Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post and, if you want to, add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s posts (typically put up midnight EST on Tuesday) so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.
This week’s theme is Top 10 Books Favorite Releases of 2016. This is an awesome topic which will include some books I’ve finished reading and others that I’m currently (or hopefully soon will be) reading.
1. A Study in Charlotte 
A Study in Charlotte
2. In The Hope of Memories 
In Hope of Memories
3. The Siren
The Siren
4. The Curse of the Bruel Coven
The Curse of the Bruel Coven
5. The Glass Sword
Glass Sword
6. Everland
Everland
7. Replica 
Replica
8. My Lady Jane
My Lady Jane.jpg
9. A Torch Against the Night 
A Torch Against the Night
10. Salt to the Sea
Salt to the Sea
What are you favorite reads of the year? Anything you’re still looking forward to?
XOXO,
Mary

Top 5 Wednesday

 Top 5 Wednesday

This weekly book meme officiated in November 2013 and is still going stong! Every week there is a topic and your list will be based off this topic. For further information check out the Goodreads Page here.

June 15th: Favorite Literary Fathers/Father Figures
In celebration of Father’s Day this month for most countries, talk about your favorite dads!
Arthur Weasley
I don’t know about you guys but I always dreamed about having a dad like Arthur; funny, brave and overall embarrassing lol
Atticus Finch
I’m just going to ignore the events that unfold in Go Set a Watchman and focus on the brave and righteous Atticus
Mr. Earnshaw
This guy is barely in Wuthering Heights but his impact pretty much sets the whole story in motion. He is a good guy who wanted to do the right thing and adopts poor Heathcliff despite his skin color and most of the family’s dislike of the child. He dies way too soon and I would love to know how things would have been different had he lived (maybe a happy ending for Cathy and Heathcliff?).
Shalom Singer
America’s father always wanted the best for America and her siblings. He just genuinely seems like a good guy who wants his family to be happy.
And I can’t think of a fifth one….yikes. If anyone has suggestions I’m sure I’m forgetting some awesome dads but my brain feels like mush after a late night at work.
XOXO,
Mary

Book Review:

In Hope of Memories
In the Hope of Memories
By Olivia Rivers
E-Book March 2016
Available Here

Hope is dying.

Hope Jackson has lived her short life to the fullest, but her four closest friends are dangling on the brink of disaster. Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and they’ll solve the problems haunting their lives.

Hope is dead.

Two days after her heart fails, Hope’s friends are thrown together:

Aiden, her best friend, whose plans to attend college have been scattered by his OCD.
Kali, her foster sister, whose last ties to sanity are as razor-thin as her anorexic waistline.
Erik, her high school crush, whose success as an athlete is based on a lie with no end in sight.
And Sam, her online pen-pal, whose perfect life exploded into chaos in the aftermath of a school bombing.

Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete Hope’s scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in Hope’s graffiti, her friends will need to confront their personal demons head on.

Hope is within reach.

The Good:

-OK first we have to talk about the cover. I love the colors and the multi-surface effect. The picture within the picture is awesome and honestly the cover alone had my attention so I was definitely going to read it regardless of the subject.
-I love the characters all of them (ok there was 1 that I found sort of problematic but we’ll get to that later). Aiden was sweet and always had good intentions even if he came off as robotic at times, Erik had that awesome bad boy vibe even though he was all soft and squishy inside, Kali was the tough girl who was really really broken, and Sam was the friend Hope had never met in person but they still had a strong bond. All in all there 4 unique voices that made this story truly exceptional.
-The scavenger hunt. I love books with the scavenger hunts and I don’t know why but it makes the perfect summer read for me.
-The ending was sweet and not so over the top happy that it worked for me and made sense for the characters.
-There was no romance well for the most part. There was a romance between Erik and Hope but since she was dead there wasn’t any over the top insta-love.
-The author mastered a plot and character driven plot perfectly. We got to see a ton of growth from all the characters and the plot was never bogged down.
-There were actually parents in the book!! And they were good for parents for the most part which is a nice change from the usual YA book so kudos for that.
-There was a lot of tough subject matters (eating disorders, mental health, grief, sexuality issues) and all were handled with grace and executed extremely well.

