Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish I Had Reviews for on My Blog

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme is on hiatus until August 15th, but I’ve decided to do a few past topics while our hosts are on break. This week I’ve selected “Top Ten Books I’ve Loved But Never Wrote a Review For.” Now, I’m actually pretty good at reviewing books I’ve read since I started blogging, but there are so many book I read during my preblogging days that I wish I had reviews for on my blog. Yes, I could reread them, but sometimes it’s hard to find the time. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers I love this book. It’s my favorite in Robin LaFevers’s series His Fair Assassin about female assassins working out of a nunnery who serve Mortain, the god of Death. One day I will reread this and gush about everything I love about it.

2. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson – This is another one of my favorite fantasy series and I’m so sad that I don’t have reviews for any of the books on my blog. I’m thinking a reread is in order and then I could do a series mini-review afterward.

3. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier – This actually includes Juliet Marillier’s entire Sevenwaters series which I have such a special place in my heart for. I’d love to see more bloggers discover this author. Her writing is transporting.

4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling – I reread and reviewed the first four HP books for my blog, but stopped short of this one and would really like it if I could review all the HP books.

5. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – There are so many series I love, but read before blogging and this is another one that really deserves reviews on my blog, so I can convince more of you to suffer alongside me.

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6. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta – I have the entire Lumatere Chronicles series on my shelf, but have only read this first book. Still, it’s enough for me to recommend this not very well-known series and I ought to reread it and write a review.

7. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – I’m sure most of you know of my undying love for The Raven Cycle but before that I fell in love with The Scorpio Races. Why is there no review on my blog?

8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – One of my favorite books of all time. If any book deserves a review on my blog, it’s this one. But will I ever be emotionally ready?

9. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund – This is one of my favorite Jane Austen retellings and though I haven’t picked it up in years, I remember it quite fondly.

10. Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken – This is my favorite Alexandra Bracken novel, but it doesn’t get a lot of attention because it was a debut and I just wish more bloggers would read it.

Have you read any of these novels? Which book do you wish you had reviewed on your blog? If you did a freebie Top Ten Tuesday this week, leave me a link, so I can visit!

Sign-ups for the Summer 2017 Comment Challenge for August are now open! If you’d like to challenge yourself and make a new blogging friend, consider joining us. We’ll be pairing bloggers and encouraging them to comment on each other’s blogs all month long. Signups close July 26th. Click the image to the left for all the details!

Kernels of Nonsense: Where Does Rereading Fit into a Blogger’s Life?

Kernels of Nonsense is a discussion feature here on the blog where I like to discuss book and blogging related topics. I know I’ve been terrible at discussion posts this year, but I am attempting to do better. This week I’m discussing rereading and its place in a busy bookworm’s life.

Way back when I first started this discussion post feature, I wrote about how much I loved rereading. I love the idea of visiting old favorites and reliving that magic. If the characters had a strong impact on me, it sometimes feels like I’m visiting old friends and catching up. And there is the added benefit of hindsight when it comes to rereading. Sometimes you find little breadcrumbs the author left behind that you never noticed before or you discover new things about these books that you didn’t see the first time around.

In 2015, I joined the Re-Read Challenge because I really wanted to find time to reread some of my favorite books, and sometimes I find it necessary to reread a novel if I’m picking up the sequel because I literally will forget everything if enough time passes. That year I managed to reread ten books, but since then, I’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the number of rereads I do each year. This year for example, I’ve only reread two books and have no immediate plans to pick up any others.

One of the reasons I’ve picked up very little rereads is the sheer amount of books on my TBR. There is literally always a new book in the wings waiting to be picked up. I sometimes feel so overwhelmed by the number of books I need to get to that I can accidentally send myself into a reading slump. Although I managed to delete 100 books from my TBR as part of my Spring Cleaning goals this year, I still have over 300 books it. And every week I’m adding something because although I’d like to keep this number low, who can really resist a good recommendation from the blogging community?

Rereading feels like a luxury that I don’t always have. There are tons of books on my shelf that I have yet to get to and whose number seems to be increasing every month. My TBR, though not an outrages number, still demands my attention if I have any hope of getting to all these books that have caught my attention. Blogging itself zaps a lot of time and energy out of you, and although I enjoy it immensely, I sometimes feel like I spend more time blogging than I do reading. Then there’s life itself outside of blogging that you need to contend with and at the end of the day, you sometimes need to reach for your laptop for a little Netfix binging instead of the book on your nightstand in order to unwind.

So where does rereading fit in? I’ve considered holding myself accountable with a reread every month, but as a mood reader, I’m not always comfortable making myself pick up a certain kind of book every month. I’m afraid that added pressure will make me enjoy the rereading experience less. And if I’m honest, there is that little voice in the back of my mind telling me that readers are less interested in a review of a book from years ago than a review of a nice, shiny new release.

Where does that leave this blogger? I’m not sure. I still have a special place in my heart for rereads and in some cases, I do find it necessary to pick up a previous book before diving into a sequel. I want to find more time to reread, but I’m just not sure that’s possible as of right now.

