A to Z Survey

So, I adore discovering tags and surveys, especially when I’m clueless about what exactly to write. I stumbled across The A to Z Survey, created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner, way back in 2013 and decided to give it a shot!

Author I’ve Read the Most Books By

Hmmm…I need to travel back in time for this one, as I tend to jump from one author to another quite a bit! I’d say I’ve read almost all of Ann. M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitters Club series as well as the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene! 😀

Best Sequel Ever

I adored Leigh Bardugo’s follow-ups to Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising! The original in the Grisha series was awesome, but the sequels tied the whole story together and were very entertaining!

Currently Reading

Right now, I’m officially in the midst of reading four books! I’m reading A Batter of Life and Death, a precious cozy mystery by Ellie Alexander, for The Candid Cover’s Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge and I’m doing buddy reads of both Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.

In addition, I’m taking a short break from reading Stephen King’s behemoth post-apocalyptic novel, The Stand. I never used to read multiple books at once, but I think I like jumping between reads!

Drink of Choice While Reading

My drink of choice is always coffee with only cream! I drink it all day, every day! 😀

E-Reader or Physical Book?

Honestly, I enjoy both my Kindle and physical books. Generally, I’ll switch back and forth between reading an ebook and a hard copy.

Fictional Character I Probably Would Have Dated in High School

OMG! I adore Rob in Kelly Oram’s retelling, Cinder & Ella! Although Rob is simply an excellent guy friend to the main character, he is too sweet for words and doesn’t pressure Ella into a romantic relationship!

Glad I Gave This Book a Chance

Insanity by Cameron Jace was a big step out of my reading comfort zone! I’m so happy I decided to read it, a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. It’s sort of overwhelming, as there are at least seven total books in the series, but I love the story and plan to read them all!

Hidden Gem Book

For this one, it has to be John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, which I read for English class in high school. I went into reading it not knowing what to expect, but it seriously pulled at my heartstrings and will forever be very special to me.

The reason this book holds such a special place in my heart is because my older brother, Bill, is autistic. One of the main characters, Lennie, is descried by Steinbeck as ‘simple-minded’ and his story really makes me think of Bill. 

Plus, with the tragic, yet merciful ending, I can’t help but put myself in the shoes of George, Lennie’s closest friend‘.

Important Moment in My Reading Life

The first thing that comes to mind is when I read Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park as a fifth grader! I read it after seeing and loving the movie and at the time, it was the fattest book I’d ever read! I’m still really proud of that accomplishment! 😀

Just Finished

The most recent book I finished reading was Cinder & Ella, quite obviously a Cinderella retelling! It’s a lovely book and I thank Delaney for highly recommending it to me!

Kinds of Books I Won’t Read

The only kind of book I’m really opposed to reading is straight-up erotica! No judgment toward people who enjoy the genre, it’s just not my cup of tea.

Longest Book I’ve Read

At the moment, the longest book I’ve read is Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, clocking in at 817 pages. When I finally finish it, hopefully by September, The Stand will bump Tolstoy’s classic out of its top spot, as it has 1153 pages!

Major Book Hangover Because of

Anna Karenina! I adored reading it SO VERY MUCH and I didn’t want it to end! I ended up reading a nonfiction book about Catherine the Great, Portrait of a Woman, by Robert K. Massie, not long after finishing Tolstoy’s work, as my mind was still in imperial Russia!

Number of Bookcases I Own

I don’t have any serious bookcases, sadly! I do have an antique curio that belonged to my great-grandmother, but I only store my babies’ books and pictures in it for the time being. Now I have my books in stacks in my walk-in closet, but one of these days, I will have my own real library!

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times

The only book I’ve reread is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone! I actually reread it via audiobook and with Jim Dale narrating it was amazing! I’m really glad I chose to listen to the first installment in the Harry Potter series; I had forgotten a lot of the detail included in the story and I look forward to listening to the rest of the series soon.

Preferred Place to Read

I like to read anywhere I can, whether it be on the couch, curled up in my bed, nestled in a nook outside, or even in a waiting room – as long as I can read, I’m pretty happy!

Quote That Inspires Me from All the Books I’ve Read

Since it’s fresh in my mind, there is a quote from Cinder & Ella that I absolutely adore! 

“Her laugh was my new favorite sound in the whole world.”

Reading Regret

I always regret DNFing books, but sometimes it’s just necessary. For instance, I was really looking forward to reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, but I just could not get through it. I am going to try reading a manga version by Stacy King!

Series I Started and Need to Finish

I really need to finish The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer! I’ve read both Cinder and Scarlet, but need to get to CressFairest, Winterand Stars Above. While I enjoyed Cinder, Scarlet didn’t really grab me. I have a feeling I will really like Cress and Winter though!

I want to throw in the novellas, Fairest and Stars Above just to get the full effect of the series.

Three of My All-Time Favorite Books

Nothing can top Anna Karenina and Of Mice and Men!

Unapologetic Fangirl for

– a good retelling

Very Excited for This Release More Than All the Others

I love Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon novels and his latest installment, Origin, releasing October 3rd, is definitely the one I am most looking forward to getting my hands on!

Worst Bookish Habit

My worst bookish habit is judging books by their covers. I’ve come to learn that an eye-catching jacket does not necessarily mean a quality book is encased within it.

[Your] My Latest Book Purchase

I’ve been on a serious graphic novel kick, so pretty much any book in the genre must be mine! But, most recently, I bought a book in another favorite genre – the cozy mystery! I purchased Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower.

ZZZ-Snatcher Book

ANY audiobook is likely to put me to sleep! 😀

Love, Maggie

Summer TBR Wipeout Update

I can’t believe it’s already time to post the first update for the Summer TBR Wipeout challenge, hosted by Olivia at The Candid Cover! This month has zipped by, but, luckily, I’ve done decently well with working toward my challenge goal of reading ten books from my TBR list! [You can find my full challenge TBR list HERE.]

As you can see from my challenge TBR list, I chose to read mainly short-ish books and graphic novels throughout the summer wipeout. Thus far, I’ve completed three books and I’m working my way through the fourth!

The only book I foresee having an issue with is Caitlyn Jenner’s memoir, The Secrets of My Life: A History, not because of the content, but because it’s an audiobook – I always have trouble focusing and staying awake while listening! However, I LOVE celebrity memoirs and am really looking forward to reading Jenner’s, I just know it may be a struggle!

Anyhow, I’ve finished Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier, which I absolutely adored! [My review can be found HERE.] I also completed Moon Knight, Vol. 1: Lunatic by Jeff Lemire and The Clue in the Crossword Cipher by Carolyn Keene, about my favorite girl detective, Nancy Drew. I enjoyed both Lemire’s and Keene’s tales – I’m so proud of my picks for this challenge! LOL! 😀

I started Ellie Alexander’s A Batter of Life and Death, a sweet cozy mystery, yesterday and I’m making good progress on it – it’s fast-paced and fun! I’ve also listened to the introduction of Jenner’s memoir, so I’ve kind of started it too, although I haven’t continued listening to it yet.

So, I’m nearly halfway through my TBR list and with the challenge officially ending in a month, I’m pretty confident that I’ll actually finish this challenge, which will be a first for me! 😀

How are y’all doing with the Summer TBR Wipeout challenge? I hope you’re doing well and are happy with your picks! Drop me a line and let me know about your progress – I’d love to visit your update posts! Good luck to all on the rest of the readathon! I’ll be posting my next update during the week of July 29; hopefully, I’ll be well on my way to blowing out my TBR list by then!

Love, Maggie

Challenges, Buddy Reads, and a Fat Book

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 W’s:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently

I’m still on a break from Stephen King’s The Stand and I’ve put the audio edition of Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins on pause as well. Mainly, these books are on hold due to my reading like a banshee for The Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge, hosted by Olivia at The Candid Cover.

For the challenge, I’ve pledged to read a total of ten books – thank goodness the challenge lasts a little over a month! Since I’ve got a poor track record regarding completing reading challenges, I chose to pick pretty short books on my TBR to wipeout! 

My Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge list:

  1. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
  2. The Secrets of My Life by Caitlyn Jenner
  3. Creepy Susie and 13 Other Tales for Troubled Children by Angus Oblong
  4. The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
  5. The Vision, Vol. 1: Little Worse Than a Man by Tom King
  6. Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier
  7. Moon Knight, Vol. 1: Lunatic by Jeff Lemire
  8. Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan
  9. A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander
  10. The Clue in the Crossword Cipher by Carolyn Keene

Simultaneously, I’m still buddy reading Alan Bradley’s The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie with my pal, Lea. We’re both slacking on reading it, although it’s an awesome cozy mystery, as we keep getting distracted by other books, but, hey, at least we’re on the same page! 😀

I’m also reading Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram and I adore it! I’m so tickled that it was recommended to me! I LOVE retellings and, quite obviously, this book is a Cinderella-esque tale; SO CUTE! Finally, I started the graphic novel, Moon Knight, Vol. 1: Lunatic for the Wipeout Challenge and, though I’m not far into it, I think it’s going to be really different from anything I’ve read thus far!

Just Finished

I finished reading Ghosts a few days ago and absolutely loved it! My review can be found HERE!

Next

Upcoming reads for me include everything on my Wipeout Challenge TBR! Like I said above, I’m so grateful the challenge won’t end until early August, so I’ve got plenty of time to read my picks so long as I stick to my list!

I’ll also be getting back to The Stand, which I want to finish by September as well as The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I’ll be participating in #ARCAugust this year as well, so I’m looking forward to clearing out my NetGalley reads so I can request MORE BOOKS!