The Bad:

I said there was one character I had a hard time connecting with and that would be Hope. To me she seemed more of a symbol than a character. I didn’t find her as fleshed out as I had hoped for considering she’s the thread that brings these 4 together. She was a little too perfect and with 4 other characters who are so amazingly un-perfect she ended up falling flat for me.
-The clues are all done in Hope’s graffiti art and it would have been amazing to see some of it come to life on the pages.

The Rating:
5 Stars

This book was amazing. I laughed, I cried, I shook my head in frustration (sometimes it was all within one chapter). This book executed multiple POV’s flawlessly you were never confused with who was narrating and all of their stories played perfectly off one another. The book ended on a hopeful yet realistic note and for me that’s the mark of a great contemporary read. I’ve never read anything by this author but I definitely implore you to pick this book up ASAP you will not regret it.

(I received this book for free in exchange for a review from Netgalley).

So, yes I am totally a day behind and I’m not reviewing the book I intended to review (way to already be breaking my goals hahaha). Alas, I am a mood reader and I couldn’t get this book off my mind once I received it so I had to read it and I’m so happy I did. What are you reading this week? I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for right now so I’m going to start a couple different books and see what grabs me. 

XOXO,
Mary

Book Review: A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte.jpg
A Study in Charlotte
Brittany Cavallaro
Hardcover March 2016
Available Here

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.

The Good:

-I love love love the cover. It’s such a unique mix of colors and it’s quirky and eye-catching it’s what made me pick it up in the first place
-Unlike a lot of the readers’ I adore Charlotte she’s sassy, smart and doesn’t change for anyone. Plus there were parts where we did get to see her vulnerability and it felt organic and interesting.
-It was a true straight up mystery not so much the thriller I-lost-my-memory type mystery just a classic Sherlock or Agatha Christie styled mystery and I really really enjoyed that (not that I don’t enjoy the unreliable narrator twist-ending style book).
-The relationship between Jamie and Charlotte was interesting and fun to watch grow. I really like when he complained about her always taking the love seat so she bought him a fold out beach chair it was just really funny.
-The way Moriarty fits into the plot was fun
-The writing was smooth and sharp and definitely keeps the reader interested.

The Bad:

-Jamie was a little annoying at times. I liked the relationship between him and Charlotte (even the potential romance) but he was a little whiny with his mooning over her. I could have done with a little less of his questioning feelings.
-The rape could have been expanded on a bit more but since we don’t get to hear Charlotte’s voice (only in the epilogue) we don’t get to delve into as much as I would have liked

Rating:
4 Stars

This was such a fun and engaging read. I loved reading about a female Holmes and seeing the two leads as teens was a lot of fun. I’m super excited to read more about Charlotte and Jamie I even kind of wish there were going to be more than three books in the series. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who’s looking for a fun and engaging mystery novel.

What do you guys think about a Holmes and Watson romance? 

XOXO,
Mary

Blog Goals

I am most definitely a goal-oriented person and it’s much easier to hold myself accountable if I write my goals down so that’s exactly what I’m going to do and then hopefully between writing them down and having you guys now them I’ll be able to accomplish them.

1. Maintain a Blogging Schedule
Consistency is key and I think I’ll be able to better achieve my other goals if I establish a schedule. The one I’m testing out this week is as follows:

Sunday:  Sunday Post
Monday:  Review
Tuesday:  Top 10 Tuesday
Wednesday:  Top 5 Wednesday
Thursday:  Review
Friday:  Book-ish Post/Discussion
Saturday:  Style Saturday

2.  Utilize GoodReads
I need to use the shelves more and stay more up-to-date with posting my reviews there. I also want to join a group but it seems a bit overwhelming with all the choices. If anyone is part of one they really like please let me know so I can check it out.

