Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Books We Feel Differently About Now That Time Has Passed

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed (less love, more love, complicated feelings, indifference, thought it was great in a genre until you became more well read in that genre etc.)

Lauren's Picks

I've decided to go with books that made me fall back in love with the horror genre. When I was younger, I read the popular authors at that time... such as Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Dean Koontz. I was quickly turned off from the genre for several reasons, but more recently I have fallen back in love with all things that go bump in the night. Here are just a few books that rekindled the fire that ghost stories are shared around.

1. The Parasitology Series by Mira Grant -- This series is so very different from most horror series that seem never-ending. These days I thank I greek gods to find a good standalone book, let alone find a solid series comprised of only 3 books that I like. This series packs a punch and will freak you out. In a good way, of course. But you'll still be left wondering what the hell happened. I highly recommend this series for anyone who wants a nicely paced dive into the horror genre.

2. The Deep / The Troop by Nick Cutter -- I placed these 2 books together just so I could include more authors. :) These are both extremely scary books that will keep you up at night. That sounds like a book blurb, right? Well it is so much more than that. I actually had a couple of nightmares that I can truthfully say were cause by reading these books. They are both amazingly written and will haunt you in the daytime. 

3. Seed / The Shuttering / The Neighbors / The Bird Eater by Ania Ahlborn -- I don't know what it is about this author, but she never ceases to amaze me. She is my #1 favorite horror author and I just can't really praise her books enough. If you think you can handle it, give any of her books a try. I dare you.

Bridget's Picks

I'm going opposite of Lauren for this one. Here are a few books that I liked significantly less the second (or third, or fourth) time around:

4. The Hunger Games series: When I was first reading them, I was utterly engrossed. I devoured them incredibly fast and for the most part didn't really stop to think about the less great things about the story. One of the things that bothers me (more) now more than it did during my initial read-through of the series is the ridiculous love triangle—not that it didn't bother me then, but it's even more irksome now, to the point where I don't see myself rereading them due to this. Divergent falls in the same category—I hate that these strong female leads are reduced to the prize for one guy or another to win. Does that ever happen to male leads? NO. (Or at least it's not nearly as likely.)

5. Most of Dean Koontz's books: I've been in denial about this for a long time. Some of Dean Koontz's novels are still some of my favorite books of all time: Watchers, Lightning, and Strangers are three books that I still love. But after reading more of them, it's clear that they mostly follow pretty much the exact same pattern: rugged loner guy OR strong independent woman discovers something that might or might not be supernatural. He/she teams up with a strong independent woman OR a rugged loner guy and either a preternaturally intelligent child or possibly a dog to defeat the dark power. They always do, and the man realizes that he needs the woman in his life and vice versa, despite their previous loner/strong and independent statuses. I've pretty much given up on reading any new Dean Koontz because they're almost uniformly terrible, but you can pry my old standards from my cold, dead hands.

Julia's Picks

6. The Outsiders by SE Hinton – I adored this book when I read it at 13, and I loved it more reading it aloud to my sister a few years later. But when I went back and read it in college, it didn’t have the same spark for me. I still thought it was a great book, but I loved it more in a nostalgic way then how it made me feel.

7. Books by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss – Back when I was new into Romance, I read her entire backlist. And I mean ALL of it. But as the romance tropes have changed into a more modern aesthetic, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy these as much as I did the first go round. They are more I like them for how they introduced me to the genre as oppose to ones I would recommend that people read who are trying to get into the genre.

Jamie's Picks

8. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: As I was reading this book I was liking it but something just wasn't really clicking. I was REALLY stressed because it was like right before my wedding sooo I probably should have been reading something a little bit lighter to suit that mood. As time went on and I actually THOUGHT about this book I found myself really loving it even more as time went on so much so that I finally started re-reading bits and pieces of it and feel like my 3 star rating I gave it was NOT at all representative of what I really felt about it -- I was stressed and really should have been something that required less of me.

9. Wither by Lauren DeStefano: I was OBSESSED with this book. So obsessed. I read it VERY early on in my blogging career as an ARC and I just adooooored it especially as it was one of the few dystopian type books I'd ever read. I read the second one and devoured that. I couldn't WAIT for the 3rd. And then I just found myself not moving on to it when it finally came out. I got distracted with all the new books and recently tried to reread it so I could finally finish the trilogy and I just....wasn't as into it. I think it was still very good but maybe not so much what I want to read these days? But at the time...OH MAN..it was looking to be an all time fave.

