Sunday, April 16, 2017

Books on Her Mind Weekly Recap #8


This week I was so lazy! Lazily reading, watching The Great British Baking Show, and feeling unwell. Thankfully I feel much better compared to the beginning of the week. I need to do some stuff this week and I'll be trying to get ahead with my blogging so I can focus on what happens after graduation.

Happy Easter!



I'm linking this to The Sunday Post hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.


Books Read


Last Week on the Blog


This Week on the Blog

  • Beautiful Broken Girls
  • 2017 POC Books
  • I Believe in a Thing Called Love
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
  • Stitched
  • Searching Saturday: Person on the Cover


Challenge Updates

  • Beat the Backlist: 6/54 books read (4 reviewed) Total Points: 352
  • Foodies Read 2017: 2/4 books read (1 reviewed)
  • 2017 Steampunk Reading Challenge: 1/6 books read (1 reviewed)
  • Operation Deepen Faith: Exodus Ch. 17 (last chapter I finished)
    • Didn't read anything. That'll change since today is Easter!
  • Audiobook Challenge 2017: 0/5 books read
  • 2017 Graphic Novel and Manga Challenge: 2/52 books read (1 reviewed)


#FitReaders

  • Jog/Walk (2 min. jog/3 min. walk) 0.72 miles - 9 min. 53 sec.
Wasn't feeling well and let myself be lazy. Fail.


Reading Next



Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She's for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It's a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

What did you read this past week?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Beauty and the Beast: Movie Review


I find that Beauty and the Beast is usually readers favorite Disney film or Belle is their favorite princess. Who wouldn't like Belle? She's a love of books, a free thinker, and turns down a narcissistic man. I couldn't wait to watch the live action movie after watching the original as a child about 30 or so times (I had a lot of time on my hands) and having it as my Quinceanera theme. Here is what I thought about this new version of Beauty and the Beast:



When I heard Emma Watson was going to play Belle I was ecstatic! What a perfect person to play not only because she played Hermione, a known reader, but after her Harry Potter role her movies have shined with her in them. 

The thing I noticed right away while she was singing the opening song (my favorite one!) was that she looked bored. I couldn't believe it. As the movie went on she still looked like she was just plain bored. I know Belle is a reader and is probably not so happy all the time in the little town she lives in but she didn't bring anything to the table. It was quite sad to see really. I thought her singing was excellent though. And she made a washing machine so it showed how intelligent, savvy, and independent Belle is as a character.

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The Beast was of course CGI so he didn't look perfectly in place with Belle. His voice was gruff and his voice when singing was beautiful. I think the way the flow of the story was taking place or Belle again but it took me a while to get used to the way he was portrayed. The actor who plays him is someone I know from watching a very horror filled show, The Legion, so even if he didn't look right with his hair long at the end I still liked Dan Stevens.

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The Villagers I'll be talking about are Gaston and LeFou. Gaston and LeFou's relationship contributed to the humor in the story. I thought Gaston was played perfectly although he was a bit older than I originally expected. LeFou was hilarious as always and made the greatest remarks about himself. The scene where they all sing about how great Gaston was my favorite. That song is just perfect. I got a lot more of what the song said watching the live action for some reason. I didn't realize LeFou's name was LeFou as well. It's perfect for his character. I enjoyed that he was conflicted with Gaston's actions and started thinking for himself.

The Castle Dwellers were really magical. The way that Lumiere, the Featherduster Lumiere adores, and Cogsworth were created were simply beautiful. Lumiere, Ewan McGregor sang was always quite wonderful. I didn't really like Mrs. Potts and Chip were designed although I'm sure others would like them. I also didn't like the part about the opera singer being the drawer. The piano bit at the end was very funny though.

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The classic songs were done wonderfully. I enjoyed the new songs as well although some didn't connect to me as much. Evermore particularly is very melodic and a perfect song for Beast. "Now I know she'll never leave me..." That's the best. The sound track is fantastic.

How Does a Moment Last Forever is okay. It's a very sweet short song. The father has a plot that's different. They talk about Belle's mother which I don't know if I really liked or belived because of the acting.

Days in the Sun revealed some about the way the Beast grew up which was very telling. It was a beautiful song from the castle dwellers point of view.

How Does a Moment Last Forever wasn't my favorite just because that part of the plot I didn't feel connected to.

Belle, Gaston, Be Our Guest, The Mob Song, Evermore, Days in the Sun, and Something There were the songs I really liked.


What did you think of Beauty and the Beast? 
Who is your favorite Disney princess?

Friday, April 14, 2017

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

All Four Stars #1. Putnam (July 2014) Library
Meet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)

Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.

 But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?

