WWW Wednesday

The Caraval Conundrum

Happy hump day! With today arrives the weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, WWW Wednesday! The meme has a simple format, asking the three Wโ€™s:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think youโ€™ll read next?

Currently

I started The Miserable Mill, the fourth in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events the other day. I think this is my favorite installment in the series thus far. I really want to hurry up and get the whole series read so I can watch the Netflix show – which I really hope is still on by the time I finish!

I haven’t listened to my audio book of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval in seemingly forever. I just haven’t gotten excited about it, which I hope will change soon. I’m almost two hours into the Audible edition, but I don’t feel like anything is happening – nothing exciting to me anyway. I’m going to give it another go shortly, but the jury is still out…

I feel like I SHOULD love Caraval, if only because of the hype and the outstanding reviews I’ve read. However, I did notice on Twitter that there are brutal scenes between the sisters at the heart of the tale and their father. I’m still waiting to be shocked!

Just Finished

I blew through my ARC of Ensnared by Rita Stradling. Let’s just say that I highly enjoyed this book – I can’t believe it won’t be released until December! I’m looking forward to finding out what other readers think of it.

A futuristic take on the beloved Beauty and the Beast, Ensnared is really creative and exciting, yet predictable, because, hey – retelling! Nevertheless, I love that the romance is set in the future!

Next

Okay, I know I said last week that I was planning to read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, but Lemony Snicket ruined my plans. But, I am for certain reading The Night Circus next! I’ll be ready for it after my light reading of The Miserable Mill.

I also want to read a classic soon, alas, I am undecided on which to pick up. I figure I’ll see where my reading mood leads me following Morgenstern’s sure to be beautiful tale – I have high expectations.

Love, Maggie

P.S. If you stop by, leave me a link to your WWW Wednesday post – I’d love to visit you back! ๐Ÿ˜€

Sporadic Update

February = Heart Reading

Sporadic Update was inspired by The Sunday Post meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. ๐Ÿ˜€

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! ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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,ย Curious George Tool Timeย 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! ๐Ÿ˜€

Love, Maggie

Book Review

Elementary, She Read

Elementary, She ReadElementary, She Read by Vicki Delany
Published by Crooked Lane Books on March 14th 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy at The Book Depository
Goodreads

Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop--located at 222 Baker Street--specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.
The highly perceptive Gemma is the policeโ€™s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman's suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it's a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.
Fans of Sherlock Holmes will delight in the sleuthing duo of Gemma and Jayne in Elementary, She Read, the clever and captivating series debut by nationally bestselling author Vicki Delany.

WWW Wednesday

ARC Attack

Happy hump day! With today arrives the weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, WWW Wednesday! The meme has a simple format, asking the three Wโ€™s:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think youโ€™ll read next?

Currently

At the moment, I’m reading Ensnared by Rita Stradling. A futuristic take on Beauty and the Beast, Ensnared reminds me a lot of Cinder by Marissa Meyer thus far – lots of robots!

I’m still stuck on listening to the Audible edition of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval. I’m just not excited about it anymore…I think my expectations were set incredibly too high due to the book’s huge hype.

Just Finished

Yesterday I finished an amazing cozy mystery releasing soon, Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany. I read it in two days – I’m lucky I loved it so much, as I only had a few days to get the Sherlockian tale read before it was archived on NetGalley!

I’m really excited to write a full review of Delany’s first book in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series. Needless to say, I will be delving into other books by Delany!

I also finished Cameron Jace’s Figment, the second installment of the Insanity series. While I didn’t quite enjoy this book as much as the first, Insanity, the plot makes sense as a jumping off point to the third tale in the series, Circus.

Next

I am incredibly excited to get my eyes on The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern! I’m totally planning to pick Morgenstern’s novel up after finishing Ensnared, but, being the mood reader I am, my plan can definitely change!

I’ve heard that The Night Circus is a gorgeously written book – if the story is half as appealing as the cover, I’ll be a happy reader!

