December 25, 2017

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson Review

Astrophysics for People in a HurryAstrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's really no surprise that this book was one of my favorites from my reading challenge this year. Corey and I were lucky enough to get tickets to see "An Astrophysicist Reads the Newspaper" when he stopped by Jacksonville! This is just the tip of the iceberg for me- I've been obsessed with NDT since we binge-watched Cosmos a few winters ago. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of his books and delving into the world of astrophysics.

Trust me when I say this book is meant for pretty much everyone with a basic understanding of earth and space science. I love the fact that such an intelligent man can put something so simply that it just makes perfect sense. I urge you to look into any of his works, especially if you have even the slightest interest in astronomy.

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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon Review

Outlander (Outlander, #1)Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I honestly don’t have the words to tell you how incredibly wonderful this book is, so I recommend you read it as soon as humanly possible!! This might possibly be the most entertaining, interesting, and overall best novel I’ve read in 2017.

I’m holding off on starting Dragonfly in Amber for the sake of completing my reading challenge this year. I have 2 more books to go, and I definitely won’t get that massive book finished in time. Thank goodness she made these books enormous!

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Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit Review

Tuck EverlastingTuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I feel like this could have been an amazing read, but the ending was rushed and did not leave me feeling satisfied. I love the plot (it’s pretty predictable, but this book is intended for young readers), the characters are dynamic, and the writing is wonderful! I was mostly interested in this book because I have a few copies of it sitting in my classroom library for my fourth graders. I would definitely recommend this as a book to read in class because it can spark deep discussion and makes the students think critically.

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake Review

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was my first time listening to an audiobook in its entirety, and I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised! I’ve always been an avid reader and overachiever, so my yearly goal is usually 50+ books. However, being a busy adult/ teacher/ big ball of stress doesn’t leave me much time to actually sit down and enjoy a massive book.

Thus, audiobooks!

Like I said, I’ve never been a big audiobook fan mostly because (yes, I will admit it) I was one of those people who thought listening to books shouldn’t count towards my yearly reading goal I set for myself. Honestly, I’m really bummed that I didn’t jump on this bandwagon earlier!! Between the two libraries I frequent, I have pretty much every audiobook I could ever want right on my phone. Seriously, I know I sound like an infomercial, but this is insane to me! Why did I wait so long?! Ugh!!!

Anyway, I’m really glad I chose this book at random. I only gave it three stars because the first half or three quarters of the book is dull. Not much happens, action-wise, and the characters are kind of blah. BUT things start to get interesting rather quickly. Yes, it’s YA, so it’s a little cheesy (I would definitely say this isn’t for children, but it’s on the less mature side of YA- if that makes any sense?). I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series and I’m hoping it has an awesome conclusion!

PS- I will most certainly be listening to more audiobooks from this point forward. I’m just marking them for my own weird reasons 👍

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The Martian by Andy Weir Review

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars

It’s strange- I never expect to enjoy science fiction, but these type of books always leave me feeling satisfied. For the most part, the predicaments that plague the protagonist seem realistic and are interspersed perfectly (in my opinion, of course). The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the ending. It seemed a little rushed, and some of the events seemed pretty far-fetched unlike the rest of the novel. I like the shift between different character’s points of view, but I was a bit frustrated with the sheer amount of dramatic-irony. I wanted to slap someone, which was probably the whole point of the various POVs.

Anyway, I liked it, but the ending was not exactly what I had hoped for. Either way, I would recommend this to anyone who is into astronomy, space, travel, or the inner workings of NASA. Give it a try!

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October 1, 2017

The Coven Review by Cate Tiernan Review

The Coven (Sweep, #2)The Coven by Cate Tiernan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm sure I said this in my review of the first book in this series, but I'm really surprised that I like these books as much as I do! For a YA series, there is a lot of character development (at least so far), decent dialogue, and the plot isn't cookie-cutter like some series tend to be. I enjoy the overall story so far, but some of the characters are starting to get on my nerves (and not in a good way). There's a difference between annoying characters that further to plot and annoying characters that do absolutely nothing for the series. Some of the characters are so unnecessary, which is why I only gave this one three stars. That being said, I am looking forward to reading at least the next few books in this series. I've heard mixed reviews (as usual) about the third and fourth books, but I will be checking them out- hopefully- soon.

