Book Review: Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Book: Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Published August 2013 by HarperTeen|272 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Confessions Of Georgia Nicolson #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

Angus: My mixed-breed cat, half domestic tabby, half Scottish wildcat. The size of a small Labrador, only mad.

Thongs: Stupid underwear. What’s the point of them, anyway? They just go up your bum, as far as I can tell.

Full-Frontal Snogging: Kissing with all the trimmings, lip to lip, open mouth, tongues … everything.

Her dad’s got the mentality of a Teletubby (only not so developed). Her cat, Angus, is trying to eat the poodle next door. And her best friend thinks she looks like an alien — just because she accidentally shaved off her eyebrows. Ergghhhlack. Still, add a little boy-stalking, teacher-baiting, and full-frontal snogging with a Sex God, and Georgia’s year just might turn out to be the most fabbitty fab fab ever!

I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to!  Angus ended up being an okay read for me, and I wish I liked it more than I actually did.

I was feeling pretty nostalgic when I started reading this book, and I’m pretty sure I read it back in high school and really liked it.  As an adult, I didn’t like it nearly as much.

It reminded me a lot of the Princess Diaries, in that it’s in a diary type format.  It’s pretty much a minute-by-minute account of what’s going on in Georgia’s life.  It was fine at first, but by the end of the book, I was really annoyed with it, because you’d have an entry, followed by another one five minutes later.  And sometimes, they were just a sentence or two.

I was pretty disinterested in Georgia’s life, and I think I was expecting something really funny, but instead, I was trying to get through the book.  It felt really long, and it was hard to get through.  I’d read a few pages and then have to put it down because I didn’t want to keep reading it.

This is sort of book I would have loved in high school.  Georgia was easy to relate to, and she’s a great character.  It really brought me back to navigating high school and everything that goes with it.  As an adult, this book wasn’t my thing but I can see the appeal of it.  I know I liked it when I was high school but now?  Not so much.

2 stars.  I wish I had more to say about Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging.  The writing style/format didn’t work for me, but Georgia was a great character.

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Craft Corner: Current Crochet Projects And Journaling

I’ve been meaning to talk about some of my crochet projects because it’s been ages since I’ve talked about some of the things I’ve made.  Hopefully I’ll talk about them a little more, but I don’t want to make any promises about how regular these posts will be.

One of my current projects is an Elf Hat, and the pattern can be found here.  I haven’t gone with traditional Christmas colors, but I wanted something really fun for it, and the yarn I used fit with that really well.

I’m also working on some slipper socks, and the pattern I’m using is super easy!  I really love the Caron Cake yarn, so the color blocking on it means the slippers are mismatched, but that’s okay with me, since I’m going to be wearing them at home anyway.  I’m pretty sure I can get at least one more pair out of the yarn I’m using.

I’m also working on a mermaid tail blanket, and while I can’t find the link to the pattern, it’ll be fun to work on.  I’m not very far with the pattern (as you can tell) because there’s a lot of counting in this part of it, and I haven’t had the mental energy to count.  At least for what I’d need to do for the pattern.  It’s going pretty slow right now, because I’ve been working on other things but hopefully I’ll be in more of a counting mood soon.

I also wanted to talk about journaling!  I really love journals and notebooks, and I have more notebooks than I know what to do with.  I’m really excited about this new journal I got at Mysterious Galaxy called The Severed Moon.  It’s from Leigh Bardugo, and there are prompts and quotes from all of her Grishaverse novels.  I’ve only done a couple of the prompts from it, but I’ve really enjoyed it so far.  Plus, it’s really pretty and there’s something very magical about it.

Even if it ends up being a sporadic thing, I also feel like I’ll get a lot of inspiration from it, so it might be good during NaNo when I’m stuck and need a break.  Or if I need some inspiration in my day to day life.  I’m really good at buying journals and starting them but I’m terrible at keeping up with them.  But I also really miss it because I used to do it all the time in high school and college, and then it just dropped off.  Maybe this journal will get me back into journaling more regularly.

Oh, back to crocheting really quick!  The backdrop I used for all of the photos is a blanket I made a few months ago.  Usually I just use my dining room table if I need to take pictures for the blog, but I decided I wanted to do something different.  Plus, it’s pretty and colorful and a lot easier then clearing off a table every time I want to take a picture.  I really do need/want a different set-up every time I want to take some pictures.  It’s something to think about.

That’s really of the crafting I have going on, so that wraps up today’s craft talk!

Around The Internet #14

Hey there!  I’m having a pretty good weekend so far, and there’s been a lot of podcast listening, reading and crocheting.  I wanted to take the time to share some of the really interesting reads, photos, and recipes I’ve come across lately.

That’s all for today, and I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday!

Currently Obsessed With: May 2019

Hey everyone!  It’s actually good to be back with my monthly wrap-up feature, and I’m really hoping this will come back more regularly.

May was a pretty fun month!  It started off great with YALLWEST, which I already talked about here.  I’m not really going to talk about it again, but I had a lot of fun, and I can’t wait for next year!

So, this is an April thing, and not a May thing, but I have to share a picture of the cake we had at book club in April.  It’s too cool not to share.  I can’t believe it’s been a year already!  The cake was made by celestialsweets, and you can find her on instagram here, if you want to check out her other creations.  All of which look awesome, by the way.

I also had a birthday, which was fun!  I’m pretty sure I ended up with food poisoning, but at least I started feeling the effects of it at the end of the day.

I never realized how cool the benches were at Fiesta De Reyes.  I know that’s super random, but it’s true!  I love how they’re decorated.

Usually when I go to Old Town, I get my coffee and some candy, and leave but it was a nice day out, so I decided to wander around for a while.  I always get taffy, and every once in a while, I’ll add some other candy too.

Anyway, Cousins is an old-timey candy shop and it’s fun just to go in and look around.  Even though I didn’t get any tea this time, when I do, I always get the black currant tea and the peach white tea.  I also love their highlander grog coffee.  If you happen to be looking for recommendations for coffee or tea.

You thought you were done looking at benches, weren’t you?

You’d be wrong, because there’s one more!

It was definitely a good day to stop and admire this flowers.

And also these flowers.

Plus this really cool plant.

And a huge tree!

And I don’t know why, but I always have to look at this flagpole!

No birthday is complete without ice cream.

Oddly enough, I didn’t have cake…but I was in the mood for ice cream, that I sadly didn’t get a picture of.  I didn’t think of it until I was done eating.  And of course, since it’s me we’re talking about, I did get some yarn.

I’ve been thinking about making some washcloths and those little face scrubbies.  Since I don’t have a lot of cotton yarn in my stash right now, I stopped by my local yarn store and got some.  I have a few projects going on and I swear, there’s a post coming on what I’m working on.  Not today, because I have zero pictures, and when it comes to craft projects, it’s always fun to actually see them.

That’s all for today, and I hope you have a great day!

Book Review: Dark Of The West by Joanna Hathaway

Book: Dark Of The West by Joanna Hathaway

Published February 2019 by Tor Teen|480 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: The Glass Alliance #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Curse in Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

Dark Of The West is another book that sounded interesting but turned out to be just okay.

I was really bored reading it, and I couldn’t quite figure out what Hathaway was going for.  The world itself felt like it was a fantasy, though there are fighter planes and pilots and there seems to be technology.  There’s a lot of politics and war and invasion, and I don’t know if that part made it feel like fantasy or if it just had this World War 2 set in an alternate world feel to it.  It did feel like World War 2, at least a little bit, and I’m wondering if that inspired the author at all.

Names and places were thrown at me, and I felt like I was reading a history textbook with no context.  The places could easily have been solved by referring to the map, but there were so many names that I had trouble keeping track of who was who, and how they were connected to each other.  I don’t know if things will become more clear later on in the series, but I didn’t have the patience or energy to figure things out.

It was a struggle to get through, and by the end, I didn’t really care what happened.  I didn’t particularly care about the characters or the fact that they were torn apart by politics.  Though I couldn’t remember if there was an actual romance, or if we were just building up to it.  Honestly, there’s not a lot I remember, so I couldn’t give a lot of details about this book.

2 stars.  Dark Of The West just wasn’t for me.  I don’t remember enough of it to give it a lower rating, but I also can’t go higher for the same reason.

Book Review: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Book Review: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Published April 2019 by Disney Hyperion|360 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: The Devouring Gray #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.

After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities—before the Gray devours them all.

I was pretty excited about The Devouring Gray but it ended up being okay for me.

I was pretty bored throughout the story, which is a shame, because the idea is pretty cool.  I really liked the world and what each family could do.  I really liked the vibe and feel, and it reminded me a lot of the Beautiful Creatures series.

I didn’t particularly care for the characters and I still feel like I don’t know who they are.  I could not begin to tell you anything about them or what they’re interested in.  They just weren’t memorable, at least for me.  I felt like we didn’t get enough details of the characters, especially Violet.  Everything was really vague, and very surface-level.  The entire book, though narrated by 3 different people, honestly felt like it was narrated by one person.  That’s how similar each voice sounded.

