Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Wrap Up (2014)

Last month I felt like I barely read anything and really struggled to read the four books I did. In August I really picked up the pace! I participated in several readalongs and the Bout of Books Readathon. Those events really encouraged me to read and I want to thank all of the hosts of those events. This month I finished nine books and feel really good about it. I'm excited to continue this reading streak! 

Books Mentioned: 

Pemberley Medley - Abigail Reynolds (I forgot this one in my wrap up video whoops!) 

Happy Reading! 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Review - Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Asylum (Asylum, #1)

Purchase │Add 
Paranormal/Horror -313 pgs 
Published: August 2013 by Harper Teen
Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it's a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it's no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

A trio of friends? Creepy Pictures? Flash backs? Former mental institution? Sign me up! When I say I like creepy things, I do mean creepy. Scary is not appealing to me, but creepy? Yes. I've never watched a legit horror movie, but I still like books like Anna Dressed in Blood and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I was really interested in this book when it first came out, but like so many things, it ended up on the back burner. I recently picked it up at my local library and read during Bout of Books and the #AsylumReadAlong.

When I read Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, I was disappointed in both the creep factor and the overall story. Miss Peregrine's was less creepy than I expected and the story wasn't as stellar as the hype led me to believe. Since Asylum was in the same vein with old mysterious pictures and bizarre premise, I was keeping my expectations low. The story is interesting and engaging, but was missing something to make it really stand out to me.

For most of the book I was under the impression this was a mystery/horror novel because of the description without any supernatural elements. About half way through I began to question if this was more of a paranormal story because some very supernatural things start to happen. To be honest, I'm not sure which category this fits into.

This book had me hooked though. There were lots of really creepy things going on and it was interesting delving into the history of the asylum. The mystery and investigation are well laid out too. It won me over even though I have a few problems with it. Dan is an easy character to like for me. He likes history (which is boy after my own heart) and is trying to puzzle the secrets out from the very beginning. There is a lot of creepy going on from page one and the fast pace makes the book fly by.

However,  throughout the novel things come together a little too easily. The characters were all likeable, but seemed written without much depth. While I enjoyed the wrap up to the story, I'm still confused about what actually happened at the end of this book. Asylum is just over 300pgs and I would have liked a deeper explanation for some of the events and happenings. Overall I think the author could have taken more time to address wrapping up the story to make it clearer to the reader what exactly happened.

There is a sequel that is coming out very soon. It looks like Sanctum will be making its way onto my wishlist because I'm interested to see what happens next despite the problems I've mentioned. The cliffhanger at the end is very suspenseful. I am looking forward to where Dan and his friends end up!

Happy Reading

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Reads (14)

This week has been crazy busy! I've worked a lot more than normal so I've been lacking on the reading front a little bit. However, tonight I plan on reading and writing a review of something I finished last week. My goal this weekend is to finish two books on my currently reading shelf.

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1) What Matters in Jane Austen?: Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved

Happy Reading! 
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don't Own Yet

I love participating in the Broke and the Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday feature that they host every week. So many of their topics are a lot of fun including this one. This week's topic is the Top Ten Books you want to read but you don't own yet. Some of these are books that have been out a while, but I haven't bought them. Others are ones that have not been released yet, but I am DYING to get my hands on them.

Just Because I Haven't Picked Them Up Yet: 

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1) Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1) Austenland (Austenland, #1)

Avalon (Avalon, #1) All the Light We Cannot See

Because They Aren't Released Yet: 

Clariel (The Abhorsen, #4) A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1) Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)v

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bout of Books - Update 7/Wrap Up

Bout of Books

Hello and welcome to my final update and wrap up for the Bout of Books 11!!

This is my most successful readathon every. I have had so much fun this week reading, doing updates and following along on twitter! Today I had a little more time to read and finished two more books!