I'm kind of bummed because I can't find the rest of this series on any of my library apps. Hopefully one of the branches around here has the next book- if not, I'm definitely making a trip to B&N to pick up the next few books in the series.

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September 24, 2017

Room by Emma Donoghue Review

RoomRoom by Emma Donoghue
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm not really sure what to say about this book. I know it was a huge deal when they adapted it to film, but I honestly didn't know much about the book or the movie. It's told from a five-year-old's point of view, which makes it a little tedious to get into. I 100% understand why she wrote it this way, but it did throw me off- it's difficult to focus on the story when you're constantly trying to figure out what is going on with the characters. Yes, it is a good way to get the reader into Jack's shoes, and there is a certain mood that is set because we are living vicariously through him. I just didn't think it was completely necessary for the entire story to be told from that particular point of view. That being said, I did enjoy the story as a whole. It just isn't something I see myself re-reading it anytime soon.

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Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan Review

Book of Shadows (Sweep, #1)Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I discovered this series after watching Jean's (Bookishthoughts on YouTube) Three Book Recommendations for witchy books. She raved about this series, saying she loved it as a teenager, and still enjoys re-reading them as a woman in her mid-twenties. I'm super interested in anything witchy/ Pagan/ Wiccan-related, so this seemed like a logical choice for me. I didn't love it as much as I wish I had, mostly because it's written simply. Jean did mention this in her video, so I wasn't completely shocked at the level. Even though it is SIMPLE, that doesn't mean it wasn't written WELL. Cate Tiernan knows how to develop her characters, and make them seem like individuals (even though they are all intertwined in one way or another). The plot is pretty basic, but there are some plot twists thrown in at various points in the book. I'm looking foward to continuing this series, especially since I need some quick reads for the Fall. Highly recommended- and the timing is perfect!

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone, #3)Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn't want this series to end! I love how dynamic the characters are, and the fact that they are all distinctly different from one another. The amount of dialogue is spot on (Bardugo didn't go overboard, like modern young adult authors sometimes tend to do), the plot is logical, yet mostly unpredictable, and all three books flow together nicely. I do wish there were more books with these particular characters, but it makes complete sense that it ended when it did. I'm looking forward to checking out Six of Crows, Bardugo's other series set in the same world. I'm pretty sure it takes place after the end of this series, but I'm not 100% sure at this point.

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September 6, 2017

Siege and Storm Book by Leigh Bardugo Review

Siege and Storm (Shadow and Bone, #2)Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Ok, this one just wasn't nearly as good as the first one (for me). The plot was tedious and moved way too slowly, but there was a lot of character change/ development happening. I like that we see more characters (and new characters!) throughout the story. I'm not as attached to them as I thought I would be, but I am excited to see where the story goes from here. This isn't my favorite series of all time, but I would definitely recommend it to my YA loving friends.

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August 13, 2017

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas Reivew

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Apparently there are a ton of mixed reviews on this novel, but I'm not really sure why. I absolutely loved this book from start to finish! The plot is a bit hard to follow, but if you pay attention and keep up with all the little threads running throughout the story, you should be fine. I enjoy something that makes me think, even if this is considered YA. This is one of the best books I've read so far this year; I can see myself re-reading this series because there is so much going on in each book. Between the novels and the novellas, there are a ton of characters and settings. Again, pay attention to everyone and keep an open mind and you will fall in love with the series.

The characters are unique and show tons of development as the plot progresses, although it is a little tough to keep everyone straight in my mind at times. It's not an issue simply because Maas is a master story-teller and knows how to weave everything together. I was a little stressed out when I realized there wouldn't be a resolution in this particular book, but I am excited to see where she goes with it. Hopefully the next book comes out soon!

