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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

[Waiting...] The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,
that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This Week's Pick: 

Title: The Orphan Queen
Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Author: Jodi Meadows
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction – Fantasy

Summary via Goodreads:

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

Why I'm Waiting...

Because those cover shimmers remind me of the best magic ever...

I've just begun to explore fantasy/high fantasy series. Previously they weren't really my thing because they remind me of historical fiction. However I got over my beef with both genres. Needless to say I'm excited about kicking off this series!! 

There suppressed magic, wraiths, secret spies.... *squeals*
All of this sends me into major geek out mode!!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

[Top Ten Tuesday] Goals For 2015 – bookish, blogging or otherwise!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Top 10 Goals for 2015

Books and Blogging

1. Goodreads Challenge - Let's up the ante!
I started blogging in 2014 so I never had any real motivation to read besides the Goodreads Challenge. In 2015 I'm going to aim for 120 books read.

2. Comment and Reply to Comments.
I admit this is probably my weakest quality as a blogger. I have got to get it together! I read them all but I really need to reply to all the amazing readers (you) and leave comment love for my favorite bloggers.

3. Reading and Blog Challenges
I wrote about this a few days ago and you can check it out here. Basically, I want to complete these challenges with the goals I've set out. One challenge tackles all my eARCs, the other is blog organization, another looks a creating discussion posts, and the other is the reading of series (sequels and prequels).

4. Schedule Posts and Read Ahead
Since this was my first year blogging I feel like I spent a lot of time "catching up". In November I did the Blog Ahead challenge and it was AMAZING!!! It has made December a very pleasant and stress free blogging month. I've also taken on fewer ARCs that came out in November/December and have been able to read ahead. It's my goal to continue this trend :)

5. Create a New Feature
I really want to create a new feature for the blog so I can still have a post everyday and fewer memes. So far I have the Comic Sunday feature but I want something that looks more at the culture of reading and influence of books.

I am human and do other things other than blogging and reading, and reading and blogging. 

6. Find a New Job
I've been in my current position for 4.5 years and it's time to move on. Keep your fingers crossed for me and send warm fuzzies. Thanks :)

7. Sign-up and Train For a New Race
The last half-marathon I did was in April 2014 and I didn't train for it, it was horrible. I haven't run since. I miss it. Time to pick a new race and train for it. I'm ready.

8. Financial Planning
Yeah, it's not super exciting but I'm 30 now and I should probably have my -ish together. Just sayin'. I did make some big moves this year and I'm ready to take it a step further with my retirement plans and business investments.

9. Show More Appreciation and Gratitude.
If you know me  then you know I have a minor (Major!) obsession with thank you notecards. I really need to use these more often. I want to get in a better habit of sending thank you notes to show my appreciation and gratitude. Recognition is important and everyone wants to feel like they matter.

10. Keep Traveling!
Traveling is a big part of who I am. I love to go places, get lost, find something new and learn. I save a lot of pennies to go places. This goal is to just keep it going... in 2014 I went to: New York City (BEA), Costa Rica, San Francisco, Charleston (YALLFest), Florida, and Texas. So far in 2015 I have three trips planned: Chicago (ALA Midwinter), NYC (BEA), and Europe (Dublin, London, Amsterdam and Berlin).

What are some of your goals this year? 

Monday, December 29, 2014

[Review] The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

Title: The Boy In The Black Suit
Author: Jason Reynolds [Blog | Twitter]
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon and Schuster
Genre: Young Adult Fiction - Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Source: ARC provided by the publisher, opinions are honest and my own. – review policy here.

Just when seventeen-year-old Matt thinks he can’t handle one more piece of terrible news, he meets a girl who’s dealt with a lot more—and who just might be able to clue him in on how to rise up when life keeps knocking him down—in this wry, gritty novel from the author of When I Was the Greatest.

Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey. She’s got a crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness—and who can maybe even help take it away. – via Goodreads

Brooklyn at my door
Once again we are at Brooklyn's door with robust characters whose shoes fit perfectly. While reading I felt like I was floating through the prose as Matt laid his mother to rest and he began his funeral parlor job all the way to the last page. Reynolds is able to balance Matt's grieving with his growth into exploring first love, responsibilities and his future.

