The TBR Pile: Dog Days of Reading

A picture of Patty sleeping in a closet because the title of the post (that's why).  And she's extremely cute.

A picture of Patty sleeping in a closet because the title of the post (that’s why). And she’s extremely cute.

August is not my favorite month by any means, but there are a few good things coming out.  Although, I really don’t know how much time I’ll have for reading since I am currently dealing with housing issues from hell (though I did finally find an apartment, cross fingers) and will be starting a notary course late this month (apparently, in Louisiana notary’s basically do a lot of transaction law-because Louisiana uses Civil Law unlike the other forty-nine states in the U.S-and thus they make you take an exam.  My company wants me to do notary stuff, and plus it’s sort of a good way getting your feet wet for one of the country’s weirdest bar exam’s (there’s no MBE on the Louisiana state, so there goes a third that I was hoping that was relatively familiar right there).  Anyway, that probably went over your head (sorry).  But here’s what I have preordered and planned reading schedule and what not.

 

PreOrdered

Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine: I really loved the first book last summer, so I am looking forward to seeing how this duology wraps up.

Reawakened by Colleen Houck: I am curious, okay?  That and this could be potentially worth something in snark value.  Really though, I like the idea of this one, but I fear it’s going to be horribly executed and white washed.

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick: I want this book so bad.  Tim was my favorite supporting character in the first book, so I’m interested in seeing what happens ot him.

Only three this month.  Good.  Because I have unexpected moving bills.  The amount of stuff one has to get to move is ridiculous.  And I had to buy an obscene amount of plastic containers since a lot of my appliances were new and I got rid of the cardboard boxes when I first moved into this so called place with a not so indefinite lease.  As you can tell, I am very bitter.

Ordered

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen:  I am a sucker for Captain Hook.  He is the one character on Once Upon a Time who I haven’t grown to hate.  Especially when he is in the red vest of sex.  You can bet I’ll be imagining that Hook as the leading man in this book.  Though to be honest, Hook really being the hero and Pan being a sadistic brat is sort of a growing trend.

 

And that’s it, since I really can’t go to the library until I get settled (which will hopefully be at the end of this month).  Hopefully, I’ll like my new place more even though I won’t be having bookshelves for awhile-I will will be relying on evil plastic containers (ugh). I’m also not attempting to do an monthly goal read because I’m still reading a book I started at the beginning of the month because things have just been….yeah.

 

It’s Like House of Cards, Scandal, and Veronica Mars Had a Very Attractive Baby: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

I was kind of worried about this book because I have a hit or miss track record with Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s stuff.  Fortunately, this one worked for me.  Which I was extremely grateful about.

The pitch comparison is perfect, though I think someone should’ve mentioned House of Cards as well, since I did see shades of Raymond Tusk in a certain character-at least that’s who I pictured said character to look like.

The political scandal/mystery surrounding the book, worked surprisingly well.  I was a little worried about how Barnes was going to pull it off without it seeming cliche or eye roll worthy, but it didn’t feel that way to me.

The mystery when you got down to it, was pretty simple and I think that’s one of the things that helped the book work.  If it  would’ve been too complicated, it would’ve failed on its face.  Because it would’ve been too much, especially for a first book in a series.

Yep, series.

I think one of the big reasons this book worked for me, is right now I am really into political themed YA.  Blame, The Right Side of Wrong for that.  The Fixer takes a different look at an aspect of DC life and it does it just as well.

There was a lot of mystery though, still by the time I finished this book.  I needed-wanted-more back story with Ivy, and I guess that’s what book two is for but still.

Also, I really liked how Barnes portrayed Alzheimer’s.  The portrayal of that character was pretty spot on, my grandma suffered from the disease, and watching Tess’s grandad decline was a painful reminder of what my grandmother had endured.

Romance in this book was surprisingly light and I actually approved.  I liked how there were hints that something could develop amongst multiple characters in the story further down the road, BUT for now the book just took it’s time with the getting to know you stage and establishing relationships.

That is something I could really do more of with YA.

Also, there was a strong emphasis in this book on family.  And that is another thing I could do with more in YA.  And I wanted more development in this area as well.  Again, this is only the first book.  So hopefully, in more installments this factor will be developed as well.

I could nit pick on a few things about this book, but to be honest I’m not.  The few flaws that were in this one didn’t tarnish my reading experience.  I was able to get through this one in a weekend (and I was packing/cooking/cleaning/shopping/and simultaneously playing two Nancy Drew games throughout all of this).

Overall Rating: A solid A.

Top Ten Tuesday: Fellow Bookworms

Love reading, love characters who love reading, or have bookish jobs or want bookish jobs.  Well, this edition of Top Ten Tuesday is for you.

10)

Bella Swan reads a lot of classics.  Honestly, she’s the type of book nerd I wouldn’t hang out with because she probably is a snob towards genre fiction.  It’s just a guess, I might be wrong BUT…I don’t think I am.  Unfortunately, I don’t think she read Dracula.  If she did, maybe she would would know Eddie is bad news.

9)

I read this a long time ago, but I think the main character wanted to be a bookstore owner, so that has to count. But for some weird reason she went to modeling school to help her become a bookstore owner…don’t even bother asking.  It was written like in the late 80’s early 90’s, so the book is kind of dated but it’s fairly good for younger readers (if I remember-it’s been awhile).

8)

That model looks like Michelle Stafford, it’s not even funny.  Anyway, the book stars a character who works at a bookstore and has a crush on an author so….yeah.

7)

It’s Rachel’s love for reading that really gets the story going so obviously it’s going to make the list.  Also, it’s really sad when anyone thinks A Wrinkle in Time is the Devil’s book.  Just saying…

6)

I think one of the reasons this book sold as well as it did is because the main character is a book blogger.  And she actually reads stuff that most people who read this sort of book, read.

5)

Okay, no main character book nerds in this book.  But this book takes place on an island that is inhabited by dead author ghost and fictional characters-like pre-puppy killing Heathcliff.  It’s a must.

4)

Haven’t read this book yet.  But it’s about a library….how much more bookish can you get?

3)

When I saw this topic I was immediately like THIS book.  It’s about a girl who loves reading so much she writes a very popular slash fan fiction.  That is dedicated and nerdy.  And that makes this book perfect on this list.

2)

What I like is that Mia likes to read, but she reads like a real person.  So while she will indulge in some classics,she also likes to read fun books as well.  Per example, in the early books she and her friend Tina read some really cheesy romance books.  And Mia even writes one later in the series, so of course she had to be on this list.

1)

Hermione Granger.  Because only a true book nerd could read Hogwarts: A History.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Celebrate Diversity

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

10)

While a bit on the preachy side, you still have to give IW Gregorio’s debut credit for featuring a group of people (intersex individuals) who are not only marginalized, but who’s general existence is not known to society.

9)

This is such a cute little book, that deals with some serious issues.  While the MC’s recovery might’ve been a little too fast for my tastes, I still enjoyed how this book focused on the family aspects and how they helped Audrey come to terms with things.

8)

There is so much diversity in the Lunar Chronicles.  All of the characters come from all different sort of backgrounds, some aren’t even from this planet.  How’s that for diversity?

7)656159

While I found this book to be obnoxiously preachy (seriously, if you want to read a  non-offensive White House themed book either read All American Girl or Right Side of Wrong) I did like how how the fact Sparrow’s heritage was portrayed.  It’s rare to get an adopted MC in YA so that was nice.

6)

I really think this is a good account of how it is to be a first generation American.  It’s been years since I read this one, but just thinking about it has me wanting me to pick it up again.

5)

It rare to find a book with a biracial character, even today.  And I liked how this one explored the issues that come with dealing with a dual heritage.

4)

It’s rare to find a book that features bisexual characters properly, and this is one of them.  I hear that Under the Lights is also an excellent choice (I haven’t read it yet, despite it being on my list).

3)

 

I really love the exploration of other cultures.  I love Saeeds depiction of Pakistan and how the culture has different views about women and marriage than Western society.  The book is brutal, brief, and realistic.

2)

I think my favorite thing about this one was that yeah it featured diverse characters, but guess what we’re not taught a huge lessons and it’s actually a fairly realistic depiction of a gay teen without melodrama.  Which I think makes the book really fantastic, especially for LGBTQ teens who WANT and NEED to feel normality.

1)

Mental illness is more often than not stigmatized in society.  What I like about this book is that you really did get to experience paranoid schizophrenia and the havoc it plays with the MC’s life.  This book is really heartbreaking-in a good way.

Editorial: Blogging Burnout (or an Airing of Grievances)

I’m sort of burnout on blogging, and it took an unintended hiatus to realize it.

As you’ve might’ve noticed I’ve been on sort of a hiatus this month (only one measly top ten post this month).  There’s several reasons why, I’m reading an extremely dense (good) book that I’m taking my time with and I’ve been dealing with some major housing drama-long story short I was told I had an indefinite lease and then my landlady gives me literally two hours notice that she’s showing the house (and since I’m at work I couldn’t put my private stuff up and it was quite obvious that someone had been touching my stuff when I got back).  So between packing things for when the inevitable happens, a quick visit to Texas for the fourth, and that thick book this hobby of mine took a backside.  And when I started getting ready to blog again, I was sort of sour about it.