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The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton Review

The OutsidersThe Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If I hadn't know Hinton was only sixteen when she wrote this, I would have had no idea! Seriously, she is way beyond her years and she wrote a fantastic story!! This isn't normally a book I would go for, but it's a classic (and it fit one of the criteria for my yearly reading challenge); it definitely deserves recognition.

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Troublemaker by Leah Remini Review

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and ScientologyTroublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars is mostly because Remini repeats herself several times throughout the book. Like, literally copies and pastes sentences (or changes a few words and inserts them into other paragraphs). Definitely an eye-opening read! I knew very little about Scientology before reading this, and I'm still not 100% sure exactly what they believe in. However, I do have a better understanding now. I want to find more information on the religion/ cult, and I would love to read more biographies from actors and actresses who have left the church (even though not many would likely publish a book similar to this one).

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Review

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't like this book as much as I was excepting to... but I also didn't hate it as much as I thought I would either. My main issue with the book is the fact that it's marketed as a "coming of age" novel, even though it mainly revolves around Cath's fanfiction. This book offers a somewhat realistic narrative about the life of a college freshman, I really wouldn't call this a "coming of age" story simply because there really isn't enough character development to warrant this claim. Yes, Cath grows up a little bit as the story progresses. However, it's a little silly to me that she would be so concerned with writing her fanfiction that she pretty much blows off her college courses (plus her career, relationship, family, etc.) to finish it. I also hate that this whole story is based around a horrible Harry Potter fanfiction... Sorry, but I can't let that one go. Honestly, if fanfiction weren't the major focus of this book, I would have liked it soooooooooo much more. I know I'm not Rowell's target audience, so that's probably part of the reason why I wasn't overly impressed.

Don't get me wrong, I love good fanfiction! As long as it's not overdone and ridiculous. Unforuntaely, Cath's/ Rowell's piece is not quite up to my standards. Sorry guys... this just wasn't the book for me.

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The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood Review

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where do I even start with this review? It's probably important to note that this book is definitely controversial, and the Goodreads community had given it mixed reviews (which really isn't shocking based on the subject matter being presented). I'm not one to read reviews before writing my own, but I was curious to see what others thought; and I'm still not 100% sure what to make of all the conflicting opinions/ reviews.

Some people get hung up on the grammatical aspects (or possibly Atwood's writing style?), thus missing the overall purpose of this story. Our narrator is UNRELIABLE- she says multiple times through her account that it may not be accurate and she doesn't even want to be recounting what transpired. She is not meant to be trusted completely. Additionally, she is only one voice, and therefore only has one perspective of the society as a whole, the actions of those around her, etc. etc. Yes, there are a lot of unanswered questions, and we really don't have a "proper ending." That's the point. You're meant to question everything.

If you don't ask questions and you take what everyone says for gospel, we will end up creating the culture and society presented in the book. Don't just blindly follow what someone else is telling you. Don't accept all things as fact until you have the evidence to prove it. Even then, be cautious.

In my opinion, Atwood's overarching goal is to make the reader question every single detail given to them. I haven't read anything quiet like this, even though I have read my fair share of dystopian novels. It's unlike anything else, and for good reason.

I'm not even going to get into the political side of this, simply because I don't feel qualified enough to do so. Political science is not my strong suit. I would love to have my poli-sci minded boyfriend read this and pick his brain for more information. If that does end up happening, I'll update this review!

Anyway, I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone. It should be a requirement for high school or college level classes (assuming the students are mature enough to handle the content), in my humble opinion. Honestly, give it a try, especially if you're interested in watching the Hulu series!

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#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso Review

#GIRLBOSS#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, let's be honest- I don't know much about Sophia Amoruso other than the fact that she's the founder of Nasty Gal. That being said, I didn't really have many expectations for this book (good or bad), and I really didn't know how I would feel about it in the end. I'm not hating on her, but I just don't understand why so many authors/ entrepreneurs/ businessmen and women constantly degrade my generation. Not everyone is lazy, not everyone is unintelligent, and not everyone is just looking to live paycheck to paycheck. At one point I almost couldn't finish this book because Amoruso pretty much glorifies the fact that she succeeded without a college degree. I get it- not everyone can or should go to college. You don't need a college degree to succeed, but you also shouldn't discount the importance of degrees in certain professions.