I've been waiting forever for All Four Stars to cross my path. Just look at the cover? It screams adorable and that there will be a lot of talk about desserts. There were.

Gladys secretly learned how to cook and bake after school. One day, she makes a mistake with one of those mini blowtorches for creme brulees. She gets the curtains set on fire and her parents see her which leads to a monumental change in Gladys life.

Her parents are fast food types of people that don't know how to cook. They don't trust Gladys to cook because she's so young. They don't even understand why she cooks when she explains to them what she's been doing the last few years. This is her passion. But her parents aren't having any of it. Her parents are so ridiculous that I couldn't help but furrow my eyebrows at them when all they did in the kitchen was put something in the microwave to heat up. The would "nuke it" in the microwave specifically. How are they not all fat?

Gladys and her parents get into a fight after the curtain burning which leads to her getting banned from cooking. That single act as well as her new teacher leads her down a path of food, risks, and friendship.

She gets this assignment about what she wants to be when she grows up. It gets sent as a job application for a food critic. So now Gladys is a food critic with no way to critique a restaurant! She has to scramble to find a way to meet her deadline. She has to go to the one person that she positively does not like to do so.

This was perfectly fun from beginning to end. I love the way the author writes. I like how the parents actually made right choices for her even when they haven't been doing so in regards to food. Gladys is a plucky little girl with passion and ambition. The food she describes in her critiques sound scrumptious which was just what I was hoping for. If you are looking for something light, fun, and to satisfy the inner foodie (or hungry) side of you I would check out All Four Stars. It won't disappoint.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Archie Vol. 1: The New Riverdale

Archie (2015-) #1. Archie Comics (March 2016) Library
America’s Favorite Teenager, Archie Andrews, is reborn in the pages of this must-have graphic novel collecting the first six issues of the comic book series that everyone is talking about. Meet Riverdale High teen Archie, his oddball, food-loving best friend Jughead, girl-next-door Betty and well-to-do snob Veronica Lodge as they embark on a modern reimagining of the beloved Archie world. It’s all here: the love triangle, friendship, humor, charm and lots of fun – but with a decidedly modern twist.

Brought to you by some of the masters of the comic book genre, including writer Mark Waid and the all-star lineup of artists: Fiona Staples, Annie Wu and Veronica Fish, the first volume of ARCHIE presents readers with a new take on the beloved Archie Comics concepts while retaining the best elements from the company’s 75 years of history.


The Archie comics have been around for about 75 years. Everyday since I was a child I would see Archie, Betty, Veronica, or Jughead on the cover of a small comic when in the line to pay for groceries. But, I've never been tempted to read this popular series until I saw that there was a new version coming out. It was like how Batgirl has her new look and story line which I was so into. So I wanted in, especially when it was revealed that the TV series was coming out.

Archie, as it turns out, is a klutz. He's either nearly avoiding carnage, making it, or being saved from it. His life feels like carnage right now. Betty and him are no more after the lipstick incident. Archie is clearly upset by what happened but Betty refuses to talk about it. Some interlopers are trying to get them back together as well as get Jughead to help them, but he refuses.

Betty is all fire and independence. Betty is amazing at fixing cars which lends true to her more independent, don't-put-me-or -any-other-girl-in-a-box mentality. She's sad about how everything went down with Archie. Archie is still her best friend. in her eyes but she's avoiding him.

Then in walks Veronica who instantly likes Archie because he ruined her father's construction site (he's really clumsy). Veronica can be summed up in one word - brat. She's this rich girl who thinks she's entitled to everything. When Archie falls for her, he falls hard, and he gets taken advantage by her. Jughead is not having it.

Speaking of Jughead, they discuss his origin story very briefly. It's really eye opening to his "be who you are" character. I love Jughead and his personality. He clearly would do anything for Archie. He didn't want anyone interfering with Archie and Veronica's situation because they just needed to get back together on their own - if they ever did get back together. But then he meets Veronica and everything changes. Veronica, or Ronnie, is literally instant enemies with him which I think maybe might lead to something later on? He now needs to get Archie to see the light - how Ronnie uses him.

In the background we have Reggie, another rich kid who's a joy to be around . He has some side plotting happening that might get some people in conflict with each other very soon.

I loved the characters and the plot. I couldn't believe how Veronica acted the whole time but despite her being a brat it seems like she does care for Archie. I wonder if Veronica and Betty can be friends after this? Jughead so far is my favorite because of his mentality and loyalty towards Archie. He is at odds with Ronnie right now so I worry that's going to affect his relationship with Archie. Archie isn't who I expected him to be - clumsy, lovesick, or oblivious. I enjoyed finally reading an Archie comic. Even though it's not like the TV show for those of you who want to read it because of that, it's still fun and a great read.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mind Games by Heather W. Petty

Lock & Mori #2. Simon & Schuster (Dec. 2016) NetGalley
Sherlock Holmes and Miss James “Mori” Moriarty may have closed their first case, but the mystery is far from over in the thrilling sequel to Lock & Mori, perfect for fans of Maureen Johnson and Sherlock.

