ABC Book Challenge ✰ O

I’ve seen this ABC Book Challenge on a lot of different blogs, but most recently Thrice Read. This week is the letter O and I just realized that I’ll be getting into the more difficult letters soon. Luckily, this week I still have favorites and books on my TBR! 🙂


✰ MEMORABLE (FIVE-STAR) BOOKS STARTING WITH O ✰


✰ BOOKS ON MY TBR STARTING WITH O ✰


Have you read anything that’s on my TBR? Which books should I read first? Do you agree or disagree with my favorites? Let’s talk in the comments!

Book review: The Secret Loves of Geeks by Hope Nicholson

The Secret Loves of Geeks by Hope Nicholson

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • GoodreadsTBD
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Cartoonists and professional geeks tell their intimate, heartbreaking, and inspiring stories about love, sex and dating in this comics and prose anthology, a follow-up to 2016 best-seller The Secret Loves of Geek Girls.

Featuring work by Margaret Atwood (Hag-Seed), Gerard Way (Umbrella Academy), Dana Simpson (Phoebe and Her Unicorn), Cecil Castellucci (Soupy Leaves Home), Gabby Rivera (America), Valentine De Landro (Bitch Planet), Amy Chu (Poison Ivy), Sfe R. Monster (Beyond: A queer comics anthology), Michael Walsh (Secret Avengers), and many more.

Normally, when I review an anthology, I break it down into mini-reviews for each story and then average the ratings. But this anthology… it was too long for that. Or maybe “long” isn’t the right word. There was a lot going on in this one.

Let’s start with why exactly I read this one. I read it because I went upstairs in my library to see if they’d gotten any new graphic novels in (they hadn’t) and then turned into the teen section, even though it makes me feel super old to go in there. (Everybody in that section is like thirteen years old! It makes me feel ancient!) Anyway, I looked at the table of featured books and saw this one. Not only is the cover full of cats (instant way to my heart), but it features a story by Patrick Rothfuss!

As with many anthologies, I was a big fan of some of the work and also disliked a bunch of it. I tended to like the comics more than the essays, mostly because I didn’t expect flat-out essays in a book with this kind of cover and this kind of title that I found in the YA section.

I think my favorites were Margaret Atwood’s comic and Patrick Rothfuss’s essay.

#mm19: new to you author
#ps19: a book with “love” in the title


Have you read The Secret Loves of Geeks? What’s the best anthology you’ve read recently? Let’s talk in the comments!


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Top Ten Tuesday: Last ten books I added to my TBR

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is last ten books I added to my TBR. I’m just going to talk about the last ten books that I bought for myself, because my TBR is basically just a running list in the back of my mind of things that sound interesting or that have gotten good reviews.


Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

I had a day of used book shopping a couple weeks ago and found this one in a pile of books near the cash register. It hadn’t even been shelved yet and I was so excited to find it! Little Fires Everywhere was one of my favorites of 2018 and I can’t wait to read more from this author.


Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart

So, funny story. I’ve wanted to read this book since it came out 13 years ago. I loved E. Lockhart’s books when I was in high school and asked my mom to buy me this for Christmas one year. Well, she bought me a book called Fly on the Wall, but it was not this one. (It was actually erotica. Both of us were mortified.) Anyway, I found this for $1, so I bought it.


The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

This was an add-on for January’s Book of the Month box. I’ve seen some really mixed reviews for it, but I’m hoping it’ll be good!


The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

And this was my actual January Book of the Month! It seems to be getting really good reviews and I’m hoping to read it soon.


The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

To be fair, The Luxe has been on my TBR for years. I recently found it at a used bookstore for $2, though, and added it to my physical collection. Fingers crossed that I’ll actually read it and it won’t just sit on my shelf taunting me forever.


The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

I feel like I’m the only book blogger alive who hasn’t read this book yet — even just going on my Goodreads, I have 30 friends who’ve reviewed it! I recently found it for $2 at a used bookstore and it’s pretty short, so I’m hoping to read it soon.


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

In a pretty huge coincidence, I recently asked Rae what her favorite graphic novel of 2018 was, and she told me it was this one. A couple days later, I was at a used bookstore and found it for $3! I’m so excited to read this one.


Solitaire by Alice Oseman

I have been meaning to read something by Alice Oseman for years. Her books are consistently praised by the book blogging community and they all sound so good! The problem is that I never find them in any bookstores or at my library. Well, I stepped into the fancy bookstore downtown one morning as I waited for the library to open, and they had one copy of Solitaire marked down like 75% on final sale. I had to buy it.


Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand

In the same shopping trip where I found Solitaire, I also found Some Kind of Happiness. I didn’t love Furyborn and my copy of Sawkill Girls has been sitting on my nightstand for like three months, but I’m determined to love something by this author since I see her almost every weekend at my library. I’m hoping that the things that were a problem for me in Furyborn will be a nonissue in this middle-grade novel.


The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason

One of my favorite classes in college was a Scandinavian literature class I took as an elective. In it, we read A TON of mysteries, including one by Indridason. I haven’t read anything else by him since, but I had to snap this book up when I found it for only $2.


Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Have you read any of these books? Which one should I tackle first? Let’s talk in the comments!

Book review: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
Rating: ★★☆☆☆Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Source: Purchased

Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

Wild Beauty was a total impulse buy at BookCon last year. I’d heard of it and I’d added it to my TBR because of some great reviews, but it was really the cover that drew me in. It’s just so pretty. (It didn’t hurt that it was a signed copy, either.)

I’m going to start off by saying that it took me about three weeks to read the 340 pages of this book. At first, I thought it was just me being distracted. I’ve definitely had trouble focusing on books recently, but after three weeks of effort, I think I can say with about 99% certainty that this book just wasn’t for me.

It’s not badly written. The writing style is fine (if a little flowery for my tastes) and I liked the focus on family, but… nothing happens. It’s just a bunch of teenage girls making flowers bloom. The conflict wasn’t very interesting. The mystery of Fel’s past did nothing for me. I was just so bored. I can’t even tell you how many times I almost fell asleep while reading this book.

I have another one of the author’s books and will be giving it a try at some point, but this particular story just wasn’t for me.

#killingthetbr: six months on shelf


Have you read Wild Beauty? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!


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Graphic novel review: Fence #6-10 by C.S. Pacat

Fence #6-10 by C.S. Pacat
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 16, 2018 – September 26, 2018
Source: Borrowed
Sixteen-year-old Nicholas Cox is an outsider to the competitive fencing world. Filled with raw talent but lacking proper training, he signs up for a competition that puts him head-to-head with fencing prodigy Seiji Katayama…and on the road to the elite all-boys school Kings Row. A chance at a real team and a place to belong awaits him—if he can make the cut!

I spent the last day of 2018 reading issues 6-10 of Fence. While, overall, I really enjoyed the first five issues, I was kind of indifferent to these. It might be because I’ve become obsessed with Saga, in which both the art and the storytelling are far superior. Or it might be because nothing much happens in these issues.

Sure, Nicholas and Seiji are feuding. There’s a lot of fencing. (Obviously.) Everyone flirts with each other. This is nothing new. But maybe that’s the problem. I read five issues of this graphic novel and nothing new happened.

I’m almost caught up on this one and I’m just hoping it’s worth it in the end.

Ratings

Fence #6: ★★★☆☆
Fence #7: ★★★☆☆
Fence #8: ★★★☆☆
Fence #9: ★★★★☆
Fence #10: ★★★☆☆

Average: 3.2 stars


Have you read Fence? Do you like graphic novels?
Let’s talk in the comments!


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Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

1 thing this week:

  • I’ve made the executive decision to put myself on a book-buying ban until I move in March. I’m already going to have so many boxes of unread books. I don’t need even more!!

Blog hopping:

Song of the week:

I’ve been listening to a lot of Ben Folds this week and it was hard to choose just one song, but I finally settled on You Don’t Know Me. I love how sassy this song is.

Book review: Smart Tass by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Smart Tass by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Source: Kindle freebie

He’s the hot quarterback all the girls want.

She’s the smart girl he loves to pick on.

And now that they’re all grown up, things are about to get geekin’ ugly…

My name is Tass. I’m smart, I’m driven, and I am determined not to let prankster Hunter Johnson continue raining on my parade. When we were little he’d pull my hair and call me names. When were teenagers, he’d throw food at me and tease me for being a flat chested virgin.

But now that we’ve ended up at the same college, things are about to change. Because I’m not that geeky little girl anymore, and Mr. Amazefootball is due for a little lesson. One about how women with brains shouldn’t be messed with. I’m going to crush his heart.

So what’s my plan? He’s about to find out…

Okay, so I’ve seen Smart Tass (and the other books in the OHellNo series) floating around the book blogging universe. One of the PR companies that I get emails from has invited me to participate in approximately 12,000 different events for this series. It didn’t really appeal to me and I never intended to read this book, but then Daniel went and told me it was free on Kindle and sounded terrible, so… hate-read it was.

