Quarterly Wrap-Up

This is my first quarterly wrap-up because it’s been over 3 months since the last time I wrote a blog. It’s been longer than that but I’m not going to think about what I didn’t do in 2016.  I’m a terrible, terrible blogger now but it is what it is. So here’s my wrap-up for January, February, and March.

  • Books I’ve Read in 2017… So Far

My favorite book so far (and probably for the rest of this year) is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. If you live under a rock and haven’t heard about this book yet, it’s a fictional but very accurate account of the Black experience in America, for those of us who grew up in predominantly Black low-income neighborhoods. It stems from the Black Lives Matter movement. The story is told from the perspective of 16-year old Starr Carter, who witnesses the murder of her childhood friend Khalil by a white police officer. Although most people focus on the BLM aspect of the book, it really is so much more than that. It’s the catalyst that sends the protagonist on her journey of self discovery, but Angie Thomas did an amazing job of recreating this environment that most people who aren’t forced to live in don’t see or understand. I could easily call to mind classmates, friends, and relatives who could easily be any of the characters in this book, mistakes and all. Most importantly, it really challenges readers to look past the ideas and misconceptions that you have about Black people based on what they look like or where they’re from. It challenges the images that the media constantly shoves in our faces that demonizes Black victims.  And this is so important for people, Black, white, or whatever, who have grown up in the suburbs and with certain privileges–people who’ve gone their whole lives without meeting a Khalil, or meeting a Devante, or even meeting a Starr–a character that I see so much of myself in. I hope that everyone reads this book with an open mind, and that when you’re done with it, your heart is more open too.

My least favorite book so far was Zipped by Laura and Tom McNeal. I actually decided to DNF this book. I hate read my way through another novel by these authors last year hoping for a payoff that never came. I decided I’d save myself the trouble this time. It was just so boring. It was also really creepy. The main character had this weird crush on his step-mom.  My last straw was when he decided to spy on step-mom by going through the dirty laundry to inspect her underwear–he suspected she was having an affair–because he knew her underwear schedule and what kind she wore depending on the occasion. I think he sniffed them, but my mind may have invented that because I was already creeped out by this point. If that’s not enough, there were too many characters with shifting POVs, none of them interesting by the way. It was just all bad.

Other than Zipped, I loved all of these books for varying reasons. You can check out my Goodreads for thoughts on most of them. Others I’d highly recommend right after THUG are The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber and The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.

  • 2017 Book Haul… So Far

Between January and February I only bought 3 books, 2 of them were digitals on sale for $1.99 each: The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee and Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. I bought a hardcover of Deep Blue by Jennifer Connely used.

But then in March things got a little… out of control. Here’s a picture of what I got. I think the titles/authors are pretty clear so I’m not going to list them because laziness wins. I didn’t spend as much as it looks like though. Chamber of Secrets was given to me as a gift and We Can Be Mended was a Carve the Mark pre-order gift. Six of Crows was a trade. The Casual Vacancy was another cheap used buy. The rest I bought but they were part of really, really, really good sales.

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Top Ten Favorite Reads of 2016

I completed my Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge by 148%, reading 37 of 25 books this year. Go me! I read a mixture of books this year including some highly anticipated new releases by my favorite authors, debut authors, independent authors, diverse authors and stories, and so on. I also completed my first audiobook and my first graphic novel. This year I really wanted to explore books that were outside of my usual picks (especially trying to read more grounded and contemporary fiction), and for the most part, I ended up loving every second. Without further ado, here are my Top Ten Favorite Reads of 2016.

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I’m still here.

I know I haven’t posted a blog, Instagram picture, or even to Twitter in over a month now, but I’m still here. Things have been going…

I officially moved back to Phoenix almost two weeks ago now. I started my new old job–same job title and same district, just at a different school site. It has been a rough start. The schedule was a mess because the previous case managers wrote IEPs with absurd and ridiculous minutes. As if that wasn’t enough stress, I got a transfer student on my very 1st day with a severe emotional disturbance.

