April 2014 Recap

Nicole Read

Ashley Read

Favorite Read

Nicole's Pick

Ashley's Pick

April Reviews

April Highlights

  • Thoughts for Thursday (20) - Responding to Comments: Nicole was crazy busy for a little while and got really behind on blogging which spurred this discussion. Life has calmed down a little since then and she's had time to catch up some :)
  • What Reviews Do You Read? (Part 1): Do you read reviews for books you've never heard of? Ashley talks about this and her system for picking and choosing which reviews she reads.
  • How I Manage My TBR with Goodreads: Nicole shares her method for organizing her endlessly growing TBR. 
  • Nicole did a reread of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight and is finishing up Dreams of Gods and Monsters. Favorite series alert!
  • Let's see what else happened to Nicole in April that was noteworthy... I did some yoga, started golf lessons, got burnt to a crisp on a sunny 80degree weekend, discovered a new favorite nail polish color (Julep Shenae) and finished my second semester of grad school. Woot!
  • Ashley started training for her next half marathon in Disneyland, made some of her wedding decorations, and got her engagement photos taken :) 

Top Ten Books To Read If You Like These TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is
"Top Ten Books to Read If you Like These TV Shows"

Nicole's Top Five

  1. If you like Game of Thrones then try Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
  2. High Fantasy. No one is safe.
  3. If you like Criminal Minds then try I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
  4. Serial Killers. Murder Mystery. Nature vs Nurture theme.
  5. If you like Nashville then try Open Road Summer by Emory Lord
  6. Country Music. Touring. Romance. 
  7. If you like Revenge then try Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivien
  8. Revenge plot. Island setting. Fun!
  9. If you like Glee then try The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
  10. Music. Theater. Quirky Personalities.

Ashley's Top Five

  1. If you like Gossip Girl then try the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty
  2. Great friends, fun plot, drama with an epic love story. 
  3. If you like the New Girl then try Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  4. Awesome awkwardness!
  5. If you like Pretty Little Liars then try Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  6. Keeps you on your toes the entire story.  Never knew who did it. 
  7. If you like Fringe then try All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
  8. Crazy science with some great characters
  9. If you like American Horror Story then try Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
  10. Creepy x Creepy

    What are your top ten?


    Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

    Title: Torn Away
    Author: Jennifer Brown
    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
    Release Date: May 6, 2014
    Pages: 276
    Source: ARC, ALA

    Summary from Goodreads:
    Born and raised in the Midwest, Jersey Cameron knows all about tornadoes. Or so she thinks. When her town is devastated by a twister, Jersey survives -- but loses her mother, her young sister, and her home. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she's sent to live with her only surviving relatives: first her biological father, then her estranged grandparents.

    In an unfamiliar place, Jersey faces a reality she's never considered before -- one in which her mother wasn't perfect, and neither were her grandparents, but they all loved her just the same. Together, they create a new definition of family. And that's something no tornado can touch.


    Let me start by saying that I am a huge Jennifer Brown fan. I think she has a way with storytelling and dealing with tough subjects that is unparalleled. I will always recommend her work to others. 

    The first 100 pages of this book blew me away. I could see and sense the destruction left behind in the wake of the tornado. I could feel the fear, confusion, and pain of  the townspeople. I could understand the waring hope and hopelessness within Jersey as she waited for her family to come home. These 100 pages were spellbinding and the epitome of everything I love about Jennifer Brown's writing. 

    But after that I lost my connection with the story. Jersey is sent to live with her biological father and I was shocked over the lack of compassion this family had and furious over how they treated Jersey. Their behavior was so foreign to me that consequently it didn't feel real. 

    And then when Jersey is sent to live with her grandparents on her mother's side I got mad at her. She has never met her grandparents before. They disowned her mother when she got pregnant with Jersey and so Jersey was raised believing they were horrible, judgmental people. Yet when they pick her up, they show her nothing but patience and kindness, and still Jersey treats them horribly. Now, I am very sensitive to treating old people unkindly, especially when they don't deserve it, but I understand this is a personal thing. Nevertheless, I was mad that it took Jersey so long to form her own opinion of her grandparents. Especially since, in hindsight, I feel she was blessed to have gotten away from that train wreck of a family on her father's side. 

    But I can't imagine losing everything in an instant - my home and my family - and being taken away from whatever normalcy remains without being allowed to grieve. Jersey was overwhelmed with so many different feelings, and just trying to hold it together while her life got turned upside down. In that regard, I think she was incredibly strong. And I think, given the circumstances, she's allowed to act a little erratically. 

    This was not my favorite Jennifer Brown book, but like I said, I would recommend any of her books. I had some problems with Torn Away that kept me from loving it, but I don't think everyone will feel the same.


    Stacking the Shelves (69) - April 26th

    Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

    Upcoming reads:

    What books are stacking your shelves?


    Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

    Title: Graffiti Moon
    Author: Cath Crowley
    Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
    Release Date: February 14th 2012
    Pages: Hardcover, 260 pages
    Source: Library

    Summary from Goodreads:
    Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.

    5 Reasons Why You Should Read Graffiti Moon

    1. The story takes place in Australia!  I love reading books that take place in other countries.  An extra bonus: the narrator of the audio books have accents :) 

    2. Great pacing.  The alternating POVs between Ed and Lucy moves the story along giving two different perspectives, each with their own secrets!  

    3. The slow building romance.  There is no insta-love in this one.  Everything is gradual; the slow friendship that beautifully shifted to more was so fun to read and easy to believe.  