10. Landline by Rainbow Rowell: I REALLY loved this one when it came out. It made me think a lot about relationships and stuff, and I'm not saying I dislike it or anything at all, but I read a book a bit after it called After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid that made me think about a lot of the same things and themes and I just loooooooved that one so much more that maybe my feelings towards this one decreased a little bit? Like I still love Landline for what it was but I feel like now After I Do is the one I go around recommending whereas the few months before when I had just read Landline in its place when I wanted to recommend  a great book about marriage and relationships. So it's not like I liked it less? I just thought the other book did it better.

Tell us the books you feel differently about!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ten Books We Picked Up On A Whim

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

Today's topic is: Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim (however you decide to interpret that (bought or read or something else) -- I know most people read based on recommendation but we want to know those books you picked up without really hearing about or knowing much about!)

Jana's Picks

I LOVE randomly discovering books on my own. I read a lot of book based on reviews and buzz, so when I find a book I love all on my own it's like I found gold during a treasure hunt. I wish I could do this more often, I just review so many books and receive so many from publishers that unless I read something published before 2009 I pretty much know what I'm getting into. That's not to say I don't LOVE receiving and reviewing new books. Sometimes it's just fun to dust a few oldies off my shelves that I found before I started blogging. Anyway, on to my picks!

1. Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson: All I knew was that it was set in Italy (my one true love) and there was a broken heart in there. I'd never read a review or knew anyone who had read it. I just found it and wanted it and ended up loving it!

2. The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall: Spies and romance. That's all I knew. Plus, it was a debut and those always end up on my radar because I host the Debut Author Challenge on my own blog. This ended up being one of my favorite novels, and I had heard nothing about it.

3. Love, Lucy by April Lindner: This is another Italy situation. lol. I was SO excited about this book and I LOVED it.

4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer: I received Cinder for review and read it pretty much immediately because I was a brand new blogger and had received hardly any review books. All I knew was Cinderella and cyborg. Again, I had not read one review and I honestly thought I would hate it because sci-fi was so not my thing. All these years later, The Lunar Chronicles is my favorite series.

Jamie's Picks

5.  Losing The Light by Andrea Dunlop: I randomly was scrolling through Edelweiss and saw this for review. I hadn't heard anything about it but it sounded like something I might like so I downloaded it. Then I devoured it and stayed up wayyy too late. I'm glad I downloaded it on a whim!

6. With Every Breath by Lia Riley: This is a case of where picking something up on a whim DID NOT work for me. I was really craving a NA romance (which I'm really picky about) and this one sounded REALLY good to me. I don't follow much of what's hot in NA because I basically just read based on NA recced TO ME or from people I super trust who are raving about a NA book. But I was like HMMM romance + travel? YES. I figured I would give it a chance. However, I reallyyyyy didn't like this book. Ah well, you win some and you lose some. HOWEVER...I probably need to stop picking up NA romances on a whim since I'm so picky. 

7. Wytches by Scott Snyder: I kept passing this at the library when it was on the new items shelf and I was finally deciding I wanted to give comics a try so I picked it up on a whim after not hearing anything about it even though I had many more comics on my TBR that I had heard about from a bunch of people. However, once I read what it was about I was just like "what do I have to lose?" I ended up really liking it..not loving it..but liking and really looking forward to the next volume!

Lauren's Picks

8. The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon: I just snatched this one off a shelf at Target one day. I think I barely even skimmed the back cover description of the book. This book ended up being one of the creepiest books I've laid eyes on. I can't wait to read the author's next book, The Night Sister.

9. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: I've sang Rainbow Rowell's praises before, I this is just book was so far from my usual genre, you couldn't poke it with a 10 foot pole. I don't even know why I bought it, besides it being on sale. I told the boyfriend to pick out a book for me one night, as I have many times, and low and behold -- this was one that he picked. I am still glad he picked it. I loved it and it led me to read even more books by the author.

10. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer: Yet another book bought on my kindle for no real reason. I don't think I even read the summary on this one. And wow. I absolutely loved it. I loved all the characters. I loved the world they lived in. I love the author. Yes. I went there.

Tell us what books you picked up on a whim!

