Reading Challenge Update

Well, here we are again. Time to take a look at my reading challenge progress!

Monthly Motif is a reading challenge hosted by girlxoxo.

July’s theme was through the years. I didn’t do as well as I would have liked with this theme, but I did read two books that I think should qualify.

I also read the first fifty pages of The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett before I realized that I wasn’t really in a historical fiction mood.

August’s theme is mode of transportation, so we’ll see what ends up happening there.

I read a total of 11 books in June, which puts me 38 books ahead of my goal.

Popsugar hosts a reading challenge every year. You can find out more information on their website.

I read one book that counted for a Popsugar prompt in July:

Romanceopoly is a reading challenge hosted by Under the Covers and Peace Love Books.

I didn’t read any books toward this challenge in July!

This challenge is still on hold for now. I’ll probably pick it back up at some point this fall.


How are you doing on your reading challenges? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Reading Challenge Update

Well, here we are again. Time to take a look at my reading challenge progress!

Monthly Motif is a reading challenge hosted by girlxoxo.

June’s theme was diversify your reading. This is my favorite monthly motif prompt. (We did it last year, too.) I ended up reading a ton of books for this one!

July’s theme is through the years. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to read until I looked at The Lady Rogue and saw it’s set in 1930s Romania!

I read a total of 17 books in June, which puts me 36 books ahead of my goal.

Popsugar hosts a reading challenge every year. You can find out more information on their website.

I read three books that counted toward my Popsugar challenge in June:

Romanceopoly is a reading challenge hosted by Under the Covers and Peace Love Books.

I finally feel like I’m making some progress on this challenge! I checked off four prompts in June.

The prompts I checked off were:

Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a reading challenge every year. You can find more information on the website.

I am very, very happy to report that I finished this challenge! I checked off the last two prompts in June, which were:

I made the executive decision to put this challenge on hold for the time being so that I can get caught up on library books and ARCs. I ended up knocking out a few ARCs that I needed to read in June:


How are you doing on your reading challenges? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let’s talk in the comments!

Book review: Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Source: Purchased

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts. 

I had seen a lot of hype for this book when it first came out and when I saw the author signing at a book festival I went to last year, I figured I might as well buy it. It was probably the most awkward encounter I’ve ever had in my life, which I don’t fault the author for since it just illustrates what happens when you throw two introverts who’ve never met before together and expect them to interact. Anyway, it took me a while to finally pick it up, and… I have some thoughts.

First of all, Tessa is not like other girls and Eric is always taking off his shirt to show off his six pack, so it’s basically the same two characters as every other YA book that’s come out over the last decade. Sure, there are some differences. Tessa is agoraphobic and Eric is famous. They mostly converse through Twitter, and Tessa doesn’t know that the person she’s been talking to is actually her celebrity crush.

I didn’t think that I’d have a problem with the premise, but I kind of do. I don’t necessarily mind that a celebrity is hiding his identity when he talks with a fan for the first time. I get that. But Eric lets it go on for so long and he doesn’t seem to understand that it’s not okay to lie about who he is when he and Tessa become close enough to consider meeting in person. Eric also had such an attitude about his fans that I found it surprising that he would even entertain the idea of befriending one of them, especially a superfan like Tessa.

The side characters in the book are absolutely ridiculous. Tessa’s mother is a blatantly horrible person. (Like most YA parents, I guess.) Her therapist is awful. The person from her past that she’s so scared of? Something was definitely missing because that whole story didn’t make a bit of sense.

The “cliffhanger” at the end is actually painfully obvious if you’ve paid attention at all to what’s happened throughout the book. I even went ahead and read some spoiler-filled reviews of the sequel to confirm that this story ends exactly as I expected it to.

I can’t think of anyone I’d recommend this book to. I’m glad it’s off my shelf, but it’s already in my donate pile.

#killingthetbr: ten months on shelf


Have you read Follow Me Back? What about the sequel?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Reading Challenge Update

May felt like a pretty good reading month, so I’m hoping it was a good month for my reading challenges too. I’m excited to take a look at my progress!

Monthly Motif is a reading challenge hosted by girlxoxo.

