Top 10 Tuesday: Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get

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Top 10 Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. You can see all the topics here.

Whenever we do Top 10 Tuesday posts on series I always think I don’t really read many series, but then I’m always surprised at how many sequels I’m actually excited for. I wish all of these already had covers, but what are you going to do?

1. Madly (New York #2) by Ruthie Knox

2. Jessie’s Girl (Hundred Oaks #6) by Miranda Kenneally

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3. A Girl Undone (A Girl Called Fearless #2) by Catherine Linka

4. P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2) by Jenny Han

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5. Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (Prisoner of Night and Fog #2) by Anne Blankman

6. The Boy Most Likely To (My Life Next Door #2) by Huntley Fitzpatrick

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7. Beautiful Secret (Beautiful Bastard #4) by Christina Lauren

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8. Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle #2) by Rachel Hawkins

9. Stand-Off (Winger #2) by Andrew Smith

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10. Please Remain Calm (This is Not a Test #2) by Courtney Summers

One Year Ago: Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’d Recommend to a Younger Me


Book Review: Dirty Rowdy Thing

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Title: Dirty Rowdy Thing (Book #2 in the Wild Season Series)
Author: Christina Lauren
Release Date: 11/04/14
Genre: New Adult/Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

My love of Christina Lauren is strong. My love of the first book in the Wild Seasons series, Sweet Filthy Boy, is strong. But still I just couldn’t get myself excited about Dirty Rowdy Thing prior to reading it and now that I have read it I’m kicking myself in my head (or I would be if I were that flexible). I hate myself for this, but the Harlow we met in Sweet Filthy Boy, the brash, loud, slutty girl didn’t really appeal to me. I know that’s terrible of me, you don’t need to tell me that, but that’s just not the kind of female character that usually appeals to me, which is kind of odd because although I’ve never really been called slutty, I am pretty brash and loud.

Pretty much from the moment I started reading Dirty Rowdy Thing I realized what Christina Lauren did with Harlow was brilliant. Even though we met Harlow through the eyes of one of her best friends we still didn’t really get to know her. Harlow puts on this facade to the world and even those closest to her, not because she’s insecure or unhappy or has been through some terrible trauma, but because that’s what a lot of people do, myself included. Not everyone wears their heart on their sleeves and Harlow is pretty self-contained, even if she seems friendly and open. Harlow is a tough, strong girl who definitely knows what she wants, but she’s also deeply loyal, kind, and caring to those around her.

Sadly, even with all of the amazing things about Harlow she’s never found a guy who satisfied her, sexually or personality-wise. If you’ve read Sweet Filthy Boy you know that Harlow and Finn got married in Vegas and then got a quick annulment and that Harlow eventually goes to visit Finn in Canada, but there’s a lot more to their story than that. Harlow and Finn pretty much just have sex, there’s very little talking and virtually no getting to know each other. When Dirty Rowdy Thing starts Harlow is back to her life in San Diego when she bumps into Finn, who’s in town for the opening of Oliver’s comic book store, at Starbucks. Harlow and Finn did not part on good terms after Harlow’s visit to Canada and the meeting is amazingly awkward.

Despite not really liking or knowing each other Harlow and Finn have pretty stellar chemistry in and out of the bedroom. Unlike Sweet Filthy Boy which was told just from Mia’s perspective, this book is told through Harlow and Finn’s alternating perspectives. In my review of Sweet Filthy Boy I talked about how I thought switching to a single narrator was a sign of growth of Christina Lauren, and I still think it was, but I appreciated Finn’s perspective in this book. Ansel is such an open, happy character, even though he was often so stressed, but Finn is so closed off and self-contained that if we didn’t get to hear his side of things and see his life through his own eyes he wouldn’t have worked so well as a character and as a love interest.

Even though Finn is pretty gruff he was amazing, I might have even liked him more than Ansel which is crazy because I really liked Ansel. Finn is kind of the classic leading man who works outside with his hands (he’s a fisherman) and who also isn’t particularly expressive with his feelings. But Finn is obviously passionate about his career and family’s business, his brothers and father, and his friends. While he’s not expressive to those around him, Finn is very expressive in his head which is why getting his perspective was so important to really make this story work.

