May 2018 Reads | First Lines

I decided that it would be fun to start a new feature to add the the wrap up of books I read every month. For me most of the time I pick up and look at books in the store it is the first lines that capture my attention and draw me in. It has always been intriguing to me the amount of thought that must go into those first words the author decides to but as the introduction to their work. The first lines are your first impression of the book.

Paper Princess by Erin Watt
“‘Ella, you’re wanted in the principal’s office,’ Ms. Weir says before I can step inside her precalculus classroom.”

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
“Aliens are stupid.”

Broken Prince by Erin Watt 
“The house is dark and silent when I let myself in through the mudroom off the kitchen.”

Twisted Palace by Erin Watt
“‘ Where were you between eight p.m. and eleven p.m. tonight?'”

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2018 Bookish Bucket List | May Update

Here goes year 4 doing this! And I think this is going to be the year I actually complete my bookish bucket list! I really want to throw myself back into the book community and blogging world, the past few years have been a little tough to get the reading done and last year I set high goals, but came up short. 

♠ Read at least 75 books.
[I have brought my read count up to 23 this past month. Not where I want to be going into the 6th month of the year, but I am accepting that life has been crazy and I do not always have time for reading.]

♠ Read and Complete 10 Series.
[ I have completed 1 series so far! I am working on quite a few though! ]

♠ Read at least 6 BIG books. This is a repeat from last year.I feel like I am always so intrigued and interested in the huge books, but never get around to reading them because they are intimidating. (I am counting this as over 500 pages.)
[This has not happened yet, but it will, hopefully]

♠ Read 50 books from my TBR (#beatthebacklist)
[ So this is like a double because not all the books I read for #beatthebacklist are from my TBR. ]

TBR: 12   #Beatthebacklist: 21

♠ Read at least 5 Non-Fiction Books.
[I have such a long list of nonfiction books I want to read I just need to start it or I never will]

♠ Post 3 Reviews a Month.
[ I have fallen really behind on this. I have been trying to focus more time on reading with the free time I have and just write reviews for books I have a lot of thoughts on or I am reviewing.] 

♠ Create or Join A Book Club.
[ I am joining Crone Blogger Book Club online, but have not been able to read a book with them yet!]

♠ Create my Own Read-A-Thon.  I want to create something that will become a yearly thing and go along with my blogiversary!
[ That happened in Feb! Check out the announcement post for my Down The Read-A-Thon Hole Challenge| Alice in Wonderland themed Read-A-Thon]

 

What are some of your 2018 goals/resolutions? How are you doing on them?

2018 Beat The Backlist Challenge |May Update

 

I have some really big goals for myself with this new year, both personally and with regards to books. This will be the first year that I will be in one place (hopefully) not juggling school or the constant traveling I have experience that past few years. I am really trying to focus on myself and trying to limit distractions and drama. One of my biggest book goals next year is to read the books I own and definitely catch up on series I am so far behind on or that I need to read. (Shoutout to Alex @ Booksy Daisy for posting her tbr and convincing me to do this!) Beat the Backlist hosted by Novel knight is the perfect challenge. (I do better when I am able to mark off a list so challenges work so well for me) Now I cannot make promises that the books I list are going to be the ones I actually read, but it is the goal to get these ones specifically. I am setting myself the goal of 50 books! I haven’t decided what I want my year goal to be, but with the hopes of tackling the books on my shelf I definitely want to focus more on the backlist and older books!


THE CHALLENGE

  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.
  • Books must be released prior to 2018 to count for this challenge.

My (Tentative) TBR List 

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
The Looking Glass Wars
Seeing Redd
ArchEnemy

Shattered Sea Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
Half A King
Half the World
Half a War

♣ Lunar Chronicle Series by Marissa Meyer
Cress
Fairest
Winter

♣ Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Immortal Series by Tamora Pierce
Wild Magic
Wolf-Speaker
Emperor Mage
The Realm of the Gods

♣ Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black
Valiant
Ironside

♣ Sweet Trilogy by Wendy Higgins
Sweet Evil
Sweet Peril
Sweet Reckoning

♣ Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu
Legend
Prodigy
Champion

♣ Misborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages

♣ Avalon Duology by Mindee Arnett
Avalon
Polaris

♣ Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson
The Crown of Embers
The Bitter Kingdom

♣ Wait For You Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Wait For You
Trust In Me
Be With Me
Stay With Me
Fall With Me
Forever With You

♣ Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan 
The Lightening Thief
The Sea of Monsters
The Titan’s Curse
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Last Olympian

♣ Rome by Jay Crownover 

♣ Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 

♣ A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini 

♣ Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer

♣ Notorious RBG: The Life and Time of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon

♣ Americanah by Chimanada Ngozi Adichie

♣ Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel 

♣ Lock in by John Scalzi 

♣ Kings of Broken Things by Theodore Wheeler 

Original List [3/50]

♠ The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

♠ The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

♠ Final Girls by Riley Sager

♠ Dear Martin by Nic Stone

♠ The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee

♠ Wicked by Jennifer L Armentrout

♣ Torn by Jennifer L Armentrout

♠ The Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken

♠ The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

♠ Brave by Jennifer L Armentrout

♠ Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

♠ Halfway to The Grave by Jeaniene Frost

♠ The Girl in 6E by A.R Torre

♠ Paper Princess by Erin Watt

♠ Broken Prince by Erin Watt

♠ The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

♠ Twisted Palace by Erin Watt

♠ The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey 

Total {21/50}

 

Let me know if you are participating and what team you are on! Happy Reading and Tackle that TBR! 

Things I Love | May Favorites

Here are some of my favorite things that I discovered, got or was just obsessed with in the month of May!

I received this in my May Ipsy Glam Bag and absolutely love it! I have been wearing it almost everyday. It goes on so smoothly and blends so nicely. It has an orangey/bronze tint that will be awesome for a fun summer look!

I am always in search of healthy snack options because I am a big snacker. These chips were amazing! With 19 grams of protein, 4.5 grams of fat and 5 grams of carbs they cannot be beat! It definitely satisfies the snack craving. They have great flavor and and definitely do not fall into the bland tasting protein snack category.

I got this in my March #otspsecretsister package and used the majority of it this month and for sure need to purchase another one now that it is gone. I do not even know how to describe the taste but it smells as good as it tastes!

I adore candles and now that the weather is getting warmer I am not burning them as much, but this candle smells like a Watermelon Jolly Rancher! It is fresh and smells so summery!

 

What are some of your favorite things from the past month?

Friday Reads | Holiday Weekend!

downthebookhole

I just finished Twisted Palace by Erin Watt and have to say I kind of saw that ending coming! Although that was the end of Ella and Reed’s story I really want to read the other books in the series, but I am going to take a break because I want to find them in physical copies. It has been quite the addictive series.

I received an ARC of Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf from Entangled Publishing and the book comes out on June 5th so I need to get reading it! It sounds so interesting and I have been craving a good fantasy book that I cannot wait to dive into it this weekend! I am also almost done listening to The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey, the second book in The 5th Wave trilogy. This trilogy very much fits into the category of trilogies that have come out in the past 10 years that have a good first book and slowly goes down from there. I am interested to see where it goes and what Yancey does with the story.

What are you reading this weekend?

 

Friday Reads | First Weekend Off In Forever Edition!

downthebookhole


In true Ashley fashion I am currently reading so many books all at once. I have recently gotten hooked into The Royal Series by Erin Watt and have flown through the first 2 books. I am currently reading the last book in the trilogy of Ella and Reed, Twisted Palace by Erin Watt. These books are filled with drama, but are so addictive. I am also trying to catch up on reading books that have recently been made to movies, so I finished The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey and I am continuing on with listening to the audiobook of The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey. I also started Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs and The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks but have put them both slightly on hold. I hope to get a ton of reading done this weekend as well as catching up on my shows, and the second season of 13 Reasons Why. I want to try and catch up on some bloggy things this weekend, make a trip to the bookstore to unhaul some books and get this months #otspsecretsister box put together. There is a lot to do to keep me busy this weekend!

What are you reading this weekend?

 

2018 Beat The Backlist Challenge | April Update

 

I have some really big goals for myself with this new year, both personally and with regards to books. This will be the first year that I will be in one place (hopefully) not juggling school or the constant traveling I have experience that past few years. I am really trying to focus on myself and trying to limit distractions and drama. One of my biggest book goals next year is to read the books I own and definitely catch up on series I am so far behind on or that I need to read. (Shoutout to Alex @ Booksy Daisy for posting her tbr and convincing me to do this!) Beat the Backlist hosted by Novel knight is the perfect challenge. (I do better when I am able to mark off a list so challenges work so well for me) Now I cannot make promises that the books I list are going to be the ones I actually read, but it is the goal to get these ones specifically. I am setting myself the goal of 50 books! I haven’t decided what I want my year goal to be, but with the hopes of tackling the books on my shelf I definitely want to focus more on the backlist and older books!


THE CHALLENGE

  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.
  • Books must be released prior to 2018 to count for this challenge.

My (Tentative) TBR List 

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
The Looking Glass Wars
Seeing Redd
ArchEnemy

Shattered Sea Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
Half A King
Half the World
Half a War

♣ Lunar Chronicle Series by Marissa Meyer
Cress
Fairest
Winter

♣ Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Immortal Series by Tamora Pierce
Wild Magic
Wolf-Speaker
Emperor Mage
The Realm of the Gods

♣ Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black
Valiant
Ironside

♣ Sweet Trilogy by Wendy Higgins
Sweet Evil
Sweet Peril
Sweet Reckoning

♣ Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu
Legend
Prodigy
Champion

♣ Misborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages

♣ Avalon Duology by Mindee Arnett
Avalon
Polaris

♣ Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson
The Crown of Embers
The Bitter Kingdom

♣ Wait For You Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Wait For You
Trust In Me
Be With Me
Stay With Me
Fall With Me
Forever With You

♣ Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan 
The Lightening Thief
The Sea of Monsters
The Titan’s Curse
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Last Olympian

♣ Rome by Jay Crownover 

♣ Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 

♣ A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini 

♣ Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer

♣ Notorious RBG: The Life and Time of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon

♣ Americanah by Chimanada Ngozi Adichie

♣ Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel 

♣ Lock in by John Scalzi 

♣ Kings of Broken Things by Theodore Wheeler 

Original List [3/50]

♠ The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

♠ The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

♠ Final Girls by Riley Sager

♠ Dear Martin by Nic Stone

♠ The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee

♠ Wicked by Jennifer L Armentrout

♣ Torn by Jennifer L Armentrout

♠ The Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken

♠ The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

♠ Brave by Jennifer L Armentrout

♠ Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

♠ Halfway to The Grave by Jeaniene Frost

♠ The Girl in 6E by A.R Torre

♠ Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Total {17/50}

 

Let me know if you are participating and what team you are on! Happy Reading and Tackle that TBR! 

2018 Bookish Bucket List | April Update

Here goes year 4 doing this! And I think this is going to be the year I actually complete my bookish bucket list! I really want to throw myself back into the book community and blogging world, the past few years have been a little tough to get the reading done and last year I set high goals, but came up short. 

♠ Read at least 75 books.
[I have been so crazy busy with work I haven’t done as much reading as I hoped to and I am only at 18 books read.]

♠ Read and Complete 10 Series.
[ I have completed 1 series so far! ]

♠ Read at least 6 BIG books. This is a repeat from last year.I feel like I am always so intrigued and interested in the huge books, but never get around to reading them because they are intimidating. (I am counting this as over 500 pages.)
[This has not happened yet, but it will]

♠ Read 50 books from my TBR (#beatthebacklist)
[ So this is like a double because not all the books I read for #beatthebacklist are from my TBR. ]

TBR: 9   #Beatthebacklist: 16

♠ Read at least 5 Non-Fiction Books.
[This has also not happened yet, but I have so many I want to get to this year and hoping that next month will be that start of incorporating in nonfiction]

♠ Post 3 Reviews a Month.
[ I have fallen really behind on this. I have been trying to focus more time on reading with the free time I have and just write reviews for books I have a lot of thoughts on or I am reviewing.] 

