Wrap Up|| June.

Hey!

2021 is really halfway over? 🤯 June was not one of my best reading months. I didn’t read as much as I hoped I would and all the books that I did read only were only three stars to me. Three stars means I liked them, but I wasn’t blown away or amazed by them. I’ve also been in a pretty bad blogging slump the last couple months as you can see that in May and now June I only posted book hauls and wrap ups. 😦 I’m kind of in this place where I don’t feel inspired (I don’t know if this is the word I really want to use, but I can’t think of another at the moment) and I think I’ve also been kind of unhappy with life in general or maybe not life, but myself. I also feel more anxiety than usual lately and I don’t even know why. I don’t know. *shrug*

I’ve been busy with work, which is nice. I’ve been getting more steady work and I even got my work contract extended for another three months. With that extension comes more stress, anxiety, and obstacles though. I don’t feel like going into why, but it is what it is. I may be busier during July and part of August because I signed up for a photography class that goes for six weeks. Another thing that gives me anxiety (as you can see, I’m just a big ball of anxiety :P), because it’s so out of my comfort zone. BUT I love taking pictures and I want to learn to get better at it, so I signed up anyway. Maybe I need to get out of my comfort zone sometimes, I don’t know. I’ve been hooked on Stardew Valley on Nintendo Switch, so that started to take up a lot of my downtime. It’s been giving me something to do during my blogging and reading slumps. I can sit for hours straight playing and I have been almost every single day for the last week. It’s bringing me joy even if the game can be frustrating at times haha.

A new favorite picture I took a couple weeks ago.


Anyway, enough of all that. I am here to share my June wrap up with you! Like I said, I didn’t read as much as I wanted to and the quality wasn’t that great either. There’s a couple unpopular opinions here, I think.You can find a full list of the books that I read this month and the other books I read throughout the year over here. All will be linked to Goodreads below and I will also link to individual blog posts for them if I did a review. Here are the books that I read and listened to in June.

Print/E-Book Books:
These are the books that I read myself (not audiobooks) throughout the month of June.

wheniwasyouthememorywatcher

When I Was You by Minka Kent – 3 out of 5 stars
The Memory Watcher by Minka Kent – 3 out of 5 stars

I liked both When I Was You and The Memory Watcher, but they didn’t blow me away and honestly they were so predictable. I wasn’t really that shocked, so I was bummed about that. I will say that The Memory Watcher was a lot better than When I Was You though. There was one thing toward the end that did actually surprise me in The Memory Watcher. I like reading psychological thrillers, but it’s rare that I am ever surprised or shocked by them lol. I almost always guess what is going on early on and I’m almost always correct. So, I wasn’t really surprised I gave them both three stars.


Audiobooks:
These are the books that I listened to the audio versions throughout the month of June.

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Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – 3 out of 5 stars
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry – 3 out of 5 stars

Malibu Rising and People We Meet on Vacation have both seemed really hyped and I had high expectations going into them both. I loved Daisy Jones and I really liked Beach read, so I was bummed I didn’t enjoy these as much as I hoped I would. I don’t have a lot to say about neither one of them, but I did like them and at times they were fun to read. There were times where I was a bit bored as well. Overall, they just didn’t blow me away and my high expectations were let down.


Currently Reading:
These are the books that I started to read in the month of June, but didn’t get a chance to finish them before the month ended.

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Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza
Some Kind of Wonderland by Tara St. Pierre

I started both of these books in June, but I didn’t get the chance to finish them before the month ended. I’m listening to the audiobook of Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun and so far I love it so much. I haven’t had the chance to really listen to it this past week or so though because I’m doing new things at work that don’t give me an opportunity to listen all day like other things I do at work can. I’m halfway through it though, so hoping I finish it this month. I might listen while I play Stardew Valley sometime lol. Some Kind of Wonderland so far is pretty good and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. If you couldn’t tell by the cover, it’s kind of like an Alice in Wonderland retelling. I’m not too far into it yet, but hoping to finish it soon and get a review up for it.

What books did you read in June? Have you read any of the books that I read? Feel free to link me to your wrap up post, so I can check it out!

I am hoping that July will overall be a better month. I’ll catch up with you guys soon if I haven’t already. I did some blog hopping yesterday. I was able to read and comment quite a few posts, so I was happy about that. Feel free to link me to anything you want me to check out in case I missed anything!

In case you missed it;
Book Haul|| June.

I hope you have a great day and weekend!

Book Haul|| June.

Hey!

Another month where I was bad with posting on my blog, sigh. I’m in a pretty bad blogging slump right now, honestly. I also think I’m in a reading slump too, but more about that in my wrap up. Today, I am here to share my June book haul, so I am going to just jump right into it. You can check out a full list of the books that I own over here. There’s links to different pages on my blog that show my e-books and my physical books. I haven’t updated that page since early February though (I really need to find some time to do this), so an update for that is coming soon. Here are the books that I got in June…

Print Books:

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Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala
Girls with Rebel Souls by Suzanne Young
Straight On Till Morning by Liz Braswell

I always buy Nicola Yoon’s books, so I was excited to get Instructions for Dancing and I love how pretty the cover is. I was able to get Be Dazzled (I love the cover so much), Girls with Rebel Souls, and Straight On Till Morning on sale on Prime Day! I am really excited about all of them, especially Girls with Rebel Souls. It’s book three of the Girls with Sharp Sticks series that I have really enjoyed so far.


Books from Authors/Publishers:

somekindofwonderland

Some Kind of Wonderland by Tara St. Pierre

Tara reached out to me and asked if I would read and review her new book Some Kind of Wonderland. Of course I said yes, because I’ve read her other books in the past and have really liked them. I also love Alice in Wonderland, so I am always excited about a retelling. Hoping to have it read and reviewed in July. I read the first couple chapters and so far I like it.


E-Books:

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Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith
Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
Thirteen Storeys by Jonathan Sims

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Something Like Summer by Jay Bell
The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis
The Mixtape by Brittainy Cherry
The Seven Day Switch by Kelly Harms

And last but not least, my e-book haul! I got so many good books on sale and also a few of them for free with the Amazon First Reads program. I am really looking forward to reading all of these, especially Stay Gold since I’ve been wanting to read it for SO LONG now and I finally caught it on sale.

What new books did you get in June? Have you read any of the ones that I got? Feel free to link me to your haul post, so I can check it out!

I am hoping to do some blog hopping this week. I know I am a bit behind with that this month as well. 😦 I’ll catch up though; I always do even if it takes me a little bit. So, you’ll see me around blog hopping at some point this week when I get some time. 🙂 I’ll have my June wrap up soon, although it’s a bit of a disappointment with how much I read and I think everything was three stars. Hopefully July is a better month with staying on top of reading/commenting your posts and doing more posts of my own. Fingers crossed!

I will leave you with a couple pictures of one of my cats (Leaf) playing on my bookshelf. 😛

I hope you have a great day!

2020 Year in Books.

Hey!

Today it is time to look back on my reading throughout 2020! I’m not going to lie, it was a struggle with reading. I wasn’t even sure I would complete my Goodreads challenge. I had to adjust my reading “rules” just to accomplish that goal alone. I wanted this post to be full of different pie charts and stats, but I just didn’t have the time to do everything I wanted for it. I also just wanted to get it posted since it’s already January 8. I do have a couple numbers to share with you in this post and give an update on my reading goals from 2020 and if I accomplished them or not. First, let’s start with my Goodreads reading goal…I wanted to read 50 books in 2020…

51 of books read for challenge.
12 of those were audiobooks.

Compared to last year, I read 34 less books than I did in 2019. That number is kind of depressing, but as I am sure I will say countless times in this post, it was a crazy year! My mind was elsewhere and my drive and motivation to read was almost non-existent at times. I am happy that I at least completed the challenge though even if it wasn’t by much.


I don’t do half star ratings and I use Goodreads’ rating system with how I rate the books that I read. Below is how Goodreads has their star ratings set up.

5 stars – it was amazing
4 stars – I really liked it
3 stars – liked it
2 stars – it was ok
1 star – did not like it

I feel like I used to give three stars out in previous years if I thought it was okay and 2 stars if I didn’t really like it and forgot about 1 star altogether. So over the last few years I tried to use the way Goodreads has their stars when it came to rating books and continued with that in 2020. With that being said here are my star rating counts for the books that I read in 2020!

My numbers look a lot different than they did last year. I don’t know if it was because I was mentally in a different place and nothing “wowed” me much in 2020 or if I just didn’t read that many amazing books this year. I know that I read 30+ less books than I did last year, so that could have played a big part in it too. Last year I gave out 29 five stars and in 2020 I only gave out seven! This year it looks like the four star rating was my best friend because I gave out so many four stars. Overall, I think that I still read a lot of great books. It was just a bummer that I didn’t have a lot of five star reads.

You can check out all the books that I read in 2020 over here with links to reviews if I did one. But I will be doing a series of blog posts coming soon of all the books that I read in 2020 with their star ratings. My first post will be all the five star books of the year and so on. I did it in previous years and decided to continue with those posts, because it’s always fun to look back on the books that I read and share what I loved and maybe didn’t love so much.


Now onto my 2020 reading goals and whether I think I accomplished them or not. You can check out the actual post I made in January 2020 of my goals over here, but here is just a small recap of what they were. That post has longer explanations of what each of these goals were. Sorry in advance if I repeat myself a bunch of times throughout this next section lol.