There was also lots of time spent with the other characters. It was fun to see what Mia and Ansel were up to and get a look at Lola and Oliver before their story comes out next year. I was hoping that the fourth book in the series would be about Perry, Ansel’s evil ex-girlfriend and the guy’s other BFF, but it looks like it’s going to be about London, Lola’s roommate who was briefly in this book and who I assume we’ll see more of in Lola’s book. But I still want a book about Perry. Just saying.

Bottom Line: I love pretty much everything Christina Lauren writes and Dirty Rowdy Thing was no different. Harlow totally surprised me and I fell in love with her feisty personality and loyalty to her friends and family. Finn was also a pleasant surprise, his sweet, but sexy personality was so endearing and was the perfect match for Harlow. If you love contemporary romances you must read this book (and Sweet Filthy Boy), they’re just fun, sexy, and smart in every way.

One Year Ago: Book Review: Catching Jordan


Book Review: Seriously Delish

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Title: Seriously Delish
Author: Jessica Merchant
Release Date: 09/01/14
Genre: Cookbook
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Trying something a little different on this Friday. If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time you probably know that I am a big cook and baker. You may not know that for years I have been obsessed with food blogs. How Sweet Eats, Jessica Merchant’s blog, has been one of my favorites for a long time, I’m thinking at least 2010, maybe even 2009 which is the first year she started blogging. If you are not reading Jess’s blog you are seriously missing out. Not only does she post amazing recipes with gorgeous photography, she also writes about her life, pop culture, beauty, books, and so many other things in a way that makes me want to kidnap her and force her to be my BFF (just kidding about the kidnapping…kind of).

When Jess announced she had a cookbook coming out I was so excited. Everyone knows I am not a big buyer of books, but I knew I had to get my hands on Seriously Delish. I wish I could have made it to one of Jess’s NYC book signings, but they were right after I started my new job and I just couldn’t swing getting out of work early to go into the city. When I finally got my hands on the book I was not disappointed. I actually sat and read the book cover to cover and couldn’t wait to get started on cooking some of the recipes in the book.

Let’s talk about the pros and the cons:

Pros:
* Just like on her blog Jess’s personality and voice really shine through and not only are the recipes great and then photography wonderful, it’s an entertaining and funny read.
* In addition to being entertaining and funny it’s also informative. I think of myself as a pretty experienced cook, but I definitely learned new things and picked up pieces of advice from Jess’s writing.
* I love Jess’s blog because she strikes a great balance between crazy-I-would-never-make-that food porn and recipes that I want to make for dinner that night. As much as I love the food porn I appreciated that Jess’s book is much more in the things-I-would-make-for-dinner vein.
* There is a wide variety of food from the three main meals to snacks to appetizers to alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
* It’s a hardcover paper over board case which I love, especially for a cookbook. No annoying dust jacket!

Cons:
* In theory I like the idea of the “celebrations” chapter that has food, both fancy and not fancy, for special occasions, but in practice it just kind of confuses me. I can remember seeing a salad or grilled cheese, but then I have to remember if it’s a celebration salad or grilled cheese or a regular soup or sandwich.
* I love Jess’s photography, but some of the layout of pages drives me a little nuts. Most of the pages and spreads are fine, but then sometimes there will be a picture floating in a weird spot on the page or the layout of text will be kind of odd. Some of the pages just looked a little patched together.
* There seem to be a very high percentage of recipes involving pineapple. Maybe it’s just me and my pineapple allergy, but I found it a little bit odd and annoying (because I love pineapple and hate that I can’t eat it any more).

With 150 recipes I still have many more to try like the strawberry coffee cake scones, 30-minute southwest black bean soup, whole wheat blueberry bundt cake, and cheesy roasted cauliflower dip. My favorites that I’ve tried are the Greek chick panzanella with honey-lemon vinaigrette (I flipped the ratios of vinegar and olive oil in the dressing), homemade chicken pitas with jalapeno whipped feta and quick tzatziki (except I made it without the tzatziki because I hate it), and whole wheat chocolate chip cookies.

