January Wrap-Up

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book!”  ~Dr. Suess

January started off with a BANG!!! I ended December on a roll of fantastic books! And while I wish it could have been all five star reads all through the month, they can’t all be winners…

13/125 – Goodreads Challenge

0 – BookRiot #readharder Challenge

I managed to keep a steady pace of reading, finished 3 books in the #24in48 reading challenge weekend, 2 buddy reads and a book club read! I knocked two more books off of my Netgalley TBR, working my way to that elusive 90% rating. I will get there soon! And, best news of all, managed to get in some personal reading choices. This was important to me, as my reading was all reviews at the end of 2017, and I was starting to feel bogged down.

January summary:

The Hazelwood by Melissa Albert: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Netgalley review

The Power ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buddy Read

Red Rising by Pierce Brown: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reading Group/reread

Golden Son by Pierce Brown: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reading Group/reread

Morning Star by Pierce Brown: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reading Group/reread

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Just for ME!!!

Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

BookSparks #WRC2018 Book

Strangers by Ursula Archer & Arno Strobel: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Black Heart Read Group Read

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Just for ME!!!

Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Street Team Read/ #24in48 reading challenge

City of Brass by SA Chakraborty: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buddy Read/ #24in48 reading challenge

Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

#24in48 reading challenge

Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties by Camille Pagan: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

NetGalley review

I reviewed every book, which met my blog goals, and while I didn’t quite manage to blog at least every other day, I was close. I’ll call that a win! Every review is linked, in case you missed any.

Being on Instagram and participating in buddy reads and reading groups has been a nice new addition to my reading this year. I really only started doing them towards the end of the year last year, and having people to chat with while reading or after, really makes the reading come alive! Especially when its a book like The City Of Brass or Iron Gold, which everyone NEEDS TO READ RIGHT NOW!!!!

I also went to Howler Fest in LA for the launch of Iron Gold, which was amazing and fantastic and I want to go to all the events now!

I’m also looking forward to doing more readathons, keeping my Goodreads goal and working on the Book Riot challenge. I managed to get back on track with writing and having blog goals is helping me stay on track here as well.

How was your January? Did you hit your goals? Tell me all about it! And Happy Reading friends!

Match Made in Manhattan – Review

“The more often you go on dates, the more you start to feel like you’re dating yourself.”

Match Made in Manhattan follows Alison on her fast paced introduction to the technology of modern dating. Through her profile on Match.com, we are introduced to various men via dating profiles, text threads, email chains and of course, the actual dates.

After Alison finds herself single, after two long-term relationships, she comes to the conclusion that she doesn’t really know how to date. After much encouragement from friends and roommates, she sets up a profile on dating site, Match.com. And while she finds herself with quite the roster of interested men, and interesting men, she isn’t sure she’s doing more than meeting friends rather than dating.

All that changes though when she meets Luke, a folk singer turned investment banker, who Alison finds absolutely irresistible. But the more Alison finds herself drawn in, the more he seems to keep her back. Will Luke end up being her Match?

While this book is more than a typical romcom, and has the very realistic glimpse into the online dating world, the book itself was sort of a miss for me. I laughed at some parts, and enjoyed the humor in going on some very wrong first dates.

“If I learned one lesson from Tom, it was that no matter what signal you think you’re sending out, it can, and probably will, get misinterpreted by the male species.”

However, I had a very difficult time relating to Alison, which made it difficult to really sink in and enjoy. I found myself rolling my eyes more than not, and not over the outlandish men, those felt real enough, but at Alison herself.

Match Made in Manhattan was a fast read, and for someone just wanting to laugh at the trials and tribulations of the modern dating age, this book will offer a humorous look into exactly that.

The next pieces could contain spoilers, so if you don’t want to read plot points, please be warned!!!

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To start with, she signs up for Match a mere three weeks after her boyfriend of three years breaks up with her. I can relate to a lot of women in the world, but one who moves from two back to back long term relationships into online dating with barely time to grieve the relationship in between just isn’t someone I identify with. Throughout the book she moves that quickly, bouncing back from breakups to responding to emails within days, sometimes the same day.

And I didn’t quite get her entire dating philosophy. She wants to meet someone with long term potential before sleeping with them, fine, but holding hands? Kissing? I don’t know many people in their late thirties with quite that many issues regarding physical touch. So for me, she felt unreal. Alison and I would not be a Match.