Books Read Today: 
Pemberley Medley - 126 pgs
Asylum - 203 pgs
The Winner's Curse - 30 pgs

Total Pages Today: 359pgs 
Total Pages for Bout of Books 11 : 1023 pgs

Total Books Finished: 3
  1. Asylum - Madeleine Roux
  2. Pemberely Medley by Abigail Reynolds 
  3. Darcy and Fitzwilliam by Karen Wasylowski

How did my goals go? 

1) Read Everyday 
2) Catch up on my Goodreads goal - I'm four books behind on my Goodreads goal to read 100 books this year. (I'm still behind but closer to catching up now! And this readathon has gotten me out of my slump!)
3) I'll be concentrating on finishing three books, but I'm not promising these are the ones I'll read. 
4) Post Updates - 

So I accomplished 3 out of 4 goals which I think is pretty awesome! I'm very happy with my accomplishments this Bout of Books and I cannot wait for the next one. See you then! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bout of Books Update - Day Six

Bout of Books

Yesterday I was about to go to sleep and thought I wasn't going to get any reading done because I had been exhausted from work. Instead of going to sleep, I picked up my Kindle and read for a little while so yay! Participating! 

Books Read Today: 
Crown of Midnight - 17 pgs 
A Pemberley Medley - 84 pgs 

Total Pages Today: 101 pgs 
Total Pages: 664 pgs
Books Finished: 1

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Marry/Kiss/Kill - Jane Austen Style

If you didn't know, which is totally possible since I rarely talk about it on the blog, I'm a big fan of Jane Austen and adaptation/continuations of her works. I was led into this fascination with Austen through friends who loved the stories in high school. Then after rereading Austen's most popular works several times, I eventually found one book called Mr. Darcy's Diary (which has a special place in my heart even after I realized there are much better renditions out there) on a shelf in a bookstore which introduced me into a genre of books I cannot get enough of. Alas! Without a Goodreads account or blogs to follow, I had trouble finding more! 

Eventually three years ago I stumbled upon Misty's Austen in August feature that she runs every August which introduced me to lots of authors, subgenres, blogs, people who tweet a lot about Austen and of course more books. Now I have a small collection of Austen related books which I am constantly adding to. 

Anyway this is just a short game of Marry/Kiss/Kill I played after watching Misty's original game. It was a lot of fun! Check out the Austen in August event that is still going on for more Jane Austen content and some very lovely people.  

Bout of Books Update - Day 5

Bout of Books

I finished a book! Finally I pushed myself through to the end of Darcy and Fitzwilliam. So this morning I am feeling even more accomplished and encouraged to keep reading. I think my goals for low stress and low expectations are working out very well. I'm having a lot of fun!

Books Read Today:
Asylum - 50pgs
Darcy and Fitzwilliam - 155 pgs 

Total Pages Today: 205 pgs 
Total Pages: 563 pgs
Books Finished: 1 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bout of Books Update - Day 4

Bout of Books
On day four I had even less time and energy than I've had the past few days. Still having a lot of fun and reading every day!

Books Read Today:
Crown of Midnight - 91 pgs
Beauty Queens (audiobook) - approx 1 hour 

Total Pages Today: 91(+)
Total Pages: 358 pgs
Books Finished: 0

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tea Time Rewind - ARC Party

Today I posted a Tea Time Rewind for the latest ARC party which was on August 20th. I'm really excited for a lot of these books which are coming out over the next few months. There are so many really amazing stories that are being published by Harper Teen. These are the ones that I'm most looking forward to.

If you don't know what an ARC party is, I'll just leave this here.

Bout of Books Update - Day 3

Bout of Books            

Yesterday I got a nice chunk of reading done and I'm happy with my total so far. Obviously I'm sad I haven't finished a book yet, but I'm participating which is what's important and really enjoying the books I am reading.

Books Read Today:
Crown of Midnight - 55pgs
Darcy and Fitzwilliam - 72pgs

Total Pages Today: 127 pgs

Total Pages: 267 pgs
Books Finished: 0

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Top Five Wednesday - Top Worlds

This week's Top 5 Wednesday Topic is Top Worlds! I love fantasy of all kinds so this was a great topic for me and I really enjoyed debating about which worlds to pick. Let me know if you've done a T5W and what your favorite worlds are!

