Friday, January 29, 2016

Weekly Rewind 1.30.16

Friday, January 29, 2016 7:18 PM with 5 comments
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Weekly Rewind
The new books on my shelves and my week in a nutshell.

Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves.

My Life and Blog

Life: As I discussed last week, I currently live in the DC area. We got SO much snow last weekend, but luckily I never lost electricity and had stocked my cabinets and fridge before the storm started so I really just had to wait it out. My car was stuck in the garage until Wednesday because the poor plow men and women just had so much snow to get rid of (and nowhere to put it), so it took them awhile to get to the alleys. Thankfully school was cancelled for the week, though, so I really didn't have anywhere to go. I'm kicking myself for not waking up on Friday morning before the snow hit and just driving home to PA, but I just didn't have anyway of knowing when school would resume or how the roads would be in the 4 hour stretch between my apartment and my house would be. School was cancelled chunks at a time, too, not just: school will be out next week, so I didn't want to be stuck trying to get back last minute. Oh, well. Hindsight is 20/20. It would have been awesome to have an extra week with my husband, but is was nice to just have a week of taking it easy on my own, too. School is resuming on Monday, but I had already requested off next Friday the 5th and the following Monday the 8th so I could have a four-weekend to go home for my birthday (which is next Saturday). So for the next three weeks will all be four-day weeks for me, which is pretty awesome.

 
It was still snowing when I took these pictures and the car with the windshield wipers up is a SUV.


Blog and reading: I was pretty productive on the blog this week. I posted a TTT for freebie week focusing on my favorite female-driven comedies, a WoW, and debuted a new feature called The Grass is Always Greener where I compare US covers to their (superior) foreign counterparts. I didn't get nearly as much reading done with the unexpected vacation, however. I did reread the six books that make up the Scott Pilgrim series and finished American Housewife. I started Blackhearts and am about 50% of the way through. I also started Save the Cat Goes to the Movies and A Darker Shade of Magic (which I have literally owned since the week it came out almost a year ago). I really want to get through it before the sequel releases. I already have A Gathering of Shadows on hold at the library and have no explanation for why I haven't started it. I LOVED Vicious. Loved it. I think part of it just has to do with my reluctance to read series right now. I'm just kind of over them. I'm DNFing the audio I have now and plan to start 11/22/63 on Monday when my commute starts back up. Finally, I just snagged the book Pull today which is one that I've been so excited to read, so chances that I start that this weekend is extremely high.

New books: I have some pretties to share this week. So without further ado, I hope you are all having fabulous weekends!

For Review

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Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Like I said above, I'm about halfway through this. I'm enjoying it, but it's not one of those I-can't-put-this-down books for me. While I like that this is about Blackbeard before he became Blackbeard...I also kind of wanted pirate hijinks.
Pull by Anne Riley
I'm so excited for this book about a girl who joins a group of crime fighters with the ability to rewind a finite amount of time to stop crimes from happening. I adore this cover, too.
Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
After the death of her parents, the king and queen, are brutally murdered a princess hides in a tower until escaping with an archer...and then stuff happens. I didn't read the synopsis before snagging this because of that cover. If I'm completely honest, I'm pretty over royalty in fantasy books, but I have heard great things about this one so hopefully it will be the exception.

What I bought

Library Sale Haul for $4


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
I've heard this adorable. Have you read this one?
11/22/63 by Stephen King
I wasn't planning on reading this one, but I saw the trailer for the new Hulu mini-series based on it and it looks pretty good. I actually had this on order at the library, but they only had the hb which weighed a trillion pounds. I hate reading super thick books in hb, so I was happy when I saw the trade PB at the sale.
Cure CD, Galore, which has one of my all-time favorite songs: pictures of you

What I snagged from the library

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Books:
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
I have the arc, but didn't get to it in time, so I decided to snag the final copy.
This is actually the book that is most holding my attention right now. While I'm not likely to write a screenplay anytime soon, it has helped me really think about the story I've been wanting to write and I love the way the book shows the different genres of movies, but shows how they all use the same structure. It's fun.
Audio:
11/22/63 by Stephen King
I also snagged this on audio. For particularly large books, I like to "double-team" by listening to the audio during my commute as well as reading.
Movie:
The Intern
This looks pretty schlocky. Has anybody seen this? Is it worth watching? I'm fine with "feel good", but not looking for super cheesy...

That's all for me. Hope you're all having fabulous weekends!




Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Grass is Always Greener (Episode 1) Uprooted

Thursday, January 28, 2016 12:05 AM with 7 comments
The Grass is Always Greener

Is there anything worse than seeing a drop-dead beautiful cover only to find out that it is from another country? (Ok, yes, there are way worse things, but can we all agree that it is at least a little heartbreaking?) Like my Why, Publishers, Why?! posts this won't be a weekly feature, but every once in awhile I'm going to be focusing on beautiful covers I covet but can't have because I don't have the money I spend on books as it is, let alone books from other countries that come with international shipping charges (yet...I will be rich someday...right?).