Below are the 81 thoughts I had while reading Smart Tass.

Lots of spoilers, obviously. Direct quotes are in bold.
  1. “But I wouldn’t queef in Hunt’s general direction to save his life.” We’re off to a great start here.
  2. “I worked my entire life for straight As. I made sacrifices — mostly to my social life and girlish figure since studying didn’t leave room for much else.” Oh no, not her girlish figure.
  3. “Get off!” “Would love to.” THE MOST CLICHE LINE OMG
  4. “Paweeez, Tassie…” Ew.
  5. “I manage a small jab-kick just above his knee, which creates enough space for me to land a real kick into his rib and—ouch! My foot!—rock-hard abs.” HIS ABS ARE LITERAL ROCKS.
  6. “Intelligence is the only currency that matters. And Hunter Johnson is dumbass broke!” Okay.
  7. “With my 3.99 GPA and full scholarship to a university that is not Harvard, Yale, or Princeton, I’m the black sheep of the Summerset clan.” How many classes would you have to take for a 3.99 GPA?
  8. “giant, six-foot-two turd” what a description
  9. “I just want to fuck you, Tass! I need a virgin!” Hunt yells out. Wow, so romantic!!!
  10. “cave-dwelling crustacean” nice insult
  11. “But Hunter, did your concussion-warped mind forget? You already fucked me. You did it to me in kindergarten and every year of my life since.” I would not call that a winning comeback.
  12. She just called her roommate her “dorm-roomie” and… what?
  13. She also wants to pledge Kappa Kappa Kappa, which, setting aside the whole KKK thing, my Kindle tells me that they’re a male fraternity, not a sorority.
  14. “I even wore my thick-framed glasses to show everyone that I’m not afraid to fly my nerd flag high in the sky.” Thanks for wearing your nerd glasses so that we can tell you’re smart.
  15. “Tonight, she’s wearing a black skirt and a blouse with formulas printed all over it. Classy!” CLASSY.
  16. “Do you really think I’m going to waste my time on a dumb jock who can’t satisfy me in any way?” Well, we’re only 9% into the book, so probably.
  17. “Prove it?” Lainey laughs. “How?” How. How? “I’ll show you how easy it is to get a guy like him. Then I’ll make him endure public humiliation.” What? They don’t want her in their smart people sorority because they think she likes a football player so her solution is to… date him.
  18. “Elle and I hit it off right away during our phone interview.” In what universe do you get to do a phone interview before settling on a college roommate?
  19. “But then kindergarten started and so did his utter hate for me — the uncool nerdy girl.” Can you actually be uncool and nerdy in kindergarten? I mean, I was pretty uncool and nerdy growing up, but I don’t think that started until at least like… second grade.
  20. “Anyway, the rest of Hunt’s and my relationship was a blur. He followed his path—like a jock moth flying toward the glorious jock light, in search of fame, pussy, and glory.” Ah, yes, beginning in kindergarten.
  21. Hunter would then add a “Back off! Tassie is my nerd.” Like he owned me in some strange version of reality that only existed in his head. Well, that’s not creepy in the slightest.
  22. Experiment #1: Appearance. I am wearing a short black skirt (that I’ve folded at the waist to make shorter), black heels (the only heels I own), and a low-cut red tank top (that I usually wear underneath a blouse). I’ve straightened my curly brown hair so it’s as long as possible, and I have applied an obscene amount of makeup.
  23. Experiment #2: Laugh at all his jokes and do not say anything remotely intelligent.
  24. Experiment #3: Tell Lab Rat how big his muscles are. One point: If she does all of the experiments at the same time, how will she ever prove which one of these worked? Come on, Tass.
  25. “I much prefer thought-provoking songs made with actual instruments in there somewhere, like Ed Sheeran.” I don’t have a problem with Ed Sheeran, but… thought-provoking? Really?
  26. “Wow. He could crack coconuts with those calves.” That’s a new one.
  27. “Did I miss the bus? Because you’ve obviously gone somewhere without me.” Same.
  28. “You’re serious.” “As a heart attack. On a cruise ship. That’s forgotten to stock aspirin and defibrillators.” Yikes.
  29. She shakes her head. “What’s the first rule of kindergarten? When a boy teases a girl, it means he…?” I frown. “Now you’re off your rocker. He does not like me.” YOU’RE SO SMART BUT SO DUMB.
  30. A booming knock on the door startles us from our debate. I turn and pull open the door, finding… “Hunter?” He steps inside the room, smelling of sweat and anger—whatever scent that is. “What are you doing here?” I ask. “I’ve been standing out in the hallway, and I just heard everything you said.” Of course he was. Where else would he be?
