Monthly Rewind: April 2015 + May TBR

April in one word:

Fun

I laughed a lot in April. Not so much at the beginning but the rest of the month was good. This month just made me happy and there are a few reasons to this, but most that I will keep to myself. It was just a good month overall.

I’m glad I was able to remain pretty active this month (surprisingly!) and posted more than I thought I would. I even posted four reviews! That’s quite a feat for me. I’m really looking forward to this month.

5 Things that happened in April:

1. My brother turned 18! I know this isn’t about me but it happened (he also got his drivers license!)
2. I got a box of ARC’s!
3. I changed the layout of my blog again!
4. I signed up for a few different runs (one of them is happening tomorrow!)
5. I went to an 80’s night at a bar (for the second time) and had the most amazing time

New books on my shelf

Let’s talk about all those lovely books pictured above. That box of ARC’s! I was really excited about this because it was unexpected, it contained 5 YA books that sounded amazing and it had been a while since I received a few books that I am really excited about!

For review:
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Etherworld by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam
Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay
Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook
Wrong About the Guy by Clare LaZebnik
Gifts:
The Merciless by Danielle Vega

Purchased:
The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase

I hadn’t purchased any books in a while but when I read the synopsis and reviews of The One That Got Away, I immediately ordered a copy.

Reading Goals: 

For the month of April, I only finished How to Say Goodbye in Robot and made a good dent in I’ll Give You the Sun but haven’t finished it. I did mark one DNF which I will be discussing later in a roundup of Unfinished Reads. So I may be setting my goals a little high (as usual) for the month of May.

The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase (currently reading)
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (currently listening to)
Deadpool: X Marks the Spot by Daniel Way (currently reading)
The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

Overall it was a good month and I am definitely ready for May :) Hope everyone else had a great month too!

I don’t blog for the ARC’s…

When I started this blog back in 2009 I didn’t know book blogging was a thing. I just started posting about books in a sort of “book journal” kind of way, in order for me to have something to look back years later and reflect. I honestly thought I was being a little unique by doing this. I’m not exactly sure how I stumbled across my first book blog but then I discovered this whole new world! And so my journey into reviewing books began.

After a short time of reviewing, I discovered ARC’s. Everyone was getting them and they were…free books! Free books that weren’t even released yet! I found it amazing and wonderful and oh I wanted all the books! But…I didn’t request any. Part of me believed that I wasn’t a good enough reviewer. I was very inconsistent in my reading and blogging habits. So I waited and after a while, I decided I had enough books and I didn’t need to request any after all. So there. [Although there was one time that I did request a book, Anna Dressed in Blood, but I didn’t receive any kind of response so I figured I wouldn’t be getting it and bought it anyways. A couple days after I got my copy, I got a second one from the publisher. I was quite surprised]

The first time an author contacted me was momentous. Why? Because it was Tiffanie DeBartolo that’s why. She was one of my favorite authors (still is, no doubt.) On a wishlist type of post I ranted that I wanted to read her other book, How to Kill a Rock star and I was probably going to buy it soon. Her email to me just said simply that her publisher had seen my post, mentioned it to her and would I like a copy of her other book. OMG!! OF COURSE I WANTED HER BOOK AND OMG! A few weeks later, I had a copy in my hands and it was signed to me. First free book from an author and first signed copy. All because of this little blog right here.

I then started receiving frequent offers for ARC’s from other authors, mostly indie. It became easy to filter through what I would read, what I probably would never read and what I really would enjoy. Books began piling up on me and I was obsessively buying more. Eventually, I became overwhelmed with it all and stopped. Both blogging and accepting books and reading altogether.

When I finally decided to get back into blogging (which I’ve done a number of times) I decided not to accept books for review, which I’ve been good at. That wasn’t why I ever did it and I think that when I started getting all kinds of ARC’s, I was reading less of what I loved.

Occasionally I’ll get books in the mail, because I am on some list somewhere but they’re usually genres I do not like so I donate them or give them to family. This past week though, I received a whole box of YA books! A whole box! I was over the moon excited and I really am going to try and get through them. I’ll be posting a monthly wrap up of sorts where I’ll share what I got.

Do you request ARC’s? If not, why? And if you do, do you become overwhelmed sometimes also?