If you’re not sure about investing in the book you should definitely spend some time on Jess’s blog first. I think my two all-time favorite recipes of hers are the roasted chipotle chicken taco stacks (some of the best chicken I’ve ever had) and the roasted jalapeno cheddar turkey burgers with BBQ aioli (just flat-out amazing) and I highly recommend making both of them ASAP. And then, after loving them, going out and getting Seriously Delish.

One Year Ago: Book Review: Six Months Later


Book Review: Sweet Filthy Boy

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Title: Sweet Filthy Boy (Wild Seasons #1)
Author: Christina Lauren
Release Date: 05/13/14
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

I have read all of Christina Lauren’s books (I reviewed their first one, Beautiful Bastard, on here in my early blogging days) and I don’t even know if I can begin to express to you how fun her (their? it’s a writing duo) books are. The Beautiful Bastard series is fun, sexy, and heartfelt, but with Sweet Filthy Boy I have to say, I think they stepped it up a notch.

To me this book is what new adult should be. Maybe the authors or their publisher don’t want it put into the new adult genre, but this is a wonderful representation of what people go through when they graduate college. Mia has just finished college and she and her two best friends go to Vegas for the weekend to celebrate. Mia grew up dancing ballet and always thought she would be a professional dancer. She even got into the Joffrey Ballet School in Chicago.Then she gets into a terrible accident while riding her bike and injures her leg so badly that she can no longer dance. Instead she goes to UC San Diego with her best friends and, now that she’s graduated, is heading off to business school in Boston at her father’s insistence even though the thought of being a business(wo)man like her father nearly gives her panic attacks.

In Vegas Mia ends up meeting Ansel, an attractive, sweet filthy (French) boy who she’s immediately drawn to. After a drunken night together they end up getting married and then, for reasons you’ll have to read the book to find out, they end up staying married and Mia follows Ansel to France to have one last adventure before she annuls the marriage and starts business school.

Is this setup of this story crazy? Yes, of course, but the emotions and feelings and actions of the characters just rang so true to me. I get Mia’s fear of going after what she really wants and just going along with her bossy father’s plan for her in the meantime. I also loved Mia’s relationship with her two best friends. They made fun of each other and told each other off, but also obviously really loved each other.

Then there’s Ansel and Mia. I loved the two of them together because it just seemed so real. Both of them have baggage and insecurities and make mistakes, but it’s the kind of baggage, insecurities, and mistakes that everyone, or at least I, can relate to in one way or another even if maybe it’s slightly exaggerated for the book. There is a lot of sex in this book and it’s pretty damn steamy, but there was also a lot of sex. I say it twice because eventually I just wanted to see Mia and Ansel together and talking and getting to know each other and figuring out if they could have a future and who each of them wants to be.

I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think about what sets this book apart from the Beautiful Bastard series for me (although I will always love Max and Sara best) and I think it’s two things. First, as I mentioned, this very much fits into the new adult genre and I think the fact that it’s a really well done, not cheesy new adult book just makes it stand out. Second, as much as I love the dual perspectives of the Beautiful Bastard series, something about having this book just be from Mia’s perspective made it seem, not more serious because as much as I liked the emotions and situations it’s not a serious book, but maybe more mature. And third, it’s a very realistic book. Yes, as I said the setup is kind of wacky, but most of the actions and feelings the characters have are so genuine that I couldn’t help relating to their decisions and feeling like I could be friends with the people.

Bottom LineSweet Filthy Boy is hands down one of my favorite books of 2014. Not only is it an extremely fun story, it’s a smart, relatable story that really rings true. It has its crazy moments, but at the heart of the story it’s genuine and it’s a really shining example of everything that new adult books, or just books about recent college graduates, should be.

One Year Ago: Book Review: Not a Drop to Drink


Book Review: All Broke Down

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Title: All Broke Down (Rusk University #2)
Author: Cora Carmack
Release Date: 10/28/14
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

There are no spoilers for book #1 in the Rusk University series here so read away!

I was not a fan of All Lined Up. So much of not a fan that I didn’t even write a review for it (although I eventually did write a mini-review). I mostly picked up All Broke Down because I could take the e-book out of the library and if I didn’t read it before it expired I just figured it wasn’t meant to be. But one day I was in the mood and decided to pick it up and what you do you know? I was pleasantly surprised.