2020 Goodreads Challenge.
I was able to complete my 2020 Goodreads challenge of reading 50 books. I was only able to read 51 though, which was a little disappointing because I was hoping to read a lot more. I’m still happy that I was able to read 51 books though.

Read 25 of my own books.
What I meant by this was any books that I bought in 2019 or earlier. Nothing I bought in 2020. With this goal, I only read 12 of my older books, so that was a bummer.

Don’t fall behind on ARCs.
I did fall behind on ARCs quite a bit, because I wasn’t reading as much as I hoped that I would. It was a crazy year as you guys know, so my mind was just elsewhere.

Continue to buy less books. 
I did very good with this goal, because I honestly hardly bought many books compared to most years. I think I bought around 30 books, not including e-books. You all know I probably went crazy with those e-book deals. 😛

Re-organize my bookshelves and my Goodreads shelves.
I don’t think I did this at all. I honestly just didn’t really have it in me to mess around with either of them. There was one point that I had to take all my books off my shelves because we were redoing the flooring, but I honestly just put them up almost exactly like they were before. I missed my opportunity haha.

Get rid of books I didn’t like or plan to read.
I did get rid of a ton of books at the beginning of the year. I took them to a used book store. I could probably go through my shelves again and get rid of more. For now I am pretty happy with where things are at.

Get back into bookstagram.
I attempted to get back on bookstagram, but that didn’t last very long. I posted 21 pictures in 2020 over on my bookstagram account “sociallyawkwardbookworm”. I wanted to post more and I was excited to, but then my motivation to do that just dropped and I wasn’t into it.

Focus more on my blog and new content.
As I previously said, it was a crazy year and I just didn’t have the motivation or drive to come up with new content for my blog or put very much focus into it like I really hoped. Seems like lack of motivation was a big theme for 2020 lol.

I hope to be around more in 2020!
I lost my job in December 2019, then covid hit shortly after, and the world changed so much, so my love for everything just dropped so much. I got insanely depressed and my mind was just not here anymore. I wasn’t around much on my blog or anywhere, honestly. It was a really sad year.

How did you do this year with your reading goals? How many books did you read in 2020? Feel free to link me to your posts!

I think I will end this post here. My next post will be my reading goals for 2021. You may see a repeat of a couple of these, but also a few new ones. I’m actually thinking about keeping it pretty short for this year, because I am still in this weird place and I just want 2021 to be as stress-free as possible. We’ll see what happens! I’ll catch up with your posts and reply to comments this weekend as I don’t work the weekends, so I’ll have some time to finally catch up! Feel free to link me to any posts that you REALLY want me to see ASAP and I’ll make those priority. 😀

In case you missed it;
Wrap Up|| December.
Book Haul|| December.
Happy New Year, 2021.

I hope you have a great day!

Blog Tour: Excerpt|| Pretending.

Hey!

I’m here to share with you an excerpt from Pretending by Holly Bourne! I’ll also have my own review of this book later in the day, so be on the look out for that!

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Pretending by Holly Bourne
On Sale Date: November 17, 2020
9780778331506, 0778331504
Trade Paperback
$17.99 USD
416 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In this hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel perfect for fans of Fleabag, a woman struggling to move on after a traumatic relationship pretends to be “the perfect girl” in an act of vengeance that goes awry when she finds herself emotionally compromised. He said he was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ which everyone knows is shorthand for ‘a woman who isn’t real’. April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry. Until she realizes that what men are really looking for is Gretel. Gretel is perfect – beautiful but low maintenance, sweet but never clingy, sexy but not a slut. She’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems. When April starts pretending to be Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?


EXCERPT:

I hate men.

There, I’ve said it. I know you’re not supposed to say it. We all pretend we don’t hate them; we all tell ourselves we don’t hate them. But I’m calling it. I’m standing here on this soapbox, and I’m saying it.

I. Hate. Men.

I mean, think about it. They’re just awful. I hate how selfish they are. How they take up so much space, assuming it’s always theirs to take. How they spread out their legs on public transport, like their balls need regular airing to stop them developing damp. I hate how they basically scent mark anywhere they enter to make it work for them. Putting on the music they want to listen to the moment they arrive at any house party, and always taking the nicest chair. How they touch your stuff instead of just looking; even tweak the furniture arrangement to make it most comfortable for them. All without asking first—never asking first.

I hate how they think their interests are more important than yours—even though twice a week all most of them do is watch a bunch of strangers kick a circle around a piece of lawn and sulk if the circle doesn’t go in the right place. And how bored they look if you ever try to introduce them to a film, a band, or even a freaking YouTube clip, before you’ve even pressed Play.

I hate their endless arrogance. I hate how they interrupt you and then apologize for it but carry on talking anyway. How they ask you a question but then check your answer afterward. I hate how they can never do one piece of housework without telling you about it. I hate how they literally cannot handle being driven in a car by a woman, even if they’re terrible drivers themselves. I hate how they all think they’re fucking incredible at grilling meat on barbecues. The sun comes out and man must light fire and not let woman anywhere near the meat. Dumping blackened bits of chicken onto our plates along with the whiff of a burp from their beer breath, acting all caveman, like we’re supposed to find it cute that we may now get salmonella and that we’re going to have to do all the washing up.

I hate how I’m quite scared of them. I hate the collective noise of them when they’re in a big group. The tribal wahey-ing, like they all swap their IQs for extra testosterone when they swarm together. How, if you’re sitting alone on an empty train, they always come and deliberately sit next to you en masse, and talk extra loudly about macho nonsense, apparently to impress you. I hate the way they look at you when you walk past—automatically judging your screwability the moment they see you. Telling you to smile if you dare look anything other than delighted about living with stuff like this constantly fucking happening to you. 

I hate how hard they are to love. How many of them actually, truly, think the way to your heart is sending you a selfie of them tugging themselves, hairy ball sack very much still in shot. I hate how they have sex. How they shove their fingers into you, thinking it’s going to achieve anything. Jabbing their unwashed hands into your dry vagina, prodding about like they’re checking for prostate cancer, then wondering why you now have BV and you still haven’t come. Have none of them read a sex manual? Seriously? None of them? And I hate how they hate you a little just after they’ve finished. How even the nice ones lie there with cold eyes, pretending to cuddle, but clearly desperate to get as far away from you as possible.

I hate how it’s never equal. How they expect you to do all the emotional labor and then get upset when you’re the more stressed-out one. I hate how they never understand you, no matter how hard they try, although, let’s be honest here, they never actually try that hard. And I hate how you’re always exhausting yourself trying to explain even the most basic of your rational emotional responses to their bored face.

I hate how every single last one of them has issues with their father.

And do you know what I hate most of all?

That despite this, despite all this disdain, I still fancy men. And I still want them to fancy me, to want me, to love me. I hate myself for how much I want them. Why do I still fancy men so much? What’s wrong with me? Why are they all so broken? Am I broken for still wanting to be with one, even after everything? I should be alone. That’s the only healthy way to be. BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE ALONE. I hate men, that’s the problem. GOD I HATE THEM SO MUCH—they’re so entitled and broken and lazy and wrong and…and…

Hang on…

My phone.

HE MESSAGED BACK!!!

WITH A KISS ON THE END!

Never mind.

Forget I said anything. It’s all good.

Excerpted from Pretending by Holly Bourne, Copyright © 2020 by Holly Bourne. Published by MIRA Books. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Holly Bourne is a bestselling UK-based YA and Adult Fiction author and is an Ambassador for Women’s Aid. In 2019, she was an Author of the Day at the London Book Fair, and was named by Elle Magazine’s weekly podcast as one of “Six Female Authors Changing the Conversation in 2019”. Pretending is her US debut.

BUY LINKS:
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Apple Books
Kobo
Google Books
Bookshop.org

SOCIAL LINKS:
Author website: https://hollybourne.co.uk/
Twitter: @holly_bourneYA
Instagram: @hollybourneya
Facebook: @Holly.BourneYA

I hope you have a great day!

Stuck…where do I go from here?

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“stop holding on, if it’s holding you back, then let it go; your grass will always be the greenest if you let it grow” 🌼🐝🌿


This is one of my favorite pictures that I’ve taken recently. You can find cool picture opportunities anywhere! Example: I took this photo in the garden section of Home Depot, lol. I’m going to do a series of picture posts; I have a ton of pictures to share. I went to upload them all into one post and it ended up being 60+ pictures, so I decided I’ll break it up into multiple posts instead. I’m going to start working on those this week, so that by next week I can start posting them.

Other than these posts, I’ve been feeling a little bit stuck in terms of my blog, my bookstagram, and essentially my life as well.  I am trying to get back into bookstagram, but I have no idea what kind of pictures to post and what theme I want to go for. When I first started my bookstagram I had so many ideas and I was having a lot of fun with it. I guess since I haven’t really been doing it consistently over the last couple years, I forgot and lost my creativity with that. With the blog, I’m not sure what kind of content I should post. It’s kind of frustrating!

I think when I start to feel uninspired is usually when I quit things and I don’t want to quit blogging! I actually really love it and love all the friends I’ve made and continue to make every day, but sometimes I feel like I’m boring everyone with the same content over and over again. You know, it’s not even just blogging and bookstagram. I have an online journal that I write about things happening in my life (it’s more of personal journal and I’ve been using it since I was in high school) and I really have nothing to write in my own personal journal either.