Plus, I’m looking forward to taking an ARC reading break for a bit!

Love, Maggie

Randomized

My Spring Planner

A to Z

I have taken part in the fabulous Blogging from A to Z Challenge the past two years and I had a blast both times. The challenge is just that – CHALLENGING – that’s a huge part of what makes it so much fun.

I regret that I didn’t save my posts from my freshman and sophomore challenge outings – I had a different blog for 2015 and 2016. However, I do remember my themes: totally random and notorious historical characters, respectively.

I definitely had an easier time coming up with posts at random than when I followed a specific formula; therefore, I will probably go with the flow and fly by the seat of my pants again this round.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to follow along with other participants’ challenges this year. With such an enormous number of bloggers taking part, it’s really tough to dedicate hours to visit everyone.

Anyhow, the link-up for the official theme reveal goes live March 20. You never know – I may hit upon the most awesome theme ever – stay tuned!

Getting Ahead

I also love to participate in the Blog Ahead challenges hosted by Anna at Herding Cats and Burning Soup! Anna is hosting a mini-challenge, which begins March 1 and ends March 15. The goal is to ramp up my scheduled post count by 15 over that period of time.

I’ve done this challenge a couple of times before and with each outing I actually managed to get ahead blogging wise!

Pretty Little Liars

Who else is about to explode for April’s season seven premiere of Pretty Little Liars?! I am dying, as this will be the final season of one of my most favorite shows ever! I keep seeing teasers all over the place already!

I remember watching the series premiere on a whim years ago. I immediately fell in love with the theme song and opening and got sucked into the could-be-convoluted-if-it-wasn’t-so-damn-good story!

Rites of Passage

I’m Catholic, therefore, quite naturally, my sons will be baptized as Catholics. We’re going to have a double baptism, complete with all four godparents in April, hopefully around Easter.

I’m really excited, not only because my babies will finally experience their first sacrament, but we’ll get to see all of our children’s chosen godparents at the same time, making a nice party!

Jack, our oldest, has my cousin’s wife and my husband’s cousin as his godparents, while Hank will be guided by my best friend ever and a best friend of my husband’s, who is doing us the honor of flying to the U.S. from Colombia. ๐Ÿ˜€

New Endeavors

I am SO proud of my husband! He worked his ass off in a factory for six years to provide for our family. Fortunately, he has gotten a MUCH better job and has lifted himself up so very much. I honestly can’t convey how proud of him I am!

He works so hard for me and our boys; we’d truly be lost without him. I hope I convey enough just how much I appreciate him and everything he does for us. He is by no means perfect, but I think he’s pretty damn close!

Love, Maggie

Randomized

Book Report

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is the question asked weekly by the meme’s host, The Book Date. Additionally, you can announce to the world what you plan to read next as well as what you recently finished.

Now Reading

I started a NetGalley ARC, Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany and I absolutely adore everything about it! I mean, a main character who owns a Sherlockian book store and investigates murders, yes please!

I’m still listening to the Audible edition of Stephanie Garber’s much hyped Caraval. I’m about two hours into it and have yet to be captivated. Please tell me it gets better…

Already Read

This past week I read the amazing Kasie West’s The Fill-In Boyfriend and Figment by Cameron Jace. I gave one book five stars and the other three – I’ll post my reviews soon! ๐Ÿ˜€

Up Next

I’ve got a few ARCs that I need to read this week, as their archive dates are creeping up on me. Those books are Ensnared by Rita Stradling and Noteworthy by Riley Redgate.

Ideally, I’ll finish Elementary, She Read early today, as it archives tomorrow, and finish Ensnared, archiving March 1, by tomorrow. As for Noteworthy, its archive date is April 2, so I’d love to get a head start on it.

Well, that wraps up my beginning of the week reading report! Good luck to all of you readers out there on achieving your reading goals! ๐Ÿ˜€

Love, Maggie

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