Month in Review – April 2018

I read quite a bit this month, yay! At the beginning of this month I made it my goal to read 100 pages a day for a week, and that got me out of my slump. And now I’m back on the reading track! Here’s a summary of my bookish activity for this month. I will be linking up to bookdate.blogspot.com.

April MIR

Total Books Read: 9

Books Read

(The links below are affiliate links to Amazon.)

The Jerk Magnet by Melody Carlson
It Had to Be Him by Tamra Baumann
It Had to Be Love by Tamra Baumann
It Had to Be Fate by Tamra Baumann
It Had to Be Them by Tamra Baumann
Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce, et al.
Not Quite Dating by Catherine Bybee
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (this was the oldest on my TBR!!!)
Soulless by Gail Carriger

Book Formats

Hardcover – 1
eBook – 8

Book Genres

Young Adult – 2
Romance – 5
Fantasy – 1
Non-fiction – 1

New to Me Authors

Eric Schlosser

Top Book for April

Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce, et al.

I hope your April was as book-filled as mine! Let me know how it went!

❤ Annette

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Children’s Book Week

Children’s Book Week starts today! You can find all the official information here.

This week I will try to post about children’s books. We’ll see how well I do at that! 😛 For today, I wanted to kick off the week by providing you with links to all of the children’s book related posts I’ve already done. Click on each image to go to the post!

12 awesome picture books

My favorite childhood picture books.

never fade

Why it’s important to introduce books to children, even at a young age.

10 Books I Want My Future Children to Read

Books I want my future children to read, based mainly on how much I enjoyed the books as a child.

caterpillar

A couple years ago I crocheted a Hungry Caterpillar as a Christmas gift.

worm

I also crocheted a Lowly Worm. 🙂

Bookish christmas gift guides (1)

Items (that aren’t books) that still foster a love for reading.

Bookish christmas gift guides

Bookish gifts for elementary aged children.

Elementary Books

My favorite authors from my childhood.

Last but not least, my children’s chapter book reviews (only two so far). Click on the images to go to the review.

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Happy reading!

❤ Annette

New on the Stack April 2018

I got a library card this month! 🎉🎉 I also feel like I read more than usual, so you’ll see a lot of books added to my stack this month!

Next to each book I give a short explanation why I chose to pick up that particular book. (Clicking on the picture of each book will take you to the book’s Amazon page, through an affiliate link.)

Borrowed from Friends

Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger, books 3-5
I read book one, so naturally I need the next in the series!

The Custard Protocol series by Gail Carriger, books 1 and 2
This is the series after the Parasol Protectorate, so my friend lent me these as well.

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
I loved loved loved the first book in this series, Letters to the Lost. So I am sooo excited to read this one! Plus, pretty much everything Brigid Kemmerer writes is awesome.

Purchased eBook

Bandwidth by Eliot Peper
I don’t remember why I have this one. Is it an Amazon First read for the month?

The Best Friend by Melody Carlson
This is a series I started years ago that I’m trying to tackle. This is book two.

1984 by George Orwell
This was tied with Fast Food Nation and Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for oldest on my TBR. I’ve tackled those, so it’s time to tackle this one as well!

Understanding Dog Language by Aude Yvanes
Because I know nothing about dogs and now that I have one, I want to know everything.

Quirk Books Entertains Your Kids by Raising Quirk
It was free and looked cute?

 

Borrowed eBook Through Kindle Unlimited

It Had to Be… series by Tamra Baumann
Another series I wanted to finish.

Not Quite series by Catherine Bybee (books 1 and 2)
This looked cute and I liked some of Catherine Bybee’s other novels.

Remedial Rocked Science by Susannah Nix
This looks super cute and totally up my alley. (A nerd romance, as far as I can tell.)

Not Nice by Dr. Aziz Gazipura
Caught my eye while I was wandering Amazon, so I downloaded it.

Insane Energy for Lazy People by Andrii Sedniev
This is another one that caught my eye.

The Homemade Dog Biscuits Cookbook by Martha Stephenson
It might be fun to make dog biscuits for my schnoodle. But then again, I don’t cook for myself, so we’ll see how this works out…

Ella’s Twisted Senior Year by Amy Sparling
This looked cute too? Apparently I’ve spent too much time wandering around Amazon this month. 😛

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No normal by G. Wilson, Adrian Alphona, and Sara Pichelli
This one has been on my TBR for a while. I’m trying to mix up different reading formats, so a graphic novel definitely fills that.