My Last Top 5 Wedneday---------> Books That Made Me Cry 

Bout of Books 11 Update - Day 2

Bout of Books

Today was Day 2 of the Bout of Books 11 ReadaThon!
Day 2 was less successful than the first day. However, I continue to participate everyday, at least a little, so I'm reaching some goals! This is also my second update so score two one goals! I didn't have a lot of time to read throughout the day because of work and I had a commitment in the evening so reading was a little sporadic. 

Books Read Today:
Crown of Midnight - 20pgs
Asylum-40 pgs

Total Pages Today: 60pgs.

Total Pages: 140 pgs
Books Finished: 0

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tea Time Rewind - Episode 71

I apologize in advance for so many posts today! There is a lot going on and I don't have time to spread things out becuase I still haven't figured out how to schedule posts through this platform. (Maybe someday) I made a Tea Time Rewind video for Episode 71. If you are interested in my thoughts on the episode definitely check it out! 

I've never done one of these before, but I may do another one in the future. Maybe! It was fun. 

Bout of Books - Day 1 Update!

Bout of Books

Yesterday was a good start for me,but I definitely think I can improve during the week. I read in the morning and right before I went to bed. Sadly, I had no time at work to sneak in any pages and I was exhausted so I fell asleep early. I started two books that have really kept my attention and keep me turning the pages! I can't wait to get back to them!

Books Read Today:
Crown of Midnight - 55pgs
Asylum- 30 pgs

Total Pages Today: 85 

Total Pages: 85

Books Finished: 0

Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted every week by the The Broke and the Bookish and I always enjoy participating because they come up with amazing topics. This week we are talking out the books you've been recommended the most. This is a mix of books that have been recommended me in real life by people and from the internet blogging/vlogging community.

1) Saga by Brian Vaughan - Recommended By: EVERYONE

2) Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Mass - Recommended By: Myself
3) Cinder by Marissa Meyer - Recommended by: The Internet

4) Across the Universe by Beth Revis - Recommended by: My Library

5) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch by Gregory Maguire -
       Recommended by: A Friend who saw me add it on Goodreads and insisted I need to pick it up.

6) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - Recommended by: My sister

7) Beauty Queens by Libba Bray - Recommended by: Bookrat's Cootie Catcher

8) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Recommended by My Uncle

9) Graceling by Kristin Cashore -  Recommended by: Liz from Consumed by Books (Because of this Review)

10) Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones - Recommended by: My Best Friend

Beauty Queens Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1) Saga #1

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Maintaining My Books - Removing Stickers

Last week on Tea Time, a vlogcast hosted by Aubry and Margo from Harper Teen's Team Epic Reads, the topic was How To Care For Your Books. I don't know about you guys, but I don't just consider myself a reader but book collector and a book enthusiast. I love books! I love how they feel and smell. I want to take care of the books that I own as much as I can and avoid damaging them whenever possible (After watching this I'm even considering moving my bookshelves out of the direct sunlight of my windows.) I love watching their videos every week and their blog,, is also filled with lots of fun stuff. 

Personally, I spend a lot of time shopping for books. I buy new and used books and a lot of the books I purchase have stickers of some kind or another stuck to them. Some are price stickers, some are remnants of library barcode or cataloging stickers (purchased used, not stolen, I promise) and some are the ones publishers decide to stick on.  I decided to try out a few of the tips and tricks Team Epic Reads has provided for removing stickers. The following are some of my success! 

My Equipment

1 Roll of Paper Towels
1 Hair Dryer
1 Bottle of Goo Gone
A Knife or scraper (not pictured)
Books with Stickers of Various Kinds

I also put a towel down on top of the table I was working on to protect the books from any dirt or moisture since I was working outside.