But I don’t know… Phoenix has grown on me. I don’t hate it. It’s not my first choice, but I am grounded when I’m here, so maybe it’s a good thing. I’m currently staying with a friend, but I’m apartment hunting. I try to go see at least one new place after work everyday. That’s taking up the bulk of the rest of my time.

As far as reading goes, I haven’t been getting much of it done. I started An Ember in the Ashes on Thanksgiving, but I only got a few chapters in before I moved and I haven’t started again. I bought a Kindle Fire on Black Friday so I could read more–when I’m on the go and especially at night with the light off, but I haven’t been using it. I need to get on that.

I will start reading and book blogging again when things settle down for me though. Probably when I get my own apartment, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later. Until then…

What are you reading? What are your plans for the holidays? We have almost two more weeks of school. Then, I’m going to spend the winter break with my friends in L.A. Las Vegas has been mentioned for the New Year, but nothing is set in stone as far as I know.

 

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Book Tour: Review + Giveaway of Flashfall by Jenny Moyer

I am a whole day late with this review. My deepest apologies to Jenny Moyer and the lovely tour hosts! No excuses other than not planning and scheduling this post on time, then being swept away by life so I couldn’t do it the day of. Without further ado, I present my tour stop on the Flashfall Book Tour. Check out the absolutely amazing trailer first!

TRAILER:

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Discussion: The Popularity Principle

I recently finished reading the second novel in an extremely popular series. Despite my general boredom and in spite of my infuriation with the characters the entirety of both books, I decided to keep reading. Only a very small part of the decision was because I  genuinely wanted to know what comes next in the story. (I do have a problem with never DNFing that I need to get over.) But the majority of the decision was made because I feel compelled to read popular series and books.

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October Rewind: Book Haul, Reviews, & Recap

I only finished two books in October, both were for blog tours or else I probably wouldn’t have struggled to finish those either. Iron Cast was my favorite of the two. I really loved the characters, the early 1900s setting, and the gritty crime noir feel.

I also started A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I’m a little over 50% done as of writing this post. I’m still having mixed feelings about this series overall. I liked ACOTAR in the end, but I’m having the same trouble with ACOMAF that I had with that one, which is just that it’s too long. I don’t mind reading massive books as long as I love the characters and there’s enough action and subplots to sustain. So far, I’m just not getting that satisfaction.

Needless to say, I totally BOMBED the Halloween Read-A-Thon TBR. Womp, womp.

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Blood For Blood Release Blitz + Giveaway!

I am so excited that BLOOD FOR BLOOD by Ryan Graudin releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Ryan, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for 5 finished copies of book 1, WOLF BY WOLF! US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About The Book:

  • Title: BLOOD FOR BLOOD
  • Author: Ryan Graudin
  • Pub. Date: November 1, 2016
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Format: Hardcover, paperback, eBook
  • Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads 

The action-packed, thrilling sequel to Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf.
There would be blood.
Blood for blood.
Blood to pay.
An entire world of it.

For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun.

Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?

This gripping, thought-provoking sequel to Wolf by Wolf will grab readers by the throat with its cinematic writing, fast-paced action, and relentless twists.

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Blog Tour: Omari and the People

Omari and the People

  • Original Tittle: Omari and the People by Stephen Whitfield
  • Narrator: Curt Simmons
  • Length: 11h 17m
  • Publisher: June 20th, 2016 by Shirley Castle Press
  • Links: Goodreads, Audible, Amazon
  • Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based in part on the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home afire to start anew and to cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place which only he can lead them to, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The desperate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari’s involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead is jeopardized.

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Blog Tour: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Iron Cast from the publisher via Netgalley in association with The Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for an honest review.

Iron Cast

  • Original Title: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria
  • Edition: e-ARC, 384 pages
  • Published: October 11th, 2016 by Amulet Books
  • Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |Book Depository | Kobo
  • Key Characters: Ada Navarro, Corrine Wells
  • Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.

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