Owlcrate-a-thon 2020 and The Social Distancing Readathon

I’m back, and ready to participate in some readathons! Owlcrate-a-thon 2020 runs from March 14-27 this year, and The Social Distancing readathon (hosted by 24 in 48) is March 21-22.

I am a lover of book-ish boxes and unfortunately a lot of the books I receive in them go unread for years. I still have a few Owlcrate books that have been floating around since 2017! The prompts for this years Owlcrate-a-thon are:

  • Read the book you’ve had the longest
  • Read the longest book you haven’t read
  • Read at least two books

I have a quite a few books to pick from, but tentatively these are the books I’m hoping to read over the next two weeks!

  • A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (book I’ve had the longest, and the longest book I haven’t read)
  • Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
  • All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Next weekend is the Social Distancing Readathon, hosted by the lovely ladies at 24 in 48. One of the suggestions for limiting the spread of the infamous COVID-19 is social distancing, or basically staying away from others and crowded places. What better activity to complete while following these guidelines than reading 24 hours out of 48 over the course of a weekend?!

Over the course of this readathon, I will hopefully be finishing up some the picks above for Owlcrateathon, and possible starting or finishing up the following:

  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune
  • Anna K by Jenny Lee
  • Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Are you planning on participating in any readathons coming up? What are some books you’re hoping to pick up?

Halfway to the Grave by Jeanine Frost

Halfway to the Grave by Jeanine Frost

Series: Night Huntress #1

Published: October 30, 2007

Rating: 3/5

Romanceopoly: Burger Joint


Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father – the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unlikely partnership.

In exchange for help finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner – are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side … and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat

In my search for a new PNR series to gobble down, I came across the work of Jeanine Frost (who came highly recommended by Ilona Andrews) and decided to give her first series a try.

This book was first published in the mid 2000’s, and it did show its age a little. Published in the midst of the Twilight vampire phase, the heroine seems to be a “Mary Sue” – a hard-headed and sometimes foolish girl who ultimately ends up winning out in the end. Admittedly, Cat is relatively young in this book and has a lot to explore in the world outside the sphere of her overbearing and vengeance-driven mother.

Bones (the vampire hero) was the best part of this book. Who doesn’t love a sexy, snarky, vampire boyfriend? For someone who was a few hundred years old, he was very much with the times with platinum died hair and lingo to keep up with all the college-aged kids. While I can understand his initial attraction to the heroine (she is, after all, a bad ass vampire hunter), the continuation of their relationship got a little stale throughout the book because she continues to act in childish ways. I find it hard to believe a vampire of multiple centuries would find such silly actions attractive – but I guess I’m not really in Bones’ head so I can’t say what his motivations are.

While the main focus (for me at least) is the romance, there is plenty of action and a decent plot to carry on the clear air between the steamy scenes. Having a vampire that is also a vampire bounty hunter is a somewhat unique trope to me which makes up for the vampire/vampire hunter relationship which has become a bit more common.

The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I did immediately have to pick up the next one in the series and that review will be coming soon! Overall this was an interesting start to a series, one that I am interested in continuing. However, I think that I will have to take this one book at a time because the heroine is one that could get on my nerves quite easily.

Reading Goals for the New Year

A new year, a new set of goals (its largely the same me though). Last year, I tried to focus my TBR for the 2019 Beat the Backlist challenge. Of the books that I put on my “official” TBR, I finished a resounding one – the second book in the Fallen Kingdoms series to be exact. However, I’m not sure I would count that one as a win considering I had the entire series on my TBR. In 2018, I tried to read a classic a month which was a challenge that I truly enjoyed. So the question is, what should I focus on in 2020?

I’ve thought up some goals for myself and some challenges that I’m interested in trying (although I’m not sure how many I will stick to throughout the year) and wanted to share my findings here! Those that are external challenges contain links back to the page. By the way I have no official affiliation other than as an eager participant!

1. Mountain Reads of 2020 (personal goal) – I have a lot of super long books resting on my TBR that just seem too intimidating to start. One of the goals I want to work towards is knocking some of these books off my list. I’m aiming for 6 for the year, which will give me about 2 months to finish each of them. Some of these picks might include: War and Peace, The Priory of the Orange Tree, and The Count of Monte Cristo.

2. Beat the Backlist 2020NovelKnight does such a wonderful job providing resources and a fun challenge for the year. I’ll be participating in this one again because I feel that it helped me attempt to focus on some of the hundreds (unfortunately not an exaggeration) of books sitting on my shelves unread. There are also some #bookstagram prompts each month!

3. #Romanceopoly – This is a challenge that I haven’t participated in before, but I found out about it from instagram posts and it sounds super fun. Romanceopoly is hosted by Under the Covers Book Blog and Peace Love Books and has lots of events and ways to keep romance readers interested. Who wouldn’t want to combine your TBR with a boardgame?! There are readathons, mystery challenges, and more! The 2020 info is now out so check out the link for awesome printables and other fun things!