It started out nice enough, I had an interesting topic I thought that would be a good tag, but no one said anything (surprise, surprise, this hasn’t ever been that popular of a blog).  But I think it was the cherry on the top of several annoyances I had in the blogging world lately.  That made me decide to write this post.

I have been blogging for technically four years now, though to be honest I really started blogging regularly for about three and a half years (there was a brief blogging hiatus when I went to study abroad and then when I got severally ill with Whopping Cough and a host of other diseases when I got back).  While the community is fairly inclusive, at times it feels so large that I do feel a bit excluded.  To be fair, I probably do no favors for myself since my time commenting on post and contributing on Twitter is limited because of first law school, then bar prep, the work, and now notary/bar prep and work again.  And so going pretty much silent for a couple of weeks, it really shouldn’t have been that big of a surprise that no one seemed to notice.

But it still oddly stung, I still haven’t figured out why.  But I don’t think it was that so much as it was sort of being sick with some of the aspects of the blogging world in general.  So I’m going to list what has been bothering me so much lately.  Note, none of my grievances are addressed towards any individuals.  Again, this isn’t personal in any of the slightest.  It’s just….ugh, read the list.

1)  There seems to be some unintended hierarchy in the community.

And I don’t think this is really anyone’s doing.  But publishers are tended to favor certain blogs-older, well established, popular blogs and now it seems  for new sites booktubing over traditional blogging (let’s not even get into that stupid drama).  And even some popular blogs, don’t get coveted ARC’s.  So the hierarchy is really, sort of weird in a sense.  Honestly, I really don’t know what makes some blogs are lot more popular than others since I’ve read some small blogs that are better than big blogs and some big blogs that just aren’t great (and vice versa of course).  I just feel like if you’re trying to turn a little blog into one of the All-Star big blogs it’s a huge feat and a  full time job. Added with the booktube factor it just makes things even weirder.

2) While the community is inclusive, it can be very difficult to find one’s niche.

There are a lot of book blog’s out there, and while I have found a few that I like to read, I want to find more.  But it’s sort of hard to find that niche that fits just you.  And even if you do, connecting with people is just hard.  I’m an introvert (specifically an I go between being a INTJ and an ISTJ), and I know a lot of other bloggers are, but I often feel like unless you’re an extrovert who loves networking you’re going to have a hard time getting involved.  It’s just sort of exhausting getting to know lots and lots of bloggers, or for that matter trusting a lot of them to be your friends.  Sure, I’ve met a few good people, but it’s hard getting that closeness and a lot of times I really do feel like that kid outside the window looking in.

3)The  drama llama bull shit.

I am so sick of author’s throwing tantrums for anything below a five star review.  I am so fucking done with being scared of putting my photo on this blog because I’m afraid that some crazy someone will get ahold of it and use it to stalk me or something.  And I am so done with crazy stalker author’s being able to keep their publishing contracts and having their god awful book named one of Time’s best YA books of the year because of connections.  And now I want to get drunk.

4) I am sick of getting ARC’s notices saying I’m not good enough for a book I want to read and then getting a bad case of envy when some is like so so about getting said ARC/hasn’t read previous books in the series

I hate being this person.  I’ve tried to remedy it by limiting my ARC requests, but still if you haven’t read the first book and got a copy and I am a gun ho fan and…slaps self.

5)  Lack of Variety/Controls Too Much of Your Life

I haaaaaaaattttttteeeeeee what blogging has done to my reading schedule.  While I don’t read a lot of ARC’s, I still have to read a lot of new books since thats the name of the game in blogging.  The thing is, I’d like to take time to revisit old visits and go to old musty bookstores.  But it’s just an unspoken rule that you can’t do that in the blogging world and I hate it.

Steps to Remedy My Own Blogging Depression:

I need to do something to change.  I’ve seen other blogger’s take steps and they seem happier so I am going to do the same.  Here are some of my resolutions.

1) This blog is going to get some variety.

Meaning if I want to review some older books I’m going to do it.  If I want to do a post about clothes, I’m going to do it.  Video games…you get the picture.  While this will still be a book blog, with an emphasis on books I am not going to force myself to make every entry book related (though it probably will to some degree since books play a prominent role in my life).  Per example of a non-book entry that you’ll probably be seeing soon.  Reviews of the Nancy Drew computer games.  Okay sort of book related, but not.

2) I am going to blog at my pace.