You know their names. Now discover their beginnings. 

Mori’s abusive father is behind bars…and she has never felt less safe. Threatening letters have started appearing on her doorstep, and the police are receiving anonymous tips suggesting that Mori—not her father—is the Regent’s Park killer. To make matters worse, the police are beginning to believe them.

Through it all, Lock—frustrating, brilliant, gorgeous Lock—is by her side. The two of them set out to discover who is framing Mori, but in a city full of suspects, the task is easier said than done. With the clock ticking, Mori will discover just how far she is willing to go to make sure that justice is served, and no one—not even Lock—will be able to stop her.


Sherlock and Moriarty, infamous enemies, are boyfriend and girlfriend in the Lock & Mori series. When we last saw these two, Sherlock betrayed Moriarty. I thought as I picked up this book, "She's going to try to kill him." That's what I surmised from their last meeting. She would never forgive for what he had done. But that wasn't the case. She is still pretty angry with him, he is stuck in his ways according to her, and they have to deal with the repercussions of the night she tried to kill her father and failed.

Mind Games was such a surprise because I didn't think it could get any better from the last book and it did. I had a couple of complaints about the last story that I felt this one improved on. Mostly Sherlock didn't annoy me as much. Sherlock "annoy me?" you gasp with indignation. Yes, well Sherlock is a lovable, awkward, genius but in a relationship he just seems - desperate. I just don't like the way he acts around Mori. Either Mori was too angry with Sherlock and she spent less time with him or the rest of the story captured me so much that I didn't bother with him. Anyway you out it, I just liked the story more.

Mori is now dealing with her father being in jail (trying to get out), the police harassing her, and someone wanting her dead. She's been getting drawings that show her what she's done and is told to confess or trouble will happen. Mori tries all that she can to keep her brothers safe from her monster of a father while also trying to quell the monster in her. The mystery was very intriguing. I was enraptured by all the connections that were being made and the possible suspects. It was a very good twist that I would have never guessed.

Mind Games and this series is mostly about Mori and becoming the villain she was always meant to be. There is a lot of talk about how the police are corrupt, how she is helpless to keep her brothers safe, and how much better it would be to resolve everything the way her mother did - with cunning and persuasion. Mori's angry side is showing as well. She sees that she's not good enough for Sherlock. She wonders when he will see her for who she truly is. Now Sherlock on the other hand, is himself to the very core but there is one thing I can see changing - his belief in the police. He wants Mori to trust them and go to them. I think after all of this he's going to start saying how incompetent the are but he will still have the sense of justice we know of him having today. 

I fear the worst with Mori and this twist ending. Mori isn't really a monster. She's angry and will kill to save her brothers but she's still the kind person who goes to Sherlock's aid when he truly need her. I have a theory that she will become who she really is when her brothers are taken away from her. That will destroy any goodness inside her and she will become not Mori but Moriarty. She will take back her father's name and unleash herself upon the world. 

I'm pretty excited to see it all play out. Mori will surely lose her humanity and get her revenge. Sherlock will see her for who she really is. It's inevitable and I love it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for letting me read and review Mind Games in exchange for an honest review!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why: Netflix Review


I read Thirteen Reasons Why when I was 15 which was such a long time ago. I knew the TV show was coming on Netflix but I decided not to reread the book. My reasoning? I couldn't handle it. Thirteen Reasons Why is one of those rare books (like The Book Thief) that I can only read once in a blue moon because the emotions don't hit me the same. In this review I'll be saying a lot of "I don't remember this person doing this or acting this way." I do this because I can't tell if it's been added or if it's from the story because it's been so long. Don't worry. I won't ruin anything but I will talk about each character and my reaction to them (So if you didn't know who the reasons why Hannah committed suicide and don't want to know skip that part) So basically - beware spoilers below. That part is more for the people who've read the book.

Warning: This show can be triggering. People who feel depressed, suicidal, or who have been sexually abused may find the show to be too much. I would be cautious if you know you aren't in the right head space to watch it without your own feelings getting mixed in. Be careful.

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Hannah Baker is the star of the show even if she's not around in the present tense. She's the narrator to her own death and Clay is the reader (listener in this case). The thing with Hannah is that this time around you get to hear from all the other reasons why she committed suicide so things felt jumbled up. There were moments where there was victim blaming by the reasons saying how she was just drama. 

