On A Mini-Hiatus!

conferenceweek

I should have put this post up on Monday, but I (stupidly) thought I could balance everything out and wouldn’t need to. Silly me!

Anyway, it’s Conference Week! I had a 12-hour work day on Tuesday due to a before-school staff meeting, the regular school day, and conferences from 3:40-8:00pm, was so exhausted I went to bed almost two hours earlier that night, and am pretty much going to do the same tonight because I’m STILL exhausted and have to pull a nearly 12-hour day tomorrow to finish up my conferences. So blogging is going to need to take a necessary back seat.

I am planning on being back to my regular blogging schedule on Monday, so this will just be a very short break. See you in a few days!

signature2

Posted in Miscellaneous, Personal | Tagged , | 4 Comments

REVIEW: Invisible by Dawn Metcalf

invisibleInvisible (The Twixt #2)
by Dawn Metcalf

Harlequin Teen, 2014
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

Previous Installment: Indelible

Some things lie beneath the surface.

Invisible.

With the power to change everything.

Joy Malone wants it all—power, freedom and the boyfriend who loves her. Yet when an unstoppable assassin is hired to kill her, Joy learns that being the girl with the Sight comes with a price that might be too high to pay. Love will be tested, lives will be threatened, and everyone Joy knows and cares about will be affected by her decision to stand by Ink or to leave the Twixt forever.

Her choice is balanced on a scalpel’s edge and the consequences will be more life-altering than anyone can guess.

mythoughtsWhile I know that the first book in this series, Indelible, didn’t get spectacular reviews across the blogosphere, I personally really enjoyed it and was extremely excited to read the sequel. There was something extremely charming about the romance between Joy and Ink, and I loved the look into the fascinating world of the Twixt. Invisible picks up pretty shortly after Indelible ended, and basically continues the story, with a lot of danger and intrigue thrown in to make things exciting. Of course, with this danger and intrigue also comes drama – unfortunately in the form of tension between Joy and Ink – and some poor decision-making on the part of Joy as well, so for a bit while I was reading I was really concerned about my final feelings for the book. But I was pleasantly surprised at how things resolved themselves – not neatly and nicely, because this is only the second book in a planned four-book series – but in a way I can live with that creates some nice anticipation for the upcoming third book.

I am a big fan of this series’ main characters. Joy is a delight – very real, very down to earth, and I love her determination and snark and wit. Her friendship with best friend Monica is wonderful to read – and I loved the nod to Monica being a person of color, which isn’t often addressed in YA, especially her issues with her boyfriend Gordon and her reasoning for said issues – and while both ladies ventured far and wide from their “no stupid” motto in this book, I like that they ground each other and truly care about each other. So often girlfriends are set aside for the book’s love interest and I just love that that doesn’t happen in this series. Of course, books aren’t good if they don’t have some sort of tension, and that tension comes in the form of a Red Knight who is trying to kill Joy. Throughout the book, Joy makes a series of bad mistakes – culminating in a big fight between Ink and Joy that really hurt my heart a lot – and while I was cringing at her choices and yelling at her through my Kindle, I still liked her and I got why she was doing what she was doing, even if I didn’t like it.

And Ink. OH, Ink. He continues to be a massive charmer, especially as he works to become more human, more like Joy. His emotions were so real and true in this book – and good grief, I’m not sure I’m going to survive it if he and Joy ever take their relationship to the next step because the little pieces that we got here were scorching hot – and I felt so badly for him as he tried to figure out who he was and what he wanted. His love for Joy is palpable, and I hated that it changed him so much, but at the same time was glad to see it did, because that’s what love does. Ink and Joy’s relationship just feels so real to me, and I absolutely adore the way it’s written out for us to read.

All in all, I was very pleased with Invisible and will definitely continue to read this series. The romance is charming and wondrous and amazing to read about, Joy has a (usually) level head on her shoulders, and I really love the unique and diverse supporting cast of characters. There was enough drama and adventure to balance out the romance, as well, and the story kept me thoroughly engaged and on the edge of my seat once the action ratcheted up. While I totally get that this series isn’t for everyone, I for one wholeheartedly recommend it. If you’re at all intrigued, do give it a try!

