First read of 2019

I sure started off the new year with a fantastic read! Picking my first read for a new year is always a challenge. I want to make sure I pick something that I know I’ll fall head over heels with, that has strong character development and lots of action. Ok and maybe a teeny bit of romance. I also wanted to pick something that has had a lot of hype and majority high reviews. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with the first of a YA Fantasy series that triggered the author to write an entire universe around it, and that led to one of my favorite freeform tv shows!

****warning spoilers below, if you haven’t read the rest of the books or seen the show beware****

I ended up reading City of Bones : The Mortal Instruments Book One by Cassandra Clare, and I could not have picked a better read for my first read of 2019!! Some of my closest friends recommended it to me, as it’s one of their favorites. I am now hooked and plan to read every book in the Shadowhunters Universe! Well done Cassandra Clare, well done! πŸ‘πŸ» I finished the book last night and every few pages I kept hopping on Facebook trying to prolong the inevitable. Alas, I finished and I hugged the book to my chest and sighed. It’s been a while since a book gave me that kind of reaction. I am just itching to find out if Clary will save her mother, if they will recover the Mortal cup, and if Clary will fall into love with Simon it will Jace really end up being her brother! (I really want Jace and Clary to be together so I’ll really be devastated if they are in fact siblings).

Now I have an expectation that the next book I read for 2019 must be equally as good of a read. So, for my second read of 2019 I’ve picked The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. We shall see how this one goes!!

Happy Reading!! πŸ€“

2018 Wrap Up

Hello everyone! I hope you all have had a wonderful Holiday Season. I decided to spend mine unplugged from social media as much as possible so I could soak up quality family time. I didn’t do much reading, but I did get to hang out with my parents before they left for Florida for the Winter months, as well as play with my niece and nephew. Christmas was wonderful and full of laughs. We all gave and received some wonderful presents, but as you all know my favorite are always the books! I gifted my niece some more Magic Treehouse and Puppy Place books. She just loves them, and loves to read!! I received the Illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, a tea party cookbook, and a few others. Check it out!

I can’t wait to dive into the Don Winslow series. My Brother gave me them and he knows I love action packed Mexican cartel stories!

Every year my Dad gifts us with a little money, and this year I decided to spend some of it on furniture. I know, such an adult thing to do. πŸ˜‚ Well I was in desperate need of a new, sturdy bookcase. It arrived Yesterday and I set it up and then promptly spent all night staring at it because I’m so in love!!!

I decorated it with some lights and a few of my Funko Pop figurines. The gerbils might have added their touch with a few pieces of fluff from their newly cleaned cage.

While I was staring intently at my new bookcase and my lovely books, I got to thinking about what an amazing year it’s been, especially for me with my reading. I have read 100 books this year….. seriously guys, 100!!!!! It just amazes me that a mind can do all of that on top of everything else that we have to do in a normal adult life. I seriously don’t know how I went years without reading and stayed sane. So for 2019 I wanted to make more challenges for myself. I am still doing the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge, and hope to actually finish it in 2019, as a I failed to complete the 2018 challenge. I plan to set my Goodreads challenge to 150 books (no pressure there). I would also like to set a personal challenge for myself, which is to finish all of the series that I started reading in 2018. I started so many series but never finished them. A few I can recall off the Top of my head are Outlander series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, Shifting Tides series, In Death series by JD Robb, and the Graceling Realm Series by Kristin Cashore. All of those series alone would probably get me halfway through my Goodreads challenge goal for 2019. πŸ˜‚πŸ€”

Now, just because I’m setting reading goals for myself doesn’t mean I have to complete them. The one and only rule to reading, is to do it with no pressure and for pure enjoyment! If I don’t meet my goals then I don’t meet them, but at least I’ll have fun trying! Next time I’ll recap my Top 10 Favorite Reads in 2018. Until then I’m going to snuggle up and maybe finish book 101 for 2018. Happy Reading!! πŸ€“

New Year With New Reads

Wow this year has flown by! How is it December already?!?!? We are almost to the New Year and you know what that means….. New Reads!!! I am super excited for some books that are releasing in January and February. There are some new Thrillers from authors who are new to me, and a new contemporary from Sophie Kinsella! I just love her writing style and stories! They are the perfect pick me up read! Her new book called ‘I Owe You One’, comes out on February 5th!! Coming in January we have ‘The Dreamers’ by Karen Thompson Walker which is about a strange illness in a Southern California college town that begins plaguing its citizens. People begin falling into a deep state of sleep from which they can’t be woken up but are dreaming intensely as their loved ones try to figure out how to wake them up. This mystery/sci-fi bestseller comes out on January 15th!! I’ll be hopping in line for that one at the Library!!

