. I'll say at least ten books.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Post: Getting Back in the Swing of Things

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

So the week back to school was interesting... My classes are harder and easier than I expected. I don't know what I'm in for but I'm pretty on top of everything so far. Things will get more complicated once I start to do micro teaches and field work. I've been horrible exercising this week so far. I'm a little angry at myself but tomorrow is a new day and Martin Luther King Day! As far as books I'm reading less but I've read some good books recently so I'm not complaining.

Last Week on the Blog:

This Week on the Blog:

  • Monday: A Winter's Respite and Other Challenges...
  • Tuesday: Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde
  • Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday: Villain Keeper
  • Thursday: Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes
  • Friday: #FitReaders: January 23rd 2015 Check-In
  • Friday: Blue Heaven by C.J. Box
  • Saturday: Decide in the comments!

Around the Blogosphere:

In My Mail:

What should I review on Saturday? 
How was your week?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

My Little Monster 2 by Robico

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun #2. Kodansha Comics (May 2014) Library
Big Brother
Haru's big brother suddenly appears with unclear motives. What is clear is Haru's hatred for his big brother. Haru disappears at the sight of his big brother and Mizutani is left with even more questions about Haru. What are her feelings for him? How can she make him like her? And what is the deal with his big brother?


My Little Monster continues with Haru avoiding his brother. There's a great amount of animosity he projects concerning his brother. He even lashes out because of his issues with his brother. With this volume we learn more about Haru's past, a connection with one of his friends, and a little understanding of why Mizutani cares only for her grades. I'm sympathizing with these characters now which is really wonderful because I really wanted this second volume of the series to be excellent which it is. I have no little things that bugged me at all. My Little Monster is very fast becoming a favorite manga of mine.

Mizutani opens up even more after her last talk with Haru. I was confused at the ending of the last book on how Haru stood with his interests in Mizutani but everything was clarified in this continuation. After Mizutani's speech last time you can see that maybe Haru was too quick to say he didn't like her that way. 

I can't believe it was possible but these two dorks got even more adorable this time around. I really liked how Mizutani was very sweet towards Haru even more this time around. Although, a new girl creates a little bit of tension between Haru and Mizutani. I'm curious to see if this new girl becomes part of the group. It's highly likely because she's on the cover of the next book or maybe there will be more tension concerning these three. I also would like to see this guy who was around in the first book who I feel like might be another potential love interest for Mizutani. I don't really want the two MC's to not get together but maybe the other boy provides more entertainment - you never know.

I'm really liking how Mizutani friends are helping her branch out. Sasayan and Natsume are both very pleasant characters. It would be nice to see their own stories/backgrounds a little more and for them to get love interests as well. I don't think Sasayan likes Mizutani which is what I thought last time around. He's just very nice and there doesn't seem to be any crushing going on there. It would be great to get a little more character development with him and Natsume however, right now I'm content with the amount of entertainment I'm getting from the main story.

This was a very sweet and somewhat illuminating second book of My Little Monster. I'm really enjoying this series. Unfortunately, it's not all out in English yet and my library only has the first two copies. I hope I'll be able to continue on this series this year after a while because I simply love it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

My Little Monster 1 by Robico

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun #1. Kodansha Comics (Mar. 2014) Library
Opposites Attract.... Maybe?
Haru Yoshida is feared as an unstable and violent "monster." Shizuku Mizutani is a grade-obsessed student with no friends. Fate brings these together to form the most unlikely pair. Haru firmly believes he's in love with Shizuku and she firmly believes she's insane.


I had watched the first episode of the My Little Monster anime and it piqued my interest. Most of what was in the first episode could be found in this first volume with an extra chapter. Haru is intense. He's very socially awkward to the point where he glares and gets into fights regularly. What really struck me about Haru and Mizutani is that they are both very lonely. Haru's loneliness makes him feel hollow while Mizutani doesn't seem to realize it's there until she meets Haru.

Mizutani's goal in life is to get good grades. All she does is study. She doesn't have time for anyone else's problems. There are small moments where she is struck by how Haru is treated and defends him. She slowly learns to become friendlier and more open however, she keeps her brashness and need to study within her personality always. I enjoyed reading about a female main character in a manga who didn't act childish. In romance mangas that usually seems to be what I come across so I liked that Mizutani kept her harsh, honest attitude along with her compassion towards Haru. She really opened up just a fraction. I couldn't believe she had such a non-caring attitude towards others and what they may have thought of her. She has a great sense of confidence in that regard. She does get a little flustered by Haru which makes her feel more... real perhaps? It's just sweet seeing them both together. 