May’s theme was one sitting reads and I read a few books for this prompt:

June’s theme is diversify your reading. I have a ton of diverse books on my TBR but please feel free to recommend some to me!

I read a total of 16 books in May, which puts me 26 books ahead of my goal.

Popsugar hosts a reading challenge every year. You can find out more information on their website.

I was surprised to find out that I didn’t read any books toward my Popsugar challenge in May! I’ll have to try to read some in June!

Romanceopoly is a reading challenge hosted by Under the Covers and Peace Love Books.

Romanceopoly continues to be the reading challenge that I struggle with the most, but at least I checked off a few more prompts in May.

The prompts I checked off were:

Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a reading challenge every year. You can find more information on the website.

I checked off one prompt for the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge in May:

I’m almost done with this challenge! I only have two prompts left.

I thought I might read more than three books for this challenge in May, but that didn’t happen. (As usual, I got distracted by library books.) The three books that I read were:


How are you doing on your reading challenges? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let’s talk in the comments!

Book Review: The Senses by Matteo Farinella

The Senses by Matteo Farinella
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Source: Borrowed

Step into the world of the senses . . . Meet the four mechanoreceptors of touch, examine our taste buds up close, discover the link between smells and memories, and learn how optical illusions trick the cells in our eyes into seeing things that aren’t there…

In this humorous, detailed, yet still accessible book, neuroscientist and illustrator Matteo Farinella takes the reader on a wild ride through key figures and fascinating facts about each of our five senses, describing the most up to date research alongside illuminating drawings and diagrams that even the most scientifically un-savvy will enjoy!

Here I am again with a review of a book I never actually intended to read. There I was at my library, checking to see if they’d added any new graphic novels to their collection, when I was distracted by the cover of The Senses. I read Farinella’s Neurocomic earlier this year, and, while I didn’t hate it, I also didn’t really love it. I figured I’d give him another try with The Senses, and I’m glad I did.

This is a very basic introduction to the senses, going into the major organs of the sensory nervous system and how they work and communicate with each other. I think my favorite section was the one on taste, probably just because I really enjoy cooking (and eating).

The art honestly is not my favorite, but it’s very functional. That said, I didn’t read this graphic novel for the art, I read it because the topic interests me and I thought I might learn something. I don’t know if I learned anything that hadn’t already been covered in my anatomy and physiology classes, but I still had fun reading this one and would definitely recommend it to someone looking for a basic summary of how the sensory nervous system works.

#mm19: one sitting reads


Have you read The Senses? Are you interested in neuroscience?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart

Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: March 14, 2006
Source: Purchased

At the Manhattan School of Art and Music, where everyone is unique and everyone is ‘different’, Gretchen Yee feels ordinary. It doesn’t help that she’s known as the girl who sits alone at lunch, drawing pictures of her favourite superhero, just so she won’t have to talk to anyone. Her best (and only real) friend is there for her, but that’s only if she’s not busy – she’s always busy! 

It’s no surprise that Gretchen isn’t exactly successful in the boy department. Her ex-boyfriend is a cold-fish-sometimes-flirty ex who she can’t stop bumping into. Plus, she has a massive crush on a boy named, Titus but is too scared to make the first move. One minute he seems like a sensitive guy, the next, he’s a completely different person when he’s with his friends. She can’t seem to figure boys out!

Gretchen has one wish: to be a fly on the wall in the boy’s locker room. What are boys really like? What do they talk about?

I can’t review this one without spoilers, sorry.

I’ve had Fly on the Wall on my TBR since it came out thirteen years ago. I never quite know what I’m going to get when I read an E. Lockhart book. There are some books by her that I’ve liked (like her Ruby Oliver series) and others that I really haven’t (like Genuine Fraud). It seems like a lot of her books have really mixed reviews, and Fly on the Wall is no different.

Let me start by saying that this is one of the easiest books that I’ve read in the last few months. It took very little effort to read it, and before I knew it, I was done. I don’t think I spent more than two hours reading the whole thing. There were parts of it that I really liked. The ending, in particular, was very cute. I also liked Titus and the way he stood up for Brat, and everything that happened with Malachy and Katya. All of this is why I gave it two stars and not one.

Everything else, though? Weird at best. Incredibly problematic at worst.

