Summer TBR

IT’S SUMMER!!!!

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 OK, I think we are excited for it to be summer here (Emily more than Arika because the summers up in the Midwest are a little bit nicer then the summers down in the South, Arika will be melting!). But also here at Midwestern Book Nerd, we are excited to knock down some more books off our TBR. With the longer days, that means more time to read outside! We also wanted to do a little update on how we are doing with our Rock My TBR challenge this year (PSST, we both need to work a bit harder at that!).

Arika:

Rock My TBR: So this last couple months I have done a really bad job on the Rock My TBR challenge….I have only read 1 book. I know, horrible right. The one book I did read, The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, was awesome! I highly recommend reading it and I can’t wait to read the second book in the series. Well this summer I plan on getting better and reading at least three books from my list. I’ve already started on one book, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff and the audio-book for this is AMAZING! So my guess is this will be done by the end of this week… but that still leaves a few other books I need to cross off my list.

My goal: I’m going to try and read at least 3 books from my list these next few months. I know I’ll get distracted by other books but I think I should be able to manage 3 books (though I said that earlier this year and the last few months didn’t go as planned). So here are the 3 books that I plan on reading:

Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller | Hunted by Meagan Spooner | Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

I’ve heard nothing but good things this year about all 3 of these books (all of them were released earlier this year). I also am jealous because I few fellow bloggers have gotten to be at a few of the release parties for them (I hope in the future I can get to some of these sweet gatherings and meet some amazing authors…but for now I wait). Good luck to me and I’m hoping it will be a successful summer of reading!

Emily:

Rock My TBR: Yea I suck at this. I have literally read nothing from the list. My mood reading ways have been kicking in full force and I just can’t seem to settle on anything these days. I had HOPED to be finished with one by the time this post was written, but honestly…not gunna happen. I am definitely thankful for a summer job that is much more relaxed (kind of…it’s more like I can relax a bit). I am hoping that I will be leaving my summer job each day with the energy to pick up a book, because during the school year that was definitely not happening.

My goal: To read at least 3 books from my Rock My TBR list this summer. Obviously I will be thrilled if I get more read, but I think 3 is doable. Here are the 3 I hope to read (obviously subject to change. I am a mood reader after all…):

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken* | I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith | Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

* currently reading

I am loving Passenger so far, and am really trying to not let life and it’s ups and downs distract me from taking even just a little bit of time to read. I think I can totally get these three read, and can easily knock out some more. I got this! YAY Summer Reading!

Check back here if you want to see mine and Arika’s lists, because we would LOVE suggestions for what else from the lists we NEED to get read ASAP.

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Rock My TBR 2016 Recap

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Rock My TBR 2016 is hosted by Sarah at The YA Book Traveler

As many of you may know, I participated in the Rock my TBR challenge over the past year. I made a fairly large list of 23 books that I owned and had hoped to read at least half of them (but honestly, reading all of them would have been cool too). The goal was to read AT LEAST 1 a month throughout the year so that you could knock out about 12.

So…how did I do? The list below should be pretty telling

  1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo completed 03/07/2016 
  2. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  3. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
  4. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman completed 11/05/2016
  5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  6. I Was Here by Gayle Forman completed 01/05/2016
  7. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers completed 05/08/2016
  8. Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson completed 08/24/2016
  9. The Rose Society by Marie Lu  completed 05/01/2016
  10. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E Pearson completed 12/21/2015
  11. Empire by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard
  12. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  13. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  14. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner completed 11/12/2016
  15. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  16. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes completed 02/08/15 
  17. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  18. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen completed 02/29/2016
  19. Dreadnought by Cherie Priest 
  20. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
  21. Valiant by Sarah McGuire
  22. The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons completed 06/17/2016
  23. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

READ: 11

Yet to read: 12

Rock My TBR 2016 updates:

So…11 out of 23 isn’t TOO bad. Granted, since there are 12 months in a year I definitely should have gotten to at least 12, but I will take what I can get.

Top 3 that I read for this challenge….Shadow and Bone (I binged all her books this year), Grave Mercy, Heart of Betrayal. Least favorite was probably Me Before You, which you can look back at my February Update for my thoughts. Honestly, it was more of a “not the right book for me” moment more than a “this is a terrible book” moment.

I don’t typically participate in challenges because of being such a mood reader, so this was the PERFECT challenge for me. I can’t say I failed, but I definitely can do better. I loved how simple this challenge was to work with and how easy it was to set up buddy reads (because buddy reads are some of the most fun experiences I have ever had. Who doesn’t love being able to flail about some amazing books with fellow book lovers?).

