April Book Review

This month’s reading included a ton of young adult contemporary novels as well as a couple “thrillers.” I was able to read 8 books this month which brings my yearly total to 18. Here are the books that I read this month. And as always, if you have any suggestions for me, be sure to leave a comment!

Unknown-1Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

This may be the one of the best books I’ve read so far this year*. And the best part is this author has a TON of other books for me to dig into! This book follows Lindsay who left her abusive husband years earlier. Fast forward ten years later when her ex-hubby, Andrews, gets out of jail (serving time for reckless driving and killing the other driver) and weird things start happening. They suspect it is Andrew trying to make her pay for leaving him years ago. The book kept me hooked the entire time and I’ll definitely be checking out other books by this author.

 

Never Never by Colleen HooverUnknown

Yupp, I read another Colleen Hoover book! This one she wrote with Tarryn Fisher. It was a super short read (one of the reasons why I wanted to read it) and was somewhat enjoyable. The book is told by alternating narrators, Silas and Charlie, who “wake up” in the middle of their day having no idea who they are or where they are. Helping each other, they both try to figure out who they are and why their memory got erased. It was a quick read and was decent enough. I didn’t connect to the characters like I have in other Colleen Hoover books but if you’re looking for a super quick read, this may be a winner.

24422492Never Never Part 2 by Colleen Hoover

The first book left on a cliffhanger (or really, it just ended) so of course I needed to read the second book. It picks right up where the first left off and you come to find out that Silas and Charlie’s memories are erased every 48 hours. They have been writing down notes for their “new” selves to remember and try to figure out what is happening to them. I finished this one in about 2 hours. Still enjoyable but still not connecting to the characters like I usually do. Yet right after I finished this book, I downloaded the third…

 

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…and finished it in about 2 hours as well. These weren’t the best books I’ve very read whatsoever. The whole premise was weird and even in book three, I still cared very little about the characters. If you like Colleen Hoover, I’d say check these ones out. Or if you’re in the mood for a super quick, easy read. Otherwise I’d say spend your reading time on something a wee bit better.

 

 

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

Unknown*I thought Never Let You Go was the best book I’ve read so far this year until I finished this one. The book starts with Will and Iris celebrating their seventh anniversary. The next morning, Will gets on a flight to Orlando. Fast forward a few hours later when Iris learns of a plane crash and finds out Will was on board. The kicker? The plane was headed to Seattle, not Orlando. Iris’ life begins to unravel when she realizes how little she knows about her husband and how he had been lying to her for years. There were tons of twists and turns and I gasped out loud at least twice. I also stayed up until 1030 to finish it and if you know me, something has to be really good for me to stay up past by bedtime. I am hoping this author has more books!

 

First & Then by Emma Mills

{84C2BFC3-6FBC-49DE-83DA-01DF25C289BF}Img400The old saying goes, “never judge a book by it’s cover.” Oops. I did with this one. The cover of this book is BEAUTIFUL! I saw it at Barnes and Noble forever ago, took a picture of it, and added it to my E-libary wish list. It took a couple of chapters to get into but I ended up enjoying it. Devon’s family takes in her cousin Foster after his father dies and his mother is unable to care for him. He is different and Devon is extremely protective and worried he won’t fit in. Foster ends up finding his place on the football team of all places and Devon continues to figure out her new life, with her new cousin and new relationships. Overall, an easy read. Somewhat predictable but really, aren’t all YA books?

Steering the Stars by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

51+kqM9m-HL._SY300_This book was super cute! It follows two best friends, Hannah and Caroline, and is told from their points of view in alternating chapters. Hannah is a writer and gets an opportunity to spend a year abroad in London at a prestigious school where she can work on her craft. That leaves Caroline in Oklahoma, where she has to navigate her junior year without her best friend. I really enjoyed both characters, as well as all the secondary characters. I read this one in less than 24 hours… because it was super easy and also because I enjoyed it. I sometimes am disappointed when books end because I want to stay with the characters a little longer and find out what happens, and this is one of those books. I would love for there to be a sequel.

 

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

{4EC78560-15E3-4EF2-8432-047F1705B873}Img400Okay, so I only read about 25% of this book in April. I had checked it out several weeks ago but in the middle of reading it, my loan period ended so it was deleted from my Kindle. There was no way I was going to buy the book when I was almost done with it, so back on the waiting list I went. Jessie moves to Los Angeles after her mother dies and her dad meets someone new. LA is totally different from her life in Chicago and the book follows her trying to navigate her new surroundings. Insert SN, an anonymous boy who begins emailing (and then texting) Jessie. There are several people who you think could be SN, but you don’t find out until the very last chapter. This one was a typical YA book, so of course I enjoyed it.