Today's focus: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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I don't hate the US cover (left or first, I guess, depending on the size of the screen you're viewing this one). In do, in fact, quite like it. I love the font used, the tree with the branches spreading throughout the cover, and the fact that the pictures are in the windows of the towers. It's a lovely cover. It just cannot compare, in my opinion, to the awesomeness that is the UK edition (middle or second). I'm seriously in love with this cover and have been since I first laid eyes on it and jealously sunk in. I love everything about this UK cover, but I especially love the way the one house is in the long shadow of the tower. This may be one international edition I eventually find a way to own. To make things even more interesting, look at the PB edition that comes out in the UK this May (right or third). I wants this version as well!

Like always, I'd love to hear from you! Which cover is your favorite?


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (135) Vassa in the Night

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 11:58 PM with 10 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.


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Vassa in the Night

Author: Sarah Porter
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 20, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yaga, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair. . . .

Inspired by the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful and Sarah Porter’s years of experience teaching creative writing to New York City students, Vassa in the Night weaves a dark yet hopeful tale about a young girl’s search for home, love, and belonging.


Why I'm excited:
With the recent cover reveal, I'm going to guess this one is going to be fairly popular this week, but I just couldn't resist because what a cover this is. So pretty! I never really got into Russian fairytales, so while I know about Vassilissa the Beautiful, I don't know, like, ALL about her. I love a new look at an old story, though, so I'm looking forward to this one.

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up!

Hey lovely GFC and new followers, please follow me by Bloglovin. (I like to follow back, so please let me know if you're a new follower--and leave a link!) Thank you!!!
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme/original feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click the link to go to their site to see the original list for today, plus links to a whole slew of other blogs...After you read mine, of course.




The top ten favorite female driven comedies

There are very few genres of movies I like more than a female-driven comedy. For this freebie week I've decided to focus on a few favorites.

Mean Girls

As most of you know, I'm sure, the incomparable Tina Fey wrote the script based on the nonfiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes (which is actually a great book if you are a teenage girl, mother, or teacher). Favorite line:

 

Clueless

I clearly remember going to the theater to see this with two of my girlfriends, and then quoting it for about a solid year afterwards. Favorite line:


Legally Blonde

I've always been a huge fan of Reece Witherspoon and I love that this movie showcases her comedy chops. Favorite line in response to "You got into Harvard Law?":

 

Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids isn't the first raunchy female driven comedy, but it is certainly one of the more popular ones. The chemistry between Kristen Wiig and Mya Rudolph drive this comedy, while Melissa McCarthy steals the show. Favorite scene: when Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne fight to show who is closer to the bride during their speeches.

 

Pitch Perfect
 

This movie is so silly, but it makes me giggle every time I watch it (which is more often than I'd like to admit). Favorite line:

 

Easy A
 

As you've probably gather by most of my choices so far, I tend to like movies that have unusual source materials--like this updated idea of shaming girls/women with a "scarlet letter". Favorite line:

 

Heathers
 

Heathers is a dark-ass movie. I first watched this one the stairs of my house through the slates when my sister and mom were watching it and I was deemed too young. Lol. I LOVED Christian Slater and Winona Ryder back in the 80s, and this movie was the basis of an obsession with mean girls that Hollywood and YA authors still hold dear. Favorite line:

 

Bring It On

I was truly not prepared for this movie to be as witty as it is. I went in thinking I was going to get another ditzy teen girl movie and ended up giggling my way through the entire film. Favorite scene: the opening cheer, which turns out to be a dream.




Juno
 

It's a tall order to make a movie about teen pregnancy both funny and touching, but Juno pulls it off beautifully. I adore Juno. I wish I would have had a friend like her growing up (sans teenage pregnancy). Favorite line:



Drop Dead Gorgeous
 

A mockumentary following girls in small town America during a beauty pageant. I adore this movie. So funny. Favorite contestant: Leslie as played by Amy Adams



That's it for me. What are some of your favorite female-driven comedies? What topic did you choose for your freebie week? Link me up!

Hey lovely readers. I love meeting and connecting with new bloggers. If you decide to follow, my preferred method is Bloglovin'. Let me know if you are a new follower as I follow back. Thank you!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Weekly Rewind 1.23.16

Friday, January 22, 2016 9:28 PM with 15 comments
Image result for natflixandbooks


Weekly Rewind
The new books on my shelves and my week in a nutshell.


Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves.