  31. “Well, you’re obviously obsessed with my cock, and I have nothing to hide, so here it is.” I can’t help but peek, but his penis is still in his pants. “Come on. You really think I’d show it to you?” He scoffs. I’m just…
  32. “I also notice how his bottom lip is kind of pouty and very sensual. I’ve never actually looked at his face before.” I’ve known him my entire life but never looked at his face.
  33. “My heart suddenly kicks into high gear and adrenaline pumps through me. I don’t like it one little bit. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and my body is all hot and— Sexually flustered? No. No, no, no.” omg, she’s attracted to him, didn’t see that one coming
  34. “Fuck. I hang my head and give it a shake. I think it’s time I have sex. My body clearly needs it.” Right.
  35. my womanly flower oh, wonderful, it’s the first of many cringey euphemisms for her virginity
  36. “They, uh…increased the points,” he mumbled. “For what?” “Sleeping with you. Sleeping with you is fifty points—it was Henry’s idea.” 🙄
  37. “We don’t actually have to fuck, Tass. They just need to think we did.” Great.
  38. “But do I want it badly enough to let everyone think you’ve taken my pristine chariot out for its maiden voyage?” MY PRISTINE CHARIOT. ITS MAIDEN VOYAGE. OH DEAR LORD.
  39. “The winner’s ribbon for my hump-day race?” OH GOD THEY KEEP GETTING WORSE
  40. So, we just found out that Hunter has “giant blue, anime-saucer eyes,” so that’s just WONDERFUL.
  41. “He’s more like Moby Dick, not shrimp dick.” Nice play on words (but not really).
  42. “Wait. Oh, jeez. Is that his bulge? A tingle rockets down my spine. And…lucky me. There’s a reminder of my vitamin S deficiency. Sex is a corporeal nutrient, right?” SEX IS A CORPOREAL NUTRIENT RIGHT
  43. “I mean, I’m a red-blooded American girl. He’s a horny guy. And who better to crack open the dam of promiscuity than the Huntsman, The Hunt, Mr. Bigdick himself?” THE DAM OF PROMISCUITY
  44. “They all need to know I’m planning to let him mount the white pony, slay the V-dragon, crack the seal.” JUST NO. Tass is so cringey and so immature and I cannot handle this.
  45. “Why do I keep coming up with this weird virginal slang?” Good question. Stop it.
  46. “I know whatever’s jabbing at the back of my mind, it’s not small. I know it’s horrible, life-changingly bad.” Why. Why is this turning into this kind of book. I hate this kind of book.
  47. “What happened, Hunter?” I look up at him, and it all explodes. My memories: Blood. Screaming. Staring into Hunter’s eyes as he’s asking why I won’t say anything, why I’m pretending like I don’t remember. Can we not.
  48. “Fuck.” I cover my mouth. “Did you kill someone?” I whisper. Jesus Christ.
  49. “So you should know that just because we never speak again doesn’t mean that I won’t be thinking of this every day for the rest of my life.” He sits up, blinking those blue eyes at me. “Did you just say you’re never speaking to me again?” So, let me get this straight. You just found out that he literally almost killed someone to keep you safe and so you never want to speak with him again.
  50. “Wow.” I jolt to my feet. “I should go.” I point over my shoulder. “I have stuff to do, like…” Quick. Say something nerdy and convincing. “Like alphabetize my underwear.” That doesn’t even make sense!!! It isn’t even funny!!! It’s just dumb!!!
  51. “I’m about to throw out some vengeful comment about tiny penises, but I realize I don’t feel much like playing the hate game anymore.” Let’s not reference The Hating Game, okay.
  52. “Oh, God. I think I’m in love with him. And perhaps I have been for years.” SHOCKING.
  53. “Don’t hey Tass me. You screwed Henry?” She shrugged. “I prefer the words had sex or intercourse, but yeah, we humped like a couple of randy farm animals.” OH GOD.
  54. “I think… I think he actually sees me almost like a sister or something.” I’M PRETTY SURE HE DOESN’T.
  55. “There’s not an ounce of fat to be found on those bulging pectorals or abdominal muscles with grooves so deep they could be mistaken for rain gutters.” Not even one ounce of fat on his whole entire body? That sounds very unhealthy.
  56. “He cracks that panty-melting smile, which serves two purposes: one, melting panties…” Whoa.
  57. “Really, it was just the best line from the movie. Anyone with a vagina would know that.” EXCEPT ME. THANKS.
  58. “He puts his hand back over the top of my thigh and glides it under the hem of my short dress to where he can practically touch the seam of my panties.” Oh yes, he really sees her like a sister, huh.
