Good Reads Goal Met!?

Whaaaattttt?! That’s right people! I have read 52 books this year and it’s only September.

That feels lovely. I feel like I’ve read some pretty great books thus far as well.

Since I have met my goal for 2017 as far as how many books I was looking to complete, I am starting on a whole new goal.

I still haven’t completed the reading challenges I had set up for myself to aid in reading 52 books and I’m not sure that I will, however, I am looking to diversify my reading more so there is that.

Ultimately though, I have been itching to rearrange my room but that is impossible with the number of books I have covering various surfaces. So! new goal is to focus my reading on the books stacked up allllll over this room of mine.

I have already purged any books I was no longer interested in and reorganized all these piles accordingly. I figure I can share a TBR as I hit each surface because HOLY CRAP there are a lot of books surrounding me.

This isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually quite nice but! I am constantly staring at the books wishing I could just read them all now so boom! I am. First surface stack we shall attack is the one on top of my totes of books. Oh yes, that’s right. I have so many books that I haven’t read kicking around my room that I had to fill totes with them and stack those because my bookshelves are over stuffed. SO! The books we are starting this adventure with are as follows:

  • I Love You, Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz- Logsted currently reading
  • A String of Pearls
  • The trial by Franz Kafka
  • H is for Hawk by Hele Macdonald
  • Magonia re-read
  • Aerie sequel to Magonia
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes
  • The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley
  • A Hero’s Throne by Ross Lawhead
  • The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead
  • American Street
  • Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling pseudo re-read since I’ve read HP as a whole but not this version
  • When Dimple Met Rishi
  • Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
  • Seduction of a Proper Gentleman by Victoria Alexander
  • Prince Caspian by CS Lewis
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis
  • The silver Chair by CS Lewis
  • The Last Battle by CS Lewis
  • Healing Back Pain
  • Creating Health by Deepak Chopra
  • A Reliable Wife
  • Household Tips and Handy Hints
  • Stranger on the Train

Yup. Those are all the books stacked in just one little part of my room. Oh! Add to this the three graphic novels I have kicking around on my computer from NetGalley and the Once Upon a Book Club box I have had for frikkin months just sitting on my floor. Not a clue how long it will take me to get through these but! I do have a readathon to help me get started.

The #ISATRAT readathon starts up tomorrow for the week. The goals are super attainable. My favorite are to read 20 minutes every day and 10 pages a day. I should get through at least one book this way and that is a lovely thing.

BTW I have a big ole list of reviews to get posted too and I’m thinking I’ll try to do one a week going forward at least to catch up.

See you then!


Rapid Fire Review: The Alice Network

Let’s get this out-of-the-way right now because I have some things to say.

Note: This review is 100% my opinion and may contain spoilers. 

I have never returned anything late to my library. If I can’t renew it, I’ll just bring it back and get back in line to borrow it again. I was halfway through this book on the day it was due back. I wanted to know what the answers to the never-ending questions were. I was interested. And, I had been 50th in line to get the damn thing so I figured I could swing a 25 cent late fee to finish it up.

I should have just brought it back and grabbed another book. However, then! You would not have the pleasure of reading my review which I will say right now, is not a positive one. So, if you don’t want to hear why I did not enjoy this book then scoot. If you doooo want to hear it–here we go.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
This novel is told in two alternating perspectives. The first, is Charlie in 1947 and the second is Eve in 1915. The book takes place in France. And if you haven’t figured it out from the dates given, Eve’s narration is during WWI and Charlie;s from just after WWII.

Now the synopsis for this book was amazing. Female spies during the World Wars, Really!?! I mean, from a historical standpoint, that has the potential to be the most interesting story. You don’t hear about the women who spied on the Germans anywhere near as the Turncoats or the men who fought the Germans. To say I was pumped to read this book is an understatement. And then, I actually read it.

Charlie St. Cloud is 20 years old. She is from an affluent family. And she has found herself unwed and pregnant in 1947. Charlie is fucking annoying and I quickly disliked her. Oh and I have reasons!

