MARVEL Book Tag

I have no idea where this tag originated… so if you know, clue me in… and I’m pretty sure it’s on the older side, but it is clever and fun so I wanted to play along.

I actually haven’t seen all that many of the Marvel movies, but my husband and I recently decided to go back and watch them all. When? Who knows… between his work schedule and homeschooled kids that stay up too late…we don’t get much time for movies. But yeah we are excited to watch them all at some point.


1. IRON MAN- Favorite first book

I’m going to have to go with A Darker Shade of Magic as my favorite first book because it got me so pumped and excited for what comes next. I’m so glad this came up in my book club, and that the timing was so perfect and it was just before the 3rd book came out and I got to devour them all.

2. CAPTAIN AMERICA- A book that takes place in another time period

Outlander. Holy hot and steamy time travel, Batman! Oh wait that’s DC not Marvel…sorry. But yeah, this book WRECKED me. I never had a book hangover like I did after this one. To the point were its been years and I can’t continue the series or watch the show for fear my heart can’t handle it.

3. THOR- a character you liked more after they were cast.

This is tough, because I am rarely happy with movie adaptations and how they’re cast. But I will say that back in my silly Twilight fan days I was 100% Team Edward, but absolutely Team Taylor over Team Robert when it came to the actors. But now I have a feeling if I were to reread the books…I wont, but IF… I would probably be Team Jacob.

4. QUICKSILVER & SCARLET WITCH- a book with a sibling duo

If you want a book featuring sisters who have each other’s backs… We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Really good. An eerie story that makes you wonder what exactly is going on.

5. LOKI- a villain you love and can’t help but be attracted to

I am going to cheat and pick to books for this one. The Goblin King in the first half of Wintersong is a sexy antagonist, but then he isn’t the villain at all for the second half of the book, so I am strengthening my answer by adding Holland from the Shades of Magic series. I pictured him as Eric Bana for some reason…it works for me.

6. ANTMAN- a book you’ve been meaning to read

Why haven’t I read Shadow and Bone? Dunno. I know I’m going to love it. I made the mistake of reading the Six of Crows duology first so I’m a little spoiled, which stinks, but I don’t mind that much, I’m still excited and plan to read this soon.

7. HULK- a book you can’t talk about without getting angry

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton I don’t even want this book on here it makes me so fucking angry. Ugh.. i hate it. But like the whole world loves it? Why!? There were so many places this could have gone… so may good ideas that just got dropped. And the book ended and that was that. So many holes. Funnily enough though, my book club’s meetup for this was probably my favorite. We had a BLAST ranting about it.

8. BLACK WIDOW- a side character that you wish had their own book

Hatta from Marissa Meyer’s Heartless. I would love a prequel that told his story.

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March Book Haul

Guys…. woah. What did I do? I went a little crazy is what I did.

Remember my 2018 Reader Goals? When I said I didn’t want to put myself on a book buying ban…. oh I’m going on a ban!

No more buying books until I’ve read or gotten rid of the books I already have!!!

This is literally me.

I didn’t even remember all the books I bought this month! I forgot to include my first book purchase of March in that larger than life stack of books!

I borrowed Wintersong by S Jae Jones from the library, and IMMEDIATELY upon finishing it I went to Barnes and Noble to buy my own copy and the sequel. I have not yet read Shadowsong. For shame. Shame!

My next splurge happened at Target. I bought 3 paperbacks: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.

I hit up the used book store at not one, but TWO, different libraries… on at least three different occasions. And yes, yes I did buy the same book twice. Because I’m trash. Honestly, I maybe shouldn’t have bought the Southern Vampire Mystery books… but they were fifty cents each, and they’re such easy reads, and I enjoy them for the brain numbing urban fantasy smut they are… so yeah, I bought them.

And lastly… I TRIED to tell myself not to do it- to just drop off the bag of donations and drive away. But I did it. I went INTO Savers and I browsed those thrifty book shelves. I browsed them hard.

Buy 4 get 1 free means I leave with at least 10 books. Every time. But there are only 9 books there? My son picked a Disney Princess comic book collection and took it before I could get a picture. It’s adorable, trust me.

I also got this book from TJ Maxx last week:

Every Friday we do pizza and a movie or games. I thought it might be fun to include a page or two from this in our family nights. It’s full of prompts about things we like to do together, and nice things to say to each other, etc. I think it’s sweet. So I bought it. Because I’m a monster.

WHAT HAPPENED TO ME!?

I showed zero self control. I have an addiction! Yikes!

How did you do? Did you splurge or save this month?