I think it has more to do with how I’ve been feeling about myself lately. I have all of these negative feelings (and thoughts) about myself over the last 3-4 months that I’ve never had before. It’s so weird experiencing this because I used to always think so highly of myself. Now I question whether that was even real or if I was pretending/lying to myself all my life. The end months of 2019 messed with my self-confidence and shattered who I thought I was. I only feel like a fraction of who I was before and that scares me! I want to get back to my old self, where I was always positive and always happy. I want to get out of this negative headspace. Some days I think I am finally out of it and then others I feel right back in there. Sigh.

I’ve been obsessed with this song “Hangnail” by Rationale. I feel like I relate to it a lot lately. I just feel down about myself and my life these days. Here’s the song if you’re interested: https://youtu.be/O9sTYRUkSHc

“I wish I had this poetic poise, an articulate finesse.
I’m too clumsy and the words escape me.
I’m hazy and any passing thought can displace me.”

I think this negative headspace; these thoughts and these feelings are pouring into everything in my life, including blogging. I think this is where so much of my “stuck” feeling comes from too. Maybe I can Google search some ideas for both bookstagram and my blog and see what I can come up with! I did bookmark an awesome blog post from Kelly from Another Book in the Wall about “how to blog when you haven’t read anything new“, so I may also go back and reference her post to get some ideas as well. Anything you guys want to see on my blog? It doesn’t have to be book related!


Here are my social media accounts if you’re interested in being friends outside of the amazing blogosphere. I usually post regularly on my personal Instagram account.

Goodreadsheyyitsashley_
Twitter: whoa_itsashley
Pinterestlalalaitsashley
Instagram: heyyitsashley – personal Instagram account
Bookstagram: foreverbookish_ – book Instagram account (underscore after “bookish”)

I will catch up with all of your posts and reply to comments later today or possibly tomorrow. I’m really hoping to try and get some reading in today. 🙂

In case you missed it;
Andy Reads|| Maybe Someday.
March TBR (Maybe).
Wrap Up|| February.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Random|| Life & Reading Update.

lifeupdate

Hey!

It’s been almost two weeks since my last update. I’ve been in a blogging slump, honestly. I’ve also been stuck in my head a little bit. So I’ve been trying to distract myself with reading, TV, games on my iPad, or recently the new Pokémon Sword game on Nintendo Switch. This year has been so weird for me and it’s kind of hard to explain. I guess maybe because there has been so many changes this year. A big one having moved four hours away from my family and not seeing them every single day.

I also feel like my anxiety has gotten so much worse too, which really sucks. I can’t really even tell people about it, because then I just get told I’m making a big deal or I need to “grow up” and to “stop being scared of the world”. 🙄 If it was that easy, then I would have stopped being this way a long time ago. It’s hard and it sucks. I feel lost and not very supported in my real life (outside of the blogging world). Dealing with things on your own is hard sometimes. Not having someone to talk to is hard sometimes. That’s why I get stuck in my head sometimes.

I don’t know if any of this made sense and I’m sorry if it didn’t. This has just been a really weird year for me and most of the time I just can’t put it into words. A lot of great things happened too, but I think my mental health took a hit this year. I’ve never experienced most of these feelings before or if I have, never as bad. It’s new and has been an adjustment, I guess. So I that’s why I’ve been distant around here and also in my real life. It’s been all about distracting myself this year, because if I don’t then I just constantly think about everything that bothers me and it makes me sad.

I decorated my house for Christmas, which I love. Here’s a couple pictures of the outside. Just did a couple touches of Christmas outside. I think we might put up some Christmas lights on our house. I really want to go all out Clark Griswold style, but I doubt that happens LOL. We also put up the Christmas tree too. I haven’t been able to take a good picture of it yet.


And here is a quick little reading update of what I read recently and what I may read next.

autoboyunhoneymooners

I recently finished reading Autoboyography and The Unhoneymooners both by Christina Lauren. By the way, I just realized that Christina Lauren is TWO PEOPLE! Anyway, I really enjoyed both of these books so much. I need to read more from Christina Lauren.

regrettingyouqueenofnothing

I think in my last reading update I said I was going to read Regretting You next, but I ended up reading The Unhoneymooners instead since it was a library book that was going to be returned soon. SOOO, I may be picking up Regretting You today. I am supposed to be getting my copy of The Queen of Nothing (I got the black Barnes & Noble edition) today or tomorrow, so I may also be picking that one up soon too. I’m actually scared to read The Queen of Nothing, because I really thought The Wicked King wasn’t that great. I guess we’ll see what happens!

Well, that’s all for this post. I just wanted to give a quick update on why I haven’t been around too much. I try to hop on to catch up with you guys at least once a week, so I will at some point this week. 🙂

In case you missed it;
Mini Review|| The Wives.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

5 Star Reads of 2018.

booksiread

Hey!

I thought it would be fun to do blog posts showing the books that I read throughout the year and what I rated them. This list is my five star reads and I’ll do other posts for my other star rating books as well. They are in the order that I read them, but I did group book series together. You can check out a list of all the books that I read in 2018 over here. All titles linked to Goodreads.

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (read twice)
*one of the two times was audiobook*
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

yournameimmortalreignhammerofthormemberofthefamily

your name. by Makoto Shinkai
Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes
The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
Member of the Family by Dianne Lake, Deborah Hermnan

infernoorphannumbereightturtlesallthewaydownemergencycontact

Inferno by Julie Kagawa (audiobook)
Orphan Number Eight by Kim van-Alkemade
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (audiobook)
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

theprinceandthedressmakergardenoffiendsfivepeopleyoumeetinheaventhenextperson

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Garden of Fiends by Various Authors
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (audiobook)
The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

ghostednotevenbonesSHADOWOFTHEFOXiwillfindyou

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh
Not Even Bones
by Rebecca Shaeffer
Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
I Will Find You by Joe Kenda

brightsidebernadettedown timewhatifitsus

Bright Side by Kim Holden (audiobook)
Where’d You Go, Bernadette
by Maria Semple
Down Time by Barry Lyga
What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera, Becky Albertalli

I tried to think of which ones would be my top five favorites out of them all, but I couldn’t narrow it down. It’s so hard to narrow it down, because they were all really amazing and I loved them so much. Of course that’s the reason why they got five stars! I got pretty lucky with reading some pretty amazing books last year. In the next couple days I will post my four stars rating books, so be on the lookout for that! 🙂

What books did you give five stars to in 2018? See any favorites on my list?

In case you missed it;
Thoughts|| The Wicked King.
Reading the Alphabet.
2018 Year in Books (Reading Stats).

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

December TBR.

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Hey!

The last two months I did really good with sticking to my monthly TBR created for each month (October & November), so I decided to go ahead and try one last time with a December TBR. There are so many books that I swore I would finally get to this year and sadly, I have not. I want to say I’ll try in December, but realistically that probably won’t happen because I have quite a few ARCs that I need to read. I created a reading challenge for next year to hopefully tackle those books that I swore I would finally read and didn’t. I’ll talk more about that and those books later at the end of the month or beginning of January.

As always, this may not end up being my final TBR or all the books that I end up reading. I have some books on hold at my library that I’ve been waiting FOREVER for, so if those get checked out to me then I will most likely read those first. Also, depends on my mood if I end up reading something else not listed. With that being said, here is my December TBR.

Physical Books:

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The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (ARC)
The Lonely Dead by April Henry (ARC)
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills (ARC)
The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson (Buddy Read)

I have quite a few ARCs as you can see that I need to try to get to this month, so I can get my reviews up. The Next Person You Meet in Heaven was already released, but the others are January releases. I am also going to be buddy reading The Extinction Trials with Avery (Red Rocket Panda), which I am stoked for!


E-Books:

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The Lost Sisters by Holly Black
The Wicked King by Holly Black (eARC)
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (library)
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli/Adam Silver (library)
My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff

I am so stoked for The Wicked King. I am hoping to have time to reread The Cruel Prince before I read the sequel, but if not, it’s alright. There’s also a few other e-books that I own that I hope/want to read, but I’m not going to list them in case I don’t get to them. These are pretty much my top priority right now as some are library books and I may have a couple other library books that get checked out to me later this month. I am actually currently reading What If It’s Us now and it’s so good. I am really enjoying it a lot. It’s so hard to put down!

What’s on your December TBR? Have you read any of the ones on mine? Feel free to link me to your posts if you have one.

In case you missed it;
Wrap Up|| November.
Book Haul|| November.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleychristmas

Random|| Picture & Reading Update.

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Hey!

This won’t have a ton of pictures like usual, because I haven’t really been taking very many pictures these days. But I do have a few of neat ones from the weekend and some pictures that I found on my old camera. Also a desk tour, because why not? lol. I am skipping my usual WWW Wednesday post, so I can post this instead. I’ll put a little reading update at the end of this post though. First though….food, as always. 😛

The hubby finished school last week and to celebrate we went out for pizza and fried ravioli at our new favorite Italian restaurant. I usually always get the BBQ chicken pizza and he usually always gets the buffalo chicken pizza. It’s so good and it passes the cold pizza test. Their fried ravioli is so freaking good, so we have to get it every single time we go. I’m already craving them again and it’s only been six days since I had them. 😛

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The Umbrella Sky Project was happening in Miami, so the hubby and I decided to go check it out. It original started in Portugal for an art festival, but then other cities around the world started to do it. Basically during the hot summer months they’ll string a bunch of umbrellas up as shade for people. They’ll be taking them down in September, so I wanted to go see it before that happens. It was really neat and pretty. A guy that lives over there told us that when they first put the umbrellas up they were a lot more colorful and brighter, but the colors started to fade. I still think they look really neat though. Below are some more pictures of it.