Capturing deep culture and characters
I really love how Bedford-Stuyvesant jumps off the page while Reynolds seduces the reader with the neighborhood's reality and still brings in the romanticism of the city. Each character is accounted for in a memorable way from those who are receiving their going home ceremonies to the town drunk to the sandwich guy at the corner bodega. Each person stuck with me as much as they stuck with Matt.

I really, really dislike the first part of this synopsis. 
Matt is dealing with loss versus life knocking him down. His family lives in a brownstone, and money is not plentiful but Matt's doing okay minus the passing of his mom. If anything he's in need of parental leadership. I'm also not sold on the idea that Lovey is dealing with "more" and I definitely do not feel that her role is to save him. If anything I think their connection lies in the ability to accept loss and that grieving his done in different ways for different people. The best of friends are those that don't judge.

Awaiting more from Jason Reynolds
Reynolds stories are great for young adults and adults alike. His ability to blend rich, authentic stories with cultural competency and make them equally touching is beyond me. Luckily, I get to add Reynolds to my auto-buy list. Can't wait for the next read!

4 Stars –  Once again Jason lulls me away with his storytelling and amazing character development.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

[Comic Sunday #13] The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by The Oatmeal

Comic Sundays are an American newspaper tradition where new comic strips are published weekly. At Becoming Books this tradition will continue focusing on comic strips, comics and graphic novels appealing to young adult and adult audiences.

Story and Illustrations by Matthew Inman, The Oatmeal
Nonfiction – Graphic Novel, Health and Fitness | 148 pages
September 30, 2014 // Andrews McMeel Publishing
Purchased personal copy. – Opinions are my own, review policy here.

This is not just a book about running. It's a book about cupcakes. It's a book about suffering.

It's a book about gluttony, vanity, bliss, electrical storms, ranch dressing, and Godzilla. It's a book about all the terrible and wonderful reasons we wake up each day and propel our bodies through rain, shine, heaven, and hell.

From #1 New York Times best-selling author, Matthew Inman, AKA The Oatmeal, comes this hilarious, beautiful, poignant collection of comics and stories about running, eating, and one cartoonist's reasons for jogging across mountains until his toenails fall off.

I picked this up on Black Friday from Barnes & Noble so it's signed which is cool. More importantly this book is HILARIOUS!!

All the pages are black with various color type and illustrations. This really makes the colors pop however, there's a section towards the end which uses red lettering and it's hard to read for my quasi-young eyes. I love the illustrations which convey SO much emotion, a strong love for food and detest for running. :p While the illustrations are not as prominent as in traditional comics or graphic novels they're still an integral part of the story. They're the story's subconscious.

This is my life. Matthew Inman is able to accurately capture that running is not necessarily to feel great but to not feel horrible. I laughed so many times with my head nodding furiously. I'm still an irregular runner but Matthew's stories and advice have me ready to lace up, today not Monday.

To Pull or Not To Pull? What's a pull list?

The Oatmeal is a web comic series which Matthew has published into about a half dozen books. I will be subscribing to the website for updates and keep an eye out for future publishings. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #35: Dec. 14 – Dec. 27

SOOO my book buying has gotten a bit out of hand these past couple of weeks.

For starters I went to the annual county library book sale and then I was tempted by the used bookstore and numerous sales at Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. Oy Vey!!!

I'm thinking a book buying ban might be in order to kick off 2015. :/

Here's what I added to my shelves over the past few weeks...
(Christmas/Boxing Day Haul will be revealed in the new year)

click cover photos for Goodreads

In the Mail

I got this awesome stack from a fellow blogger :) Thanks Kierra!



The annual county library book sale was selling all YA hardcovers for $2 so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to stock up on series and other goodies!

The entire Harry Potter set for $14!

Haters can hate but, yes, I bought the Twilight Saga. I read them back in college but they were mom's copies so I thought for $8 I could own my own set. 

Wolves of Mercy Falls series



What did you add to your shelf this week?
Did you get gift cards? What's first on your to-buy list?