April = Graphically Reading

Sporadic Update was inspired by The Sunday Post meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 😀

Sweet Reads

I did my first ever reread this month, as I listened to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone via Audible. I’ve been wanting to reread the Harry Potter series for a while and I’m thrilled that I decided to go with listening to the books as opposed to simply rereading them – the voice of the narrator, Jim Dale, is perfection.

I did not realize how long it’s been since I read the Harry Potter books – I started the series in college in the early 2000s. I remember anxiously awaiting each sequel’s release after falling in love with the books. A friend had to convince me to give Harry a try, as the hype surrounding the books turned me off, but I’m glad I gave in.

There are so many details in the first Harry Potter tale that I’d completely forgotten, such as the prominence played by the jerks whom raised Harry, the dreaded Dursleys, and the awesome introduction to Quidditch. While I will definitely be listening to the books in order, I’m really excited to get to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, my favorite of the series.

In a few days I read a bunch of graphic novels – G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal, Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Why, Ms. Marvel, Vol. 3: Crushed, Saga, Vol. 2, Saga, Vol. 3, Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan, and Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye, and The Walking Dead, Vol. 2: Miles Behind Us.

I quit watching The Walking Dead TV show a few seasons ago, but I love the graphic novels on which the show is based – they’re so much easier to follow than the AMC version. I loved the show when it debuted, but it took a turn for the convoluted pretty quick, so I’m excited to read more of the books to find out what the hell is really going on!

Additionally, I read Jennifer Keishin Armstong’s Seinfeldia, a chronicle of the evolution of the amazing sitcom, Seinfeld, and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Seinfeldia was a fun, factual read – it was so cool to read about how Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David conceived the premise of Seinfeld. I also loved learning about the costars, especially the elusive Michael Richards, who played Kramer.

I was really surprised to read about the off-screen drama regarding the show and it was cool to read tidbits about different episodes. As for Scarlet, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t grab me the way the first Lunar Chronicles book, Cinder, did. For some reason, I have a feeling I will really like Cress, the third in the series.

Sour Reads

I didn’t read anything that left me with a sour feeling in April, which makes me very happy! If I were to choose my least favorite book of the month, it would be Scarlet. As I said above, I really enjoyed the second Lunar Chronicles installment, but compared to the other books I read last month, it places at the end of the line.

Welcome to My Library!

As for my personal library, I welcomed quite a few books in April in physical, Kindle, and Audible formats. I preordered a book for the first time, A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, and it arrived on the release date, which thrilled me to death. I’ve still got to read A Court of Mist and Fury, but I plan to do so soon – the suspense is killing me!

I bought a few more graphic novels in April – I’m so into the genre lately. I got, of course, Saga, Vol. 7 as well as Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire, and Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1. I’ve suddenly discovered comiXology unlimited, which is where I read the two Walking Dead books and the second and third Ms. Marvel installments.

Additionally, I purchased Stephen King’s The Stand and On the Fence by one of my newest favorite authors, Kasie West. Thus far, I’m really engrossed in King’s book, by far the largest I’ve ever read at 1153 pages. As of today I’m a tad over 250 pages into it, which is really good for a slowish reader such as I.

As for Kindle editions, I obtained Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth, The Gunslinger by Stephen King, and Psycho by Robert Bloch. I haven’t delved much into horror books, which is weird because I love to scare myself, but I’m really excited about the creepy ones I did get!

Via Audible I got Stephen King’s clown classic, It, Caitlyn Jenner’s memoir, The Secrets of My Life, about which I’m incredibly excited, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery and narrated by Rachel McAdams, whom I adore, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, read by the fabulous Claire Danes. Finally, I got hold of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Challenging

I’m so proud to still be able to say that I’m ahead of my Goodreads goal! Yay! Thus far this year I’ve read 26 of 40 pledged books, meaning I’m clocked in at 13 books ahead of schedule. I read a bunch of graphic novels in April, so I’m planning to read harder this month, hence my starting the behemoth epic The Stand.

