The Marriage Pact: eARC review

marriagepactAuthor: Michelle Richmond
Publisher: Random House- Ballantine Books
Pub Date: July 25, 2017

In two sentences:
Alice, a rock singer turned lawyer, and Jake, a psychiatrist, get married and accept membership into The Pact. A group that thinks they have perfected the recipe for a lasting marriage, and will do anything to make sure members follow the rules.

My thoughts:
This concept was so interesting to me it was like marriage meets 1984. I feel as though it may have been influenced by 1984, but I don’t know for sure.

The rules are pretty standard and none of them were that surprising. It’s things such as get presents, take trips, answer phone calls etc. But then there seemed to be things that would conflict with the amount of time off at their prestigious jobs and they tended to drop things at a moments notice. I had a hard time believing they wouldn’t have career consequences. Anyway, if you break even a small rule you get summoned for a court date and get sentenced to monitoring or time in their jail etc. It was intense.

The characters in this book stood out to me because they were so well written. So often I read and think “are you kidding? That’s not realistic” which didn’t happen with this book. They didn’t make those stupid decisions the main characters do in normal thrillers. Going along with that, the characters and relationships developed both together and apart. Which was so refreshing.

There were three different writing styles in this book. There were some chapters that basically just restated marriage facts. Others had a storytelling vibe where I felt as though someone were reading and then there was also the straight up thriller chapters. This bothered me at times because it was constantly shifting but it also made me focus on the different pieces of the story.

This book started out slow, I was confused as to what was happening in the first chapter because it was similar to a prologue that shoves the reader into the middle of the story. All I was thinking was “I don’t care about these characters, I don’t even know who this person is.” Then when that point came again I just wanted to know what was going to happen and it ended up being a real page turner.

Thank you to Random House- Ballantine Books and NetGalley for providing me an eARC copy of this book in exchange for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion on the book.

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

So this tag was originally created by Chami and Ely.

I know it’s past the halfway point of the year, but I felt I should do a checkup and since I’m not doing any challenges this year, I decided to do this tag instead. I wasn’t tagged by anyone, but who says that’s a rule? And if you want to say it in then that just makes me a rebel.

  1. Best book you’ve read in 2017?
    Misery by Stephen King
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017?
    A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I did read A Court of Wings and Ruin but it really wasn’t as amazing. ACOMAF put me into a reading slump because I wanted something as amazing and I didn’t finish a single book until ACOWAR a month later and it got me out of my slump because it wasn’t as good.
  3. New release you haven’t read yet but want to?
    When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon because I kept seeing it all over. AND then the reactions on Twitter when it came out. I have a feeling I’ll really like Dimple.
  4. Most anticipated release for the second half of 2017?
    I haven’t really been paying attention to the new releases, but Stephen King and Owen King have a new book coming out called Sleeping Beauties at the end of September and it’s my goal to read everything by Stephen King.
  5. Biggest disappointment?
    Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
    Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
    City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  6. Biggest surprise?
    Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. I’m not a huge contemporary fan, but this one was actually really good. I loved the slow burn romance and how it doesn’t actually focus mainly on the romance, but on the character development.
  7. Favorite new author?
    Michelle Kuo, but Reading With Patrick is her only book, and a memoir, so it may be the only one we get by her. She talks about her Teach for America and the students she met and then how she came back a couple years later to continue what she started.
  8. Newest fictional crush?
    I never really go super crazy over fictional guys? It’s not a regular thing but Clay Jannon, from Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore was pretty cool. He just keeps searching for answers. And won’t stop. He’ll think of different things most wouldn’t. Plus he’s a nerdy bookworm/ web nerd which doesn’t hurt.
  9. Newest favorite character? I literally just finished The Marriage Pact last night and my favorite character of the year is getting taken from that because I just loved Alice. She was the perfect blend of rocker and smarts, dedicated to work but loving. She was so well written.
  10. Book that made you cry?
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I don’t think I even need to explain this one.
  11. Book that made you happy?
    Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, it made me so hopeful and motivated about everything. It made me want to sit down and write for years and years. And I haven’t felt like that in forever, so that made me happy. I think this book may be the reason I’ve been blogging so much lately.
  12. Favorite book to movie adaptation you saw this year?
    None- I’m not a huge movie person, I’ve watched maybe six this entire year and I don’t even remember what ones they were. I had a list going but then thought “I don’t really care” and deleted it.
  13. Favorite review you’ve written this year?
    Reading with Patrick by Michelle Kuo
  14. Favorite non-review you’ve written this year?
    The Horribleness of Caffeine Withdrawal– even though I didn’t stick to the no caffeine I have cut back so I don’t get bad headaches without it.
  15. Most beautiful book you bought so far this year?
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. The cover is just gorgeous and I love the way mass market feels in my hands (I hate the small print though) It’s just such a great photo combination.

  16. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
    I mean, any of the 648 unread books I own would be nice.
    American Assassin, The Outsiders, The End of Your Life Bookclub, Fahrenheit 451, Les Miserables, Quiet, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban.

Wow, going through this made me realize how few books I’ve read this year. I’ve read 30 so far, which sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t give me much room to wiggle around in these answers. A lot were authors I’ve read before or standalones, etc. Plus, a lot of the books I read were just meh.

Reading with Patrick: ARC review

Author: Michelle Kuo
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: July 11, 2017

In two sentences:
Between college and law school Michelle Kuo goes to Helena, Arkansas, as a part of Teach for America. When she learns an old student is in jail she goes to see him and they continue with his education, reading different poems and classics and writing.

My thoughts:
I picked this up from the bookseller’s library a few days before the publication date, expecting to fly through it on my weekend off and have a review up for the day it came out.

The book had other ideas though. About thirty pages in I realized this was a book you couldn’t just fly through. This was a book you savored, a book that would take twice as long to read a page. The writing is so simplistic for the most part but it made you reflect.

I still read it within a couple of days but the time it actually took was much longer. It’s about a place I have literally never thought about before, but a place I don’t think I’ll ever forget… and I didn’t even go there.

This book was so beautifully written it makes you want to do anything you can do  to help. It was the perfect blend of showing the current times, the history needed to understand why it was the way it was and the emotions she felt. I just loved how honest this was, going between feeling she made such a difference and no difference, admitting she doesn’t know how they think or what it’s actually like to grow up there. You can see them grow throughout their lives.

I didn’t think Reading With Patrick was going to change my thinking at all. Actually I didn’t think about it much before I started reading it. I didn’t even read the summary on the back. It was basically a judge the book by the cover… and title.

Twenty-Three Lessons in Twenty-Three Years

  1. You don’t have to move all the way across the country after graduation, or even out of the city.
  2. Don’t be afraid to put down roots., otherwise you’ll be doing nothing.
  3. Read some non-fiction, you can learn a lot. Step outside of your reading comfort zone.
  4. Make time for your friends because you won’t see them all the time after graduation, even if you think you will.
  5. If you want to do something then do it, don’t wait for motivation every time.
  6. Don’t listen to people when they say you won’t get a job, it’s fully possible.
  7. Sometimes all you need is a hot shower to make everything better.
  8. When you think something’s the end of the world it’s actually just your world opening up.
  9. Download a blue light killer on your phone if you’re not going to stop using your phone close to bedtime.
  10. Don’t be so afraid to show excitement for things.
  11. Write things down. Events, feelings, ideas. You won’t necessarily remember it forever.
  12. Go places by yourself. Then you can do what makes you happy.
  13. Let people in, you don’t have to push everyone away.
  14. Keep writing and reading every day. Keep producing things and trying new creative things.
  15. Explore and take photos to remember it by, they’re great to look back on.
  16. Back up your photos right away from your camera- on the computer- or you may lose an entire country’s worth of pictures.
  17. Cut back on sugar and caffeine, you’ll actually have a lot more energy and feel a lot better.
  18. Coming up with 23 lessons in one night is hard. Don’t procrastinate?
  19. A little cleaning every day goes a long way.
  20. When something interests you go after it, explore whatever it is.
  21. You’ll get closer to your sister the farther she is away. Enjoy the time when you see the people you love.
  22. You don’t always get your way. It’s called life.
  23. Take a breath and relax- you deserve it.

Make Me Read It Read-a-thon… Take Two!

Scrolling through my twitter feed I saw the Make Me Read It Read-a-thon was absolutely thrilled!  This was my favorite read-a-thon last year and I was really looking forward to it happening again. They also announced it the day before my birthday which was pretty much the best blogging present I’ve gotten yet (even if it was unintentional)!

This read-a-thon is taking place from August 6th through August 13th. Which is great because I have way too many high-priority books for July so they’ll be done by the time this read-a-thon starts.

Ely at Tea & Titles and Val at The Innocent Smiley are hosting again! For those of you who don’t know:

Look at the books you own, either physical, e-book or ones you’ve borrowed from the library and pick out a few you really want to read, or feel like you should read. It’s up to you how many you pick, personally I’d pick a few more than you expect to be able to read in a week. Example: if you think you’ll only read two, pick out five books or if you think you can read seven, pick out ten.

Make a list of these books on your blog, or make a video, or a Goodreads shelf or post a picture on Instagram—whatever is easiest for you. Then get friends, other bloggers/ booktubers/ bookstagrammers etc. to vote on which books you HAVE to read.

When the readathon comes along, you read the books in the order of most votes. For example, if one book gets 10 votes—you read that first, then the one that got 7 and so on. If there’s a tie, then it’s your preference. The goal is to read as many as possible.

Last year my goal was three books and I only read one… and 64 pages. I am still optimistic though and am going to try to read three books as well. Here’s the options:

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King– I had to include a Stephen King novel and I keep putting off this one because it’s the beginning of a trilogy which makes it as intimidating as one of his larger ones but perfect for a read-a-thon.

You by Caroline Kepnes– This one has stuck out to me since the first time I read about it, specifically because it’s told from the stalker’s perspective.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill– I haven’t read anything by Joe Hill before but this one sounds so entertaining, I men, a magical bridge and a magical car along with thriller elements. I couldn’t really pass it up when I saw it at the book sale.

The Circle by Dave Eggers– I really don’t know what this one is actually about but it’s interested me since the first time I saw the cover.

The Night Shift: Real Life in the Heart of the E.R. by Dr. Brian Goldman– I’ve been in the mood for a good non-fiction and this one talks about the E.R. after midnight and it takes a look at the medical profession today.

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson– I have been watching Emily’s YouTube channel and she talks constantly about Brandon Sanderson and how amazing these are so I picked up the first one.

Learning from last year: I will only be counting the votes in the poll, so if you leave them in the comments on Facebook, replies on Twitter, comments here I will not be counting them. Vote in the poll.

Go forth, vote (max. two) and leave your links in the comments!

 

 

 

June Wrap-up: A busier month than expected

Well, it’s that time of the month again. The time where I sit down and attempt to figure out what I accomplished in the past month. I remember once upon a time I made a list whenever something happened I wanted to talk about. Now I just go through the photos in my phone and my goodreads to figure out what all happened because let’s be honest: the months all blur together I can’t do this from memory.

I posted a bit more on here! So that’s exciting. I want to go on a schedule, but then I tend to come up with really bad topics and get blogger burnout so that’s not going to happen. I talked about my favorite reading places, how I’m trying not to buy and rent any books. And I actually did a review about Misery!

I started off my month with a trip back to Stevens Point to see some friends there and all I could think was “It’s been so long!” Some of the sculptures moved around in the Sculpture Park, probably to make way for the new ones. The new science building is a lot farther along than when I was last there. I got to meet my friend’s new puppy and see my other friend’s kitties who are so overwhelmingly adorable! (Except when they meow in your face at 4:30 am and it’s light out so you wonder how long you slept and why you’re still tired.)

I tried the new smoothie and juice bar by my work and discovered we actually have a place that has the popping bubbles for bubble tea. Obviously I’ve gone more than I should have. I also tried Titletown beer for the first time while catching up with one of my friends. They have a rooftop patio/ bar thing and I’ve been up there before, I just didn’t get anything that time.

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I had my schedule changed up a couple of times and had my first weekend off in a long time so I went to Algoma. My mom and I went to a wine tasting and we hunkered down inside when the storm came. There were tornado sirens and power outages in my hometown that night, but the worst we had was high winds and rain. In the morning I got to try the bakery my parents discovered last time they were there.

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I also got to go up to Three Lakes where again, it rained more than normal. That was the theme of June: Rain. The water wasn’t working and my dad had to come up the next day to fix it. Mom and I did a wine tasting and then binged on Castle episodes. I got to use my paddleboard that weekend too but I didn’t attempt any yoga this time since the water was freezing. I really didn’t want to fall in.

Other than that I worked. I am now helping write social media for one of the companies. They really want an interactive account where people can post pictures and comment and share things and it’s really fun to brainstorm and do these things. Although it is slightly harder than I thought it would be.

I had a busier month than I realized. One of my best friends also just got back in from Spain last Sunday so it was great to hear about her trip and I’ll probably be hearing about it for many many months to come, which is perfectly fine by me because I love hearing people’s travel stories.

Books read:
Misery- Stephen King
City of Bones-Cassandra Clare
The Vegetarian- Han Kang
The Book Thief- Markus Zusak
Good Omens- Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Plant My Butt and Read: My Five Favorite Places

I tend to switch up where I’m reading, depending on my mood that day. Sometimes I want to be laying in bed, other times I like to be out and about in town reading. There’s something satisfying about finding that perfect position and devouring a book for hours on end. I did just this the last couple of days because I finally read The Book Thief.  Finally. After it being on my TBR for since high school.

  1. My reading chair. This is one of those things I wonder if I should get rid of so I can have more room and then I sit in it. It’s broken, the seat sinks on one side. I amimg_20160616_102931.jpg hardly the first owner, it’s old and the fabric is outdated. The footstool doesn’t always stay where it is but when I curl up with a blanket and my coffee on the table next to it, it’s perfect. (And where I am as I type this.) This is where I do about 75 percent of my reading so it would be stupid to get rid of it.
  2. My floor by my bed. When I last rearranged my room I really really felt like reading on the floor, but I needed pillows so my back wouldn’t hurt as much so I put some pillows in a corner with my lamp in it and my knees can rest on my bed, and sometimes I just need to be on the floor for some reason. I don’t use this spot very often but when I do I love it.
  3. Local coffeehouse. I tend to go once a week and get a cup of tea and read. I tend to do this when I start reading a book because it forces img_20170503_150100648.jpgme to concentrate on it for an extended period of time. Also there is nothing more comforting than a hot cup of tea in your hands and steady background noise.
  4. The side of the hot tub. A lot of my friends complain it’s to hot for the hot tub but that’s not always true. The hot tub is so relaxing to just stick my feet in and read my book. I don’t even have to change into a swimsuit and if it gets too hot then I can lay out on the deck for a bit or walk the five feet to go in the air conditioning.
  5. My bed. I can lay out, stretch and have a ton of comfortable space. Sometimes I read here in the middle of the day, or when I say “I”m going to read until I get tired” and then I get tired so I put my book away and can’t fall asleep for two or three more hours.

Yeah, a lot of these places are in the same room, but what can I say? It’s where I’m comfiest.

I really wanted to put by the water on here since I tend to read when I’m on beaches or on vacation but then I get really hot from the sun, have to stop what I’m doing to go in the water and cool off etc. Bookworm problems right?

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What’s your favorite place to read? Any types of places I should try out?