I am currently in the middle of Cancel the Wedding. You’ll have to come back next month for that review. Happy reading!

What’s Up Wednesday

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I am linking up again with Mix and Match Mama for What’s Up Wednesday. I haven’t been posting a whole lot lately so this post falls at a perfect time to cover all the bases of what I’ve been up to.

What I’m eating this week:

I am never eating anything too special. I don’t really cook full-on meals because of my current kitchen situation. Let’s just say that I am excited for a new apartment in July. Until then, it’s pretty easy meals. I did want to share two of my favorite Los Angeles restaurants so if you’re in the area, check them out!

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Home: There are two locations but I prefer the one in Los Feliz simply because of the outside seating area. It’s whimsical! I’ve only eaten here for brunch and but they have lunch/dinner options, too. Come early because it gets crowded!

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Panini Cafe: This is Michael’s favorite (thanks Kelley for the recommendation) and I’ve started to love it too for their breakfast options. I always get a breakfast wrap with fruit. Very filling and very yummy! The patio area at all locations are great for people watching, too.

What I’m reminiscing about:

It’s weird to think that I’ve almost been back in California for a year. I don’t know at what point I’ll stop describing me living here as being “back.” This time last year though I was finishing up the school year and packing up my apartment. I hate to admit that I was mentally checked out at work, but I definitely was. I was just counting down the days until I was done with my old school and was back home. Fast forward about 365 days later, and I am oh so much happier in every single way.

What I’m loving:

I am loving the spring weather! I’ve been spending a lot of time outside. Michael and I went hiking last weekend and checked out the LA Times Festival of Books at USC, where we ate lunch and read outside for a bit. My new school is all indoors so I don’t get to enjoy the weather during the day, but make sure to do a wog (walk/jog because let’s be honest, I don’t run) a few days a week after work. The picture below is the view on one of my walks this week. I love finding hidden gems like this one. The time change also helps and I love that it stays lighter later. Ask me in about 3 months if I’m loving the weather and I’ll probably say it’s too hot. I am enjoying it for now though!

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What I’ve been up to:

Most days seem like Groundhogs Day: wake up, traffic, work, traffic, work out, make dinner, watch tv, read, sleep, and repeat. With the events (aka stress) of the last month or so though, I will take Groundhogs Day!

What I’m dreading:

I don’t really think there is anything that I’m really dreading at the moment.

What I’m working on:

I am working on some (potential) travel plans! I have a few trips coming up (roomies, we need to start planning for our next Roomie Weekend) and I think I can talk Michael into a weekend trip to somewhere like Santa Barbara or San Diego. I’m also hoping to take a bigger trip over Winter Break. I have three weeks off so it would be the perfect time. I am throwing out ideas to Michael and the latest thought was Costa Rica. I went in high school and loved it. I remember it being really affordable too, and I’m not against traveling to places I’ve already been. I’ll probably look into some other Central/South America destinations. Europe is at the very top of my list, but I’ll save that until I have plentyyyy of time to see it all.

What I’m excited about:

SUMMER! With Spring Break behind me, I am now looking forward to summer. We have 7 weeks off, but I will be doing summer school for a majority of it so 7 weeks off turns into 3 weeks off. I know I shouldn’t complain; teachers get time off/holidays off/breaks during the year, but teaching is a hard gig and I look forward to my time off! But I also can’t complain about summer school either– I basically make a full days pay for only half a days work. My three weeks off will be spent relaxing, traveling to Washington D.C., and hanging with my bestie when she visits. Whitney hasn’t booked her flight yet, but it’s been discussed so I am counting it as a done deal 🙂

What I’m watching/reading:

I am, of course, watching my usual shows. Pretty Little Liars started back up again and I am anxious to see how it ends. Married at First Sight is back on and The Bachelorette is also back next month! And not long after that, Bachelor in Paradise!

During break, I binged on 13 Reasons Why. I thought it was really well done and definitely worth a watch. It’s way heavier than I thought it would be though. I read the book years ago and definitely didn’t remember most of what happened. Some of the scenes are really graphic and I wanted it to have a happy ending (spoiler: it doesn’t) but still enjoyed it and found myself rooting for (some of) the characters even though I knew how it would end. If you need a new show, check it out. And then find something happy to watch after!

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As for reading, I am currently one book 9 for April with Cancel the Wedding. Not sure if I will be done with it by the time by April Book Review post is up, but at the speed I read, it’s pretty likely.

