Merin’s Mid-Week Musings #4

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Mid-Week Musings is a new feature here at Read and Reviewed, where I sum up my reading for the past week and introduce a topic for discussion. It is inspired by Musing Mondays over at A Daily Rhythm and her previous WWW Wednesday meme, which has been discontinued.

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discussionReading Spots! Where do you do most of your reading? For me, I like background noise, so tend to camp out in the living room in front of the TV in a rocking chair. I don’t read in bed – I know, I’m kind of weird – because I tend to go to bed late. I also tend to get caught up in whatever I’m reading, so it does the opposite of settling me down so I can sleep. So for me, the living room is my spot. Plus in the rocking chair I can sprawl out a bit with my legs over the arms, and whatnot, which keeps me comfortable.

So, tell me about your reading spot(s)! I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

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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 asks us to list ten characters who are book lovers. I wanted to stay with book characters for my list this week, which was surprisingly difficult. But in the end I did manage to come up with ten, so. Here’s my list!

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Books Listed in Order:

  1. Harry Potter
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia
  3. Pride and Prejudice
  4. The Hobbit
  5. The Time Traveler’s Wife
  6. The Book Thief
  7. The Beautiful and the Cursed (and sequels)
  8. OCD, The Dude, and Me
  9. The Thirteenth Tale
  10. Good Omens

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

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Merin’s Mid-Week Musings #3

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Mid-Week Musings is a new feature here at Read and Reviewed, where I sum up my reading for the past week and introduce a topic for discussion. It is inspired byMusing Mondays over at A Daily Rhythm and her previous WWW Wednesday meme, which has been discontinued.

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Childhood Favorites! I love to hear about the books folks read when they were little. I’m not talking about chapter books, either; I mean picture books! As a first grade teacher my ickle ones adore picture books, and I’m always on the hunt for new ones that they’ll love. I also read them ones that I loved when I was little, as usually they’re older and they’ve never heard them before. One of my favorites is Where the Wild Things Are, but the book I vividly remember loving as a child is The Monster At the End of This Book. (Who of course turns out to be Grover. ♥) There was also a book that I can’t remember the title of, where the Sun decides not to come out anymore. My mom read that one to me over and over and over.

So what were your childhood favorites? Please share them with me in the comments!

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Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters

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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 asks us to list ten books that celebrate diversity or diverse characters. I have to admit, I had a lot of trouble putting this list together, which just means I need to do better in that regard. So I only have eight books on the list, and most of them deal with characters with mental health issues. If you have any recs for me that would be considered diverse, please share them in the comments!

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1) OCD, The Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn

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2) Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

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3) Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier

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4) The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

averylongengagement5) A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot

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6) A Step from Heaven by An Na

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7) The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

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8) Trinkets by Kirsten Smith

NOTE: I do own a few books with LGBTQ characters (Aristotle and Dante, and Everything Leads to You come to mind) but haven’t read them yet, so didn’t put them on the list, as I only wanted to list books I’ve actually read.

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So, that’s my list this week! What titles made yours? Please link me!

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REVIEW: Resonance by Erica O’Rourke

resonanceResonance (Dissonance #2)
by Erica O’Rourke

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

Previous Installment: Dissonance

NOTE: Summary contains spoilers for the first book in this series.

As a Walker between worlds, Del is responsible for the love of her life—and the fate of millions—in this thrilling sequel to Dissonance.

Del risked everything to save Simon, and now he’s gone, off in another world with no way for Del to find him.

She’s back at the Consort—training to be a Walker like everyone in her family. But the Free Walkers have other plans for her. This rebel group is trying to convince Del that the Consort is evil, and that her parents are unwittingly helping the Consort kill millions of people. The Free Walkers make Del the ultimate promise: if Del joins their fight, she will be reunited with Simon.

In agreeing, Del might be endangering her family. But if she doesn’t, innocent people will die, and Simon will be lost to her forever. The fate of the multiverse depends on her choice…

mythoughtsDissonance was a surprise for me last year. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did, but found myself sucked into the idea of a multiverse and a special type of people able to walk amongst them. I was wholeheartedly rooting for Del as she worked to figure things out, and fell head over heels for the romance she shared with Simon. I loved her friendship with Elliot, her tense but loving relationship with her sister Addie, and the amazing inclusion of music – and the way it was used by the Walkers – throughout the story. So obviously I was hoping that Resonance would hit me in all these same spots, and cause me to feel exactly the same way. And thankfully, I am happy to report that it did: Resonance was every bit as good as the first book, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

One thing that this book did extremely well was take the plot from the first one and expand it. Because this is a sequel, I don’t want to spoil, but the main issue in the first book is an anomaly which is causing issues for the Key World – ie. the world in which Del and co. live. This anomaly is explained at the end of the first book, and a solution is presented, which resulted in a horribly emotional ending. The issues in Resonance, on the other hand, are of a more moral basis, as Del realizes that what she’s been taught has basically been nothing but lies. There are lots of amazing quotes about revolution, and the need for sacrifice, and the idea of the ultimate good making up for the consequences. Through it all, you feel Del’s struggles as she tries to figure out what she should do, and it really helps pull the reader more firmly into the world.