At some points, I don't know how, I kind of swayed to that POV of her being drama which is ridiculous really but it's a testament to how the writers are able to make you feel connected to what each character feels. The only one defending themselves were the kids who she said were the reasons why she killed herself. She could never defend herself in front of them. So I gravitated to what the reasons were saying about her which feels very true to life. Rumors can kill and in this case it did.

You get to have flashbacks of Hannah with everyone. The most rewarding time was when she would have flashbacks with Clay who she always seems to forget about.

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When I recall Clay, I can only remember wanting to hug him. Clay doesn't know why he's on the tape and you quickly think the same. Clay made a lot more mistakes than I ever remember him making. It felt unbelievable. Things I never would have believed he would do. 

Clay becomes erratic in his behavior. His behavior bothered me so much because it felt like he was going crazy with grief and pain and anger. But on the flip side he had the right behavior too.

The writing in this script was pure genius. One moment in particular had me praising the way Clay was reacting to the whole situation. 

You FEEL Clay's pain.

Was Clay always so awkward? He is an awkward jelly bean in his flashbacks. Again, he makes so many mistakes or doesn't react correctly. 

I do not remember Tony being so important in the book as he is now. The fateful moment yes, but Tony (the one making sure the tapes are listened to. If they aren't he sends them out in the world and ruins everyone's life on it.) was never on my radar to watch. This Tony is so crucial to the story. He's always watching and always tries to encourage Clay to finish the tapes. I didn't expect to feel so connected to his character until I just did. There is so much more to him than I initially thought. His connection to Hannah is an eye opening one.

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Justin: The Problematic One

Justin's change throughout the show is a remarkable one. He has some issues at home and the way he deals with the tapes is telling. There were moments I couldn't stand him but other moments where I felt sorry for him. He was a very conflicting character for me.

Jessica: The Game Changer

Wow Jessica. Girl, I did not expect to care about you. She's Justin's boyfriend and you see her unraveling. The unravel is extreme and intense. 

Alex: The Fave

The boy from Parenthood plays Alex remarkably. 

ALL of the characters are played beautifully. 

Alex is the one who feels guilty the whole time. I do not remember a lot of moments in the show compared to the book with him. I believe a lot was added to his character and I am so happy it was. What the aftermath did to everyone showed their true colors and his true colors made some great scenes.

Did you know his father was a cop? That comes up and oh it hurts my heart to think about it. 

Tyler: The Weird Kid

Completely did not remember this boy but when they got to him a whole chain of subplot started happening. He is the boy who is bullied. But he was on Hannah's list for a reason.

Marcus: The Golden Boy

Marcus and some others started forming a group for reasons... Marcus is on his way to getting into the top schools because of his grades and athleticism. He is one to watch out for because he became the leader of the little group.

Courtney: The Worst

Literally, the worst. THE WORST. I know I can't say that with one of the characters being completely evil but WOW. You will want to throw things at this girl. I loved how these characters were developed. You get to see their personalities and their motives. And Courtney's personality is incredibly selfish.

Zach: The Quiet One

Another character that made me love how each character was developed. He's a surprise.

Ryan: The Gossip

Do not remember this kid but he does a very shady thing. A recurring theme in the show is how selfish people are. No one cares about anyone but themselves. You don't know how your actions are going to affect others.

Sheri: The Unassuming One

Sheri is toward the end of the tapes. She arrives earlier on though. She just comes in the story all of a sudden and I couldn't remember her until the flashback. She is the type of person to walk away because they are scared. She was worrisome because I could see me in her. I would never do what she did but she's one that got to me too personally being the straight laced person that she is.

Bryce: That Guy

I can't talk about Bryce.

The Counselor

The counselor is in the whole story and I was like Oooh!!!! every time I saw him knowing what he did.

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The parents are in the story and they are dying inside. The mother especially has lost her spirit. To see what she is going through after she has lost her child is making me teary eyed just thinking about it. She is on a hunt to find why Hannah did what she did. The actress completely destroyed me in one scene towards the end. She will get to you eventually.

The dad isn't at the mom's level in the beginning but picks up later when he sees how the school is treating them and their daughter's death.

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Clay's parents:

Clay's mom and dad notice things have changed with Clay but don't realize why. I can't say enough by the actress who plays his mom. She does such an excellent job. Let me reiterate how AMAZING all the actors are because they are phenomenal. Clay and his interactions with both his parents are so different. His dad doesn't see a problem but the mom knows something is wrong.

Jeff:

I don't remember Jeff for the life of me but when they really talk about him it got to me. I am still so sad about Jeff. Another scene that broke me down.