I know publishers like posting like every day, but screw them.  Okay, I get that publisher are doing their job and I understand why they want such high output, but since I often feel like a pariah whenever I get rejected from Netgalley or Edelweiss (better known as that Site that Hates Me), I am not going to try so much.  If I don’t feel like doing a post, I’m not going to post.

3) I am going to try to comment at least three to five times a week and find at least one new blog a month.

I am forcing myself to interact more.  It’s really the only way it’s going to happen.  While I’d like to get more comments over here, I do realize that I (myself) need to interact more regardless of what interaction (if any) I have over here.  And that just doesn’t mean commenting on GoodReads, Twitter, or Booklikes, it means actual interaction on the person’s blog.

4) I am seriously going to think about having guest posts or a coblogger.

Okay, long story short I asked my pen pal to be my coblogger, but due to a lot of different reasons that is not going to happen.  So, I am going to have to think outside of the box on this one.  I’m hoping with more interaction it can help me decide if I want a coblogger etc.  Right now, I’m thinking it might be an option since it would make the less posts a week from me thing less likely to piss off people.

Okay, rant post about blogging depression is done.  Hopefully, I didn’t make too many people mad.  And yeah, I sort of feel better.

So, does anyone else feel this way?  Any blogs you suggest for me to start reading?  Anyone else play Nancy Drew games?

Okay, I’ll shut up now.

The Notalgia Book Tag

I have been reading YA for way too long, so I thought I’d try making my own tag called the Nostalgia Book Tag to sort of celebrate this.  If you want to do this, fine.  Just link to the original post or let me, etc.

Here’s what I’m doing for my tag.  I’m looking at books YA books pre 2010 for the list.  Honestly, I thought about looking at books that I read before I graduated from high school, but that was a little too far back if anyone wants to do this as a tag.  And if you do decide to do it, 2010 isn’t a set in stone date.  I’d just prefer that the books used in this tag are older.  Sometimes, I feel the blogging community focuses a little bit too much attention on new books and there’s not enough attention on old books.

My First YA Book: Your first YA book, or YA book that made you interested in the Genre

These were my sister’s but I stole them, and I am a huge Francy shipper (and if you ship Francy read Secrets of the Nile).  To be fair these are really corny and kind of (okay, really dated) but I love the adventure and international element to them.  And Francy.  I am thinking about maybe at some point digging these out from my parents’ house and having them shipped so that I can review them.  We’ll see.

What Got Me Into….: A Book That Got You Interested in the Some Aspect of the Genre

Forget The Twilight series, this was the series that really got me into YA paranormal and it’s still one of the best YA paranormal series out there.  I think because Suze is a strong person and doesn’t rely on a boy to get shit done.  Plus, she was like my fashion icon growing up.  I went through this hideous Betsey Johnson phase because of her-okay, I still wear Betsey purses and earrings, but a little Betsey goes a long way.

Seriously, Leo is so 1997: A Book that Feels Really Dated

Mimi Force better watch it, pretty soon she’s going to get a website a la Claudia Kishi about some of the stuff she wore.  Honestly, this book relies heavily on pop culture so it’s not a surprise it’s so dated.  What’s really hilarious though is the series went on till about a couple of years ago-there’s actually an New Adult continuation of it too (but we’ll act like it doesn’t exist) and it makes the old technology and celebrities seem even more dated.

Botox Book: A Book That Has Held Up to Date Well

The BOOK not the horrible movie.  Yeah, I really did not like that movie.  I can reread the shit out of this book anytime of the day any day fo the week.  It’s just that wonderful.

A Book Ahead of Its Time: Exactly That

Okay, so it is sort of hokey and you get that squeaky clean Clearly-ish vibe, but Fifteen is very much an early YA book with these characters dealing with boy trouble, snotty girls, and all sorts of things.  It was one of the first YA books that I read.  And even though it is corny, I still sort of like it.

Classic YA: A Future Classic

I actually had to watch the Hallmark movie in English class back in middle school, but I got so wrapped up in it I had to read the entire Tillerman cycle-well, any of the books that involved Dicey and Jeff.  I sort of skipped over that book that stars Dicey’s uncle.  I just don’t usually do prequels with dead characters.  That being said, I love the depth these books had.  And Cynthia Voigt has quite the list out there.  I highly recommend her stuff.  A lot of these issues that are discussed are ahead of its time, although the books are definitely dated now.  Still though, there’s a classic like feel to it.  There were lots of moments in Homecoming and in Dicey’s Song that were beautifully done and I can get why this would be viewed as an “educational” book.

A Book that Needs an Epilogue or Something: A book that you’d really like the author to revisit.