4. 2020 Classics Challenge (personal goal) – I really enjoyed focusing on reading classics two years ago, so I figure I will bring this mini challenge back for 2020 while making it a bit more lax. I’m hoping to read 6 “classic” books this year on top of all the romance, and mountain reads, and backlist books! Some of these may overlap with my mountain reads, and some may not. Some I’m hoping to get to are: The Count of Monte Christo, Crime and Punishment and 1984.

5. Goodreads Challenge – The ever present challenge that is just a number of books to read in a year. Because I’m hoping to tackle so many big books and I don’t want to put any undue stress on myself, I’m bumping my yearly total down to 50 books. Two years ago I was able to read 100 because of all my free time while wrapping up college, but times a change and unfortunately my reading has decreased along with my free time.

What challenges are you setting for yourself and/or participating in the new year?

June Classic: The Odyssey by Homer

The Odyssey by Homer

Rating: 4/5IMG_0851

The Odyssey is Homer’s epic of Odysseus’ 10-year struggle to return home after the Trojan War. While Odysseus battles mystical creatures and faces the wrath of the gods, his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus stave off suitors vying for Penelope’s hand and Ithaca’s throne long enough for Odysseus to return.

SUPER late in coming, but here is my review of the classic I read in June, The Odyssey!

This is another classic that I can’t believe it took me so long to read! I really enjoyed the storyline of The Odyssey, but I thought that Odysseus himself was a flawed character that made some questionable decisions.

My favorite part of this epic was Odysseus’ descriptions of the adventures he went on (which is also the part that I read in Latin so many years ago). While the story about how he was found and the descriptions of his endless wit were “interesting” I thought he came across as a bit of an arrogant twat in some of the scenes.

Admittedly, I read this to get a little more background on Circe before starting the new retelling of the story of the infamous witch by Madeline Miller, and I accomplished that.

Overall, this is a classic I believe everyone should read; however, I don’t think I’ll be picking this up again for a reread in the future.

TBR Thursday: June 2018

It’s hard to believe that it’s already June! With pool reading and warm weather, I hope to be able to knock a few books off my TBR this month (as well as find a job). I pushed TBR Tuesday back two days this month because I was so busy I didn’t really have time to decide on what to read, but without further ado here are some of my hopeful picks for this month:

  1. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh – I’m in the middle of reading this one right now and am absolutely loving this retelling. I’m planning on finishing it later this week and may just have to dive right into the next one.
  2. And I Darkenby Kiersten White – with the conclusion to the trilogy coming out next month, it is high time that I read this series. One of the side characters is also gay which makes this the perfect read for Pride month!
  3. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – An ARC of this ginormous book just recently came into my possession. Although I foresee this book taking me longer than a month to read, I’m hoping to start it in the next few weeks!

For the Classic of the Month I’m hoping to read:

  • The Odyssey by Homer – An adventure story that I still need to read! Two of the books high on my TBR are Circe by Madeline Miller and Ulysses by James Joyce, both of which draw on the mythology of this classic.

Looking to keep the list shorter this month because I’m definitely an impulse reader in the summer, and I’m anticipating the job search will take up a lot of my time!

TTT: Books that Awaken the Travel Bug In Me

Top ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader. This weeks prompt is Books that Awaken the Travel Bug In Me. Here are some books that make me want to travel to other worlds and places.

1. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis – The classic story of traveling to another land. Whenever I hear about the land beyond the wardrobe, I want to travel there!

2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – This book was one of my favorite reads of 2017! The tale of Lazlo Strange traveling to the lost city of Weep was so enchanting it made me want to travel to the city myself.

3. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab – The ability to travel across dimensions to different versions of the same city is such an interesting concept that would be amazing. Being an Antari would be amazing.

4. Under Different Stars by Amy A. Bartol – Kricket’s travels through a wormhole to an Alien planet that she is destined to save made the universe seem so much bigger and more attainable!

5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – Stumbling into an entire fantasy world while going to visit family sounds absolutely magical (although a more friendly entry into the Shadowhunter world than Tessa’s would be nice).

6. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – The island of Thisby sounds like an amazing place for a vacation, and I would totally love to journey there to watch the Scorpio Races.

7. The Glass Swallow by Julia Golding – The world of this duology (Dragonfly is the first one) by Julia Golding is one that I stumbled into by accident and consequently could not put down. I love this fantasy world and it is one of the series that I’m constantly drawn back to. There is just so many places in the world to explore and I hope more books come out eventually.

8. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – This is the second book in the Six of Crows series, but more traveling occurs in this one that makes me want to travel all around the Grishaverse (from Ketterdam to Fjerda and back!).

9. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – A more low-key traveling story, but Catherine’s adventure to the Abbey was so funny and enthralling that it made me want to travel to an abandoned building in the country.

10. Red Rising by Pierce Brown – All of the space travel that happens throughout this series makes me want to travel throughout the solar system! I’m still waiting for a moon base vacation to be available.

What books make you want to travel?

May Classic: Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

A few days late, but here is my review of the classic for May, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare!

Shakespeare’s famous historical play tells of the events leading up to the assassination of Roman leader and dictator, Julius Caesar, and its immediate aftermath, with Rome plunged into civil war.