The Lesson:

People don't realize that words and actions mean something. People are cruel. You don't have to be one of them. I recommend this to high schoolers all around the world whether you think you are a good person or not. 

Sky: 

If you read the book you know who this is. She is in the show a lot more. Her side to everything is so interesting.

The Future:

It does look like that there may be a season and there is a reason to believe there will be by the way the story ends. It bothers me Clay's part to play in it all. I would love to know what happens to a lot of characters in this show. There is so much that happens towards the end that could affect the rest of each characters lives. Here's hoping it happens.

Final Thoughts:

I came. I watched. I loved. You should do the same. (I know this was more of a reaction than a review but just go watch the show already.)

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Have you read or watched Thirteen Reasons Why? 
What did you think about the story?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Switching Gears by Chantele Sedgwick

Standalone. Sky Pony Press (Feb. 2017) NetGalley
Still mourning the loss of Lucas Nelson, the boy she loved in secret for years, seventeen-year-old Emmy Martin turns to her passion for mountain biking to try to fill the empty void in her life. But just when things start looking up, Emmy discovers her mom has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Confused and angry that her parents didn’t tell her sooner, she throws herself into mountain biking like never before.

When Cole Evans, the rich boy who usually doesn’t care about anything but himself, offers to train her for the biggest mountain biking race of the season, she accepts, determined to beat her nemesis, Whitney, and prove she’s good enough for a sponsor. The more time she spends with Cole, the more she realizes he’s different than she’d expected, and, to her surprise, she’s falling for him. Torn between the deep feelings she still has for Lucas and her growing ones for Cole, she knows she must choose a path: one offers her the chance to love again, while the other is blocked by the overwhelming heartache for the boy she lost.

As she drifts further away from her family and closer to her dream of being sponsored, a terrible accident threatens any semblance of peace and happiness she has left. Instead of closing herself off to the people she loves, Emmy must learn to rely on those she has pushed away if she’s going to have any chance of getting her life back again.


Please ignore the summary it is only partially correct which bothers me more than you could know. First of all Cole isn't the rich boy who only cares about himself. He does have money but he always has had an interest in our main character, Emmy. Second, Cole helps train Emmy after her one-on-one race with Emmy and that is at the very very end of the book. There is so much more that goes on with her and Cole before the training. Also, why is the terrible accident even mentioned? This summary....

Now that my complaints of the summary are over, which I completely forgotten about before I read the book, on to my thoughts on Emmy. Emmy has fire and attitude which is done in a way that makes her sound like the cool kid in the story. Not the actual kid because she has exactly one friend at the beginning of the book, but just like that loner kid in the school ground that doesn't take anything from anybody. I loved her spirit and that spirit was only rivaled by her best friend Kelsie who will not let Emmy lose her fire. Kelsie is always there for her friend. She's just the type of person you would want as a best friend - encouraging and (for the reader's sake) always the one trying to push her towards her love interest.

Cole is very sweet when we first meet him. He cares for Emmy clearly and will keep on teasing her even when she tries to push him away. He always tries to be encouraging towards her mountain bike training. He races as a mountain biker as well and is captain of the team she created which is where a bunch of tension is placed towards him. The bad news is that the first half I really liked him but in the second half I felt he was too pushy. It felt like he thought she owed him something because he liked her/was nice to her. So Emmy tries to push back. If you don't like it go away. Don't complain. I know it's something she obviously needs to work on but I just didn't like him later on. The relationship kind of bored me after a while. By default, I didn't feel as connected to Emmy because of the relationship she was in or really the way she kept on acting as I did in the beginning.

Emmy's mom has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's which pretty much sucks on Emmy's end. The way Emmy goes about it isn't right. I would hope I would do the direct opposite. I can see her point of view of it all. She latches on to the bad part to justify her behavior but still. That's your mom. Her relationship with her mom ended up being unclear to me. There was something that I see could have been done towards the end to get them closer. Their relationship could have been explored more but that twist at the end changed things. That twist never really registered with me because it felt so unnecessary.


Lucas is a character who died a little while back that Emmy hasn't been able to get over. At least, I supposed that was true. I was worried from the initial Cole flirting with her and her focus on training that she didn't really care about Lucas anymore. But there were moments throughout the book that had her mentioning him and I got the sense that she really did care. There is actually another book I discovered about his sister's adjustment after his death called Love, Lucas. I wouldn't mind reading about her time because I got something really juice spoiled in this one about what happens to her.

I almost forgot about Emmy's brother and father! I really liked her relationship with her brother. I felt with her father she interacted with him just enough to make me satisfied. I liked that she did interact with her family and it wasn't just her out in the world. I dislike when books ignore the family.