While I still think All Broke Down fell into some of the same new adults traps All Lined Up did, I just think it was a better, more enjoyable book. The story is about Dylan, who I think is a new characters, and Silas, who I vaguely remember from All Lined Up. Silas is a bad boy running back on the Rusk football team who after getting in trouble yet again decides/is forced into cleaning up his act. To help him clean up his act he enlists Dylan, a nice, sweet, do-gooder who he meets in jail (he beat someone up, she got arrested at a protest). The story is told from both of their alternating perspectives and we get to see that Silas is more than just a bad boy and Dylan is more than a rich girl trying to make the world better.

One of my favorite things about this book was the reversal of roles. The typical new adult trope is that the girl has a tough life/something to get over and she depends on a guy to fix her. In All Broke Down Dylan did have a tough life and she’s definitely still figuring out who she is and what she wants, but Silas is the one who’s really trying to get over his past and come to terms with who he is and he definitely leans on Dylan to solve his problems/fill a hole in his life. I don’t want to sound sexist, but I found this refreshing and it didn’t bother me nearly as much as it does when it’s the girl leaning on the guy. Sad, but true.

Dylan and Silas also both have really interesting backstories that would be interesting even outside of their romance. Silas came from a rough background and was pretty much abandoned by his mother and never knew his father. If anything I wish we would have learned more about Silas’ life in high school and how he eventually made his way to Rusk. We find out a little, but not nearly enough. Dylan also lost her mom at a young age and after spending time in foster care she ended up being adopted by the wealthy Brenners. There’s definitely more about Dylan’s background, but the Brenners just came across as cold and uncaring. I don’t think they actually were, but I wish Carmack would have explored Dylan’s relationship with them more, or at least showed us a softer side of them.

But the biggest thing that drove me crazy about this book was the timeline. The story takes place shortly before the school year starts and then a little bit into the fall semester. The football team is back on camps preparing of the season and Dylan grew up and now has an apartment near campus that she stayed in over the summer. That was fine, but what drove me crazy was that the first maybe 50% of the book takes place over a one or two day time span. Half the book is Dylan and Silas meeting and after I got to that point, which I enjoyed everything in that 50%, I wondered how Carmack was going to tell a whole story in just 50%. I mean who needs half a book to introduce the characters and set up the story? As bizarre as that was it didn’t end up being too bad after the first 50%. While I never quite got a feel for the timeline and Dylan and Silas’s feelings did come up quickly I never felt like the story was too rushed.

Bottom Line: Even though I had my issues with All Broke Down it has helped renew my faith in Cora Carmack and left me wanting to read more of the Rush University series. I enjoyed the reversal of the typical new adult male/female roles and Dylan and Silas were great as both individual characters and together. Skip the first book in the series and give this one a read.

One Year Ago: Waiting on Wednesday: The Chapel Wars


Top 10 Tuesday: Characters You Wish Would Get Their OWN Book

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Top 10 Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. You can see all the topics here.

Eek, I love this topic! I am not always the biggest fan of secondary characters, but when I find one I love I go all out so I love the idea of giving some of my favorites their own story (please, authors, please!).

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1. Perry from Sweet Filthy Boy/Dirty Rowdy Thing: I had actually hoped the fourth book in the series would be about Perry (one about each of the friends who did Bike and Build) but that doesn’t seem like it will be the case. Perry certainly isn’t a likable character, but I would love to see Christina Lauren try turn her into one.

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2. Reagan from Fangirl: This does really need an explanation? Regan is just badass.

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3. Reece Malcolm from The Reece Malcolm List: I pretty sure I talked about this in my review, I loved Devon, but I was just so fascinated by Reece Malcolm. Plus we would get to see her as a mother!

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4. Myra from Why Can’t I Be You: I made no secret of my adoration of Jenny in this book, but I’d love to get to see what Myra did after the story ended. She just had such a good, kind vibe around her and with her cool little house and boutique I think she would be a perfect leading lady.

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5. Margot from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: We see Margot through the eyes of her younger sister Lara-Jean, but Lara-Jean definitely has some hero-worshipping and middle-sister resentment going on so it would be cool to know Margot for Margot.

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6. Dee from Open Road Summer: Dee figured pretty prominently into Reagan’s story, but it would still be fun to get to know her more and to see how her romance with the guy whose name I can’t remember ends up playing out.

