Monday, August 31, 2015

Books: August Wrap-Up

Looks like it's time for my August Wrap-Up! I read 9 books this month and participated in my first Read-A-Thon. Not to shabby if I do say so myself. Links to Goodreads pages for full summaries are included below.

For reviews on the books I read during BookTube-A-Thon, please see the post here. The books included in that post are as follows:

  • Vampire Doll: Guilt-na-Zan, Volume 5 by Erika Kari
  • Wicked Charms (Lizzy & Diesel #3) by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton
  • Ghouls Rush In (Peyton Clark #1) by H.P. Mallory
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The next book I read was The Faerie Guardian (Creepy Hollow #1) by Rachel Morgan. Booktuber Benjaminoftomes' Book Club pick of the month was this series. Lots of people read all the books that are currently released, but I just read this one installment.

I really enjoyed this book about spunky guardian Violet Fairdale and her quest to correct a mess she's gotten herself into as well as an adventure in first love. I would've totally continued on with the series, but as it was, I was behind on my TBR picks for the month. I do plan on reading the next installment soon though as I can't wait to find out how the story unravels. If you are insterested in this book, it is still free on Kindle as of the date of this post here. I highly recommend it! 4 stars

Then I dove into Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop. This series has been some of my best reads this year and I do have to thank Booktuber The Gwendolyn Reading Method for the recommendation. The second installment of this series was not as exciting as the first in my opinion, but this book brought back everything I was missing in that second book. The mystery element is back and things are starting to heat up between the humans and the Others. I'm also loving that it looks like things are finally starting to progress in the romance department, but I am not loving the fact that I will have to wait until March for the next installment! A perfect example of why I don't usually start series until all the books are released.   (。•́︿•̀。) 5 stars

My next read was a little out of the usual for me, but there is a good reason. I read I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1) by Ally Carter.

As you may be aware, I joined the Monthly Recommendations Goodreads Group this month. September's theme is books that are set in school. In trying to collect my recommendations for the next month, I realized that I hardly had any books in my arsenal that I could recommend. My daughter had this one in her collection and told me she enjoyed it, so I gave it a shot.

This was a pretty cute book and though I think I would've enjoyed it a whole lot more if I were much younger, I still enjoyed the read. I'm not going to go into any further detail as I will be including it in my recommendations next month, but I did want to also include it in my wrap-up. 3 stars

The Scorch Trials
To end the month, I read The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner. I've had pretty bad experiences with Dystopian series in the past where I like the stories less and less after really enjoying the first book. In this case, I'm happy to say that I enjoyed this installment more than the first and am really looking forward to the movie coming out next month.

The setting wasn't as enjoyable to me in this book as it was in the first. I thought that this trial was interesting but I'm left with even more questions at the end than I had when I started. I'm just hoping everything doesn't go down the drain in the next installment. That may put me off Dystopian series for a very long time.

And that does it! I have several interesting things planned next month, including two new Read-a-thons so stay tuned. I'll be back soon with my TBR for September. What were some of your best reads this month?

Until next time, Take Care and Smi-Le Always!

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Image credit goes to Goodreads

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

KDramas: Bride of the Century

I have been on a Kdrama slump all year. To date I think I have only watched 6 or 7 dramas this year. My average is about 20 dramas yearly. If you've read my previous posts on Kdramas, I did have a watching streak a couple months ago, but I haven't watched a drama since July. You may also notice that I watch my dramas a lot like I read my books. I do not usually watch a drama or read a book when it first comes out and I will usually wait until the entire drama is done or most of the books in a series are out until I start it. This might explain why I haven't gotten around to this drama until now. Let me tell you that this drama was so good, I not only started it this weekend but I also finished it! It's been a very long time since I've been able to say that about any drama.

The drama I'm talking about is Bride of the Century with Lee Hong Ki and Yang Jin Sun. The story revolves around Choi Kang Ju, who is the eldest son and heir to the Taeyang Group, the largest conglomerate in South Korea. His family is said to have been cursed the last hundred years, that the first bride of the eldest son will always die. At the start of the drama, Kang Ju is engaged to Jang Yi Kyung, the daughter of the CEO of Ohsung Corporation. This engagement was arranged by their parents and Kang Ju is very cold and indifferent to Yi Kyung, going as far as to tell her that she is his puppet.

