June in Review + Upcoming in July

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Hello, everyone! I am back from my hiatus last month, and am looking forward to getting back to blogging! I’m going to use this post to do my usual recap – which is very brief – and to also give a heads-up as far as what you can expect around here in July. So, onward and upward!

BOOKS READ IN JUNE:

wondrousandthewicked nomoreconfessions

REVIEWS POSTED: 
None

CURRENTLY READING:

cress

OTHER NEWS AND/OR POSTS OF INTEREST:

State of Me | Top Ten Books I’d Love to See As A Movie/TV Show | Merin’s Musings #9: On Read-A-Thons | May Book Haul

upcoming

I am unofficially calling July “Catch Up on Series” Month here on Read and Reviewed, because as I was going through my TBR, I realized just how many sequels I own and haven’t yet read. These include galleys I requested ages ago and never read, as well as books I myself have purchased and then left to languish in piles or on my shelves. So, this month, I am going to focus on finishing up some series. I am currently working on finishing Cress, and then will be reading Between the Spark and the Burn. After that I’m a little more up in the air, although I do have a tentative list of titles I’m looking at.

What this means as far as reviews go is that, for the next several weeks at least, my reviews are all going to be for books in series. Some of these series are old, some of them newer, but ALL will be series books. I will promise no huge spoilers in my reviews – I tend to avoid those in all my reviews anyway – and hope you’ll still pop in to read them, even if the books aren’t necessarily on your TBRs.

I am also going to make a concerted effort to get back to visiting other blogs. I have been TERRIBLE about this of late – I don’t even know when the last time was that I checked my blog feed – and really want to change that. So if you see my leaving comments on posts and whatnot that’s what that is. I am also thinking about changing Wednesday memes – I’ve been doing Waiting on Wednesday since I started my blog, but am kind of burned out. So I might try the WWW meme instead, at least for this month.

Everything else will remain the same. I want to thank everyone who has stuck around and continued to follow my blog through the last year+ when my posting has at times been extremely sporadic, and also want to say a big giant HELLO! to all my new followers who have somehow found me, even though I haven’t been posting much. I hope all of you enjoy your stay! ♥

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Hiatus Notice

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The family and I leave for a two-week vacation tomorrow to Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando, so I will be on hiatus for the rest of this month. I will be back to blogging on July 1st. Should you want to keep up with me and my Florida Adventures, you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter! I’ll be making updates to both accounts throughout my trip.

See you in July! ♥

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May Book Haul

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

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maybookhaulPurchased:

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (via Owlcrate)
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (not pictured)

And of course, I had to show off my adorable Gus Gus Funko Pop figure, which came in his own glass slipper. He’s just too cute! ♥

And that’s all for me in the month of May! Now that I’m off work for the summer, hopefully I can actually get around to reading some of the books I’ve picked up the last few months. I can’t justify spending money on books when I know they’re just going to sit around for ages unread!

Please link me to your book hauls!

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Merin’s Musings #9: On Read-A-Thons

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It’s been a long, LONG time since I’ve done a Merin’s Musings topic, but this one has been brewing for a while in my head, so I decided to finally write out my thoughts. So, let’s get started.

Read-A-Thons: Yay or Nay?

I am usually wholeheartedly in the “yay” category myself – I sort of feel like most of the bookosphere tends to be – so instead of just taking a vote and moving on, I sort of wanted to get into the whys of exactly what it is about read-a-thons that makes people want to participate. For me, personally, it’s not about the potential prizes or daily challenges. It’s more about trying to read more than I would usually do in a set period of time, or just trying to actively carve out time in my week devoted to reading. As a general rule, I don’t do a lot of reading during the week, particularly during the school year when I am teaching 20+ six year olds five days a week. When I get home from work I just want to decompress, and – as much as I love reading and immersing myself in fictional worlds – it’s not my usual go-to relaxing habit. I’d much rather watch mindless TV or tool around on tumblr.