I’m joining in on the Bout of Books 19 challenge that begins tomorrow and I’m so excited! I haven’t done a reading challenge all year and I think I’ve set an attainable goal consisting of three not-too-long or too emotionally heavy books.

For the challenge, I’ve chosen to read Geekerella by Ashley Poston, On the Fence by Kasie West, and Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich.

May(hem)

Well, from May 8 through May 14, I’ll be focusing on reading the three books I picked for the 19th Bout of Books challenge. In the meantime, and especially after I (hopefully) complete the challenge, I’m going to continue working on The Stand, which is enthralling!

In Closing

Have a fantastic May, y’all!

Love, Maggie

March = Laid Back Style

Sporadic Update was inspired by The Sunday Post meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 😀

Sweet Reads

While I didn’t read a ton of books in March, three is the grand total, I did read books of great quality, which was a nice change of pace, as I despise to despise a tale!

My favorite read of the month was Erin Morgenstern’s gorgeously written The Night Circus. Beautiful inside and out, I read it over the course of about two weeks. The book isn’t slow-paced at all – I simply savored every word – I didn’t even shorten words into contractions or skip certain romantic parts of the novel. I’m looking forward to writing my review for this one!

The first book I read in March was an ARC of Rita Stradling’s Ensnared. While this futuristic retelling of Beauty and the Beast was quite unlike anything I’ve read before, I really enjoyed it. I lament that it won’t be released until near the end of the year – I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else thinks of it!

My middle book read in March was The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket. The fourth installment in the Series of Unfortunate Events books, this is my favorite thus far. I’m looking forward to getting my eyes on the fifth tale, The Austere Academy, soon.

Sour Reads

My only sour read for the month was actually a sour listen – I had to give up on the Audible edition of Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I don’t know if it’s the narrator’s voice that turns me off or what, but I made it through about three hours before I decided I still didn’t know what in the hell was going on.

Therefore, I DNFd the audio version of Caraval, but, as I still want to give it a chance, I’m going to attempt reading it in print form. The hype is too heavy for this book and my curiosity is so very piqued by it that I must give it another shot.

Welcome to My Library!

As for book buying, I didn’t get QUITE as much as I have recently, but I still had a good time! 😀 I fell in love with Kasie West’s writing in February, so in March I got the paperback of By Your Side. While I’ve seen some mixed reviews of West’s book set in a library – a huge draw for me – I’m excited to judge for myself, especially since I never dreamed I’d be a West fan!

As I mentioned above, I’m giving Caraval another chance, so I ordered the hardcover version. I’m wary of reading it, as I’m afraid I won’t be able to follow the print edition like I wasn’t able to follow the audio. I’ll just have to dive in headfirst.

I think Charles Krauthammer, a brilliant syndicated columnist and psychiatrist, is so enlightening in everything he says, whether or not I agree with his statements. I got his latest book Things That Matter and I’m really looking forward to reading it; I’ve wanted it forever.

I am also absolutely thrilled to welcome an eARC of Geekerella by Ashley Poston to my Kindle! 😀 I’ve been dying to read this book for ages and I still cannot believe I was given access to it! *pats self on back*

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi is another book I’ve been putting off buying and finally broke down and purchased. Chronicling the Charles Manson murders, this book is sure to give me the creeps! But, I love true crime, so I’m expecting a treat!

Although I’ve still only read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, I went ahead and pre-ordered the third book, A Court of Wings and Ruin, releasing May 2. I thankfully have the middle tale, A Court of Mist and Fury, so I can get caught up in time for the publishing date.

I broke the mold a bit in March by buying a new cookbook, Cooking Comically by Tyler Capps. The recipes are simple to follow and look delicious – hello, jalapeno poppers! Also, the book is hilariously laid out, hence the title! I’m excited to do some actual cooking!

Challenging

Shockingly, I’m still ahead of my Goodreads challenge goal of 40 by five books! This is truly a miracle – I may actually complete – even surpass – my goal for the first time ever! Yay for me! As I’ve stated previously, I’m hoping to remain ahead of my challenge goal, so as not to sweat its completion at the last minute.