Do you reread old favorites? How do you make time to do so? How do you feel about rereading in general? If you had more time to read, would you reread more than you do? When is the last time you reread a book? Let’s discuss in the comments!

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Title: A Study in Charlotte
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Series: Charlotte Holmes, #1
Pages: 321
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: March 1st 2016

      “The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.
      From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

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“It was like a nightmare. Branches lashed back at me as I ran, leaving stringing welts across my face, my arms. More than once, my foot caught on a tree root and sent me sprawling, and when I picked myself up, they were that much farther away.”

Brittany Cavallaro’s A Study in Charlotte is a book I enjoyed right away, but as the story went on there were far too many issues that I can’t rightly rate it above two starts. As a descendant of the famous Dr. Watson, Jamie has always felt destined to meet his counterpart Charlotte Holmes and when he ends up at the same boarding school, he finally gets an opportunity. As a member of the Holmes family, Charlotte has had a lot of expectations on her shoulders, but she hasn’t always lived up to what’s expected of her. Unlike Jamie, she has no interest in a friendship with him, but when the two of them become the number one suspects in the murder of a fellow student, they must team up and figure out who is trying to frame them.

I really feel like the synopsis for this novel promises more than it could deliver. I was initially thrown for a loop when the book opened with Jamie’s point of view and was disappointed that the novel didn’t feature a dual perspective. I really liked Jamie’s voice and found him to be a really sensitive character. He has a lot of issues with his father remarrying and secretly wants to be a writer. He has a lot anger issues stemming from this and has gotten into physical fights in the past, but instead of this being introduced as a problem he needs to learn to control, it was just a characterization readers are expected to accept and then move on from. Unfortunately because the novel is told only from Jamie’s perspective, we only get to explore Charlotte’s character from his perspective. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but Jamie has a really romanticized view of who Charlotte is even before he meets her that she doesn’t feel quite like a real person at any point.

Charlotte remains as much of a mystery as the one Jamie and her are trying to solve. We learn that she’s been raised to hone her deductive skills, that she has a hard time forming relationships, and that she finds it easier to be logical than sentimental. She’s incredibly intuitive, but also seems rather lonely. The novel introduces Charlotte as a girl with a drug problem. The novel really never gets into the nitty-gritty of her opioid addiction and I found it hard to believe that Charlotte could stave off her serious addiction with just a few cigarettes. I really felt like Charlotte’s character got the short end of the stick in this novel and this really bothered me especially when it seemed like the author wanted to center Jamie’s feelings and his perspective so often.

I haven’t seen a review that addresses how the novel deals with sexual assault and its this aspect of the novel that bothered me the most. While the novel never gets graphic while describing the character’s rape, I felt really uncomfortable with how the author initially centered Jamie’s feelings upon discovering that Charlotte had been raped by another student. The story never shows how Charlotte has been processing this and is only addressed by her head on when Jamie’s and her relationship is propelled into a potentially romantic one. There’s also the fact that the villain deliberately enabled this student to take advantage of Charlotte and I cannot wrap my brain around why the author felt the need to include this particular twist at all. It also really got under my skin when Jamie started to suspect Charlotte had a romantic relationship with an older guy when she was fourteen and his immediate reaction is Charlotte must have been the initiator or that she somehow manipulate this adult because she happens to be extremely intelligent. The emotional maturity of a fourteen-year-old girl is never taken into account in his thought-process and the more I think about it, the angrier I get.

Overall, Brittany Cavallaro’s A Study in Charlotte had potential in terms of its concept. The mystery aspect was interesting and I liked the idea of the descendants of Sherlock and Watson meeting for the first time and being able to forge their own paths, but inadequate characterization as well as the author using an unnecessary plot device made this one a disappointment.

2/5

★★

The Friday 56: Alex, Approximately

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“Balls,” Grace mumbles. “I don’t remember how to run the ticketing program!”

“You’ll do it in your sleep, Gracie,” he assures her. For a second, he almost seems nice, and not the same boy who humiliated me in front of the entire staff. A mirage, I tell myself.

If you like novels that play with the You’ve Got Mail trope (maybe in this case The Shop Around the Corner), Jenn Bennett’s Alex, Approximately is right up your alley and a perfect read for the summer. You can read my full review here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.
      Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.
      And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Sign-ups for the Summer 2017 Comment Challenge for August are now open! If you’d like to challenge yourself and make a new blogging friend, consider joining us. We’ll be pairing bloggers and encouraging them to comment on each other’s blogs all month long. Signups close July 26th. Click the image to the left for all the details!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Can’t Believe I’ve Never Read

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This meme is on hiatus until August 15th. *insert sad face* I really enjoy doing these posts each week however, so I’ve decided to take a look at past topics and maybe do a few while the hosts are on break. This week I decided to go with “Books I Can’t Believe I’ve Never Read.” There are some books that I puzzle over the fact that I’ve gone all these years without picking up. Hoping to find a few bloggers who also haven’t read these, so I don’t feel so alone, haha. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. Matilda by Roald Dahl It is my firm belief that I would have devoured this one as a kid. Unfortunately, it never ended up in my lap as a child and so here I am, an adult who has never read Matilda. I do want to change this soon.

2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – It’s strange that I never read this one in high school. I always meant to pick it up on my own, but have never got around to it.

3. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez – I love magical realism, so it’s a real mystery why I haven’t read this classic. I actually have a copy of it on my shelf, so I need to read it soon. Buddy read, anyone?

4. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – This really goes for all Charles Dickens’s books as I’ve never read anything he has written.

5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – I think I once checked this one out from the library, but didn’t have time to read it before I had to return it. I don’t think I have a proper excuse for why I have’t tried again though.

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6. Wonder by R.J. Palacio – I’ve heard such wonderful things about this one. Everyone seems to love it and I really need to finally get to it myself. Even my niece and nephews are insisting I pick this up.

7. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – Another children’s classic that I never got the opportunity to read when I was a kid.

8. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson – It’s unfathomable that I haven’t had the pleasure of reading this one. I might end up reading it soon for the Summer 2017 Bookish Bingo challenge.

9. Beloved by Toni Morrison – This is one of those books that I wish I would have had an opportunity to read in high school, but it’s up to me to find the time to read it, so no excuses here.

10. American Gods by Neil Gaiman – I’ve enjoyed all the Gaiman books I’ve picked up and don’t know why I haven’t checked out this one yet.

Any of these that you strongly encourage me to read? Which book are you most surprised that you haven’t picked up before? If you did a freebie Top Ten Tuesday this week, leave me a link, so I can visit!

Sign-ups for the Summer 2017 Comment Challenge for August are now open! If you’d like to challenge yourself and make a new blogging friend, consider joining us. We’ll be pairing bloggers and encouraging them to comment on each other’s blogs all month long. Signups close July 26th. Click the image to the left for all the details!

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2017

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag was originally created by booktubers Read Like Wildfire and Earl Grey Books. I’ve seen this tag show up every June and July since I started blogging, but never took part. I really like the idea of doing a little reflecting around mid-year. Let’s just pretend I’ve been tagged by someone and no one ought to think any differently. It will just be our little secret. I’ve had a really good reading year so far and am super excited for the second half. Covers below are linked to Goodreads.

1. Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2017?

I’ve read a handful of 5-star reads this year, but I have a special place in my heart for Roshani Chokshi’s A Crown of Wishes. Chokshi’s writing blew my away. I really loved everything about this book and the main characters are some of my very favorite.

2. Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2017?

I loved Susan Dennard’s Windwitch. I had my issues with Truthwitch and its world-building, but I think the writing really improved in this one. I love the changing dynamics between several of the characters and am really looking forward to the next book.

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To?

I need to read Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi! I’ve had this on my shelf for over a month, but haven’t found the time to read it.

4. Most Anticipated Release For Second Half of 2017?

I need Anna-Marie McLemore’s Wild Beauty like I need this next gulp of air. I have a feeling that McLemore is going to once again enchant me with this one.

5. Biggest Disappointment?

There haven’t been many book this year that I felt truly disappointed in. The books I ended up not liking have been ones that I wasn’t expecting much from or ones that I’ve heard a mixture of things about. I picked Brittany Cavallaro’s A Study in Charlotte for this one because while I was reading it I enjoyed it, but some of the twists didn’t sit well with me.

6. Biggest Surprise?

I’m not sure what I was expecting from Tiffany D. Jackson’s Allegedly, but what I ended up reading was an incredibly complex, emotional-charged debut. I still marvel at this being a debut. If you haven’t read this one, do it!

7. Favorite New Author?

I have a feeling Angie Thomas is going to be around for a long time. The Hate U Give is one of the most thought-provoking novels I’ve ever read and I am really excited to see what else she has in store for us.

8. Newest Fictional Crush?

I liked Aeduan after Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch, but after Windwitch, I love him. Morally grey characters are just so much fun, aren’t they?

9. Newest Favorite Character?

I love Gauri from Roshani Chokshi’s A Crown of Wishes. She’s such an incredible character and has become one of my favorite protagonists.

10. Book That Made You Cry?

Can you cry because a book is just so beautiful? Yes, you can! Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon Was Ours is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read and reading it brought me close to tears.

11. Book That Made You Happy?

I cannot believe how much cuteness is packed into Maurene Goo’s I Believe in a Thing Called Love. If you need to smile, pick this one up.

12. Favorite Book To Movie Adaptation You Saw This Year?

Strangely enough, I don’t think I’ve seen any movie adaptations this year. However, I did binge watched Netflix’s Anne with an E based on Anne of Green Gables and really liked it. I know some people say its way too dark, but I appreciated the different take on the classic.

13. Favorite Review You’ve Written This Year?

I really like my review of A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. Check it out!

14. Most Beautiful Book You Bought So Far This Year?

Can I just mention Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon Was Ours again? Not only is the writing beautiful, the book itself is so very lovely.

15. What Books Do You Need To Read By The End of The Year?

I feel like I’ve neglected a lot of the books I’ve purchased this year. Here are four books I’ve been dying to read that are currently sitting on my shelf just waiting for me.

What’s your favorite book of 2017 so far? New release you haven’t had a chance to pick up yet, but are dying to? Have you done the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag? Leave me a link!