Find me Here

3.  Create Blog Branding
I should be starting a full-time job in a couple weeks (fingers crossed) s my plan is to buy my blog and create more custom branding. I’m lucky to have a friend who does graphic design so I’m going to meet with her and create some logos and such. I also want to go through and settle on a layout for all my reviews.

4.  Bloglovin’
I have no idea how to use this to generate followers but I’m determined. So if anyone has tips on that I would be eternally grateful.

5.  Twitter and Instagram
Take the time to set up both of these accounts and again utilize it for more promotion and to help gain followers and find new blogging friends.

6.  Take Notes
While reading I want to spend more time jotting things down like quotes and discussion points to make the posts more interesting and generate talk.

7.  Find More Blogs
Always looking for more friends and blogs outside the literary world so feel free to leave me some links to your favorite blogs.

8.  Add Something Beyond Reviews and Memes
I’m not sure if this will be in the form of discussion posts or maybe reading challenges I haven’t quite figured it out but I’m open to suggestions.

9.  Utilize a Planner
It goes hand-in-hand with my goal-oriented personality and that would be a planner. I have a small one that I haven’t been using so I decided to set it up for my blog. I’m using the calendar to track my posts, I have a note section set up to jot down key things from the books I’m reading, a list of my most current and pressing TBR, and I ordered a tracker so that I can keep track of my social media followers

10.  Be A More Open-Minded Reader
I love my teen/young adult reads but I tend to get stuck in the world of fantasy/adventure and I feel like I miss out on a lot of great authors so I’m aiming to read more contemporary/romance/mystery.

So there you have it my goals for half-way through the year. Is anyone else examining their blogging goals at this point?

XOXO,
Mary

Book Review: Once Upon a Dream

Once Upon a Dream
Once Upon a Dream
Liz Braswell
Hardcover April 2016
Available Here

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dreammarks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.

It should be simple–a dragon defeated, a slumbering maiden, a prince poised to wake her. But when said prince falls asleep as soon as his lips meet the princess’s, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.

With a desperate fairy’s last curse infiltrating her mind, Princess Aurora will have to navigate a dangerous and magical landscape deep in the depths of her dreams. Soon she stumbles upon Phillip, a charming prince eager to join her quest. But with Maleficent’s agents following her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are, and moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?

The Good:

-I enjoyed Aurora a lot towards the end of the story but it was a case of too little too late
-I liked the parallels of the real world to the dream world at times it was confusing but overall I thought it was utilized well
-My favorite quote: “You don’t get it. They gave me beauty and song, and then I was left in the woods to grow up for sixteen years before being handed over to you. I don’t know anything about ruling. I don’t even really know what taxes are. I was in the woods in the real world. In the dreamworld, I hid like a mouse and then organized balls and parties.” (if only the rest of this book had been as a badass as this quote)

The Bad: 

-Philip was just god awful I was hoping to see more of a unique spin on him since Aurora developed into this strong and sarcastic leading lady I had hoped for a dashing prince who could match her
-It was too long way way too long. There were so many times where I seriously contemplated not finishing it.
-The writing was pretty childish. The dialogue was very basic and just randomly placed through out and the conversations weren’t interesting or even long enough to be considered conversations.
-Aurora spent a huge huge amount talking about how she liked to sleep and how to do anything was far too much energy. I mean I get it she’s Sleeping Beauty but you really don’t have to beat us over the head with it.
-It was too little too late. This book had so much potential and the last third or so was rather powerful but I don’t think most people will get that far.

The Rating:
2 Stars

I really enjoyed Aurora’s progression from damsel in distress to kick ass queen but the journey to get there was just not engaging enough. The writing was a little disjointed and not dialogue driven enough for me personally. Overall, I felt this book had so much potential if it just moved a little faster.

Has anyone else had a disappointing read lately? At least I can be happy to post a much more positive review for my next read. 