First of all, she is incredibly naïve(true to someone of her age) but, believes she knows more than anyone else. The author gave her a talent with numbers but I’m honestly not sure why as all she ever did with it was argue checks at restaurants. She abandons her mother without so much as a note to go on a search for her missing cousin Rose. Now, her mother and father are sending her away to a center to have her “Little Problem” taken care of.

Let’s just pause right there. For the majority of Charlie’s story, she refers to her pregnancy as her “Little Problem.” REALLY!? I mean, sure she can be scared and not sure about it but why, if your parents are such an issue for you would you adopt the name they are using for the situation. Especially since you randomly decide to keep this baby and then still go on calling her Little Problem. Not sure any child wants to brought into the world being known as the “problem.: UGH!

Charlie herself is sooooo self loathing that anytime she is given a moment to describe herself she tears herself down. Not one time does she refer to herself in a positive manner except to say that she is good with numbers and quick-witted. Not to mention the umber of times she refers to HERSELF as a whore. OMG. That drove me insane.

She did sleep with a lot of boys at her school. She is unwed and pregnant. She does not know who the father is. Does that mean you should continue calling yourself a whore over and over and over. And I do mean, over and over because it is in her narrative CONSTANTLY.

Now, I did like that the women in this novel were sexual however, I could have done with something that made sense. I mean, a woman can be sexual without her grieving (Charlie) or trying to gain information (Eve). A woman does not have to throw herself on every attractive male because she’s previously had sex (Charlie) and is therefore no longer worthy of more. Yeah.

While I’m on that topic. Finn is a Scottish solider who is essentially Eve’s assistant. During Charlie’s search for her cousin Rose, she stalks locates Eve and they end up on this convoluted search together with Finn as Eve is not able to drive or do much more than bitch due to her injuries and age (ohhhh we’ll get to her in a minute). Finn is a brooding character and for one whole chapter he thwarts Charlie’s suuuuuuuper forward advances. I mean, she literally has a sip of liquor and then jumps on him saying he can have her since she’s already stuck with her problem. Yeah, cause that’s attractive. Not to mention, he is quite a bit older than Charlie. I’m no stickler for age differences but it’s just weird to have a romance between these two IMO.

Which leads to the thing I was most annoyed with and the moment I actually considered just giving up on the book as a whole.

Without having the label for it, Finn suffers from PTSD, much like Charlie’s brother did when he committed suicide (oh yeah! there’s a little bit of everything thrown into this just shy of 500 pages mess). Finn’s PTSD causes him to go into blind rages. In particular, in the scene where Charlie finally finds out what happened to her cousin Rose (Spoiler alert: Nazis killed her and bonus! the same guy Eve hates is involved! How convenient.) Finn is brought back to his own time as a solider and is taken by emotion and then, has one of these rages. During this, he is beating on a particularly racist dick that was sitting at another table (possibly working at the café they were at. I’m not even sure at this point) and Charlie is trying to stop him. And! He punches her in the face.

Let’ me say that again, Finn PUNCHES Charlie in the face. Then he runs away all ashamed of his behavior and obviously to calm down. What does she do? She goes after him, strokes his face, and then jumps on him.She jumps on him. Because if a man punches me in the face my reaction is to have sex with him. In a car no less.

I already did not like Charlie, at this point, I just gave up on all hope of her story arc going anywhere I cared about. Not to mention, this is a little over halfway through the book and we’ve solved the mystery we set out to. THERE WERE STILL 100 PAGES LEFT.

Let’s move on to Eve, shall we?

Eve is an English woman. She is multi-lingual. Super smart. And has a stutter. She had trouble finding work and wants to find a way to fight in this crazy war in 1915. So boom! She gets recruited as a spy and popped into a café where she works for Rene this really smarmy profiteer.

All of the narrative that is from Eve’s perspective save the very end of the book is in 1915 and it is used as a response to whatever behavior she has displayed in the Charlie narrated 1947 chapters. Confused, yet?

So Eve is a spitfire and her chapters were far more interesting than Charlie’s because come on, she was a spy! Infinitely more interesting than anything going on in the Charlie chapters. In fact, had this novel been just the Eve tale, I think it would have been a better novel all around. Not sure it would have garnered much more rating wise from me but I may have enjoyed it more.