4stars

An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

signature2

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

State of Merin

stateofmerin

Wow, October already! I can’t believe how fast time is flying by. I feel like I just started the school year, and now we’re nearly at the end of 1st Quarter. I’ve already had to deal with report cards (I’m not QUITE done, but will be by my principal’s deadline of Thursday by the end of the day), and now have to think about Parent-Teacher Conferences, which are Tuesday and Thursday of next week. So much to do!

In terms of my reading, I’m a little sad that I had such a bad reading month in September, but honestly saw it coming. It’s just really hard to work all day – which is exhausting even if my class IS better than last year’s group – and not be tired/want to do something mindless when I get home. I do very little reading during the week; right now the only thing happening consistently is listening to an audiobook in the morning as I get ready for work. I will sometimes read a chapter or two at night, but it’s not very consistent. It just makes me give those of you who DO manage to work full-time and read a couple books a week mad props because I honestly don’t know how you manage it!

In other news, I am all wrapped up in postseason baseball – my hometown Cardinals beat the Dodgers in the NLDS and will play the Giants starting Saturday in the NLCS – and while I don’t necessarily care about American League baseball, I am rooting for the Royals (the other Missouri team, so gotta support ‘em). Would be pretty cool to have a rematch of the 1985 World Series, hopefully with a different outcome. I also love that fall is finally here; the temperature has cooled down of late, and I love that I can start thinking about wearing sweaters and whatnot. Of course, cardigans are ALWAYS a wardrobe staple for me, even in summer, but I have some really cute sweaters and am looking forward to being able to wear my heavier-textured tops.

I also decided to finally bite the bullet and delete many of the TV shows I used to watch religiously from my DVR. While I still love my crime dramas – and will catch them on replay on different networks – I just don’t want to devote that kind of time to so many shows each week, especially since I hardly watched any current TV last year so would be almost a full season behind. I do have all of the episodes that have aired of The Musketeers saved, so will watch that as time allows instead, but have just decided that live TV isn’t going to happen. And I’m okay with that; I’d rather have sports or something on in the background, since that allows me to multitask and not have to devote my undivided attention to it for a set period of time. (I always joke that teaching has given me ADD, but I think this might be a perfect example of it. Ha.)

And now that this post has flown all over the place, I figure it’s a good place to stop. My mind is rather cluttered up – this post is a testament to that – but all in all I’m happy with where I am. Now let’s just see if I can’t manage to do a BIT more reading this month; if so things will be pretty perfect!

signature2

Posted in Personal | Tagged | 1 Comment

Waiting on Wednesday #92

wowbanner

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week I’m Waiting on Wednesday for The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall (Putnam Juvenile):

conspiracyofusTo fight her destiny as the missing heir to a powerful and dangerous secret society, sixteen-year-old Avery West must solve an ancient puzzle in a deadly race across Europe. Forbidden love and code-breaking, masked balls and explosions, destiny and dark secrets collide in this romantic thriller, in the vein of a YA DaVinci Code.

Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada at the Champs-Elysees when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war.

They are part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle of Twelve, and Avery is their missing heir. If they discover who she is, some of them will want to use her as a pawn. Some will want her dead.

To thwart their plans, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the landmarks of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul and through a web of ancient legends and lies. And unless she can stay one step ahead of beautiful, volatile Stellan, who knows she’s more than she seems, and can decide whether to trust mysterious, magnetic Jack, she may be doomed after all.

[ADD TO GOODREADS]

Why I’m looking forward to this book:

Okay, this book just sounds awesome. Secret societies, puzzles, races across Europe: it all screams excitement and adventure and I LOVE books like that. The forbidden love things kind of makes me a tad nervous, but if the rest of the book is even half as awesome as it sounds then I think I can give it a pass.

Release Date: January 13, 2015

What are you waiting on this week? Please link me!

signature2

Posted in Waiting on Wednesday | Tagged | 7 Comments

Ten Books for Readers Who Like Character-Driven Novels

tttbanner

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers there at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post asked us to list Ten Books for Readers Who Like Character-Driven Novels. I actually initially had a hard time with this topic, because my mind immediately went “oh, contemporaries,” which I don’t read a whole lot of. So I did some digging through my Goodreads (with the help of a Goodreads’ list I found via Googling), and then realized that it didn’t necessarily mean it HAD to be a contemporary book, and was able to put the list together. I also tried to mix in a variety of genres, just to keep the list from getting boring. Hopefully all of these books work!