What I’m listening to:

I heard two really good songs while watching 13 Reasons Why:

The Only Boy Awake by Meadows

The Night We Met by Lord Huron

And I also heard this one during the movie, Gifted (highly recommend!). I know it’s old but I’d never heard it before:

The Wind by Cat Stevens (the video I found for this one is super weird…)

What I’m wearing:

If you are a reader like me and want to share your love of books, check out these t-shirts from Book Shelf Tees. I found the online store via Instagram and fell in love with the adorable prints. I’ve ordered one shirt and have sent another as a gift. And you’re in luck because right now, everything in the shop is 20% off with the code MOTHERSDAY.

What I’m doing this weekend:

I will be enjoying an after-work hike and happy hour with co-workers on Friday followed by spin class the next morning. On Sunday, Michael and I will go out to Corona for a birthday lunch for my grandma and to meet a new member of the family (stay tuned for that post soon!). I’m not sure what the plans are for Saturday. We haven’t been to Disneyland for awhile so that will probably happen soon and we also have a Groupon for The Museum of Tolerance that we need to use at some point. And of course, some work because lesson plans and grading never seem to end.

What I’m looking forward to next month:

There are no special plans for May yet, but it’s just that much closer to summer!

What else is new:

That’s about it!

Happy World Book Day!

Happy World Book Day! If you know me in real life or have just been reading my blog, it should come as no secret that I love to read. When someone asks me what my hobbies are, reading is always the first response. It’s always been like this. I remember in high school, freshman year, a new friend was walking with me to class and asked what I did for fun. My response? I like to read. Right after I said it I realized it probably made me sound like the biggest nerd and thought maybe I should have come up with a better answer. Fifteen years later, I’m no longer concerned with being a book-nerd.

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I think I love reading so much because of all the people you get to meet and the places you get to go, too. I realize it sounds really cheesy but characters as people I get to meet. I connect with some, don’t connect with others, experience happiness, tragedy, and all other things with them. And the settings of each of these books are places that I get to travel to and live in for hours, days, weeks… however long I am with these characters. I never understood when people say that they don’t like to read. It makes me sad that they are missing out on meeting so many wonderful (or maybe horrible) people and experiencing life in all kids of settings.

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Yesterday, Michael and I spent the afternoon at the LA Times Festival of Books. It was different than what I expected, but still really cool to see hundreds (I am bad at estimating) of booths and thousands of people there with one thing in common– books!

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If this wasn’t $15, it would have come home with me!

 

 

And now its Sunday afternoon and the work week is looming. It was a really low-key and enjoyable weekend… we caught up on Survivor, I read a whole lot, we both did work, and today was spent outside again, hiking to Griffith Observatory. Hope y’all have a wonderful week and the countdown towards next weekend starts… now!

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March Book Review

It’s book time again! I usually finish every book I start; I hate stopping in the middle. I started a few this month that I just didn’t get into. My fellow book lover, Tricia, told me why finish it if I’m not enjoying it? There are far too many books to read to waste time on something you don’t enjoy! Here are the ones that I did finish, along with one that I *almost* finished.

The Widow by Fiona Barton Unknown-1

I read this one at the beginning of the month and weeks later, I honestly can’t give you a synopsis without looking at Amazon. I do know that I whizzed right through it because it was good! If you like a good thriller like Gone Girl or Girl on the Train, definitely look for this one at your library.

 

 

 

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All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this one. Nicki goes back to her small town when her brother calls her, asking for help with her dad who is in a home. The reader comes to learn that Corinne, her best friend went missing after the city’s carnival about 10 years earlier. While in town, another young girl goes missing and Nicki gets invested in the case because of the similarities to her friend’s disappearance. I really enjoyed this one despite sometimes being confused with the format of the book. The events move backwards so keeping all that straight in your head can get a bit confusing at times. And while I liked this one, my mom wasn’t able to finish it.

Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Unknown-3.jpegI love Colleen Hoover and I’ve enjoyed every one of her books (It Ends with Us and November 11 are my favorites). This one was enjoyable but definitely did not go to the top of my Colleen Hoover list. Maybe what I enjoy most about her books is how quick and easy they are. I am drawn in, get invested in the characters, and stay up a little later than I should to finish reading. Slammed follows Layken who moves back to Michigan with her mom and brother after her father dies. She becomes close with her neighbor, Will, and starts seeing herself liking Michigan but then learns that they can’t be together (for a reason I won’t spoil). She is also struggling with the thought of her mom dating again but finds out her mom is going through something much bigger. There are two more books in this series that I will probably read at some point, mostly because I’ve read all of her other books and need something to tie me over until a new book comes out!

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

Unknown-2I’m not usually an audiobook kind of gal. I always find my thoughts drifting and then end up needing to skip back 30 seconds and then another 30 second and then another 30 seconds until I am basically listening to the book twice.  The Kindle book was on hold, but the audiobook was available so I gave it a whirl. I loved it! It definitely made my commute much more enjoyable and I loved that Lauren was the narrator. My favorite chapters were the ones where she talks about Gilmore Girls, season by season. She explains her favorite parts of each season and gives commentary on her hair/wardrobe choices, as well as giving insight in to what was happening with her personally during the making of the show. If you enjoy Gilmore Girls, check this one out. I am not sure I would read the book, but the audio version was perfect.