And I had my IPad along to watch Netflix while I worked. :)

Book One: Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst 

For this book I couldn't heat the entire sticker all at once. I heated one end and planned on lifting it off until it ripped or became difficult then heating the other end. Instead the whole thing pealed off really easily once I heated one end and got it started. 

Book Two: Ripper by Stefan Petrucha

This was a price sticker that I had tried to remove before with very little success. After using a little heat, the sticker came right off all in one piece. Up to this point I haven't used Goo Gone at all. The heat made the stickers peal right off without any residue left behind. 

Book Three : Darcy and Fitzwilliam by Karen V. Wasylowski

This book was COVERED in stickers. I don't have a good before picture. But there was at least 4 I had to remove including some library barcodes. I had purchased this book from Better World Books and it was a former library copy. This took a little more work. Heat removed several of the stickers, but I also had to use my knife to scrape off some parts of them. Then I used the Goo Gone to remove the remaining stickiness.

Book Four:  The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway


Again you can see heat removed the majority of the sticker, but there were some remains on this one. Once I rubbed some Goo Gone over the sticker, I used my knife to scrape it off gently then used more Goo Gone to remove the residue. 

Book Five : Gib and the Gray Ghost 


Again this sticker came off really easily with heat. This hardcover was also very sticky overall when it arrived. (I don't want to know why) The Goo Gone did the trick. I rubbed it all over and its squeaky clean now!

Finally (My Biggest Success!) Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare 


I was really worried about trying to remove the sticker from this book. This is one of my favorite series and the cover is gorgeous so I didn't want anything to happen to it. After seeing so many of the stickers come off very easily with minimal heat, I decided it probably wouldn't hurt to try. After a few seconds of heat, I could lift one edge of the sticker and the whole thing lifted off very easily! PHEW!!  

Here are all the stickers I removed from books yesterday: 

My Own Tips to Add: 

  •  Be very careful not to over heat the stickers - My hairdryer gets very hot and, while a small amount of burn smell was ok, I found that some of the cheep stickers would easily start to burn. 
  • Goo Gone may look like it is going to stain your books, but when mine dried they were fine. 
  • The covers may get a little warped or wavy because of the heat, but again mine were fine when they cooled down. 
  • When stickers didn't peal off in one piece, I would rub some Goo Gone over the left over piece and use my knife to peal the remaining sticker off. Obviously, I was careful not to scratch my books, but the Goo Gone helped the remaining parts of the sticker to come off in larger chunks and left less goop behind. 

I had a lot of success using all the methods from Tea Time. This was a lot of fun to do and did not take very long. I spent about an hour removing stickers and I still have more books to work on. Each book was a different challenge which I really enjoyed. I can't wait to do this again! 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My Five Favorite Books So Far This Year

This is a bit late since it is almost September but I recorded this a little while ago. These are my favorite books that I've read so far this year. I really enjoyed all of these books and cannot wait to see what I read in the second half of the year.

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bout of Books 11 - Sign up and Goals

    Bout of BooksI'm going to be participating in the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon again next week! 

The 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, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
 - From the Bout of Books team

Read-a-Thons are not my forte. I tend to set very high expectations for myself during the event and almost always fail miserably. I never read anything during these events because I put so much pressure on myself. This time I plan to set very general goals so I don't succumb to pressure, and hopefully I'll get something accomplished during this event!

My goals are as follows: 

1) Read Everyday - This is a large challenge for me this time of year. Where I work is very busy and intense every year around this time. Therefore, I hope I'll have the time and energy to read for at lease 15 minutes everyday of the week.
2) Catch up on my Goodreads goal - I'm four books behind on my Goodreads goal to read 100 books this year. I'm hoping to finish enough books during this event to be even or ahead. This is my main reading goal.
3) I'll be concentrating on finishing three books, but I'm not promising these are the ones I'll read.

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer (Darcy and Fitzwilliam, #1) The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)

4) Post Updates - I'm bad a posting updates and I'd like to become better. Hopefully everyday but I'm not sure if it will happen.