Flergs_SpringFling_StitchedConfetti1

ttt66

graceling

1) Graceling by Kristin Cashore

ordinarymagic

2) Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway

shadowandbone

3) Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

wherethestarsstillshine

4) Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

graveyardbook

5) The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

prisonerofnightandfog

6) Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

impossible

7) Impossible by Nancy Werlin

lightningthief

8) The Lightning Thief (and subsequent books) by Rick Riordan

darkestminds

9) The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

ifIlie

10) If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

Flergs_SpringFling_StitchedConfetti1

So that’s my list! Which books made yours this week? Please link me!

signature2

Posted in Top Ten Tuesday | Tagged | 12 Comments

REVIEW: Pointe by Brandy Colbert

pointePointe by Brandy Colbert
Penguin, 2014
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

mythoughtsWhen I first heard about Pointe, my initial thought was “yay, another ballet book!” Because, I mean, look at that gorgeous cover. And that title clearly screams ballet, am I right? But no. This book has very little to do with ballet in the long run – yes, the main character dances, and yes, she’s extremely talented, but the title itself has very little to do with Theo’s dancing and more with her state of mind throughout this book. Even after reading the summary, I wasn’t expecting this to be such a painful, dark read. I know; maybe the coloring of the cover should have warned me, but it didn’t. As such, I am ultimately not sure how I feel about the book upon finishing it, and am aware that my review may very well be all over the place. I had a lot of feelings and emotions while reading Theo’s story, which is the mark of a good author, but doesn’t make for an enjoyable reading experience, at least not for me.

Theo was a difficult character to like. She makes really poor choices – and yes, her mental health throughout this book is not in a good place – but there were so many times, particularly when she started getting mixed up with Hosea that I just wanted to reach into the pages and shake her. She’s dealing with a lot – her regression into full-blown anorexia, the return of her childhood friend who’s been missing for four years (and the part she unwittingly played in that), auditions for her summer ballet school training – and it all culminates into making her someone who I just really had a difficult time understanding. The only time I liked her was when she was dancing – which was probably the point, because that’s when she felt the best about herself – but she treats others rather casually with a seeming disregard to their feelings. I dunno. I just had a hard time with her.

The whole story arc of Donovan’s disappearance is told in bits and pieces, to the point that it became almost frustrating for me at times because I just wanted to know what was going on. Theo herself is trying to understand what happened, so I get why it’s a bit piecemeal, but man it made things frustrating. And the fact that it takes her so freaking long to tell ANYONE about what’s going on in her head also didn’t help my reading experience. And I don’t care how much she liked Hosea, I thought he was a giant jerk who wanted his cake and to eat it, too. I get that they had some sort of connection, but the guy never treated her the way he should have, and I didn’t like how long it took her to figure that out. But love is never easy, I guess, and Theo was so very damaged that I can’t really blame her for any of it, even if I was yelling at her a lot in my head.

There is also a LOT of potentially triggering things in this book. Eating disorders, child abuse, sexual acts involving minors, this book is loaded and sets the entire tone. It’s dark, depressing and made my heart hurt a whole lot. But it’s also horrifyingly realistic, and therefore a worthwhile read. I can’t really say I liked Pointe – it’s not that kind of book – but I will say it’s well-written and eye-opening and important. Just don’t let that tulle-covered cover fool you; this ain’t your typical ballet book, that’s for sure!

4stars

signature2

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

September Book Haul

stsbanner

[Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews]

Flergs_SpringFling_StitchedConfetti1bookhaul

Purchased:

Library Loans:

Bookish Things:

  • Candles from FromthePage on Etsy (pictured: As You Wish, Butterbeer, Hagrid’s Pumpkin Patch)
  • Belle Mug

Audiobooks Purchased:

dirtywings thissongwillsaveyourlife

Galleys and/or E-books:

redqueen beastkeeper princessofthorns invisible liarsinc awickedthing

Geez! When it’s all written out like that, it makes the haul look massive, doesn’t it? But it IS a whole month’s worth, and I have the galleys all listed nice and neat in my calendar, so hopefully I can keep up with them and get them read and reviewed in a timely fashion. I am going to work really hard on that these next few months; we’ll see how it goes.