Borrowed eBook Through cloudLibrary

Soulless by Gail Carriger
I loved her Finishing School series, so it was time for me to pick this one up!


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
This was reccommended to me forever ago, and now I’m finally picking it up.

Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave
I thought it might be fun to read this for a summery sort of feel, but I don’t think I’m going to get to it with everything else I have.

Borrowed Physical Book from Library

All Summer Long by Melody Carlson
Another series I’m trying to finish.

Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce
Have I mentioned that Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite authors? This was the first book I picked up and checked out with my brand new library card. And I read it within a day. ❤

Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
This, and the next three, are all for series that I’m trying to finish

Rules of Attraction by Simon Elkeles


See How They Run by Ally Carter


Goddess Boot Camp by Tara Childs


Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
A friend of mine recommends this one highly, and I’ve seen how it helps her negotiate. I can’t wait to read this one!

 

What books did you pick up this month?

❤ Annette

March NOS (1)

Books to Read for Spring

So I don’t have a ton of books to share today, but I wanted to give you some ideas of books that are perfect for spring! (Although in Arizona our seasons are “hot” and “hotter”, so “spring” doesn’t quite apply. :P)

(Links and images are affiliate links)

Wings Series by Aprilynne Pike

I picked up the second one in a Walmart bargain bin and I was hooked! I don’t know if reading the series out of order (2, 1, 3, 4) affected how much I love the series, but this series is tied with Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series for my favorite fairie novels. The fairies in these books each represent a season, so they’re not specifically “spring”, but when I think of fairies I think of gardens and flowers and that makes me think of spring. 🌷

   

The $64 Dollar Tomato by William Alexander

If you only ever read one book about gardening, this should be the one. It’s told in a style similar to that of Freakonomics – non-fiction through stories. You follow the author as he tries to have the perfect garden… which ends up being a lot harder than he had anticipated. It’s also written with humor, which hooked me. I read this when I was in junior high (per my mother’s reccommendation) and loved it. It also imparted some wisdom that I still think about today. They meant it to apply to gardening, but it can definitely be applied elsewhere. “When in doubt, do nothing. Either the problem will get so bad you know what to do, or it will resolve itself.” (Not an exact quote, just from my memory.) (Also, it’s not advocating for apathy or inaction. They just point out that sometimes it’s better to wait to make a clear decision.)

100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Leslie Stanfield

I mentioned this one in my post 5 Awesome Crochet Books and 5 More I Want to Read, but it’s definitely worth mentioning here as well. If you’re a knitter or crocheter and you want to decorate your home with lots of springy, floral touches, this book will help you out! So far I’ve only made four or five of the patterns, but they all turned out beautiful. 🙂

Sleeping Naked is Green by Vanessa Farquharson

The author decided to change one aspect of her life to be more “green”, every day for an entire year. This book follows her as she tries to do this, and pushes herself out of her comfort zone, to unplug her fridge, sell her car, join eco-groups, and much more. She also discusses a bit about after her experiment – what did she go back to, and what was it that it turned out she didn’t really miss?

What books remind you of spring? I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

❤ Annette

spring

Bookish Happenings in May 2018

Hi all! This is a new monthly feature I want to add to my blog. I’ll try it out and see if it works. 🙂 Basically I’m going to try to contain any awesome bookish news such as new releases, movie releases related to books, and events. Obviously I’m not going to be able to cover everything, but if your reading palate is similar to mine, then hopefully you’ll find this information useful.

Release dates are for the book/movie in the United States, so it may not be accurate if you’re living in another country.

