Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts: July 31

This is a weekly event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous.

1. I finished We Were Liars last weekend. Really liked it! It definitely kept me guessing. Hope to post full review tomorrow (Friday).

2. Remember how Iast week I said it rained but the heat was coming back? Yeah...the heat hasn't left. Still in the low 90's here. I hate to say it but cooler weather would be nice. I dare say I'm even looking forward to fall weather.

3. Just found out today that I won a GoodReads Giveaway!! The best part is, it's a book I'm really excited about, Cathy Lamb's new release (in August) What I Remember Most!

4. I'm only 175pages into Harry Potter 6. I'm liking it, I've just been busy with...

5. Peyton! Our new black lab puppy! He's named after Peyton Manning (as we're both big Broncos it football season yet?!). He's been doing really well but since he's only 7 weeks he needs a lot of attention and play time, as well as bathroom breaks every 2 hours. Just like a kiddo :) Needless to say I am exhausted from little REM sleep so reading as much as I normally do has been difficult. But he's SO CUTE!

With me on his first day home
Play time! Love those chew toys...
Any other puppy mamas out there? Any good advice? I'm trying to read up on puppy raising as much as I can. He's such a sweet boy:)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Sweetness #9

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.  The event spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

 This week's WOW is thanks to my best friend and "sis" Breanne, who told me about this book! Thanks Breanne!

This week, I am excited about the release of:

Sweetness #9
By Stephan Eirik Clark
Release Date: August 19, 2014
336 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

From GoodReads:

David Leveraux is an Apprentice Flavor Chemist at one of the world's leading flavor production houses. While testing Sweetness #9, he notices that the artificial sweetener causes unsettling side-effects in laboratory rats and monkeys. But with his career and family at risk, David keeps his suspicions to himself.

Years later, Sweetness #9 is America's most popular sweetener--and David's family is changing. His wife is gaining weight, his daughter is depressed, and his son has stopped using verbs. Is Sweetness #9 to blame, along with David's failure to stop it? Or are these just symptoms of the American condition?

An exciting literary debut, SWEETNESS #9 is a darkly comic, wildly imaginative investigation of whether what we eat makes us who we are.

This one sounds entertaining!!

What release are you excited about this Wednesday?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Own the Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books from! My list does include ebooks. Here's my Top 7:

1. Nora Roberts: a total of 11! I have the Bridal Quartet (my fave of hers) and the Boonsboro trilogy, and a few others. Love her books!

2. Jodi Picoult: 7 books

3. Emily Giffin: 5 books

4. Cathy Lamb: 3 books. Recently discovered this fantastic Oregon author!

5. Stephanie Meyer: 4 books. The Twilight series of course!

6. Lauren Weisberger: 3:books

7. Barbara Delinsky: 4 books

There's my list! What authors do you have the most books from?

Happy Reading!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bout of Books 11!

Bout of Books

In May, I participated in my first Bout of Books readathon, Bout of Books 10, and had a fantastic time! I've been eagerly awaiting the next Bout of Books...and now it's here! Here's the official blurb from the Bout of Books website:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.  

Goals will be posted for the Bout of Books when the readathon gets can see how I did with Bout of Books 10 here! Not sure I will be able to top what I did then, as I have a brand new puppy that requires a lot of attention.... :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

It's Monday, what are you reading?

Welcome to Monday, friends! This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey.

This past week I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (here's my review) and We Were Liars! My We Were Liars review will be up this week! I also started Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. On the last two books in my Harry Potter summer project! Pretty excited to cross an item off of my Bookish Bucket List! Been busy with our new puppy so I haven't gotten to read as much as, I'd like!

Recently Finished:
Currently Reading:

Have a good reading week, everyone!

Harry Potter Through the Eyes of a First Time Reader: Part 5

This is the fifth post in my "Harry Potter Through the Eyes of a First Time Reader" series! In each part of the series I will provide a review and commentary on each Harry Potter book. Don't worry--I know some of you haven't read it, so just like all my reviews, there will be no spoilers here!

Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: J.K. Rowling
870 pages, published June 2003
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Amazon Prime Kindle Borrowing Library

From GoodReads:
Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...