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7. Roux from Also Known As/Going Rogue: Another one that pretty much requires no explanation. The girl is crazy/amazing/owns a Fabrege egg.

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8. Gus from The Lucy Variations: How amazing would a YA book about a teenage Gus be? With his adorable hair. Think of the girls he could get with his crazy piano skills, the perfect YA romance!

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9. Kana from When You Were Here: My love of Kana took me totally by surprise and I’d love to learn more about her. Maybe bring her to the US and have her find a nice boy?

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10. Loring from How to Kill a Rockstar: First, I just loved Loring from the beginning. Second, given that he ends up with a certain someone special I would love to know more about their love story and life together.

One Year Ago: Top 10 Tuesday: Covers I Wish I Could Redesign


Book Review: Killer Instinct

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Title: Killer Instinct (The Naturals #2)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: 11/04/14
Genre: Young Adult Thriller/Mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

If you haven’t read the first book in The Naturals series you probably want to skip this review because it contains spoilers for that book, but read it, it’s really good!

It seems odd to say, but Killer Instinct was one of my most anticipated reads of 2014. The Naturals wasn’t one of my favorite books of 2013 or the first one I would recommend to someone, but I did really enjoy it and it is a great book. It’s also a book that really stayed with me so even though I read The Naturals over a year ago I was easily able to jump right into the world of Killer Instinct and see what Cassie and the other Naturals were up to.

I was a little nervous about this book being too similar to The Naturals. Even though I didn’t know it while I was reading The Naturals it was a story about Cassie’s aunt being a serial killer and with Killer Instinct being about Dean’s serial killer father I was definitely worried about Killer Instinct being just a knockoff. But luckily that wasn’t something I had to worry about at all.

It took me a few minutes to settle back into the story and the characters and remember that Cassie is the main one, Michael is the charming one, Dean is the brooding one, Lia is the sneaky one, and Sloane is the weird one, but once I got into the story I fell in love with them maybe even more than I had in the first book. The FBI agent in charge of the Naturals, Briggs, was back too and he also had a sidekick, his ex-wife who’s also an FBI agent who’s now working with him on the new case. Agent Sterling was also the voice of reason about what the FBI was doing with these kids and even though I felt Cassie and the others frustration at Sterling for trying to put limits on them, she was a brilliant voice of reason.

Sterling and Briggs are investigating a murder on a local college campus that seems to be a copying Dean’s father’s MO. As much as this is a story about Cassie it’s also a story about Dean. We got to know Dean in The Naturals, but we really get to know him here. Learning about his childhood and the horrific things his father did was difficult, but it was also so creepy and believable. The Naturals aren’t supposed to be involved in active investigations, but inevitably they get drawn into the murder investigation.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes is seriously a master at weaving an intricate story and building suspense. There are certainly red herrings in this story, but it never felt like the story was just going through the motions until we worked our way closer to the end of the book. The different suspects and theories from the Naturals, even when they didn’t pan out, still helped reveal something about the characters or the story so it always felt like it was moving forward and having more layers peeled back. And there were a lot of layers in this story. I had my theories, but I never was able to guess who the murderer was and there were several things that really surprised me. Which is pretty much the best thing ever from a mystery.

If I had a criticism of the book it’s that I didn’t feel like I got to know Cassie better as a character or learned anything new about her. I learned a lot of things about Dean and there was a lot of character development with some of the other secondary characters as well, but still, Cassie is the main character and not having anything new come out about her was kind of a disappointment. But I did come to appreciate how Barnes built a story were the main character isn’t the most troubled one. Cassie certainly has her issues, but the rest of the Naturals around her, as Cassie herself acknowledges, have had much more difficult/traumatic upbringings and it’s a nice change of pace to have a relatively sane main character and more damaged secondary characters.

Bottom Line: I loved this book, but I’m having a really hard time articulating why. Like The Naturals there’s nothing about Killer Instinct that makes it really stand out or spectacular, but it’s great because it’s a really solid book. From the story to the characters to the writing everything that Jennifer Lynn Barnes does is just great. I was so happy while reading the author’s note that there is more to come from The Naturals because I can’t wait to spend more time with them.