In Real Life

Well, let’s see, my life this month has mostly revolved around my babies. I’m working on getting Jack used to going out in the yard with me without running across the street! He’s getting so much better about listening; he’s only two, but he’s learning.

As for my six-month-old, Hank, he’s getting SO close to crawling! I feel like I watch him constantly when he’s awake just in case he crawls all of a sudden.

I wasn’t good at all about keeping appointments this month, I either canceled or skipped the three I had scheduled – oops! Sometimes I’m really bad at holding to engagements – I hate appointments of any kind.

We’ve got our boys’ baptism scheduled for the end of the month and I’m so excited to have everything set and almost ready to go! I even have the babies’ white outfits already, so I’m on the ball as far as that goes!

Weather wise, it’s been weird here in Tennessee. Early in March, we had a little bit of snow; at the end of the month it was in the 70s. Strange, but not really, considering where I live. The weather has always been strange. I feel like I sat around all month waiting for it to rain and/or storm. It was cloudy and ominous for so many days, with zero climax, rarely even a shower.

April Showers

As for my April reading plans, I’m not going to make any predictions this month. Seeing as I’ve rarely read what I’ve planned thus far this year, I’m not going to worry about it. I do have a few books in mind, but nothing set in stone!

In Closing

Here’s to a fantastic May and (hopefully) nice weather! 😀

Love, Maggie

February = Heart Reading

Sporadic Update was inspired by The Sunday Post meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 😀

Sweet Reads

February began slowly for me, reading-wise; however, I sprinted toward the end of the month by starting and finishing five books over the course of two weeks, which for me is a lot! I am an admittedly slow reader, plus I’m a parent, making it difficult to carve out reading time.

I’m still ahead of my Goodreads challenge goal of 40 by five books, with a grand total of 11 read. I hope to maintain my pace and stay ahead of my goal until I reach it. I’ve toyed with the idea of upping my 2017 reading goal, but I’m torn as to whether or not to simply leave my goal as is and let extra books tick up my percentage. I’ve got time to ponder this, thankfully! 😀

As for February’s sweet reads, three books made the cut! I didn’t intend for it to be, but The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West turned into the perfect read during the month of love. I hadn’t planned to read anything romantic in February, but I couldn’t resist, as I’ve been incredibly curious about West’s work for a while now.

I also really enjoyed Rick Riordan’s The Throne of Fire, second in the Kane Chronicles trilogy. I may have mentioned that I love to learn as I read, especially while perusing fiction. Long story short, Riordan never disappoints when it comes to melding entertainment with education.

My favorite book of the month was the debut novel in the cozy mystery series, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, Elementary, She Read, by Vicki Delany. I’m really looking forward to writing my review for this one. Let’s just say that I recently stepped out of my genre comfort zone by trying a cozy mystery – Delany’s book is only the second cozy I’ve read! It didn’t take long for me to realize that I adore cozies!

Sour Reads

My not-so-favorite, so so reads of the month both received a mediocre three stars from me, meaning I liked them okay, just meh. More often than not, I adore Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene. Sadly, the Audible edition of The Sign of the Twisted Candles didn’t grab me.

Figment, the second book in Cameron Jace’s Insanity series, didn’t grab me either. I understand that it has a plot more focused on character building rather than action, but I’m looking forward to the third installment, Circus, which I hear is action packed and exciting, as was the series opener, Insanity.

Welcome to My Library!

I’m proud to have been approved for some great ARCs on NetGalley this month! I was so lucky to receive my first ever invite to read a popular upcoming book, Roshani Chokshi’s follow-up to The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes! I got the invitation because I was approved much earlier to read an ARC of Chokshi’s debut. 😀

I requested and was approved for Noteworthy by Riley Redgate and Ensnared by Rita Stradling, which I’m reading at the time of this typing and enjoying! I really liked Redgate’s debut novel, Seven Ways We Lie, so I hope to feel the same about Noteworthy!