Don’t get me wrong though, I have issues with her too. Really, I have issues with the depiction of women in this entire story.

In this case, Eve as a spy is placed as a server in the café that Rene owns. He forces his authority and connection to the Germans on her and they end up in a sexual relationship. In the course of the relationship, she gains intel and shares it through the network. In the end, when he figures out she must be a spy (there is an arrest that happens that leads to this assumption) he attempts to gain information he can trade for his life (because you know, Nazi’s aren’t known for being understanding) by torturing Eve and breaking all of her fingers. Which is why the old battle-axe in the 1947 narratives has “claw like hands.”
I said I don’t like the depiction of women in this story, correct? There are three women talked about the most in this novel. Eve-our spy and battle axe; Charlie-our naïve 20 something; and Rose Charlie’s lost cousin.

All three of these women end up pregnant at some point in their tale.
Eve as a result of the sexual relationship she is in with Rene has an at home abortion.
Charlie as a result of her response to grieving her brother’s suicide is going to have a clinical abortion but ends up keeping her baby.
Rose as a result of a loving relationship also keeps her baby.

I understand why it may be important to just talk about the struggles a women who found herself pregnant in the 40’s had. However, was it necessary for everyone to have that struggle. Additionally, did Rose and Charlie’s lives have to parallel to the point that both have disapproving parents, both end up leaving home behind, and they each name their children after each other.

Additionaly, in the case of Eve and Charlie, they are depcited as using sex or being forced to use sex and then that being the way they view sex going forward. There is no growth there.

There is also this underlying theme in each characters existence of guilt.
Eve is convinced by Rene during the torture session that she gave up her friend and fellow spy and blames herself for her friends imprisonment and ultimately her death (which is caused by a disease).
Charlie believes that she should have been able to save both her brother and Rose. Her brother commits suicide after coming home from WWII and Rose, as previously stated, is shot by Nazi’s.
Finn carries around guilt due to his service duties of clearing out concentration camps.
The recruiting Captain is guilty for ever putting Eve in her situation.
Everyone is all guilty all the time. Everything is their fault and they internalize all of it. It’s unhealthy and overused throughout the book.

Let’s talk about that Captain for a minute. So The Alice Network is a network of female spies during the world wars. Mr. Captain man recruits them, collects their intel, and gives them orders. He poses as their Uncle in the grand cover story they all have in which they are all related in some way or servants or whatever. Now this Captain is of course handsome because somehow the women all describe themselves as ugly but the men are all dashing and handsome (Even the profiteering sleezeball!) and he and Eve are in love. No, they are. I mean, that’s what is thrown in the middle of a chapter when Eve is struggling to continue sleeping with Rene. That she is in love with the Captain. Oh OH Oh  annnnd turns out he is in love with her too!

Now, he has a wife and children but when Eve seduces him, he ends up sleeping with her. He has apparently, always loved her since they met and when he eventually passes away leaves most of his estate to her (despite having children?). This felt 100% unnecessary. It was like the thought process was, “Shit, I need to explain why Eve has money but never works. I know! The Captain loves her and he’ll leave her lots of money in the end. Boom!”

The culmination of this entire story is the revenge Eve would like to have on Rene for alllllll the crap he put her through, forcing her to turn in her friends, and the whole breaking her hands thing. conveniently, the man behind Rose’s death is , you guessed it, Rene. So! These two women go off and hunt him down to confront him. He’s still sleazy. We still don’t like him. What happens to him isn’t surprising in the end. You know it’s coming. I did like the addition of Charlie leaving a photo of him surrounded by Nazi’s because Nazis are bad and no one likes Nazis.

I gave the book 2 stars on Good Reads and I’ll tell you why. There is an author’s note at the end of the book that explains all of the historical elements in the book and how they tie in. That is the best written, most interesting, and best part of the entire book. For that, and the recommended reading list, I give two stars.

Otherwise, no. Not my favorite. The only shining spot on finishing this read is that I can check off a box on the bingo card I’m completing for my local library. Now, to pay my late fee and move on to something else. Oy.

August with Nicholas Sparks

Hello and Happy August!

This month, there is a theme to my reading. Mr. Nicholas Sparks!