My most anticipated book that comes out on February 5th by an new up and coming YA author Angie Thomas, who debuted with her award winning novel ‘The Hate U Give’, is ‘On The Come Up’. I am so excited for this book I can hardly contain myself!!! Angie does such a great job of highlighting prevalent socio-economical issues in our country and I can’t wait to see what she has in store with her newest novel. Her highly anticipated next novel tells the story of Bri, a 16-year-old whose rap goes viral for the wrong reasons, leading to trouble for her family and an eviction notice. Eek!!!! I need to pre-order this one!!!

I am seriously geeking out over all these new books releasing in the next few months. I really shouldn’t get ahead of myself though, I have a pretty solid TBR for December. I’ve chosen a few shorter reads to enjoy the Christmas season and am super excited to read ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens and ‘A Christmas Story’ by Jean Shepherd. I have to watch the movies once or twice every year around this time. 😊

Atticus helped me pick my reads so that I had a good variety. Santa was totally right! Atticus has really helped me get out of my little reading slump. I am finishing up The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein today and then diving into my Christmas reads!!

Do you have a new release coming out soon that you just can’t wait for? Or how about a book you plan to read this month to finish the year strong? I’d love to hear about it!

Happy Reading!! πŸ€“πŸ€“

Santa’s bookish helper

When I woke up this morning I came out to the living room to find that Santa had sent a special friend to me! I had a cheerful little face smiling down at me from my bookcase. Atticus said that Santa knew that I was in a reading slump and that Atticus was just the elf to pull me out of it. So Atticus and I are going to try and make sure I finish off the year strong and reach my goal of 100 books.

Atticus and I are going to pick some books out tomorrow for our December TBR to ensure we end the year with a bang! I’m so glad that Santa πŸŽ…πŸΌ sent me a little helper! ☺️

More to come on the final reading adventures of 2018 with the help of Atticus! I have to read 7 books to meet my goal of 100. I better make them Epic!!! Any suggestions?! πŸ˜ƒ

Give Thanks

Today is a very special holiday here in the United States, it’s Thanksgiving Day!! Today is a day to give thanks for friends, family, significant others, pets, good health and everything else that you treasure. I hope everyone had a chance to enjoy your day and spend time with loved ones enjoying food and drink and relaxing. For those who aren’t able to be with family, I hope you’ve enjoyed a relaxing day or have at least stopped to think about all that you are thankful for. Sometimes we take even the small things for granted.

I spent my Thanksgiving Day sleeping in, then watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Dog Show. After that I lounged on my couch with Baxter and read while dinner cooked in the crockpot. I did not have time off for Thanksgiving this year, and that’s ok! I am thankful to have had Today to relax and snuggle Baxter. I also took advantage of today to clean and do a little laundry. I was able to FaceTime with my family, which my Brother so kindly showed me everything mom had made for their Thanksgiving dinner. πŸ˜‚ Apparently I used to call him when he was in college and boast about the wonderful meal Mom had made. 🀭 I don’t remember doing that, but he sure does! Too funny!!

For my Thanksgiving dinner I made herbed chicken in the crockpot, steamed green beans, homemade cranberry chutney, pickled beets and maple glazed rutabaga. It was delicious!!

Dessert might possibly be a Klondike Ice Cream Bar…. shhh πŸ˜† I would really love to have a slice of pumpkin pie, but I’ll settle for ice cream. Until then I’m going to digest and continue with rereading one of my favorite books, Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I’ve started a new book, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White, but it’s slow going for me so I decided to take a break and reread a favorite. I’ll most likely try to dive back into the Frankenstein story this weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I hope you had a day full of love, happiness and grace. Happy Reading! πŸ€“

Book Insanity

Hello friends and fellow readers! I hope you all have enjoyed your weekend. We had a chilly but sunny weekend here in Rochester, NY! I thought we might see snow ❄️, but I was left disappointed. Figures because I had my snow tires mounted on my car Saturday morning. If I had waited we probably would have gotten quite a bit. A local State Park about an hour from here was having blizzard like weather this weekend and the live facebook feed was beautiful! 😍

I have quite a lot going on in the book department currently. I recently finished reading Copper Chains by James Maxwell, which is the third book in the Shifting Tides series. An absolutely amazing fantasy series with characters you develop strong bonds with, and a world that you kind of wish you could live in. I can’t wait to continue reading the rest of the series! Yesterday I finished reading The Witches of New York by Ami Mckay. I did not want this book to end!!! Set in New York during the late 1800s where woman suffragists parade the streets and the occult is a trendy attraction to participate in. Seers, reading palms, communicating with spirit boards, watch out or the church might think you’re a witch! Three young women come together with their powers and overcome many obstacles in life while growing stronger together! I hope there will be a second book, but a novella just came out with a Christmas theme to it. I will be getting that from the Library hopefully! Today I started reading The Window by Amelia Brunskill, which is a YA Thriller. So far it’s pretty good and I haven’t figured out the ending yet. It’s about twin sisters, where one of them, Anna, was sneaking out of the house from her window and fell to her death. Jess goes on the hunt to figure out what secrets her twin was keeping because she is positive that Anna had been sneaking out to meet a boy and maybe something went wrong. In her search Jess starts to become more personable and makes friends and starts breaking out of her shell. Anna was always the sociable one, where Jess was always a little hostile and solitary. I can’t wait to see how it ends!