So, for me, read-a-thons give me that extra push to choose an evening activity that’s different from my norm. If I’ve set a goal to read three books (which is my usual goal for week-long read-a-thons), I know I’m going to HAVE to do some reading during the week in order to meet it. I also like the idea of other folks out there trying to read for the same goal – to finish a book, or read a certain number, etc. Read-a-thons make me feel actively engaged in the bookosphere, and that in turn makes reading more fun. There’s just something about knowing that there are others out there participating in the same event that gets me excited and more interested in sharing my own reading progress.

I also love seeing bookish updates – photos on Instagram, tweets on Twitter, or nightly updates on Tumblr. And I like sharing my own. There’s something awesome about getting a like or a comment on a picture, and it helps make things even more fun, at least for me personally. I also like that posts of that type help hold me accountable; people ask me how I’m doing, or if I’m liking a book, or tell me they’ve read it and can’t wait to see what I think when I finish. That makes me want to stay with it, and keep reading so I can ultimately share my thoughts on it; which is, of course, the goal of any book blog that posts reviews.

So talk to me about read-a-thons! Do you participate in them? What aspects draw you in? Which read-a-thons are your favorite? Give me all your read-a-thon feels!

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Top Ten Books I’d Love To See As Movies/TV Shows

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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!

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday post! I had so much going on that I just wasn’t finding the time to get the posts put together, and also have to admit that some of the topics stumped me. This one was easy, though, although it did make me think about what would ACTUALLY be good as a film/TV show!

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Which books made your list? Do we share any? Please link me!

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State of Merin + May in Review

So, I’m doing something a bit different this month, since May was so extremely light on posting for me. Work was just insane – it was the last month of school – and I had very little time for doing anything that wasn’t work-related. As a result, my reading – and blogging – suffered mightily. So I’m going to combine my State of Merin for this month with my May Monthly Recap, just to kill two birds with one stone. Here we go!

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In May I read two books, and posted two reviews. You can click the book covers to read my thoughts if you’re interested; I enjoyed both books quite a lot.

whenyouweremine  missmayhem

I also shared my April Book Haul, which you can see HERE, and my May State of Merin post which can be seen HERE.

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As I mentioned above, May was all about work, work, and more work. We did some ABC Countdown activities with our kiddos to help keep them in a school mindset, I did a LOT of assessing, and spent the last week getting my room ready for summer. It went from looking like THIS to looking like this:

Which means I am now officially on Summer Break! I am looking forward to almost two months of not doing anything I don’t want to do. I am hoping for this to be a restful summer, full of lots of good books, mindless TV, and anything else that strikes my fancy. Plus, I am leaving for Disney World and Universal Studios Florida a week from tomorrow, and am SUPER excited about that. Hurray, summer!

Because of the aforementioned trip to Orlando, I once again won’t be around too much this month here on my blog. We are leaving on the 9th and won’t be coming back until the 21st, so I’ve decided to just take an almost month-long hiatus. I will be posting this week, and then not again until July 1st, just to hopefully give me some time to get some posts queued up, including reviews. I am bringing my Kindle along on my trip and have a couple of books I’d like to read while on vacation, but we’ll see how it goes. I know I can at least do some reading on the plane, if not anywhere else!

Happy June, everyone! ♥

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REVIEW: Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins

missmayhemMiss Mayhem (Rebel Belle #2)
by Rachel Hawkins

Putnam Juvenile, 2015
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

Previous Installment: Rebel Belle

NOTE: Summary contains spoilers for Rebel Belle.

Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and best friend Bee has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can return her focus to the important things in life: school, canoodling with David, her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie, and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.

Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or connect her to David for life.

mythoughtsRebel Belle was one of my favorite books of 2014, so obviously I was extremely excited to read the sequel. The summary hinted at lots of action with the mention of the trials Harper would need to complete, but failed to tell me that – unfortunately – this book would be mostly filler, with lots of boy/girl Drama (and yes, that capital letter is “totes” warranted). And yet, I still found myself engaged and interested and curious to see how things would play out. I liked this Harper – someone not quite as put together as we’d come to expect, who is dealing with FAR too much on her plate and also having to face a few of her flaws – and dug the strong female friendship between her and Bee. David and Harper kind of broke my heart a bit (or, okay, a lot I guess), but I liked that this thing – which is so important to Harper – didn’t come easy and wasn’t easily fixed. But mostly, I liked that this book kind of went in an unexpected direction, and while it hurt me as a reader, it also made me extremely interested to see what’s going to come next.

