Contemporary-A-Thon Wrap-Up!!!

As some of you may know, if you have been following me, last week I participated in my second Contemporary-A-Thon. Essentially this is a week long readathon dedicated to reading Contemporary books. There were 7-challenges this round but, as always, you can double up on challenges, so you do no necessarily need to read 7-books over the course of the week.

For the first time ever, I has a successful readathon. I completed all 7-challenges and even stuck to my original 4-book TBR. 

Without further ado, let’s get into the books that I read and what challenges they met:

1. The first book I finished was Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch. This is a YA book that involves a strained sibling relationship, a couple of broken hearts and road-trip through Ireland. This book was 303-pages and I ended up giving it 3.5-stars. This helped me complete two challenges: read a book in a non-traditional format (I listened to this on audiobook) and read a book with a picture on the spine.

2. The second book I finished was They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. Again, this was a YA book that followed two boys on their ‘death’ days as they learn how to live. This was such a moving story. Silvera’s writing is top-notch and definitely known to break hearts. This book was 373-pages, I read it in under 24-hours by reading both the audiobook and hard copy versions, and I gave it a full 5-stars. Additionally, I added this book to my all-time ‘favorites’ shelf on Goodreads. This completed two challenges: read a dark or taboo contemporary (story about death) and book you planned to read in 2018 and never got around to.

3. The next book I finished was Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo. This was an ARC-copy as the book actually doesn’t release until March 5, 2019. Basically a story about a girl really struggling to find her place in the world after the loss of her sister and suffering severe bullying at school. This was a very tough story to read. I didn’t end up giving it a star rating as I was so all over the place on how I felt about it. This was 352-pages long and I used it to complete two challenges: read your most recently acquired contemporary (I received this from the publisher a couple of days before the readathon started) and read a book with blurple (blue or purple) on the cover (this book had a lot of purple on it).

4. Finally, the last book I completed was Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann. This is a YA book about a girl coming to terms with her sexuality and trying to navigate relations with her family as she doesn’t want to do with her life what they want her to do with it. There’s a lot of drama in this one. This book is 304-pages long, one of the shortest of my week, but it took me the longest to read. This was the first book I began for the readathon and the last book I finished. I found it to be a tad boring and really had to force myself to complete it. Something about the writing style just didn’t mesh with me. I ended up giving this one 3-stars and frankly, the last star was mainly for the diversity which I really liked and appreciated. I am looking forward to Kann’s next book releasing later this year. I am just hoping her writing has evolved a bit since this one. I used this book to complete one challenge: read a diverse contemporary.

So that sums it up! My first ever successful readathon. I completed all 4-books on my designated TBR, which is a minor miracle if I am being honest as I rarely stick to a TBR, and read 1,332-pages for the week. This put me a little behind with some of my other reading but I am trying not to get stressed about the amount of ARCs I have to read over the coming weeks! Also me:

Did you participate in Contemporary-A-Thon? How did it go for you? If you didn’t, what did you read last week? I want to know! Comment below or reach out to me through any of my social media outlets.

Cheers & Happy Reading~

 

January 2019: Wrap-Up

Just like that, the first month of 2019 has come and gone. I am so happy with my reading for this month. I actually set a new personal record and completed 17 books! This is just insane to me. I was one book short of completing my TBR Challenge for the month, as well, but I will write more about that in a separate post.

Without further ado, let’s get into the books I read this month:

  1. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – This Adult Thiller received a full 5-stars from me for keeping me at the edge of my seat!
  2. The Witch of Willow Hall  by Hester Fox – This Adult Historical Fiction brought me all I wanted in creepy, gothic atmosphere, 4.5-stars!
  3. The Wicker King by K. Ancrum – I read this YA Contemporary with the Dragons & Tea Book Club on Goodreads. We completed it in 5-days. I found it original and hard-hitting and ended up giving it a full 5-stars.
  4. Blood of Wonderland (Queen of Hearts Saga #2) by Colleen Oakes – I read this book to complete my ‘read a sequel’ challenge for the month. I thought this was a great continuation to this YA Fantasy series which tells the origin story of the Queen of Hearts; full 5-stars.
  5. White Stag (Permafrost #1) by Kara Barbieri – I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher, Wednesday Books, and took part in the ‘Blog Tour’ to help celebrate its publication. This is the start to an all-new YA Fantasy series involving goblins and a goblin king. Overall, I found it interesting and ended up giving it 3.5-stars.
  6. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch – This YA Contemporary set in Italy follows 16-y.o. Lina as she tries to navigate the world after the devastating death of her mother. Even though that sounds very sad, this was actually a funny and heart-warming story about found friendships and love. I gave this a full 5-stars as well.
  7. She Lies in Wait (DCI Jonah Sheens #1) by Gytha Lodge – I received this Adult Crime Thriller as an ARC from the publisher, Random House Books, and really enjoyed reading it. I would definitely continue on with this series. I gave this book 4-stars.
  8. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King – My favorite author. A short-story collection I am kicking myself for not picking up earlier. This is now my all-time favorite short-story collection full of tales of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Absolutely horrific! 5-full DARK stars.
  9. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee – I received this Middle Grade Space adventure as an ARC from the publisher, Rick Riordan Presents, an imprint of Disney Books. I had so much fun reading this story. One of my favorites of the month! 5-out-of-this-world stars.
  10. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand – This YA Horror took me the longest to read. Not really because of the story. The story was really unique and I was surprised, pleasantly, by how dark it was. This book is a chuncker though – 450 pages in the hardcover format. I gave this one 4.5-stars.
  11. The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon – I listened to the audiobook for this Adult Horror novel. It was such a great experience. Walking my dog at night, listening to this, with no light but from my headlamp, in the cold of winter on a desolate island. It doesn’t get more atmospheric that that. I loved the mysterious horror elements of this. Just the whole vibe was really cool and well-done. I look forward to reading other books from this author; 4-stars.
  12. The Lonely Dead by April Henry – I received this book as an ARC from the publisher, Henry Holt and Co. Unfortunately, this book and I did not get along. We were scratching and biting and pulling each others hair. Nope. Just did not work for me; 2-stars.
  13. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer Trilogy #1) by Michelle Hodkin – This was one of my TBR jar picks for the month of January. This is a YA Paranormal Romance. There was mystery in this. There was a lot of witty dialogue and a male lead to totally swoon over. I hella enjoyed this one and was so happy that I finally read it; 4.5-stars!
  14. Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) by Maureen Johnson – I am so happy that I finally picked up this YA Mystery. Set at a boarding school in rural Vermont, this book literally checked all of my boxes. I loved this so much and actually just received the long-awaited sequel, The Vanishing Stair, in the mail today! This one received a full 5-star review from me.
  15. Hell: The Possession and Exorcism of Cassie Stevens by Tom Lewis – I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This book was hella creepy and actually had an interesting take on possession. Unlike any other possession stories I have ever read, this one is told mainly from the perspective of the person who is possessed. I thought it was really a fun little read overall; 3.5-stars. Thank you, Tom!
  16. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1) by Alexander Bracken – This Middle Grade adventure was steeped with creepy, Halloweenie vibes and I adored it. The sequel is being released next Tuesday, February 5th, and I have an ARC from the publisher, Disney Book Group. Starting that one tonight and really looking forward to continuing on with this story; 4-stars.
  17. The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff – I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Park Row Books, and am so glad that I got the opportunity to read this early. What a book! This Adult Historical Fiction novel tells the tale of a group of female spies during WWII. Told in 3-perspectives this book drew me in from the very beginning and never let go. Vivid, poignant and heartbreaking, I would recommend this book to all; full 5-stars!

That is it, folks! That wraps up my month. Have you read any of these books? What was your favorite book of the month or least favorite? I want to know. Leave a comment below or you may contact me through any of my social media links.

Cheers & Happy Reading~

 

November Wrap-Up/December TBR

Happy December 1st Geeks & Gals! ‘Tis the season for bookish goodness…but isn’t that all year round, really? Today I thought I would quickly go through my November Wrap-Up and let you know my December reading plans and TBR.

For November I successfully completed 11 books, which although still great, is down from an epic 16 books completed in October. I believe I reviewed all of the books I completed in November previously so I will just go through a quick run-down with star ratings:

  1. Abandoned (Max Revere series)                              4 stars
  2. The Lying Woods (ARC)                                              5 stars
  3. A Study in Charlotte (audio)                                     3 stars
  4. Winterhouse (middle grade ARC)                           4.5 stars
  5. My Sister, the Serial Killer (ARC)                             3.5 stars
  6. Wolves of the Calla (Dark Tower series)                5 stars
  7. This is Our Story                                                          5 stars
  8. Strange Grace                                                               4 stars
  9. The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (ARC)      5 stars
  10. Love a’la Mode (ARC)                                                  5 stars
  11. The Lying Game (audio)                                             4 stars

As you can tell by the star ratings listed above, I had a pretty stellar reading month. There were no books that I did not enjoy. The lowest star rating of 3, A Study in Charlotte, was still a fun book it just didn’t WOW me like some of the others. The book I would say that had the largest impact on me for the month of November was probably, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. It was just such a unique Adult Mystery/Thriller. I had never read anything like it before. It was so confusing, pretty much the whole way through, but so insanely addicting, I had to keep reading!

Moving on to December – I have big plans this month. Firstly, I am participating in two readalongs this month with book friends from Instagram. The first is the #manxcarpooltochristmasland where I will be rereading Joe Hill’s fantastic Holiday Horror novel, NOS4A2. I read NOS4A2 for the first time last December and loved it soooooo much that I even bought a copy of it for my sister for Christmas. Initially I read it on my kindle but have since bought a hard copy for myself and the plan is to annotate it this time round. Really looking forward to jumping back into that twisted tale!