Here’s a little list of my ARCs to be read in August:

Love, Maggie

My Summer TBR List

As I mentioned in my original Summer TBR Wipeout post, I’m back with my list of books I plan (hope) to read throughout the challenge, which is hosted by The Candid Cover. I toyed with the idea of solely reading through my pile of graphic novels, but I’ve decided to mix it up a bit with choices ranging from audiobooks to paperbacks.

Hopefully, I’m not being overly ambitious with my list! I have a poor track record where reading challenges are concerned; I’m bad to give up on them or forget about them completely.

However, instead of pressuring myself too much and throwing in the towel regarding this challenge, I’m going to approach it in a casual manner. Fingers crossed, my not putting pressure on myself to read every single book on my list will inspire me to actually complete the challenge!

I’ve decided to include the page numbers of each tale, so as to help me rein in my typically failing over-achiever approach to challenges! 😀

The TBR List

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier [graphic novel; 256 pages]

The Secrets of My Life: A History by Caitlyn Jenner

Creepy Susie and 13 Other Tales for Troubled Children by Angus Oblong [graphic novel; 176 pages]

The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg [paperback; 222 pages]

The Vision, Vol. 1: Little Worse Than a Man by Tom King [graphic novel; 136 pages]

Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier [graphic novel; 192 pages]

Moon Knight, Vol. 1: Lunatic by Jeff Lemire [graphic novel; 120 pages]

Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan [graphic novel; 152 pages]

A Batter of Life and Death by Ellie Alexander [paperback; 304 pages]

The Clue in the Crossword Cipher by Carolyn Keene [ebook; 202 pages]

Well, I ended up coming up with a whopping ten books to read starting today, July 1st; the challenge will end the week of August 13. Since I chose books in a variety of genres, although I notice I did go with quite a few graphic novels after all, I think with the lower page counts that I’ll actually be able to finish this challenge and truly wipe out at least a bit of my TBR list!

Good luck to everyone participating in the Summer TBR Wipeout challenge! If you stop by, please leave a link to your introduction post – if you’re participating – I’d love to follow along with you as you progress! 😀

Love, Maggie

A Series of Circuses

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 W’s:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently

I finally picked up The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. So far – and I’m about 30 pages in – I adore this book! I’d really like to curl up and read it in one sitting, but, you know, life!

I started listening to Carolyn Keene’s The Message in the Hollow Oak on Audible. I don’t think I need to mention again just how much I love Nancy Drew! 😀

My goal this week is to finish listening to the final seven hours of the Audible edition of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval. I’ve been struggling with this book for a few weeks now – I don’t think I’d pass a pop quiz on what I’ve listened to thus far!

I hope to complete it by the weekend, as my co-bloggers at The Bookkeepers’ Secrets and I want to do a group Caraval review! I’m really looking forward to putting our review together; it’s going to be interesting to see our differing, and similar, opinions!

Just Finished

I have been recently inspired to return to my goal of finishing A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, especially because I’m in love with the Netflix series based upon the books.

Luckily for me, only the first four books have been made into shows thus far, meaning I’m free to watch the whole series! A few days ago, I completed the fourth Snicket book, The Miserable Mill, and I really enjoyed it. I think it’s my favorite unfortunate book so far.

Next

Being the mood reader I am, if I had to choose right now what I want to read next, I’d pick A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas or Saga, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan. Both are books I want to read before their sequels debut this spring!

That wraps up my reading plans for the week! If you drop by, be a dear and leave me a link to your WWW Wednesday post so I can visit you back! 😀

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

Literary Lovebirds

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! In honor of the day of love, Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is highlighting readers’ favorite ships, OTPs – all love, all the time! Here are my all-time favorite literary lovebirds!

The List

Buttercup and Westley from William Goldman’s gorgeous The Princess Bride are an absolutely magical couple, ruled by ‘twoo love.’ The lengths Westley goes to to save his beloved Buttercup make my heart melt every time.

Anna Karenina and Count Vronksy of the Russian classic Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy are a pair in forbidden love, made more difficult to bear due to the society in which they live. Although terribly tragic, Anna and Count Vronsky’s tale is beautiful

I fell in love with Tessa Gray & Will Herondale being in love when I read Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel. I adore that the couple’s romance is a slow burn and it doesn’t hurt that Will is gorgeous in my mind!

Zia Rashid and Carter Kane from Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles series are precious together. I’m currently reading the second book in the Kane series, The Throne of Fire, and Carter’s dedication to finding his missing love is incredible.

Nancy Drew and Ned Nickerson of Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew Mystery Stories are a pair of wholesome sweethearts. Their courting-type relationship is the kind I’d like my boys to have when they hit high school. However, I do realize it’s the 21st century!

Karou and Akiva make another gorgeous, literally and figuratively, couple. I met these two while reading Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone and look forward to discovering exactly where their destined love goes in the remaining books in Taylor’s trilogy.

Love, Maggie