She should be proud of all she has accomplished, especially at such a young age. Maybe the wording is what got me? I don't really know. I'm not offended by any means, I just can't say this is one of my favorite books. Honestly, if you need a kick in the ass to get you motivated, this is probably a good book for you to check out. Otherwise, I'm not super into it.

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How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather Review

How to Hang a Witch (How to Hang a Witch, #1)How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was much better than I was expecting to be, in all honestly. I like the plot twists (even though some of them were a little predictable), and the characters really grow and develop throughout the story. I'm obsessed with learning everything I can about the Salem witch trials, so I thought it was pretty cool that the author is actually a descendent. Overall, pretty good, but I probably won't read it again.

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The Young Elites by Marie Lu Review

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)The Young Elites by Marie Lu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm giving this a 3.5 out of 5 because I really enjoyed the majority of this book. The ending was a little "meh" for me, but only because it was pretty predictable. I know it's young adult fiction, and there are so many narratives with similar plots; I just expected a little bit more from Lu as a writer. I'm definitely starting the next book asap, though! I need to see how this is all going to play out. There are some loose ends (obvious, since it's a series), and I'm totally okay with that as long as they are all tied up in the end. We shall see!

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The Rose Society by Marie Lu Review

The Rose Society (The Young Elites, #2)The Rose Society by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

I really enjoyed this installment in the Young Elites series because it's much darker and terrifying than I imagined! I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting much because this is YA, so maybe that's why I'm so impressed. I know I've said it countless times, but Lu's writing style is perfection! She knows how to develop her characters, keeps a consistent pace, and is able to draw the reader into the world she's created. She's a master when it comes to adding plot twists- they're never overly obvious! She could take a number of different routes to finish this series, so I'm excited to see how she structures the next book.

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Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur Review

Milk and HoneyMilk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 1/2 stars (Baelien bookclub)

The only reason I'm not giving this 5 stars is because I don't see myself reading this again. I know that sounds bad, but let me explain.

This book made me cry. This book also made me question a lot of aspects about my relationship and life in general. I'm thankful that Kaur is able to bring out my emotions (I needed a good cry, I guess), but I'm not one to read books like this very often. Poetry isn't my favorite; that being said, her poems are incredible! I love that they're short, sweet, and to the point. The illustrations also add lots of human emotion to each piece.

I recommend this, but only if you're looking to do some serious soul searching.

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You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero Review

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome LifeYou Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Baelien Bookclub)

This book is incredibly inspiring, motivational, and eye-opening! Seriously, I forgot I was reading a self help book because I felt like I was having a heart-to-heart conversation with the author. I love the length of the chapters, and the fact that she uses lists/ bullet points as an outline for her advice. I recommend this to everyone, whether you're looking for a way to deal with depression, anxiety, relationship problems, work issues, stress, etc. etc.

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Fairest by Marissa Meyer Review

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)Fairest by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

The only reason I'm not giving this 5 stars is because it was a tad slow for me in the beginning. Once you get into it (maybe 40 pages in?), this book is incredible! You really start to rationalize Levana's insane/ irrational behavior because of everything she's been through- not that I agree with anything she's done, but ya know. It makes sense now. Anyway, the writing style is awesome, great character development, and the sequence of events fits perfectly with the rest of the Lunar Chronicles.

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Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya Review

Fruits Basket Collector's Edition, Vol. 1Fruits Basket Collector's Edition, Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was just kind of "meh" for me... I'm not really sure why, but I just couldn't get invested in the characters or the plot. Maybe because it's meant for the younger generation? I remember this being a huge deal when I was in school, but I don't get the hype. I may read the second one.

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Stars Above by Marissa Meyer Review

Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These short stories/ novellas are wonderful! I like seeing a different side of the characters, and I especially like the way this book is broken into different sections. Each section focuses on a different character or a set of characters, but the overall story arch is still in place (and makes sense!). A+ character development and pacing. The only reason I'm giving this one 4 stars is because the ending was super abrupt and too sudden for my taste. But it's overall still an awesome read.

