Monday, June 17, 2019

*Review* Something I'm Good At by Caroline Andrus

Genre: YA Romance
Published: June 18, 2019
Pages: 240

Summer was the girl who had it all: good grades, a spot on the high school volleyball team, and a best friend since elementary school. Then she was diagnosed with lupus...and her best friend betrayed her. Now she’s cutting ties, because nobody should have to deal with someone as broken as her.

Kane is the guy who never gives up. When he puts his mind to something, he gets it done—no matter how many broken bones it takes. So when a chance encounter at the urgent care throws him in the path of Summer, the girl he’s secretly had a crush on for years, he’s determined to win her heart.

Despite her vow to keep people away, Summer finds herself falling for Kane’s charm. Will the boy who never gives up be able to win—and keep—the heart of the girl who is afraid to let people in?

Kane is charming. But I'm not a princess, and my disease isn't a dragon some prince can slay.

"I'm usually covered in blood and dirt. Do you really think I care about tears and snot?"

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This book had some serious A Walk to Remember (the movie) vibes for me. A girl who's basically swearing off love because of an illness, Summer's just isn't terminal. I honestly felt like Summer was being a bit dramatic, but in retrospect I think I was probably just a different type of teenage girl than Summer. Also, I'm not super-familiar with exactly how lupus affects someone's life, and I guess I can sort of understand how being diagnosed as a teenager could make it seem like your life is over. But I still ultimately couldn't really relate to her swearing off love because of it. That particular pair of Summer's shoes just didn't quite fit my feet. I had no problem wearing the rest of her shoes throughout the story though. 

My inability to relate to Summer's approach to love just made Kane's part of the story that much better for me though. I could not wait for them to hook up and for Summer to realize that her lupus diagnosis wasn't a spinsterhood sentence. I have slight mixed feelings about Kane's persistence (No means no, dude!), but overall I feel like his approach was acceptable. I definitely got the impression that in another story, he would have accepted only ever being friends if that's all Summer was down for. Like Summer mentioned, he was pretty much the only person she knew who would let things drop when it was obvious she didn't want to talk about them. 

Overall this was a light and sweet teenage romance. It's exactly the type of romance I'd want my daughter to read because Kane is the type of guy I'd want her to date. I'd definitely recommend this if you're looking for a lighthearted read this summer. 4.38976 stars. - Katie 

Caroline Andrus was born and raised in the St. Paul suburbs where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and Henry McCoy—her cat, who thinks he's a wild cougar.

When she's not working her two part time jobs and her full time publishing job, she divides her time between writing, Facebook, designing, and managing her household. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, rocking out to the radio, and tabletop board games.

She is passionate about both reading and writing teen fiction, and is pretty sure she will forever be eighteen at heart.

Twitter: @andruscaroline

Sunday, April 28, 2019

GoT: What I Want to See - Brienne

As I sit anxiously awaiting this week's episode of Game of Thrones (The Battle of Winterfell), I'm spending a lot of time thinking about what I want to see happen, especially for Ser Brienne of Tarth. Since I'm pretty sure she's on the chopping block in this upcoming episode (did you see how happy she was when Ser Jaime knighted her?!), I need to get these hopes out to the world now before they are rendered completely irrelevant.

I've seen a lot of talk since last week's episode (S8:E2) where people talk about how they're pretty sure that Brienne is in love with Jaime, but I just don't see that. I think Brienne respects Jaime as a soldier, much like she had such great respect for Renley Baratheon because of how he treated her and what he did for her at her birthday party when she was younger. Remember, everyone thought she was so devoted to Renley because she was in love with him, but she told Jaime she knew he was gay. Instead, she was devoted because when all the other boys at her party made a joke out of treating her kindly, Renley was truly kind. And let's face it, when all is said and done, Jaime Lannister is every asshole that made a joke out of Brienne. But before he lost his hand defending her, he was a damn good knight, and that's something, along with his defense of her honor, that she can respect deeply.

But maybe I'm wrong and she really does love Jaime. I hope not though, because I'm pretty sure that relationship would turn toxic real quick. For one thing, now that Jaime has lost a hand, Brienne is easily the better knight, and while Jaime can be okay with that at the moment, do you really think he wouldn't start to resent Brienne in a romantic relationship? She's even the reason he lost his hand in the first place. And when he starts to resent her prowess, he'd just chime in, "You're only a knight because I knighted you and it's your fault I lost a hand." About the only thing Jaime would really bring to that table is the ability to make pretty babies. So for anyone currently shipping Jaime and Brienne, I hope you don't get your wish.

I know I'm not alone in shipping Brienne and Tormund, and I still desperately want Brienne to recognize what she could have in Tormund. Tormund is a man who has been enamored with her from the second he saw her for being exactly who she is. He loves her size, he loves her strength, and he's astounded that she wasn't already a knight. He was the first one to suggest that she should be and mean it. Brienne deserves a man who will love her for being who she is, and Tormund does that. I even imagine he'd brag about her being a better fighter than he is; it would be a source of pride for him.