Time to gear up to rock that TBR next year! Who else is participating?

QUESTION: Did any of you successfully complete reading challenges over the past year?

emily

Rock My TBR 2017…Arika’s Challenge

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So, I am trying something new this year that Emily introduced me to. As you saw last week, Emily had her list of books for Rock My TBR 2017…Emily’s Challenge and I wanted to join in on the fun! I mean who wouldn’t! I feel like it’s a great way to remember which books I wanted to read this year and also to try and branch out with books that I might not normally pick up but sound so darn good. So I am joining in on the 2017 Reading Challenge hosted by Sarah over at The YA Book Traveler.

A quick overview of what this reading challenge is all about: I create a list of books and try to read one book a month over the next year. Hopefully by the end of the year I will have read at least 12 of these awesome books! Wish me luck because I can easily get distracted by so many amazing books…but this year I am determined to ROCK my TBR list! So here it goes, in no particular order…my list for 2017:

  1. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch
  3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  4. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
  5. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
  6. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  7. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  8. King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard
  9. Last Stand by Rachel E. Carter
  10. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
  11. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
  12. Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
  13. Hunted by Meagan Spooner
  14. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
  15. Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
  16. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
  17. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  18. America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray
  19. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  20. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
  21. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  22. The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
  23. Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
  24. Frostblood by Elly Blake
  25. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

And there are so many more that I probably could add but I definitely don’t want to go overboard. Hoping for a book filled year!

QUESTION: What books are on your TBR list for 2017?

arika

Rock My TBR 2017…Emily’s Challenge

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If you guys remember…last year I jumped on to the Rock My TBR 2016 reading challenge hosted by Sarah at The YA Book Traveler. I was pretty excited to find a challenge that could work with my mood reader ways. I was able to select a wide variety of books that HOPEFULLY would fit my random moods, and I think I was successful for the most part (will have a wrap-up in a couple weeks).

So…I was pretty excited when I saw that Sarah is hosting Rock My TBR again for 2017! I am so excited to compile a list to read over the next year and maybe even to find someone to buddy read a book or two with!

So, just a recap of how it works…I create a list of books and try to read at least one book a month from this list. These are books that I own that are kind of just sitting on my shelf. Books that I have EVERY intention of reading but just haven’t got there yet. My goal is to read AT LEAST 12 of these books by the end of 2017. Fingers crossed this works out! So…here is my list…

  1. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  2. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  3. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
  4. Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
  5. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  6. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo
  7. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
  8. Rebel in the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  9. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
  10. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
  11. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
  12. The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
  13. Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
  14. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
  15. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  16. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
  17. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
  18. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
  19. The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
  20. Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
  21. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  22. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
  23. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  24. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Let’s see how this year goes! Fingers crossed I get through at least half of these books.

QUESTION: What are some reading challenges you are participating in for 2017?

emily

August Wrap-Up

I typically don’t do a wrap-up at the end of each month. I don’t tend to get a lot of books from month to month, so really no hauls to show you. And some months I hardly read a thing, so there is no reason for me to call it a wrap up when I am just reviewing the book and urging you to read it.

This month, however, I was hosting the #EOSChallenge on instagram with some fabulous people from the Book Blogger Creativity Project. Together with the other awesome ladies on The Rose Team, we came up with some fun prompts for every day in August to show off and really try to get us all into bookstagraming. This was definitely a challenge for me. I, for one, am not a bookstagram-er. I like to take pictures of what I am reading from time to time, but otherwise I really don’t do it. I love seeing how creative people get and the different types of pictures they can take, but it’s just not something I have really taken a huge part of. Enter the #EOSChallenge (if you forgot all about the project here is the original post).

I started the month off pretty strong I think. But the further into August we went the harder it was for me to remember to get that taken care of AND take care of whatever else I had going on that day. I think I only missed 1 day without making up for it, but there were definitely a few close calls. It was really fun to dive further into this type of social media and to try to come up with different ways to fulfill each day’s challenge.

Here are a few of the pictures that I took this month that I really like.

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So, after this challenge am I a bookstagram-er? Honestly…probably not. I think it’s really cool that people put so much time and effort into it. They have all kinds of props and take their time to get good lighting and everything. I don’t really have the patience for all of that. So I think that I will continue on doing my occasional book pictures, but otherwise I will be keeping my instagram account the way that it was before.

So, as for my August TBR…..