My Life and Blog

Life: So I live in the DC area right now. If you live anywhere in the US, you have probably heard about the winter storm that is about to hit us, and it is freaking insane around here. My school district called for a snow day right after school yesterday (I'm not going to lie: the unadulterated joy I felt as a student on snow days only slightly surpassed my joy as a teacher. Lol). This morning I checked to see if the library was open because I knew I had some items to pick up and had some stuff I wanted to return.  I saw it was closing at 12, so decided to swing by there and then get some gas before putting my car in the garage for the next few days (I usually park on the street, but my awesome roommate moved some stuff in the garage so both our cars could fit). Outside was pandemonium. The library was insane. All of my people were like: Must stock up on books and movies!! There were lines for the self check-out! Starbucks was, like, nope. I walked in and right back out. The first gas station I went to was OUT OF GAS. This is all before a single snow flake had even falling from the sky! The next gas station had lines for each pump (but at least they had gas). After getting gas, I definitely had enough. I was thinking about getting a case of water from the grocery store (I went to a Walmart yesterday and they were sold out), but decided to just say screw it. We filled up water bottles and I was able to snag individual bottles of Smart Water yesterday. We filled up the hallway bathtub with water in case we need to flush toilets. It is seriously insanity. I'm typing this up in the early afternoon just in case my power goes out.  Right now, I'm under a blanket with a space heater running while the first few flakes start to fall. So, yeah, while I'm sure I'm going to be fine (I grew up in WY after all), please keep me in your thoughts anyway.

Blog and reading: Despite having an extremely easy week (Monday off for MLK, 2 hour delay Tuesday, off today), my energy level for writing was pretty low. I did post a WoW this week for a YA mystery that looks amazing. I'm currently in the middle of a handful of books. Book clubs started for my students this week (once a quarter I give my students 5 books to choose from and then put them in groups where they silently read the book of their choice--I try to give them their first or second choice book--and then they have book discussions and have a final group project). I try to read at least 2 of their options so I can talk to them about it, so right now I'm reading The Lions of Little Rock and just picked up Wonder on audio. For me, I'm reading Carrie Pilby which is a book I read back in 2003 when I gobbled up all the Red Dress Ink books, but wanted to reread when I heard they were filming a movie. I'm also reading American Housewife which is a collection of short stories.

New Books: I have a small pile to share with you today. So without further ado, I hope you are all having fabulous weekends. For my fellow Northeasterners: please stay warm and safe!

For Review

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Various refugees find their lives converging as WWII comes to an end. It sounds intriguing.
I couldn't help but snag this one even though I don't really like westerns OR paranormals. We'll see...
Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
A(nother) reimagining of Neverland.
A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly
So this is blend of 1920s gangsters and magic. If done well, this could be amazing.

What I snagged from the library

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Books:
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
The hype over this has me beyond weary.
American Housewife by Helen Ellis
First off: I love this cover. I'm roughly a third of the way through this. Like all short story collections, some stories have been more successful than others, but I am enjoying the collection.
Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner
I read this years ago, but don't really remember it.
Movie:
Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation
I like these movies--even though they are totally silly and I don't know if we really need 5 (or 6?) of them.

Announcement:
I debated doing this last week...and the week before that...so I'm just going to do it because it is noon on Saturday. If you have a weekend post that you would like to link up, please do so. I don't care what the title of your post is or what format you use. My Weekly Rewind posts are one of the only posts that I write every single week, and it bums me out when there is nowhere to link it, or when I spend all day (I mean I do other stuff, too) waiting to see if a link is available. So I'm going to start having a linky tool for those who like to post a link at midnight (est) and then forget about it for the rest of the weekend. Again, you don't need to call your weekend post the Weekly Rewind to use this link, and I don't care if you link to 15 other weekend posts. It would be awesome if you followed me via Bloglovin', but it's not necessary (if you do, though, please let me know in the comments because I do like to follow back). So, yeah, here's a linky. Hope you are having fabulous weekends!



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Waiting on Wedesday (134) This is Our Story

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 10:34 PM with 10 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.


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This is Our Story 

Author: Ashley Elston
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: November 15, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she and Stone investigate—the ageing prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot—she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.

Why I'm excited:
It's weird to me how many people are using antlers for a scary factor (True Detective, Hannibal, etc). I like it, don't get me wrong, it's just a weird trend. This sounds so good. I love a good mystery, and this one sound kind of like a YA Grisham, and I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for this one.

What are you waiting for on this Wednesday? Link me up!

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Weekly Rewind 1.16.16

Friday, January 15, 2016 9:38 PM with 5 comments
Image result for natflixandbooks


Weekly Rewind
The new books on my shelves and my week in a nutshell.