XOXO,
Mary

Summer TBR

So I am totally a mood reader thus making it hard for me to put together a reading pile for one month. So I’ve decided to do seasonal reading lists that way it gives me three months to get through the titles. Plus I’m trying to experiment more with reading multiple titles at the same time. So without further ado here is my summer reading list:

In Hope of MemoriesA Torch Against the NightWe Own the NightThe Curse of the Bruel CovenThe Square Root of SummerThe Unexpected Everything

Most of these are from Top Ten Beach Reads List so yeah I kind of need to read them during this 3 month period lol.

Replica.jpgEverlandGirl in Pieces16096824Glass SwordThe Heir

Yes you are seeing Replica on my list even though it doesn’t come out til October I was able to score an ARC (I’m still hyperventilating over that). And yes I still haven’t finished ACOTAR but not because I’m not enjoying it I’m just really taking my time. Depending on how the summer goes I might throw the sequel onto this list otherwise it will be one of the first reads for the fall.

So has anyone tried a system like this where you don’t really commit to specific books for the month? So what should I start reading next?

XOXO,
Mary

Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post and, if you want to, add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s posts (typically put up midnight EST on Tuesday) so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

This week’s theme is Beach Reads. This is a little hard for me because even though I live at the Jersey Shore I am not a fan of the beach. I really don’t like super hot days, wet sand, or having to sit in a ton of a traffic when I can go across the street and go swimming. So I’m going to just base it more on a summer reads theme.

In no particular order here are some fun, light, enjoyable books for the summer:

The SirenThe Unexpected EverythingThe Square Root of Summer.jpgFInding AudreyThe Loose Ends List.jpgWe Own the Night.jpgIn Hope of Memories.jpgThe Curse of the Bruel CovenA Torch Against the NightWe Were Liars.jpg

The Siren by Kiera Cass. This is about a group of girls who have to live by the water because well they’re sirens! You can’t get much beachier than that and it has a super sweet romance which just screams beach to me.

 The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson. I haven’t read this yet but it seems like the perfect summer read the cover is bright and definitely sunny.

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Hapgood. This seems like a pretty obviou choice given the word summer in the title lol (that was lame I know). Plus I love that there is quite a bit of brains involved in this book so you can be smart and sassy while still indulging in some summer romance.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella. I can’t rave about this book enough it’s sweet fun and endearing and if I were to venture out to the beach I would definitely pack this one for the ride.

The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone. This is a case of love at first sight for me. The cover is so sweet and wonderful and one of my favorite GoodReads reviewers gave this a 4 star rating so you know it’s being added to the TBR pile.

We Own the Night by Ashley Poston. I just received the ARC for this and I am giddy to start it. It seems like a super fun contemporary read that I’m hoping to devour.

In Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers is another ARC I have received and been holding on to even though it was released in May. Even though the backstory is sad (our girl Hope dies and sets her friends on a bit of a scavenger hunt) I think this story about 4 teens finding themselves despite the loss of a friend will prove to be an uplifting read for the summer.

The Curse of the Bruel Coven by Sabrina Ramoth. This is another ARC that I received although this one comes directly from the author herself (Hi Sabrina!) and if you’ve followed my blog for a decent amount of time you know that I love fantasy so even though my summer reading list is pretty heavy on contemporary I can’t leave out my tried and true fantasy reads. And this is one that is sure to be a lot of fun set in Louisiana featuring a 17 year old who has discovered that not only is she adopted but she’s a witch (this is definitely perfect for everyone who is feeling a lack of witch and wizard literature post-Harry).

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir. I’m pretty sure Sabaa is my spirit animal I mean there was no other book in 2015 that blew m mind as much as An Ember in the Ashes so of course summer will not be complete until I read this gem.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. This was another book I fell in love with two summers ago the writing blew me away and the twist ending was amazing. All-in-all definitely a cool fun summer read that takes place on a private island, what more could you want for the summer?