It is not long after this incident that Yi Kyung decides she wants to have nothing to do with Choi Kang Ju and disappears. Yi Kyung's mom gets anxious because she needs the relationship with Taeyang Group to keep Ohsung Corporation afloat. Luckily her stepson Yi Hyun has just met Yi Kyung's doppelganger Na Doo Rim, who saved him from a falling brick at his construction site. Yi Hyun and his step mom scheme a plan to have Doo Rim step in to impersonate Yi Kyung until Yi Kyung is found. Only because Doo Rim needs the money to pay for her grandma's hospital bills, does she accept.

Doo Rim is the complete opposite of Yi Kyung. With a bright personality and warm smile, she slowly but surely she starts breaking down Kang Ju's walls and he begins to fall in love with her. As the story progresses, the curse becomes more and more prominent. First there are rumors and then flash backs to what happened to Kang Ju's father's first wife, which make the curse more believable. This throws a whole new situation into the story and scheming between Yi Kyung's mom and Kang Ju's mom begins. Of course, Kang Ju still has no idea that the person he knows as Yi Kyung has been an entirely different person!

This drama has everything I enjoy in a drama - a bit of mystery, a bit of paranormal, and a bit of romance. Sure there were some instances where I thought things were happening that weren't believable (how can you not know that your fiancé has been swapped out with another person!), but I still enjoyed this drama immensely. Everything was wrapped up nicely I thought and the soundtrack is awesome. I will definitely be adding it to my collection.

My next drama? I have been recommended Oh My Ghostess by a few of my drama watching friends recently. I watched Episode 1 last night and it does look like a winner. Will report back once I'm done.

Until next time, Take Care and Smi-Le Always!

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Image Credit to DramaFever

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Books: Underrated Books (Monthly Recommendations)

I recently joined the new Goodreads Group Monthly Recommendations created by BookTubers Kayla Rayne and Trina from Between Chapters where we are recommending books around a different theme every month. This month's theme is Underrated Books. As we close in on Halloween, I thought it to be the perfect time to recommend to you not a single book, but one of my favorite series over the last year. I'm talking about the Ghost Hunter Mystery Series by Victoria Laurie.

If you like cozy mysteries with a little spook, I think you'll enjoy this series. Some of the books in the series are more spooky than others, but they were all entertaining to me. I don't think many people know about this series so I thought it would be a great one to recommend! I do not remember how I was introduced to this series at all, but I do know that the first book in the series, What's a Ghoul to Do?, was added to my TBR shelf on January 1, 2012 (Thanks Goodreads!). It wasn't until March 2013 when I discovered the books at my library while browsing. I wasn't actively looking for them, but the first five books were available so I decided to jump right in. Over the next 11 months, I consumed all 9 books that are currently out in the series.

The series is about a gifted spiritual medium MJ and her gay best friend and business partner Gilley (he's awesome by the way), as they build their business helping to rid places of evil spirits and helping other spirits to cross over. Think Ghostbusters meets Ghost Whisperer. Each book is a new case and takes you to a different destination. I believe you can read them out of order though I did not. My favorites were book 5 Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls and book 7 What a Ghoul Wants because well, they were set in Ireland and Scotland for one, o(〃^▽^〃)o but the cases were exciting as well. Book 7 would be one that I considered more spooky than the others also.

I really hope you check this series out and if you do, please let me know! I would love to discuss these books with you ゚・✿ヾ╲(。◕‿◕。)╱✿・゚ Let me know if you have an underrated book you think I should know about!

Until next time, Take Care and Smi-Le Always

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Image credit goes to Ashlee' s Books-Oh How I LOVE You♥ Board on Pinterest

Monday, August 10, 2015

Books: BookTube-A-Thon 2015 Wrap Up

I participated in the BookTube-A-Thon for the first time this past week. It was super fun and I was able to read 5 books and complete 4 of the Reading Challenges. I'm pretty proud of myself (✿´‿`) Links to Goodreads for full summaries are included below.

The first book I read was Vampire Doll: Guilt-na-Zan, Vol. 5. I had bought this back in 2012 and hadn't read it until now. Being that I read Volume 4 in 2011, the story line was a little rusty to me. I was able to get back into it though and it was a light enjoyable read. If you haven't read the series, it's about a vampire aristocrat who'd been sealed away over 100 years ago. He was recently revived but as a female doll and can only transform to his true self by the blood of Tonae. The story line is slightly hilarious which makes for enjoyable reads.

