Top Ten Tuesday: Last ten books that gave me a book hangover

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s theme is last ten books that gave me a book hangover. This is a tough one! I might have to go pretty far back in my memory for this theme…

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Infini by Krista & Becca Ritchie

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

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! What’s the last book that gave you a book hangover? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: February 24, 2019
Source: Borrowed

A contemporary novel about two best friends who must make tough decisions about their futures–and the TV show they host–in their senior year of high school.

Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.

But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show’s guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder.

Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he’ll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too.

As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous…and momentous.

I’d never read a Jeff Zentner book before picking up Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee, and I ended up being so pleasantly surprised by it. The story focuses around two teenage girls who host a late public access horror movie show, one of which wants to be famous and the other who is just sort of along for the ride.

I never did anything quite so cool as hosting a late-night show with my best friend when I was in high school, but this book took me back to those days in the best kind of way. During your last year of high school, there’s so much uncertainty and so much hope (and fear) at what the future might bring. Zentner captured that perfectly in this book, and I loved it so much.

My favorite part of this book was the show that Delia and Josie created. These two teenage girls have done more with their life than I have, and I’m probably a good decade older than them! Their show airs in a few different markets, and they have enough viewers to get fan mail and reasonably try to take it a step further than public access. I’m not a horror movie fan at all, but I’d watch their show just for the sassy commentary.

The book did end up taking kind of a weird turn, which is why I didn’t give it five stars. There’s a side plot/tangent that goes on for a while and is a little odd. It’s almost funny when it’s not heartbreaking, but it kind of detracted from the main story.

Still, this book was a ton of fun and if you’re looking for a book about a strong friendship and going for your goals, I’d definitely recommend this.

Have you read Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: The Body by Bill Bryson

The Body by Bill Bryson
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Source: Borrowed

In the bestselling, prize-winning A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson achieved the seemingly impossible by making the science of our world both understandable and entertaining to millions of people around the globe.

Now he turns his attention inwards to explore the human body, how it functions and its remarkable ability to heal itself. Full of extraordinary facts and astonishing stories, The Body: A Guide for Occupants is a brilliant, often very funny attempt to understand the miracle of our physical and neurological make up.

A wonderful successor to A Short History of Nearly Everything, this book will have you marvelling at the form you occupy, and celebrating the genius of your existence, time and time again.

It was the end of 2019, I was scrolling through the Goodreads Choice Awards nominees, and a book called The Body stood out to me. I immediately went to place a hold on it at the library, only to find a really, really long waiting list. The hold eventually came in and I got to listening.

Now, some background. I worked in a hospital for seven years. I’m a Certified Professional Coder (for medical claims, not computer programs), which means that I’ve spent plenty of time learning about human anatomy and physiology as well as pretty much every medical condition you can find in the International Classification of Diseases. I’m currently working as a Risk Adjustment Medical Record Coder, which means that I have to sort of infer what doctors mean and put two and two together to match their documentation with the proper code over on the health insurance side. All of this is to say that I find medical conditions pretty interesting and I have a good amount of background in this kind of thing.

I still found The Body absolutely fascinating.

This is not a dry, scientific textbook. This is an incredibly interesting book that touches on each of the human body systems and provides seemingly endless facts on each of them. Since finishing, I’ve found myself interjecting these facts into daily conversations, usually at random. I’ll be talking to my boyfriend about what to eat for dinner and say something like, “Oh! I learned in The Body that sometimes doctors used to do an oophorectomy because of a chronic cough, isn’t that crazy?” or “I forgot to tell you! I read in The Body that there was a woman who scratched all the way through her skull!”

But it’s not just one bit of trivia after another. It’s also really educational! Bryson strikes a great balance between the basic building blocks of information on a topic and some fun stuff to even it all out. The book is funny, but not in an over-the-top kind of way. It’s really a great book for anyone who’s interested in learning more about their anatomy.

The book teetered between four and five stars for me, but I decided to go with four because I felt that the book got a little bit rambly at times. I’d think that a topic was almost over, but it would just keep going (and going, and going, especially The End). But still, I’ve already put a hold on Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything and I can’t wait to learn even more!

Have you read The Body? Is it on your TBR?
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:

  • nothing this week!

5 things this week:

It’s been a week. I’ll start with the good.