Why do you ask? Well, here’s the thing. My Mom is quite the reader and she discovered Mr. Sparks way back when Message in a Bottle came out. She has read every, single book. She owns every movie adaptation. He is her absolute favorite.

Somehow. I have never read one of his books. I have seen all of the adaptations. Mom claims I will love his books. And since we do own them all. And it just so happens that August is Mom’s birthday month. I am going to read Nicholas Sparks for the month of August.

I’m not sure that I’ll only read him but I would like to attempt to read a few at the very least.

I am starting with Two by Two and A Walk to Remember.

Leave  a comment with which of his books you think I should pick up this month?

Rapid Fire Reviews: Gemina

Note: This review is 100% my opinion and may contain spoilers. 


HOLY SHIT! I mean COME ON! This book was a ride, to say the least. If you have not jumped on the Illuminae Files train and you enjoy Sci-Fi reads with a YA flare, PICK IT UP NOW.

I was audibly yelling at this book while I read it. I said the phrase, “plot twist,” out loud and then sat with my jaw hanging while I continued.

This was such a good sequel. If you have not heard of Illuminae (my review is Here) it is a story that takes place in space after a crazy massacre happens and everyone escapes to different ships in a fleet. The first book follows Kady and her people and her lovely adventures with Aidan. Aidan is the AI system aboard the ship and he is by far one of my favorite elements of this story.

This book takes place aboard another ship and follows Hanna and her people. Now, in the first one, I loved Aidan so much that I about threw the book from excitement when I realized he was popping up again in this one.

My favorite part of this one was the surveillance updates. Whatever employee was writing those was just 100% snark and sarcasm and I loved it.

The book is made up of all kinds of different documents, just like Illuminae, and the addition of Hanna’s journal was beautiful. I loved the artwork.

If you follow me on GoodReads you will have seen the journey this book took me on. OMG the weird little slimy drug providing creatures were things of nightmares. Those poor cows! Also, cows in space?! hahahaha.

I absolutely loved this one from beginning to end. I may wager that I liked it even better than the first. I can not WAIT for the third installment. It was pushed back already but is slated to be released in March 2018.

Rapid Fire Reviews: June

I have a feeling this may be my style of review. Well, atleast this time around because I have not written any reviews for the past ohhh six books I’ve completed and I don’t want to feel like I am INSANELY BEHIND ON LIFE.

Thus, rapid fire review. Let’s talk about the books I completed over the past month.

Note: These opinions are my 100% own. These reviews may include spoilers. 

Ready? GO!


Room by Emma Donoghue

I have this whole goal to pull things off my very, super crazy, stuffed shelves by reading books by the same author, if I have them. I completed  The Wonder and knew I had Room kicking around on my book shelf from what was supposed to be a group read years ago. I was impressed with Emma Donoghue’s writing style and wanted to get into another of her books.

I love Jack. I love him. I love him so much. He is the sweetest, most adorable, little fictional boy. I mean, I love him like I love Lucy from Narnia. The way that this particular author writes children makes you remember how it feels to be innocent and untouched. To be vulnerable and imaginative. I love Jack.

The story itself is a dark one at its base. A girl gets kidnapped and held captive for 7 years by a swarmy kind of dude who lied about a sick dog to grab her. Jack is the light. I loved that he has a kind of growth that no other charectar gets in the book.

I gave it 5 GR stars and would pick up anything by this author.

Bonus: Watched the movie (cause I do that) and I have to say- I get why people lovvvve Brie Larson and Jacob Trembley so much. MAN! They were lovely. I found the discrepancies from book to movie made parts of the story lack the same feeling they did in the book but overall a solid film.

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café by Max Lucado with Eric Newman and Candace Lee

You know how Hallmark makes all those feel good, sometimes Christain centric, made for TV movies that you end up watching without meaning too? That’s what this is.

I was grabbing a book for Mom at my library and this super cute cover distracted me and 20 minutes later I was devouring this book. Seriously, it’s super short, it’s kind of adorable. It has a bit of an It’s a Wonderful Life vibe with the angel coming to help the struggling Momma.