But I understand why Brienne would be hesitant, and even why she would seem repelled by his actions. For one thing, as a wildling, his etiquette by nobility standards is sorely lacking. But more importantly, it's not a whole lot different from the assholes at her party. They made her believe they were truly interested in her just to make a joke out of her, and I'm willing to bet that's not the first or last time that happened. So Tormund acting interested in her would naturally be a turnoff at this point in her life. It's safer not to trust him and get her hopes up. I just want her to realize that he's being genuine, and that maybe, just maybe, she could be really happy with him.

So what do you think? Are you team Jaime or team Tormund? Or are you team "she's dying anyway so it doesn't matter anymore"? - Katie

Saturday, January 26, 2019

*Stacking the Shelves* 26 January 2019

(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too, which covers the books I receive through Netgalley. So my STS post will feature all the books I've been one-clicking on Amazon. 

I skipped the past two weeks of STS due to being overwhelmed with work and not feeling like I had the time to build the post, so this is three weeks worth of one-clicks. All Goodreads First Reads ebook wins unless otherwise specified.

Because I Said I Would by Alex Sheen
Little Hands Praying God's Wisdom for Myself by Hope McCardy, Lisa Bastian, and Brooke and Lee
Thanks Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years by David Litt - I had some Great on Kindle credit expiring so I used it to buy this book. 
The Five Horsemen by Shawn Raymond Poalillo
On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights by Andi Simon
Threshold by J.M. Kaukola
Lucy by Thea Ramsay
Journey to Territory M by L.J. Epps
Absolution by Ellen J. Green
Valentine's Days and Nights by various authors - I snagged this book as a freebie (maybe still free) after seeing it shared by I think Penny Reid either on her page or in her fan group. 
Fulfillment: A Journey Through a Spiritual Life by ICA ICA
The Long Hot Summer by Steven Wilkens
The Simple Soul of Susan by Noel Branham
Death by Dog Show by Arlene Kay
Love, Lucy by Lucille Ball - I snagged this audiobook for just $2.95 as an Audible Daily Deal because I'm a big fan of celebrity memoirs as audiobooks. 
War of the Wilted by Amber Mitchell - I grabbed this book on sale for just 99 cents. I'd been approved for it through Netgalley, but not gotten around to reading it yet, so when I saw it for so cheap, I just bought it. 
Code 47 to BREV Force: CRACKO by F Barish-Stern 
Sherlock Holmes and the 12 Days of Christmas by Roger Riccard
Outcast by Darren Greer
A Merciful Fate by Kendra Elliot
Alice Rackham: Obsession, Death and a British Film Star by F.R. Jameson
The Balance Myth: Rethinking Work-Life Success by Teresa A. Taylor
The Horn Mansion by Brady Ridgway
I'm Here by Christy Chafe
Death Blooms by Yolanda Olson - I snagged this book as a freebie (no longer free) because I'm absolutely in love with the cover. 
Cranberry Bluff by Deborah Garner - I grabbed this book for free (no longer free) after seeing it shared on the author's Facebook page. 
The Voyages of Trueblood Cay by Suanne Laqueur - This is a preorder that went live on Thursday. Even though I'm so behind on reading Laqueur books, I know I'm going to want this one. 
A Thread of Darkness by B.E. Stefanko
Hearts Among Ourselves by A. Happy Umwagarwa
Get Back Up: From the Streets to Microsoft Suites by George A Santino
Speaking in Tungs by Karla M. Jay
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman - I snagged this book on sale for just $1.99 (no longer on sale). I occasionally enjoy reading non-fiction and medieval Europe appeals to me. 
Everything Trump Touches, Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever by Rick Wilson - I had Great on Kindle credits that were getting ready to expire, so I used them to splurge on this. 
Wildflower Heart by Grace Greene
Dancing in the Shadows of Love by Judy Croome
Broken Beauty: Piecing Together Lives Shattered by Early-Onset Alzheimer's by Sarah B. Smith
The Social Edge: The Power of Sympathy Groups for Our Health, Wealth and Sustainable Future by Anthony Costello
Feed by Mira Grant - I grabbed this book on sale for just $2.99 (no longer on sale) because it just looks really interesting. 
Silent Holy Knight by Todd Houchin
The Soul of a Team by Tony Dungy
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh - I snagged this book on sale for just $2.99 (no longer on sale). I've had my eye on this book for a while so I was excited to see it on sale. 
Hauntings by Various Authors - I snagged this anthology for just $1.99 (no longer on sale). It's been a while since I've read a horror, so hopefully I'll find some time for this soon. 
Ghostly Tales: Spine-Chilling Stories of the Victorian Age by Various Authors - I got this book for just $2.99 (still $2.99). Based on the reviews, the stories aren't particularly scary, but I enjoy historical fiction too so...
The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby A.H. Wilkinson - I snagged this on sale for just $1.99 (no longer on sale). This could be a great resource for a research paper in the future, maybe. 
Happy Doomsday by David Sosnowski - I got this book on sale for just $1.99 (no longer on sale). I'm a big fan of dystopian novels, so this should be right up my alley. 