In my review of the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
, I asserted that each book gets better than the book before it. I don't think this was the case with the fifth book. Though I still enjoyed it and gave it a five star Goodreads rating, I don't believe it topped the fourth book, my favorite of the series so far.   All the action at the end of the fifth book was entertaining and the book overall was well written, but also a bit long winded.  I felt like it took awhile to get to the action in this one. 

As much as I love Harry, he irritated me a bit in this book. I can usually tolerate the teenage angst and attitude , but in this book it irritated me at times. However, considering what Harry has been through, I can understand him being whiny and irritating--he is 15 after all.  It's understandable being frustrated when you know you're telling the truth and no one believes you! Rowling did an excellent job of conveying  the fact that just because they're wizards doesn't mean they aren't human and go through tough stages of life, like being a misunderstood teenager.

Overall, this book wasn't my favorite of the series but I still really enjoyed it. I've heard Books 6 and 7 get even better, so I'm looking forward to those!

Overall rating for HP #5: A-

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts: July 24

This is a weekly event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous.

1. I am now through five of the seven Harry Potter books! Started approximately six weeks ago, and I'm quite pleased with my progress! It's been the perfect summer reading project! My favorite so far is Book 4--Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I've also been watching the movies (after I finish each book). So that's been fun as well.

2. As I mentioned last week, last Saturday I saw The Book of Mormon in Portland! It was ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS!!  I could not stop laughing, and at points I was laughing so hard I was crying! The dancing was FANTASTIC! Even a tap number!I highly recommend seeing it if you get the chance, especially if you are a South Park fan like me. If you are not a South Park fan, or think strong language and adult themes would bother you, you might want to sit this one out, as that sort of content is central in this musical! Anyone else seen it? What did you think?? I LOVE musicals, and this one is now up there with my all time favorite, which is Rent :)

3. Big news in the Palmer house this week: we are getting a PUPPY! One of our family friend's black lab had puppies, and we just couldn't resist. He will be approximately 8 weeks old when we pick him up this weekend. We are spending the week "puppy proofing" our house and puppy shopping! We have four cats, but a puppy is a new adventure for us (though we both grew up with dogs).  So excited for our fun adventures ahead! Still tossing around name ideas for our little guy, excited to get to know him better and see what fits his personality.  Here's a picture of him (look at that FACE!!!)

4. It's been a unusually hot summer in Oregon. So as a true Oregonian, I was thrilled yesterday when I woke up to rain! Free water for my plants!  It appears the sun will be back this weekend, so I'm enjoying the cooler weather and rain while it lasts!

5. I am so ready for football season!! Just last Sunday my husband and I were making lunch and discussing how the day would be MUCH better if there was a football game on TV to watch! Excited for another year of fantasy football too!

Tanks for reading, and hop you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Christmas in July Book Swap Reveal!

Kate and Kristen at The Book Monsters hosted an awesome event this moth called the Christmas in July Book Swap! The link to my original sign up post can be found here. After signing up, Kate and Kristen did all the work organizing (Kudos to both of them!) and assigned the partners for the swap. During the sign up process, everyone provided book wish list and other items they liked. Once we received our partners, we got to go shopping and send some book mail!

My partner was Terri from Second Run Reviews. Check out her blog, it's awesome!! As a theatre nerd, I love the theater theme of her blog!! She lives in Iowa, so I was super excited get a partner from a different part of the country!
Second Run Reviews

When her box arrived, I couldn't wait to open it! Inside, I discovered she'd even wrapped my presents (why didn't I think of that?! Sorry, Terri!). Here they are, all wrapped up pretty, including a bookmark and cute card:

I made sure to open the packages first before reading the card, as the envelope dictated :) Here's what I found when I opened the packages!