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The Death of WCW by RD Reynolds Review

The Death of WCW: 10th Anniversary of the Bestselling Classic - Revised and ExpandedThe Death of WCW: 10th Anniversary of the Bestselling Classic - Revised and Expanded by R.D. Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, my boyfriend got me hooked on wrestling almost two years ago, and I've been obsessed since. I've learned that it takes an incredible amount of talent, hard work and dedication, and a little bit of insanity to be a part of the business. From bookers to upper management to the actual in-ring talent, the world of wrestling is absolutely crazy! Before reading this book, I had a pretty basic understanding of the business, but I didn't really know about the history behind WWF/ WWE or WCW.

That being said, this was, by far, one of my non-fiction favorite books I've ever read! If you're even slightly interested in the business, I highly recommend checking this book out! I'm sure it's not 100% historically accurate, but I love that Reynolds and Alvarez stick to the objective facts and don't really talk shit about anyone. They just present it exactly like it went down. It's eye opening, for sure.

To anyone looking to break into the business one day: use this book as an example of everything not to do when working for/ running a company. You can thank me later.

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The Midnight Star by Marie Lu Review

The Midnight Star (The Young Elites, #3)The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

Some authors seem to forget to tie up all the loose ends, to make sure each character gets their own ending (whether it's happy or not so happy), but Lu is a master when it comes to conclusions! Parts of this book were a little slow, so that's the only reason I'm giving it a 4.5 instead of a 5. The ending seemed a tad bit rushed because the middle was so long, but it ultimately works out in the end. I love the character development, the plot twists, and the fact that the ending was not predictable in the least!

I'm not sure if there are more installments or plans for more books in this series, but I would be happy either way. There's a definitive ending. On the other hand, she definitely left herself some interesting things to work with if she did choose to continue the series. Just some random thoughts.

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Crazy Is My Super Power by AJ Mendez Brooks Review

Crazy Is My Superpower:  How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the RulesCrazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules by A.J. Mendez Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Edit: 10/1/2017

So, after doing some research and actually watching AJ Lee in the ring, I definitely want to edit this review. I guess instead of editing, I'll just write an updated review because there are some things I would like to touch on.

I still stand by what I said about the majority of this book. AJ is an inspiration to young women, as she should be. She struggled to get into the business due to a number of factors (including her mental health problems, and the simple fact that she was a woman in a male-dominated industry), but still prevailed. To this day, many wrestling fans will tell you that she is the sole reason for the Women's Revolution, and she seems to think so, too. As I sit here watching her old matches, I'm starting to wonder why she's held on such a high pedestal. For someone who didn't want to be known just for her body, she certainly doesn't seem like she was unwilling to wear her "skimpy, little outfits" (which she talks about extensively in the book). Yes, she is one of the more talented workers of her era; yes, she should be given credit for attempting to revolutionize the division. However, she should not be hailed as a revolutionary by any means. She pushed for longer matches and deeper story lines for the women, but I wouldn't say that she was the only one who made these things happen.

I still enjoy bits and pieces of this book- mostly the sections about her childhood and her battle with mental illness. I just can't say that I respect her nearly as much as I did before watching her matches.

I have nothing but positive things to say about this autobiography. It's truly inspiring to see where AJ came from and know the struggles she faced before breaking into the business. Although her career was cut short (in my opinion), she influenced the women's division and changed the face of the business for the better. All too often we praise female athletes for their bodies/ their looks rather than their in-ring talent, a point which AJ makes throughout the second half of her book. Her accomplishments are remarkable and, honestly, she should be given more credit for her role in WWE. A few people have said that she "shit on the company," but I didn't pick up that sort of tone from her. She is very matter-of-fact and blunt. Maybe some people just can't handle the truth? I'm not sure, but either way, I absolutely loved Crazy is my Superpower from start to finish, and I hope to god she writes another book soon. I'm fascinated by the business in general, but the women's division (for obvious reasons) has always held my attention more than the "main roster Superstars" in most cases.