The format of the book felt a little choppy to me when reading. Some pieces feel like the normal novel plot I’m used to, and then other times it felt like snapshots of profiles or dates that didn’t have a piece in the plot other than to showcase the bad or weird dates. Which was fine, but it felt a bit jarring at times, which pulled me out of the book.

Romcoms don’t have to end in wedding bells and happily ever afters. I appreciate the attempt at her finding her own way without the help of a website. But, and this is a big but, rather than seeming to come across as independent, Alison felt more superficial and emotionally stunted.

She misses every single clue Luke lays out for her, all the while whining that she isn’t sure he’s as committed as she wants him to be. She essentially wants him to do all the work, while she won’t even deactivate her Match account, AFTER HE ASKS HER TO. I mean, COME ON!

Fine, she didn’t read the signs, but even after, when it comes to finally reaching out to her year long texting buddy Greg, who clearly is interested, she decides that THIS is her most functional relationship and she doesn’t want to ruin it.

I don’t know. She felt terrified of actual emotional investment, which makes her really hard to like in a romcom environment. I would have been much more satisfied if she had been at some point forced to face her own issues in some way, and THEN went off by herself into the sunset to live a more emotionally healthy life.

Thank you BookSparks for sending me a copy to read and review as part of #WRC2018!

Mid-Year Reading Challenge Update

Hello! Hello! Fellow Bookworms!

Today marks the end of June and moves us into the second half of the year. At the beginning of the year, I had set some reading goals. This year, I didn’t want to just read to hit a number, but wanted to expand the types of challenges I did, and to do more reviews. So how am I doing?

Reading challenges:

So far, Goodreads has me 20 book ahead of schedule. I set my goal for 75 books. In the past, as I discussed, I would have already changed my goal to a more aggressive number. But, in sticking with what I set out, I am leaving it. I am sure I will end far ahead of that 75 book goal as I am already 57 books, but that’s okay!

I did a 24 hour reading challenge, #readathon in April. I ended up only reading one and half books, but had a lot of fun trying to read for an entire day. It is more challenging than I would have thought. There’s another one in October and I am happily participating.

I have checked a few boxes on my #bookriot annual challenge, but have not been doing that great on that one. It is time to really make sure I choose a book or two each month that fits this challenge so I can check a few more boxes off.

Book Reviews:

As anyone who follows my blog knows, this is going very well! I am happy to report that for the past 2-3 months I have reviewed nearly every book I’ve read! GO ME!!!

It has helped that I have made some amazing relationships with authors and publicists and book review sites, so the added obligation to someone other than myself is helpful in making sure I write that review.

As I suspected, writing to review has changed the way I read. For the better. I am more present and aware during my reading, and I find that I’m asking myself more as I read. Why do I like a book? Or dislike it? I haven’t been this active in my reading since college and like stretching my muscles after not exercising, it feels really good.

Even better is getting sent books to review puts books in front of me that I may not have reached for on my own. I have read quite a few books, that honestly, I probably would have not read if I wasn’t asked to review it. Some of these books I was blown away by! What a shame it would be if I had missed the opportunity to read them.

This is probably the most important lesson I’ve learned. I tend to stick to reading books and genres I am comfortable in. I may, from time to time, grab a book based on a recommendation, but I tend to stay well within what I like. But, not to sound repetitive, but reading is like exercising. Sticking with the same workouts is fine, but how amazing does it feel when we switch up the routine and discover muscles we never knew existed? Amazing! At least, that’s how I feel after reading these new discoveries.

It has also changed my writing, and I find that I am also changing how I write and what I write with each new review. They are mini-writing exercises and are helping me achieve my daily word counts.

As I write more and read more, I have become far more active on social media as well. #Bookstagram is an amazing community, and if you haven’t checked out that hashtag on Instagram, I would strongly recommend browsing some of these beautiful accounts. The creativity that goes into these photographs is simply jaw dropping.

I have made some fantastic friends, discovered some awesome (and dangerous) websites. I’m looking at you Book Outlet! And have been able to begin relationships with book publishers, publicists and authors. I have found a support system for my own writing. It’s been amazing.

Before this year, reading and writing were both things I did very much alone. Even if I talked to people about the books I read, very few people I knew just weren’t willing to be die-hard fangirls with me. Now, I have people I talk to daily. I feel less alone than ever before.

When I started this blog just six months ago, I never would have imagined how much it could change my life. I cannot wait to see where the next six months go!

Happy Reading!