It was a little bit confusing at first because you don’t really know what’s going on.  You’re thrown into things, which is fine, but it took a while for things to make sense.  I eventually got it, and I’m glad it made sense eventually because the world is really cool and interesting.

For some reason, I was expecting it to be a Beauty And The Beast re-telling.  To be clear, it’s not, but considering the bad guy is called the Beast, and Violet was new in town…I was expecting a slightly different story, that’s all.  Not that there’s anything wrong with the story as it is, because there isn’t.  I think I made some assumptions about what the story was going to be, and I ended up being way off.  That’s what I get for assuming things.

2 stars.  The Devouring Gray was an okay read for me.  I liked the world and the feel of the book but the characters didn’t really stand out.

Book Review: The Last 8 by Laura Pohl

Book: The Last 8 by Laura Pohl

Published March 2019 by Sourcebooks Fire|357 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: The Last 8 #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

A high-stakes survival story about eight teenagers who outlive an alien attack—perfect for fans of The 5th Wave

Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she’s shocked to learn there are other survivors—and that they’re all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she’s greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.

Only they aren’t the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn’t know what to believe…or who to trust.

I liked The Last 8!  It’s an interesting read, but I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

Don’t get me wrong, you can’t go wrong with an alien invasion causing death and destruction on a worldwide scale.  At the same time, though, aliens invading earth seem a little bit…dated.  I hate saying that, I really do.  I liked Clover, and the world but something about the book seemed old, even though it’s a pretty new release.

I really liked Clover and we see her struggle a lot throughout the book.  I loved that there was a content warning at the beginning of the book, and that Pohl had a list of resources at the end of the book.  I thought how Clover acted throughout the book was really realistic, and understandable considering everything that happened to her during the book.  Especially at the beginning.

It’s an interesting group, and I loved that there are survivors of an alien invasion at Area 51.  Why does this not come up more?  There’s a lot going on with this group, and while I wasn’t surprised at why they survived, I am curious to see where things go.

I thought the book wrapped up really well, and I was surprised to see that it’s going to be a duology.  I think there’s more story to tell, especially with how things ended, but I’m also hesitant to read the next book.  I’m a little worried that it will feel added on, especially since I only have a vague idea where things are headed.  It’s definitely a book that can go either way- there’s enough closure that it works well as a stand-alone but there’s enough there that the story can continue on.

3 stars.  I liked The Last 8, and I especially liked Clover but I also didn’t love it.  I feel like this story is one I’ve read before.

What I’ve Been Reading: The Book Club Edition #2

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, but I never seem to get around to it!  For some reason, I don’t tend to review the books I read for my club but I did want to share what we’ve been reading lately!

January’s pick was The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke.  I liked it but I wanted more of the world…which is all I can remember about the book.  I really wish I had more to say about it, but I don’t.  Obviously, not a lot stood out months later.  You can find out more about The Boneless Mercies here.

February: We read The Disasters by M.K. England, which is a really fun sci-fi.  This group reminded of the group of teens we see in Six Of Crows…but in space.  I’m not comparing the two at all but for some reason, I did think of Six Of Crows.  It actually reminded me a lot of The Breakfast Club.  I wouldn’t say Breakfast Club in space, but if there’s a movie or book with a random group of kids, you’ll probably think of that.  You can find The Disasters on goodreads.

March: Geekerella by Ashley Poston!  I think I was one of the few who hadn’t read it, so I was excited.  It definitely falls into the realm of YA contemporary about fandom.  Is it just me, or is that something that’s kinda sorta been a thing for a while?  It was fun and cute, and I loved the nods to Cinderella.  I’m not at all a Comic Con person, but I definitely appreciated the fandom references.  It was also cool because she had a signing in San Diego, and I got both Geekerella and The Princess And The Fangirl signed.  You can find out more about Geekerella here.

April: Sherwood by Megan Spooner.  I was really excited about Sherwood because I really liked Hunted when I read it a couple of years ago.  I really liked this one too, though I could have done without the romance.  I can’t wait to see what other stories she ends up re-telling, assuming she does more.  I’ve enjoyed her stand-alones but I’ve have a hard time getting through her books that she’s co-written.  You can find Sherwood on Goodreads here.