If you enjoy wrestling even a little check this out. If you need a strong female role model in your life, give it a go. Or, if you just need a really good book that keeps you engaged the entire time, I highly recommend this one.

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel Review

Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this because it was part of the End of the World book club, and I definitely don't regret picking it up! This isn't my favorite post-apocalyptic novel (The Girl with All the Gifts is still my all-time favorite) only because it was a little slower paced and less action-packed than I had hoped it would be. There is a little bit of a plot twist, but it wasn't anything super original or shocking; most of the characters don't have enough time to develop and evolve due to the number of characters present in the book. I like that the author chose to focus on different characters set in different times and locations, but I wish there would have been some sort of thread connecting them all together at the end. Honestly, the plot kind of falls flat for me, maybe because I've read so many dystopian/ post-apocalyptic novels. Either way, it's not my favorite, but I would recommend it to someone who is new to the genre.

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas Review

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've seen a few mixed reviews on this series. Some of my friends read it, and hated it, while some absolutely loved it. A few people have said that they couldn't finish it and just gave up on Maas. Honestly, I'm obsessed with this series!! I'm not sure if I'm just partial to her writing style, or the genre in general, but I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. She did give us a bit of closure at the end, and most of the lose ends are all tied up. I think she did leave some things untouched mostly because the next book is apparently coming out in 2018? I'm not sure if she's continuing the main story arch or if she's planning on writing a series of novellas; either way, I'm excited!!

I really do love this series for so many reasons. We see lots of character development, the pacing is pretty good (too fast in some places, a little slow in others, but I can forgive that), and the dialogue is spot on. There isn't any wasted energy, and by that I mean there really isn't a single scene that makes me think, "why was this necessary for the plot?" It makes sense, and it fits well with the rest of the series.

This sounds kind of silly, but I kind of wish there were fewer happy endings. I know, I know- horrible. I just think it would have been better for certain characters to suffer for their previous actions, but that's just me. I'm happy with the outcome so far. We'll see where we go from here :)

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Review

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know I'm way late on this bandwagon, but I really did enjoy this book! I'm glad I (finally) started this series (I'm not sure why I waited so long to read it... But better late than never, right?). The world is believable, yet unique, and I love the Russian elements. I don't know a ton about Russian folklore, but that hasn't been a problem; Bardugo does a wonderful job immersing her reader without overwhelming them. The characters are dynamic and vastly different from one another, however, this is a ton of room for development later on. I've already started the second book, and I can already tell that this well be one of my favorite YA series. I rated it four stars mostly because it was a little slow and it did drag on a bit in the middle. I don't mind, though, and it's nothing that will keep me from continuing the series (obviously!).

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March 20, 2017

Crystal Cluster Tattoo (Tattoo #18)

Hi again!

I wanted to write a post today about my newest tattoo :) I don't have too much to say about this one since it was pretty much a spur-of-the-moment decision, but I did want to blog about it. I'm bored out of my mind and need something to do!!

Side note- I'm glad I'm on spring break this week, and I'm thankful I have the opportunity to relax. However, relaxing is so insanely boring after awhile!! I need to find something free/ cheap to do this week. 

Anyway, here's a picture of my new baby!

So, I originally went in to get one of my other tattoos touched up. When I talked to the artist, she said she would touch it up for $60 or I could get another tattoo and she would do the touch ups for free. Obviously I chose the latter! I googled some random moon images and I found this little guy on Pinterest. It was originally just an outline, so Malicia took it and added her own flair to it. I love that she added stippling to the moon, and kept everything black and gray besides the crystal cluster. Seriously, it's absolutely gorgeous and I could not have asked for a better tattoo! The experience was amazing, and I've made a new friend in the process :) That's one of the reasons why tattooing is such a wonderful thing- you meet amazing people and you walk out with a beautiful piece of art on your body <3

I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous for this one. I don't have tattoos anywhere near my feet (unless you count my bats, but those didn't take very long to do), so I wasn't sure what it would feel like. I've heard it's supposed to be one of the toughest places to get tattooed other than your ribs and hands. 