A note on the mountain biking: It really made me want to get outside and go running. I would never do mountain biking like my crazy brother but I do enjoy being in the outdoors in other ways. I love being motivated by books! All the training and races were the best part for me because I like all of that stuff.

Although the first half did better for me than the last I did enjoy Emmy's personality, her friend, her relationship with her brother, and the mountain bike training. The romance could have done with a bit of less in the book, the mother-daughter relationship could have been resolved, and the twist didn't need to be there. I will still like to try Sedgwick's other books because her character writing shows she has potential.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sky Pony Press for letting me read and review Switching Gears in exchange for an honest review!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Books On Her Mind Weekly Recap #7


I have officially finished my internship and on my way to graduate in May. This has been a long time coming that it feels surreal. I've finally been reading more with the help of a group on Goodreads called YA Buddy Readers. Their team challenges are the best I tell you!

I'm linking this to The Sunday Post hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.


Books Read










This Week on the Blog

  • Switching Gears by Chantele Sedgwick
  • Thirteen Reasons Why: Netflix Review
  • Mind Games by Heather W. Petty
  • Archie Vol. 1 
  • All Four Stars by Tara Dairman
  • Beauty and the Beast: Movie Review


Challenge Updates

  • Beat the Backlist: 5/54 books read (3 reviewed) Total Points: 352
  • Foodies Read 2017: 2/4 books read (0 reviewed)
  • 2017 Steampunk Reading Challenge: 1/6 books read (0 reviewed)
  • Operation Deepen Faith: Exodus Ch. 17 (last chapter I finished)
    • Need to catch up with my reading. I've never read Exodus except in Gospels at Church. I did not know who Aaron was before and why he doesn't get as much credit as Moses does.
  • Audiobook Challenge 2017: 0/5 books read
  • 2017 Graphic Novel and Manga Challenge: 1/52 books read (0 reviewed)


#FitReaders

  • Jog/Walk (1 min. jog/3 min. walk) 1.05 miles - 14 min. 44 sec.
  • Jog/Walk (1 min. jog/3 min. walk) 1.01 miles - 13 min. 55 sec.
  • Jog/Walk (1 min. jog/3 min. walk) 1.01 miles - 13 min. 23 sec.
  • Walk 1.68 miles
  • Jog/Walk (2 min. jog/3 min. walk) 1.00 mile - 12 min. 46 sec.
  • Walk 1.95 miles
I'm finally deciding to take my training seriously. I need to work on my endurance.


Reading Next



What did you read this past week?

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Year of the Garden by Andrea Cheng

Anna Wang #0.5. HMH Books for Young Readers (April 2017) NetGalley
When Anna is gifted a copy of The Secret Garden, it inspires her to follow her dreams—maybe she can plant ivy and purple crocuses and the birds will come.  Or maybe what grows from her dream of a garden is even better: friendship. And friendship, like a garden, often has a mind of its own.       

In this prequel to Year of the Book, join Anna in a year of discovery, new beginnings, friendships, and growth. 
       
                 

Years ago my dad brought me a DVD of The Secret Garden. I had no interest in it. I hadn't even heard of The Secret Garden before. But, like the good daughter I am, I indulged his buy and watched the movie. I became enchanted with the secret garden, Mary, Colin, and Dickon. Their story brought out the nature lover in me. It showed how nature can transform your day, but in Mary's case your life, into a happy one. I jumped at a chance to read The Year of the Garden since I love The Secret Garden and have read and enjoyed a few of the Anna Wang series.

This is a prequel of Anna's other stories where she grows her friendship with Laura. Anna loves digging up dirt and gardening but Laura doesn't feel the same way. She constantly asks to have the seeds they are trying to grow so she can get her family member to grow it on their farm instead of growing them themselves. It's really the strangest and most annoying thing ever. Why doesn't she come out and say she rather not be growing plants? Or why doesn't Laura just garden with her for a little while and then later on or the day after they can do something she likes to do? Where is the communication??? I know they are little kids but Laura just frustrated me so much. I think she just blatantly lied in there to get out of gardening too. It's just gardening. Why are you so weird about being outside? It's healthy for you. I know Laura is just young and has a lot to learn. The story is based around this friendship and what it means to be a friend. How you need to communicate your feelings and your friends might not like everything you like to do which is true to life.

I liked the basis of the story but there wasn't anything that wowed me. I prefer Anna's other stories where there is a bit more of a plot to them. The only thing that I liked or was impressed about was that Anna could read The Secret Garden at eight years old. Overall, The Year of the Garden was an okay read.