This is where the spoilers really get going.I’m going to be blunt here. You see how, on the cover, it says in big, bold letters, “How one girl saw EVERYTHING” — well, everything is referring to penises. I think it’s really important to just put that out there. A good chunk of this book is made up of the fly version of Gretchen sitting on a locker room wall and ogling her classmates’ penises. She flies up close to one guy to get a good view. She makes comments about penis size and compares her ex to his classmates. It’s all very creepy.

As if that isn’t weird enough, Gretchen also decides to grade all of the boys based on their butts. Like… letter grades. How odd. There are full descriptions of so many butts. It was like being inside Tina Belcher’s mind.

I mean, I don’t really have a problem with teenage girls exploring their sexuality. I think it’s great that this book talks about how Gretchen gets turned on when she sees a naked guy, how it’s a totally different experience than seeing her classmates clothed. Especially in 2006, this wasn’t really a thing in YA books. But let’s be honest here for a second — these guys have no idea that one of their female classmates is creepily staring at them. I could not get over how weird and creepy it was for this girl to be nonchalantly examining her classmates’ penises and butts without their knowledge and not finding anything wrong with it. I would’ve hoped for this to be challenged at least a little bit, but nope. Gretchen just resumes her normal daily activities one day and it’s like none of this ever happened.

Can I also talk for a second about two MAJOR plot points that were never resolved? First, we have Carlo and Xavier who get bullied for taking an African dancing class instead of a sport that the other boys in the grade deem acceptable. I can definitely see this happening. Gretchen witnesses them being made fun of and even beaten up for it, and then… nothing happens. It’s totally forgotten about, despite multiple scenes featuring these characters. I didn’t necessarily need justice, but something would have been nice. And then, my biggest question while reading this book, what exactly was happening to Gretchen’s body while she was a fly? Was she just kind of in a coma? If she wasn’t eating or drinking, how did she stay alive? How did she even become a fly? How did she get turned back into a human? SO MANY QUESTIONS. NO ANSWERS.

One thing that I didn’t really understand was the slang in this book. Literally every character refers to penises as “gherkins” and breasts as “biscuits.” Gherkins… okay, I guess that makes sense. But BISCUITS? It took me some time to figure out what that was referring to. It was just… so weird. What was the point? It was almost like either the author or the publisher was afraid to use any anatomically correct terms (or actual slang words) and had to make up these weird food-related words for an entire school to use.

I don’t know that I can really recommend this one as anything other than a very odd, very fast read.

#killingthetbr: three months on shelf


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

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ARC Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

I almost always love Christina Lauren books, so I was very excited to see The Unhoneymooners pop up on Netgalley. After I requested it, I kind of forgot that I had it until about three days before its release, when I panicked and started reading it immediately. Luckily, this book was very fun and I read it in two sittings. The 432 pages honestly just flew by.

I always love Christina Lauren’s heroines. They’re usually goofy, clumsy, and often embarrass themselves. But they’re also confident, intelligent, and just the right amount of snarky. Olive is no exception. She has a bit of a reputation for being prickly, but she’s just honest. She doesn’t put up with any nonsense. I could probably learn a thing or two from her.

It’s not just their heroines that I love, though. Their heroes are great, too. Aside from a few rather frustrating scenes, Ethan was a great love interest. While he initially came off as kind of stand-offish (or even rude), once he and Olive got over their differences and actually talked, he was a great guy. I loved how particular he was about the food he’d eat because SAME.

I loved the way the relationship developed between Olive and Ethan. Enemies-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and Christina Lauren did it perfectly here. The teasing, the banter, and the turn to romantic feelings was done so well. Another of my favorite tropes? Fake dating. Watching Olive and Ethan pretend to be newlyweds while being so uncomfortable about it was great. I loved it.

So, why not five stars? There were a few things that didn’t sit quite right with me, but I think that getting into them would be kind of spoilery. I will say that they were still small enough issues that I flew through this book and ended up loving it. I’d highly recommend this to anybody looking for a cute enemies-to-lovers romance.


Previously: AutoboyographyDating You/Hating YouJosh and Hazel’s Guide to Not DatingLove and Other WordsMy Favorite Half-Night StandRoomies


#killingthetbr: 4 months on shelf


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

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’