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I set up my desk area our apartment. I really like how it came out. I’ve been neglecting finishing up my school stuff (sigh), but I am hoping now that I have my desk all setup, it’ll motivate me to finally finish it. I’m kind of close to being finished with all the work. I am hoping to have it finish by the end of next month.

On the left I have some notebooks and school book, one basket with post-its and page flags, one with sharpie markers, desk organizer that just has random things in it that I need to clean out. A box that has note cards in it, because I have an obsession with buying all of Target’s dollar bin note cards. A cork board (and dry erase board behind it) that I need to hang up, a stack of books that I hope to read soon. A cat mug, some candles, a Stranger Things coaster, my butterbeer mug from Harry Potter World that is being used as a pencil/pen holder. Some paper clips (I have some others that are currently MIA right now and I am annoyed that I can’t find them), armadillo lamp, my laptop, my desktop computer, some random faux succulent plants, and my TARDIS Funko Pop. Hanging on the wall I have a Sherlock print, Supernatural print, and a Doctor Who print. At the time of this picture the hubby hung them up crooked but I have since fixed them because it was bugging me LOL. Under my desk I have some baskets with a bunch of miscellaneous things in them.

A couple random pictures. I took this picture the bird on the power lines awhile ago when I first got my Nikon D3400. I actually didn’t like that picture, but then I was going through my memory card again to delete pictures and I decided to transfer it to my phone anyway and I ended up really loving it, lol. I found my “whatever forever” bracelet and perfect timing, because I need to live this like I used to. I’m letting stresses of life affect me way too much lately and I hate it because I was never like this. I started to wear it every day again as I reminder.

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The sunset from Friday night. It was storming really bad, but once the storm was over the sky looked like this. I love the shades of orange. It was really pretty and I of course had to get a picture of it. I’ve said it a million times, I am sucker for the sunset.

I found my old digital camera that I bought back in 2016 for our California trip and there were still pictures from California on it. These four a pictures that I took when we went to Monterey Bay, California. Such a pretty town! I definitely want to go back to California again.

Random selfie from Friday. The picture on the right is Leaf and I watching Pocahontas. Funny story, so I was talking to Leaf (because I always talk to my furbabies, lol) and I was listing all the shows on Netflix that we should watch. Secretly hoping she would answer back and pick one, because you know…maybe cats can truly talk? 😛 Eventually she got bored with me and ran off, so I chose Pocahontas. Then she comes back and I say to her “oh, you came to watch Pocahontas with me! You’re in for a real treat.”, haha. Crazy cat lady….for damn sure.

Here is my mini reading update. I usually do a WWW Wednesday post on most Wednesdays, but I really wanted to post this little picture update, so I am including a mini WWW Wednesday down below.

Currently Reading: Ghosted by Rosie Walsh. So far it’s pretty interesting. I’m not too far into it, but I like it so far. It’s one of my most anticipated reads of the year, so I am hoping it’s amazing.

Recently Finished: #MurderTrending and Florida. #MurderTrending was so good! You can check out my review linked below. Florida was just okay. It wasn’t anything too exciting. It wasn’t what I expected it to be.

Reading Next: I am hoping to read All Your Perfects next! I am so stoked to read the new Colleen Hoover book. Hopefully I can start that at some point this week or definitely next week if not. I am EXCITED!

In case you missed it;
Thoughts|| #MurderTrending.
Travel|| Lake Placid, FL.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

WWW Wednesday #51.

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly MEME hosted by Taking on a World of Words. Simply answer the following questions. 🙂

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

*Goodreads linked below.


Hey!

My reading is all over the place. I’m reading (and listening) to so many books at one time, which I never do. I think I’m in a reading slump or heading that way, so I keep starting new books to see if one will grab my attention. I also have so many ARCs that I need to get to, but just haven’t been in the mood to dive into my stack. I don’t want to read them when I’m not in the mood for them, because I don’t want to risk not liking them because of that. I’ll have a post on all the ARCs and review books that I need to read, so I can start checking them off the list! Anyway though, onto what I have been reading recently.

Currently Reading:

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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
The Shadow Minds Journal by Kia Carrington-Russell

Also, Circe. But it’s unofficially on the list, because in reality I haven’t touched it in months and not sure when I will pick it up again. I’m listening to I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, I’ve had it on hold at my library for months and finally got it. I only have it for a few more days though, so I have to try to finish it this week. It’s good so far. I’ve been wanting to read Why We Broke Up for awhile now. I was looking at my bookshelf over the weekend and it was calling my name to finally read it, so I started that. It’s okay so far. I’m a little over halfway through it now and I am hoping it gets better. I’m not really a huge fan of the writing style and sometimes the conversations in the book make no sense at all. I was sent an e-ARC of The Shadow Minds Journal from the author for review. I’m about 16% into it and it’s alright so far.


Recently Finished:

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The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I finally read A Darker Shade of Magic…I wasn’t that impressed. I liked it, but it didn’t blow me away. I was pretty bored throughout the first half of the book. I’ll still give the series a second chance and pick up the sequel soon. I also read The Boy Who Could See Demons, which was really good. It deals with mental health and I really liked it. I flew through it, it was hard to put down.


Reading Next:

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#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil

I’m not entirely sure what I will be reading next. I’m reading so many at one time right now that I am going to try to focus on finishing those. I may try to read #MurderTrending soon since I got that ARC from Netgalley and it’s release date is early August. I have a few July ARCs I need to read too, so we’ll see what happens. I packed up the majority of my books (see below) and only kept like 30 or so out; including my ARCs that I need to read. So we’ll see what happens.

What are you currently reading? Recently finished? Reading next? Have you read any of these books? Feel free to link me to your posts, so I can check them out!

I have so much going on right now outside of the blogosphere and reading, so I don’t even know how much time I’ll have to read (or blog) the next month or two. I got the okay from my boss about moving and keeping my job, so we are heading to Lakeland at the end of August. We have a lot of things to do like get rid of things, start packing our stuff, paint our current apartment, and finding a new place to rent in Lakeland. There’s also a ton of little things that go into it too, like changing our address with the post office and changing it with other places too, getting power and water turned on over there, switching our internet/cable service to over there. SO MUCH TO DO AND NOT ENOUGH TIME! Hopefully once all of that is done and we’re settled, I’ll be on a lot more. I’ll catch up with your posts in the next day or two when I get some down time. 🙂

In case you missed it;
Book Tag||My Blog’s Name in Books.
Top Ten Tuesday|| Best Books I’ve Read in 2018 (So Far).
Random|| Picture Update.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Random|| Life Update.

lifeupdate

Hey!

So I think I am battling a reading slump, which totally sucks! I was flying through books this month. I was making pretty big progress with my June TBR (check it out here). I read seven books (most were graphic novels) and then finished another that I had started in May. That’s eight books I read at the beginning of this month and I read them so fast too and I think I burned myself out, to be honest. My current read Love, Hate, and Other Filters goes back to the library in SIX DAYS and I am not anywhere near to finishing it, because I haven’t been in the mood to read. I am really enjoying it too and that makes it worse, in my opinion.

I also have things happening in my life that are taking over brain space. My mind is elsewhere. I’ve even neglected finishing some school stuff, ugh. I have a lot of things that need to happen in such a short amount of time. I try to stay composed though and realistically, I probably brush off a lot of important things. If things don’t make me happy or things I don’t want to do, then I tend to ignore doing those things for as long as possible. I also have this mindset that whatever happens, happens. I mean, that’s a pretty good mindset…to an extent. It’s good for things that are not really in your control. What’s happening now was totally in my control…

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I am a huge procrastinator, not going to lie. Example: I’ve known I was going to be moving for probably almost a year now and I have done nothing to move the process along to make it go more smoothly. I have three months now and….I’m fucked? Everyday I procrastinate things and then things happen that are no longer in my control and my trusty (not full proof, by the way) motto pops into my head “whatever happens, happens”. So when I say my mind is elsewhere, it’s on what the heck am I going to do about moving?

Where? How? How much is this going to cost? Savings? What savings? Things come up and there goes the savings. What about all the crap the hubby and I own? We own so much damn stuff, ughhh. What happen to minimalism this year? I had plans to toss pretty much all our stuff this year… <— I put that idea to the side and decided i’d come back to it later the next day after thinking it. I have four animals, who’s going to rent to someone with three cats and a dog? I’m sure there is ways around this, but I get paranoid they’ll find out and then we’ll be screwed. BLEHHHH. Life.

What about work? I am socially awkward (hence my blog name) and I also have MAJOR social anxiety…so the fact that I have to talk to my boss about potentially moving away but still REALLY wanting to keep my job is freaking me the hell out. I have the type of job that I can do it from home if needed. I have panic attacks thinking about this. If he says no, then we have to stay here; in this expensive city that realistically we just can’t afford anymore. Or if my boss says no and we still move to the cheaper city that I really want to move to, what am I going to do about a job? I can’t talk to people. SOCIAL ANXIETY SUCKS. I can’t handle finding a new job. Even thinking this is a possibility is scary as hell!

So what do I do when I can’t handle things? I pretend this is all a non-existent thing in my life and go about my life; doing whatever it is that I want to do instead of what I NEED to do. Sometimes I like to think I work harder (maybe even better) under pressure or a deadline, because I literally have no other choice but to do the work now that there is no time to stall or that word again…procrastinate. That’s not a good way to go about life either, by the way. Everything is a lot easier when you give yourself time to actually do things instead of trying to do a million things in a short amount of time on top of your regular life stuff. It only drives you crazy.