 

 

Review | Grayson by Lynne Cox

Review | Grayson by Lynne CoxGrayson by Lynne Cox
Publication: Knopf on August 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
one-half-stars
Grayson is Lynne Cox’s first book since Swimming to Antarctica(“Riveting”—Sports Illustrated; “Pitch-perfect”—Outside). In it she tells the story of a miraculous ocean encounter that happened to her when she was seventeen and in training for a big swim (she had already swum the English Channel, twice, and the Catalina Channel).

It was the dark of early morning; Lynne was in 55-degree water as smooth as black ice, two hundred yards offshore, outside the wave break. She was swimming her last half-mile back to the pier before heading home for breakfast when she became aware that something was swimming with her. The ocean was charged with energy as if a squall was moving in; thousands of baby anchovy darted through the water like lit sparklers, trying to evade something larger. Whatever it was, it felt large enough to be a white shark coursing beneath her body.

It wasn’t a shark. It became clear that it was a baby gray whale—following alongside Lynne for a mile or so. Lynne had been swimming for more than an hour; she needed to get out of the water to rest, but she realized that if she did, the young calf would follow her onto shore and die from collapsed lungs.

The baby whale—eighteen feet long!—was migrating on a three-month trek to its feeding grounds in the Bering Sea, an eight-thousand-mile journey. It would have to be carried on its mother’s back for much of that distance, and was dependent on its mother’s milk for food—baby whales drink up to fifty gallons of milk a day. If Lynne didn’t find the mother whale, the baby would suffer from dehydration and starve to death.

Something so enormous—the mother whale was fifty feet long—suddenly seemed very small in the vast Pacific Ocean. How could Lynne possibly find her?

This is the story—part mystery, part magical tale—of what happened . . .

Okay, the thing about Grayson is that you read the synopsis and…that’s it. Basically, there is nothing else to the story. It was cute to start off but it got boring after a bit because of the excessive and unnecessary details that seemed to be there just to fill up the pages.

I get that the author tries to create a sort of “magical” experience for the reader, but I think instead the story is dragged on more than it should be. I did manage to finish the whole book in no time (because it is a short book) but skimmed a huge portion of it, wondering when and if Grayson would actually find his mother.

This one just wasn’t for me but I was able to get through it quick enough that when I did finish it, I did not feel frustrated for giving it more time than needed.

one-half-stars

Goodreads challenge and falling behind

Since Goodreads added the annual challenge on the website, I’ve participated. I’ve completed it once and it was usually because I would set it unrealistically high that I didn’t get to my goal. Last year I set it at 25 books. I came nowhere near it, and ended up just updating it as I finished a book. That’s how I finally earned a badge of completion for one.

This year, I’ve been doing pretty well. Mostly because I’ve also added the graphic novels I’ve read and such but now I’m two books behind and that made me a little sad. Not sure if I’ll catch up at this rate now. It might seem easy enough but I always have a hard time keeping up. Maybe now that I’ve started DNF’ing books, I might get through more quicker. We will see how it goes.

Do you participate in the GR challenge? Or any others?

Review | Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Review | Blood Red Road by Moira YoungBlood Red Road by Moira Young
Publication: Margaret K. McElderry Books on June 7, 2011
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
three-stars
Saba lives in Silverlake, a wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms where her family scavenge from landfills left by the long-gone Wrecker civilization. After four cloaked horsemen kidnap her beloved twin brother Lugh, she teams up with daredevil Jack and the Free Hawks, a girl gang of Revolutionaries.

Saba learns that she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Saba and her new friends stage a showdown that change the course of her civilization.

This was a tough one to get into. Not only because of the writing, since it can be a little difficult to understand, but also because I had a hard time even getting into the story. I kept hearing amazing things about this book when it was newly released and even went to meet Young when she was nearby. But after the first twenty or so pages, I got used to the writing and the story began to flow a little better.

Blood Red Road starts off with an exciting scene of fighting and kidnap, but then slows down a bit when Saba, the MC, must make her way through the harsh land in order to save her twin brother from whoever took him, while dragging her little sister along and running into a few problems along the way.

Saba was a tough girl, and even though I’m not sure I ever even grew to like her, I admired her courage. I wish we could’ve experienced her closeness to Lugh in order to understand her determination to save him, which at times came off as oddly obsessive (but that was okay I guess.)  Her attitude with her younger sister Emmi though, made me want to smack her time and again.

A lot happens in the book, and Saba faces a lot of life-threatening and difficult situations. It was both exciting and emotional, which was certainly what I needed to get through the dialogue that had thrown me off since the beginning. Blood Red Road is definitely an enjoyable read that dystopian lovers will find appealing.

three-stars