So that’s what I picked up in September! Please link me to your hauls so I can see your new goodies, too!

signature2

Posted in Stacking the Shelves | Tagged | 16 Comments

October TBR Pile

tbrpilebanner

Another month over, another new TBR Pile! I didn’t do much reading at all in September because work was just absolutely insane, and I’m not sure how much I’ll get done early in October, either, because we have report cards due next week and then parent-teacher conferences the next week, but I’m still hoping to at least read more than I did in September. As usual, I’ve created a stack of books to choose from; some of these won’t get read, others may be added, etc., but this gives you a general idea if nothing else of what I’m hoping to get to this month.

tbrpile

October’s List:

  • The Fourth Wish by Lindsay Ribar
  • Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer
  • Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
  • The Raven Boys (on audiobook – currently listening to)

E-books + Not-Yet-Released Books (not pictured):

  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (my Halloween read)
  • The Fall by Bethany Griffin
  • The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

And [3] Galleys from the Following List:

  • Invisible by Dawn Metcalf (currently reading)
  • Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
  • The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
  • Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
  • Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

Have you read any of these? Which one(s) do you recommend the most?

signature2

Posted in TBR Pile | Tagged | 1 Comment

September in Review

monthinreview

September was a very busy month for me work-wise, which inevitably means that my reading suffered. I only read three books – although I did finally manage to make it (nearly) all the way through my first ever audiobook – but was able to continue to post new content Monday – Thursday on my blog each week. So that’s a bonus. I am hoping to be able to up my volume read in October, and also make it through my second ever audiobook. We’ll see how it goes!

BOOKS READ IN SEPTEMBER:

fallingintoplace terrorofthesouthlands winnerscurse

REVIEWS POSTED:

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood
The Terror of the Southlands by Caroline Carson
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

CURRENTLY READING:

ravenboysuk pointe invisible

OTHER NEWS AND/OR POSTS OF INTEREST:

As usual, I participated in Top Ten Tuesday each week in September, where I shared my Top Ten Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table, my Top Ten Underrated Books in the Contemporary YA Genre, the Top Ten Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More, the Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR List, and the Top Ten Books That Were Hard for Me to Read. I also signed up for the Trees of Reverie September Read-A-Thon, and shared my goals.

In other meme-ish news, I once again participated in Waiting on Wednesday, where I featured The Fall by Bethany Griffin, Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers, The Devil You Know by Trish Doller, Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins, and The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski.

Other posts of interest include my September TBR Pile (I did terribly this month with reading anything, so obviously strayed far and wide from this list), my monthly State of Me post, my August Book Haul, 25 Random Facts About Me (plus pictures!), my musings on the joys and perils of borrowing books from the library, and another monthly recap version of my new A Week in Bookstagrams feature.

ANTICIPATING IN OCTOBER:

bloodofolympus

Other Things I’m Anticipating: Playoff baseball! My hometown team play the Dodgers on Friday, and I will – of course! – be root, root, rooting for the Cardinals!

Hello, October!

signature2

Posted in Month in Review | Tagged | 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday #91

wowbanner

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week I’m Waiting on Wednesday for The Winner’s Crime (Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski (Farrar, Straus & Giroux [BYR]):

NOTE: Summary contains spoilers for The Winner’s Curse.

winnerscrimeBook two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

[ADD TO GOODREADS]

Why I’m looking forward to this book:

I just recently finished The Winner’s Curse, and went asdfjkl; at the ending. It broke my heart, and I just feel awful for Kestrel and Arin and just HAD to know what came next. And then I read the first few chapters of The Winner’s Crime, and my asdfjkl; turned into ASDFJKL;!!!. And now my impatience for the next book has skyrocketed even more.

Release Date: March 3, 2015

What are you waiting on this week? Please link me!

signature2

Posted in Waiting on Wednesday | Tagged , | 9 Comments