Wow! My goodies included:
*We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart (on my wish list)
*The Right Kind of Wrong by Jade Eby (the author is a friend of Terri's!)
*Tazo chamomile tea (love it!)
*a cute notepad from the Marion (Iowa) library
*A postcard and bookmark advertising the YA novel Aberrant by Ruth Silver...and...signed by the author! How cool is that?! Added it to my to read list and excited to read it!
Terri wrote on the card that she'd met Ruth Silver at Chi-Fi, which I had to do some research to learn more about.  According to their facebook page, Chi-Fi is a convention celebrating "geekdom" for those discovering their inner geek. I love it!
Thank you Terri for such a wonderful Christmas in July! It made my day. Also thank you again to Kate and Kristen from the Book Monsters for organizing this fun event!
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Stranded on an Island...with Fictional Characters!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is: Top Ten Fictional Characters I'd Want With Me if I was Starnded on a Deserted Island! This topic is awesome! I picked my Top 7, so here they are, in no particular order:
* Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series: She's got survival skills and I don't. Simple as that!
* Etienne St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss: gorgeous guy with an English accent? Count me in!
*Parker Brown from Nora Roberts' Bridal Quartet series: if anyone would have a plan to save us from said deserted island, this girl would!

Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series: she loves the library and she knows magic. Would love to hang out with her! Plus she could magic our way out of trouble. Or, if we like it there, magic something to make it livable.

Dr. Carlisle Cullen from the Twilight series: I admit it. I love Twilight. Don't hate me. Regardless, Carlisle IS a doctor. So he has that going for him. And he could protect us from other vampires. 

*Jacob Black from the Twilight series. Hot guy that turns into a werewolf? No problems here. Plus, if it was cold at night he could keep me warm. Hahaha....

Four from the Divergent series. Because now that I've seen the movie, I think of Theo James....and smile.  We need some eye candy on this island, right?

What fictional character would you like to be stranded with on a deserted island?

Happy Reading!

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Welcome to another Monday...this is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey.

I had a busy weekend and didn't get as much reading done as I would've liked,  but have still read quite a bit in the last week! Last Monday I finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and am now over halfway through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  I also recently finished Goodnight June (here's my review).

Recently Finished:
Currently Reading:

Have a good reading week, friends!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Goodnight June

Title: Goodnight June
Author: Sarah Jio
320 pages, published May 2014
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Library

I decided to read this book based on rave reviews from Brandie over at Brandie is a Book Junkie.  We have a lot of the same tastes in books (and everything, really!) so I was excited to dive into this one!

June Anderson is a professionally successful banker living in New York City, but is unhappy in her personal life (though she doesn't want to admit it).  Suddenly, she receives news that her Aunt Ruby has passed away, and she is called back home to Seattle to settle Ruby's estate and decide the future of Ruby's business, Bluebird Books, a children's bookstore Ruby has owned since the 1940's. June discovers a series of letters between her aunt and the legendary Goodnight Moon author Margaret Wise Brown, and is taken on a scavenger hunt through the bookstore to learn about its literary history as she decides the fate of Bluebird Books.

In my review of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, I said that it was a book for book lovers. Goodnight June is most definitely a book for lovers of children's literature. There are several references to some of my favorites, including The Poky Little Puppy.  I loved all the characters, and really related to June.  I was rooting for her throughout the book! I loved discovering Ruby's story--what at first seemed predictable quickly changed with some unexpected surprises later in the book. It was so much more than your typical "chick lit" book.

Jio's writing style flows effortlessly.  The story immediately drew me in, and I found the book hard to put down. In fact, I read the entire second half of the book in one sitting because the story was so engaging.
I loved how meaningful the story was--so many life lesson packed into this book.  The "write your own story" theme was perfect for this book. There was something for everyone in this book: lessons in life, family, friendships, and even a little romance. It's one of my favorite books of the year so far!

My take-away from this book:

"Whenever you're down on your luck, and when things aren't going the way you like, remember that you are the author of your own story. You can write it any way you like, with anyone you choose."

Overall rating for "Goodnight June": A

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

This is a weekly event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous.

1. I've been reading some great books lately!! I'm loving the Harry Potter series (as many of you know I'm reading them for the first time this summer) and I've also read some excellent books lately including Rainbow Rowell's Landline, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.  Last night I finished Goodnight June by Sarah Jio, and I absolutely loved it! I've been on a string of really good reads lately, and I'm loving it!

 2. I work at a university, and my office building had a "garage sale" yesterday where you could clean out your office and put any items in the sale you'd like. All items are free to other employees. Of course I had to browse! As I mention in my About Me section, my undergraduate degree is in psychology. So imagine my excitement when I found a copy of the DSM-IV! The psychology nerd in me is VERY excited about this. I know it's an older edition, but I'm still excited :)

3. For our anniversary back in May, my mom bought my husband and I tickets to see Book of Mormon in Portland. We're going this Saturday! So excited!!!!!

4. It has been HOT. At least, hotter than normal for the Pacific Northwest! It's been 90+ for the last couple weeks, with the exception of last Sunday when there was a thunderstorm and mid 70s for the high. Crazy weather!

5. I was an iPhone user for years, and I recently switched and got the Galaxy s5 for my latest upgrade. I loved my iPhone, but I must say the Galaxy s5 is amazing! The camera is fantastic, I like the bigger screen, and it's just as easy to use and navigate as the iPhone.  Happy I made the switch!

What's on your mind, friends?

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Harry Potter Through the Eyes of a First Time Reader: Part 4

This is the fourth post in my "Harry Potter Through the Eyes of a First Time Reader" series! In each part of the series I will provide a review and commentary on each Harry Potter book. Don't worry--I know some of you haven't read it, so just like all my reviews, there will be no spoilers here!

Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author: J.K. Rowling
734 pages, published September 2002
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Amazon Prime Kindle Borrowing Library

From GoodReads:
The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can't wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there are spells to be learnt, potions to be brewed and Divination lessons (sigh) to be attended. Harry is expecting these: however, other quite unexpected events are already on the march ...

Each book in this series is better than the book before it! How many series can you say that about? I can't think of any.  I am absolutely loving this series, and this book is no exception.  What I love about this series, which stands out in Book 4, is how well everything ties together in the end, and yet still leaves you wanting more. At the end of Book 4, all your questions are answered--yet you know it's not over.

When I first started reading the series, Mel over at Double Stacked Bookshelves warned me that soon I would be staying up late to finish the books and reading for hours on end. She was right! I finished the second half of this book in less than 24 hours because it was so good. At first I felt the book was just too long--get to the tasks in the Triwizard Tournament already! But once they got to the first task, I couldn't stop reading!

The last quarter of the book is INTENSE. Clearly the books are no longer the children's books of books 1 and 2.  I love how the books are dealing with more complex themes, and are becoming more dark. Rowling's writing style is brilliant. This book is absolutely fantastic. 

Overall rating for HP #4: A

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: TV shows

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is: Top Ten Movies and TV shows--but I'm a TV junkie and decided to do my Top Ten TV shows!  Here are my all time favorites, in no particular order:

Dawson's Creek
1. Dawson's Creek

2. Friday Night Lights (Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose!)

3. So You Think You Can Dance
(favorite choreographers: Mia Michaels and Travis Wall)

4. How I Met Your Mother

5.   The Big Bang Theory

6.  The Office

7. Saved By The Bell

8. Full House

9.  Boy Meets World

How I Met Your Mother
10.  Gilmore Girls

Any good shows I'm missing out on? What should I start watching on Netflix?

Monday, July 14, 2014


Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
308 pages, published July 8,2014
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: purchased for myself

Georgie and Neal's marriage isn't doing very well, and hasn't been for a long time.  When Christmas comes and it's time for a trip to visit Neal's family in Omaha, Georgie chooses to stay behind because of a work meeting for a new TV show she's writing with her best friend, Seth. Neal is upset and takes the kids to Omaha without her. While given sometime alone while Neal is gone, Georgie finds a way to communicate with Neal--from 1998--through her old yellow land line telephone.  Georgie feels like she's been given the opportunity to fix her marriage before it started....or would she be better off it her marriage had never happened?

I absolutely love Rainbow Rowell's books, and this one is no exception.  Though all her novels are creative and unique, this book stands out. I loved the creative use of the phone as a way to time travel back to when Georgie and Neal were first dating to help her remember why she fell in love with him in the beginning. This novel explored marriage and relationships in a different and deeper way that makes you think. This book portrays marriage and relationships in a real way, and shows that marriage, and any  relationship, takes hard work. You must choose to put your relationship first every single day.

Rowell's quirky and entertaining writing style shines in Landline.  The witty dialogue and pop culture references that are her trademark keep you laughing and eager to keep reading.  You absolutely will not regret reading this book. It is emotional, honest, laugh out loud funny, and real.  If you've never read Rowell's books before, now is the time!

Overall rating for "Landline": A

Happy Reading!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Favorites: Gwen Cooper

Friday Favorites is a weekly meme hosted here (Tressa's Wishful Endings), that spotlights a favorite author, book, series, publisher, cover, blog, etc. Basically whatever bookish thing that you love, recommend, and want to tell others about. Just pick one and link up to my post each Friday to share.

As many of you know, I am an animal lover. I have four kitties at home right now, all rescues.  I grew up having animals and rescuing them in one way or another.  I am a self proclaimed "Crazy Cat Lady". Today, for Friday Favorites, I'm profiling an author, Gwen Cooper, who shares my love for rescuing animals, and wrote an amazing book on one such rescue kitty.

Title: Homer's Odyssey
By Gwen Cooper
299 pages, published September 2010
Genre: Memoir

From GoodReads:
The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.

Everyone warned that Homer would always be an “underachiever.” But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease, survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night. But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that transformed Gwen’s life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized that Homer had taught her the most valuable lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.

This book melted my heart. As a cat rescue mom who tends to rescue the ones that no one else wants, I fell in love with this story.  It's beautifully written, and an eye opening look at the human-animal bond, Not only did Cooper tell a beautiful story, she raised awareness for blind cat rescue organizations and animal welfare in general.  If you are an animal lover, this is a MUST read.

Cooper donates 10% of her book royalties to charities that serve blind cats. For her  most recent book, Love Saves The Day (a novel told from the perspective of a cat!), instead of visiting bookstores for her book tour, she visited animal shelters. How cool is that?!

Sadly, last year, Homer passed away. But thanks to Gwen, he lived a long and happy life of 15 years. Also thanks to Gwen, he lives on in Homer's Odyssey as a example of love, loyalty, and the fact that the inability to see doesn't stop an animal from having a full life. I commend Gwen Cooper for rescuing Homer, and for sharing her story, and recommend you read her heartwarming books.

For more information on Gwen, visit her website. You can also become a fan of Homer on Facebook!

Any other rescue cat mamas out there like me?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

If I Stay

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
201 pages, published April 2009
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Library

I became aware of this book after seeing it on a "books you must read before they become movies" list, and finally was able to pick it up from the library.

Seventeen year old Mia is a senior in high school and faced with choices. Should she stay true to her dream of becoming a classical musician even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family behind? Then one snowy morning, everything changes after Mia and her family are in a car accident. Mia is suddenly in a coma, fighting for her life.

I enjoyed the different perspective of this book.  The book starts with the car accident, and the crash and it's aftermath are told from the perspective of Mia--who is having an out-of-body experience during that time (don't worry, this isn't a spoiler--this is told in the first chapter or two). She watches the aftermath of the crash and her time in the hospital.  Flashbacks from her life are tied in and add to the emotional aspect of the book. Throughout the book, you're never sure why she is having this experience and what is going on, and it keeps you guessing and continuing to read. I was so hooked I read this book in just over 24 hours.

This is part one of a two book series, and If I Stay ends VERY abruptly. That was my only real problem with the book. Otherwise, I felt the book was an emotional and honest portrayal of the realities and difficulties of life.  A great YA read, and I look forward to the sequel and the movie!

Overall rating for "If I Stay": B+

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Katwalk

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.  The event spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am excited for the release of:

by Maria Murnane
Release Date: August 12, 2014
284 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction

From GoodReads:

From the bestselling author who brought us Perfect on Paper and Cassidy Lane comes the tale of a young woman who wakes up one day and decides to start over.
Katrina Lynden has always walked a straight line in life, an approach that has resulted in a stable career and pleased her hard-nosed parents but that has also left her feeling unfulfilled—and miserable. When her best friend suggests they quit their Silicon Valley jobs and embark on two months of adventure in New York City, Katrina balks at the idea but ultimately agrees, terrified yet proud of herself for finally doing something interesting with her life. But when her friend has to back out at the last minute, Katrina finds herself with a tough decision to make. Much to her surprise, she summons the courage to go alone, and the resulting journey changes everything. Along the way she makes new friends, loses others, learns what is really important to her, and finds a way to grow up without leaving herself behind.

What attracted me to this one was the cover, and the quirky spelling of the title! This one looks like a fun read!

What book(s) are you looking forward to?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Blogging Confessions

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is: Top Ten Book Blogging Confessions! Here we go:

1. I've been wanting to write a blog for YEARS. I finally got it together and started my book blog this year!

2. I hate it when reviews have spoilers.  Especially if it's not announced.

3. I am jealous of other blogs with awesome designs. Someday, my blog will be that cool!

4. I am jealous of everyone that got an ARC of Landline. Ridiculously excited to get the mail today, as my pre-ordered copy should be there!

5. I have way too many books on my TBR pile, and it makes me anxious. But really who doesn't?

6. I generally find it easier to write a review of a book I didn't like. Proof that I can be over critical and pessimistic.  However, I always try to do the "sandwich a negative between positives" thing.

7. I love commenting on other blogs, but I'm bad at checking back to see if my post got a reply. I know I can click that "notify me if someone replies" button, but I always seem to forget.

8. I literally always would rather be reading. Don't take it personal. It's not you, it's me.

9. I truly appreciate all my readers/followers and the positive feedback I've received for my blog.

10. I don't get excited about classics. I was a Psychology major, not an English major.  Didn't do last week's Top Ten Tuesday because of this.

There you have it! What are your blogging confessions?

Happy Reading!

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

260 pages, published April 2014
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Library

I have been anxiously waiting to read this book since it first came out in April, after reading countless rave reviews. I am happy to say those rave reviews were spot on--this was a fantastic book.

A.J. Fikry's life has taken a downturn--his wife died in a car accident, and their bookstore, Island Books, is seeing a major decline in sales. Even worse, his most prized possession--a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen.  Fikry begins to isolate himself from the outside world.  Then, a surprise is left at the bookstore for him--a two year old named Maya whose mother entrusted her care to the owner of the bookstore. A.J.  is able to start his life over again with a renewed outlook on life, all while sharing his love for books.

This is a book for book lovers!  There are so many references to other books in the story, from classics to contemporary novels woven beautifully into this story. I loved seeing the evolution of A.J.'s character, and how the events in the book change his life.  The book being stolen is a catalyst for so many other events in the book that may never have happened if the book hadn't been stolen. This book is an examination of the choices we make and the twists and turns that happen in life, and how they can affect our entire future.  This book addresses living with the consequences of those choices, both positive and negative. All the events in the book from all the different character's perspectives are tied together beautifully in the end.

This book flows well due to the fast pace of the story and the great writing style. The book is only  260 pages, so it's a fast read, but an enjoyable read. This book will make your heart happy.  I especially recommend this one for those that love books, as it will make your book loving heart very happy. But for those not as in love with books as I am, I still recommend this book as well, as the themes in this book are ones most anyone can relate to.

This quote helps to explain why I love this book so much:

"They had only ever discussed books but what, in this life, is more personal than books?” 

Overall rating for "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry": A

Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

It's Monay, July 7! What are you reading?

Welcome to another Monday...this is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey.

This week, I finished Aloha Also Means Goodbye (my review is here).  I also read The Storied Life of AJ Fikry  (review posted soon!) and continued my way through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In addition, I also started If I Stay (which I totally didn't realize was set in Oregon!). As you can see, I love reading multiple books at the same time!
Recently Finished:

Currently Reading:

What are you reading this week? Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Aloha Also Means Goodbye