Happy Reading (and/or Shopping)!

Book Reviews vs. Reactions- is there a difference?

I find that I’ve been having a hard time sitting down to write a review when I finish a book.  I didn’t expect to have this problem when I started this blog, but here is why:

I read for fun.  I don’t dissect a book as I read it.  I don’t really even know how to discuss the more technical successes or failures of a story.

My opinion is my opinion.  I love books other people hate.  I hate books other people love.  I don’t like defining a book as good or bad.  More often it is just not for me.

My opinion changes.  Once upon a time, I loved Twilight.  I swooned over 50 Shades.  GAG! Some time passed… my new-mom hormones balanced back out… and now I HATE THOSE BOOKS!

My reviews are not always relevant.  I read books late.  I wait for a series to finish before jumping into it.  I read old books- books that I bought and forgot about, never got around to, or that I found cheap at a thrift store/library sale.  I plan on reading Jurassic Park soon.  I think it’s basically accepted that it’s a very good book.  Me reviewing it seems kind of pointless. I just started ACOTAR for the first time (gasp! I know right!?), and 99.9% of the bookish community already knows what it is about, has read it, and (likely) enjoyed it.  Again… a review from me is pointless when the rest of the world has been there, done that.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!  I can’t blog every day.  I can’t find the time to review books as I finish them, and by the time I sit down, I’ve read something else and don’t feel like going back.

There are other ways to share my thoughts and opinions of a book.  In my opinion, a reaction to a book is different than a review of a book.  Often, my Currently Reading and monthly Wrap Up posts include how I felt about a book.  My opinions are purely subjective.  My emotional state, my mood, my kids’ behavior, the weather, the amount of dishes in the sink… all factors that can affect how I relate to a book.  It is so personal.  Like I said, I don’t read books technically.  I read to lose myself.  I just don’t feel like I can be unbiased enough to assess the quality of a book… BUT I can’t tell you how I felt about it, and how I personally connected to it.

Never say never.  I’m not saying that I am never going to post anymore book reviews on my blog.  But I’m not going to stress about not getting to them anymore, because I am going to accept that they just aren’t my cup of tea.  Actually tea isn’t my cup of tea either…. I’m a coffee drinker.

I will definitely give my opinions in the form of a star rating and short reaction in my reading wrap up posts.  Just know that my star ratings are completely selfish and subjective, and have more to do with me, the reader, and whether I found what I needed from the book.

Also, I am going to make more of an effort to make notes on Goodreads and not just select a star rating.  I typically open up the Goodreads app on my phone as soon as I finish a book, so I think I am more likely to include a line or two there than to make the time to sit down and compose a full blog post for every book I read.  And then I can link to that when I wrap up my month.

I don’t even know if any of this make sense or if I’m just rambling.  I guess I just feel like a review is more of a critical break down of a book, and a reaction is more of a personal opinion/reflection.

What do you think?  Is there a difference?  Can a book blogger blog without blogging book reviews? (Say that ten times fast).

My Ancestry DNA Results & Reading Goals

I believe I’ve mentioned this briefly in another post, about reading books from or about the countries of my heritage… with that said, I promise this post will tie into books eventually.


For Christmas, I received an Ancestry DNA testing kit. I’d been dying to do this for so long, can we say great advertising!?

I know that my mother was born in Ecuador and has lots of family there. I know my father’s parents are from Peru and that there’s an Italian great-grandfather on that side as well.

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My first trip to Ecuador that I can remember. In the 90s I loved the Chicago Bulls and Tazmanian Devil… which explains the shirt.

My skin is light, but my features dark; my first name originates from Greece, and my last name is Spanish.

I’ve been asked if I was Greek, Israeli, or Egyptian by people from those places.  Could there be some influence from these places?

 

 

My maternal grandmother is from the Ecuadorian city, Guayaquil, and my grandfather comes from the mountains (Riobamba). My paternal grandfather spoke of the Peruvian jungles and his brother the shaman.

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My sister and I with our Great Grandfather, on our way to Pallatanga, Jul 2001.

I’ve been told that there is a large German influence in Ecuador, and I’ve read that the late 1800’s brought Chinese (slave?) laborers to the Andes, so I kind of expect to see some low percentage of ancestry derived from these places.

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In Riobamba meeting my mother’s paternal grandparents, Jul 2001.

 


I have been so excited to get these results, and I wanted to do something special with them. Maybe have a map printed with the results highlighted to display in my living room. Maybe get my hands on some cultural art work. Maybe I will do those things… but then I thought, how can I really connect to the results? And then my inner bookworm spoke up: read.