Earlier today I thought it was a brilliant idea to take all my books off my bookshelves and reorganize them. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜† Well I might have been a little over ambitious, but I still managed to semi complete my task. I have realized though that I need to read through all the books I own and weed out which ones I won’t want to keep and read again. I don’t have enough shelf space for them all! I had stacks of books all over my living room floor. 🀣🀣 Dear god I have a problem!! Yupp… that’s right… I admitted it. I have a problem, and it’s that I buy too many books. I buy them faster than I can read them and I’m proud of it! In fact I think it’s perfectly normal! (As I look at the pile of 10 library books sitting on my floor) πŸ€«πŸ€“ Once I have a house I won’t have this problem because I’ll have space for another bookshelf or two. In the meantime, I’ll have to do my best to contain myself. 😬 Shhh don’t be the one to burst my bubble. 🀫 Just let me continue thinking more shelf space resolves my problem. πŸ˜†

Well my book is calling to me and I do have to go to bed in a bit, so time to get back to turning pages! Happy Reading! πŸ€“

October wrap up

October has come and gone in a flash! I can’t believe how quickly the last month flew by. I did not read all of the books I had intended to read, but the ones I read were fabulous! I read some seriously scary books, especially Norman: The Doll Who Needed to Be Locked Away by Stephen Lancaster. The ending of that book gave me nightmares and I’m not easily scared. If you like reading about seriously terrifying experiences or very haunted dolls, then this is the book for you! I also started a new fantasy series that I am obsessed with after just the first book! Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is an amazing story that shows a unique take on the angels vs demon story that is a common usage for fantasy series. The characters are quirky and unique, and the author sets the books in Prague which is interesting. I ran to the bookstore and bought the other two books in the series because I just couldn’t put the first one down.

I’ve posted pictures below showing all the books I’ve read for October 2018.

I will most likely continue reading the spooky stories through the month of November. I think Horror might be my favorite genre, or a close second to Fantasy. Either way, I’m thoroughly enjoying trying to scare myself. I will be including some other genres as well, such as Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert for one of my Facebook book groups and a reread of Twilight for one of my other Facebook book groups. With the decision to cut hours back at my part time restaurant job, I’ll have more time during my week to read!! Hooray! Now, it’s time for a book review!! 😊

I just finished a book a few minutes ago called The Girl In The Locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn. It’s a Young Adult Ghost Story and it was not what I expected. It was a cute ghost story, if that’s possible, with an interesting twist. I enjoyed this quick read and it was a refreshing change from the heavy horror I had been reading.

The story is about a family who moves around all over the country for the dad’s job, which is restoring old houses. They arrive at their new house, Oak Hill, which is this old stone mansion built in the 1700s and is in complete disrepair. The father was hired by a new community development to restore the mansion to become a bed and breakfast and they get to move into the new addition built at the back of the house for them while restorations are happening. The daughter named Jules gets a very weird feeling when they arrive, and thinks she’s sees someone at the third floor window. After their arrival she keeps seeing things but her parents don’t believe her. Jules worries about not making a friend to believe her and help her through her fears of living in a haunted house, until she meets Maisie one day at the library. Together she and Maisie get to the bottom of the haunted past of Oak Hill and the Bennett family, the last known owners for the old mansion. Do you have the gumption to read to the end and figure out the ghost story for your own? I dare you to try! You’ll be surprised. πŸ€«πŸ™‚

Now I’m off to continue the story of The Witches of New York by Ami McKay. I left off at a great spot and am dying to find out what happens next!! Happy Reading! πŸ€“

A day of rest

Sunday Funday!!!!!!!

What does that entail for you? For me it means binging Netflix and reading, all while snuggled up on my couch with Baxter! I’ve got salads and rotisserie chicken prepped to grab a healthy meal, and leftovers from the Tex Mex chicken burrito bowl I made earlier this week. Pre-prepped meals make for ideal reading. Less time preparing food and more time for reading! πŸ˜„ I deserve a day like this after working 6 days in a row, and yesterday being a double at the restaurant. I’m not going to lie, I am exhausted but it’s worth the extra income. So the plan is relax and read!