I can't wait to participate in this read-a-thon! This event is so much fun and so many people participate. I hope this time I am more successful than in the past. Obviously, I will be keeping everyone updated on my progress. 

Top Ten Books I'm Not Sure I Want To Read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted every week by the The Broke and the Bookish and I always enjoy participating because they come up with amazing topics.

To read or not to read? These are the books that I just cannot decide about.

1) Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld - This concept sounds interesting and the books have received a lot of good ratings. However, I only have the first book and new book series keep being published. Also there was a cover change and I don't think I can make all my copies match.

2) Linger by Maggie Stiefvater - I love Maggie Stiefvater's writing, but this wasn't my favorite series. There are a lot of thing that don't work for me in this series. However I want to finish this series and be ready for Sinner to arrive.

3) Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd - The description of this book sounded very interesting. The roles of the characters from the original story are changed dramatically. Even so, when I started reading the book, it was totally different than I expected. I'm not sure I'll want to continue reading it.

4) The Quillan Games by D.J. MacHale - I've read this series since I was in middle school and would be interested in finishing it. However, this series has almost completely left my memory and I think I'd have to start all over. I'm not sure I want to do that so I may never finish.

5) Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl - For a while, everyone was buying this series and I jumped on the bandwagon. I liked the first two books in this series, but I feel like I'm never going to get to the final two books. I keep trying to start the third, but I never get very far.

6) The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling - The reviews were so mixed and mostly terrible for this book. I had picked it up used, but I'm still not sure if I'm going to pick it up. The story doesn't appeal to me much anymore and there are so many other books I have more interest in.

7) The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas - There was a lot of hype around this cover when the book came out. The first sentence really grabbed me when I started it. However, as I continued reading, I lost a lot my interesting. I just couldn't get into the story and I'm not sure I'll pick it up again soon.

8) Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott - The high number of comparisons this books had to The Hunger Games has put me off for right now. Maybe someday.

9) Saving the World the Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson - I started this series a long time ago and never read farther than the first two. They happened to be on Kindle Daily Deal a while ago and I purchased the rest of the series. Since then I've heard bad reviews, so I'm not sure I'll be finishing the series.

10) All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin - So many people have recommended me this series, but I'm not sure if its the series for me. Every time I try things just don't work out! Maybe I'll try it again someday, but for right now its on the back burner.

Last Top Ten Tuesday -------> Top Ten Summer TBR Books

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August Unboxing (2014)

I recently received a box from Better World Books and decided to unbox it for you guys! I hope you enjoy. I had forgotten exactly what I ordered so it was fun to open this box up. 

Books Mentioned

Pirates of Barbary by Adrian Tinniswood 
Patriot Pirates by Robert H. Patton 
Pirates and Privateers by Tom Bowling 
The Black Isle by Sandi Tan
Under the Black Flag by David Cordingly 

Happy Reading! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July Wrap Up /Update

I've mentioned a few times across the internet the fact I've been in a reading slump for about a month. Therefore, the book count for this month is rather slimp. The following video is an update, wrap up for July and a little bit of a haul.

July Books

Seizure  by Kathy Reichs 
Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs 
Impulse and Initiative by Abigail Reynolds 
Captain Wentworth's Persuasion by Regina Jeffers 

Haul Books 

Code by Kathy Reichs 
Shadowhunter's Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis

Friday, August 1, 2014

#FridayReads (13)

Because I've been battling my way out of a reading funk, I've been going with what works best for me. Therefore its been a lot of Kathy Reichs and Jane Austen adaptations recently. This includes today because I've been reading 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs. I also have Sanditon by Jane Austen and Another Lady and Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin in my bag today. (Yes. I do have a very large, heavy bag I carry around.)

206 Bones (Temperance Brennan, #12)  Sanditon: Jane Austen's Last Novel Completed 

Two very different reads, but they are what cures my reading problems. What are you reading?