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I read…2 books. Yep, only 2 of those. I knew that 5 was asking a lot. Especially with me, someone who cannot commit to a TBR to save her life. I am happy to say that I did finish (and LOVED) My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows and Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson (which also counts for RockMyTBR!!). I am still working on The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows, but I have been so easily distracted by everything.

Not pictured (and not on my TBR) books that I finished…Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and The Crown by Keira Cass. 4 total books is not bad at all for me in a month. I mean I have done better, but I have also done way worse.

Other updates…I started blogging for My Trending Stories! Look me up on there and discover a wide variety of posts by so many other awesome people.

How was your August book-wise?

Rock My TBR 2016: May Update

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Rock my TBR is hosted by Sarah at The YA Book Traveler

Did you notice that I skipped April? Because I did. Because I read 0 (yes ZERO) books for Rock My TBR. I don’t know what it was. I had every intention of reading AT LEAST one, and was in the process of finishing a book but just didn’t get it down in time (instead I finished it on May 1st…SO CLOSE)

So…in May I finished…

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

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I was definitely excited to continue on in this series. Can you believe there is only one book left!? This whole anti-hero thing is not something I typically read, but I love how even though she is a bit of the anti-hero she still has empathy. She still cares for others and what happens to them. I did not write a review on this one because I wasn’t quite sure what to say. I absolutely loved a lot of the secondary characters, and I was totally and completely into the twists and turns of this plot. Really looking forward to what’s next in this series.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

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I took my dear sweet time with this one. Life got in the way and really drug my reading down. Seriously, I was in the worst slump ever due to stress and craziness happening here but I finished it! And I am so sad that I took so long. I loved this book, and cannot wait to get further into this book. Here’s my full review of this book.

What’s coming up in June:

Other than that…not sure. I am not a HUGE fan of planning out my TBR because I am such a mood reader, but I know I am going to TRY to get more checked off my list. At this point I have read 7/23, and I know I can get in the double digits and try to read more than half of these books by the end of the year! Here’s my list in case you wanted to check it out.

How are you doing with your reading goals?

Let’s Talk About…Gravy Mercy by Robin LaFevers

9565548Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Add this book to your Goodreads list!

Reaction Upon Finishing:

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Wow. Wow wow wow. I am so sad that I had waited so long to read this. Seriously, it has been on my list for a few years, and it has been on my shelf in my house for the past year. I am so glad that I finally decided to read it and that I can cross off another book on my Rock My TBR list.

So…what exactly is it that I loved about this book:

  • Historical Fiction: This book reminded me SO much of the books that I devoured as a kid. I was very into historical fiction, particularly the medieval times. Reading this book transported me back to the feelings I had while reading as a child. I was excited and giddy and so incredibly pumped to be reading a book that involves duchesses and dukes. Not only that, but the book was largely based on events that actually happened. In the back of the book it is only lightly brushed on, but if you go to Robin LaFevers’ site you can find her author’s note with the history behind it. I just love how much of this was based on things that had actually happened. I think this helps me make further connections to the book and opens my eyes to historical events that I did not know about.
  • Ismae: I absolutely loved Ismae. She comes across as this highly trained assassin that could take you out oh so quickly, but you learn that there is more to her than that. She was strong and independent, but she showed caution. I know this sounds like something that isn’t a positive quality necessarily, but in most instances it really helped her out. She showed the importance of thinking about what you are doing instead of just going on and wrecking havoc. She showed imperfections too, and weakness, which made her more real to me. And even with those things, she never let that slow her down.
  • Plot Balance: I loved how this book was the perfect mix of action, adventure, intrigue, and romance. With a 500 page book I am always worried that the plot will get old or predictable, but not the case with this book. There was enough going on the whole time that I just had to keep reading to know what happened next. I felt that it flowed well and it all worked together to create a book that I came to love. I never felt bored throughout the entire 500 pages.

Bonus: ASSASSIN NUNS! This book was done in a way that you didn’t HAVE to keep reading (but obviously I will)!

I am so glad that I finally dove into this book. I had no doubt in my mind that I would enjoy it, but I didn’t know it would be among some of my favorite books. I definitely recommend this book if you are into historical fiction. I am definitely excited to get in to the next book!

Have you read this book? I would love to know your thoughts.

Rock My TBR 2016: March Update

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Rock my TBR is hosted by Sarah at The YA Book Traveler

I was doing SO well. I was averaging about 2 books off of my list a month for the first two months and felt like I was owning this challenge, and then March happened.

