not a review

My Massive TBR Bookshelf

Recently, I admitted that my currently reading shelf on Goodreads is an utter sham. I use that designation to remind me which books are borrowed from the library in an attempt to prioritize reading them. Now I have another admission. The scanning capability on the Goodreads app and my total lack of self control has created a real problem on my TBR list and on my Un-Read Shelf at home.

Here is how it happens. I walk into one of my locally owned bookstores or a mega chain and I just started scanning all the books that look good to me. Those all go onto my TBR list. Additionally, I will see books in magazines or on the book blogs I follow and those go onto my TBR list. Then, family and friends give me books (or money for books, thank you people!) and I buy straight off this list.

Which brings me to the physical manifestation of this mess. It is an embarrassment of riches. I have nearly a full bookshelf of books I have purchased, were given to me or I liberated from somewhere all sitting and waiting to be read. But, when I can’t sleep at night do I reach for one of these books? NO. No, I do not. I go onto my Kindle and I buy another book. No self control at all.

I’ve brought this bookshelf up here before. I have told friends and family about it. But, I just keep adding to it! As I look at all of these books – they are so pretty – I vow they need to be read. But, I don’t. What to do?


Publicly shame myself.


Here they are, the nearly 100 books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

So, readers, where should I start? I mean, obviously I have to finish the $.99 book I bought last night…but then, how do I chip away at this massive pile? And, more importantly, how to do it quickly enough to reasonably ask for more books for the holidays?!?

 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday 11-8-17

Sam at Taking on a World of Words is the host for this weekly peek into what everyone is, has and will be reading. You just have to answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What am I currently reading?

If you follow my blog I have a Goodreads link that gives you a peek into my “currently reading” list. This is a total sham. That list is actually just the books I have borrowed from the library and have at home so I don’t forget to prioritize them and avoid paying fines. I actually have a whole bookshelf in my workspace and a giant bookcase full of books that are waiting. Sometimes, I get a lot of things from the library that are all one type of book (see my non-fiction heavy pile below) and I balance that out with books that I have on hand.

So, what is the true? Truthfully, I am currently reading these books.

So, Scott Pilgrim (volume 1)The Fangirl’s Guide to the GalaxyEliza and Her Monsters….I wonder why I picked up Awkward, The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome by Ty Tashiro? Goodness, sometimes these WWW Wednesdays do more that get my book stacks organized – they make me just a little more self-aware!

What did I recently finish reading?

Now that I am finished with my Frighteningly Good Reads of October 2017 I am trying to put away all of my spooky, scary and mysterious stories. But, I find myself craving some of the good ‘ol what-will-happen-next. So, I have been reading some mysteries. My favorite of the last week is absolutely The Good Byline by Jill Orr. It was a sweet story that reminded me of that television show Heart of Dixie – set in the south, sweet girl and a couple of cute boys except for there is a dead girl. I am just so thrilled that there is already a sequel!

And then there was the scrumptious Geekerella. You can read my full review here but I will just take a moment to say – loved it. The whole thing is 100% huggable.

What do I think I will read next?

These three books are on the top of my physical stack of TBR books. I really need to start cracking through my When are you Reading books for my the 2017 challenge (also from Taking on a World of Words) or I am not going to come anywhere near completing everything. So, The Last Days of Night will fill in my 1800-1899 nicely as it covers the legal battle between Edison and Westinghouse over the patent of the lightbulb.

Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson is a tome and I am concerned that I will not successfully get through the whole thing. Not that I am a quitter! It is a library book and new and they only let you keep them here for two measly weeks. It is my hope that my fascination with Da Vinci will give me the dedication I will need for all 524 pages, quickly.

And The Paper Trail, An Unexpected History of A Revolutionary Invention by Alexander Monro is a book after my own heart. Without paper there would be no books. When people cite the wheel as the most important invention I can accept that, I supposed. For me, it has always been paper.

Now, this is a very non-fiction heavy stack so I know that I will probably also bust into some fun fiction books to balance things out.


Thanks for reading my WWW Wednesday! I would love to hear what you are currently reading and make sure and head over to Taking on a World of Words to see what so many other bloggers have put on their WWW lists!