305 pages, published November 2013
Genre: Women's Fiction, chick lit
Source: NetGalley
Note: I received this ebook from NetGalley. This is my honest review.
Jo and Jordan got married in Africa five years ago--and now they're in Hawaii for big wedding/vow renewal ceremony, planned by Jo's mother. However, Jo finds out that their marriage in Africa wasn't legal--and hasn't told anyone yet. Jo is also forced to come face to face with her past when her ex-fiancĂ© Andy shows up on the island with his kids. Luckily, her two best friends are on the island with her to help.  Will everything turned out just how her mother planned? Can Jo resolve some issues in her past?
What drew me to this book was the cover and the setting--I absolutely love Hawaii.  I do love a good chick lit beach read every now and then, and that's exactly what this book is. It's perfect for a relaxing afternoon by the pool or beach. At the beginning of the book, I felt it was very predictable--even more predictable than I can usually handle. But there were a few twists and turns that kept me entertained, and I did enjoy the ending.
Since the reason I picked up the book was because it was set in Hawaii, and honestly, I was expecting more Hawaii in this book.  They mentioned the beach, the pool and the resort, but no Hawaiian names, names of beaches, towns,  the island they were staying on...anything like that.  Since the title so completely refers to Hawaii, I wanted more Hawaii in the book!
I did enjoy the characters and how everything tied together. I especially liked Jo as a character and following her journey to understand what she wants in life.  If you're looking for a relaxing beach read, this book is for you!
Overall rating for "Aloha Also Means Goodbye": B
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Book Blogger Quiz!

Who doesn't love a bookish quiz? This one originated from Amanda at Amanda's Nose in a Book,  but I heard about it from Mel at Double Stacked Bookshelves. Here we go!

Top Three Bookish Pet Peeves:

1. When people borrow my books and don't return them in a timely manner, or return them in worse condition, or (the worst) LOSE them. Yes, this has happened. Now I'm really selective about who I let borrow them.  They must love books as much as I do :)

2.  People bothering me when I'm reading (unless it's urgent/emergency, or an epically awesome story or update)

3.  Super small print in books.  It does not make my eyes happy. That is a great thing about the kindle, you can change the font size!

Prefect Reading Spot:
Ideally, on a beach or by the pool in Hawaii! In reality, my comfy couch snuggling with my kitties! But really, I can read just about anywhere.

3 Bookish Confessions:

1. I am currently reading Harry Potter for the very first time. Now that I am halfway through it I am sad I have waited this long! It's a fantastic series so far.

2.  I always, always, ALWAYS have a book with me. Even if I'm just going to the grocery store for something really quick, a book is always in my purse. Just in case. Hence the need to have a big purse!

3. There are very few classics I've read that I've actually really liked or could really get into. Perhaps I just haven't read the right ones.

When was the last time you cried during a book?
The Book Thief--I was super glad I finished it at home. Crying while reading in public would've been a bit awkward!

How many books are on your bedside table?
Currently only two. My cats love to jump up there and knock them over, so I try to keep the stack minimal and put the books back on my bookshelf.

What is your favorite snack to eat while reading?
Definitely popcorn!! I LOVE popcorn--it's my favorite snack. I have an air popper and love popping up a big bowl....and eating it all myself.

Name 3 books you'd recommend to everyone:
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Write how much books mean to you in three words:

What is your biggest reading secret?
I love chick lit. Sometimes you need that light and relaxing reading!

Who are you tagging?
Anyone who wants to participate!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Harry Potter Through the Eyes of a First Time Reader: Part 3

In the same week I finished both Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and just this past weekend, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban! This is the third post in my "Harry Potter Through the Eyes of a First Time Reader" series! In each part of the series I will provide a review and commentary on each Harry Potter book. Don't worry--I know some of you haven't read it, so just like all my reviews, there will be no spoilers here!

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
435 pages, published September 1999
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Amazon Prime Kindle Borrowing Library

For the last twelve years, the wizard prison Azkaban held a prisoner named Sirius Black--convicted of killing 13 people with one curse. Now he's escaped--and there's evidence saying he's going to Hogwarts.  Harry Potter is no longer safe at Hogwarts--will Sirius Black be captured?  What really happened twelve years ago?

I loved this book just as much as the second one! What I loved most about this one was how the last quarter of the book was plot twist after plot twist. You weren't sure who to trust and who was telling the truth. I had to finish the entire last quarter entirely in one sitting because I was so into it.

Hermione is definitely still my favorite character. My love for her grew even more when she adopted Crookshanks, the crazy cat nobody wanted. Sounds like something I would do! :)

Overall, another excellent book in the Harry Potter series! My favorite quote from the book once again comes from Dumbledore!

“You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don't recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?”

Overall rating for HP #3: A

Happy Reading!