I completed two challenges with this read: Complete a book without letting go of it and read a book who's author shares the same first letter in their surname as you. 3 stars

I then moved on to Wicked Charms (Lizzy & Diesel #3) by Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton. I didn't choose this read for any specific challenge, just that I was on the wait list for it from the library and it became available to me. I do really enjoy this series. Each book is a magical treasure hunt with cupcakes and cookies. Glo never fails to make me LOL and Hachet...well, you'll have to read the books to find out about him. Just a word of advice: don't read on an empty stomach. 3 stars

My next read was Ghouls Rush In (Peyton Clark #1) by H.P. Mallory. I read and listened to this from Kindle Unlimited, which I recently subscribed to. I had previously read the first book in this author's Jolie Wilkins series and really enjoyed that, so I was pretty sure I'd enjoy this as well. I was not disappointed at all. Highly recommend if you enjoy cozy mysteries with paranormal elements.

The story follows Peyton as she starts her new life post-divorce as she is surprised to discover that a long lost aunt has willed her her home in New Orleans. Appreciative of this opportunity for a fresh start, Peyton discovers that New Orleans offers more than just new surroundings, new friends and a possible new love interest. Upon renovating her new home, she discovers that it has a connection an unsolved mystery from the past. She can't just let things be, so she delves into the mystery with gusto trying to figure it out.

This book completed the challenge to read a book with blue on the cover. 4 stars

Next up, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. When I joined Goodreads in 2009, this was the first book I put on my TBR shelf and there it stayed, until this week! Since I'm sure everyone already knows what this book is about, I'll move straight onto my review.

I really enjoyed this book! The only thing that took away from that was......Lex. Oh man, I could not stand that child. Everything else was excellent. Very different from the movie, which makes me glad that I read this after seeing it. I think if I had read this back before the movie came out, I would not have enjoyed the movie as much as I did and still do.

This book completed the challenge to read a book I really wanted to read. It's also one of the books I have on my August TBR. 4.5 stars

As my final book of the BookTube-A-Thon, I finished The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Again, I'm sure everyone knows what this is about so I'll get to my thoughts.

I enjoyed this book, but I think I liked the movie better. I actually watched it before reading it. Now that I've read it, I think they did an excellent job with the movie.

The slang got on my nerves a bit and Gally was just as annoying in the book as he was in the movie. That being said, I did enjoy learning more about the day to day jobs in The Glade as well as a few other things (which I will leave out to avoid spoilers). Will be starting on The Scorch Trials soon, but not immediately. 

This book did not complete a challenge either, just counted towards my total and another book on my August TBR. 3 stars

And that's a wrap! I read a total of 1595 pages in the last week. That is definitely a feat for me! I had a really great time participating in this read-a-thon and have already been invited to participate in the October Scare-A-Thon, which sounds exciting. If you'd like to join that too, please check out the Goodreads group here.

Did you participate in BookTube-A-Thon? What books and challenges did you complete? I did try a new format for the post also, so let me know if you like the books to the side like this or in the middle as before, thanks!

Until next time, Take Care and Smi-Le Always!

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Books: My August TBR

I've been reading quite a bit lately. Thought I'd share with you what my To Be Read line up looks like for this month. It will be a month of books with movies already made or books with movies that are coming out. I don't usually have a theme that I go by when I read, but it just turned out this way. Links to the Goodreads pages are included if you'd like to read the summaries.

My plan is to start with Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton 

This book has been in the #1 slot of my TBR list since I started Goodreads in 2008. After watching Jurassic World, I decided now would be as good a time as ever to finally request a copy from the library. There was quite a bit of a wait list for it, but it was finally released to me a few days ago and I've already started on it.

The next books are in plan, but in no particular order.

The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Bought these books on Kindle when the first movie was being hyped for release and have not read them yet. I do not like to watch movies until I have read the book usually, but my Mom happened to buy the Blu-Ray for me for Christmas, so I made an exception. Now with the second installment's movie looming, I thought I should get caught up. 

Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern

I have had a physical copy of this book on my shelf since I watched P.S. I Love You years ago. When I watched that movie, I did not know it was based on a book. Once I found out, I decided to check out the author's other work and picked this one up. I believe the movie for this one is coming out in the fall, but I'm not sure of the exact date.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

No, I haven't read this yet and I have not watched the movie either. I do really need to get to this soon.

Since all of these books are on my current TBR list, I will not be doing a Surprise TBR pick this month. In addition to the above, I know that I do have a couple of books on wait list from the library, so if any of those come in, they will be read with priority as I probably won't be able to renew them. I also decided to participate in my first BookTubeAThon this month, so there will be additions to hopefully fulfill some of those challenges as well. Please feel free to follow my progress on Twitter!

Hope you are all doing great! What's on your TBR for this month?

Take Care and Don't Forget to Smi-Le Always!

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