Thanks to HMH Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for providing me with The Year of the Garden in exchange for an honest review!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Missing Books


For a long time now I've always had a consistent stream of books in my life. Yeah, there are a couple of times where I take what seems like long breaks from the blog or reading but not like this. I've only read 11 books this year and I feel out of sorts.

I never wanted to be one of those people who stopped doing something they love or living their life once they've gotten a job but I've done just that. I haven't got a job yet but I was training to be a teacher and I'm graduating soon. For some reason during that whole time I decided only to read two books which feels like the biggest crime I've ever committed. 

Now that the semester is closing I've reawakened to the world of books but for how long? How on Earth do people balance their lives? I can't imagine being in a relationship and having kids. I don't want life to pass me by and this doesn't necessarily have to do with books. Just in general, I need to be more organized. Prepared to not just work for my whole entire life and miss all the other things I want to do with it. 

All of you life balancers out there. How do you do it? Does it just take time and practice? Or is planning the way to go?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Blog Tour: Unbound by Steph Jagger

Standalone. Harper Wave (Jan. 24, 2017) TLC Book Tours
A young woman follows winter across five continents on a physical and spiritual journey that tests her body and soul, in this transformative memoir, full of heart and courage, that speaks to the adventurousness in all of us.

Steph Jagger had always been a force of nature. Dissatisfied with the passive, limited roles she saw for women growing up, she emulated the men in her life—chasing success, climbing the corporate ladder, ticking the boxes, playing by the rules of a masculine ideal. She was accomplished. She was living "The Dream." But it wasn't her dream.

 Then the universe caught her attention with a sign: Raise Restraining Device. Steph had seen this ski lift sign on countless occasions in the past, but the familiar words suddenly became a personal call to shake off the life she had built in a search for something different, something more.

Steph soon decided to walk away from the success and security she had worked long and hard to obtain. She quit her job, took a second mortgage on her house, sold everything except her ski equipment and her laptop, and bought a bundle of plane tickets. For the next year, she followed winter across North and South America, Asia, Europe, and New Zealand—and up and down the mountains of nine countries—on a mission to ski four million vertical feet in a year.


I've been looking for a book like Unbound for a long time. There was something that Born to Run and Wild did for me that I couldn't find again until I read Unbound

Life always seems like there is an order to things. Graduate, get a job, get married, and have babies. And although all of those are adventures, life is more than that. It's about discovering who you are, becoming who you were always meant to be, and living life freely. Mainly, it's about achieving the ultimate goal - being happy.

Steph's passion for skiing is not something I would want to go for as far as a year long goal but it is inspiring. I kind of understood how Steph had so many naysayers before she actually went on her trip around the world but I mainly thought, "Why not?" Leaving everything behind to do something you love? That's something everyone wants to get a chance at doing. And maybe that's why people decide not to take the risks Steph made. It just seems impossible. There is too much to worry about. But Steph's personality pushes against the norm and she takes the leap. In Unbound, Steph's story challenges those who read it to push against the order that life mapped out for you.

"... the message of my generation was to dream big. We were the little girls who were told we could go on to do anything and become anyone we wanted. I found this to be confusing when I looked at the women around me, when I looked at my mother. Were they dreaming big? Were they doing anything and becoming anyone they wanted?"

If you compared me to Steph you would see complete opposites. When I was reading about how her mother used to be more wild but she changed after she discovered rules and consequences, I thought that was me. I have had this restraining device over me of what I can't and can't do. That's what really made Unbound so relatable for me and I'm sure it will feel the same way for others. 

Steph's adventure into skiing around the world is filled with excitement, tears, stubbornness, and unexpectedly - love. The people she met, the places she skied, and the memories she made left me leaving satisfied and expecting more out of myself. The love part felt totally out of left field but I was dying to know what became of it. Steph's personality could feel very like that one person who's always trying to win everything. She could be competitive, strong, and honest but could also be vulnerable as she tries to discover where she fits into the world. Although Steph is completely different from me, I enjoyed her perspective and how she took on the world. 

Unbound is a story for those readers that want to go on a journey after finishing the last page. For those who want to be inspired to take the leap they've been waiting years to do or the one they just thought of yesterday. 



Steph Jagger splits her time between Southern California and British Columbia where she dreams big dreams, writes her heart out, and runs an executive & life coaching practice. She holds a CEC (certified Executive Coach) degree from Royal Roads University and she believes courageous living doesn’t happen with one toe dangling in, but that we jump in, fully submerge, and sit in the juice. Think pickle, not cucumber.


