Reading Challenge Update

I really buckled down on my challenges in November, so I’m excited to take a look at my progress.

Monthly Motif is a reading challenge hosted by girlxoxo.

November’s theme was seasons, elements, and weather. Specifically, the instruction was to “embrace a winter wonderland setting, pick a beach read, or read about a natural disaster. As long as a season, element, or the weather plays a key role in the story or is part of the title, it counts.” I really had no idea where I was going with this one, but it turned out that the first book I read in November was set on the water! I also ended up reading a couple more books that I think should count.

December’s theme is last chance. I’ve been meaning to read The Bride Test ever since it was announced and my library hold finally came in, so I’m currently working my way through that one.

I finished a total of 26 books in November, bringing me to a total of 158 books this year.

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

I crossed off a ton of prompts in November. I think I only have two left!

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

Hoopla really came in handy for me in November. I might not have enjoyed a lot of what I read (or, probably better said, attempted), but I crossed off a bunch of prompts.

This challenge is still on hold, probably indefinitely. But I did finish Roommates, which I got over a year ago, and We’ll Fly Away, which I had DNFed over the summer.


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

Book Review: The Backstagers 2018 Halloween Intermission #1 by James Tynion IV

The Backstagers 2018 Halloween Intermission #1 by James Tynion IV
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 24, 2018
Source: Borrowed

With the days getting shorter and the nights getting SPOOKIER, the Backstagers are back for the Halloween season with all-new tales of terrors and creepy creatures. When Sasha accidentally falls asleep backstage, he ends up locked in the theater overnight! What lurks in the shadows, what terrors will he discover, and what the heck are the stage managers chanting?

From writers James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, The Woods) and Sam Johns (The Backstagers: Valentines Intermission), and artist Rian Sygh (Adventure Time Fionna and Cake Card Wars, Regular Show), this haunted oversized one-act is a night at the theater you won’t want to miss!

With back-up stories from artists Shan Murphy, Abby Howard, and Savanna Ganucheau this spine-tingling tale of the stage will leave you with goosebumps you can see from the back row!

I really enjoy the world of The Backstagers, so I was excited to find this little intermission on Hoopla! This is a single issue set in the magical Backstagers world over Halloween.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about this one. Of all the characters, Sasha really isn’t one of my favorites, so I was a little apprehensive about this story that primarily features him. I didn’t need to worry, though, because this was super cute. I may even love Sasha now.

I really liked that we got to see more of the stage managers and I wouldn’t mind getting to know them even better. I also really liked the positive message in this issue! I said it already but I’m going to say it again — this was just so cute.

I haven’t checked out the Valentine’s intermission yet, but I really think I should.


#mm19: tricks and trades


Have you read The Backstagers? Is it on your TBR?
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.

October’s theme was tricks and trades. Specifically, the instruction was to “read a book set in a theater, an amusement park, a circus, or a book involving magic, illusions, or characters with special powers.” For a book set in an amusement park, I was going to go with Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan, and for a book featuring characters with special powers, I was finally going to read Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t completely derail my own plans, so instead, I ended up reading two totally different books!

November’s theme is seasons, elements, and weather. I’m not even going to make a tentative TBR for this one. We’ll just see what ends up happening.

I finished a total of 19 books in September, bringing me to a total of 132 books this year.

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

Okay, I finally did it. I crossed off some more Popsugar prompts! I think I may have a chance at finishing this thing! In October, I crossed off:

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

I actually crossed off two prompts for Romanceopoly too! I’m not sure that I’ll finish this challenge, but if I can find some good romance audiobooks to listen to while I’m at work, I might get close. I crossed off:

This challenge is still on hold. I did finally finish Permanent Record, though, which I feel should count for something.


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

Book Review: Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Source: Borrowed

Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life—she has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.

But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.

I’ve been intrigued by Magic for Liars since I saw it on display in Barnes & Noble over the summer. The cover alone really drew me in, so I checked out the audiobook from my library without knowing much about it other than, of course, the magic.

I’m not going to lie — it took me a little while to get into this one. I had to listen to the first ten or so minutes three times because I kept zoning out. But then I got really into it. This book was a wild ride, and it was so much fun.

I think that the first thing I loved about this book was the setting. The Osthorne Academy for Young Mages is really your typical private school, filled with obnoxious teenagers, petty drama, and classes that just happen to teach magic. Ivy is aware that schools like this exist — after all, her twin sister attended one, and now teaches at one — but she herself has never been able to wield magic.

The second thing I loved was the mystery. I had a little inkling of who the murderer might be at the beginning of the book, but then as more and more clues were revealed, I changed my mind at least five times. The murderer makes sense and I was definitely satisfied with how the book played out, but I did not see the circumstances of that murder coming.