I only read one book off of my list guys. One. Book. This isn’t to say that I didn’t have a fantastic reading month (I read somewhere between 7 and 9 books, which is CRAZY for me but YAY spring break!) but I kind of got off task. I went to the library multiple times and just went a little crazy because money is tight and I wanted to splurge (and there is nothing like free splurging!).

So the 1 book that I read…

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo completed 03/07/2016

This is definitely why I didn’t read anything else. I got stuck in a Grisha binge. I absolutely adore this series now and I just had to keep on reading. I loved the characters, the world, and the pacing of the book. The swoons were pretty good too. I just loved reading this book. I am so sad that it took me so long to get to. I was definitely eyeing this one when I used to work at a library back home and just never got around to it. MISTAKE! Well, maybe not. I am so curious how any of you survived the wait for the rest of the series.

So basically, that’s it. That’s all I accomplished. I guess I still read 1 from the list, which is a good thing. Here’s my list in case you can’t remember what is on it.

So…what’s coming up in April you may ask…

Other than that I am going to just wing it. I realize that having plans just doesn’t always work for me. Hopefully I read at least 2 in April, but we’ll see.

How are your 2016 reading goals coming along?

Rock My TBR 2016: February Update

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Rock my TBR is hosted by Sarah at The YA Book Traveler

Another month done, and more goals have been accomplished! I am proud to say that I have really been sticking to this challenge to the best of my abilities and feeling really good about where I am heading.

In January I read 2 books out of the 23 that I had listed (list is located on the Rock My TBR 2016 page). This month has been a weird month for me personally. It’s been either up or down with very little in between. Luckily I don’t think it interfered with my reading TOO much, but I don’t know. Only time will tell.

So, this month I again read 2 books off of the list (that means I am down to 19 books guys!). I am really liking the progress I made. The books I read…

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes completed 02/08/2016.

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I hate this buuuuuuut….I seem to be in the minority with this one. I did not like this one very much. I love her writing so much, so I was very disappointed. It tackled some issues that I am personally not ok with, and I kinda felt like I was being forced to be sad. Like it was SOOOO built up to crush you, and I knew exactly how it was going to crush you (because it basically said it RIGHT IN THE BOOK IN THE BEGINNING) so I was kind of meh towards it. Hence my reason to not write a review up. It just wasn’t for me.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen completed 02/29/2016

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I was buddy reading this one with Cilla over at Paved with Books. We will be working on a post for our blogs about this one and getting it up SOON I promise. But I must say this was a great one and I cannot wait to share my thoughts with you all!

What’s coming up in March you ask???

How are your reading goals for 2016 coming along?

Rock My TBR: January Update

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Rock my TBR is hosted by Sarah at The YA Book Traveler

One month down, 11 to go! Ok, that’s not REALLY how I am looking at the year, but I am in shock that I am already recapping one month of Rock my TBR. I feel like this is a good way to show that I am going to rock this challenge and do some damage on the books that I have had just sitting around this year.

As you read with my introduction post, I am really excited to finally find a challenge that makes sens to me. I am TERRIBLE at sticking to certain genres when I am making myself or anything like that, so being able to make a list with a bunch of genres is awesome and I have been making progress.

The goal is to try to read at least 1 book a month from my list over the next year. I MAY have gotten a slight head start (but who is really counting those last few weeks of December?) so I have read 2 books so far (out of 23)! You can see my list with completion dates here.

I completed….     21569527

  1. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary Pearson
    • I think I liked this one more than the first book! I don’t know what it was, but I felt like I was able to get deeper into the story and really get lost in the world. Not that this didn’t happen in book 1, but I was really working on keeping up with background info and such that I don’t know if I fully got lost. Oh. I got lost with this one.
    • CAN I HAVE THE NEXT BOOK NOW PLEASE!? 18879761
  2. I Was Here by Gayle Forman
    • This book really covered a heavy subject matter. A part of the world that has touched my life in some ways, but other people have felt it more than I.
    • Honestly, I am not even sure how to talk about this book. I didn’t cry while reading it, but I was angry. I was upset. I was confused. I was even a little hurt for the characters. I think the reason I haven’t actually reviewed it is because I have no clue how to do so.
    • This book shows the need for really making sure you SHOW your friends that you care for them. Love and compassion are such a BIG deal, and they need to see that. No matter what. You never fully know what someone is going through, and what if you could be the difference?

What is coming up in February?

I have more buddy reads planned for March and April! I am so excited to find people that also want to read the same books as me so that we can freak out about them together! fangirling

So needless to say, my reading has been pretty good so far this year. I am hoping that trend of awesome reading continues. How have your 2016 reading goals been working during the first full month of 2016?