Monday, May 16, 2016

The "life/work/reading" balancing act

I used to find it strange when someone said that their personal reading time suffered because of school, or work, or social life. I always found time to read. Always. Even if it was just for those few minutes before falling asleep. I managed to do that through college, wedding/marriage and a couple different jobs.

Now I work in editing. I literally correct grammar and spelling for a living. For 40+ hours a week I scrutinize ads and listings, looking for mistakes. It’s a great job, I actually really enjoy it! However… for the first time in my life, my reading has suffered.

I settle down, open a book… and start looking for errors. Not on purpose! It’s all habit now. I find that my reading speed is slower than what it used to be. I’m used to reading slowly now, scanning for mistakes.  Even worse, finding mistakes in published pieces! I understand that mistakes happen. (I work in editing/publishing for heaven’s sake. I understand mistakes happen!) But once I find a mistake I get thrown out of the world I was trying to disappear into. I complain to my husband and usually just get a blank stare back. Reading is easy for him, incorrect punctuation and improper grammar don’t bother him in the least.

The solution? (Well, not exactly a solution, but a happy alternative.) AUDIOBOOKS. I’ve always enjoyed them, but now they’re a lifeline. Within the first week of my job I learned something absolutely delightful: My coworkers are audiobook junkies. I will never run out of books to listen to! We have a whole library of audiobooks here at work. We are even allowed to listen to them while working! I have one ear bud in 90% of the work day, listening to books and music. My coworkers are the same. It’s seriously a dream job. (Not to mention that working with such bookish people is a delight in and of itself.)

Can anyone relate? What are your best tricks to continue to enjoy reading? Share in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ten Websites We Love That Aren't About Books

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

Jamie's Picks 

1. Dishing Up The Dirt: One of my favorite food blogs! They own a farm and I just love the seasonal meals they create and reading about their farm. It makes me wish we could have a garden at least! One day when we aren't in an apartment. My favorite meal we've made from Dishing Up The Dirt is the zoodles with chickpea meatballs. Also love Iowa Girl Eats, Lexi's Clean Kitchen, The Skinny Fork and Oh My Veggies.

2. Girl Lost In the City: I love this blog. I guess it's considered a ~lifestyle~ blog and I love the variety of topics she posts on! Plus she's a reader! I always find something that resonates with me or interests me!

3.  Young Adventuress: On my own blog I'm doing a whole list of my favorite travel blogs for this topic today but figured I would include one of my favorites on this list, too! I've been reading her blog for several years and love how honest and straightforward she is. She keeps it real whether she's talking about the downsides of travel or the best hate mail/comments she's gotten. She even has a category labeled "this will probably get me hatemail."  I don't always agree with necessarily everything she ever says but I always respect her honesty and her opinions and she makes me laugh and want to see the world.

4.  Kendi Everyday: I don't follow a ton of fashion bloggers anymore because I typically get outfit inspo from Twitter these days or just playing around in my closet but Kendi's blog is one of the few fashion blogs I've kept in my reader! Another one is Girl Meets Glam!

Jana's Picks

5. Adventurous Kate: Love this travel blog! It's so fun reading about all of Kate's travels as a single woman.  

6. 320 Sycamore: This is pretty much a DIY home decor site that is really fun to waste time on dreaming about my own future home!

7. Hostess with the Mostess Blog: An entertainment blog! I love looking at her party planning ideas.

8. Design Seeds: All the pretty color combinations ever, pulled from beautiful photos.

9. Chocolate Covered Katie: Healthy dessert recipes!

10. The Beauty Department: A blog with all kinds of beauty tips and tutorials.

Tell us your favorite non-bookish websites!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Lauren Reviews The Three by Sarah Lotz

The Three by Sarah Lotz
Published: May 2014 by Little, Brown and Company 
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3 Stars

Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he's right?

The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn't appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage.

Dubbed 'The Three' by the international press, the children all exhibit disturbing behavioral problems, presumably caused by the horror they lived through and the unrelenting press attention. This attention becomes more than just intrusive when a rapture cult led by a charismatic evangelical minister insists that the survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse. The Three are forced to go into hiding, but as the children's behavior becomes increasingly disturbing, even their guardians begin to question their miraculous survival... 

I just can't keep away when it comes to anything that combines a little horror and a little science fiction. I knew when I picked this book up that it would be a toss up... it could be great, or it could fall dangerously short of entertaining. In my opinion, it settled somewhere in the middle.