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I honestly had no intentions of this post to turn out like this. I was actually going to tell you guys I was in a reading slump and then post pictures that I took while at the park with my sister a couple weeks ago. I am so tired of adulting. Not that I really do much of it aside from pay my bills on time. That’s probably the only thing I got right as far as this adult thing goes. Sometimes I buy vegetables. I think I rambled way too much and I think I needed to just vent this all somewhere.

Anyway, this is part of why I’ve been so MIA on here. It’s also what kick-started this reading slump. I have so many things I need to figure out. I also need to figure out how to get over my fear of talking to my boss, because I really need to do it ASAP. The sooner the better, especially because we need to do know if we’re staying or going. Enough of that though. Here’s a lens ball picture of me that my sister took. I was taking a picture of her taking a picture of me through the lens balls, lol.

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I’ll share all of my other pictures soon. I have some from when my sister and I went to a park. I also have some from when we visited our dad and we went to another park. And then a TON more from the last 2.5 months. I’m sorry if I continue to be a little less active for awhile. This post pretty much explains why and also what my life is going to be like the next few months trying to figure all of this out!

In case you missed it;
Book Tag|| Mid-Year Freak Out.
Thoughts|| Be Prepared.
Thoughts|| All Summer Long.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

 

Book Tag|| Mid-Year Freak Out.

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Hey!

I seen this tag over on Kelly’s (Another Book in the Wall) blog and decided to give it a go today. I usually do the mid-year freak out tag every year, so I am excited to do it once again!

1. Best Book You’ve Read This Year?

Definitely a tie between Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes and Inferno by Julie Kagawa. They are both series enders and OMG, they were amazing. The Falling Kingdoms and the Talon Saga forever hold pieces of my heart. They are my two favorite series of all-time now. I am so sad they are over, but holy crap were they everything I could ever hope for!

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2. Best Sequel You’ve Read in 2018?

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan. Rick Riordan is one of my favorite authors and he has not disappointed with the Magnus Chase series. The sequel was perfect and I can’t wait to read the next book.

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3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To?

SO. MANY. OMG. I’ll stick with books that I own and choose Puddin’ and Leah on the Offbeat. I bought those on their release dates and still haven’t had the chance to get to them yet. I am super stoked for them both.

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4. Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half Of The Year?

I am so stoked for Patrick Ness’ new book And the Ocean Was Our Sky. I need to own and read everything Ness writes, because he is amazing. I can’t wait to get my hands on his new book in September.

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5. Biggest Disappointment?

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp. I loved her first book so much and her new book sounded like it was going to be really good. It was a pretty big disappointment for me, because it was just way too weird for me and there were a lot of times where I was just beyond annoyed with everything happening. It also didn’t really make sense to me at times and left me more frustrated than anything. It wasn’t for me.

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6. Biggest Surprise?

I’m going to choose Turtles All the Way Down by John Green for this one. It was a big surprise, because I honestly went into this book thinking that I wasn’t going to like it. John Green’s books are usually a hit or miss and mostly a miss for me. I absolutely loved Turtles All the Way Down though and I was completely shocked that I did! It was so amazing and I already want to reread it again.

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7. Favorite New To You Or Debut Author?

Holly Black! I read The Cruel Prince and OMG it was amazing! I loved everything about it and I can’t wait to read her other books. I feel like I have been missing out!

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8. Newest Fictional Crush?

Prince Cardan from The Cruel Prince. I loved his character. He’s wicked, he’s cruel, but there is more to him than meets the eye.

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9. Newest Favorite Character?

Penny and Sam from Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi. They were such great characters and I love how they balanced each other out in the book. By the way, Emergency Contact was AMAZING. It was one of my highly anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint. Loved it.

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10. Book That Made You Cry?

your name. by Makoto Shinkai. HOLY CRAP, AMAZING. Also, the feels. So many feels. I was crying throughout, lol. So damn good though and the movie was even better.

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11. Book That Made You Happy?

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. This book was so damn cute and had me smiling like crazy. Also, Rishi…ahhh, he is also a new fictional crush. LOL 😛

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12. Favorite Book-To-Film Adaptation?

I just watched Every Day this week and the movie was so good. I loved the book by David Levithan so much when I read it back in 2015, so I was stoked when the movie came out. I can’t wait for third book in October.

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13. Favorite Post You Have Done This Year?

Honestly, I’m not really sure about this one. I guess one of my picture posts. I posted a few travel ones that were fun to write and share pictures. Linked below:

Travel|| Biscayne National Park.
Travel|| Butterfly World.


14. Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year?

I am going to go with beautiful covers for this one. I am a sucker for beautiful book covers. Isn’t everyone? 😛 My top three that I bought this year so far is Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi. I love these covers so much! I still need to read these books too, haha.

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15. What Books Do You Need To Read By The End of the Year?

Again, SO MANY! I want to try to read more of my older books that have been on my shelves the longest. I actually made a list at the beginning of the year of all the older books on my shelves that I want to read this year. A couple being Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.

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I have a picture post in the works, but currently I am a bit overwhelmed with it because the last one I did was two months ago. So I have a TON of pictures I want to post on my blog and I also have a ton of pictures I still need to go through. It might just have to be multiple posts, because two months of pictures is A LOT! I also have to catch up with your posts and comments. I’ve been MIA this week, because I haven’t really been in the mood to blog and I have some other things going on, so I’ve been busy. I also feel a cold coming on. Thanks to my sister for getting me sick, ugh. I  needed a little break. I’ll catch up soon! 🙂

In case you missed it;
Thoughts|| Be Prepared.
Thoughts|| All Summer Long.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Thoughts|| Be Prepared.

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Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: All Vera wants to do is fit in—but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera’s single mother can’t afford that sort of luxury, but there’s one summer camp in her price range—Russian summer camp. Vera is sure she’s found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the “cool girl” drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares!


I was sent a copy of Be Prepared from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Release date was April of this year (2018).

Be Prepared is a middle grade graphic novel. For it being middle grade, I really enjoyed it a lot. I’ve always wanted to go to summer camp as a kid, but never had the chance to experience it. Vera gets the chance to finally go to a summer camp like all her friends get to do every year. She’s already having a hard time fitting in at home, so when she gets the chance to go to a Russian summer camp she is really stoked about it, but it ends up not being like she expected it to be.

Be Prepared is sort of like a true story, because it’s about the author’s time at summer camp from the bits and pieces that she can remember and piece together. I thought that was really cool. She even included real letters from her and her brother’s time at camp. The story itself was great. I really enjoyed the characters and there were a lot of funny moments. In a way it was also a bit sad, because Vera is trying to find her place at camp and it’s not that easy at the beginning. She doesn’t have the easiest time as her brother did.

Overall, I really liked this story and the characters. I loved the illustrations. It was fun and even some life lessons mixed into it. It’s a great summer read, especially for the younger crowd. I’m way past middle grade years, but it was still enjoyable as an adult as well. I would definitely recommend checking it out, especially if you have little ones. I think they would enjoy it. My nephew is perfect age for this one, so I will be passing this one along to him.

In case you missed it;
Thoughts|| All Summer Long.
Photo A Day|| June 1-5.
June TBR {Maybe}.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Thoughts|| All Summer Long.

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All Summer Long by Hope Larson
4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Description: Thirteen-year-old Bina has a long summer ahead of her. She and her best friend, Austin, usually do everything together, but he’s off to soccer camp for a month, and he’s been acting kind of weird lately anyway. So it’s up to Bina to see how much fun she can have on her own. At first it’s a lot of guitar playing, boredom, and bad TV, but things look up when she finds an unlikely companion in Austin’s older sister, who enjoys music just as much as Bina. But then Austin comes home from camp, and he’s acting even weirder than when he left. How Bina and Austin rise above their growing pains and reestablish their friendship and respect for their differences makes for a touching and funny coming-of-age story.


I was sent a copy of All Summer Long from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Release date was May 1st of this year (2018)

I first want to point out that All Summer Long is a middle grade graphic novel. I don’t read a ton of middle grade books, but I do like reading them from time to time. I’ve been wanting to branch out to more graphic novels as well, so it was exciting that All Summer Long was a graphic novel. I really enjoyed this book and the illustrations were great. Bina’s best friend Austin went away to soccer camp so she has to figure out how she was going to spend her summer and how to have a fun summer without him. It’s a really quick read, but still such a fun book.

All Summer Long had me missing when I was a kid and had summer vacation from school. I really liked Bina and totally awesome that she plays guitar! I’ve always wanted to learn to play guitar. I love that she is so into music too, because I LOVE music. I could relate to her on that level and obsessing over my favorite bands. I was happy to see Bina bond with Austin’s sister, although at times I wasn’t his sister’s fan. There were a ton of fun (and funny) moments that happen throughout the story. Overall, I thought it was a quick, cute, and fun story. It’s perfect for summer. Even though it’s targeted for middle grade, I personally still thought it was a good book.

In case you  missed it;
Photo A Day|| June 1-5.
June TBR {Maybe}.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

June TBR {Maybe}.

junetbr

Hey!

I am so bad with sticking to TBR lists, but I decided to make one for this month because I have a pretty good idea about what I want to read this month. I’m dedicating this month to a lot of graphic novels and hopefully will also have time for some other books as well. I have quite a few graphic novels that I own that I finally want to read.