Honestly, this wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be!! I'm not just saying that to sound like a badass. My gypsy and Sailor Mars tattoos (calf/ side of the leg) were much more brutal than this little guy. The only part that really caused me some pain was the stippling on the moon. Granted, this one only took about an hour and a half to complete. Malicia is super light-handed so that probably has a lot to do with it. The way I had to sit for the tattoo was more painful than the tattoo itself! 

Overall, I am 100% in love with my moon and crystals and I can't wait to go back to Malicia!! I don't really know what I want on my other foot, but I'm thinking either a sugar skull or the sun with a warm-toned crystal cluster. We'll see!

Thank you for checking out my blog today! I hope you enjoyed reading about my obsession with tattoos, and I hope I get to talk to you again very soon :)

Until next time!
Keri <3

February 3, 2017

Gratitude Tag

Hi again!

It's Friday night and I'm bored... So, here's another tag/ journal prompt thing I found on Pinterest.  This is technically a 30 day challenge, but I'm condensing it down into just one post instead.

Here we go!


1. What smell are you grateful for today?
Fresh brewed espresso

2. What technology are you grateful for?
My iPhone and work computer

3. What color are you grateful for?
Orange.  I used to visit my local music shop and mess around on the different instruments, and I fell in love with a Yamaha Precision Jazz Bass (which is metallic orange).  I started taking lessons and ended up playing bass in my high school's jazz band for 3 years.

4. What food are you most grateful for?
Pizza with extra cheese

5. What sound are you grateful for today?
My dog's barks of excitement when I get home from work

6. What in nature are you grateful for?
The sunshine

7. What memory are you grateful for?
I'm most grateful for running into Corey at the Fayetteville Public Library on April 18, 2016.  We reconnected (as cheesy as that sounds), and everything fell back into place.  We picked up right where we left off, and it was absolutely wonderful.

8. What book are you most grateful for?
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero- it has truly changed my outlook and overall attitude towards life in general.

9. What place are you most grateful for?
Orange Park, FL

10. What taste are you grateful for today?

11. What holiday are you grateful for?
New Year's Day

12. What texture are you grateful for?
Soft, fuzzy blankets

13. What abilities are you grateful for?
My intelligence, my ability to read anything and everything, and my musical talent (if you can really call it that)

14. What sights are you grateful for today?
Snapchats from Corey

15. What season are you grateful for?

16. What about your body are you grateful for?
My eyes, because they're my favorite feature, and they're pretty crucial to my quality of life.

17. What knowledge are you grateful for?
I'm grateful for my knowledge regarding teaching, child development, and pedagogy.

18. What piece of are you grateful for?
The coverart of "Take This to Your Grave" by Fall Out Boy

19. What touch are you grateful for today?
Rhaegar's soft bunny fur

20. Who in your life are you grateful for?
Corey, Raechel, Sammi, Mom, Dad, and Drew (and the fur babies!)

21. What song are you most grateful for?
"The Patron Saint of Liars and Fakes" by Fall Out Boy

22. What story are you grateful for?
The story of Harry Potter- I can't say it was a part of my childhood, but it was my life in high school and college.

23. What tradition are you grateful for?
I love the fact that my family has always celebrated Thanksgiving dinner together.  For the past 23 years, we've all hung out on Thanksgiving Day, and I hope to keep the tradition going for as long as possible.

24. What challenge are you grateful for?
My job is not the easiest, and I'm definitely not in this position for the fame and fortune.  I hear a lot of negative feedback on a daily basis, I usually don't hear "thank you," and teaching can be extremely frustrating and trying at times.  But I love my kiddos, and I'm so thankful for my colleagues (especially my math coach!).  This year has thrown me many curveballs, but I'm grateful for all the challenges and obstacles I face because I know I'm becoming a better and more effective teacher each and every day.

25. What moment this week are you most grateful for?
Working with my colleagues and math coach to successfully implement a weekly math camp for my fifth graders.

