Thursday, March 31, 2016

March Reading Recap

How did your March go?  Mine?  It got a little crazy over here!  This month marked one year of blogging for me.  Although I did write a few posts about where I've been and what I'm planning on doing, I didn't really feel like I got to celebrate it.  I was sick for two weeks and also had a lot on my plate at work so blogging had to be put to the backburner for a bit.  I am still behind in my reviews, but have somehow managed to stay on top of my reading --somewhat.  I hope your March went better than mine!

Books Read


Reviews Posted

Not too many this month as I've been struggling to balance time between work, family, reading, and blogging.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman 

I also posted my Why I DNF'd Dead Upon A Time by Elizabeth Paulson.

Other Posts and Highlights
Unfortunately I did not get a chance to sit down and do much reading of blogs this month. I plan on making up for that in April!  Fingers crossed.
What's Coming Up in April
Although I'm never really sure what I'll be reading and when it'll be posted, here are some books on my TBR for the next month.

I bought this book for both my husband and I because it's the rare book that the two of us are both interested in reading.  So it's waiting for me on my kindle to read soon! 

My Netgalley read for this month.

I've been staring at this book every night when I go to bed because it's been sitting on my nightstand.  This month I will read it!
I'm re-reading this before the second one is delivered to me at the end of the month!!
Of course there will be plenty more books read this month, but you know me!  I don't tend to really follow any kind of schedule with choosing books.  When I try I just end up frustrated!  Here's hoping I find a really good book this month.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Currently on Hiatus

Hello! Thanks for stopping by. I'm currently on a little hiatus from blogging. My personal life has taken over. I'm extremely behind at work and my almost three year old daughter requires quite a bit of attention as she has not yet learned to play by herself. I'm exhausted by life. 

I'm managing to continue reading at a decent pace, but I manage about 30 minutes on the computer a week and it's snuck into the time between putting my daughter down for the night/nap and when she gets up and leaves her room. Like I said, exhausting. 

I'm hoping to find time again soon so I can get back into the groove and start to feel like myself again. Until then, you can check back and see what I'm reading on goodreads or look back at some older posts. Thanks again for stopping in and I hope to see you soon. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

DNF: Dead Upon A Time

Dead Upon A Time
Elizabeth Paulson
Scholastic Press, 2015
Source: purchased
Rating:  DNF

I tried.  I really did, but I found myself making excuses for why I couldn't read and so I had to move on.  It had been almost two weeks and it's not that long of a book.

One issue I had was that the main character goes back and forth between being helpless and looking for a friend to help her, to being overly confident and snarky towards her enemies.  She also worried way too much about what she looks like in case the love interest notices that she looks a bit disheveled.  She even remarks that the least she can do is make herself look good so he has something nice to look at--as if it's her job to make sure he has a good view because that's all she can do.  Ugh.  Made me dislike her right away.  This was at the beginning.  It just went downhill from there.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Book Review: Dark Days Club

Dark Days Club
Alison Goodman
Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Source: I won this ARC copy from Brittany at Please Feed the Bookworm
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

~What It's About~

Set in the Regency period of London, in 1812, Lady Helen Wrexhall is preparing for her debut ball at eighteen years of age.  Both parents died when she was young under mysterious circumstances that has left a stain on the family name, but with her uncle's strict code of propriety and her aunt's doting, they hope that all memories of Helen's mother and her traitorous ways have been erased.  At her showing to the Queen of England, though, Helen receives a most mysterious message from Her Majesty about her mother, sending her into a world of intrigue, demons, and the dashingly handsome and dangerous Lord Carlston.  Helen is only just beginning to realize what an important role she has to play, but she'll have to figure out a way to make that happen within the confines of an elite society eager to play up any scandal they can.