Links to Amazon are affiliate links, other links are just for your convenience. 🙂

Movie Releases

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(images from imdb.com)

May 18 – On Chesil Beach
May 18 – Book Club
May 18 – Deadpool 2
May 25 – Mary Shelley

Book Releases

May 1

Bookish Boyfriends by Tiffany Schmidt
Burning Maze by Rick Riordan (Book 3 in the Trials of Apollo series)
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sara J. Maas (Book 3.1 in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series) (preorder swag details here)
Outcast by Taran Matharu (Book 4 in the Summoner series) (preorder swag details here)
Royals by Rachel Hawkins
The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck
When the Beat Drops by Anna Hecker

      

May 8

The Girl and the Grove by Eric Smith (pre-order swag details here)
The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews
The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
Whatshisface by Gordan Korman

   

May 13

How to Marry a Werewolf by Gail Carriger

May 15

All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor
In His Image by Jen Wilkin
My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma
Yumi by Renee Adieh (Book 1.75 in the Flame in the Mist series)

   

May 22

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon (preorder swag details here)
Fury Born by Claire Legrand (preorder swag details here)

 

May 29

Ella by Sarah Price (Book 2 in the Amish Fairytale series)
Legendary by Stephanie Garber (Book 2 in the Caraval series) (preorder swag details here)
LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff (preorder swag details here)

  

Events

April 30-May 5 – Children’s Book Week
May 1 – Mother Goose Day
May 2 – Harry Potter Day (Anniversary of Battle of Hogwarts)
May 3-6 – Festival of Literary Diversity (Brampton, ON)
May 3-6 – Greater St. Louis Book Fair (Maryland Heights, MO)
May 5 – Madtown Author Daze (Madison, WI)
May 5 – Yallwest Book Festival (Santa Monica, CA)
May 5 – Free Comic Book Day
May 11-17 – Reading is Fun Week
May 12 – Limerick Day
May 15 – May 20 RT Booklover’s Convention (Reno, NV)
May 19 – Gaithersburg Book Festival (Gaithersburg, MD)
May 19 – Greater Rochester Teen Book Fest (Rochester, NY)
May 20 – Books in Bloom Literary Festival (Eureka Springs, AR)
May 21 – National Readathon Day
May 25 – Towel Day (In celebration of Douglas Adams, author of Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
May 25-28 – BayCon (Fantasy and science fiction convention) (San Mateo, CA)
May 30-June 1 Book Expo America (New York City, NY)

Let me know if you go to any of these events, I’d love to hear about them! Also let me know what you think of this feature – is this something you want to see in the future?

❤ Annette

bookish happeningsmay 2018

Book Review: The Jerk Magnet by Melody Carlson

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(⭐)

Summary

Chelsea Martin has always been the ugly duckling wallflower, just doing her best not to stand out and get made fun of. Then her dad makes a big announcement – they’re moving to California, and he’s marrying his girlfriend. Her new stepmother helps Chelsea with a complete makeover – and now she’s getting all the attention. While this is great for her confidence and making new friends, it also means she’s getting a lot of attention from jerks who only like her for her looks. Hence she is dubbed the “jerk magnet”.

What I Liked

  • This book does a great job of addressing what it’s like to be judged by your looks from many different perspectives. She’s attracting both positive and negative attention with her new looks, but she watches and sees how people treat those like she used to be.
  • This book sort of introduces CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) without directly stating it. The character just works to refine her thoughts through a more positive lens. It was really cool to see this thought process because while CBT is super important (especially if you struggle with anxiety or depression), it’s not often conveyed in characters.

Neutral Observations

  • This is a Christian book. Just putting it out there in case that’s not your thing. 🙂
  • The book was a little outdated in what it mentioned – it was written more for me in high school (10ish years ago) than for high schoolers now. Which is probably why I gave it 5 stars when I read it in 2012, but only 4 stars when I re-read it in 2018. (Examples include references to Robert Pattinson/Edward Cullen and “What Not to Wear”.)

What I Didn’t Like

  • There were a couple of phrases or moments that threw me off guard because they wouldn’t be considered politically correct. This author as a whole is great at addressing different mental issues (I mean, see the CBT part above), but described the main character’s thoughts as schizophrenic or socially retarded. Which I thought seemed incongruous with the rest of the book and with the author’s writings as a whole. (She’s one of my favorite authors, so please don’t hate her for the two words I found that just stuck out weirdly to me. Clearly I’m being nitpicky, and the other tens of thousands of words are great. :))

In Conclusion

If you want to read a high school level book regarding what it feels like to be judged by your appearances, this one is perfect for you.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Update to Blog Pages

Hello! Hopefully I’ll have a “real” post for you later this weekend, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve completely re-done my book review pages. They’re much prettier and more visual than they were before. 🙂 You can access them from the main menu above. ^^

I’ve also added a page called “Reading Challenges” so I can keep track of my progress for reading challenges this year. This is probably more for me than you, but it’s there nonetheless. 😀

Enjoy!