I was inspired by the Around the World in 1000 Pages book club, hosted by Russell on Ink and Paper Blog. I love the idea of experiencing new places and cultures through literature, and while I will watch all of Russell’s videos and browse the Goodreads discussions, I don’t think I will read along with this book club every month.

BUT, I will go on my own journey. I will use my AncestryDNA test to build a list of books that take place in or are written by an author from each country listed in my results.


It felt like forever, but I FINALLY got my DNA report back from Ancestry last week. It took well over the estimated 6 weeks because apparently the whole world got this for Christmas.  There wasn’t anything particularly surprising, I pretty much got the results I expected.  Seeing Native American on there was really important to me for some reason; even though I know that the indigenous groups of South America differ greatly from the tribes of North America which I am more familiar with.

 

The above map is an overview of my results including the low confidence regions (percentages listed in the summary screenshot). My maternal grandmother also did the test so it was fun to see the results side by side. She had 5% Nigerian listed on her results where I had 0%… but the current book for the Around the World in 1000 Pages club is Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie, and I wanted to read it anyway… so I will read it in honor of my grandmother’s 5% result!

I am going to create a page on which to list my DNA results and compile a reading list. This way I have a place to link everything back to and not lose posts in my blog history.


If you’ve made it to the end of this long post… good job! Let me know if you have done anything like this- ancestryDNA testing, family interviews, a pilgrimage… whatever! I feel like it is so important to realize that we are all a beautiful mix of people and places.

Also let me know if you have any book recommendations for me.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Currently Reading

Hello and Happy Monday!

This week I am reading/listening to American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

I started out reading it and was pleasantly surprised at how easily digestible it was. I read Anansi Boys years ago and remember it taking me a while to get into the story and follow the plot, but that may have been due to my inexperience with Gaiman and the adult fantasy genre at the time.

I switched to the audiobook of American Gods in order to do some projects around the house.

The version I am listening to is the 10th Anniversary Full Cast version. It is wonderful. I love full cast audiobooks so much!

The voice actor for the main character, Shadow…. ooooooh boy! That voice! ***swoon*** So deep. So smooth.

I am really liking the story. I like the juxtaposition of old world gods and new age gods, and what they reflect about human nature and values. Sometimes I get frustrated when Shadow doesn’t seem to get what is happening when I feel like it should be obvious. You’re rolling with gods now, Shadow, reality is redefined, go with it. I feel like he’s slowing the story down because things have to be explained to him.

It is a pretty slow story now that I think of it, but that’s how it goes with Neil Gaiman. His writing is so descriptive and beautiful; he really takes his time with his craft.

I also like the stories of other people of all different cultures and how they call the gods of their home countries over to America with them. I like how it is sprinkled into the main story, yet not connected to it. Like a commercial for something I’m actually interested in.

I’m on page 260 of 598. So quite a ways to go. I think I will focus on just this book this week, especially since I have it in both audio and paperback formats. I picked up Illuminae from the library, and I also have volume 2 of the graphic novel Fables that I want to read… but we will see how much I feel like splitting my attention, and how quickly I get through American Gods.

Top 5 Wednesday: Children’s Books to Read as an Adult

Hello Readers!

Top Five Wednesday is a tag hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. You can check out the Goodreads group for more information as well as future topics.


This week’s topic is great. I LOVE children’s books!

Here are my choices for five children’s books adults should read-

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss

I mean…. obviously. Who doesn’t love this book. It is a holiday MUST! I just learned there is a new movie adaptation of this and I am feeling it. I love the original animation… who doesn’t!? But I refuse to acknowledge that atrocious Jim Carey movie that dares to exist.

2. Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne

I actually have only read a few of the stories, but my kids and I listen to the full cast audio version ALL THE TIME! We love it! It is adorable and witty. I was actually not a fan of Winnie the Pooh growing up. It wasn’t until we got this audiobook from the library a few years ago that I fell in love with the original stories.

3. The Penderwick Series, by Jeanne Birdsall

Let’s put it this way. I wish I was a Penderwick. I love the closeness of that family. And yeah, I have a mom crush on Mr. Penderwick, he is such a great father. We’ve listened to all four books, we are going through them again, and I’ve been buying used copies of the books as I come across them. We are so looking forward to the fifth book in the series coming out in May.

4. A Bear Called Paddington, by Michael Bond

Stephen Frye narrates this audiobook and I highly recommend it! I love his voice and humor.

5. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle

I think the entire world is re-reading this right now. I read it for the first time when I was maybe 11 or 12, and I feel like it is one of the books that defined me as a reader. I read it again in my 20s, and again at 31 with my kids. I think they are too young for it, but the liked it (so they say). I forgot just how well it is written until I opened it again this year. I wish I was more excited about the movie.

Bonus: The Children who Loved Books, by Peter Carnavas

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A friend of mine is an Usborne Books consultant and as soon as she shared this book I knew I had to have it. It is about a family of book lovers who find that their massive collection books has taken over their home, so they get rid of them all. They end up feeling uncomfortable in their now empty home, as well as isolated and disconnected from each other. It is a short picture book, but it is soooo good!

Well, that was hard…. there are so many more children’s books that I love. What would you add to this list?

Currently Reading

Happy Monday Readers!

Snow is on the way… more snow.  Blerg.  I don’t actually know why I’m complaining about it when I’m just going to stay inside, and then warm temps later in the week will do away with most of it.  But that’s what we do, isn’t it?  Complain about snow.


Here is what I will be reading this week:

Hillbilly Elegy: a Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by JD Vance

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I have about 3 hours left of this audiobook.  I don’t hate it as much as I expected I would, so that’s good.  If you saw my March TBR post, you know I was on the fence about reading this book at all, but it was a book club selection.  I got my mom to listen to it with me, as she has recently discovered a love of audiobooks and I needed the extra motivation to get through it.  I’m not sure how I feel about it.  I don’t know how much I trust the author.  I have a feeling this is going to be like ‘A Million Little Pieces’ (which I haven’t read…but Oprah made sure we all know about it, didn’t she) and we will find out later that a lot of the story was embellished.  I just feel like this book is trying to make a sweeping statement about an entire population based on personal experience.  I found this blog post and suggestion for another book that I found interesting.  I will probably be looking to get a copy of ‘What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia’ in the future.  Maybe.  I really don’t enjoy nonfiction so much, but my interest has been piqued.

 

Educated: a memoir, by Tara Westover33135584

Another memoir?! Who am I?!  I am really liking this one.  I picked it up initially because I had a feeling it would show homeschooling in a very negative light and I wanted to read it and get all angry and defensive.  But it’s less about that than it is about her bat-shit crazy father.  I am really liking this book.  It’s the reason ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ got cast aside halfway through, I like this one a lot more.  I’m almost halfway through this and it’s due back at the library soon, so it has priority this week.

 

 

806, by Cynthia Weil36338624

I read the beginning of this, and I’m not very excited about it yet, but it seems like a quick contemporary read.  I have an eARC of this from NetGalley and the book is released on the 13th, so I’m a little late getting to it.

 

 

The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli

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I just bought this on Saturday.  Based on the cover and genre I had no interest in this book until I watched this vlog and was so moved by her response to the book and realized…. middle and high school me would ONE.HUNDRED.PERCENT! relate to the main character.  So I want to read it soon before I lose interest in it.  Also, I think I want to read ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ by the same author, so I figure this would be a good way to gauge whether or not I might like that one.

What are you reading this week? Happy Reading!

Review: Fire Song, by Adam Garnet Jones

I received an digital copy of this book in advance through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


I first heard of Fire Song on the BooksandLala YouTube channel. The synopsis immediately had me interested. I requested an ARC from NetGalley, and let me tell you, when I got the email that my request had been approved… there may have been a fist pump. You can find the Goodreads description of it here.

I typically will not read a movie novelization; I don’t see the point. In this case, I had no idea that this was a novelization of the Air Canada Audience Choice Award winning film with the same title. Once I learned that I was a little disappointed, but felt committed to reading and reviewing the novel anyway.

In all honesty, the first two times I sat down to read this I couldn’t really connect to the story. I actually fell asleep. But once I got to a part where the characters were interacting with each other, as opposed to setting up the mood of the story, I found myself really invested.

I think I wanted Shane and David to be like Ari and Dante…. you know how I feel about Ari and Dante. I was expecting a coming of age story about friends learning to accept themselves, each other, and their evolving relationship, while introducing the reader to the struggles of a culture that is, for the most part, overlooked.

And yes, I did get that…. but in a very different way. Where Ari and Dante was an uplifting and feel-good story of acceptance, Fire Song took a pretty depressing route to get us there. And it needed to. This book had the important job of capturing the tragedy and oppressive hopelessness that plagues Native American communities. Just for the reason that it portrays life on a reservation, I think this is worth reading and recommending.