The whole story gave me the warm fuzzies. Manny, Mr’ Angel come to help, is hilarious! And totally obsessed with Star Wars which made me happy. Your main charectar is Chelsea; a separated, newly single Mom. She is trying to keep a café that’s been in her family forever running. She is a baker. She is struggling and it just so happens that her sister is part of a church (married to the Pastor) and they all pray and it’s lovely. And then poof! Manny shows up and people can talk to God in her café. Yup. They can connect to God through WiFi and ask him questions directly. It’s like a newfangled prayer line.

It was an adorable read. I kind of loved it without meaning to. Super quick read.

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

This is the one Epic Reads made me pick up and OMG was it worth it. Holy Crap! This has twists and turns and crazy drama on just about every page. It’s told through dual perspectives. So one chapter is the twin sister, Carys, and one is the twin brother, Andreyus. I swear, at some points, I don’t know which one was crazier. I mean, your dude is in love with a Seer and willing to risk everything for her. Oh and POWER HUNGRY. Your chick is some kind of medieval drug addict and a badass!

The only negative I had with this book was the sudden need to give Carys a love interest. I mean, why? Was it necessary? Did she need to have a crush annnnnnd some dude who came to be her hero? I don’t know. Despite not liking that aspect, I did love the appearance of a random hero who I’m fairly certain is evil. Or at least related to evil.

I can’t wait to grab the next one in this series. I will say, if you’re not a fan of cliffhanger endings-wait for the next book to come out before you grab this. MAN.

If that wasn’t enough reading I blew through two more books this weekend while on Dog Duty at my sister’s place.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

OMG! I get the hype! I am one with the hype! I loved this. Loved it, loved it, loved it. This is novel that is comprised of a collection of documents about a crazy event that occurred. Therefore, this isn’t your typical read. Some of it is in chat form. Some is email. Some is letters. Some is diagram or drawing. And then there is the actual dialogue moments.

The event is uhhhh well, its the future and we live on planet-ish sectors. One sector gets destroyed. Everyone jumps on a spaceship and then the spaceships start flipping out. Legit. The spaceship has an Aritficial Intelligence system and it has a bit of breakdown.

I have to say. I really liked Aidan. The fact that the AI system gets to have a voice was fun. If you’ve ever wonderied (like me) if your GPS gets mad when you don’t listen to it, this book kind of gives you the insight that Yes, SHE GETS PISSED>

It was sooooo good. Like so good. Like if you haven’t picked it up yet and you like YA Fantasy Sci-Fi reads–go! Get it! NOW! Read! and then discuss it with me because none of my real life bookish friends know what I’m talking about!

Also–already started Gemina, the sequel, and YES!

And then! Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

This one is because I was at my sister’s and finished Illuminae and needed another book. I went and raided my niece’s book shelf and she loved these books. The book is about hidden children. The country has determined that each family can only have two children. The third children are illegal and kept hidden. And that’s where Luke comes in. I’ll say that it was written well. The concept was interesting. The first book was a good one. I could not get into the second one so I doubt I’ll continue with the series.

Oh! I forgot one.

Son by Lois Lowry

This is the fourth and final book in The Giver Quartet. Now I absolutely loved The Giver. It was such a cool read. It had intrigue and a weird society and a kidnapping and crazy deaths. It was gooooood. Then Gathering Blue was not as exciting and felt like it belonged in a different series. Messenger, book number three WAS AWFUL. Beginning to end awful.

I had decided I just wasn’t finishing this quartet after Messenger. But! An old friend assured me that Son would wrap everything up and then the two middle books would make more sense.

Well screw that. Son was not any better than the two previous books. And yes, it does let you know where that ridiculous cliff hanger at the end of The Giver ends up but! it takes a hell of a long time to get there. It’s predictable and all in all just wasn’t a good read. The caliber of The Giver does not follow through to the rest of its books.

And that! That is why I was referring to myself as a Book Dragon because I am actually ahead on my Good Reads Challenge and just really enjoying devouring books.

With that said, I’m going to go back to Gemina!

Book Dragon!

I have always associated myself with the term “book worm.” I was a child that always had her nose in a book. I was reading full series at a young age. Example, in Kindergarten, I was one of 5 kiddos that already knew how to read. While the rest of the class was learning how, we had the option of going to our library and picking out books. During that year of school, I read the entire collection of Junior Biographies, all of Dr. Seuss, and the Mercer Meyer books I didn’t have at home.

A few years later, my aunt gifted me the Little House on the Prairie series and I devoured it. Then it was Anne of Green Gables (OMG I still love miss Anne with an E). Then the epic series that is The Baby Sitters Club. Side note: Did you know they are sill writing these? And it’s up in the 100’s now. I’m toying with the idea of starting from the beginning and reading them all again.

I read allllll the Roald Dahl books but somehow never read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. By 13, I was into the creepier reads. I attempted Stephen King (Because Maine) but preferred the movie versions (unheard of, right?)  and then picked up R.L. Stine instead because my cousin was reading them. I read those through a summer and then moved on to some chunky mysteries and suspense horror by the time I was 15.

I also read all of Shakespeare’s works at that time because I was a little obsessed with Othello and Romeo and Juliet at the time. (Cut to college when I had to read them all again TWICE due to having to take Shakespeare twice to get my degree. I haven’t picked up one since).

In high school, I still read a lot. More so in the summer than any other time but I always had a book or five going. Harry Potter came around when I was in high school too.

College, as an English Language and Literature major, to say I read a lot is an understatement. Due to the major, I was reading intensively, everything. Legit, this is what I remember putting down in my first two years at Rivier–ready?

  • 90 % of Shakespeare’s Plays (my teacher loved the tragedy’s so we did allll the Kings)
  • The entirety of Major British Writers Volume II
  • Frankenstein
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Dracula
  • Beowulf
  • Some horribly written Post-Moderninisim themed book about a wine tasting that I’ve blocked out
  • Night by Elie Wiesel
  • The Alchemist
  • The Book of Genesis (Bible–cause Catholic College)

And that’s just off the top of my head and doesn’t include actual text books or the amount of Chinese I had to study for that class.

On top of that, because my happy place has always been books, I discovered I really liked YA. I read the Angus, Thongs, and Snogging series. The A to Z List series. I read Prep then and loved it.

My next run of college brought along with it Popular Fiction. The class in which I read 10 books in 8 weeks. YUP.

I think the speed in which I had to consume books in college is why I sometimes take my time and spend a month lost in a book.

BUT! This month. This month, I have been more than a little book worm. I have been a book dragon! I feel like I just keep getting into good books and then attack another and another.

With that said, I have reviews to do! Talking books makes me happy. That soul happy, you know. SO! Expect to see reviews in the near future.

Woop Woop! I’m feeling good about it. 🙂 Book Dragon FTW.

Epic Reads Strikes Again!

I am a lover of bookish things, quite obviously. I’m also a chronic subscriber and a lover of giveaways so it should come as no surprise that I get a lot of bookish emails each day. One of my absolute favorite daily emails is the Epic Reads First 5.

If you do not know what Epic Reads is, let’s educate you shall we. Epic Reads is a site that feels like a YA movement. It’s full of lists and entertaining videos, quizzes, and articles about upcoming Young Adult authors or books. Epic Reads is the YA part of Harper Collins and holy crap, do they publish some amazing books.

The First 5 newsletter is literally the first 5 chapters of a book in the Epic Reads/HC family. This was how I used to pass my time at my horribly boring hotel reservation gig. I’d just go through the Epic Reads site and pick out the “read a preview of insert-book-title-here” and read a chapter or five.

This resulted in me racing to my local Books-A-Million after work to grab Queen of Hearts because five chapters was not enough.

I signed up for the newsletter and have been adding books to my TBR rather steadily ever since. I enjoy this newsletter so much because you aren’t just going by a synopsis, you get to actually get into a story and then decide if you want to continue.

Well! I’m catching up on my emails today, as is a usual Sunday event as of late, and the first five is fannnnntastic! This time its Dividing Eden and I am hooked. This one is about twins in a kingdom where their Father is the King. Their brother is next in line for the throne but apparently something is going to happen to him. And there are secrets and intrigue. IIIIIII like it. So much so that at the top of Chapter 3, I went and searched for it on my library’s website and requested it.

Good on you, Epic Reads! You win again!