❤ Annette

Book Review: It Had to Be Him by Tamra Baumann

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Meg Anderson has always been a screw-up. Now she needs to move back home with her two year old and face her family and the town she grew up in. As the town’s resident troublemaker, she’s going to have a hard time convincing them to give her another chance. Josh Granger is a former FBI officer, who had to leave the love of his life, Meg, shortly after he found out she was pregnant. Three years later and he’s back, willing to do anything to win her back.

What I Liked

  • This is a re-read since I’m getting back into the series. So the fact that I was willing to read it again is huge. Also, I spent all day on the edge of my seat, waiting for breaks at work so I could find out what happened next. Even though I’d already read the book before. So there’s that. 😛
  • This book is so. dang. cute. Both the characters are more or less already in love, they just don’t trust that their future will work out. I liked reading a romance that was more about learning to trust the other person than questioning whether or not they had feelings for the person.
  • The characters were fantastic. Meg is tomboyish, confident, and resilient. Her grandmother is spunky. Josh is even-keeled. And throughout the book, the author shows each of their personalities through their actions and reactions. She doesn’t just say that the characters are that way. To be honest I feel like I don’t get to read authentic characters like that very often.
  • I admire the characters for the choices they made in the book. If faced with some of their situations, I know I would either shut down crying or try to fight back with a snarky remark. But the characters had the guts to face what they needed to face and not let retorts get to them (usually). And I found that pretty cool.

What I Didn’t Like

  • This book gets five stars from me, so I really don’t have any dislikes.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a great contemporary romance, this is the book for you.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

DIY Gold Earth Bracelet

This bracelet is inspired by the one mentioned in Tin Star and The Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castelluci. It is present in both books and somewhat plays a part, but I don’t want to give away much more than that. 🙂

Supplies Needed

Gold colored chain
Gold colored lobster clasp
Gold colored jump rings
Needlenose Pliers
Wire cutters
Gold earth charm (I got mine on Etsy)

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Directions

  1. Cut a length of chain using your wire cutters. You can either measure by wrapping around your wrist (if it’s for you), or use a ruler to measure a standard size. (I used this pin as reference.)

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2. If your charm is set up with a hole perpendicular to the charm, you can just slide it on the chain. If the hole is flat with the charm, you will want to use a jump ring to attach it. (Jump ring directions are in the next step.)

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See how the ring is perpendicular?
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Right in the center 🙂

3. If your lobster clasp comes with an eyelet, open a jump ring with the needlenose pliers, slide the eyelet on, and then attach the jump ring (with eyelet) to the last link of your chain. Close with the needlenose pliers. If your lobster clasp does not have an eyelet, just attach the jump ring.

IMG_7664IMG_7665IMG_7671

4. Use the same method to attach a jump ring and lobster clasp to the other end of the chain.

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5. That’s it! Now you have your very own gold Earth bracelet.

IMG_7673

I hope you enjoy! I love jewelry making, especially since it’s often so simple!

❤ Annette

IMG_7674

DIY

Book Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Emika Chen is just barely scraping by, using her hacking skills to track down criminals as a bounty hunger. That is, until she accidentally glitches into the Warcross virtual championships. That’s when everything changes. We get to follow her as she uses her hacking skills and explores the different virtual worlds of Warcross, as well as the intricacies posed by its creator and most popular players.

What I Liked

  • I loooved the world. It’s ours, but slightly in the future, when virtual reality becomes easily available for everyone. Now there’s a digital layer on top of the existing world, as well as the super cool game of Warcross. Being able to control what you see out of your car windows, or talk to people who speak a different language (and see instant translation), or play a game that allows you to fly… how cool!
  • The last third of the book.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The first two thirds of the book? They weren’t horrible, but they were very slowly paced. If I didn’t want to discuss this book with my friends, I probably wouldn’t have pushed through to finish it at all. Don’t get me wrong, the ending, and the last third, is great enough that the book still got four stars from me. But man, it took a while to get there!

In Conclusion

If you have the patience to read 200 pages to get to some action, and if you love futuristic tech or hacking, then you’ll enjoy this book.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)