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

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 W’s:

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

Pulling the Plug

It’s only the end of February and I’ve made the difficult decision to give up on the 2017 reading challenges I signed up for. The challenges I started are AMAZING and are hosted by AMAZING bloggers – I’ll link to them further on in this post!

While I am totally continuing to track my progress through the Goodreads challenge, I simply cannot bring myself to read set books. Over the past two months, I’ve come to realize that I’m an absolute mood reader!

If I claim I’m going to read blank book for, say, a certain month, I feel like I’m back in English class with an assigned book to put off reading until the last second. Needless to say, this causes me undue anxiety, which I put on myself.

I don’t feel as much pressure with the Goodreads challenge – it’s totally open-ended, meaning, of course, that I can read what I want, when I want. A lot of the time, I’ll go into reading a book with an idea of what I want to read next. However, being a mood reader and all, my plans typically fly out the window and I pick up something the book I just finished inspires me to read, whether it be similar or of a totally different genre.

For example, I recently finished my first Kasie West book, The Fill-In Boyfriend. Instead of reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern next, as I’d planned, I opted for the second in the Insanity series by Cameron Jace, Figment. I think all the exquisitely written romance of West’s tale turned me toward a guilty pleasure-type book. [The Insanity series is totally a guilty pleasure!]

While I do hate to pull out of my challenges, I do feel it’s necessary, as I feel like a creep when I don’t meet my goals – and I can already tell, obviously, that I’m going nowhere with my year-long reading challenges this year.

Here are the buttons and links to the challenges I am dropping out of – they are all awesome and if you’re top notch at finishing challenges, I highly recommend these!

The first challenge I’m opting out of is the very cool Reading Assignment Challenge, hosted by the lovely Michelle at Because Reading and Berls of Fantasy is More Fun. I did actually read the book I assigned to myself in January, alas, I never got in the mood for my February pick, hence my mood reading!

Just in case you’re curious, here’s the list of books I had planned to read for this challenge. [I want to get to them, but at my own pace.]

Technically, I could still do the Shelf Love Challenge, hosted by Second Run Reviews, as the point of the challenge is to show those books sitting on my shelves, begging me to read them, some attention. However, I’m simply too lazy to keep up with my progress.

As for the Keyword Reading Challenge, hosted by Claudia at My Soul Called Life, it has the coolest concept I think I have come across, challenge-wise. For the challenge, Claudia chose particular words coinciding with each month in 2017 for challengers to base a monthly book pick on.

While I managed to read – and adore – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas for January, I had a tough time with choosing books that fit with the keywords for the remainder of the year. I think I tried to get too creative with my book titles!

As for all of you who are dedicated to completing your reading challenges this year, I applaud you! You are very admirable to me; I just don’t think I have it in me to participate in year-long challenges anymore. But, I do look forward to joining in on short challenges and read-a-thons throughout 2017.

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