 

fiction · Romantic · YA

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

This book made me happy cry…three times. Now, maybe it is because the book reached directly into my geeky little heart and plucked at my fan-fiction loving heartstrings. Or, perhaps this delightful little re-telling of Cinderella was just swoon worthy enough to push my frazzled emotions over the edge. Either way, I love this book!

geekerellaGeekerella by Ashley Poston is a modern re-telling of the classic Cinderella. Danielle is our princess, Darien the prince. Our Prince and Princess are trying to get to the Con – the ExcelsiCon that revolves around their favorite television show Starfield. Danielle’s Father created the wildly popular ExcelsiCon before he died and their shared love of Starfield is all that she has left of him that brings her comfort. Darien is a day time soap actor chosen to star as the lead in the movie re-make of Starfield. His love of Starfield is bringing him nothing but anxiety as he tries to simultaneously live his dream of inhabiting his favorite character and prove himself to the fans.

Geekerella has been well reviewed and many great points have been made about the deeply likable characters, the plot development and the lack of a truly horrible villain. But the unique aspect of this book that really spoke to me was the desire to belong. Cinderella has always been looking for family. The Prince has always been seeking a loving relationship. Danielle and Damien are trying to find these things in a modern world made more complicated by social media and technology.

Danielle has turned inward after the death of her Father. We saw that with Cinderella. But Cinderella had devoted servants (or vermin) to bring her comfort. Danielle has no one to rely on or even someone she feels she can ask for help. Watching her find the strength to put herself out into the real world was what brought me happy cry numero uno.

Darien is a teen heartthrob whose Dad would rather be his Agent and Manager than his Father. We see this everywhere in modern American – parents who want something other than to parent their children. That leaves Darien like our Prince – constantly on guard against user friends, crazy fans and people who want to profit from him. In the end, he is looking for someone who loves him. Just him.

This book really spoke to me about believing in yourself and finding the strength to fit into this chaotic world. There is a place we all belong if we are brave enough to try again and again to find it.


Tell me, please!

Have you read Geekerella? What are your thoughts?


 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017

Frighteningly Good Read #18

Happy Halloween!!! October is coming to a close with the celebration that is near and dear to my heart – eating all the good candy out of the mix bags before the Trick or Treaters arrive. But, before I send my body into sugar shock I wanted to do one last FGR post.

When I was a kid my Dad would tell me Edgar Allen Poe’s tales. Sometimes he just explained the premise or he and my Mom would take turns retelling The Telltale Heart, The Premature Burial, The Pit and the Pendulum and quoting that stinkin’ Raven. Either way, through the years Poe’s tales have become woven into my subconscious like a family member you hear about but never meet.

When I finally took the time to read them I enjoyed them immensely but probably because I already had the skeleton of each story in my mind. They are not easy to read. And, while recounting the tales certainly made it is easier for me, not everyone has parents as stellar as mine.

edgarallanHowever, there is a children’s series called The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe by Gordon McAlpine and Sam Zuppardi. Edgar and Allan are identical twin geniuses and the great-great-great-great nephews of Poe himself. More importantly, the book weaves some Poe’s most important works into the story as well as Poe himself working in the afterlife as a fortune cookie fortune writer.

These books are cute and light children’s reading. But, like most things we give to children, these books serve two purposes. At the surface, they tell a lovely story about Edgar and Allan and their (mis)adventures through middle school. Underneath they are planting a seed in children’s minds everywhere. One day, they will go looking for Poe’s work and it won’t seem as unapproachable.

So, today, the last day of October for 2017 I thank my parents for making Poe’s work not just approachable but also enjoyable. I am happy and grateful to all of you who stopped by during this busy month of Frighteningly Good Reads and as to future plans for daily blogging I quote the Raven, “Nevermore!”

nevermore-gkm-prints

 

 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017 · nonfiction · Uncategorized

Frighteningly Good Read #17

It is October 29th and the gimme-some-candy moment of Trick or Treat is almost upon us. I have been reading so very many books. Sadly, there have been none which I feel confident recommending at this time. Fortunately, I stumbled across this delightful book which we might all need either for a last minute labor intensive costume making session.

costumeThe Costume Making GuideCreating Armor & Props for Cosplay by Svetlana Quindt is a mind-blowing introduction to how people make cosplay accessories and armor. I have been to one or two events which involved Cosplay but I have never understood how people really put together their outfits. I mean, they sell pieces at the conventions but a single item can set you back $100 so I couldn’t imagine building a whole costume!

But, in The Costume Making Guide, Svetlana aka Kamui Cosplaygives steller tips on how to make cosplay excessories and weapons that look so incredibly real out of regular materials (think saran wrap and duct tape) that I feel anyone could make some armor given the time and the know how provided in this book. And, by this time in October you either have your costume, you are not wearing one this year, or you are regretting not putting one together. Honestly, I found myself just last night on Pinterest looking at, “last minute costumes, stuff around house.”

But with this book I am going to try and make some Wonder Woman arm shields and pair it with regular clothing for an under-the-cover WW. Actually, Kamui Cosplay’s website has a number of other amazing ideas and books but I am pretty tickled with the idea of the arm shields so I am going to try it!

With only two days left in Frighteningly Good Reads I need to put down the stacks and stacks of books (both good and bad) and take a minute to make some kind of costume and I am really thankful to have found this book in time!


Tell me, please!

Do you celebrate Halloween? Are you dressing up?


 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017

Frighteningly Good Reads #16

I have two books by Shirley Jackson peering at me from my bookshelf right now. The first, The Haunting of Hill House is an often sited scary book. The other, We Have Always Lived in the Castle I found while browsing and, admittedly, picked it up because the cover is bright orange. Happily, it is also a deliciously unsettling and thought provoking novel that is today’s FGR.

wehavealwayslivedWe Have Always Lived in the Castle is narrated by Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwell and tells the story of the Blackwell family’s tragic history and the torment that their small town plays inside the minds of the family members that remain. Merricat, her sister Constance and their Uncle Julian are all that remain of a family dinner laced with arsenic. Still, their quiet lives are spinning along in their isolated existence until their Cousin Charles comes to stay.

Mary Katherine has been cited as one of the most memorable narrators in 20th century fiction. She struck me as terrifying in both her inner monologue as well as in her small worldly interactions. Truthfully, I could not decide for quite some time whether Merricat was the villain or a victim. Likewise, Constance’s lighthearted commentary coupled with Uncle Julian’s rambling made me feel like a record was playing in the background at the wrong speed. Jackson’s ability to create so much upheaval in my mind within the confines of a mere 146 pages is awe-inspiring. Deeply unsettling doesn’t quite describe it.

This book is no “scarier” than any Agatha Cristie. Rather the story is so suspenseful that I find myself turning it over in my mind again and again. This is truly the best gothic suspense novel I have ever read and I cannot wait to compare it to The Haunting of Hill House.

 

Fantasy · FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017 · series · YA

Frighteningly Good Reads #15

I know, I know. I’m falling further and further behind! But, you know whose fault it is? (Mine, really, because I apparently lack literary self control.) But some blame needs to be laid at Maggie Stiefvater’s door for writing an engaging and epic series.

ravenboysIt all started on October 15th when I started reading The Raven Boys. I was completely engaged from the tag line onward.

 

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve. Either you’re his true love…or you killed him.”

 

 

Hello. More please.

The Raven Boys features a female lead, Blue Sargent, whose mother is clairvoyant and their home is filled with women who trade in predictions. Blue does not have the sight but she has the ability to intensify the gift in others. On St. Mark’s Eve she accompanies her mother every year as the soon-to-be-dead walk past. She has never seen them until this year, when a boy emerges and speaks to her. The boy wearing the uniform of the prestigious and affluent Aglionby school known to many as The Raven Boys. This experience is further complicated by Blue’s life-long knowledge that she will cause her true love to die.

Now, all of this seems like a lot to cover in one book which is why I should have suspected that this was actually a series. Also, a careful look at the cover would have tipped me off since it says, “Book 1 of the Raven Cycle.” I’m sorry! I was excited.

Occasionally, when this happens I am livid. Picture me tearing through the last 20 pages of the book muttering, “How on Earth are they going to wrap this up?!?” only to find a cliffhanger ending and the need to buy the next book. I am not even a little miffed that this is a series. I needed to spend more time with these characters on their creepy adventures.

So, for FGR #15 I give you The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This creepy story presents the reader with multiple points of view as Blue and the Raven Boys try to solve one piece of an enormous mystery while avoiding becoming romantically entangled. The fourth and final book Now, please excuse me, the next two books in the series have arrived and I have hot cider to drink.