I also bought a few books this month, mostly Kindle editions. I thought The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani looked cute, so I snatched it up. I also got Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, about which I’ve been curious for a while, on special.

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest finally found its way onto my Kindle, as did Carolyn Keene’s The Clue of the Dancing Puppet. With my Audible credit for the month, I got Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and narrated by Jim Dale. This will be my first reread ever and I’m really looking forward to hearing Harry’s saga.

Speaking of sagas, I went nuts and bought volumes four, five, and six of Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, rounding out my collection, in preparation for volume seven’s release this spring.

Finally, I ended my book spree by purchasing three books for my two-year-old, My Very First Book of Colors by Eric Carle, Curious George Tool Time by H.A. Rey, and Dinosaur Dance! by Sandra Boynton.

Near the end of the month, I received the ultimate book mail – my first ever Fairy Loot box! I’ll be showing off the entire contents of the February box later, but I do want to mention that the chosen book was the enticing Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza.

Challenging

In my Pulling the Plug post, I explain why I decided to abandon the year-long reading challenges for which I had signed up so early in the year. I decided to alleviate the reading pressure I was already feeling by solely keeping up with my reading through the Goodreads challenge.

As for short and mini reading challenges, bring them on!

In Real Life

In last month’s Sporadic Update, I mentioned applying for a job as an in-school therapist. I had an interview scheduled, but ultimately decided to cancel the day before. I dwelled on whether or not to take the job for a couple of weeks prior to my set interview.

I finally came to the conclusion that I’d rather continue with my role as a housewife and full-time mother. I adore every moment that I’m with my children and ever since I applied for the job I have tried even more to avoid taking any minute with my boys for granted.

My mother, who didn’t have the luxury of staying home with my brother and I full-time, implored me to let go of feeling the urge to have a full-time job. She re-instilled in me how important my job as a mother is – I am charged with raising two beautiful, spirited, happy boys.

Basically having little lives in my hands is definitely overwhelming at times, but it is so rewarding. I sometimes feel like what I do – raise my children and maintain our family’s household – isn’t worthy of admiration. But, I realize now that my boys will ultimately be the best they can be at least partially because of my love and the sacrifices I make for them.

March Madness

I am a humongous college basketball fan and, quite naturally, my [second] favorite time of year is March Madness, the technically 64-team tournament that serves as the season’s grand finale.

I say technically 64 teams because there is a play-in round these days known as the First Four. Anyway, Selection Sunday is coming up I believe next week for the men’s tournament and then Selection Monday will follow to announce the women’s tournament contenders.

I always root for the SEC, excluding Vanderbilt, as I am from the South. However, every year features at least a few Cinderella teams with whom I fall in love. I could ramble on about basketball forever, alas, I shall return to the subject at hand – books!

I’m not totally sure as to what I want to read this month, aside from Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. Since I ditched my reading challenges, I don’t have any particular books that I need to get to; I’m free to mood read!

On the other hand, I would like to finally read my ARC of Gilded Cage by Vic James – I’m really looking forward to it. So I figure I do have a bit of planned reading after all! I would also like to get on with reading Noteworthy.

In Closing

I hope all of y’all have a fantastic March and happy reading! 😀

Love, Maggie

January = Reading Rainbow

Hello, hello! 😀 Welcome to the inaugural edition of Sporadic Update! While I hope to post an update at least once near the end of each month, I make no promises to keep to a schedule, hence ‘sporadic’! Sporadic Update was inspired by The Sunday Post meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 😀

Sweet Reads

For the first time EVER, I’m ahead of my Goodreads challenge goal! Yay, me! 😀 I pledged to read 40 books this year and I’m three ahead, as I’ve read six books thus far this month. It’s so nice being a step ahead – I’ve got a nice cushion to take a reading break if necessary and still comfortably meet my goal.

Four of the books I’ve read this year were given either four or five stars by moi. My five star reads were both of the Brian K. Vaughan graphic novels I read –  Saga, Vol. 1 and Paper Girls, Vol. 1. I’m basically obsessed with Vaughan’s work now and with graphic novels!

My four star reads were A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and Leah Remini’s eye-opening memoir Troublemaker. The sole reason I couldn’t give ACOTAR five stars is that Maas used some writing elements that aggravated me, other than that, the story is AMAZING!

Troublemaker, about Remini’s nearly lifelong experience as a Scientologist, was an awesome, educational, and entertaining read. The best part is that Remini discusses Tom Cruise’s role in the religion as well as her nightmare trip to attend his European wedding to Katie Holmes!

Sour Reads

Unfortunately, there were two books I read in January that just weren’t quite my cup of tea. Franklin W. Dixon’s The Tower Treasure, the first in The Hardy Boys series, just got on my nerves. I thought I’d love it, as I ADORE Nancy Drew. Sadly, this was not the case. I gave it two stars.

January’s other two star book was Red Winter by Annette Marie. I was really into this book until I got about 30% through it. I was so interested in the Japanese mythology-based tale and then the story just got goofy and didn’t go where I had hoped. Le sigh.

Welcome to My Library!

In January, I obviously only obtained graphic novels! I’m so tickled to have broken into the graphic novel/comics genre at last! 😀 All by Vaughan, Paper Girls, Vol. 1, Saga, Vol. 2, and Saga, Vol. 3 found their way into my mailbox. 😀

For my Kindle, I got Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None. I’ve never read Christie’s work for some odd reason and I’m excited to start! I’m really looking forward to reading the Hercule Poirot tales as well.

From Kindle Unlimited, I borrowed Red Winter, Figment by Cameron Jace, and Elise Kova’s Air Awakens.

Challenging

I signed up for three year-long reading challenges this year, in addition to the ever constant Goodreads challenge. First is The Reading Assignment Challenge, hosted by Because Reading and Fantasy is More Fun. I decided to make it easy on myself for this particular challenge and pledged to read one assigned-to-myself book a month. I chose to read The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan this month, which I have yet to do! 😀

I’m really having fun with the 2017 Keyword Reading Challenge, hosted by My Soul Called Life! The chosen words for January were: Court, of, Fall, Way, Deep, and Thousand. Naturally, I chose to read the fabulous ACOTAR! So, I completed this challenge for January! 😀

Finally, I’m doing the Shelf Love Challenge, hosted by Second Run Reviews and chapterbreak.net. This challenge involves reading books from one’s own personal library. I’ve done well with loving my shelf this month; I’ve owned three of the books I’ve finished thus far for a while.

In Real Life

On the home front, things have been really good! *knock on wood* My precious, hardworking husband started training for his new job! 😀 I’m so very proud of him – he stuck it out in a local factory for six years and now he’s movin’ on up!

My itty baby turned four months old on the 17th. I can’t believe it’s been four whole months, but at the same time I can totally believe it! So much has happened since Hank’s September birth!

I just applied for a job as a school-based therapist in a neighboring county and I’m excited about the prospects! I wasn’t actively searching for a job, but an ad for this one popped into my email and I jumped on the chance – it seemingly fell in my lap!

I’m a social worker and children are my favorite people to work with, so fingers crossed! Plus, the job is listed as a 12-month position. It’s nice knowing that if I am able to secure the job, I will have the opportunity to move on in a year if it just doesn’t work out.

February Forecast

Book wise, I’m planning to read Marissa Meyer’s Heartless as my February pick for the Reading Assignment Challenge. I figured this one would be appropriate for Valentine’s Day! 😀 I have seen mixed reviews for Meyer’s retelling, but I’m hopeful!

As far as the Keyword Challenge, I’m at a loss as to which book to choose. If anyone has any suggestions for books with at least one of the following words (or a variation), I will ADORE YOU FOREVER!

  • and
  • Rose
  • Promise
  • Every
  • Deception
  • Blazing

I had the good fortune of obtaining an e-ARC of Gilded Cage by Vic James, which publishes February 14, so I plan to read it before its release.

In Closing

I hope all of you have a FABULOUS week! 😀

Love, Maggie