26. What form of expression are you most grateful for?
Music or writing; I can't live without playing/ listening to music, or books, so they're tied for first place!

27. What small thing that you use daily are you grateful for?

28. What small thing that happened today are you grateful for?
One of my students had an "ah-ha" moment today during core instruction.  

29. What friend/ family member are you grateful for today?
Corey and Sara

30. What talent or skill do you have that you are grateful for?
I'm extremely grateful for my musical talent.  I absolutely love playing the piano and the bass, listening to music on Spotify, collecting CDs, and creating playlists to fit my various moods and musical tastes.

Thanks for checking out my blog, and I hope to see you again soon :)
Keri <3

January 1, 2017

What I'm Reading 2017

Happy New Year!!

I'm typing this a few hours before the clock actually strikes midnight, but I figured I would get this all written up while I was thinking about it :)

This year, I'm challenging myself to complete the "2017 Reading Challenge" that I found on Pinterest.  I've attempted one of these challenges in the past, but I never actually finished it.  I usually just keep track of the number of books I read each year, so I thought it would be fun to change things up a bit!!  I'll add a section at the end of this post for books that don't quite fit into any of the categories listed in the challenge itself.  I hope to read at least 30 books this year.

One last thing- I'm trying to accomplish this without re-reading anything.  Wish me luck!

If you would like to see each of my reviews on the books I've read so far, just click on the title and the link will take you straight to the review post for that book.  Just in case you wanted to get a little preview for any of them- no spoilers, I promise!!

Ok, enough chit-chat.  Here's what I'm reading in 2017.

2017 Reading Challenge
1. A book you read in school
Animal Farm by George Orwell (I didn’t have the opportunity to read this in school, but I know it’s part of the curriculum for tons of high schools, so it counts)

2. A book from your childhood
Fruits Basket Collector's Edition Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya (I never actually read this series, but I know it was a huge deal when I was in middle school!) 

3. A book published over 100 years ago

4. A book published in the last year
How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

5. A non-fiction book
Crazy is My Superpower by A. J. Mendez Brooks

6. A book written by a male author
The Martian by Andy Weir

7. A book written by a female author
Fairest: Levana's Story by Marissa Meyer

8. A book by someone who isn't a writer
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

9. A book that became a film
Room by Emma Donoghue

10. A book published in the 20th century
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

11. A book set in your hometown/ region

12. A book with someone's name in the title
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

13. A book with a number in the title
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

14. A book with a character with your first name
There are honestly no characters that I've found that have my name (with the correct spelling) besides Carrie by Stephen King, but I didn't want to include anything I've read in previous years.  So, this is a stretch, but I'm going to cheat a little bit...

The characters in Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake all have pretty unique names, so we'll just pretend that this fits the criteria for the challenge ;)

15. A book someone else recommends to you
The Death of WCW: 10th Anniversary of the Best-Selling Classic- Revised and Expanded by R. D. Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez (recommended by Corey!)

16. A book with over 500 pages
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

17. A book you can finish in a day
milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

18. A previously banned book
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit (I'm sure some school district, somewhere in this country has banned this book for some reason or another...)

19. A book with a one word title
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

20. A book translated from another language

21. A book that will improve a specific area of your life
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson (honestly, I just strive to be a more intelligent human, and I try to learn at least one new thing each day)

22. A memoir or journal

23. A book written by someone younger than you
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

24. A book set somewhere you'll be visiting this year
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (I'm not planning on visiting Scotland this coming year, but I would love to go at some point in my life)

25. An award-winning book
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (New York Times Bestseller, Los Angeles Times Bestseller, Amazon Best Book of the Year, Indie Next List Book)

26. A self-published book

Other books:
- Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
- The Young Elites by Marie Lu
- The Rose Society by Marie Lu
- The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
- Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
- Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
- Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan
- Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
- The Coven by Cate Tiernan


If you're interested, here are my other "What I'm Reading" posts:
Thanks for checking out my little blog!  I hope to talk to you again soon- until then, Happy New Year (again)!  I love you all and am so thankful for you :)

Keri <3