Mizutani friendship circle grows throughout the book which I loved seeing. I know she acted annoyed at time but she's learning to get her head stuck out of book once in a while. Natsume is one of those friends who tries to get Mizutani to tutor. She claims she's so beautiful that no one wants to be friends with her. She's a good friend to Mizutani and has her back so I like her. Another friend is Sasayan, a baseball player at their school. I have a feeling he likes Mizutani but I can't quite tell. He's a pretty easy going nice guy who joins up with the group naturally.

Haru is pretty much fascinated with Mizutani. He tells her after a few run-ins with Mizutani that he likes her which completely messes with Mizutani's head. He wants to make friends to prove to her that he doesn't just like her because she's his first real friend. He's like this strange, child like creature who basically can beat up anybody he wants to. Everyone is scared of him because he's so intense and doesn't say the "right" things in front of them and of course he beats a lot of people up. There's actually two moments where I didn't like the way he acted. One moment was changed from the anime to the manga or vice versa. However you look at it Haru grabs Mizutani one day and tells her "Don't move. If you scream I'll hurt you." I know he didn't mean anything by it really but it was unnerving. At least it was better than the anime which didn't say "hurt you but translated it to "rape you" which wasn't cool. Another thing that I didn't like the way he acted was when he hit Mizutani accidentally trying to defend her (he overreacted) and didn't apologize afterwards which was also uncool. If he calms himself down a little bit he'd be the perfect love interest. He's quirky, doesn't know how to act, and is genuinely sweet. He even has a chicken that he adores named Nagoya.

I really enjoyed this first volume of My Little Monster and I'm anticipating the rest. I feel like it will only get better from here. It's a very cute romance manga that I'm sure girls and some boys will enjoy reading especially if they already are into the manga/anime world.

#FitReaders: January 16th 2015 Check-In

Fri/Jan. 9th:
56 oz of water
Thoughts: I did nothing! I woke up embarrassingly late and just read all day. I haven't rested this week anyways so there it goes. I wish I would have walked at least but nothing can be done now. Did not feel sore from yesterday which according to my dad is good because I'm getting stronger.

Sat/Jan. 10th:
1 mi. walk/jog/run - 12 min. 39 sec. 
42 oz of water
Thoughts: I do not like ab workouts. They really hurt like with a whole different pain level than anything else. I've got to focus on them and my back though more to keep my strength growth balanced. I ran most of my mile and I did a little more than 2 minutes better than last time. My goal to under ten minutes is not looking far off. I just got to stop holding on to the treadmill!

Sun/Jan 11th:
1 mi. walk/jog/run: 12 min. 36 sec.
45 min walk
56 oz of water
Thoughts: Took it slow today. My mile did not produce much progress but I just have to get used to running for a long time. I need some music or something to distract me... if it can.

Mon/Jan. 12th:
1 mi. walk/jog/run - 12 min. 28 sec.
64 oz of water
Thoughts: I've been pushing too much. From now on I'm just going to jog and run at my own pace. I'm not going to force anything. My new goal is to reach a mile at 20 min. so in the end my goal is to do a 5k in 60 min. I'll just get better from there speed wise once I reach 3.1 miles.

Tues/Jan. 13th:
1 mi. walk/jog/run - 16 min. 30 sec.
54 oz of water
Thoughts: I'm going to go for 1.100 miles tomorrow so I can get out of this mile and go onto bigger better things! The upper body routine I did was tough - I need to do it again.

Wed/Jan 14th:
1.1 mi. walk/jog/run - 17 min. 57 sec.
58 oz of water
Thoughts: Never doing the 20 min. exercise again! Three round is too much. I did my 1.1 mi. and it went pretty god. It's under what I need it to be at which was 22 min. I have school all day tomorrow so I don't think I'll be able to get anything in.

Thur/Jan. 15th:
40 min. walk
34 oz of water
Thoughts: Well at least I walked on the day where I spent most of my time at school.