  59. “You dirty little dwarf star!” Nice insult, again.
  60. “I told her we stole her vibrator collection the other night, too.” “What?” He nods. “She had ten.” “No.” “Yes. And she had names on them.” We step outside and shut the front door. “Please tell me you’re kidding.” “The biggest one was named Hunter,” he says with a giant smirk. Honestly, this is just weird.
  61. “What!” I cringed. Thighs. Boobs. Balls. What are they doing (or how close did you get??) that you saw all three?!
  62. My biggest fear is that he’ll say something horrible—like “I really hated your nerdy guts and thought it was funny to watch you suffer.” I hope that’s not his excuse, because this guy? I want to trust him.” I feel like a switch flipped here really quickly. She absolutely despised him and then she was attracted to him and now she wants to trust him? This is all happening so fast.
  63. “Rain. I look back up at the random cloud in the sky. “Geez. Thanks.” I have no clue what that means.” It means it’s raining…??
  64. “I’m happy we’re going to Henry’s cabin together.” Her expression turns pensive. “Is that because you’re planning to sleep with Hunter and feel nervous?” WHERE IS THIS COMING FROM. THIS CAME OUT OF NOWHERE. I EVEN WENT BACK AND REREAD THE CHAPTER IN CASE I MISSED SOMETHING.
  65. “I’ll take a box of Magnums.” It’s an educated guess, because no guy carries himself like Hunter does without having something large packed away down there. Plus, I’ve seen that bulge. Oh, right, no man with an average-sized penis could possibly be confident.
  66. “Stop! You’re going to make me pee.” She giggles. “And my bladder is full.” Henry laughs. “Oh, does my little sweet pea need to tinkle? Let big strong Henry take care of that.” I would get back in my car and drive away.
  67. “He looks raw and carnal, like he’s put his sexual potency on proud display.” How exactly does one look “raw” or “carnal.”
  68. “Just standing next to him is making my body spark up in sinful places.” Okay, this is like the first relatable sentence I’ve read in this whole book.
  69. “It’s a little sad to discover your erogenous zones at such a late age, but I always say better late than never.” Isn’t she like 18 years old?
  70. “He grabs hold of my calves and drags me down so my valley is fully exposed and in his face.” My valley.
  71. “Just as I’m coming, groaning hard, he slides a finger inside me. It stings.” Why does it sting??
  72. “his balls are slamming into my base” So, first of all, she’s a virgin, maybe calm down with the slamming. Second of all, is this supposed to be hot?
  73. “It’s starting from the center of my womb and spreading out through my back and hips and legs.” The center of her womb??
  74. “I feel his cock twitch inside as he jets his cum.” Wow, jets.
  75. “The sensation drags another orgasm right out of me.” She had three orgasms as she lost her virginity. Is this some sort of record?
  76. Um, okay, she’s used the word “carnal” at least five times so far in this chapter.
  77. “I realize he’s still inside me.” What, you forgot?
  78. “By three a.m. her phone is ringing off the hook. It’s Henry asking why she left. “Because you’re a disgusting pig. That’s why!” By five a.m. my phone is ringing, too. It’s Hunter. I don’t answer. I just block. I don’t want to hear any more lies. I don’t want to hear any more bullshit.” But you didn’t even talk to them to begin with.
  79. “She’s wearing her red hair in a big bun and has on a silver sequin dress cut just above the pubic bone. Seriously, the hem is so high I can almost see her g-spot.” Is this some kind of x-ray dress? Incredible.
  80. “Sorry. Not falling for whatever frolicsomeness you’ve envisioned in your cranium, Hunter.” Honestly not even sure where to start with this sentence.
  81. “Yes, they slept together, so she and I got to compare notes. For scientific purposes, of course.” I have literally never once in my life “compared notes” about a sexual experience. What the heck.

Basically, this book was a mess. I get that it’s supposed to be a romantic comedy, maybe it’s supposed to be a little satirical of the genre… but that doesn’t mean it was good. The characters were frustrating. Their motivations were all over the place. The dialogue was often cringey. I’m glad this was free.

#mm19: new to you author

#ps19: a book set on a college or university campus

#romanceopoly: college row


Have you read Smart Tass? Do you have any good romantic comedy recommendations? Let’s talk in the comments!


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