  • New York was great! I always have such a great time when I go there, and there were things I didn’t even realize I’d missed about the east coast until I was back, like good bagels. I haven’t had a single good bagel since I moved to Tennessee. I had multiple good bagels in New York.
  • I met Ellen Hopkins?? Honestly, it all kind of seems like a dream or something, but it’s a thing that happened.
  • I saw the most amazing show while I was there, and I’m not even sure it should be called a “show” since it’s more like an experience, but if you’re ever in NYC, do yourself a favor and go see Then She Fell. It’s an immersive, interactive, spooky performance that combines Alice in Wonderland with Lewis Carroll’s life.
  • I also watched Taylor Swift’s documentary, Miss Americana, and it was so good that I wanted to cry. I just wanted to hug her.

And then the bad…

  • I, a person who never gets sick, was struck down by the flu two weeks ago and then struck down again by a different upper respiratory infection this week. It would be great if people could just… contain their germs. Is it really that hard? I can’t wait for the day when I can actually breathe again without triggering an awful coughing fit.

Song of the week:

How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Source: Gift

Get the app. Get the guy.

Computer-whiz Audrey McCarthy feels most at home in a tech lab, surrounded by her fellow geeks. Once popular and fearless, she hasn’t been the same since her dad died. And her ex-best friend, gorgeous queen bee Blake Dawkins, has turned into her worst nightmare. Audrey is counting the minutes until high school is over and she can get the hell out of Dodge and go to college-that is, if she can find a scholarship.

So when Public Corporation, a giant tech company, announces a contest for the best app developed by a high schooler-with $200,000 in prize money-Audrey is spurred to action. She comes up with an idea so simple, yet so brilliant, she can’t believe it hasn’t been done: the Boyfriend App. With a simple touch of the screen, romance blooms among the unlikeliest couples in high school, and people start to take notice. But it’s not quite enough.

To beat out the competition, Audrey will have to dig deeper. And she does-right into a scandal that would rock Public to its core. Suddenly the Boyfriend App lands Audrey where she never expected to be: in the middle of the limelight, passionately kissed by the hottest guys in school, causing complete and utter mayhem. But can it bring her true love?

Buddy read with my boyfriend!

Oh, goodness. I’m not even sure where to start with this one. My boyfriend and I went into this one knowing that it would be terrible, and I guess that means we weren’t disappointed. (Although we kind of were, because it was really bad.)

I had a lot of thoughts while reading this one, but I didn’t flag all of them and I condensed a lot because I just want to be done with this thing. Below are twelve thoughts I had while reading The Boyfriend App. Surprisingly, I managed to find twelve spoiler-free thoughts!

Direct quotes are in bold.

  1. “Annborg was obsessed with Blake. She started a fan website called, where she posted photos. She captioned the photos with things like Thirsty Blake drink water from fountain. Or, Blake wear shiny shoe with pointy toe.” ALRIGHT. So Annborg is a foreign exchange student from a nondescript European country. Her function in the story is to be obsessed with Audrey’s former best friend/current worst enemy Blake while providing comic relief in the form of using bad English, getting caught masturbating, and having a crush on another girl. It made me mad.
  2. “Blake had enough boyfriend-getting power for both of us. A few tables away, her BF (lacrosse king Xander Knight) was busy being hot and stoic while the rest of her pack laughed and pointed at my lunch table.” I flagged this on page seven and it turns out that this is basically the entire 312-page book in two sentences.
  3. “Every part of Blake was tanned and toned — even her boobs. Like Jennifer Aniston. Or Jessica Rabbit.” I’d put this in MenWritingWomen on Reddit if it were written by a man. Since it was written by a woman, I’m just going to sit here shaking my head. Also, how does one go about toning breast tissue?
  4. “Blake smirked, and her beauty mark popped like a punctuation mark.” Sounds painful, yikes.
  5. “Anyway. Besides the XXXPhone (for adults only) that tanked in the marketplace, the Public product creators were geniuses…” So does the XXXPhone come pre-loaded with porn, or…?
  6. “She bounced a little and her droopy water-balloon boobs got a second wind.” I mean… rude.
  7. “She lifted her skinny arm and gestured to our window like she was Vanna White and our apartment was a vowel.” There are so many strange descriptions in this book.
  8. “The lunchroom smelled like new tires mixed with spaghetti.” Well, that’s specific.
  9. “‘I’m nervous, too, Audrey,’ Dr. Gurung said (nervously).” HE SAID NERVOUSLY.
  10. “‘And Janie and I were once much more than friends,’ she said. ‘We were girlfriends.'” Thank you for, once again, using sexual orientation as a plot twist. Also, who the heck says it like that? It just sounds so unnatural! And why is a teacher sharing her romantic history with one of her students?
  11. “At least the building was a rectangle.” What a relief!
  12. “Everyone seemed genuinely sick of anything having to do with me and returned to ignoring my existence.” I am also genuinely sick of anything having to do with Audrey and cannot wait to ignore her existence.

Okay, so I think we’ve established that the writing is kind of a mess. Now I want to talk about the plot, which is probably the most problematic thing I read in 2019, and I read some pretty bad stuff.

Some spoilers below.

The whole point of this book is that Audrey enters an app-coding competition in hopes of winning money for college. That’s cool. Her first app is fine. It’s a kind of generic dating app that matches users based on a personality test. Turns out that high school students are shallow, though, and aren’t always willing to be seen with someone just because their personalities might be compatible.

So Audrey goes ahead and makes a new app that uses some soundwave technology to manipulate emotions. With the new Boyfriend App 2.0, girls just point their phones in the direction of a boy that they like and he’s instantly obsessed with them. The boys will immediately be overtaken with lust, kissing them, grabbing them, presumably willing to do anything with them. Is it just me, or this incredibly… rapey. (It’s not just me. This is literally sexual assault.)

There is not one single character in this entire book that has a problem with it.

Oh, people criticize Audrey for plenty of things. There’s a lot of controversy over her app. But not because she created something that allows girls to sexually assault boys, but because she’s used some proprietary technology to do it.

In the end, there’s basically no resolution of anything aside from the romance. This book is a mess.

Have you read The Boyfriend App? What’s the most problematic book you’ve read recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Mini-Reviews: Shiver & All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 1, 2009
Source: Borrowed

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Shiver was the first book I ever added to my TBR on Goodreads, way, way back in the day. Since The Raven Cycle ended up being my favorite series of 2018, I figured I should finally read some of Maggie’s other stuff. Shiver is, um… very different. It’s basically your standard late-2000s YA paranormal romance, much like Twilight if Twilight just featured werewolves.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, I loved Twilight when I was a teenager. But does it hold up in 2019 (and now 2020)? Not really. In this day and age, we’re much more skeptical of teenage boy (actually grown men) paranormal creatures who spy on unsuspecting teenage girls and those girls whose lives basically cease to exist while they’re in a relationship. There’s a lot of iffy stuff in this book. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a problem, but do I think it would be nearly as popular now? No.

As usual, the writing is good. Maggie’s created a really interesting backstory for the wolves complete with some present-day wolf conflict. It’s just very, very heavy on the insta-love and it uses a lot of the tropes that were common for the time it was written.

If you’re going to read one of Maggie’s books, I’d recommend The Raven Boys over this.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Source: Borrowed
From bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater, a gripping tale of darkness, miracles, and family. Saints. Miracles. Family. Romance. Death. Redemption.

Here is a thing everyone wants: A miracle.

Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

I read Shiver and All the Crooked Saints back to back, because why not. I ended up feeling pretty conflicted about this book, hence the three stars, because it goes from really boring to really interesting and right back again.

I think the main problem I had with this one was that I spent more of the book bored than interested. There are a lot of characters and there’s a lot going on, but it also seems, a lot of the time, that absolutely nothing is happening. The most vivid part of this book wasn’t the plot or the characters, it was the setting.

I usually love Maggie’s writing, and I can admit that it was beautiful in this book. But instead of being beautiful in that magical way I’m used to, it was beautiful in a very over-the-top way. It reminded me a lot of the writing in Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore. (If you liked that book, you’ll probably love this one.)

I can see why a lot of people enjoyed this, but it just wasn’t my kind of book.

Have you read either of these books? Do you like Maggie Stiefvater’s writing?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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WWW Wednesday

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is hosted over at Taking on a World of Words and just involves answering the 3 Ws!

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your TBR? Did you do your own WWW Wednesday post today? Let’s talk in the comments!

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