Today I’ve picked two shorter books to read, that I will most likely finish both Today. My picks are, The Witches by Roald Dahl and The Mist by Stephen King. One is a reread from childhood and the King book is a new read for me. The first book I’m going to start is The Mist, as I am a huge Stephen King fan and want to see how much better the book is from the movie.

At some point today I’ll have to run to the store to get dog food and some wrapping supplies for an upcoming 3rd Birthday party for my nephew. That will happen between reading though πŸ˜‚ or tomorrow. There is reading to be done! Time for a cup of coffee and to dive into a book. Happy Reading! πŸ€“

An amazing book and a delectable bite.

I feel like it’s been forever since I wrote my last blog post! I’m still here and I’m still reading!!! I’ve also been cooking. Last night was breakfast for dinner, a fav of mine when I have no clue what to cook. Lunch was a simple but delicious salad of romaine, beets, and low fat shredded mozzarella cheese drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

Dinner tonight is a Southwest Ground Chicken burrito bowl! My lord this is delectable!!! I cooked my rice while I browned the ground chicken with some onion. Then, while the rice was finishing up I added a little organic vegetable broth, black beans, diced tomato, chili powder and cumin to the dish. When that was heating up I added the finished rice, mixed together and let it heat for a few minutes longer. Then serve in a bowl topped with cheese, salsa and guac! πŸ˜‹ Delish!!

I’ve finished three books recently, Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums by Jamie Davis, The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson and The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe. All three books were fantastic! Some spooky haunted locations, a creepy serial killer, and WWII concentration camp horrors.

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe is a Young Adult Non-Fiction book written about the life and remembered events of Dita Kraus during her years in the concentration camps Auschwitz-Birkenau and lastly Bergen-Belsen. Her story is a story of a survivor full of hope, tragedy, and the despicable crimes committed against the Jewish during WWII. I learned so much about the conditions and treatment of prisoners inside concentration camps, but also of what the events leading up to the imprisonment and after the liberation were. I cried with Dita, and I cried for Dita and everyone else who had to go through that. What an amazing story of pure horror and hope! This book was definitely one of the best books, during this time period, that I’ve ever read. In fact, this book is making my top 10 best books I’ve read so far this year! It was not dry at all, and the story sucks you in. I highly recommend to all who love reading about the WWII era or the Holocaust. Five stars!! ⭐️

Next up on the reading agenda is continuing to read IT by Stephen King and Carry the Wind by Terry C Johnston, and start Norman : The Doll That Needed to Be Locked Away by Stephen Lancaster. Continuing my pile of books that I pre- selected for my October Spooky reads! I’m hoping to get through all of them, but I’m finding that I may have chose too many.πŸ˜‚ Oh well, that’s the life of a book nerd for ya!

Happy Reading πŸ€“

Book Review : Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls

I’ve just finished reading the winner for the October Spooky read for a Facebook read-along group that I help run, Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls by Emilie Autumn. This is a YA Horror, mental health book that was written based partially on real life experiences from the author.

Two main characters, Emilie a current day modern rockstar who suffers from bipolar disorder and severe depression with manic episodes causing periods of time where reality isn’t easily discernible for her, and a Victorian girl named Emily who was sold to a despicable wealthy society man for personal desires, of whom she tries to escape and ends up attempting suicide. Then Emily is reported for her attempted suicide by the same man and committed to the local Asylum. Throughout the book Emilie finds these letters from Victorian Emily narrating her stay in the Asylum and documenting the horrid, poor living conditions and the atrocities and nightmarish experiments/treatments performed on the unfortunate inmates of the Asylum, regardless of whether they are certifiably crazy or not. As the two girl’s worlds collide, you’re given the experience of what it was like to live back during the Victorian era with the first mental institutions and shown what it is like in modern day for someone with mental health disorders and the current treatment. We’ve come leaps and bounds, but so much is still unknown. Sad, so sad.

I am left with a myriad of emotions after reading this book, which will most likely stick with me for a while. There were moments of terror, moments of spooky happenings, and eye opening passages providing an insightful glance into what it’s like living with mental illness. I’m so glad that this book proved to fulfill our Spooky October read, but still allow readers to learn from it. I do not recommend this book to those who are very emotionally sensitive, or for those faint of heart as it is a tough story to swallow and there are some very graphic and disturbing situations. If you can tough it out, you won’t be disappointed. I gave this book 3/5 stars not because it was a story that was lacking, but because the switching of characters was hard to track in the beginning and because the ending felt a little rushed but then dragged out with the journal entries. I understand their purpose, as they played an important part to helping us understand what it is like inside the mind of someone with a mental illness, but I feel the very end wasn’t the best place for them. All in all, a good read.