Graphic Novels:

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All Summer Long by Hope Larson
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
Maus Vol 1 & 2 by Art Spiegelman (2 to read)
Saga Vol 2, 3, 4, 5 by Brian K. Vaughan (4 to read)

I already read Saga Vol 2 & 3 yesterday and I am currently reading All Summer Long right now. I was able to get volumes 4 & 5 of Saga from the library, but I will eventually be buying my own copies. I love the series so far. I’m nervous about Wires and Nerve, because I didn’t really like the Lunar Chronicles all that much.

Other books if I have time:

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Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (Library)
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (Library)
Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (Library)
Circe by Madeline Miller

If I have some time this month, then I hope to read these four books and I also want to finish Circe as well. I still have the second half the book to read, but I ended up putting it on hold for now. I’m just not as into it as I thought I would be. I was able to get the e-books from my library, so hopefully I’ll get around to reading some of them before they get returned. The books on this list are books that I have been DYING to read, so I am hoping to get to at least a couple if not all.

This is a pretty big TBR, but I am hoping since I am reading a lot of graphic novels, I’ll be able to fly through them. I read Saga Vol 2 & 3 in one day and I probably could have read 4 & 5 yesterday as well if I hadn’t started something else. 😛 So we’ll see what happens!

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What’s on your June TBR? Have you read any of the ones on my list? Any that you think I should read ASAP?

I hope to catch up with your posts and reply to comments later today or tomorrow if I don’t have time today. 😀

In case you missed it;
Photo A Day|| May 25-31.
Wrap Up|| May.
Book Haul|| May.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Wrap Up|| May.

wrapup

Hey!

This month was actually a fantastic month for me as far as reading goes! I read so many books and listened to a few audiobooks as well. I think this has been my best month so far this year with the amount of books I read and listened to, which is exciting! I’ll get right into my May wrap up.

Here are the books that I read and listened to in May. You can find a full list of these books and the other books I read this year over here. All will be linked to Goodreads below and I will also link to individual blog posts if I did a review for them.

Physically Read Books:
These are the books that I read by myself (not audiobooks) throughout the month of May.

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Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff – 4 OUT OF 5 STARS –  Review.
I thought Airport, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over was really fun. It was also pretty fast paced, so I flew through it in just a few days. Feel free to check out my review for more.

Orphan Number Eight by Kim van Alkemade – 5 OUT OF 5 STARS
WHOA! Orphan Number Eight was such an amazing book and it was so emotional too! I loved everything about it. Before I even got halfway through it, I was telling my older sister that she needed to read it. Such a great (and sad) story.

Selp-Helf by Miranda Sings – 4 OUT OF 5 STARS
I am a big fan of Miranda Sings. I follow her YouTube channel and I really liked the show she had on Netflix. I personally think she’s funny. I know her character isn’t for everyone though. I really enjoyed her book Selp-Helf and thought it was fun to read and had a lot of funny moments.

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp – 2 OUT OF 5 STARS – Review.
Before I Let Go was okay. I think it’s one of those books that you either love it or you don’t and I sadly did not. It was so weird to me and a bit confusing at times, to be honest. I also got some We Were Liars vibes from it and I was one of those people that did not like We Were Liars. Feel free to check out my review for more.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi – 5 OUT OF 5 STARS
I’ve been debating on whether or not to do a review for Emergency Contact. I’m sure I will do one at some point. I loved everything about this book. It had great characters and it was pretty relatable. I had fun reading it and it was a little sad at times too. Lots of feels. It was one of my highly anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint.

Talking Pictures by Ransom Riggs – 4 OUT OF 5 STARS.
Talking Pictures was a really quick read, because it’s pretty much all pictures! I really liked it. It was so interesting seeing all the old photographs and reading about them and also coming up with my own stories in my head about the people in the photographs.


Audiobooks:
These are the books that I listened to the audio versions throughout the month of May.

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Inferno by Julie Kagawa – 5 OUT OF 5 STARS.
My heart. So many feels. So many tears. This series means everything to me. I’m so sad that it’s over, but I am so happy with the ending. Inferno was perfect and everything I hoped it would be (and more). The Talon Saga forever has a piece of my heart.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green –  5 OUT OF 5 STARS.
I loved everything about this book. The feels are real. I can’t count on one hand how many times I cried or felt so many strong emotions and feelings. I connected to the main character on so many different levels with certain things in my life and about me as a person. It’s been a rocky road with John Green’s books. I usually am not into his books and I went into this one thinking I was not going to like it, but I absolutely loved Turtles All the Way Down.

Umberland by Wendy Spinale – 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS.
Ozland by Wendy Spinale
Umberland is the second book in the Everland series. I loved Everland so much, so I was stoked to finally read the sequel. I enjoyed it so much! It was just as fun as Everland was. No star rating for Ozland yet, since I am still currently listening to it. I should have it done today though, so I am including it in my May wrap up. 😛 I’m a little over halfway through it and I really like it so far. This series as a whole has been great. I love the steampunk retellings.


Currently Reading Books:
These are the books that I started to read in the month of May, but didn’t get a chance to finish them yet.

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Circe by Madeline Miller

I was really hoping to have Circe finished before the end of this month, but it’s not happening. 😦 I still have 50% left to read. I really like Circe so far, but I’m not blown away by it like so many others seem to be. I still really like it and have a lot left to read, so who knows what may happen or how I’ll feel when I get to the second half.

What did you read in May? Have you read any of the books that in May? Feel free to link me to your wrap up posts, so I can check them out!

I should hopefully finally have time to catch up with your posts and reply to comments. It’s been a pretty busy week for me so far, but I should have a few downtime moments later today to play catch up! 😀

In case you missed it;
Book Haul|| May.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Book Haul|| May.

bookhaulyellow

Hey!

I have a pretty small book haul, which is kind of a good thing! My e-book haul on the other hand, that is a little big, lol. 😛 I’m just going to jump right into my haul! You can check out all the books I own over here. I updated my lists last week. There’s also links on that page to my Kindle books and my physical books. Anyway, here are the books that I got this month.

Books I Bought:

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Puddin’ by Julie Murphy
Maus I by Art Spiegelman
Maus II by Art Spiegelman

So happy that Puddin’ is finally out in the world! I have been dying to get my hands on it since I heard there are a Dumplin’ sequel. I wan’t wait to dive into it. I read Emergency Contact this month (which I may have a review coming up) and the MC talked about Maus and how it changed her life and made her want to be come a writer. So I looked it up and I ended up buying the graphic novels, so I can read them.


Books from Publishers & Authors:

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Fire & Bone by Rachel A Marks

I did an Instagram tour/giveaway for Fire & Bone, so the author sent me a copy so I could be apart of that. It sounds really good and I am stoked to read it.

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Not Even Bones by Rebecca Shaeffer (Netgalley)

I said I wouldn’t request any books on Netgalley for awhile, but when I read the description of Not Even Bones, I had to do it. It sounds so good and right up my alley. At first I actually didn’t request it, but when I was browsing Netgalley again it jumped out at me again, so I did it.


E-Books:

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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken
Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis

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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Wicked Like A Wildfire by Lana Popovic
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Words on Bathroom Walls by Julie Walton

So many of these e-books I have been waiting for them to go on sale and finally they did, so my e-book haul is pretty big! I am super stoked for every single one of them.

What books did you get in the month of May? Have you read any of the ones that I got? Feel free to link me to your haul posts if you have one!

I’ll have my wrap up posted in the next couple days. I am hoping to have Circe finished before then, but I’m not sure that will happen since I still have the half of the book to read. I didn’t get much reading done this weekend like I wanted to do.

In case you missed it;
Photo A Day|| 15-24.
Photo A Day|| May 7-14.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

 

Photo A Day|| 15-24.

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Hey!

I’ve been taking part in monthly photo a day challenges on my Instagram account (heyyitsashley) and I’ve been having a lot of fun with them (when I don’t fall behind on pictures). I figured I would also cross post them to my blog as well. I think for the purpose of blogging, I will post 3-6 per blog post that I do throughout the month. That way I am not spamming my blog with a million photo a day posts back to back. You can follow me on Instagram (linked above) if you want to see them daily though! Some of these pictures will be taken with my Nikon. There will also be some taken with my iPhone.

Days 15-24 of May.

I did end up skipping of the days, but not sure which one since I don’t number the days on my IG account. I’ll have one more post maybe first of June with the last of the pictures of the month if I do them.

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Instagram Caption: free donuts at work today 🍩🙌🏼 || photo a day • kind.
Camera:
iPhone X.

I can never pass up free donuts, especially chocolate frosted and sprinkle donuts! 😀 Donuts are always a good thing.


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Instagram Caption: photo a day • doors & windows…. well, just a window for my picture.
Camera:
iPhone X.

I had no idea what to post for this, because I haven’t been anywhere. I remembered I had this gem in my “favorites” folder on my phone that I hadn’t posted yet, so I chose to use this  minus the door. 😛 I took this in Lakeland.


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Instagram Caption: another california throwback; forever heart eyes. ♡ || photo a day • breathtaking.
Camera: 
I took this with a Sony digital camera I had (but I don’t remember what exactly since it was two years ago and I don’t think I still even have it).

I want to go back to California, ahhh. I know I said that last post too when I used one of my Cali pictures for that week. It’s so pretty. This is another picture from Monterey Bay, CA.


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Instagram Caption: i am about 20% into circe and i’m totally here for it; i love all things mythology. || photo a day • a good read.
Camera:
iPhone X.

Still currently reading Circe and I am now about 35% into it and it’s so good! I am really hoping to have this finished before the end of the month, so I can include it in my wrap up post. Since it’s going to rain all weekend (again), I’ll use that time to read read read!