♠ Create or Join A Book Club.
[ I am joining Crone Blogger Book Club online, but have not been able to read a book with them yet!]

♠ Create my Own Read-A-Thon.  I want to create something that will become a yearly thing and go along with my blogiversary!
[ That happened in Feb! Check out the announcement post for my Down The Read-A-Thon Hole Challenge| Alice in Wonderland themed Read-A-Thon]

 

What are some of your 2018 goals/resolutions? How are you doing on them?

The Queen Underneath by Stacey Filak | ARC Review


THE QUEEN UNDERNEATH
BY STACEY FILAK

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Publication Date: May 8th 2018

Synopsis:
The Above and the Under have a tenuous truce that is shattered after the death of both their respective rulers. Gemma, the new queen of Under, must throw history aside and team up with Tollan, the heir to the Above throne, in order to take down a power that seeks to rule them all.

Their group of rebels is comprised of an assassin, a sex worker, and a palace servant from Above, and we follow their unique perspectives as they are forced to question previously held beliefs. But even with war looming, romance still grows. Challenging gender roles and the expectation that every prince must have a princess, Tollan discovers love with Elam—a young man, a sex worker, and one of Gemma’s closest friends.

Goodreads | Amazon

 *I would like to thank Page Street for the chance to read and review this book in return for my honest opinion!*

I am not sure where to start with this review because I wanted to like the book so much. I was super excited when I got sent this book for review and its said to be a spin on Sleeping Beauty. I have to say I was caught off guard while reading because it is marketed as a YA, but I would say it is a little mature to be considered YA. I believe the world building fell short, I was so intrigued by the world concept and loved that the underneath was filled with assassins, thieves and prostitutes and that the above was complete opposite. I needed more. There was so much that could have been done and Filak set the stage for a world that had so much potential. The book was just too short and didn’t achieve what I felt like it could have. I felt like there could have been a ton more character development as well. I really think Filak could have made a whole series off of this concept. That being said I thought their were some great characters and really enjoyed Gemma. There were some references to Sleeping Beauty, but I am not sure I would have marketed it as a spin off. The biggest thing I had an issue with was how often the word “prick/prickling” was used. I have a huge problem with repetition of words, but I also just thought it was excessive.

I know this seems like a bash, but I did enjoy the book and was immediately pulled in within the first chapter and wanted to know what was going to happen the whole time. There were some steamy parts and times I was on the edge of my seat with the twists and turns. I really appreciated that the chapters were headed with the area in the world in which that chapter was taking place, it helped to place myself and develop the world in my head. The Queen Underneath, had some kickass characters and a strong lead female which is always nice to see! I loved the rough edges she had, but also a soft side that was super caring.

Overall I enjoy the story but the main take away is I needed more and wanted more from Filak.

 

April 2018 Reads | First Lines

I decided that it would be fun to start a new feature to add the the wrap up of books I read every month. For me most of the time I pick up and look at books in the store it is the first lines that capture my attention and draw me in. It has always been intriguing to me the amount of thought that must go into those first words the author decides to but as the introduction to their work. The first lines are your first impression of the book.

 

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan 
“Lost in the shadows of the shelves, I almost fall off the ladder.”

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
“I shouldn’t have come to this party.”

The Queen Underneath by Stacey Filak
“Gemma hurried through the tunnels of Under, avoiding piles that might be rubbish and could be worse.”

Halfway To The Grave by Jeaniene Frost
“I stiffened at the red and blue lights flashing behind me, because there was no way I could explain what was in the back of my truck.”

The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
“Undressing is an everday occurrence.”