One thing I think this series as a whole excels at is girl power and positive female portrayals. All of the lady characters – from Harper’s classmates to her aunts to the other females featured throughout the book in various places – are treated with respect. There are no slurs, no negative nicknames for anyone, and I actually find that extremely refreshing. Harper isn’t perfect – she’s a meddler and rather controlling and wants things the way she wants them – but she isn’t negative towards the other girls in her life, even if she doesn’t necessarily like them. I also like her strong bond with Bee, the relationship she has with the Aunts, and the regular, normal home life she shares with her parents. Compared to other books I’ve read, that normalcy is just really awesome to see and read about.

Now all that being said, this book kind of felt unnecessary in some ways, because nothing really happens. I mean, the summary hints at the trials Harper will have to go through to fully become David’s Paladin, and yes, things happen to her, but the bigger issue here is the fact that Harper comes to realize some hard truths, and they’re ones she really doesn’t like. You sort of get to see the problems inherent with being in a relationship with the Oracle, and also the issues that come with having your ex-boyfriend be a part of this strange and necessary triangle. Harper doesn’t handle things the way she should, but then again, neither does David. There were definitely times where I kind of wanted to bang their heads together in frustration. Likewise, Bee and Ryan added a whole other dynamic, and I didn’t necessarily like all of that, either. So while I found this book to be extremely readable – once I sat myself down and applied myself, I was done really quickly with it, just like I was with Rebel Belle – there were definitely things that frustrated me, even if the book overall was well written with great characters and wonderful pacing. Ah, well. Can’t have it all, I guess!

Also, I want to warn that folks probably aren’t going to like the ending of this one. I didn’t, that’s for sure, although I probably should have seen it coming. Just be prepared!

All in all, I enjoyed Miss Mayhem, although probably not as much as I did the first book. Harper does some growing and realizing, and I liked that she wasn’t portrayed as completely put together and near-perfect this time around. There is plenty to like here, but also things that frustrated me, as seen in this review. If you liked Rebel Belle you’ll definitely want to read it; the ending is left kind of open and ambiguous, but it helps to know there’s a third book coming. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to seeing what Rachel Hawkins has in store!

4stars

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Bout of Books 13 :: Sign-Up and Goals

boutofbooks13The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Yay, it’s Read-a-Thon time! Bout of Books 13 starts on Monday, and I am once again going to participate. I am going to set a smallish (but more realistic) goal, in the hopes that I won’t be exhausted from work and will actually get some reading done. Here’s hoping! I will, as always, accept any and all cheering on you’d like to give me!

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cress neverfade wondrousandthewicked nomoreconfessions conspiracyofbloodandsmoke beastkeeper winnerscrime valiant

Obviously I am not planning on reading all of these! My goal is to read three of them, plus listen to Cress, which is an audiobook I’ve been working on for a stupidly long time. I won’t finish Cress, but I would like to make a dent in the second half (I’m halfway through as of right now). Never Fade is being read as part of a read-along with a couple of my Tumblr friends, so it will definitely be finished. We’ll see which others strike my fancy when the time comes to choose a new book!

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Since I want this to be low-key, with a focus on reading, I won’t be doing too many challenges or other extraneous activities. As of right now, I’d like to:

  • read [3] books
  • participate in [2] challenges
  • chart my progress on my Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. (Tag will be #boutofbooks for all three platforms.)

So that’s that! Are any of you participating in Bout of Books? If so, please link me to your posts! I’d love to cheer you on!

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State of Merin

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New month, new State of Merin post! How on earth is it already May? I am in the final stretch of the school year – counting today there are only 16 days of school left! This means I am about to become extremely busy with assessing my students – most of them have to be done individually so it’s extremely time-consuming – and also have to start packing up my room for the summer. Hard to believe we’re almost at the end.