I received an electronic review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley (thank you!). All opinions are my own.

One Year Ago: Book Review: Splendor


Book Review: Wildlife

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Title: Wildlife
Author: Fiona Wood
Release Date: 09/16/14
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

When Melina Marchetta blurbs a book it’s pretty hard to just ignore it. And for a while, say the first 60%, it was hard to ignore Wildlife, but then, sadly, the story just got really repetitive.

The beginning of Wildlife had me intrigued. The story is told from two perspectives, Sibylla’s and Lou’s and Lou’s chapters are told in the form her of the journal her therapist suggest she keep. Sibylla’s story starts at a family beach vacation with her family and her mom’s best friend, an advertising executive realizes that Sib is perfect for her next campaign and talks Sib’s mother into allowing Sib to take part. This has really elevated Sib’s popularity in high school so that when the story really starts, with Sib about to go away for a nine-week outdoor adventure semester with her private school classmates, she’s suddenly become very popular.

Lou on the other hand is not in a good place. Someone close to her recently passed away and she’s still very much grieving. She’s starting a new school and her first semester there is the outdoor adventure semester. Whether it was the journal style of Lou’s chapter or the fact that she’s very closed off and grieving, but it was much more difficult to get to know Lou and get excited about her story towards the beginning of the book, but that definitely changed as we got closer to the end.

Before I get into what didn’t work about the book let’s talk about what did. The idea for the story, following these two girls on their wilderness semester, was strong. I enjoyed getting to know the girls, even though I wish I could have gotten to know them each a bit more. The writing was also very solid and despite my issues with the story here I would be willing to give another Fiona Wood book a read.

On the flip side my biggest issue with the book was how repetitive it was and how much it dragged, especially towards the end. Once the girls settle into the semester it all kind of seemed the same. Sib kind of dated Dan, she hung out with her mean friend Holly, and she complained about life in the wilderness. Lou observed everyone from a distance and hung out with Sib’s off-beat friend Michael and that was it. It’s a character-driven story and that’s fine, but still, I wanted some more conflict, some more intrigue, or at least some romance I could be interested in.

When I look back on it, even though Wildlife is a character-driven story, I still longed for better character development. The story spends a lot of time in Sib and Lou’s heads, but I still didn’t come away feeling like I knew either of them. Their history was often missing and I also didn’t quite understand how either of them really spent their days at the camp. I also never really got a great feel for the camp. It was kind of very starkly described towards the beginning, but we were told more than showed and I never quite understood what it was really like or what was going on. I’m big at picturing things in my head while I read and I never got a clear picture of the characters or the setting.

Bottom Line: There were things about Wildlife that really worked and overall it’s not a bad book, but it is a book that didn’t work for me. If it appeals to you I think it’s worth giving it a read, I’ve seen many positive reviews, but be warned there might be some issues. As I said I would be willing to give another Fiona Wood book a read since I still enjoyed the basic premise for the story and much of the writing was strong.

One Year Ago: Waiting on Wednesday: My Best Friend, Maybe


Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Want To Reread

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Top 10 Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. You can see all the topics here.

Re-reading is such a hard thing. Before my blogging days I considered myself to be a big re-reader, but in reality I was actually a big re-skimmer. I don’t know if I’ve ever fully re-read a book cover to cover, but I love skimming my favorite books to find my favorite parts (my copy of Gone with the Wind is actually annotated for all my of favorite parts). But lately I sadly haven’t even been great at skimming. There’s actually not a whole lot I want to re-read (another reason I don’t buy books), but I made a list anyway.

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1. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume: This was one of my favorite books as a teenager and I’d be curious to re-read it as an adult and see if I still enjoy it as much.

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2. A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka: I read this so quickly because I had to know what was going to happen and I’m sure there were things I missed along the way. Plus I just really liked the book.

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3. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski: I have The Winner’s Crime to read, but a refresh on the first book seems like a good idea.

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4. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles: This is a beautiful book that’s one of my all-time favorites, but I’ve only read it once.

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5. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: The second book in this series comes out in a few months so reading it again couldn’t hurt. Plus I read an ARC and I heard there were big changes to the finished book.

