What I’ve Been Reading…

Things have been busy in my corner of the universe lately and, while the reading hasn’t stopped, the recording of it definitely has.

In my reading update posts, I normally do an Inbox (what I’m about to read), an Outbox (what I’ve recently finished), and sometimes add a Currently Reading section.  Because I haven’t done one of these in a month or so, I’m going to switch things up and talk about all the things I’ve finished.

Over the past couple of weeks, soooo many of the books I’ve been excited for have come in for me at the library.  My pile is at least ten books high.  It’s a bit overwhelming, but very fun.

So here’s what I’ve been reading lately! Continue reading

Top Ten Books that Feel Like Summer

I’m joining in Top Ten Tuesday once more, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s theme is a summer freebie.  I’ve decided to do my list around books that feel like summer–which, for me, means a lot of things.

Some summer reads actually take place in the sunny season–featuring fluffy, light romances that are prefect for reading on the beach.

Others are funny and fun, which put me in the mindset of summer no matter the season.

Something about summer always puts me in the mood for epic fantasy… or just something really long that I can sink into.

And then there are the books that are a summer tradition.  Not a year goes by that I don’t listen to Tolkien on audiobook.

Here’s the list…
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Top Ten Best-Dressed YA Novels

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week is a cover-themed freebie, so I decided to feature my…

Top Ten Best Dressed YA Novels

I’m an absolute sucker for beautiful ladies in beautiful dresses and there are so many to choose from in Young Adult fiction!

TTT Best Dressed 1

TTT Best Dressed 2

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Inbox // Outbox 4/3/17

Inbox

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

I hated, hated, hated the Divergent series… but am willing to give Roth another try.

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

This is my go-to read for this weekend.  I wasn’t overly impressed by the first book in this series, but

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

One of my favorite podcasts just did an episode discussing this book and it made me want to pick it up again.  I haven’t read it since early high school!  That was ten years ago and I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it properly.  Thankfully, my library had an audiobook copy available on the shelf.  I will be traveling long-distance next weekend and hope to convince my car buddy to let us listen to it.

Inbox 4317


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Inbox // Outbox 3/22/17

I was supposed to put this out on Monday, but forgot to polish it up over the weekend.  It’s a big list this time around… Enjoy!  What have you been reading this week?

Inbox:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I keep seeing things for this book everywhere!  It hasn’t even been out a month and there is already a movie lined up.  I saw that the audiobook was available through Overdrive at the library and decided to jump on the bandwagon. The book was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and tells the story of a teenage girl who was in the car when one of her childhood friends is shot by a white police officer.  So far, although Star’s story is very different than my own, I really appreciate the perspective this book gives.

The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit

I’m about halfway through Solnit’s book of feminist essays.  This is a book I can only read in short bursts, but it’s good.  I absolutely loved the essay on silence.

Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People by Nadia Bolz-Weber

I was introduced to Nadia Bolz-Weber a few years ago and loved her book, Pastrix.  She, like Anne Lamott, Rachel Held Evans, and Sarah Bessey, offer a broken and beautiful picture of Christianity. Books like these help me sort through the baggage of the fundamentalist evangelical church of my childhood. They help me stay true to my faith and grow in new directions.

salt. by Nayyirah Waheed:

I’ve been reading contemporary poetry lately and love what I’m reading so far.  Waheed’s collection came highly recommended by a friend and I’m glad that I followed through.

Inbox 32017 Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Couldn’t Put Down

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s theme is books that you read in one sitting.  Now that I’m working full time, I’m not able to read for hours on end anymore.

So here is a list of books and series that, if possible, I would have consumed in one sitting.  I couldn’t limit it to just ten.

  1. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  2. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  3. Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
  4. Green Rider series by Kristen Britain
  5. The Evermen Saga by James Maxwell
  6. His Fair Assassins series by Robin LaFevers
  7. Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
  8. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  9. The Selection series by Kierra Cass
  10. Everything Rainbow Rowell has written
  11. Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier
  12. Saga comic series by Brian K. Vaughan
  13. Everything Morgan Matson has written
  14. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  15. Everything Sarah J. Maas has written

Have you read any of these?  What books have you read that were so addicting you couldn’t put them down?


Like bookish travel?  Read about my Literary Pilgrimages

Check out my biweekly Inbox//Outbox to find out what I’ve been reading

For more of my reading adventures, add me on Goodreads

On the Shelf: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

This week, I’m delving into the realm of YA fiction.  I read two novels belonging to the genera this week: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (an old favorite) and Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen.  I considered highlighting the Zusak novel, but decided against it ’cause the review would be nothing but me raving about how much I love it.  Instead, I chose to discuss the newest Dessen book.

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Goodreads | Amazon

SummaryPeyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?  Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

My Thoughts:

I discovered Sarah Dessen in high school and became an instant fan.  Her books Just Listen, Lock & Key, and Along for the Ride were some of my favorite reads back in the day.  She’s one of the few writers where I will read anything she writes.  (Mind you, this isn’t because she’s high-quality literature.)

Dessen’s novels are engaging, fun, and they go fast.  Although it’s nearly 500 pages, Saint Anything took only two days to plow through.  It’s the kind of book you curl up with in bed at night and end up staying up FAR too late with.  You know, the “Just one more chapter…” game.

My main issue with these books is that, although they’re enjoyable, they’re highly formulaic.  Her heroines are all the same– pretty high school/pre-college age girls trying to find themselves amid tumultuous family situations.  Along the way, they discover a new group of friends that accept her for who she is and show her how to enjoy/approach life in a new way.  Along the way, she finds love with a special, unique, insightful boy who does not see her in the way the world wants her to be, but as she really is.  This is freeing… but brief.  At some point, things go wrong, the relationship goes rocky, family troubles explode, and the heroine is left in a mess.  By the end of the novel, though, she is able to piece things back together, learns something new about herself, her family begins to heal, and she steps into the future with her boyfriend.

There.  I just summed up every single Sarah Dessen novel.  Now you don’t have to read any!  I’m kidding.  If you like reasonably well-written stories about self-discovery and summer romances, you’ll enjoy almost all these books.

I did enjoy Saint Anything… but it followed too close to the formula and, frankly, wasn’t a stand-out.  Sydney was a mildly boring, but relatable heroine.  Her friends were quirky and fun, but felt like shadow copies of more interesting incarnations of the same characters in previous novels.  The love interest, Mac, was likable, but a bit bland.  I strongly disliked her parents–they were over-protective, judgmental, and terrible judges of character.

There was a review of Goodreads that claims the most this novel did was make them want to eat pizza… and I must say, I wholeheartedly agree.  While reading the book, I enjoyed it, but don’t think I’ll be giving it a second visit.

You will like this book if you enjoy: reasonably well-written YA novels, quick reads, stories of self-discovery, family relationships, and cute summer romances.

My suggestion: Skip this book.  It’s nothing special.  If you want to read Dessen, go for one of her books written in the 2002-2009 range.  Her earlier novels fall flat and her more recent ones are too formulaic.

See you next week for more book talk!