The book followed a strict timeline, jumping back and forth between the three surviving children and the fanatics of the world that ultimately always pop up when anything happens that is out of the normal. You know all those election memes all over your Facebook newsfeed that makes you wonder what in the world is wrong with your friends? Well... this book actually made me feel the same, but towards all of the U.S. Granted, the U.S. tends to get the short stick when it comes to a society's failures, but damn. This book made me question humanity just by seeing our society's reactions to the three plane crash survivors, rather than questioning the three survivors themselves -- which I can't quite tell which the author was going for. 

Unfortunately, I had guessed the ending of this book in the beginning of the book. It may be because I've read so many books in the same genre as this one, but even with expecting well... what was going to happen, the end was still lack-luster. It was short and unexplained, leaving me not with a cliffhanger, but more like I paid for a $30.00 dinner and left the restaurant still hungry. 

I still enjoyed this book, and I will definitely read more of the author's books in hopes of reading more of the descriptive and basically entertaining character development that the author provides. There is one thing I absolutely HAVE to mention. There is one itty bitty part of this story... when one of the three survivors is acting strange (as they all do), that was all out creepy. I actually sat up in bed and scared the heck out of the boyfriend. I just stared at him... hoping, praying... he could just sense my emotional reaction to what I had just read. But of course he just laughed and said, "What happened this time?" and he paused his video game to listen. Yes. Those are the kinds of creepy you are DYING to find in a book.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Top Ten Childhood Characters We'd Like To Revisit As Adults

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!
Today's topic is: Ten Childhood Characters You'd Love To Revisit As Adults (i.e. a novella or something to see what they grew up to be) -- you could always just pick YA characters you've read recently you wouldn't mind revisiting in 10 years or so. Or you could pick 10 characters and guess what you think they'd be doing in 10 years or 20 years. OR you could go the other way and wish for coming of age stories for adult characters you love. 

Jamie's Picks

1. Henry Huggins from Beverly Cleary's Henry Huggins series: I fell hard for Henry Huggins as a kid...and his dog Ribsby. I so want to see what kind of man Henry Huggins turned out to be. I would also TOTALLY have loved a Henry Huggins as a teen or a college guy! But like logically I know Ribsy would have probably have passed away but like I would like to skip that. 

2. Ramona Quimby from the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary: Oh man, Beverly Cleary created some of my favorite characters ever. I loved being a part of Ramona's various escapades. I want to know what's up with Beezus, because I really related to her as an older sister of an annoying little sister, but Ramona was just my favorite. I would totally love a YA Ramona book wherein the exploration of sisterhood happens even more! Maybe a Ramona and Beezus road trip?? I remember there being a little sister in one of the last books so maybe she can be in it too but RAMONA AND BEEZUS GROWNUP.

3. The kids from the Boxcar Children series: Listen, I always made my sister play "boxcar children" with me when we were little. I would pretend our playhouse outside was the boxcar and we were little orphan children. I remember thinking it would be so cool to live by yourself (spoiler alert baby Jamie: it's not all it's cracked up to be because BILLS and you need money to like eat and stuff) and I just really loved these characters. The series went on and on and on and I don't know that I ever finished it because mostly it was just them solving mysteries so I don't know HOW it ended but I would LOVE to see how these orphaned siblings grew up.

4. Nancy Drew: Man, she was my favorite and I just devoured these books. I never read the later ones (I think she goes to college in them) but I would love to know what happened to Nancy after all her sleuthing as a teen and young adult in college. What does adult Nancy do?? Did she like go into the FBI or did she have a non-sleuthing job??
**Jana seconds this one!**

Jana's Picks

I didn't read much as a kid... lol. And when I did, I didn't read books about kids like me. I read historical romance novels. So I'm going to pick some of my favorite characters from YA that I'd like to catch up with and see where their lives have taken them.

5. Allyson from Just One Day by Gayle Forman: Is she still with Willem? How was college?

6. Anna from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Haha. Basically ditto what I want to hear from Allyson!

7. Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I just had a Hunger Games movie marathon, so it's on my mind. What's Panem like now? Is everyone doing ok? How are the kids and Peeta? How's her mom? Did Gale find love, too? Did you ever forgive him?