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6. God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo: Another book that I read so quickly because I wanted to know what was going to happen that I’m sure there are important things I missed. Plus I’ll be less tense now that I know what happens.

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7. Time and Again by Jack Finney: I read this in high school (middle school?) and it’s really stayed with me so it’s another one I would be curious about reading as an adult.

And that’s it! I’m kind of disappointed with my lack of desire to re-read, but it is what it is!

One Year Ago: Top 10 Tuesday: Sequels I Can’t Wait to Get My Hands On


October 2014: In Review

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I know I’m a broken record every month, but damn, November?! Already? Does. Not. Compute.

October was a good month, but also a long month. Things at my new(ish) job are still good. I still mostly like the job and my coworkers are great, but the more I do it the more tired of it I get? It’s weird. I felt really burnt out last week and I started to get worried, but I had a three-day weekend this weekend and I’m feeling better. My social life in October kind of exploded, which was good and bad. After more than a year at home I finally feel like I’ve found some good people to spend my time with, they’re not quite the type of friends I have from college or after college, but they’re still great.

Speaking of college friends I got to see one of my favorites in October when she came up from TX to visit. I didn’t get to see her for that long (it was a last-minute trip and I had to work), but it was still great to catch up. Plus I got to see Estelle on that trip into NYC.

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I saw some beautiful sunrises on my way to work. Towards the end of the month the sun came up after I got to work, but luckily with daylight savings I will now be driving to work in daylight (yay) and hopefully see some sunrises again.

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I also did lots of wine and beer tasting. This picture was taken at Kontokosta Winery, which I highly recommend if you ever find yourself out on Eastern Long Island. It was my first time there and the wine was delicious and it backs up to the Long Island Sound so the views are amazing.

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I also got to go apple picking. We had originally planned to go upstate, but ended up going on Long Island instead and besides the crazy prices ($43 for a bag!) it was a perfect day with friends.

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If you read my Top 10 Tuesday post last week you saw this picture of my lazy Halloween costume. One of my friends from the gym threw a big party and it was a great night (even if I had to leave early to go to work the next day).

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And pumpkin carving can’t forget that. One of my coworkers hosted a pumpkin carving party and it was a good time. Even if my pumpkin rotted after about a week.

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Finally I took my dad to see a taping of Live with Kelly and Michael. Since he retired last year he’s become obsessed with the show, it’s super weird because it’s totally not his thing, and he watches it (or DVRs it) every day. The tickets were free, but I paid for the train and subway as his birthday gift. Even though I’ve never seen the show it was still fun and I maybe now find Michael Strahan kind of attractive?

Things From the Internet That Caught My Eye
- Chinese Police Officer Sets Plank World Record
19 iPhone Tricks Apple Doesn’t Want You to Know
The Myth of the Eight-Hour Sleep
Finnish Wife-Carrying Competition
Frozen Poop-Pills Fight Life-Threatening Infections
Science Has Great News for People Who Actually Read Books

On the Blog:

Reviews:

4 stars:
The Good Sister by Jamie Kain
Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez
Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian

3 stars:
Bleed Like Me by Crista Desir
Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot
Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan

2 stars:
Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas
Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

Top 10 Tuesday posts:
Books For Readers Who Like Character-Driven Novels
- New Series I Want to Start
Characters Who I Would Totally Want to Be for Halloween

Other:
Pub Date: Fall
Not Waiting on Wednesday
Please Don’t Stop Writing Negative Reviews and Other Thoughts on Kathleen Hale
Pub Date: Halloween

Reviews Posted to Goodreads:
An American Duchess by Sharon Page (3.5 stars)
– As Long as You Love Me by Ann Aguirre (3 stars)
In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins (4 stars)
– The V-Spot by Wendy S. Marcus (3.5 stars)

Things to Look Forward to in November:

Life:
– Thanksgiving (I LOVE Thanksgiving)
– Getting to catch up with my old boss/good friend who I haven’t seen since July
– Eating better and working out (I’ve challenged myself to workout every day in November)
– Cooler weather (we had an oddly warm October)

Books: (I love this reasonable list)
Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Make it Real by Sabrina Elkins
Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren
After the Rain by Renee Carlino
Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean

Previous 2014 Monthly Recaps
January
– February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September

One Year Ago: Book Review: The Naturals