~The Good~
 The characters were really well done and drew me in.  Lady Helen Wrexhall is a strong female character, forced to live in a restricted environment.  At night she sneaks down to her uncle's library to pour through his many books that are not appropriate for the eyes and minds of women.  She feels a strong connection to her mother and sneaks her mother's miniature with her when she leaves, even though it is forbidden.  Never before has Helen willingly stepped outside of the confines of propriety to get what she wants, but now she's being forced to do so.

Lord Carlston has evil swarming around him, literally.  Just a few years ago he was discovered with his young wife, dead.  Although never charged with the murder, society has shunned him, but he's back in London and is intent on meeting with Lady Helen.  Although he is forbidden to Helen, due to the scandal on his name, she is drawn to him and the information he could provide her about her mother.

There was so much happening that this incredibly long book only took me about 5 days because I just needed to find out what happened!  As soon as she starts to discover the truth behind her mother's death and what she is meant to do, everything begins to build.  You don't know who you can trust.  Just as Lady Helen is busy trying to determine who around her is a demon, the reader is also trying to decide who to trust.  You're not sure, although you think you know, and then something new is revealed.  I questioned everyone she knew.  Everyone.

The subtle references of feminism and the demands placed on women to behave a certain way or else be considered ruined were woven throughout the story.  It began with a friend of Helen's going missing, but being found days later with a man, now dead.  Helen is no longer allowed to speak to her because she is ruined and it is her own fault that this had happened--not the man who led to this scandal.  Helen's uncle often refers to passing her off to her future husband (whoever that may be) so that he no longer has to be in charge of her, but her husband can do so.  Her uncle has complete control over her finances until she is somewhere in her 20's or she is married, which means her husband is then in charge of the money.  Enter Lord Carlston who offers her a way to be so much more than just the wife and mother in elite society, but to have a real influence on her world.  He shows her that her own mother was much more than everyone believed.  However, even the choices he gives her are manipulated by him and the Dark Days Club, putting women in the lesser roles because they are women.

~The Not-So-Good~
The only negative thing I have to say is that the beginning was slow getting started.  Helen has not yet discovered the truth of her past and who she truly is and she's focused more on the social gatherings about which ladies of her station are concerned.  I was desperately waiting for the action to begin--don't worry it does.  It took about a hundred pages or so to get it started, but the beginning is still good.

~Final Thoughts~

Absolutely amazing!  I don't often give books a 5 star rating, but I felt it was well-deserved here. The action and adventure coupled with the attempt to remain within the acceptable confines of propriety led to a thrilling story. Lady Helen was appropriately concerned about doing what she felt was right for both herself and the world and for her family, which led to quite a lot of inner turmoil.  The Dark Days Club was a fun read and I'm anxious to read the next book about Lady Helen and her adventures.

If you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and who doesn't?) or Jane Austen, then you'll love this book!

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Book Review: Why Not Me?

Why Not Me?
Mindy Kaling
Crown Archetype, 2015
Genre: Essays/Memoir/Humor
Source: purchased
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

~What It's About~
Mindy Kaling has penned another humorous set of essays about her life as a woman in the spotlight.  This time her essays have moved on from stories of her childhood and experiences breaking into the business.  She's focused on her life as a celebrity, including essays about days on the set, fashion, her love life, meeting some incredible people (like President Barak Obama!), and her friends.  Her stories are filled with humor that pokes fun at herself and others in a lighthearted way.

~The Good~
I love Mindy Kaling.  I didn't really follow her on The Office, only watching now and then, but I love love love The Mindy Project.  I'm very sad that we don't have Hulu and have considered getting it solely for the the purpose of watching new episodes.  I think she is funny, and, after reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), I know she is smart, resourceful, and a great role model for girls--no matter what they want to do with their lives.

That being said...

~The Not-So-Good~
There are hints at the same strength and intelligence that I found in her first memoir--not to say that this book isn't intelligent.  She pokes fun at people and herself in intelligent ways that are still lighthearted, but I missed seeing the insight that filled her first book.  I felt that was missing in this book.