Tell me, please!

When you find out a book is actually a series are you thrilled or annoyed?


 

Fantasy · FrighteninglyGoodRead · Halloween2017 · Middle Grade · Mystery

Frighteningly Good Read #14

I know, I know. I’m running behind. There have been some big changes to my life outside this blog that have created a little hiccup in my schedule. But, I have all day today to get caught up!

So, lets start with the FGR for Saturday, October 14th. I have been reading some terrifying books during the day. At night, I just can’t do it. I have enough trouble with insomnia. So, I have been lulling myself to sleep with delightful children’s books that lean toward spooky or other wordly. This one is just too cute!

supernaturalsleuthingThe Supernatural Sleuthing ServiceThe Lost Legacy by Gwenda Bond and Christopher Rowe is the story of Stephen and his father moving to New York City to live in an unusual hotel, The New Harmonia. This hotel has a resident dragon and his hoard living in the basement. Bigfoot, creatures of the night and the fae are all frequent guests. And, my favorite side character, Elevator, torments riders with his big personality while he carries them up and down.

As is typical of books for grades 3-8, Stephen is dealing with moving to a new city, mysterious and magical artifacts and the self-discovery and social learning that is unique to children his age. This, as I have reiterated again and again, is what makes children’s literature so special. These characters don’t know who they are yet and they have to figure that out, deal with social norms and solve a big mystery. I will never stop reading them and recommending them because I think adults are constantly readjusting our self-knowledge. Except, we aren’t supposed to talk about it.

Stephen makes new friends and foes and together the story is simply adorable. With the characters including those of the night category I felt safe declaring it today’s (well, the 14th’s) FGR!


Tell me, please!?

Can you read truly scary stories right before bedtime?


 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · historical fiction · Uncategorized

Frighteningly Good Read #12

Today’s FGR is another children’s novel that I really believe everyone should read. Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan is a sweeping piece of historical fiction that covers all of the major events in American history through the eyes of children and linked them together through a magical harmonica.

EchoI wrote about Echo months ago and have recommended it to everyone for at least a year. Recently, a young reader told me they found the book “terrifying.” I was a little taken aback – I had not considered it scary at all.

But, that is the thing about fears. For me, the ocean is the most terrifying setting possible. So, a book set on a cruise ship is already terrifying. A submarine…..full shudder. For this child, this book reached into his deepest darkest psyche and kept him up reading until all hours. Thankfully, he found it thrilling!

Echo tells the story of three children struggling through some of the most difficult moments in modern history.  The rise of Hitler’s Germany, the Great Depression and segregation in America are all experienced through the eyes of these young and brave kids.  It is the harmonica – an immensely popular instrument in its own time – that provides a means of escape for the each of them.

But, the forces working against our little heroes provided enough tension and mystery to create fear in the younger reader. So, for today I recommend again the fabulous Echo.


Tell me, please!?

Have you ever read something that just terrified you (even though it wasn’t supposed to)?


 

FrighteninglyGoodRead · Graphic Novels · Halloween2017

Frighteningly Good Read #11

Today’s FGR is the fabulous and award-winning Graphic Novel Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol. After reading the super creepy Into the Woods I had to give myself a couple of days before going back into the Graphic Novel genre. Somehow, the illustrations with these stories have a way of creeping me out.

anyasghostAnya’s Ghost is more than a spooky tale. This Graphic Novel covers a myriad of other teen-related topics superbly. From being self-conscious about your body to discovering that maybe other people’s perfect lives are no-so ideal, this is a phenomenal book for teens.

Additionally, Anya has a ghost. For three-quarters of the book I thought the ghost was a literary device for her conscience. Then the ghost took a dramatic turn in behavior and I found myself flipping pages faster and faster with my heart racing. It is remarkable how the authors of Graphic Novels can build so much tension with their illustrations and a few choice words!

Anya’s Ghost is also set to become a new Supernatural comedy directed by Dan Mazer. Now, I have been guilty of thumbing my nose at Graphic Novels in the past (no more, I swear!). But, for a slender illustrated book to pack enough life lessons and interest to be made into a movie is impressive indeed. I can only hope the live telling of Anya is as good as the Graphic version.


Tell me, please!

Have you ever looked down on a subject or genre or anything only to later convert?