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

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

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

The Reread = Never Been There

TGIF! 😀 Welcome to Feature and Follow Friday, hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee! The weekly meme features a question and answer format, with a new prompt each Friday. In addition, Feature and Follow Friday gives bloggers a means of promoting their work as well as the chance to discover new blogs.

The Prompt

What book do you reread the most? [courtesy of Megan @ Love, Literature, Art, and Reason]

The Answer

I have NEVER reread a book, unless you count Beowulf, which was assigned in both high school and college. I don’t think it counts as an official reread though – I just pretended to read it in my college English class, as I hated it in high school.

I would love to reread the Harry Potter books! I recently got J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone on audio and I’m SO damn excited to listen! Plus, now that Goodreads has added the reread option, I have extra incentive, as the redo will count toward my reading goal for the year.

Speaking of audiobooks, the Shakespearean plays have come very highly recommended, especially those featuring full casts. I totally want to get my ears on my favorites of the classic playwright’s works!

How to Follow The Caramel Files

If you’d like to follow along, feel free to do so in any way you choose! Social media links are located in the footer and there’s always the classic email follow! 😀

P.S. If you do follow my blog, please drop me a little note in the comments so I can follow back!

Love, Maggie


P.P.S. Thank you so very much to the Feature and Follow hosts for choosing moi as the featured blogger this week! Happy dance! 😀