And the last one for today is May’s book, which is The Last Voyage Of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie.  I finished this book pretty recently, so I could go into a lot more detail for it.  I just don’t have the energy for a longer review.  I liked it, but I couldn’t picture the world really well.  I felt like I had to do a lot of the imagining myself because there was so little detail for the world building.  It went pretty fast, which was nice, and it felt dystopic but also in the past.  It also felt a little steampunk to me as well.  The ending was a little random and I wish we had more of that story.

That’s all for today, but I’ll definitely be back with more book talk!

Book Review: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Book: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Published February 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers|432 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but she’s, in fact, one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. He runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie both find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.

An enthralling fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences, Four Dead Queens heralds the arrival of an exciting new YA talent. 

When I first started reading Four Dead Queens, I wasn’t sure about it, but I ended up really liking it!

Initially, the perspectives and timelines were a little weird.  Most of the queens seemed to be a lot older than Keralie, and that was a little weird to me.  Granted, their ages were never outright stated, except for one queen, Stessa.  Margeurite’s age was never given but it seemed like she was the oldest, and the other two, Iris and Corra, fell somewhere in between.  Some of them had pretty decent length chapters, and while it gave perspective to what was going on, it still felt a little odd to me.

The timeline made sense towards the end of the book, once the mystery of everything started unraveling.  For most of the book, it seemed like Keralie was trying to figure out what happened to them.  The timeline definitely surprised me, and there were some things I had completely guessed wrong.  Once things got going, and I got further into the book, I started liking it more.

It was an adventure, and I really, honestly felt like I was with Keralie the entire time.  I liked her, though I would have loved more of her backstory.  You get bits and pieces and references, but not much is said outright.  Even though the story focuses on her unraveling this plot, she seemed like a blank slate.  It does make it easy to see yourself as Keralie, but I also couldn’t tell you a whole lot about her.  A couple of moments would have had more weight to it had we had more of her backstory, in my opinion.

The world was interesting, and we get such a great idea of how the four queens came to be, and what each quadrant represents and believes in.  I still had trouble keeping all of them straight at the end of the book, but it did help that that there was something at the beginning of the book that had something about each quadrant.  I also liked the queenly laws at the beginning of the book, and we see those at the beginning of each chapter narrated by one of the queens.

I’m glad this book isn’t part of a series, because it worked really well as a stand-alone!  I think Scholte could tell a lot more stories set in this world, focusing on other characters, but this particular story is pretty complete.  I’d also LOVE to see this as a movie.  I pictured everything perfectly, and she really did write it in a way that made it so easy to see how everything would play.

4 stars.  I really liked Four Dead Queens, but I didn’t love it.  The timelines and perspectives took some time getting used to, but once I did, it was fun to see how things unraveled.

Audio Book Review: Mirage by Somaiya Daud, Narrated by Rasha Zamamiri

Book: Mirage by Somaiya Daud, Narrated by Rasha Zamamiri

Published August 2018 by Macmillian Audio|Length: 8 hours, 58 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Mirage #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

I liked Mirage!  Originally, I wasn’t sure about it, because I had a hard time getting past the first couple of chapters.  I ended up giving the audio book a try, and I’m glad I did, because I don’t think I would have made it very far otherwise.

Even with switching to the audio book, I had a hard time getting through the first few chapters.  Once I got past it, I was fine, but initially, I didn’t care about what was going on, and it didn’t really get my attention.  It took a while to get into Mirage, but once I did, I ended up liking it.

It’s your typical brutal empire takes over a planet meets being a body double for the hated princess story.  It’s a story I’m pretty familiar with, especially since the brutal empire and the rebellious people they’re ruling over seems to be pretty popular right now in both sci-fi and fantasy.  I think, if I hadn’t read other books like it, I would liked it a lot more.  I still liked it, of course, but I just wanted to like it more.

I liked Amani, though it took me most of the book to remember her name.  I completely forgot that she was her own person for a good portion of the book and she didn’t really stand out as her own person.  I wish I could say a lot more about her, but I’m having a hard time with that.  Amani and Maram felt like the same person, which was the point, but I wish there had been more to distinguish Amani as a person with her identity.

The narration pretty much saved this book for me.  Zamaimri did a great job at narrating Amani, and what she was going through.  She was great to listen to, and while I thought Amani didn’t particularly stand out as someone with her own personality, Zamamiri did add to her character.  There’s something about her Amani’s voice that worked a lot more for me, and I think it’s because I did feel like Amani was telling me her story.

3 stars.  I didn’t love Mirage, but I still liked it!  I’ll probably pick up the sequel, just to see what happens but I’m not in any rush to read it.