    4. It is a perfect pick me up book.  I have no real complaints about Graffiti Moon, it brought a smile to my face and had me wanting more.  The book is not just a fluffy book, it was a great story that draws you into the crazy all night adventure.

    5. Unique time frame.  The story has flash backs to the past but the main part of the story all takes place over one night.  It made for an exciting, fast paced story.

    Bottom Line

    Graffiti Moon tells a wonderful story about two different individuals that take on midnight mission and discover the truth about one another along the way.  The book will warm your heart and have you wanting a crazy night of your own.  I definitely recommend if you want an easy, happy read.


    Thoughts for Thursday (22) - How I Manage My TBR with Goodreads

    Welcome to Thoughts for Thursday! This feature is our outlet to talk with you about whatever we currently have on our minds. It might be bookish, it might not! Now for this week's thought:

    How I Manage My TBR with Goodreads

    A little while back I took a look at my “to-read” shelf on Goodreads and became overwhelmed by the sheer number of books on it. I am sure I am not the only one who has an endlessly growing TBR pile. I add books to it faster than I can take them off. But after taking a closer look at the books on that list, I realized I didn’t actually want to read all of them. At the time, I would add books to my TBR if they interested me even in the slightest way. And there they sat without a way to distinguish between them. Books I was dying to read were mixed with, overshadowed by and sometimes forgotten about among all the other books I had been curious about. And I had no mechanism for when I gained, or lost, interest in a book. And being one who loves being organized, I decided I needed a new system. Thus, the following shelves were born:
    • “to read” 
    • “probably read”
    • “maybe read” 
    • “probably not”
    If I am 99.9% certain that I am going to read a book, and only then, it goes on my “to read” shelf. These are typically eagerly awaited sequels to books I love, new books from favorite authors that I will also prioritize, and “oldies-but-goodies” that I have vowed to read. Sometimes recommendations from trusted friends go on this list too. Meanwhile, books that I am only fairly certain I will read, I shelve as “probably read” and are usually books that have received good reviews, I think I will enjoy, and that I hope/plan to read at some point. But my default shelf is “maybe read”. Although I would love to read ALL THE BOOKS, I know that is impossible and so I try to be honest with myself and I do that by placing most books here. And as the reviews start coming in, I may move it up to probably read”, down to “probably not”, or leave it where it is. As you can probably guess, my “probably not” shelf is for books that I have lost interest in. I don’t like to discount anything entirely, so rather than delete it from my shelves I put them here.  In case you are wondering, I have 86 books on my “to-read” shelf, 115 on my “probably read” shelf, 306 books on my “maybe read shelf” and 45 books on my “probably not” shelf. 

    Just to clarify, I don't restrict myself to only reading from my "to-read" shelf or anything like that,  but I like having this sense of prioritization in my TBR and an easy way to identify books I might want to read more so than others. 

    And something else I do to keep my TBR pile under control is only add one book in a series at a time. In other words, I won't add the next book until I've read the one that proceeds it, even if it has been released. I don't fuss if it is a series that I know I will read to completion - like Throne of Glass - but for most series I don't want the sequels cluttering up my shelves when I haven't even read the first book.

    That's it! What do you think of my system? And let me know how you manage your TBR...


    Rebel (Reboot #2) by Amy Tintera

    Title: Rebel
    Series: Reboot #2
    Author: Amy Tintera
    Publisher: HarperTeen
    Release Date: May 13, 2014
    Pages: 352
    Source: EW

    Summary from Goodreads:
    After coming back from death as Reboots and being trained by HARC as soldiers, Wren and Callum have finally escaped north, where they hope to find a life of freedom. But when they arrive at the Reboot Reservation, it isn't what they expected. Under the rule of a bloodthirsty leader, Micah, the Reboots are about to wage an all-out war on the humans. Although Wren's instincts are telling her to set off into the wilderness on their own and leave the battle far behind, Callum is unwilling to let his human family be murdered. When Micah commits the ultimate betrayal, the choice is made for them. But Micah has also made a fatal mistake . . . he's underestimated Wren and Callum.

    The explosive finale to the Reboot duology is full of riveting action and steamy love scenes as Wren and Callum become rebels against their own kind.


    "'Do you really think you killed her by handing her over to a few humans?' ...
     'There's no way Wren is dead,' ...
    'I'd be scared, if i were you.'"
    Last year Reboot took me by surprise. It had a unique premise, a badass female lead, a charming male lead, a sweet romance, and a gripping plot. It was funny and exciting. It had great plot development AND character development. Basically, Reboot was everything I could hope to have in a book.

    Rebel is very much the same.

    This book is non stop action from page one. One of the perks of being a duology is that there is no need to fill the pages with unnecessary drama, angst, sideplots, (you name it) just to stretch the story out. Every moment in this story was relevant and for the good of the plot. This book has rebel movements, rescue attempts, survival stories, revenge plots and more! And there is a whole lot of tension between and  among the reboots, humans and HARC officials to make for one exciting read.

    Wren and Callum are as awesome as ever, especially Wren. She can give the best heroines a run for their money.  Their relationship didn't have that newness that it did in Reboot but they were a solid pair and that is something great in and of itself. And there was still character development - just of a different sort. The focus wasn't on Callum feeling too much and Wren too little, but more of Wren accepting herself as a leader and her and Callum wanting the same thing. There are some new character introductions as well - some you will root for, and others that will make your blood boil. 

    Rebel is a great follow up to Reboot and if you haven't read either- they make a great pair. I definitely recommend these when in the mood for an action packed, science fiction story with strong characters and plot. I really enjoyed them!

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