The Epic Summer Book Haul

Starting a book club was a bad idea.

I mean, it was a great idea & has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life, but… it was also a BAD idea. For my bank account. Because books. I can’t stop buying books.

As I was taking these pictures the other day, I thought to myself, “you know, it doesn’t really seem like all that many, does it?”…and then I looked at my Kindle purchases. Ah. Yes. Therein lies the problem.

So, without further ado (and to avoid feeling the need to justify myself to the internet), I give you my summer book haul, June-August 2015.

Oooooh pretty 🙂

This is essentially my whole TBR pile right now. I honestly didn’t own many unread books before this whole book club thing…you guys are the worst best, if you’re reading this.

The breakdown:

*Note how I listed no reasons for purchasing the graphic novels? That’s because I don’t need a reason. I just want them ❤

You may recognize this photo from my Book Square Challenge post on Tumblr or Instagram. I figured why not kill 2 birds with one stone? These are the covers from the Enchanted Collection Box Set, which I purchased on Amazon Prime Day for like $17. It was basically the only good sale that day, I’m fairly certain.

And, of course, the illustrious Harry Potter box set. Basically my prized possession right now, if we’re being completely honest. Remember when I got this set for $40 over 4th of July weekend? *Happy sigh*

Now for the scary part…the e-books. I have even less restraint when it comes to Kindle deals, if you can believe it.

AND there you have it. A total of 59 books purchased or received as gifts since June 1. Not sure if I should be proud of that or ashamed of my lack of self control? Ah, well. I’ve got books to take my mind off of this terrible moral dilemma!

Back to the reading chair!

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have read any of these books! I’ve only read a few of them, so far!

Til Next Time ❤

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Flash Fiction Wednesday: The Nurse is In

Happy FlashFic Wednesday, all! Thanks for tolerating my hiatus! I figured this would be the perfect day to pop back in with a little writing. As always, this is an exercise in writing short pieces, but mine happen to continue a single narrative. You can find parts one & two here. Constructive feedback is always welcome!


Sienna just stared at him. What do you even do in a situation like this? There certainly had to be a way to break this awkward silence, but first she needed to break the connection. Reluctantly, she dropped Luke’s hand back to his knee and put some distance between the two of them by standing & pressing herself into the wall, those currents still pulsing through her body as if they had become an integral part of her bloodstream.

The expression on Luke’s face had not changed. He stared up at her with equal parts confusion and awe plastered all over his face, as well as just a hint of desire. He wanted that feeling back, and so did she.  Also, she needed to get that glass out of his hand before it caused even more problems, right? Right.

Sienna slowly knelt down on the floor in front of where Luke was sitting. She reached up to grab a pair of latex gloves out of the first aid kit and put them on. Tentatively, she reached for Luke’s hand again, gently touching his skin with her fingertips through the gloves. While not nearly as effective as she had hoped, the gloves did a decent job of numbing the sensation; enough that she could keep her head clear while she set to work cleaning out his palm.

It occurred to her – as she was practically holding her breath and using every last ounce of concentration to keep her features neutral – that neither of them had spoken for a while… how long had it been? Twenty minutes? Surely longer than is socially acceptable, but Sienna could not string together a sentence right now to save her life. Instead, she merely peeked up at Luke through her lashes, more than a little pleased to find him also holding his breath and still looking dumbfounded. At least she wasn’t the only one who didn’t have a clue what to say. Or do.

She made quick work of the last few pieces of glass (to the best of her ability ignoring the magnetism  and grabbed the peroxide from the kit to disinfect the small cuts. As she dampened a cotton pad, she chanced another look at him, only to find him inspecting his palm.

“You’re pretty good at this. Are you in nursing school, or something?” his eyes did not leave his hand.

“No, I, um… I have a little brother who thinks he’s Evel Knievel. I can’t count the number of times I’ve cleaned gravel out of that kid’s knees.”

Sienna fumbled with the peroxide, grateful that Luke was so entranced by his own palm that he did not notice. She reached for his hand once again, warning him, “this is going to sting.” He flinched a little, but didn’t pull away.

Once she was satisfied that the cuts were sufficiently disinfected, she wrapped up his hand & tossed the gloves in the small trashcan. “Well, you’re all patched up. Maybe next time you’ll think twice before starting a cage match in proximity to a glass coffee table?” She tried to fix him with an indifferent stare, but he just smirked as he stood up and reached for her face. Everything in Sienna’s world went technicolor.


Flash Fiction Wednesday is a monthly writing challenge, initiated by @loudlysilent, to write a piece of fiction, 600 words or less, on the first Wednesday of every month. Check out FlashFicWed on tumblr for more writing from across the web!

Until Next Time ❤

Break Time – I’ll Be Back (you totally just read that like Arnold, didn’t you?)

Announcement! I’m taking a hiatus – just for this week – to finish getting things set up with AdultBooklr! We’ve got all kinds of things planned & I need to get my butt out of our 24/7 chat so I can actually get stuff done for all our wonderful members.

In case you missed it last week, AdultBooklr is a Goodreads/Tumblr crossover community founded by yours truly on the hallowed date of June 11, 2015. The only requirements for membership are that A) You are over 18; B) You love books; and C) You have a tumblr account. That’s it! If you meet these qualifications, come check out what I feel is the greatest place on the internet.

Not convinced? Let me tell you more.

Oh yeah, and books. Lots & lots of books.

Hope you’ll come hang out with us! I’ll be back next week for your regularly scheduled programming. ❤

New Developments! Goodreads Group for Tumblr Users 18+!

Hey out there! So I’ve had an incredible last 24 hours. Isn’t it amazing how quickly certain aspects of your life can change? I’m really excited about this new development in my internet life and wanted to share it with YOU, sweet reader.

So it all started yesterday (remember how I said I was making new friends on Tumblr?) when I realized that the majority of book blogs I follow were run by persons aged 13-17. Obviously, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but I was feeling like I needed some interaction with people who had shared similar life experiences with me. So, I made a post. And in 24 hours, that post has gotten over 1,500 notes. I discovered that I was not alone in these feelings.

Discussions began about hypothetical meetups of all the “adult” booklr users and I thought, “why not? why couldn’t we all congregate somewhere other than Tumblr?” So I made a group. And I posted about it. And you know what? We have nearly 150 members in less than 24 hours.  It may not seem like a huge deal to you, I don’t really know. But to me – this is magical. A group of adults who love books & love to talk about books and are willing to participate in activities. It’s really freaking cool.  And I’m completely flabbergasted that it all stemmed from one little post. So flabbergasted, in fact, that my writing quality has seriously deteriorated for this post (apologies).

All this to say: if you are over 18 & have a Tumblr blog and a Goodreads account, you should join us. We’re having the best time talking about books, comics, sharing our own writing, and just general randomness. Click the widget below to join!

“Adult” Booklr – We have wine & forts & kittens!

"Adult" Booklr 146 members

So, we decided it would be great to get to know each other better after the “Epic Adult-Booklr Train”…Come join us!

View this group on Goodreads »

Share book reviews and ratings with “Adult” Booklr, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

[6] Obsessive Wednesdays: Recaps!

Once again, Tumblr interferes with my writing time. Lol. I’ve spent the entire morning making new friends, though, so – worth it! Sometimes socializing just needs to take precedence over isolated writing time.  Tumblr is definitely in my obsessions list for all-time. Y’all should add me there. Here are a few other things I’m adoring this week:

Beauty

hair collage

Wella 050 Toner

As recommended by the adorable Lauren Bradley Cox, I used this toner to color my hair silver right before Comic Con. For anyone interested in giving it a try (there are lots of other colors to try out, too), here are my tips!

1. Make sure your hair is lightened as far as you can get it, or this product will not work. It may take multiple bleachings (which should be spread out over a few months, with deep conditioning treatments in between) before your color is lifted enough. I highly recommend Olaplex to keep your hair healthy throughout the bleaching process.  Yes, it’s expensive, but the travel kit in that link will last you MULTIPLE bleachings. I’ve used it at least 6 times already.
2. Mix the toner with a 20 vol. developer at a 1:2 ratio of toner-to-developer. This is significantly stronger than what the instructions on the packaging suggest, because this product is intended to be an additive to a toner mixture, not used on its own. I made the mistake of following the box directions & ended up looking like this. YEESH! That’s blue on the length & yellow on the roots. It was NOT a good look, and I had to go out in public like that to pick up my daughter from my in-laws. *cries*