The third thing I loved, surprisingly, was Ivy. I say “surprisingly” because she’s a pretty unlikable character. She’s negative, she’s self-destructive, and she almost always does the last thing that she should be doing, but I could get behind it. I could understand her motives. Ivy has been through a lot in her life, and it’s understandable that she struggles with her personal relationships. In fact, one of my favorite things about this book was the way Ivy and her sister, Tabitha, interact with each other.

There were a few things keeping me from giving it five stars, though. First of all, as I already mentioned, it took me some time to actually care about what was happening in the book. Second, although the way the magic system works is kind of irrelevant to the story, it would have been nice to have at least a little more information about it. All in all, though, this was a great book and I really enjoyed it a lot.

A word of warning: cancer and abortion are fairly big themes in this book, although I think both are handled very well.

#mm19: tricks and trades
#romanceopoly: cozy corner


Have you read Magic for Liars? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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

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.

September’s theme was animal, number, color, name. I really had no idea what to do with this one (it’s so broad!) but I ended up reading MCMLXXV by Joe Casey for this prompt.

October’s theme is tricks and trades. I’m trying to decide between finally reading Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray and Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan.

I finished a total of 8 books in September, bringing me to a total of 113 books this year.

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

I had hoped that September would turn out better than August for this challenge, but nope. Another month with zero prompts checked off. (Oh well.)

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

Same with Romanceopoly! And for the second month in a row, I read no romance novels. Maybe that’s why I’m in a slump. Maybe I just need something cute and fluffy to bring me out of it.

This challenge is still on hold. I did, however, read a couple ARCs that needed to be finished:


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

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.

August’s theme was mode of transportation, and to expand on that, its official description is “a book where the mode of transportation plays a role in the story.” I went with The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett for this prompt, mostly because I had started it in July, but also because it takes place over the course of a trek through Europe and how the characters get around ends up being a big part of the story.

September’s theme is animal, number, color, name and I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to read, but I am 100% sure that I have some book in some box somewhere that will fit this prompt!

I read a total of 9 books in August and finished my reading challenge! I’m at 105 books read now.

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

I read literally nothing that counted for this reading challenge in August! Next month will be better.

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

Surprisingly, I did not read even one single romance novel in August! Who even am I?

This challenge is still on hold for now. I’ll probably pick it back up at some point this fall. I did, however, read two ARCs that have been hanging around for a bit:


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

ARC Review: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Source: ARC via publisher

The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in this thrilling tale filled with magic and set in the mysterious Carpathian Mountains where a girl must hunt down Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring in order to save her father.

Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it. 

Let me just start this review off by saying that The Lady Rogue was one of my most anticipated books for the entirety of 2019. Jenn Bennett is one of my all-time favorite authors (if not the favorite, I mean… just look at that drawing of me holding Starry Eyes below) and I basically devour everything that she ever writes. As much as it pains me to say it, The Lady Rogue and I did not click as much as I’d hoped.

Part of this, I think, is definitely me. It’s been a stressful few weeks in this household. Major life changes are coming and I’ve had very little time to read. I’ve been in the mood for something I can sit down and finish in one sitting, not a book that would take several hours of my time.

I picked this one up and put it right back down a few times in the past month because I just couldn’t get into it. But I threw this book in my backpack when I took a quick weekend trip to Tennessee, just on the off chance that I’d get a minute to read it, and ended up with a cancelled flight and, finally, a lot of time to read. And while it might have taken me several weeks to get into it, once I got into it, I finished it in a couple of hours.

All of this is to say that this is not a bad book. There is nothing inherently wrong with this book. And three stars is not a bad rating! It’s one of those it’s not you, it’s me kind of things.

I will explain.

First things first, what I liked. As always, I love Jenn Bennett’s writing style. She’s one of those writers that, once I get absorbed in the book, I can just go for hours without stopping. The action was steady, but never too much. I loved our main character, Theo, and her adventures traipsing around Europe in search of a mystical ring and her missing father.

Now, for what I wasn’t so sold on. I’ve spent a little bit of time sitting here thinking about why exactly I didn’t love this book as much as I’ve loved Jenn Bennett’s other work, and I think a lot of it comes down to the genre. I’ve had a hard time recently getting into this fantastical kind of adventure story recently (see The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy).

I also associate Jenn Bennett with cute contemporary romances (see Starry Eyes, Alex, Approximately, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, Serious Moonlight) and although there’s the barest hint of a romance here, it felt kind of like an afterthought. Huck was definitely my least favorite of Bennett’s love interests and I really struggled to feel any chemistry between him and Theo. But, again, romance isn’t really the point of this book. The adventure is the point, and I kept having to remind myself of that.

I think, all in all, that The Lady Rogue is a really well-written, really fun YA historical fantasy. If you go into it knowing that’s what it is and are prepared for it to be very different from Bennett’s previous work, you’ll probably enjoy it. Even though it wasn’t my favorite of her work, I can still appreciate the good writing and the good story, and I’m so excited to read whatever she comes up with next.


#arcaugust
#mm19: mode of transportation


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

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