8. Melanie Stryder from The Host by Stephenie Meyer: Basically, give me the rest of the books you promised, dangit.

Lauren's Picks

I'm going to stick with Young Adult books with this one too. :)

9. Gemma from Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher: I can't exactly place when I read this book, but I was definitely a young adult. I remember exactly how Gemma felt when she was first kidnapped in the beginning to how she felt at the end of the book. I was fascinated by how dramatically emotions can change over time and how perspective is almost everything. I want to know... who is Gemma today? What is her perspective as a victim and when she looks outside herself and ponders how others perceive her?

10. Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: Most readers of our blog have probably read this one. If not, fret not... I won't spoil a thing. You know just from reading the book's description that both Hazel and Augustus are terminally ill. I want to know what happens after the book ends. Even if it's for a short period or time, where are the main characters and what are they up to?

Which characters from your childhood would you like to revisit?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Top Ten Bookworm Delights

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

Top Ten Bookworm Delights (inspired by this post I did on my own blog)

The idea for this post came to me on a day when I was feeling especially blahhhh about book blogging and had kind of been keeping away from social media and the blogosphere in general. I was reading a book under like 5 blankets because it was cold out and I just had this MOMENT where the title was referenced in the story of the book and my heart just near exploded because I love when that kind of stuff comes together and you are like A-HA. It seriously was just that moment that I needed to be like THIS IS WHY I BLOG DUHHH because I just have all these delightfully book nerdy things that make me so happy. They are so random but make me so happy. So this post became kind of an ode to those things but also a reminder for me, one that I've had to remind myself over and over again after 6 years of book blogging, that whenever I feel BLAH or something about book blogging I just need to strip it down to the basics -- and that is always the pure joy I get from reading and being a bookworm. I have never written a post so fast after this whole moment happened because I felt SO inspired and rejuvenated.

 So I kind of hoped, when I extended this to Top Ten Tuesday, that maybe it will be that for you -- a reminder or maybe just something that reconfirms why you all love this so much and why it's so awesome to be in this community with other readers who GET why the smallest things can make our hearts pitter patter when it comes to the bookworm life. And that's about as motivational as I get soooo let's get to it!

Jamie's Picks

1. When your shelf is newly organized and dusted and prettified: Seriously there is nothing more delightful than when I organize my shelves. I feel so satisfied by culling and organizing and just spending time with my books.

2. Being surrounded around other bookworms: I always felt so alone before I started blogging 6 years ago and the first time I went to a book event and met other people LIKE MEEEE I was like OMG WHAT IS LIFE RIGHT NOW. The energy that I get from book club and book signings and book cons and stuff like that. OH MAN.

3. When your book has pretty endpages or something pretty under the dust jacket: I will squeaaaaal like no other when there is something pretty or cool hidden beyond the exterior of the book.

4. When you help someone in the bookstore and  you don't even work there: This happens to me so much. Once when I was on a trip in Grand Rapids a lady asked me for help thinking I worked there and she ended up with a list of like 20 books for her granddaughter and I helped her look for the ones she was looking for. Another time I heard a lady describing a book she was looking for to the employee and the employee was like "hmmm I really don't know." and I KNEW I KNEW. I felt like Hermione raising my hand in the air faster than anything and I was had to compose myself and find some sort of chill and I was like "Hi sorry to bother but I actually know what book you are talking about" and all rejoiced! Seriously though...maybe I should just work at a bookstore.

5. When you don't rage during your commute because audiobooks keep your zen: No but seriously it's the only way I can survive my commute.

Daisy's Picks 
6. Book club: seriously, my club is the awesomest ever! I love meeting up with these ladies who basically know all the series/books I talk about and can spot all the references and geek out with me and just LOVE! I love how we scare the other people at the restaurants we grace with our presence :)

7 How I'm basically never bored: I pretty much always carry a book with me and BOOM instant entertainment. I mean, hours of travel mean NOTHING to me if I can just read while on the plane/train/anywhere.

8. Finding a pop culture reference in a novel: I love when there are inside jokes about other books/movies/TV series in books because I smile when I get them :)

9. Participating in a readathon: Dewey's 24-hour readathon is my favourite thing that comes twice a year! I love that feeling of community I get when I know that all over the world there are readers joining in on this one day dedicated to reading, I feel so connected to everyone! It's particularly fun because we've turned it into a book club sleepover event :)
10. Wearing bookish socks with neat/fancy outfits: I love knowing that I'm wearing Harry Potter socks beneath the cloths I wear to work even if noone else can see them. I don't know exactly why, but it just makes me smile.

Tell us the things that delight you!! 

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