There was a major event in the story that was pretty predictable, but I think it was kind of meant to be. If it was supposed to be a surprise, then the author failed miserably. But there was enough foreshadowing that I expected it, and was still deeply shaken by it.

I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads. I liked it. Maybe even a lot, but I didn’t love it. Shane’s character was well written and very likable. His mother, Jackie’s pain over losing a child was heartbreaking to witness, and I imagine, very realistic. David, though…. I don’t want to say that I didn’t like him, but his choices frustrated me. I understand him, though, I do.

There was a point in reading that I had to check what percentage I had read, and how much was left, because I didn’t understand how much longer the story could go on. I was surprised to see almost half the book remaining, when I thought it should be wrapping up. It almost felt like a different book for the second half of the story.

After finishing the book I watched the trailer for the movie. I don’t know that I would have been interested in it based on the trailer alone. I feel like I’m in a weird position, because usually I resent movie adaptations for leaving parts of a book out. In this case, though, the book is based off the movie…. so it should all be there, right? I enjoyed the book enough to consider watching the movie, especially since it’s available on Netflix.

I am glad I read this book, and look forward to seeing what others think of it. It’s publication date is right around the corner: March 13, 2018.

Happy Reading!

Currently Reading

Happy Monday Readers!

Here is what I’m reading this week-

I meant to write and post this much earlier in the day, but…. I couldn’t put my book down!

I finished reading Wintersong, by S Jae-Jones this evening… and oh boy did I have a great time reading this book. I can tell you right now…. I will most likely be starting this over again before week’s end. I read a library copy and I WILL be buying my own copy along with the sequel. I have never annotated a book before, but OMIGOSH was I dying to take a pencil to this book every time it reminded me of Labyrinth…or Jane Eyre… or Beauty and the Beast. There was even straight up Princess Bride “as you wish” thrown into the dialogue. I think I spent more time fangirl squealing than actually reading because… well… the Goblin King is my first love. What’s that Jareth? “Forget about the baby?” What baby?

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I know, I know, I mashed up two different scenes there. I would post the entire movie in GIF if I could.

So yeah, I don’t know how much else I’ll be wanting to read because I am still on a high from this book that I am not ready to come down from. Just like An Enchantment of Ravens, I am so glad I didn’t let mediocre reviews keep me from reading for myself. I guess this is just my kind of romance. And honestly, watching Labyrinth from a very young age is most likely the reason why!

If I do read something else, It will probably be Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones. I had read the first chapter of The Life and Death Parade, but this morning I got an email from NetGalley that my e-ARC request for Fire Song was approved by the publisher, and it comes out in a week or two… so…. I guess I’ll try to get to that one first.

Oh boy, already straying from my March TBR. Oh well… I’m not crying over it. I am just gonna enjoy reading what I want to read when I want to read it. I see the TBR more as a suggestion to myself than a strict MUST GET THESE DONE kind of thing.

What are you reading this week?

March TBR

Hello Readers!

You know that whole “March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb” thing? Oh boy, did this month come in roaring. The wind was crrrrazy here in Connecticut yesterday. My 6 year old kept asking if I was sure it wasn’t a tornado. It wasn’t. There was a bit of damage around town (throughout New England, actually) caused by the high winds, but all we experienced were some flickering lights and tipped recycling bins, thank goodness.


Here is what I plan on reading this month-

Physical books

 

E-books

  • Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
  • The Life and Death Parade, by Eliza Wass (e-ARC from NetGalley)
  • 806 by Cynthia Weil (e-ARC from NetGalley)
  • The Great and the Small (e-ARC from NetGalley)

 

Audiobooks

Graphic Novels


This feels like a very ambitious list. All I can promise is that I will do my best and focus on enjoying my reading.

I’ve already started and DNF’d a book within the first two days of the month (The Villagers, by Jorge Icaza), and I am 100 pages into Wintersong. I am having so much fun reading it! I hear David Bowie’s voice in my head for all of the Goblin King dialogue. I am swooning so hard!

I was hoping that Uprooted would be the choice for my book club’s March meetup, but unfortunately Hillbilly Elegy won the vote. I am not at all looking forward to reading this… so if it doesn’t happen, oops.

American Gods is the next selection for The Marauders Book Club on Facebook. I am just a little intimidated by the length of it. I also have the audiobook so I may switch between formats as needed.

I may add Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to my March reads, as it is the third book chosen for the Around the World in 1000 Pages book club hosted by Russell at Ink and Paper Blog.


What will you be reading this month? What do you think of monthly TBRs in general? Have you read any of the books on here? Let me know.

Happy Reading!