So what is everyone else plan on reading this summer? I’m actually planning on doing seasonal book lists so my first is going to be a list of books to read between Jun-Aug,Sept-Nov. etc. etc. I am definitely a mood reader and I find that there are certain genres I gravitate to during certain seasons. Is anyone else like that? Make sure to leave a link to your Top 10 for me to read.

XOXO,
Mary

The Book Sacrifice Tag

Thank you so much to Giovannard for tagging me for The Book Sacrifice Tag! I’m super excited to do this!

1. AN OVER-HYPED BOOK: 

Situation: You’re in a store when the zombie apocalypse hits. The military informs everyone that over-hyped books are the zombies only weakness. What book that everyone else says is amazing but you disliked do you start chucking at the zombies?

50 Shades.jpg

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. I don’t get it there’s nothing sexy or romantic or even likable about anyone in this book plus it’s based off a Twilight fan-fiction which is another series I can’t get into at all.

2. A SEQUEL:

Situation: torrential downpour. What sequel are you willing to use as an umbrella to protect yourself?

HPATPOA.jpg

Please don’t hate me for this. Typically when I read the first book of a series and I decide to continue with it I very rarely find that I dislike anything about the sequels. So even though I’m putting a Potter book which is blasphemous I know this is the only one I could think of. I just wasn’t digging the whole time travel thing and I hated meeting Sirius only to have Harry not be with him over the summer.

3. A CLASSIC:

Situation: You’re in English class and your professor raves about a Classic that “transcends time”. If given the opportunity to travel back in time, which Classic would you try to stop from ever publishing?

Of Mice and Men.jpg

Buh-Bye Of Mice and Men ugh just thinking about this book gives me chills and not the good kind. I pretty much everything by Steinbeck but this one really takes the cake.

4. A LEAST FAVORITE BOOK:

Situation: apparently global warming = suddenly frozen wasteland. Your only hope of survival for warmth is to burn a book. Which book will you not regret lighting?

Cinder

Hmm this is kind of tough but I’m gonna have to say Cinder by Marissa Meyer (please don’t hate me). I just could not get into this story at all it was too far-fetched for me and I love fairy tales and re-tellings but this just didn’t work for me. I’ve heard the series gets better but I don’t know if I’m gonna try it. I’m still looking forward to Heartless though because I think she’s a good writer the story just didn’t click with me.

So there you have it my Book Sacrifice Tag. Thank you again to Giovannard for tagging me and now I tag anyone who wants to do this just leave me or a comment. Or if you’ve already done leave me a comment as well because I definitely want to check it out. 

XOXO,
Mary

Exciting News!

So I am super excited to let everyone know that I have had two authors reach out to me to review their books!!! I never thought in a million years that would happen to me I am so excited. So I’m gonna have to shuffle around my TBR pile and probably put some of the stuff I’m currently reading on the back burner. Let me introduce the two new books that have just gone to the top of my reading pile.

The Reflections of Snow White.jpg

This book by David Meredith looks at what happens after Happily Ever After. Here we find Snow on the eve of her daughter, Raven’s, wedding. Sadly this event is not a happy one for Snow as she is still mourning the loss of her own Prince Charming. I am really excited to read this because I adore fairy tale retellings and twists so I can’t wait for my e-reader to charge so I can get to reading this.

The Curse of the Bruel Coven.jpg

Ok first can we just fangirl over this cover? Omg I love love love it!!! It’s amazing and intricate and just the perfect amount of color. Ok now that I got that out of my system let’s get into the plot. This book follows teen Vivienne as she discovers she’s not quite the ordinary girl she’s been brought up to believe she is. In fact she is adopted and just like her birth mother she is a witch. When her birth mother goes missing Vivienne must tap into her power to save herself and her mom. This is the first book in a new series.

So, basically my e-reader cannot charge fast enough. And I have work tonight ugh. At least I can get some reading in during my break.