Second, I am participating in the #ChristmasinZephyr readalong where we will be reading Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. This is a coming-of-age story that follows young, Cory Mackenson, and his friends and family living in the small town of Zephyr, Alabama. I have heard so many wonderful things about this book, in fact it is a few of my book friends all-time favorite novels, so I am really excited to check it out. I have also heard it compared to Stephen King’s short story, The Body, which I love so I have a strong feeling this will be a 5-star book for me. *Side Note: The Body was adapted into a fabulous movie called, Stand By Me, which if you haven’t watched it yet, you should.

In addition to the two readalongs, I am not overloading myself with too many other commitments. I would like to get at least halfway through, Song of Susannah, which is the sixth book in King’s Dark Tower series. I want to stretch it out a bit because I only have one book left after this one. The last thing I want to focus on is a techy scifi book called, Killing Adam, that was sent to me by the author, Earik Beann. He was so gracious to send me a copy in exchange for an honest review. The premise sounds very interesting and I can’t wait to get started with it. It is fairly short so I don’t think I should have a problem getting through it by the New Year release date.

Currently, I have read 128 books for the year. I would be VERY happy if I could get to 135. That would feel like a HUGE victory for me, considering my initial goal was 62 which I then bumped to 72 and again bumped to 92. I have definitely exceeded my expectations.

I do have a lot of great plans for 2019, which include hopefully finally starting by BookTube channel! I just need to do some more research, studying, learning how to edit, etc., before I get going with that. I will do a 2019 Goals post closer to the end of the year so stay tuned for that. What books are you hoping to finish before the end of the year? Have you already set your reading goals for 2019? I want to hear about it! Leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

 

Retellathon Wrap-Up

It’s wrap-up time! So, if you follow me on social media or this blog, you may recall that last week I participated in my FIRST ever readathon. I had so much fun and ended up completing 3 books for it and meeting 4 out of the 5 challenges! I’m proud of that – between working full time and being Dog Mom of the year with three times a day long walks – I think that is a pretty solid week. In completion order the books I read and challenges met are as follows:

1. The Beast Within by Serena Valentino (Villains #2): Rating 2.5-stars.  This one was really rough for me. I hated the Beast/Prince. He was a complete ass and I don’t feel his character changed at all during the course of the story. I did not want Belle with him and don’t know why she would choose to be. I understand when a guy gives you a library that can be tempting but he must have some other sort of likeable qualities as well. The story itself was all over the place and felt very rushed. Overall, may be a better fit for readers aged 10 to 13. I read this book to satisfy Challenge #1, which was to read a retelling of your favorite fairy tale. Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite and I have actually owned this book for a while, so, even though it wasn’t the best book for me, I am happy to cross it off my backlist!  For my full review on Goodreads >>> Meg’s Full Review

2. Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes (Queen of Hearts Saga #1): Rating 4.5-stars. This is essentially an origin story for the Queen of Hearts. I love retellings from the villains perspective, that’s honestly one of my favorite subgenres of YA. This one felt very true to the atmosphere of the original story but brought a lot of new concepts and unique twists. I loved the deep, dark overall feel of the tale. There were parts that were very gritty and creepy which works perfectly with the story. Alice in Wonderland is not a feel-good tale; it is dark and scary with twisty-turny, upside-downy things that just make you feel on edge. I read this book to satisfy two challenges actually. Firstly for, Challenge #3, which was to read a fairytale retelling from your heritage. I chose to go with my Irish heritage for this one and since Ireland was a part of UK&Ireland at the time the original story was written, I think that counts. I made that executive decision, yes. The second challenge it met was Challenge #5, which was to read a retelling with a dark twist, and as the hosts of the readathon pointed out, this would include stories from the villains perspective. So, check and check! For my full review on Goodreads>>>Meg’s Full Review

3. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust – Rating 4.5-stars rounded up to 5 on Goodreads. This is a fabulous feminist retelling of Snow White and the Evil Queen. (Side Note: I always want to call her the Wicked Queen – I am from New England, everything is wicked to us.) Honestly, I haven’t even written a review for this yet because I am still grappling with how much I loved it. It was a long one too – almost 400-pages.  If I had one critique, that would be it.  I think probably 40 to 50 pages could have been edited out of it. Other than that, it was fantastic – and a debute – gurl, what!? I think this is probably the best retelling I have ever read. I am so happy that I finally got around to it as it has been on my shelves since it first released in September of last year. The Challenge this met was Challenge #2, to read a queer or gender flipped retelling. This story features a f/f relationship. I promise to write a full review of this book soon!

There was one challenge that I did not complete and that was Challenge #4, to read the group book, The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill. After hearing other Retellathon participants thoughts on it, I am actually glad I did not start with that one.  Let’s just say the overall opinion is not high and I wouldn’t be surprised if a copy or two got tossed in the actual garbage.  Luckily, the cover is insanely gorgeous so even if I never read it, at least I can look at it once in a while and soak up its prettiness.

What is your favorite retelling? Have you read any of these? I want to know – leave a comment below or contact me through any of the social media links to the right!