I do want to warn that parts of this book were confusing, or at least they were for me. While I was able to stay with the main plot, there is a LOT of explanation regarding the world itself and the things the Walkers do to “protect” the Key World, so you definitely need to read the first book before you try to dive into this one. Even having done so, I still got lost for a bit around the 50% mark. This book is brimming with what would be this world’s technical know-how, and while I found it interesting it did at times get overwhelming. But that’s really my only complaint.

All in all, Resonance is a book about a girl’s struggles to see through what she’s been taught and her decision to make her own choices. There were several surprising moments sprinkled throughout, as well as more of the ridiculously sweet romance between Del and Simon, plus a lot of talk about what you have to give up to stay firm to your beliefs. I do want to warn for some torture scenes – they were rather brutal – and some mild sexual content as well, but overall, this book – and series – is a winner!

4stars

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

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Merin’s Musings #10: Keeping Up With Series Books

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This month’s Musings post was thought up thanks to my unofficial name for this July – Catch Up On Series Month – and the way it’s gotten me thinking about my reading habits regarding series in general. In the past 16 days (as well as the last two weeks of June), I have read nothing but series books in an attempt to clear out my TBR list/pile and also take care of some overdue e-galleys that I shamefully fell behind on. It got me wondering about how often others partake in series books, and how they go about reading them. So. Here we go!

First off, let me ask: Series, yay or nay?

I am wholeheartedly in the “yay” category myself, probably to the detriment of my ever-growing TBR list. I like series – getting to spend more than one book with the same characters, watching as the story weaves itself together through multiple installments, and seeing a problem come to its conclusion – and am not shy about adding first books of series to my to-read list at Goodreads. The downside to this, however, is that – if you read series upon their release – you usually have at least a year’s wait between books. And that’s where I usually stumble and start having issues.

See, there are just SO MANY books to read! So in those year-long waits, I tend to find even MORE new series being started that I want to read – and do read – while also trying to read the books that aren’t parts of series. Not to mention any e-galleys or ARCs that I might have requested (although I have only requested two galleys this year and have actually read them both). In other words, books pile up, and – unless it’s something I am super excited about – I tend to buy the sequel book and then let it sit for a (long) while on my shelf. Books that have suffered this fate of late include The Blood of Olympus, Ruin and Rising, The Winner’s Crime, Fairest, and the last two Throne of Glass books. Not to mention some e-galley sequels that are sitting on my Kindle unread.

I know that some people wait to read series until all the books are published. I, however, am not that patient and – even if I KNOW I’m not going to get to it in any timely fashion – I still buy it upon its release. (I’ve never been accused of having good impulse control when it comes to books.) I also borrow a lot of books from my local library – I’ve read both the Rebel Belle books and the entire Dispossessed series through library loans – and oftentimes have to wait past a book’s release date in order for the library to get it in. Which means even more time between releases to add even more books to my TBR. I’m sure you can see my problem.

So. Talk to me about your series-reading habits! Do you read them as they’re released? Do you wait until they’re all available? How do you stay on top of books that you have to wait a year+ to read? Feel free to tell me in comments!

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Merin’s Mid-Week Musings #2

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Mid-Week Musings is a new feature here at Read and Reviewed, where I sum up my reading for the past week and introduce a topic for discussion. It is inspired by Musing Mondays over at A Daily Rhythm and her previous WWW Wednesday meme, which has been discontinued.

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Audiobooks! Do you listen to them? Prior to last year I didn’t, but I’ve since started listening to them in the mornings as I get ready for work – which means I am taking a break from them right now, since I’m on Summer Break – and while I’m still not totally sold on audiobooks as a whole, I have listened to some pretty great ones (ie. The Raven Cycle books). My problem is that I have a terrible attention span, so I can’t listen to them for prolonged periods of time because I stop paying attention. So I’m just curious about your thoughts regarding audiobooks, and when/how you listen to them, if you do.

So: audiobooks, yes or no? Tell me in comments, please!

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Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

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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 asks us to list our last Ten Book Acquisitions. I have actually been a very good girl of late when it comes to buying/borrowing books, so this list does span back several months. If you’ve read any of them, though, I’d love to hear what you thought of them!

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rook1) Rook by Sharon Cameron

beastwithin2) The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince by Serena Valentino

morehappythannot3) More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

magonia4) Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

courtofthornsandroses5) A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

wondrousandthewicked6) The Wondrous and the Wicked by Page Morgan

missmayhem7) Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins

valiant8) Valiant by Sarah McGuire

everythingthatmakesyou9) Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

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10) The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Flergs_SpringFling_StitchedConfetti1So those are my most recent acquisitions! Two borrowed, eight purchased. What about you? Please link me to your posts!