I know it had the crapilogue, but I wanted something better than that.  You know what I would like to happen in the Potter-verse, I’d like a man in a blue box to show up and pick the golden trio to be his new companions after the Battle of Hogwarts and the epilogue we got in the last book was just an alternate  universe version of them while the real Ron, Harry, and Hermione are having adventures in space with the Doctor.

 

A Popular Series: Something that was popular a few years back that you either got into or not got into.

Because everyone and their mother have read this series and it spawned some really bad paranormal YA, so of course it’s going to be on this list.

Vintage Author: An Author From Way Back then That Needs Recognition

Man, I loved Paula Danziger’s stuff.  I have my sister’s copy of this book which I think was bought in the 1990’s given the horrible fashion choices.  And while it’s sort of dorky (the cover), the book has lots of sexy moments in it and it’s in London.  So that makes it all the more interesting.  What I like though is that Danziger was really versatile as a writer.  As a kid I ate up all those Amber Brown books, and when I started raiding said sister’s shelf it was nice to see her stuff grew up with me.

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ever Growing Book Shelf

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme brought to you by the Broke and the Bookish.

Um, when I saw this week’s topic I started laughing because I realized my list was probably going to be obsolete before I posted it.  But whatever.  Here are the last ten books I bought.  I’m using physical copies because even though I do occasionally buy ebooks, I usually review them since they fall outside of this blog’s genre.

10)

This book was getting so much love, I had to just bite the bullet and buy it.  It’s taken me a long time to read it, mainly because I haven’t really had time to sit down and the prose is sort of dense.  But I get it.  From what I read so far, I really love the dynamics in the relationship.  It’s what Rumbelle should’ve been on Once Upon a Time.

9)

There’s been a lot of early praise for this one and I am very interested in starting this bad boy which is compared to Scandal and Veronica Mars.

8)

I hear the main character is like Nancy Drew but is Japanese American.  How awesome is that?

7)

This one has been on the shelf for awhile.  It will hopefully get read sometime this month though.  However, given my current reading total for the month and the fact that I’m dealing with some major personal stuff right now…it might not happen (damn).

6)

Anytime I look at this book I say it’s title in a breathy overly fake Southern accent.  It’s just hilarious.  I don’t know why.  Okay, you probably think I’m weird now (um, or maybe you already knew that).

5)I liked this one so much I had to get a physical copy.  I like to reread things and given the fact I live on the Gulf coast and their are hurricanes which mean no power…well, it’s nice to have physical copies.

4)

This was a complete impulse buy.  It has sat on my shelf since daring me to read it.  But here’s a secret, I’m actually scared to read it because I have a feeling it’s either going to be really good or scary bad.

3)

I think every book lover wishes that that library would’ve survived and that they could get access to that one that Ivan the Terrible hid.  Is that library going to be mentioned or only the first library.  Why are all the good libraries lost? Save the libraries.

2)

This one is begging to be read.  It just looks so good.  I’m hoping too get to it sometime this summer, so we’ll see.

1)

 

 

 

I was really looking forward to this one, but I haven’t heard much about it.  Hopefully, I will enjoy it.

Evil Oreo References: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Source: GoodReads

If you can’t eat Oreos you might want to avoid reading this book because they’re referenced so much that after you read it that’s all you’ll want to do eat Oreos and watch You’ve Got Mail (which reminds this book a lot.  Except this book is better because it features diversity in multi-facets.

Let’s talk about Simon.  While the story dealt with him coming out to his friends and families, it wasn’t a message book by any means.  That’s a huge thing for me in finding good diverse books.  I don’t want them to be message books because honestly, I don’t want to be taught some grand lesson.  I just want a book that explores someone’s life who’s not a WASP.   Although, occasionally I have read a couple of good message books.

The thing is Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is at it’s heart a fluffy contemporary.  And it’s so hard trying to find a light and fluffy book starring non-straight characters.  So, having something like this available in stores is huge.

And it’s so good.  Simon’s voice shines through throughout the entire book.  He’s hilarious.  Endearing.   And I like how while there is a romance, the focus of the story is on finding yourself and friendship.  In fact, the romance might’ve been the books weakest element even though it was pretty cute.  I really liked the set up on the romance and how you had to guess who Blue was.  As I said before if they were having one of those damn comparison blurbs they’d probably say that this book was like You’ve Got Mail. 

However, the actual interactions outside of the email relationship were a bit weird and while fairly realistic there was just something about it that felt a little off-I’m not going to go into much more for spoiler reasons.

As I said before, the strong points of the novel involved the relationship between Simon and his family and friends.  It all felt very realistic and put together, and I enjoyed the fact that the friends had relationship drama that did not involve Simon.

If you want to read something that’s a little different and fluffy, I recommend giving this one a read.

Overall Rating: A B+