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I belong to two e-librarys (Phoenix and Corona) so that I can maximize the books that are Unknownavailable to me. Things that may be on hold in Phoenix’s library for months may be available in Corona’s and vice versa. This was one that I was surprised to see available. Of course, it’s another YA book but you know why I love YA– it’s easy peasy! I liked this one… I got a little tired of the narrator and wanted to shake her at times but then I felt bad because her actions/behavior were based on horrific things that happened in her past. Essentially, Melody and Rider are in a pretty abusive foster home together as kids. Fast forward several years when both have found better living situations, Melody goes back to public school and finds out that Rider goes there and is in her speech class. I’d recommend if you like YA books.

The Book of Joy: Finding Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

51VaMOqmsjLI am trying to read more non-fiction but unfortunately, this was the one that I didn’t finish. I liked the entire premise of this book but I found most chapters to be extremely repetitive. They discussed “Ubuntu” on several occasions in the portion that I did read which made me smile. Whether they were talking about joy, how to remain joyful, the things that can get in the way, etc… it all came back to thinking about others. Perhaps I will finish this at some point but, like I said, it was a little repetitive for me.

 

 

I’m already flying through my first book for April! Anything you recommend?

Read, Read, Read!

Happy Read Across America Day! This day, celebrated annually on March 2nd– Dr. Seuss’ birthday, urges us to read, read, read. I don’t teach elementary school (though some days it seems like it!), so we don’t have anything special planned but I do my best, on a daily basis, to encourage my students to ALWAYS be reading. Be sure to celebrate Read Across America Day by spending a few minutes with your favorite books!

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February Book Review

I was able to finish 5 books since my last book review post! I haven’t picked up a book in the last week so hopefully I can get back to it and read a few more this next month.

 

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper    unknown-2

I read this one with my 6th grade book club members (we are three members strong, including me!). The book follows Melody who is in a wheelchair and is non-verbal because she has Cerebral Palsy. She has all these words and thoughts in her head but no way to express them… until she gets her speaking device! This one struck really close to home because Melody reminded me of Erin in a lot of ways (the best being her personality). It broke my heart to see how other students treated Melody, but I love that the story gave a voice (literally) to someone that people need to and should hear from.

Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson 

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I’ve read other books by Matson and enjoyed them so knew I needed to add this one to my list. It was a predictable young adult read that I looked forward to picking up again every time I had to put it down. The book follows Andie whose summer plans change drastically and what starts out as a disappointing summer turns into a summer that she needed. I really enjoyed the friendship between Andie and her besties. Like I said, totally predictable but thats why I love YA books– they are easy peasy and enjoyable to read!

 

 

Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlinounknown

I had been on the waiting list for the e-book for what seemed like months and it was well worth the wait. Before We Were Strangers follows two people who used to be in a relationship who randomly spot each other at a subway station. Most of the book takes place in the past where were learn about where they met and what led them to, 15 years later, being strangers. While it was kind of predictable, woven in the story were some pretty unpredictable developments. I love a good rom-com and this reminds me of a book that would make the perfect transition to film.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

unknown-3I read this one in about 3 hours. I also texted my mom and bestie, Whitney, during these three hours and told them either how much I was enjoying the book or how much I think they need to read it. This memoir is broken up into two parts: the story of how Paul came to be a neurosurgeon and the story of how Paul dealt with his cancer diagnosis. I throughly enjoyed his stories of being a surgeon and even more, I enjoyed reading about his insights on death. While that doesn’t sound like a fun topic, it really made you think. This wasn’t a light read whatsoever, and the epilogue comes sooner than it should because of Paul’s passing, but overall, if someone were to ask me how to describe the book in one word I’d say “beautiful.”

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley 26245850

This one has been on the best seller list forever and has been sitting on my shelf unread for awhile too (Barnes and Noble had it mis-marked for 50% off! And plus my mom’s 10% off member discount, I needed to scoop it up!). In the opening chapter, you are introduced several people who are boarding a private plane from Martha’s Vineyard to New York. Sixteen minutes after take off, the plane crashes. The rest of the book explores the stories of each of the people before the crash and follows the two survivors after the crash. There are a lot of characters and a lot of information you have to sift through, but I really enjoyed this book. The whole concept is fascinating (and terrifying). You do find out why the plane crashed and while I didn’t really like the reason, it wasn’t one that you could guess from the first few chapters.

Anything I should add to my March reading list?