unnamed

3. Apply with a brush, not a bottle. You want even saturation since this is being used as a dye. A bottle will have a harder time distributing the product evenly.
4. Leave on for a full 45 minutes. It might look like the color has fully processed before this, but just leave it on. Since this is a toner & not a dye, it will fade with your initial wash & be much lighter than it appears as it’s processing.
5. If you’re using 050 & it comes out too blue for your liking, I recommend following up with Lee Stafford Beach Blondes purple toning shampoo. This shampoo is a much warmer purple than the majority of toning shampoos I’ve found. It combats the blue & brings it back to a nice lilac-y grey.
6. Love your new hair color 😀

Books

Colorworld

I found Colorworld Books at Wizard World Des Moines this past weekend. I was drawn in by their gorgeous aluminum prints/ bookmarks, and intrigued by the book the store is named after. When I got home on Sunday, I started stalking their social media & found their Etsy shop. I happened to have a $25 Etsy gift card on my account, so I pulled the trigger & ordered the first book. I’m so excited for it to arrive – it sounds amazing, and it looks simply beautiful.

Wendy, a 19-year old college student, can sense emotions when she touches people. As the sole caregiver for her younger brother Ezra, she is strapped for cash and decides to participate in an allergy study. But something goes wrong, and when Wendy wakes up, she learns that someone is dead and it was her skin that did it. Unable to touch people for fear of hurting them, Wendy is on the hunt for answers. Did they mean to make her a weapon, or something else entirely? That’s when she finds out she’s not the only one; superhuman abilities are real. Gabe, who works with the company responsible, feels badly about what happened and offers his help. Together they learn that Wendy was targeted for a specific reason, and it has nothing to do with her death touch.

PS I Still Love You

Yeah, yeah. It was on my list last week, but I just finished it & IT WAS SO GOOD. I’m working up a review with @loudlysilent for the Wind-Up Books Chronicle, so I’ll post a link once that’s ready. I just need to reiterate how obsessed I am with these characters.  I love, love, love them! And the ending. Oh man. *MELT*

SHOPPING

6pm.com

Just discovered 6pm.com, thanks to one of my forever-loves, miss Nicole. It’s essentially Zappos’ outlet site & it has SUCH GREAT DEALS. Go & enjoy, my lovelies. Enjoy the pretty, affordable shoes.

 

I’ve been very distracted lately, so that’s all I’ve got this week. Add yourself to this list. I’m obsessed with you for reading this. Let me know what you’re geeking out over so we can be in it together!

Until Next Time ❤

 

Book Review: The Duff

You guys! Apparently I completely forgot to write this review. I finished the book back at the end of February & I guess I just got so caught up trying to finish Bloodlines that I spaced it. Which is a damn shame, because I really, really loved this book.


The Duff on Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.


I knew I needed to read this book from the moment I saw the first movie trailer. And now I kind of don’t want to see the movie because the book was SO much better than I expected. I kind of feel like the movie is going to change a LOT of the narrative & character motivations, simply based on what I’ve seen in the trailer. ANYWYAY…

OGF REVIEW

Let’s start with Bianca. I love Bianca. She’s snarky and cynical but deep down she’s all soft and mushy. I love her. I want to be her BFF. Hell, I’d be her DUFF, I don’t care.  Bianca’s got a lot more real-life problems than most YA protagonists. Her mom kind of bailed on their family without explicitly leaving – she just travels all the time & isn’t present in their lives.  Bianca’s the “responsible” one of her friends – the one who drives them around & doesn’t party, but always makes sure they’re having a good time (even when she’s not). Plus, when her problems get to be too much for her, she partakes in my favorite kind of escapism – sex therapy.  Maybe it’s not healthy, but it sure is relatable.

And Wesley Rush – oh, Wesley. Who isn’t in love with you? Wesley’s the entitled rich kid/ ladies man who’s actually just really, REALLY lonely. I love how he opens up around Bianca because he knows there’s something broken about her, too. They are vulnerable with each other and it’s really endearing, the bond they form.

Now, let’s get back to the general premise of the book: The DUFF. Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Politically incorrect? Sure. But also a pretty brutally honest commentary on the nature of basic human vanity. Be honest: once you heard of the DUFF, how much did you think about whether you were one or if you had one? I kinda figured it was me, even though I typically wouldn’t call myself FAT, just average. It’s definitely not one of my amazing friends. Maybe everybody feels like the DUFF when comparing themselves to the people they love & admire most? Philosophical questions inspired by the words of a YA author…

Regardless, the fact that this acronym even exists is absurd – did Keplinger coin it, or was it around & just outside the mainstream? Either way, it’s mainstream now. And it’s disgusting. Even though the message of the book ultimately swung back around to “Everyone is somebody’s DUFF”, that’s not how it’s going to be used & some poor kid is going to start getting called “Duffy” and who knows what will happen after that?  THAT in and of itself is the only negative statement I have about this book: that people are going to take this word out of context, distort it, and use it for harm. Because that’s what people do.

Sigh. I still maintain that the book itself is really great. An emotional ride, heavy on the steamy bits (without being explicit), with lots & lots of heart. Characters that are complex but still relatable. Just enough plot twists to keep things interesting (even though the ending is still PRETTY predictable).

Final Verdict (no surprise):

5 star

 

Have you read the book? Did you also see the movie? I’d love to know how they compare so I can get over this fear of ruining the whole thing with a really bad film adaptation!

 

Until Next Time ❤

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Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Keeping in line with yesterday’s Waiting on Wednesday, I’m here today with a review of Jenny Han’s “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before“. I finished this book around 11:30 last night – kind of unintentionally. It was one of those “one more chapter, one more chapter” kind of nights & before I knew it I only had 20 pages left – so obvi I had to just truck right on to the end!


 

boys

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.


#OGF REVIEW

I really enjoyed this book. It was a huge change of pace from Bloodlines & all the YA Supernatural/ Fantasy I read last year. I’m definitely enjoying all these YA Contemporary titles I’ve been getting my hands on lately.

Lara Jean is an easily identifiable character – just your typical 17-year-old girl with a whole truckload of insecurities. She is devoted to her family & often puts their needs above her own, particularly when her older sister goes abroad for college. Well, sort of.  Her intentions are good, at least.

Peter is the kind of character I love seeing in print. The hot, confident, popular kid who’s really a lot more genuine than people give him credit for. He’s living life for the experience of it and isn’t afraid to ask for what he wants – but that doesn’t mean he’s inherently selfish. He shows incredible compassion towards Lara Jean’s little sister, Kitty, and is surprisingly thoughtful as he & Lara Jean begin their “relationship”.

I think the most frustrating thing about this book for me is how much of the plot is driven by the simple fact that Lara Jean is afraid to drive. Seriously. She’s a nervous  driver, but as the eldest remaining daughter in a family who lost their mother some time ago, the bulk of household responsibilities falls on her shoulders – meaning she’s gotta drive places. There are at least 10 instances where this fear directly affects the narrative in a big way.

It’s always a little difficult to read YA as someone who falls into the “New Adult” category, just because we’ve been through all that teen angst & came out on the other side with a wealth of knowledge on how better to handle situations like the one Lara Jean finds herself in. I’m not saying I dislike the angsty part of YA novels – I mean that’s basically the bread & butter of the genre (and I do love the genre). But I sure as hell find myself doing one of these every 20-or-so pages:

honey

In the end, this was a fun, cheeky look at one girl’s clumsy journey through a HUMILIATING experience. There is a lot of character growth and plenty of real-life issues that get addressed. I think Jenny Han did a great job capturing the mercurial nature of a 17-year-old girl without making her completely insufferable (I’m looking at you, Bella Swan).

The ending was a bit too abrupt for me, but knowing that this was always intended as a 2-part series, I suppose I can forgive the cliffhanger. I will absolutely be picking up the sequel once it’s released.

Final verdict:

4 star


 

Have you read this one? What did you think? I’ve seen a lot of negative commentary floating around Goodreads – are you among the non-lovers?

 

Until Next Time ❤

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PS – I can’t decide which book to read next. I have the following books all hanging out next to my bed/on my Kindle & could really use some input!

  1. Paper Towns
  2. Looking for Alaska
  3. Throne of Glass
  4. Red Queen
  5. Yes Please!
  6. Ready Player One!