It’s so hard to review classics, especially classic plays. On the one had, this play is called classic for a reason and has had a profound impact on people and the world. On the other hand, I didn’t really derive any lasting enjoyment from reading it. This may be because I already knew about the events and how they supposedly occurred because I learned about it in Latin class.

One of the reasons that I wanted to read this is because I’m currently playing Assassins Creed: Origins which is set in Egypt during the time preceding the play (Cleopatra is one of the characters!). I thought this interpretation of historical events might help me brush up on what was happening in the time period and it certainly did that!

It was a relatively short read that fit into my busy schedule for this month. It was also the first book that I successfully completed on the app Serial Reader which delivers a little snippet of a classic book to your device every day (I’ve found this is an excellent way to chip away at daunting classics). Although this play did have some funny points, I feel like it would have been altogether more entertaining in the format it was meant to be enjoyed in. I hope that I’ll be able to see it performed at some point in the near future.

May TBR Tuesday

With my final semester of college winding down, life has gotten a bit crazy so I’m going to try and keep the TBR super short this week. I also have been very much a mood reader lately, and am struggling to keep to prescribed reading lists.

Books I’ll definitely be reading this month:

  1. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas – if you have been following the blog, you know that I’m a Maas fan and will definitely be finishing this soon
  2. Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne – I’m also a massive Jane Eyre fan, and love stories set in space; that makes this sci-fi retelling the perfect mix (you can read more about it on an old Waiting on Wednesday post HERE)
  3. Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce – I loved the first two books in this series (click the titles to see reviews for Wild Magic and Wolf-Speaker) and am trying to work through it between all the other books I’m reading!

Classic of the month:

I’m currently torn between whether to read The Odyssey by Homer (which I wanted to read before Circe by Madeline Miller) or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (HBO is releasing a new adaptation of this classic this month!). This pick will definitely depend on what mood I’m in when starting it.

Up next on my TBR:

  1. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa – I’ve been in the mood for some faerie stories lately, and have been trying to get through this forever. I’ll get to it eventually!
  2. Mistborn or The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – Sanderson is going to BookCon next month (which I am also attending) and I really wanted to read some of his books before attending! I know that he writes the kind of stories I will absolutely love, I just haven’t been able to dive into them.
  3. Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman – another series that I know that I’ll love but just haven’t had the time for it!

What are you planning on reading this month?

April/O.W.L. Readathon Wrap Up

As you may have seen both in my April TBR post and my post about a free O.W.L. Readathon “report card,” I participated in this super fun book reading challenge (hosted by Book Roast) this month and ended up finishing a lot more than I expected!

I’m proud to say that I successfully sat and passed ALL of my 12 (!) O. W. L.s. That’s right, I have surpassed Hermione Granger status. If I have a review posted, it’s linked in the title should you desire to see a more complete review.

Ancient Runes – The Pale Dreamer by Samantha Shannon

Arithmacy – Fence Volume 1 by C. S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad

Astronomy – The Raging Ones by K. B. Ritchie

Care of Magical Creatures – Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce

Charms – The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca J. Ross

Defence Against the Dark Arts – Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Divination – The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Herbology – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

History of Magic – The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Muggle Studies – Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Potions – The Glass Spare by Lauren Destefano

Transfiguration – Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

My three favorites out of this long list were The Raging Ones by Krista and Becca Ritchie, Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce, and The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca J. Ross

Did you participate in this reading challenge? Even if you didn’t how many books did you complete in April and which ones were your favorites?

Apr. Classic: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

26883543Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Rating: 4/5

Northanger Abbey tells the story of Catherine Morland, a naive young woman whose perceptions of the world around her are greatly influenced by the romantic gothic novels to which she is addicted. When she moves to Bath she sees mystery and intrigue all around her. This is one of Austen’s early works, a broad comedy about learning to distinguish between fiction and reality.

Catherine Morland’s naïveté is certainly grating which, although slightly annoying after awhile, conveys the finer points of the satire Austen set out to tell. I often found myself laughing out loud at the ridiculous thoughts and actions experienced by Catherine that seem so natural in other more serious gothic novels.

Isabella was such a horrible, fake personal and friend to Catherine. The decisions and positions that she put herself (and Catherine) into were absolutely hilarious even as you wanted to scream at Catherine to SEE WHAT SHE IS REALLY DOING.

Henry was the sassy kind of love interest that I typically enjoy, although at some points he was a little condescending to the female characters. However, it’s important to note that the love story isn’t the focus or purpose of the book.

The cast of characters all contributed to the book feeling to me a lot like a high school soap opera/drama. Because of this, I feel like I would have appreciated this book a lot more in high school than I did now. Northanger Abbey was also more realistic with the love story than other of Austen’s books, which while refreshing I thought was kind of sad (I really do love a good love story).

Overall I did enjoy this book, but Persuasion still remains my favorite by Austen. As of right now, I’d put this in my third favorite spot behind Pride and Prejudice.

What’s your favorite Austen book?