Funny Friday 

Celebrate the end of the work week with a little book humor.

This perfectly describes my relationship with the outdoors.

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Review: RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

A. G. Howard brings the romantic storytelling that Splintered fans adore to France—and an entirely new world filled with lavish romance and intrigue—in a retelling inspired by a story that has captivated generations. Fans of both the Phantom of the Opera musical and novel, as well as YA retellings such as Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, will devour RoseBlood.

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

RoseBlood will be available January 10, 2017

What I Liked

-I enjoy re-tellings and while this was a little more of a spin-off than a re-telling, it still worked for me. I’ve always been a Phantom of the Opera fan (well, except maybe when I was pretty young and my family used to listen to the soundtrack on road trips and it kind of scared the crap out of me at the time…but I definitely grew into it) and it’s definitely a unique topic in the YA market.

-The duel narration completely saved this book for me. We get Rune’s 1st Person POV and Thorn’s 3rd Person POV (I’m not really sure why they didn’t both get 1st Person, but that’s ok). While with Rune we were often stumbling around in the dark trying to figure out what was going on, with Thorn we get background and answers and insight. With him we get to see the actual Phantom of the Opera that I had been hoping for when I picked up this book. As a character I found him so much more interesting than Rune and I was always counting the pages until we got to see him again.

-The romance. Though it appears to be “insta-love”, it does have a good excuse for it. I liked Rune and Thorn together and shipped them.

-That cover. It’s beautiful.

-The Author Note at the end of the book where Howard details a lot of information from her research was almost more interesting than the book. A lot of the historical information in the book was accurate and it made me want to read more about the original book and it’s inspiration.

What Didn’t Quite Work For Me

**MILD SPOILER**   Two words: Psychic Vampires

-Ok, a few more words: This was a lot more supernatural than I was expecting it to be. While it, of course, needed a certain amount of fantasy elements there were a lot more than I expected or wanted. If you go into this knowing that, though, then I think you would probably like it.

-I spent a good portion of this novel confused. I think it took far too long to get to the point. Howard is an extremely detailed writer and I know a lot of readers love that, but for me a ton of description is hard for me to get through. Add that to the long chapter length and I found this book took me a lot longer to get through than a book normally does.

-Rune’s new “friend” Sunny. I HATED her. She did occasionally have redeeming moments, but she spent the whole book sneaking around and spying and crossing all sorts of friendship lines that I found myself kind of hoping she’d be killed off. The fact that Rune viewed her as this great friend kind of enraged me.

Overall

RoseBlood was a very interesting idea that didn’t quite live up to it’s potential for me. Two likable main characters (especially Thorn) and lots of references to the original Phantom of the Opera story were really well done. However, the major fantasy/supernatural elements were unexpected and hampered my enjoyment a bit. I also thought it was a little too long and too descriptive. I do think that fans of Howard’s Splintered series and those who are looking for a different type of re-telling will enjoy it.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

3 stars

2016 Recap: The Best, The Worst, and Stats That Only I Will Care About

In 2016 I decided to keep a really detailed spreadsheet of all my reads so I could write up a recap post with lots of *fun* graphs of my reading trends. However, I have recently discovered that I am a huge moron in Excel and – try as I might – I can’t make a graph correctly to save my life. (This is a crushing blow to my inner-nerd. I thought I was much smarter than I actually am. 2017 is the year of self-discovery.) So instead, I will just share some highlights and a few stats that I can conjure up with some (simple) Excel formulas.

New Books Read: 137
Re-Reads: 19
DNF: 8

4 stars

Star Ratings:

4.5 Stars: 5
4 Stars: 35
3.5 Stars: 30
3 Stars: 52
2.5 Stars: 8
2 Stars: 4
1.5 Stars: 1
1 Star: 2

Reviews Written: 46

Debut/Established Authors

(Not necessarily a 2016 debut, but just an author’s debut book)
Debut: 21
Established: 116

Author Gender:

Male: 12
Female: 125

Part of Series/Standalones

Series: 86
Standalones: 51

girl and book

The Worst Books I Read

(Click on the picture to see my review or the Good Reads page for the books I didn’t formally review)

25891528  28587614  29467963

The Best Books I Read

18966819  27779275   26795352

The Author I Read The Most

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter – 11

Favorite Guilty Pleasure Reads

28678119   24920901

Most Disappointing

26125281  26721568  25036310  26247008

Favorite Discussion Posts I Wrote

small gold and silver glittery stars | Tiny Gold Metallic Stars Glitter by Theglittersource on Etsy:

The Elusive 5 Star Rating and Backing Myself into a Corner

I don't have many...but if you do, it's over ✌️@doctor_nora_ DON'T PET MY MOTHA...:

I Love You, but I Don’t Like You Right Now: Pet Peeves about the Book Blogging Community

girl and book

You can see more of my year in books in my 2016 End of Year Book Survey and Good Reads Year in Books.

Review: Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but when I do I go for, as I call them, Funny Lady Memoirs. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Amy Schumer. While there were definitely things I enjoyed from each of their books, Lauren Graham’s Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between is by far my favorite. I have loved Lauren Graham as a long time fan of Gilmore Girls and reading this book just made me love her even more. I loved that while there was a lot more to the book than Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, there were dedicated sections to each show and even though I didn’t get any great inside scoop, I was able to tell how much these shows mean to her and that she’s happy to be connected with them.

Some fun things I learned:

-Lauren Graham was attached to another show when she was cast in Gilmore Girls and if that show had been renewed for a second season she never would have been Lorelai Gilmore.

-Lauren and Alexis Bledel (Rory) didn’t meet until after they were both cast in the show.

-While Gilmore Girls is famous for it’s super long scripts (due to how fast they talk!), Parenthood’s dialogue wasn’t as strict and allowed for a lot more “collaboration.” Which I think proves my theory that instead of lines, the script just directs them to “Stutter and Cry.”

-Lauren and her Parenthood daughter Mae Whitman are producing partners and sold an adaption of The Royal We (one of my favorite reads of 2016), which Lauren is writing. **I tried to find info for this on IMDB, but couldn’t, so I’m not sure what the status is, but I’m very excited for this!** She is also writing a second novel, but not a lot of details on that yet.

-**Mild spoiler for the Gilmore Girls reboot** When Lauren found out the Final Four Words, she didn’t think it was an ending, but a cliffhanger. Every time she mentions that to the creator of the show, Amy Sherman-Palladino just smiles. So maybe more Gilmore Girls to come?

Overall

Overall, I really enjoyed Talking as Fast as I Can. I liked that Graham didn’t seem to take herself too seriously and the whole book had such a fun feeling to it. While the parts about Gilmore Girls and Parenthood were obviously my favorites, I really enjoyed the other sections about her childhood, college, starting out as an actor, and her relationship, among other things, my favorite being a really interesting chapter where she shared some writing advice that she received. After reading this book I want even more to be best friends with her. If you are a Lauren Graham fan, this is a Must Read.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars