May Reading Wrap-Up: My 4 and 5 Star Reads

Since This Dread Road is in edits right now, I’m taking a bit of a breather before launching full-speed into my next writing project. I’m using this time to read as much as I can, for what better way is there to rejuvenate after a long, grueling seven months than pausing to “fill up” on creativity?

Unfortunately,  I didn’t love everything I read during the month of May, but I did have good luck. Out of fifteen books read, I gave ten four- or five-star reviews. If you’re looking for something read this month, I recommend these!

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An Open Book – April Edition

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Thanks to Carolyn Astfalk for starting off the #OpenBook link up this month. (Visit her original post here.) Now, let’s get started!

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My husband is still reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in the little free time he has. As far as I can tell, he’s enjoying it! I’ve never read any Jules Verne, which I should probably change sooner rather than later. This particular selection doesn’t sound like it would be my personal cup of tea, but whatever works!

 

 

 

 

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After giving up on Helen Simonson’s The Summer Before the War yesterday, I picked up Eleanor by Jason Gurley. I’ve heard a lot about this book–a lot of critical acclaim, not just buzz on the book blogger circuit–and I was able to get a copy on NetGalley, so I’m going to give it a try. At 11% I’m not quite sure I understand the plot fully enough yet to attempt an explanation, but I’m enjoying it so far. The writing is beautiful, and from what I’ve heard there are elements of magical realism to come. I love magical realism! And I haven’t experienced it in quite a while. I’m excited.

 

 

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I am also revisiting the Harry Potter books via audio. I’m currently on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which is my favorite in the series. This is the last book in which Harry can really be considered innocent, in my mind. Hereafter, he’s an adult in an adolescent body, and the plot grows ever darker. This is only the second “reading” I’ve done with the series, as I wasn’t formally introduced to the wizarding world until 2014, and I’m loving the opportunity to explore the intricacy of J.K. Rowling’s planning. I was aware of it beforehand, obviously, as it’s been the source of many an academic paper and literary discussion, and I noticed a lot of the foreshadowing as I made my way through the books the first time, but it’s interesting to see how even the tiniest details all point toward the end. If you haven’t listened to the audiobooks, you’re missing out on a treat. Jim Dale’s narration voice is a treasure.

Up Next

I’m going to spend this month (and the next, and probably the next) slowly whittling away at my entirely too long NetGalley queue. What I hope to read in April:

The Dressmaker’s War by Mary Chamberlain
A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber
Baker’s Magic by Diane Zahler
The Infinite Air by Fiona Kidman
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
Regrets Only by M.J. Pullen
Dear Thing by Julie Cohen

I doubt I’ll finish all these, especially since there are only four more weeks left in the semester and I have essays and papers to write, but a girl can dream, can’t she?


What are you reading?

Would you like to participate in An Open book and share what you are reading? 

The rules are simple:

1. Include a link back to Carolyn Astfalk’s blog somewhere in your post. (Better yet, link to the week’s post.)

2. Link up your post. 

3. Use the hashtag #OpenBook on social media. 

4. Try to visit some of the other bloggers’ sites and see what they are reading. Let’s build a community and expand our reading horizons. 

Add your link by clicking the #OpenBook image below.

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#OpenBook is a monthly link-up each first Wednesday of the month. Check out the rules here.

You can sign up for an Open Book reminder email, which goes out one week before the link-up.

Top 10 4- and 5-Star NetGalley Reads

It’s time to confess that I have a problem. I request entirely too many titles on NetGalley. Between taking classes, writing, and working, I really don’t have time to be reading for pleasure, but what can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment.

Thanks to the generosity of several publishers and authors, I’ve been exposed to some truly amazing reads lately. I post my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and my review site Read Yourself to Sleep, but I rarely share my thoughts on books here. Today, I’d like to change that! Here’s a list of the ten most recent 4- and 5-star reads I’ve experienced thanks to NetGalley!

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An Open Book – March Edition

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Thanks to Carolyn Astfalk for starting off the #OpenBook link up this month. (Visit her original post here.)

Now, let’s get started!

jules_verne

My husband has been reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne off and on for the past few months (he doesn’t have a lot of spare time for reading, due to his work schedule). I haven’t read any of Jules Verne, sadly–something I really need to remedy if I’m serious about diving headlong into science fiction writing over the next couple of years. I’m looking forward to hearing his report and opinion when he finishes this one up!

 

 

 

 

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I am revisiting the Harry Potter series via audiobook during my commutes and times at the gym. I finished up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone last week, and have started in strong with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets this week. This is only the second “reading” I’ve done with the series, as I wasn’t formally introduced to the wizarding world until 2014, and I’m loving the opportunity to explore the intricacy of J.K. Rowling’s planning. I was aware of it beforehand, obviously, as it’s been the source of many an academic paper and literary discussion, and I noticed a lot of the foreshadowing as I made my way through the books the first time, but it’s interesting to see how even the tiniest details all point toward the end. If you haven’t listened to the audiobooks, you’re missing out on a treat. Jim Dale’s narration voice is a treasure.

 

A Doubter's Almanac

 

 

I’ve also started reading Ethan Canin’s A Doubter’s Almanac, an ARC I received from Netgalley some time ago that I’m only now getting a chance to read. The story follows Milo Andret, a mathematical genius, as he comes of age during his graduate studies at UC Berkeley in the alluring, seductive seventies. I’ve been studying quite a bit of literary fiction these days for the creative writing course I’m taking, so I was interested to see what’s out there on the commercial side of the genre. So far (about 5% in) I’m not super impressed, but we’ll see what happens.

 

 

 

What are you reading?

Add your link by clicking the #OpenBook image below.

bonnets_wwrw-buttons.jpg

#OpenBook is a monthly link-up each first Wednesday of the month. Check out the rules here.

You can sign up for an Open Book reminder email, which goes out one week before the link-up.

 

Blind Date with a Book Week 2 – TWCS – YA, Romance, and Dystopia!

 

 

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Four weeks of GiveAways!!!

Enter this week to win one of the following titles in eBook.

 

Week 2

 

Breeder,  K.B. Hoyle, Dystopian

Everything about Seventeen’s life is perfect, from her genetics, to her home in Sanctuary, to her status as a Breeder inBreeder-Hi-Res-Cover the Unified World Order. But all that changes when an Enforcer named Pax infiltrates Sanctuary and targets her for extraction from the Controlled Repopulation Program, a program he claims is hiding a dark secret. Mired in confusion and doubt, Seventeen takes the name Pria, the identity of her childhood, and embarks on a quest to discover the truth before it’s too late.

 

 

 

 

 

The Six, K.B. Hoyle, YA

9781612130538Darcy Pennington feels like she is an insufferably average thirteen-year-old, but when a change in her dad’s job forces her to attend Cedar Cove Camp, she unwittingly stumbles upon a magical gateway. Along with five other teenagers, she will travel to a world called Alitheia. The “arrival of the Six” was prophesied long ago, but will she have what it takes to save Alitheia?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End of All Things, Lissa Bryan, Dystopian

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After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau, trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food.  She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier intent on making his way to Florida before winter sets in. This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life and a home in each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Get Ainsley Bishop To Fall In Love With You, T.M. Franklin, Romance/YA9781612133164

Oliver Holmes likes making lists—meticulous procedures for achieving his goals, step-by-step. So when he decides it’s time to declare his feelings for Ainsley Bishop, it’s only natural for him to approach the challenge with a logical and methodical plan.

He decides a perfect birthday gift is the key to success, but finding that gift proves to be a challenge. Oliver will need to watch her carefully for clues to pinpoint exactly what he should give her. And along the way, he might just learn that what Ainsley really needs is not quite what he expected.

 

 

 

 

More, T.M. Franklin, YA

moreHaunted by terrifying nightmares and certain she’s being watched, college student Ava Michaels finds an unlikely ally in Physics tutor Caleb Foster. But Caleb isn’t quite what he seems. In fact, he’s not entirely human, and he’s not the only one.

Together, the duo faces a threat from an ancient race bent on Ava’s capture, and possible extinction. As Ava fights to survive, she learns the world’s not what she thought.

It’s a little bit more.

 

 

 

 

Sebastian and the Afterlife, William J. Barry, YA

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Sebastian is an average 17 year-old boy, there is one catch … he has just died.  Sebastian awakes in a surreal world somewhere between mortal life and the afterlife.  The Grim Reaper and his loyal agents maintain the law of this mystical realm.  Sebastian soon finds himself at Sapentia, a high school for the departed.  He longs for his lost love, Sarah, who is still alive in the mortal world.  Some things are forbidden; some lines cannot be crossed.  What will Sebastian risk to be close to her again?

 

 

 

 

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 ENTER RAFFLECOPTER AND WIN YOUR NEXT BOOK BOYFRIEND!

 

 

 

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Review – One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories

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Publisher: Knopf
Publication date: February 4, 2014
ISBN-10: 0385351836
ISBN-13: 978-0385351836
Formats Available: Paperback, Hardback, Kindle, Audio

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

First off, I’ll admit I’m a little biased. BJ Novak not only acted in The Office, my favorite TV show of all time, but was also involved in writing/producing the show as well. Needless to say, I went into this book WANTING to love it.

And I did. I really enjoyed this collection. The stories were topical, clever, alternatingly humorous and thought-provoking. At the end of most of the stories, I either laughed, cried, said “Hmm,” or immediately went back to experience the story again, now that I knew how it ended. As a writer, this collection has made me rethink the concept of the short story.

I listened to the audio version, and I really enjoyed the performance aspect. Novak himself is an actor, and the other readers (Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, Jason Schwartzmann, Carey Mulligan, Mindy Kaling, Julianne Moore, and Emma Thompson) are actors/performers as well, so it was really more like a radio play. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I’d only read it.

*A warning to those sensitive to bad language, it has that. In some of the stories, it was gratuitous, but at the same time I think it was linked to character development.

Unscheduled Departure by T.M. Franklin – Available Today!

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Genre: Paranormal Suspense/Romance
Release Date: March 2nd, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

BUY NOW!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1ERf3Pt
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1A7qzBC

Synopsis:
Rowan Elliott is devastated when her boyfriend, Finn, tells her he’s moving across the country to take over the family business, and thrilled when he changes his mind at the last minute and gets off the plane.

But then things get…weird. Finn’s acting strange, and Ro’s getting mysterious phone calls that have her questioning if her boyfriend’s really who she thinks he is. As Ro races to figure out what’s going on, she discovers it’s more complicated than she could have ever imagined.

And if she’s not careful, she could lose her Finn forever.

My Take:

I absolutely loved this short story! I do not usually read paranormal fiction, since I’m a bit of a wimp (read: HUGE SCAREDY-CAT), but I am so glad I made an exception for T.M. Franklin. Fans of the classic television show The Twilight Zone will appreciate this story, which is romantic with just the right amount of creepiness. T.M. captured my imagination with her impeccable prose, and when the story came to an end, I found myself wishing it was longer. Everyone should read this story – now!

Excerpt:

“You okay?”

I hummed something in response. “Where were you when you called?” I asked, half-dozing already.

“Hmm?”

I opened my eyes to look at him drowsily. “I got your voicemail, but I couldn’t really hear what you were saying.”

He scanned the road before turning the corner leading to my apartment building. “Voicemail?”

I sat up, the queasy feeling in my stomach easing back in. “You said you had bad service. Said you loved me and we’d make it through this.”

“Through what?”

“You tell me.” I was getting irritated. What the hell was going on?

“Ro, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he said, pulling to an abrupt stop in the parking lot of my apartment building. “I never left a voicemail. Not today.”

I fumbled in my bag for my phone. I was not imagining this. “You did. You called—” I thumbed through my calls and held it up victoriously so he could see. “—at 12:06 p.m. today. See?”

His eyes narrowed at the screen. “That says Private Number.

“Yeah. Yeah, I know. I was going to ask you about that.”

“Why do you think that was me?”

I rolled my eyes. “Because you left a voicemail!” My voice grew louder, a little screechy, but I couldn’t help it.

“Babe, I never left you a voicemail today!” Finn said, aggravation growing in his own tone. He pulled out his own phone and stabbed at it a few times. Finn’s familiar ringtone sounded on my phone, his picture popping up on the screen, along with his name.

“See?” he said. “At 12:06 I was driving. I didn’t call you. Whoever that Private Number was, it wasn’t me.” He tapped his phone and the ringtone stopped.

I stared at my phone and rubbed my forehead. My stomach roiled and an ache throbbed behind my eyes. “I don’t understand. I heard—”

“Let me listen to the voicemail.”

“It…got deleted.” I met Finn’s unreadable gaze and knew how it sounded. Weird. Crazy.  But I had heard him. It was Finn.

Wasn’t it?

***

Meet the Author:
T.M. Franklin started out her career writing nonfiction in a television newsroom. Graduating with a B.A. in Communications specializing in broadcast journalism and production, she worked for nine years as a major market television news producer, and garnered two regional Emmy Awards, before she resigned to be a full-time mom and part-time freelance writer. Her first published novel, MORE, was born out of a challenge to write a novel in thirty days issued during National Novel Writing Month. MORE was well received, selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards, and won the Suspense/Thriller division of the Blogger Book Fair Readers Choice Awards.

In addition to MORE and its sequels, The Guardians and TWELVE, Franklin has penned the Amazon best-selling short stories, Window and A Piece of Cake. Her YA romance, How to Get Ainsley Bishop to Fall in Love with You, is Franklin’s first love story without traditionally recognized paranormal or fantasy elements. Although…T.M. is the first to agree that love is the best kind of magic.

Connect with T.M. Franklin!

https://www.facebook.com/TMFranklinAuthor
https://twitter.com/TM_Franklin
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5784430.T_M_Franklin
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TMFranklin/posts
https://www.pinterest.com/tmfranklinbooks/
http://instagram.com/tmfranklin
http://eepurl.com/Ji5oL
http://www.TMFranklin.com

Giveaway:

Signed paperback copy of MORE by T.M. Franklin (U.S. ONLY)
Kindle copy of winner’s choice of T.M. Franklin’s titles (open international but to be gifted from Amazon U.S.)
$10 Amazon Gift Card (open international, but to be gifted from Amazon U.S.)
Enter here ➜ ➜  http://bit.ly/1BW0Vqu

Add the book to Goodreads ➜http://bit.ly/18mlY96