I am also one month and two days away from my trip to Disney World and Universal Studios! I’m ridiculously excited about it – Disney World is probably my favorite place in existence – and as it gets closer my excitement just ramps up even more. I am also looking forward to the Bout of Books read-a-thon next week, although I’m not sure how much I’ll actually get read considering the busy-ness of work and all that entails. I will be posting my to-read list and sign-up post for the read-a-thon tomorrow, should you be interested in what I’m thinking of reading.

For those curious about the exercise front that I mentioned last month, I have been riding my exercise bike, although not as consistently as I’d hoped. It’s difficult when you’re balancing evening events (I’ve been to two Cardinals games, and also had some evening school functions that made it impossible to get in any exercise), but I don’t think I have anything else planned over the next month aside from an eye exam, so hopefully I can fit it in each evening.

In other news, I got a hair cut! This is big news for me, because it’s been a long time since I’ve chopped off a significant amount. I still have what’s considered long hair, but I did get 7 inches taken off, so. Here’s a picture!

haircutNow I just have to figure out how to style it, since I don’t have the weight holding it down anymore.

And that’s about it for me this month! I will be back in June with another State of Me post. Happy May, everyone! ♥

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REVIEW: When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

whenyouweremineWhen You Were Mine
by Rebecca Serle

Simon Pulse, 2013
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy…and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends….

mythoughtsWhen You Were Mine has been on my to-read list for a really long time. I finally broke down and purchased a copy via Book Outlet, and then proceeded to ignore it for several more months. However, when May 1st rolled around, I decided it would be a great book to read for the #tbrdays challenge hosted by tea-books-lover over on Tumblr, and am really glad I finally decided to pick it up and actually read it. I loved that this was a retelling, but was told via an outsider point of view. The story we’re reading is Rose’s, but it showcases the story of “Romeo” (aka Rob) and Juliet, through the eyes of a teenager whose heart has been broken. I wasn’t sure going in if I’d enjoy the story or not – I’m not a fan of the original Romeo and Juliet at all – but am very happy to say that I did.

What I liked about this book was that it felt authentic. The characters are all in high school, so they’re not yet mature (even if they think they are). The whole “do I or don’t I love him” thing felt extremely realistic, particularly when the boy in question is your best friend and someone who knows you inside and out. I liked Rose’s initial reticence to get involved romantically with Rob because she didn’t want to mess up what they already had. And then, of course, it turns out that she was right to be cautious, when she pretty much immediately gets set aside in favor of Juliet. Her internal monologues about how she was feeling – betrayed, humiliated and hurt – were spot on and really made me feel for her. There were several times that I was reading that actually brought me to tears because I just FELT for her, and it was these moments that kept me reading; I basically devoured the last 85% of this book in almost one sitting.

I also absolutely adored Len, Rose’s sarcastic and yet extremely emotionally intelligent Biology lab parter. He’s introduced as the school bad boy, he’s quirky and witty and definite outcast material, and yet you know from the instant he’s introduced that he’s going to be important. I think Len was the perfect balance for Rose because he helped her figure things out, even though she got some of them wrong. He wasn’t perfect – he made mistakes, too – but he was there, and just what she needed. I loved how gentle and patient he was, while still being realistic and blunt when necessary. And the hidden aspects of his character that came out throughout the book just made him even more awesome. He’s definitely a favorite.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the amazing female friendships in this book. Rose has two other best friends, Charlie and Olivia, and while they were somewhat flighty and silly, that, too was realistic. I particularly liked Charlie, who’s a spitfire but also dealing with her own goings-on. She was a best friend I could get behind, and I loved that she was always there when Rose needed her. Girl power, for the win!

All in all, When You Were Mine was a really great read. It’s a retelling whose focus isn’t actually on the story it’s retelling, but it works because the story its portraying – and the depth of the characters and the emotions they’re dealing with – is compelling and intriguing, even if it isn’t necessarily new or unique. I’d recommend it not only because of the Rose, who turns out to be pretty awesome herself, but also because of the great cast of supporting characters who make Rose’s life worthwhile.

4stars

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