It was difficult for me to connect to her in Why Not Me? because there was so much focused on being a celebrity--which I'm not.  There were entire essays devoted to fashion, which is fine, but it was a fashion that is not accessible by a vast majority of the public, and it turned me off almost immediately.  I understand that this is her life and that she has worked incredibly hard to get where she is.  She even wrote one essay that focused on her typical day and it was long and harrowing and not easy.  I get that.  She deserves what she has earned, but it was difficult for me to make any connections to her when she wrote about extravagances that are not attainable for most people.  Maybe I'm jealous?  I don't know.  I do know that I felt like the depth of her first book was missing from this one.

~Final Thoughts~

I still love Mindy Kaling and want to be her friend.  I think she's incredible and a wonderful role model for teenage girls who are looking for somebody to idolize.  She stands for hard work and determination and not allowing someone else to dictate the direction you're taking your life.  I love all those qualities and they do peek through here.  If you're going to buy only one of Mindy Kaling's books, I suggest Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me.  If you love love love Mindy Kaling, then borrow Why Not Me? too.  It was well written, but don't expect as much insight as her first.

Want to see my review of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?  Check out the review here.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Best Blog Posts of my First Year

It's a celebration of my 1st year blogging.  
Thanks for following me during this first year and checking in on my reading life.  
Today I'll be highlighting the best posts from the past year.

Best Views
Book Review with the Most Views
A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

Post with the Most Views
My Six Favorite Literary Characters from Childhood

My Favorites
Top Ten Posts:
Top Ten Board Books
Top Ten Middle School Books  (although I have some changes now because I've read some really good ones since I wrote this!)
Top 13 Books for October

At the beginning of the summer last year I wrote a week of posts dedicated to middle school readers.  It was titled Reading Suggestions for Middle Schoolers.  I highlighted a number of great books for readers in grades 6-8.

Character Spotlights:
Jo Montfort from These Shallow Graves

Winter Hayle-Blackburn from Winter

If you missed any of these posts, check them out for yourself!
Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Reflections on a Year of Blogging: Goals

It's a celebration of my 1st year blogging.  Today I'll be reflecting and determining some goals for the upcoming year.

These goals are different from my reading goals.  My reading goals have already been determined and can be found here if you're interested.  My goals for this second year in blogging are related only to blogging.

1) Build my twitter following and blog followers.  I have a lot to work on here because I really need more time to do this!  One thing I need to do is keep up on following the blogs I have marked as my favorites.  I try to take time each week and visit them, leave comments, etc, but it doesn't always happen.  I'm working on it.

2) Work on the overall look and presentation of my blog.  It needs work, but I also feel like I need to find time to sit down and really work with it.  I'm planning on tackling that in the summer when more time is available to me.

3) Hold a giveaway of some sort.  I've never done this and it makes me nervous, but I'd like to do it also will help me clear my shelf a bit!  

4) Get involved in a weekly linkup of some sort that I can sustain.  I've done a few here and there, but after a few weeks, I'm unable to keep up the momentum and it falls away.

There! I think 4 goals are sufficient enough for this year.  We can check back next year to see how well I've done!

Tomorrow I'll be highlighting some of my best posts from the past year.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Reflections on a Year of Blogging: What I've Learned

It's a celebration of my 1st year blogging.  This week I'll be posting some reflections and a look back at my first year on this trek.

It's time to reflect.  Reflecting is a great way to see where we've been , how we've done, and what we've learned, but also to contemplate where we need to go and how to get there.

~How I Got Here~
I honestly don't know what made me want to sit down and start a blog.  Actually, I started this blog back in the summer of 2014, intending to share it with my students--but only if I was able to keep it going.  I was not able to do that--at all.  I also wasn't too dedicated to doing so.  It was simply one more thing I HAD to do.

Then last year in January I went back to school to get my administrator's certification.  Long story short, after taking one class I decided that it was not the right choice for me to pursue that avenue.  However I felt a little bit lost.  I felt like I needed to do something.  The first thing I did was read a book that I enjoyed (I had read one book in two months because I was reading for class and writing papers and there wasn't any time).  

couldn't keep it to myself and decided that I would just post that review on my blog--that one I randomly happened to have--and be done with it.  But I remembered how much I enjoyed writing essays and papers about books and so I wrote two more reviews and posted them a few weeks later.  Then I jumped right in.

I think I needed something to help me feel grounded. Not only had I felt disconnected from reading at the time, I felt a little disconnected from myself.  I've found that when I start to feel this way, if I can get myself into a really good book, I can find my way out of that feeling a little better.

~Where I've Been~
I tried a lot of different things at first.  I posted weekly what I was reading what my current TBR list was.  I started scouring through other blogs to see what they did.  I added some of those ideas to my own.  I read blogs about blogging and convinced myself that I needed at five posts a week if I wanted to be serious, and if I couldn't do that, well then forget it.  It only took a month or two for that idea to wear itself out.

Over the summer I was able to try different weekly posts and try to settle myself into a good groove.  I'll be honest, it took me until almost November to feel that I had a grip on this whole blogging thing.  A loose grip, but a grip nonetheless.  

I've come to a place where I feel like I have a pretty good rhythm and schedule that works for me.  I'm also somewhat comfortable with the fact that I'm busy outside of blogging and there are times that I will be too busy to post anything--although it makes me anxious when I have nothing going out all week.  I will be okay with it and will come back to it soon--when things calm down a bit.

~What I've Learned~
1) How to do some basic html.  I mean that in the loosest of terms and basically that I can google the html and copy/paste it into my blog and then mess with it until I get it to do what I want.
2) How to use twitter.  I had never tweeted before this.  I had avoided it, in fact.  Now I love it!  Welcome to the year 2006, Meghan.  You're a bit late, but welcome all the same. 
3) That there's always going to more that I could do, if I had more time.  Even if I magically got that time handed to me, I would then find something more to try and fit in.
4) I like writing.  I missed writing.  If this is the only way I can fit writing into my life, then so be it.  I'll write for my blog.

Check back tomorrow to find out what my plans are for my 2nd year of blogging!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Today marks one year since I started blogging more seriously.  In honor of that, here is the first post to start off my life as a blogger.  This week I'll post a few more to celebrate this year.

My first blog post:

How to be a Heroine: Or, What I've Learned from Too Much Reading by Samantha Ellis

Be sure to stop by later in the week for more special posts looking back at my year.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Sunday Status is a weekly (ish) post where I let you know what I'm reading and what I'm thinking about it as I go along.

It's been a slow week.  I've been sick and had a lot to do at school so my reading time has dwindled.  When you go to bed at 8:00 every night for a week you lose a lot of time! I'm hoping to make it until 9:00 tonight and get some work finished!

~At Home~

Dark Days Club
Alison Goodman
Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016
Source: I won this copy from Brittany at Please Feed the Bookworm

Loving this!  I will say it took awhile to get going.  About 100 pages, but I had faith.  The writing is well done so that even though I was anxious to get to the part where there were demons and powers and all that, I wasn't bored or annoyed.  I finally got to that part and wow!  Loving it!!  I can't wait to read some more tonight!

~At School~
Sky Raiders (The Five Kingdoms #1)
Brandon Mull
Aladdin, 2014
Source: borrowed from a student

I'm only about 20 pages in so I don't have much to say, except that something good had better start happening because it's not going to keep my interest if it doesn't get good REALLY SOON.  That's all for now. 

~Listening To ~

The Thing About Jellyfish
Ali Benjamin
Read by Sarah Franco
Little Brown Young Readers, 2015
Source: purchased

I'm still listening to The Thing About Jellyfish.  I've managed to listen to a bit more here and there, but not enough.  If I could grade and listen to an audiobook, I would, but then I either stop paying attention to what I'm grading or I cut out the audio and find myself lost in the book.