Since I started this blog I've participated in Stacking the Shelves, which is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews, and I'm going to continue linking to that meme. Throughout my student teaching semester I was using my weekend post as a way to let people know what's going on in my life, so I've decided to rename my weekend post because this feature is more personal than just what books I've received. The Weekly Rewind will be about what's going on with me and my blog, as well as about the books I've added to my shelves.

My Life and Blog

Life: I'm typing this up on Thursday because I'll be hitting the road after school tomorrow to drive home to PA. I get a 3 day weekend for MLKJ Day and cannot wait to see my husband. It has only been a couple of weeks, but after spending two weeks at home for Christmas break, these two weeks without him seemed longer than normal. One of my best friend's birthdays is on Saturday, so we are going out to dinner with her and her husband and then on Sunday we are watching the Steelers play the Broncos at one of our friend's houses. We are Steelers fans, and he is a Broncos fan. Hopefully a fight won't break out. Lol.

This week was pretty easy. The students finished up their research and creating their presentations on Monday and then presented Tuesday and Wednesday. Next week we are starting our next round of book clubs. That is when they read books silently in groups with occasional conversations and then a group collaborative project after they have finished. So for the next couple of weeks, they will mostly just be reading in my class. They love it (well, most of them love it, like, the vast majority of them love it).

Blog and reading: Just a WoW this week. I don't know if it is this colder weather or what, but I've been bone tired after school every single day this week. I've literally fallen asleep in my chair every day this week...and then have been a sloth once I wake up until I go to bed. I was going to do a TTT, but just couldn't get my shit together. I want to write a review for Eligible still, too. Maybe I'll get that done this weekend....we'll see. I'm currently rereading the book Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski. I just couldn't get into anything earlier this week after finishing The Girl on the Train on Saturday (that's pretty much how I spent the entire day--it was really good. I sometimes just crave a good adult mystery--and was enthralled with Rachel's story. It kept me guessing, too, which is always a plus for me). After finishing it, though, I just couldn't get into anything else--and I have some amazing titles at my fingertips. I've found that when that happens sometimes a good old reread will keep me reading instead of slumping. I started reading Zero Day yesterday, too, but haven't gotten very far. It's really interesting so far, though, so I'm sure it will be one I finish. I also started reading Civil War which is the graphic novel the new Captain America movie is based on. I'm currently listening to So You've Been Publicly Shamed. The subject matter is really interesting, but the narrator/author's voice is driving me a bit batty and I was so put off by him when he said three time (three times!) that a joke he made that was similar to one a woman made that got her shamed worked because his was funnier. I mean...alright, dude, it was basically the same joke, yours wasn't that much funnier...

New Books: I've got some lovely titles to share with you today. So without further ado, I hope you are all having fabulous (hopefully long) weekends!

For Review

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Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
Regency England and demon hunters. This doesn't sound like quite my cup of tea, but it's getting love from pretty much everyone who has read it, so I'm hoping I love it, too.
I know that this is one of those books people have been dying to get their hands on...but I started this a few weeks back and didn't fall in love like I was hoping. I just read a DNF review where another reader urged that she continued because it starts getting good around pg 100, so I might go back to this.
Front Lines by Michael Grant
This book is a reimagining of WWII where women are on the "front lines" with the men. It sounds awesome, and I really do want to read this one. The 600 pages are a bit daunting, though.
Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos
A girl's father, who was once a forensic pathologist and who now writes medical mysteries, disappears. She is convinced he has gone to find the mother that left her years earlier. You know I love a good mystery, so this sounds right up my alley.
It's All Your Fault by Paul Rudnick
A "good girl" winds up in jail after a crazy weekend with her famous cousin. This is supposed to be hilarious, and I love a good comedy.

What I snagged from the library

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Books:
Zero Day  by Jan Gangsei
I featured this on a WoW well over a year ago, and was so happy when I found it on hoopla through my library system since neither of the libraries I go to ordered the physical book. It is interesting so far. Hopefully I'll get some reading time in this weekend.
3:59 by Gretchen McNeil
This is one of those older YA books that I couldn't wait to get my hands on...and then never got to. I'm trying to make a point of going back to read some of those instead of just focusing on brand new books or ARCs. Has anybody read this one? Should I bother?
Graphic Novel:
Civil War by Mark Miller among others
I love graphic novels, but don't read nearly enough of them.
Audio:
So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
It's interesting, but not as engaging as I would like. More specific issues were talked about above.
Movie:
The Martian
Soooooo excited!! It's been so hard to wait to watch this, but I want to take it home with me to watch with my honey.

Well that's it for me this week. Feel free to leave a link to whatever weekend post you do (Stacking the Shelves, In My Mailbox, etc). I love to see what books people have recently snagged and especially enjoy hearing about my fellow bloggers' weeks. I hope you are all having a fabulous weekend!