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Instagram Caption: 🌻💛 || photo a day • creative.
Camera:
iPhone X.

I seen some more random street art in Downtown Hollywood. Kind of a funny story, but there is this parking garage that is completely painted with purples and pinks. My mom had to go to the bank next door to that parking garage and I looked into the parking garage and seen that the inside had different pictures painted inside. I seen a sunflower and needed a picture of it. I love sunflowers. So while my mom was at the ATM, I got out of the car, ran over to the parking garage, hopped over a little “wall” type thing, and snapped this picture. 😀


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Instagram Caption: 🐱🍂🖤 || photo a day • pet.
Camera:
Nikon D3400.

I couldn’t decide which picture of Leaf I loved more, so I ended up posting both for this day. I really love how they came out and she’s of course the cutest.

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Instagram Caption: throwback to that one day when it didn’t rain and now it’s been raining for two weeks straight. 😒 || photo a day • a really great day.
Camera:
Nikon D3400.

I had to use this picture for this day, because honestly…the days here haven’t been the greatest (see below). I also haven’t really been doing much lately. So I used a picture I hadn’t used yet when the weather was actually nice. It hasn’t been nice since. 😦

Random: It’s been raining and cloudy for over two weeks now and I am seriously so over it. I have been dying to take my new camera out (STILL) and this weather is continuing to make it so difficult! SO MUCH RAIN…SEE….flooded park near my house.

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I may have a review for Emergency Contact coming up and then next week I’ll have my May wrap and my book haul. I may also be doing a June TBR, because I think I am pretty set on what I would like to read next month. We’ll see!

In case you missed it;
Photo A Day|| May 7-14.
Thoughts|| Before I Let Go.

I hope you have a great day and weekend!

ashleyblack

Thoughts|| Before I Let Go.

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Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
2 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Description: Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return. Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger. Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter…


I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Release date was January 2nd, 2018.

I was really excited about Before I Let Go, because I really loved Marieke’s book “This Is Where It Ends“. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what to make of Before I Let Go. It was interesting at first, but then it started to get really weird and kind of not making too much sense. I couldn’t really figure out where Nijkamp was going with the story and I don’t know if that was a good thing or not. I guess for me it wasn’t. I wanted some kind of idea, but I had no clue. A lot of people will love that about this book and I usually do, but I was more frustrated than anything. I just wanted to know what the heck was going on and I felt like it took ages to get there.

It’s hard to really talk about without giving out spoilers. A plus about this book was that the chapters were really short, so it was really easy to read through it pretty quickly. Another weird thing about this story was the way that it was told. It was mostly in the main character’s point of view, but then randomly there will be a narrator telling the store. It was just thrown in randomly and it was in a weird format where it was kind of like a play script when the narrator was talking. It’s hard to explain, but it was weird to me. So I started to wonder if everything that was happening was real or not.

Overall, Before I Let Go was okay. I can see why a lot of people would like it, because of the mystery aspect of it and it did keep you guessing. It just wasn’t for me though and I was getting a little bit of We Were Liars vibes from it and I honestly did not like We Were Liars at all. This book might be for you though, so definitely check it out if it sounds interesting to you.

In case you  missed it;
WWW Wednesday #50.
Thoughts|| Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over.
New Camera.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Wrap Up|| April.

wrapup

Hey!

April gone already? What is happening to this year?! As far as life happenings, not much happened in April. It was a pretty chill month. I am happy that I managed to read five books and listened to one audiobook in April though. I honestly felt like I wasn’t going to be able to read that many with school (last Sunday I literally did ten straight hours of school work, ahh) and Netflix/Hulu taking over my life for awhile in April. Oh and the Harry Potter mobile game. I’ve been playing that almost non-stop. I’m in my second year at Hogwarts now. 😛

Onto the wrap up! Here are the books that I read and listened to in April. You can find a full list of these books and the other books I read this year over here. All will be linked to Goodreads below and I will also link to individual blog posts if I did a review for them.

Physically Read Books:
These are the books that I read by myself (not audiobooks) throughout the month of April.

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Huntress by Julie Hall 4 out of 5 stars – Review.
I really enjoyed though Huntress and thought it was really good. It has demons, angels, and demon hunters. Supernatural vibes! It was pretty fun to read. There were a few weird things about it, like all the religious vibes I got. Mostly some conversations between God (yes, God and Satan make appearances too) and the MC. A little too weird and preachy. Aside from that, I really liked and can’t wait to continue with the series. Feel free to check out my review for more.

Member of the Family by Dianne Lake – 5 out of 5 stars.
I love all things Charles Manson. I’ve always been interested in him and what went down with his family. Member of the Family is written by one of the girls that was a part of the family. It was such a great book.

Hot Mess by Emily Belden – 4 out of 5 stars – Review.
I really liked Hot Mess. It was fun and a little crazy/intense at times. It did slow down a little bit toward the second half of the book, but eventually picked up at the end. I was looking at other reviews of this book and it was actually the opposite for others that read it. They felt the second half was better. So it could have just been me. I still enjoyed it though and so much talk about FOOD! I was hungry about 90% of the time while reading this. Feel free to check out my review for more.

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore – 4 out of 5 stars.
The Radium Girls was a really good book, but it was also heartbreaking and horrifying as well. There were times where I was a little bored of it, but overall I really liked it. It’s about the girls that worked in the radium factories back in the twenties. I am glad I read this book. I still think about it today.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – 4 out of 5 stars.
Holy crap! Behind Closed Doors was crazy. I flew through this book in pretty much a single day. I couldn’t put it down. I can’t really mention much about this book, because this is a type of book that it’s hard not to spoil it. I wanted more from the ending, but overall it was so good.


Audiobooks:
These are the books that I listened to the audio versions throughout the month of April.

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Invictus by Ryan Graudin – 3 out of 5 stars – Review. 

While I did enjoy Invictus, it was hard for me to get into it. The beginning was pretty boring to me. I didn’t really connect with the characters as much as I had hoped I would. There were some interesting things that happened and some fun moments though. The second half was definitely a lot better than the first half. Feel free to check out my review for more.


Currently Reading Books:
These are the books that I started to read in the month of April, but didn’t get a chance to finish them yet.

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Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff
Orphan Number Eight by Kim van Alkemade

I am currently reading both Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over and Orphan Number Eight. I’m reading the first one for review, which I will have posted during the release week, which is this month. I’m really enjoying it. I have been wanting to read Orphan Number Eight for the longest time now and I finally am. So far it’s been pretty sad though!

What did you read in April? Have you read any of the books that in April? Feel free to link me to your wrap up posts, so I can check them out!

In case you missed it;
Top Ten Tuesday|| Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early.
Book Haul|| April.
Random|| Quick Update.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Top Ten Tuesday|| Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early.

TTT-Big2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl.

Books I’d Slay a Lion to Get Early.


Hey!

Honestly, this post was a lot harder to do than I originally thought it would be. I guess there isn’t a ton of books that I am willing to slay a lion for. 😛 I decided to go with five books that are not released yet and then five books that are already released that I really want to get my hands on. I’ve been trying really hard not to buy a ton of books, so there are quite a few out there now that I still haven’t gotten.

Five Not Released:

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The Wicked King by Holly Black
And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli/Adam Silvera
The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Five Already Released:

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Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
Love, Hate, & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

What are some books that you would slay or lion for? Do we have any similar one? Let me know and feel free to link me to your post if you have one!

In case you missed it;
Book Haul|| April.
Random|| Quick Update.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Book Haul|| April.

bookhaulyellow

Hey!

I can’t believe that it’s already time to share my April book haul! And……OMG I actually took pictures of my books for once! I think it helped that a few of them I had already taken pictures of previously as I got them. Others I just took a quick picture for blogging purposes, lol. I also didn’t get a ton of books this month like I did last month, so it was a lot easier (and quicker) to get pictures of them. My haul is smaller than some of my past hauls and honestly, I’m okay with that. I have so many books owned that I haven’t read yet….so adding a ton of books on that already ridiculous pile (realistically it’s more like a mountain) wouldn’t do me very good, haha.

You can check out all the books I own over here. I updated my lists last week. There’s also links on that page to my Kindle books and my physical books. Anyway, here are the books that I got this month.

Physical Books I Bought:

Eightysixed by Emily Belden
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan

Eightysixed, I loved this book so much but only ever owned the Kindle e-book. I was able to buy a personalized signed copy from the author, which was exciting! Of course I had to get Leah on the Offbeat, because I love the Simonverse so much. I can’t wait to read it. I seen Greek Heroes at Five Below for $5, so I couldn’t pass it up. There are so many cool illustrations in it and I can’t wait to read the stories.

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Circe by Madeline Miller
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

I decided to sign up for Book of the Month Club again, because I really wanted Circe and they had a coupon if you signed up you can get another book for free. I could have gotten Circe somewhere else, but since they had the free book promo code, I decided to get it through them. I recently seen that they had The Astonishing Color of After in a past box. I’ve been wanting that one for awhile now, so I got that as my free book. I kind of regret getting Circe through BOTM though, because I seen the regular cover is shiny/has shiny foil look to it and I really want that one!! I might buy it anyway and do a giveaway for my BOTM version.


Books from Publishers & Authors:

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Our Dark Stars by Audrey Grey
All Summer Long by Hope Larson
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

I was sent a copy of Our Dark Stars for review, which I am pretty excited to read. It sounds really good and the cover is gorgeous. I also got a package I wasn’t expecting from Macmillan/First Second Books with a couple graphic novels in it. Be Prepared and All Summer Long. I plan to read read them really soon and perfect with summer coming up. Lots of summer vibes from those two. I have a couple other graphic novels that I want to read ASAP too, so I may do a month of graphic novels really soon.