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REVIEW: No More Confessions by Louise Rozett

nomoreconfessionsNo More Confessions (Confessions #3) by Louise Rozett
Stonesong, 2015
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

Previous Installments: Confessions of An Angry Girl | Confessions of An Almost-Girlfriend

ROSE ZARELLI is done confessing because ​confessions are for people who have done something wrong. ​And I haven’t done anything wrong. Here, I’ll prove it to you.

1) After my mother got that call, I “borrowed” her car. (Because you can’t steal your mother’s car, can you?) I don’t really remember driving downtown, but I do remember…

2) …getting past the bouncer at Dizzy’s (I mean, it’s his job to spot a fake ID, so that’s on him)…

​3) …and then later, telling my mother the truth about the bar but lying about how I got in. (A truth totally cancels out a lie, right?)

After all, what’s a little duplicity when finding Jamie Forta is the only thing that’s going to keep you from losing what’s left of your mind?

See? Junior year is off to a great start.

mythoughtsI have not been shy about my love of Louise Rozett’s Confessions series. It tends to be on a lot of my Top Ten Tuesday lists, and I recommend it fairly frequently outside of the blogosphere as well. Rose and Jamie – and the other supporting characters – are all amazingly written and fleshed out, full of flaws and yet endearing. Rose especially is such a strong character, not only because she’s been able to sort of come to terms with her issues, but also continued to fight through them. She’s a good friend, someone who tries to do the right thing (but doesn’t always manage it), who is trying to pull herself up from the dark pit that her father’s death put her in. Her relationship with Jamie – while admittedly driving me bonkers – is so complex and strange, and yet – as the reader – you can’t help but hope they can figure themselves out. For me, at least, No More Confessions was exactly what I’d wanted, and yet, not at all what I was expecting.

The first two books in this series put me through the emotional wringer, and this installment was no different. Rose just made my heart hurt; the video of her dad, the way Tracy had become so distant to the point that she didn’t want to confide in her, the drama with her mom’s new boyfriend, and the fact that Jamie was once again being Jamie-ish really made things difficult for her. I loved that she was going to therapy and trying to apply what she’d figured out to her life and her relationship with Jamie, and really loved that she wasn’t always able to do so. It’s one thing to know what you’re supposed to do, and another to actually look at the person you love and actually do it. I found her struggles to be very realistic, and loved that we were privy to her inner struggles and conversations. She’s just so very real, and that’s honestly the only thing I can say without giving too much away.

And oh, Jamie. JAMIE. I knew from the beginning that I was going to be feeling Jamie-induced angst from this book and I wasn’t wrong. His struggles – and (incorrect) beliefs about himself – just broke my heart into pieces. I hated what he was doing, the choices he was making, and yet I couldn’t help but love him at the same time. For all of Rose’s struggles, she at least had support; Jamie, I think, was left to sort of flounder on his own, even though there were people around that he could have turned to and chose not to. The resolution of his storyline shocked and surprised me in all the best ways, even while it just made me want to cry at the same time. These Confessions books: so good at making me feel so many things.

All in all, No More Confessions was everything I’d hoped it would be. I loved being privy to Rose and Jamie’s story, and can only hope that there might just be one more book lurking in Ms. Rozett’s mind. If not, this is an okay ending – open-ended and ambiguous, but okay. Mostly I’m just greedy and am not ready to let them go. In the author’s acknowledgements, she wrote “To Rose and Jamie”. I can only agree with that statement. All the love – and thanks – go to Rose and Jamie. Thank you so much for giving me such an amazing story. ♥

5stars

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State of Merin :: July 2015

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It’s hard to believe that in less than a month I will be back at work for Orientation Week! June was spent mostly vacationing, and I’ve spent the time since being completely and utterly lazy, which I expect will continue up until I have to go back to work. I’ve done a lot of reading (for me) and am attempting to make a dent in my Goodreads Challenge, which I am woefully behind in, as well as trying to read some books that have been sitting on my shelves untouched since I bought them. Otherwise my summer break has consisted of drinking lattes, playing a random computer game here and there, and watching loads of crime dramas on TV – Law & Order: SVU, CSI: Miami, and NCIS, to name a few – and also watching Wimbledon Tennis and Cardinals baseball. Ah, the life!

Because I don’t actually have anything of interest to update you with this month, I’m instead going to share some pictures of me and my family from Disney. So the rest of this post will be quite image-heavy – sorry in advance if it does something wonky to whatever method you’re using to read this!

me_disneybusI actually embraced the selfie movement on this trip, so if you want to see more pictures of my face, please go HERE!

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Mom and me at Animal Kingdom

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My family at Magic Kingdom (with bonus Tinker Bell!)

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Me with Snow White at Epcot ♥

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Another Epcot shot – gotta do a photo op in front of the Epcot Ball!

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Me and the family in World Showcase: France.

And no, my brother isn’t mad in these pictures – he just doesn’t ever smile for them! All in all, we had a fabulous time (I prefer Disney over Universal, but still had fun at both), and it was especially awesome to spend my birthday at Magic Kingdom:

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So suffice it to say, June was pretty awesome! If you’re interested in seeing more pictures from my trip, you can find them on Tumblr HERE.

See you all again for another State of Merin in August! ♥

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