And that is all the new books I picked up over the past three weeks. Compared to some of my weekly hauls leading up to Christmas, this is kind of pathetic, but it's also good to see that I can slow down sometimes. 

What new books have you added to your shelves recently? - Katie 

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can stop by and see all your new pretties.*

Thursday, January 24, 2019

*Book Blogger Hop* 25 January 2019

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
How many books did you read last year? Will your goal be to match that number or surpass it? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
According to Goodreads, in 2018, I read 105 books, which is five fewer books than I read in 2017. This number is somewhat misleading however because I work as a freelance proofreader. Not all of the books that I proofread (especially towards the end of the year) are even listed on Goodreads yet, so I read more books than I was able to claim credit for. Not many, but at least a few.

While I would like to say that my goal this year would be to surpass the number, as I get busier with proofreading which takes more time than just reading, I don't see that as being possible. But beyond that, I look more toward the number of pages read than the number of books completed. I could go on a short story or children's book kick and read 100 books in just a few days without really adding many pages to my numbers at all. And while I would have read more books, in the end I would have read less overall (especially if I were reading children's books which have fewer words per page than the average novel). And while I'm on the topic of pages read...even though I read five fewer books last year than in 2017, I read 400 more pages (and that's just with the books I've been able to count).

So no, I'm not really worried about surpassing the number of books read, and will instead simply strive to read more pages if at all possible.

What about you? How many books did you read last year and are you going to try to read more this year? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can stop by and see your answer.*

Monday, January 21, 2019

*Top Ten Tuesday* Books I Meant to Read in 2018 (But Didn't)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This week’s theme is books I meant to read in 2018 but didn't get around to. Now I'm sure I'm really ready for this list, and if I included all the books that I didn't get around to reading in 2018 but wanted to it would be WAY longer than ten. I am a mood reader (when I'm not proofreading at least), so I will add books to my list to read on a whim, but by the time I have the time to sit down and read them, they're no longer drawing my immediate attention. And I do that a LOT. Add in books that I win from Goodreads and my TBR is literally never-ending.

So I'm going to try to focus this list on books I meant to read in 2018 that I'm going to really try to get around to in 2019. With that in mind, here we go.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

A False Report by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Seafire by Natalie C. Parker

Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson

White Stag by Kara Barbieri

The Pisces by Melissa Broder

The Trumpets of Jericho by J. Michael Dolan

As I already mentioned, this is just a fraction of the books that I'd intended to read at some point in 2018 but never found the time for, but these are near the top of my "I really need to read this soon" list for 2019. 

What are some books that you wanted to read in 2018 but never found the time for? - Katie 

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can stop by and see your list.*

Saturday, January 19, 2019

*Book Blogger Hop* 18 January 2019

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
Is there anything that drives you bonkers when you're reading a book and makes you want tell the author a thing or two? (submitted by C. Lee @ cleemckenziebooks)
Yes and no. Is there anything that drives me bonkers when I'm reading a book? Absolutely. I am really bothered by books with a lot of grammatical errors in them, and I'm more particular about it than most people seem to be. This does not however make me want to tell the author a thing or two personally. For one thing, because I work as a freelance proofreader, I think me approaching an author directly about excessive errors in their book could easily come off the wrong way: not as someone simply trying to suggest they should get another set of eyes on the book, but rather as someone looking to make a buck by being that set of eyes. But beyond that, I don't feel like it's my job to tell an author directly about those types of issues in their books (unless they've already hired me to proofread for them, in which case they are asking for it!) I do still include comments about excessive errors in reviews when it's applicable (which I'm aware could also come off the wrong way with me being a freelance proofreader, but I can point to my reviewing history to show that I was doing it before I started working freelance at least).

So while grammatical errors drive me bonkers when I'm reading, it doesn't make me want to tell the author a thing or two.

What about you? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can stop by and check out your answer.*

Friday, January 11, 2019

*Book Blogger Hop* 11 January 2019

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
What is your first book of the year? - (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
The first book that I finished in 2019 was a book that I was proofreading. Vesuvian Books will be releasing it later this year. It was a fun novel featuring spirits seeking redemption.  The first book that I started reading in 2019 was A Night of Redemption by Kristen Banet (another proofread). It is the final book in The Redemption Saga and releases February 15th. This is an interesting paranormal, reverse harem series featuring druids and magi. And while I started working on the series partway through (so I haven't read the first two books), I would definitely recommend it (I have every intention of eventually carving out some time to read the first two books on my own, but also really enjoyed books 3 & 4 even though I started mid-series).

What was your first book of the year? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can stop by and check out your new year reads.*