You can find her at www.stephjagger.com or on Instagram @stephjagger.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles #1. Feiwel and Friends (Jan. 2012) Library
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

The Lunar Chronicles are that one series that absolutely everyone is enchanted with that I haven't read, until now. I absolutely love fairy tales and their retellings so it's a wonder why it took me so long to read Cinder. Linh Cinder lives in New Beijing as a mechanic. She's made to fix, trade, and sell parts to pay for her stepmother and stepsisters life. New Beijing is set in a dystopian future where peace treaties with the Lunar people and a disease are the main struggle for the empire. Cinder's life changes when Prince Kai decides to make a visit to the best mechanic around, our Cinder. There's an android he needs to be fixed. By bringing the android to Cinder, Kai leads her to a uncertain future filled with fear, tragedy, kindness, hope, and finding out who she really is. Cinder's world and plot left me wanting more after I read the last page. Cinder herself left me wanting for her a happily ever after.

Cinder is great. She's this tomboyish girl who likes fixing things even if she's forced to do so. You get the sense that she's Cinderella not only by her name but by her situation. I couldn't help but feel empathetic toward her situation with her stepmother and always feeling different because she is a cyborg. I never understood why there was such a problem with cyborgs though. I realize people don't like things that are different but seriously, if someone came from being in war and they had to get a new arm, you are going to be disgusted by them? Not Peony, Cinder's stepsister who genuinely likes her. She ends up getting sick and Cinder finds out she's the only hope to save her.

Prince Kai is dealing with his father's imminent death and Queen Levena trying to become his empress. I liked that Kai wasn't having the Queen's attitude, for lack of a better word. He can be sarcastic, sweet, and charming. I like that he wasn't one dimensional but I feel like I still need to get to know more about him to see him with Cinder.

Queen Levana has a power like most of the Lunar people, to control minds. She can persuade people to do what she wants and what she wants is Earth. She also has a thing about mirrors...

Cinder was very much a set up for everybody in the series coming together to defeat this queen. It wasn't a boring beginning by all means. It was very interesting finding about how this world works and the characters that live within it. There were a couple of predictable things that happened but it didn't ruin anything for me. I just hope nothing is as transparent in later books. All in all, I'm happy with how everything is starting. I hope to see Cinder in the next book too somehow. I'm beyond excited about the next book in the series because Little Red Riding Hood is my favorite fairy tale.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Darcy & Rachel #1. St. Martin's Press (April 2005) Library
Something Borrowed tells the story of Rachel, a young attorney living and working in Manhattan. 

Rachel has always been the consummate good girl—until her thirtieth birthday, when her best friend, Darcy, throws her a party. That night, after too many drinks, Rachel ends up in bed with Darcy's fiancé. Although she wakes up determined to put the one-night fling behind her, Rachel is horrified to discover that she has genuine feelings for the one guy she should run from. As the September wedding date nears, Rachel knows she has to make a choice. In doing so, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren't always neat, and sometimes you have to risk all to win true happiness. 

Something Borrowed is a phenomenal debut novel that will have you laughing, crying, and calling your best friend.

I saw Emily Giffin on a panel at the Miami International Book Fair. She was quick-witted, funny, and had some great storytelling chops. I didn't plan to read Something Borrowed. I wanted to start reading books with my mom in a mother daughter book club and as I asked, "Pick any book you want to read and we'll read it together" right after leaving the book fair she chose this one to read. 

It's rare for me to read chick-lit but not because I don't enjoy it. No, Something Borrowed is a book that had me gasping, laughing, and shaking my head right along with my mom. It was the perfect book to read with her because who else am I closer to her than her?

Rachel was very up and down with me. At first, I was on her side because when you look at who her best friend is - Darcy, the Queen of me - you kind of rather her win. Other times she just got me too much with her lack of self-confidence. I know it's part of her personality but sheesh girl... stop comparing yourself for one second to Darcy. And then all she could think of was Dex, her friend's fiance she slept with. I know that's what the book is about but that with her lack of self confidence bothered me some. She was really back and forth with me. I came to like her, to shaking my head at her, to liking her again. 

Darcy is someone I never did like. We are in Rachel's point of view so we see all the lies and dramatic things she said to put down Rachel throughout her life. Darcy could also be very loyal too but she was such a pain in the behind that I couldn't at one point like her. One thing me and my mom kept on bringing up was how Rachel should have stopped being Darcy's friend a long time ago which is very telling of how much we both disliked that woman.

Dex was up and down for me too. I could never tell if he really loved Rachel or Darcy or if he was stringing them both along. His sincerity was always questionable to me until the very end. 

Something Borrowed is a journey. One with laughter, awe, and intrigue. It was really fun to read at points and such a gossipy type book that is perfect to read with someone else. I really want to know what happens next with Rachel. I don't really care about Darcy but the next book will be her point of view. I don't know if I can handle it or not. We'll see if I cave in the future.