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#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil (Netgalley)

I like books about social media and I also like thriller/mysteries.  #MurderTrending sounded really good and like something I’ll enjoy, so I requested it on Netgalley. I actually forgot that I requested it though, so it was cool when I got the approval email.


E-Books:

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Warfare by Julie Hall
Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

I have a physical copy of Warfare, but since it was only $2.99 I decided to get the e-book too since sometimes it’s easier for me to read e-books more these days. During downtime I am able to easily pull out my Kindle or Kindle app on my phone. I don’t always like taking my physical books out, because I hate when they get messed up or when I forget them at work which has happened quite a few times! I was stoked to see Tyler Johnson Was Here on sale for $2.99, because I’ve been seeing it floating around in the blogosphere and social media a lot and it sounds good. I’ve been waiting to catch Ramona Blue on sale and finally it happened. It was on sale for $1.99, super excited to read it. I technically own a physical copy of Olivia Twist that I got for my birthday last month, but when I seen that it was on sale for $0.99, I decided to get the e-book too.

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The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen
A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa
The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan
Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin
The Great Passage by Shion Miura

I got these five e-books for free during World Book Day on Amazon. They all sounded really great. I also couldn’t pass up free! I’m trying to branch out to more non-YA books too. I LOVE YA so much, but I also want to try to read other books as well.

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I also got this Cruel Prince inspired candle from The Melting Library. I don’t have a ton of bookish candles, because I don’t really use candles. I had to have this one though. Not going to lie, I’m not a fan of the scent. 😦 At least it’ll look pretty on my bookshelf.

And that is my April book haul! Not a huge haul, but I am extremely stoked about this haul. Definitely one of my favorites this year. Feel free to link me to your book haul posts if you have one! I would love to check it out. 🙂 Let me know if you’ve read any of the books that I got this month too! In the next day or two I’ll have my April wrap up posted.

In case you missed it;
Random|| Quick Update.
Thoughts|| Hot Mess.
Book Tag|| 20 Questions.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Thoughts|| Hot Mess.

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Hot Mess by Emily Belden
4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Description: Twenty-something Allie Simon never imagined she’d fall for a recovering drug addict—but that was before she met Benji Zane, Chicago’s hottest up-and-coming chef, who’s known as much for his hard partying ways as for his unparalleled culinary skills. Six months into their relationship, the food and chemistry are out of this world, but the reality of living with a cooking wunderkind hasn’t exactly been all hearts and flowers.  Still, Allie’s convinced that her love is the key to fixing this talented man’s broken soul—so when Benji is offered his dream job as chef de cuisine for a new restaurant opening on Randolph Street, Chicago’s foodie hot spot, Allie agrees to invest her life savings in his future. But less than a month after she goes all in, Allie learns a heartbreaking lesson: addicts lie. Benji cracks under the pressure, relapses and disappears, bagging out not only on the restaurant, but on her, too. Left with nothing but a massive withdrawal slip and a restaurant that absolutely must open in a matter of weeks, Allie finds herself thrust into a world of luxury and greed, cutthroat business and sensory delight. Lost in the mess of it all, she can either crumble completely or fight like hell for the life she wants and the love she deserves.


I was sent a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I read Emily Belden’s first book Eighty-Sixed and really enjoyed it, so I was so excited when the publisher reached out to me and asked if I wanted to read and review Hot Mess!

Hot Mess was pretty fun to read and at times it got a little intense. I was sucked into right at the start. The story is told in Allie’s POV and I instantly liked her. Right from the start Benji seemed a little sketchy to me, but Allie was in love with him and willing to do whatever to make sure he never relapsed; even looking past all the red flags that were popping up and intense situations between them. I couldn’t believe she was willing to invest her life savings into Benji and the restaurant and of course it takes a turn for the worse. Now Allie is stuck trying to figure out the food business without him.

There were times in the story when it did slow down for me and was a bit hard to get through. It was probably around the time that Benji disappears after he relapsed. I felt like the pace slowed down and some things weren’t as exciting as before. I still really enjoyed it for the most part though and I loved all the funny conversations and things happening between Allie and some of the other characters. Allie grows throughout the book, which I love and she tried to push on with life even after Benji up and disappeared. It’s not at all an easy road for her.

Let’s talk food! Hot Mess is all about the food industry and restaurant business. I honestly don’t know that much about any of that (aside from watching all the cooking shows on Food Network :P), but it was interesting to learn about. AND ALL THE FOOD DESCRIPTIONS! I was hungry about 90% of the time as read this book. I wanted to climb in the book and just eat everything. Overall, I enjoyed Hot Mess so much. It was fun, a little crazy at times, but it had a mix of everything you could want in a contemporary. It did slow down a little bit for me, but I seen other reviews that actually thought the opposite, so maybe it was just me? I would recommend reading this book, especially if you love a good contemporary and FOOD!

In case you missed it;
Book Tag|| 20 Questions.
Random|| Picture Update.
Thoughts|| Invictus.

I hope you have a great Friday and weekend!

ashleyblack

Thoughts|| Invictus.

invictus

Invictus by Ryan Graudin
3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Description: Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.  But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.


I originally received Invictus from The Novl and from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I didn’t get around to finishing it last year (more later), but I decided to check out the audiobook from my library and finally finish it.

So why did I not finish it last year? Honestly, I just wasn’t in the mood for it. I started to get bored early on and decided I needed a break from it. I didn’t want to force myself to read it when I wasn’t in the mood for it, because it probably would have made me hate it. I set it down and it got lost in the pile. I finally finished it though, so at least there’s that.

Fast forward to this year and I finally finished Invictus! I am not entirely sure what to say in this review, so it may end up being a short one. As you can see, I gave it three out of five stars. The boredom still lingered at the beginning and at some parts throughout the book. I didn’t feel enough excitement. The second half of the book was a little better though and I did enjoy it. There’s a lot more going on and things to get a little excited for. I felt like I didn’t click with the characters as much as I hoped I would. They were likable, but my connection to them just wasn’t that strong. There were some “feels” moments and laugh out loud moments with them. Not enough for my liking though.

Overall, I did enjoy the second half of Invictus a lot more than the first half. While I didn’t love the characters in the story, I did like them. There were some fun moments and a couple interesting twists. I’m sad I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped I would, but I am still glad that I finally picked it up again. This was my first time reading a book by Ryan Graudin, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It wasn’t a bad story at all and I can see why so many people loved it.

Have you read Invictus? If so, what did you think?

In case you missed it;
WWW Wednesday #49.
Thoughts|| Huntress.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

WWW Wednesday #49.

wwwwednesdayflower

WWW Wednesday is a weekly MEME hosted by Taking on a World of Words. Simply answer the following questions. 🙂

The three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

*Goodreads linked below.


Hey!

Once again it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts. It’s so hard doing these lately, because I am not reading as much as usual; so they always end up looking exactly the same as previous weeks. I’ve been trying to fit in more reading, but school and regular life is happening too. I like the school work though, although the reading for school is a little boring. Haha. Here’s what I’ve been reading over the last couple of weeks.

Currently Reading:

invictus9781525811418.inddmemberofthefamily

Invictus by Ryan Graudin
Hot Mess by Emily Belden
Member of the Family by Dianne Lake

I’m reading three books…I know, it’s a lot. I actually don’t usually ever do this either! The most I read at one time is two. On the plus side, I am almost done with two of them. Invictus and I’ll have it finished today. Honestly, I’m not that impressed by it. It has it’s good moments, but I’m mostly bored with it. 😦 Part of why it took me forever to finish it, because I originally started it last year! I’ll have a review coming soon. I’m also reading Hot Mess, which I am really into it! I am almost finished with this one too. It’s really good and pretty crazy at times. I’ll have a review probably next week. I am also reading Member of the Family, which is written by one of the girls that was a part of the Charles Manson family. It’s about her life when she lived with him on the ranch. I’ve always been interested in everything about Charles Manson since I was younger (weird, I know, haha). I’m not that far into it, but so far it’s good.


Recently Finished:

huntress

Huntress by Julie Hall

I recently finished Huntress, which I thought it was really good. It’s about demons, angels, demon hunters. Supernatural vibes all around. It was a pretty fun read minus all the religious vibes. I guess it’s understandable (to some extent) because it is about angels and demons. There’s mention of God and Satan too being involved. Sometimes it just felt a little much. It was still enjoyable though. My review will be linked at the end of this post if you want to see more.


Reading Next:

ontheroadwarfare

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Warfare by Julie Hall

I am not really sure what I am going to read next, to be honest. I have so many choices of books, especially ARCs that I need to read for review. I’ll probably be picking up one of those. Not sure which one yet, I’ll keep you posted! I checked out the On the Road e-book from my library and I may give that one a chance. I’ve seen it mentioned in quite a few books I’ve read (most recently being Member of the Family (mentioned above)). I think I might finally get around to reading it since I’ve seen it mentioned once again. Warfare is also on my list of what I might read next. It’s the sequel to Huntress (mentioned above). Honestly though, it’s up in the air.

What are you currently reading? Recently finished? Reading next? Have you read any of these books? Feel free to link me to your posts, so I can check them out!

In case you missed it;
Thoughts|| Huntress.
Photo A Day|| April 1-4.
Wrap Up|| March.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleypink