October Reading Challenge 2018

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It’s that time of the year again where I do my October Reading Challenge — of the 9 years I’ve done this, I’ve never fully completed my list. But that’s okay cause that’s half the fun, right?!

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I’m pretty sure I won’t read all the books on my list this year lol since I’ve clearly been struggling with reading. Lort.

But we are definitely going to try!

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The Beast Is an Animal by Paternelle van Arsdale

A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.

This is actually a book I spotted at B&N last year thinking it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast… but it’s not. I’m actually currently reading this one right now and it’s kinda… weird. The beginning part was really interesting, though I have a few questions. But we’ll see how it goes the farther I get into the story.

 

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City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn’t like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead . . . and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost.

So things are already pretty strange. But they’re about to get much stranger.

When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, graveyards, castles, and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms. And when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift,” she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil — and herself.

And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

NYT bestselling author Victoria Schwab delivers a thrillingly spooky and action-packed tale of hauntings, history, mystery, and the bond between friends (even if that friend is a ghost . . .).

This is one I randomly stumbled on while scrolling through Twitter. I had no idea it was being released… I’ve been a little out of touch with new releases. But I thought the cover was really cute (I’m a sucker for cats on covers) and it sounded super interesting! I’ve actually never read anything by Schawb (I KNOW)! So I’m pretty excited to dive into this one!

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Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

This is one that’s been on and off on my TBR, I’m such a wuss when it comes to scary reads even though I really enjoy them. But since I live alone 80% of the time now, I’d rather not lol! I hear this one isn’t as scary as it is more gorey. I can handle gore in writing a lot better than in a movie, that’s for sure. So I’m kinda excited to start this one (I love the covers to this series) but I’m also kinda like…. *pokes it with a stick*.

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RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

I read Splitered years ago and loved it! But I never went on to finish the rest of the series. I do plan to though, especially since Howard is coming out with a new title early next year that I’m pretty excited about. I don’t know much about Phantom of the Opera, like at all. But this title has been on my TBR since last year and I should probably get around to it soon!

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Stolen Enchantress by Amber Argyle

Any girl who goes into the Forbidden Forest never comes out again. Except the one who did.
Larkin should have been watching her little sister, should have paid more attention to the trees looming over her family’s fields. Now Sela is gone. Knowing full well the danger of the forest and its beast, Larkin goes after her anyway. With her sister clutched in her arms, she manages to escape, but not before discovering the truth lurking beneath the wicked boughs.

She may have evaded the beast once, but with the full force of his magic now fixated on her, she isn’t sure how much longer she can resist.

This is an indie title I stumbled on while browsing Amazon and I fell in love with the cover! Look how prettyyy! Retellings are my fav and I can never get enough of them! I especially enjoy retelling mashups the most! I don’t know much about The Piper, I was reading a graphic novel retelling a while ago but my loan expired before I could finish it. I think I get the general concept? Maybe? But this mashup sounds super interesting.

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

This title has been on my TBR for FAR TOO LONG! I’ve picked it up a handful of times just to put it back down! I don’t really know why; it’s not like it’s boring at all. I guess I just wasn’t in much of faerie mood at the time. I’m itching to finish this book as I’ve heard so many good things about it! I also have yet to read anything by Holly Black!

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Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

This is a title I was exposed to since it was in one of my Owlcrate boxes. I hadn’t heard of it before that but it sounded really interesting. The box also came with a packet of flower seeds! It was really cutely themed! The concept of this title is interesting — the idea that they’re forbidden to fall in love!

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Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.

One other kind of retelling I really enjoy are villain retellings! I’m more of a villain girl than a princess girl, always have been and always will be! While The Little Mermaid is one of my least favorite tale’s I always found Ursula to be a pretty interesting character in general. I recently just finished All The Ever Afters which was a retelling of Cinderella’s evil step mother; it wasn’t what I thought it would be and it was pretty slow paced but I enjoyed it… mostly. Hoping this one will be a bit more fast paced!

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While there are more titles I’d like to add I think I’ll stop here. If I end up picking up another title besides what’s on this list, I’ll add it in since I’m more of a mood reader; but I’m hoping to get to these titles before I do!

What’s on your Halloween/October TBR?

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Kindle Unlimited; Summer 2018 TBR

I love and hate when I see a really attractive book cover while scrolling through Amazon only to find it’s self published and part of Kindle Unlimited and I’ll tell you why;

Kindle Unlimited is a really cool feature that Amazon has where you can “borrow” their titles. They’ve recently added a few well known titles like the Harry Potter series, I think Percy Jackson is on there now and a few others but they also have a lot of indie titles which is also pretty great. I’ve come across some really awesome indie authors over the years thanks to Kindle Unlimited and was able to devour all of the books they offered on Kindle. But I’ve also come across some really bad ones. I suppose this could also apply to traditionally published authors as well. There is a borrow limit to how many you can grab from Kindle Unlimited at a time which makes sense. But if you’re a title/book hoarder like me, this could become a bit problematic lol!

With that said I decided to make a seasonal TBR to help me find seasonal appropriate titles (since I love doing things seasonally) annnnd to help me get some of these titles off my borrowed queue lol!

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My Spring 2018 Hulu Queue

I have a slight thing against watching movies or really really long tv shows, I’m definitely not the type to binge watch anything unless it’s on a tablet next to my laptop or if I’m REALLY sick to the point where I literally CAN’T get up. I try to be better at watching things but it’s definitely hard for me to. I always feel like there’s something else, something more productive I could be doing. I have a hard time with giving myself downtime and just relaxing.

I recently browsed through Hulu and saw so many throwback and so many interesting things I’d like to give a go! I might end up breaking this up into different sections but for now here’s my general Spring Hulu Queue list!

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I spotted Sophie at Target last fall when I was pregnant and I remember wanting to get some of her stuff for A, my cat’s name is Sophie so I thought it would be a cute little thing. Even though we lost A, I still want to go back and pick up some Sophie stuff at some point for whenever I get pregnant again. It’s just one of those weird life things.

I saw she had a TV show, it only has one episode so far but I’m curious to see what it’s about!

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THIS. Was my CHILDHOOD!

I loved this show as a kid and I was so excited to see it up on Hulu! I’ve went back and watched old childhood favs before only to realize they weren’t as funny/what I remembered them to be but it’s still nice to be able to look back at what little Hazel thought was snarky or funny or entertaining!

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I use to collect these comics, like 2-3 years ago! I didn’t know what it was and I haven’t even read those yet but I’ve been seeing a bit of Over The Garden Wall stuff popping up at places like Hot Topic and now I see they have a show?! I’m super curious to see what this is about!

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I admit, I don’t really know exactly what this is about except it was filed under hopeless romantic. I’m hoping I don’t regret putting this on my queue! I’ve heard a few things about this awhile back, but I barely remember what anyone has said. Eep.

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Oh my early high school days!

This show (along with One Tree Hill) had inspired SO MANY emotional blog posts when I was in high school — back when I use to talk about my feelings on a pretty daily basis and when I use to reflect like I was a damn mirror.

I had an ex at the time who didn’t like the show and never wanted me to talk about it — he was convinced the show was influencing me to be mean to him and to break up with him. He was literally psycho. And looking back on it now, it’s crazy to think someone would actually THINK that.

I loved this show so much! I literally can’t wait to rewatch it all ♥.

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Awkward was my guilty pleasure show (along with Keeping Up With The Kardashians) during my separation/divorce. I don’t remember where I left off at… and I don’t remember WHY but I absolutely ADORED this show. Jenna’s BFF Tamara was my favorite character. Along with Jake. #TeamJake! Oh and #TeamCollin. #BEGONEMATTY.

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I know I said I’d get back into The Mortal Instruments series after I “took a break” 4 years ago because dammit Valentine and Sebastian were too intense for me. But I follow them on Twitter and seeing sneak peeks for upcoming episodes has me SUPER curious about where this show is going and what’s happening. I’m afraid of bookish spoilers but I’ll live lol!

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I was watching this for awhile, when it first aired. I don’t know why I stopped but I remember it was funny af. The little boy needs his ass whooped lmao! With talk of Crazy Rich Asians it brought my attention back to this and how I need to start catching up on my American Asian shows (we don’t have very many)!

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I don’t think I’ve heard ANYTHING about this one. But I mean that series photo and the fact it’s on FreeForm makes me think it’s some sort of young adult series that’s meant to be relatable. So, why not?

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I know, I know. This show has been around FOREVER.

BUT.

I’ve never seen not one episode. I’ve seen memes, but not any of the episodes. This also applies to How I Met Your Mother. I don’t know why! They just were shows I guess I wasn’t interested in back when they were “the thing” everyone was watching!

And now, years later, I’m curious to know what the hype about this one is!

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I’m a sucker for food shows.

And while this one isn’t something exciting like Iron Chef and not exactly a food documentary, it still sounds really interesting. As someone who was previously a culinary major and misses that life so so much, I’m super interested to see where this show goes!

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I’ve always been a sucker for The Food Network and Good Eats has always been one of my favorite shows ever since my family decided to get cable and bless me with The Food Network. The science behind food is always so interesting to me! So I totally sit there glued to the screen when it comes to this show just soaking up all that information!

Are there any shows you would like to suggest me to check out on Hulu this season?

Review; The Ugly Dumpling by Stephanie Campisi

30907963The Ugly Dumpling by Stephanie Campisi & Shahar Kober
Release Date: April 7th, 2016 from Mighty Media Kids
Genre: Children’s > Picture Book > Retelling
Source: ELibrary
Find ItAmazon | GoodReads | B&N
Summary:

It’s not easy being the ugliest dumpling in a dim sum restaurant. Uneaten and ignored, the ugly dumpling is down in the dumps. But when an encouraging cockroach sees the dumpling’s inner beauty, this unlikely duo embarks on an eye-opening adventure, leading the ugly dumpling to discover its true identity and realize that being different is beautiful after all.

A modern fairytale retelling with a timeless moral: There’s a little ugly dumpling in all of us.

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Review; The Young Queens by Kendare Blake

35154033The Young Queens by Kendare Blake
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Release Date: December 26th, 2017 from HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult > Fantasy > Royalty
Source: Bought
Find ItAmazon | GoodReads | B&N
Summary:

Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katharine weren’t always scheming to murder each other. They weren’t always surrounded by rival foster families, each swearing to have their best interests at heart. And they weren’t always afraid of being unexpectedly attacked—by one of their own sisters, no less—in a way that could cost them their last breath.

They used to be together. Just three sisters. Alone in a glen.

This is the story of the three queens—after they were born, before they were separated, during the time when they all lived together, loved each other, and protected each other. It’s also the story of the day they were torn apart, and the several years that follow.

From birth to eleven years old, this is a rare glimpse of the queens’ lives…before they were at stake.

Read More »

Hello Spring \o/

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I kinda disappeared, didn’t I?

Whoops.

I haven’t read much of anything in March; I’m reading the 3rd book in the ACOTAR series (of course), Three Young Queens (and not sure how I’m liking it tbh) and I just got my elibrary book of Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella.

I’ve also been rearranging my room as well as redoing my bookshelves that my boyfriend gifted me! Right now I’m struggling with what to do/should I move my Fairytale Retelling’s shelf and where to put my Disney shelf. Should I make the shorter bookshelf all Fairytales or the longer one? Ugh. Why is this so hard!

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Also the boyfriend and I have been Pop hunting the last few weeks, here are some really great finds we found the other day at Movie Trading Company and we found Hades and Diamond Maleficent at Hot Topic! I’m trying to get into the habit of talking more about our adventures with Pop hunting and trying new places around our area on our blog PXAHXJ.

I also made a new blog to talk about gaming and traveling and food and nerdy stuff over at PLACESANDPEONIES.

Besides that and adventuring and getting ready for Easter (my birthday follows close after… eeep!) I’ve been a bit busy to read. Though I know you make time to read. I’m not going to be mad at myself for falling short on my reading challenge this month, I’ll try to make up for it next month. In May I need to start apartment hunting and getting ready to move so finding time to do things from May to July will be a bit of a gamble.

I hate disappearing for long periods of time! I’ll try and be around a bit more. Especially once I finish these damn shelves haha!

How are you? What are you reading right now?

Top Ten Tuesday; Books That Surprised Me

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Top Ten Tuesday which The Broke and the Bookish started in 2010 (I remember blogging with them back in my super book blogging days) and has been passed down to That Artsy Reader Girl.

This weeks topic is;

Books That Surprised Me

 

There’s one thing I love the most about reading; it’s when you completely and utterly fall in fuckin love with a book. Everything about it! It wraps your mind and soul in this cocoon of feelings.

Then again I’m the kind of person who just loves falling in love with almost anything — a book, a song, a tv show (I’m too impatient usually to sit through a whole movie but those too when I do sit through one), a moment, a place, a memory, a type of food, a product, a routine. Yeah, I’m one of those people.

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I’m going to start with the most recent first (damn now I’m thinking of all the places and moments I love, maybe I’ll write a blog post about that some day… either here or on me and Bubba’s adventure blog HERE).

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I ended up picking up A Court of Thorn and Roses because a bookstagrammer had this beautiful Night Court candle from A Court of Candles and I wanted to know the significance so I picked it up. Of course we don’t hear about Rhysand much or The Night Court in the first book. But I wasn’t really impressed with the first book so I hesitated to pick up the second.

BUT THIS BOOK just pulled the floor from under me! I wasn’t expecting all that world building. I wasn’t expecting to LOVE The Night Court as much as I did. I didn’t expect to experience those Twilight intense love feelings again the way I did with this book. I loved EVERYTHING about this book. And it’s been SUCH a long time since that’s ever happened!

 

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Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely was the book that really got me into YA and into paranormal. I fell in love with faeries and with the different courts ten years ago because of this book! And it’s so crazy to see how this all started.

I wish I could remember why I even picked up this book but it’s been so long now that I don’t remember. It might had been something as simple as it had “Wicked” in the title. But I wasn’t expecting that turn of events from picking up this one book.

 

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Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Like a lot of other people Twilight holds a special place in their heart. I was always a book worm growing up and I’ve always stuck to contemporary reads. I don’t know why I was never interested in anything other than contemporary. But I remember seeing this book every single time I was at Target and if you see something enough you’re gonna be compelled to pick it up, so I did. I didn’t understand the blurb since the back of the book didn’t tell you much (this was before I realized that sometimes the actual blurb is on the inside flap of the cover jacket).

I can’t even explain the obsession and the way I felt while being sucked into this world. It inspired so many blog posts, so many web page layouts, so many graphics I had made. It pulled the artist in me I thought died in a long time ago. I absolutely loved this period of time when I was obsessed with Twilight.

I was DEFINITELY not expecting to like it as much as I did.

 

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Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton

I got this for review years ago and I added it to my October Challenge not really knowing much about it except it had a creepy cover.

I’ve always been drawn to darker themes. It makes my damaged soul and awful childhood feel more understandable? I don’t know how to explain it. Makes me feel less alone I guess.

What surprised me the most was how the author personified every emotion. Like they had their own personality. And I thought that was really unique. I love that we spent so much time with Fear. An emotion that obviously doesn’t get a very warm welcome when it comes around.

This book made me think of my own emotions, the ones that stick around and the ones that linger. And what would they look like? What would they say if they could talk? What could trigger them?

 

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Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

I bounce between loving and fearing themes of graves and anything gothic related. I’m a wuss, what can I say?

But Unspoken with its snarky and sarcastic characters. With Kami who speaks her mind word for word and is unapologetic herself. Ash who just… rolls with things. With Jared who knows everyone thinks he’s an asshole so he plays the part of an asshole. The outline of darkness in this book wasn’t as bad or as scary because of the sarcasm. Though nothing could had prepared me for the heartbreak of the ending of this one.

Sometimes I feel like I’m still recovering even though I read this back in 2012.

 

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Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

I remember when this book came ouuuuuuuuuuuuut.

There was a crap ton of controversy about it and I mean, for good reason. I wasn’t expecting to like the characters as much as I did and I wasn’t expecting to feel really sad for how everything had happened. I don’t remember the details of how I felt or much about this book besides the middle and ending, mostly the ending. But I know that when I finished it I felt really heavy and really sad.

It’s so strange when a book just jabs you in the feels when you’re not even expecting it or you don’t think that it would for a particular theme.

 

 

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Eve by Anna Carey

I literally didn’t even finish this book. It got TOO IRRITATING. I just couldn’t do it. I thought the “truth” of what happens after graduation was just too horrible and I couldn’t understand how people could be kept in the dark about it for so long.

Yet the main character was able to just escape?! I don’t know, something about the whole thing just seemed… weird. And a little bit unrealistic. I remember being so frustrated with the whole concept that I just wanted to throw the book out the window lol!

 

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Secret Ties by Opal Carew

I remember this being the first book I really really did not like. Like the first book that made me feel like I had just wasted my time. It was awful. Here’s my old review about it.

Summer owns her own chocolate shop and makes chocolates in a small town. She’s a bit insecure and she’s really shy. She has two best guy friends (who are also best friends with each other) that she has massive crushes on but is too shy to make the first move.
She ends up going with her friend to a sex convention where her friend is selling and signing her new released erotica novel and suggested that Summer make some chocolates that would match the theme of the convention. There she meets Max. And that’s when her life changes. Max introduces her to the world of BDSM and how to open herself up more (literally and figuratively) and go after what she wants.

I don’t remember too much about this book now since that review was posted in 2010 but I remember Summer made like chocolate penis pops or some shit and for someone who was shy I thought that was a bit unrealistic. Not to mention okay, you’re pinning for your TWO BEST GUY FRIENDS yet you meet this TOTALLY RANDOM GUY at this convention and suddenly you’re doing BDSM with him? Like uh… that stuff takes TIME and TRUST. Like, what?

 

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50 Shades of Grey by EL James

I’ve always been a fan of erotica. As a kid I use to write erotica (this was before when we had 56k and porn wasn’t easy to access, hey I’m just being honest). But this. Was. Weird. Like I heard it was based off of a Twilight Fanfic and it reads like one, just with like, adults.

There are so many things wrong with this book; starting with Grey and things just didn’t add up/make sense. And Ana was just dense.

Not to mention A WHOLE CHAPTER WAS DEDICATED TO THEIR AGREEMENT LETTER. Like, was it REALLY necessary to spend a WHOLE chapter with the word for word agreement?

The second book was even worse. Seriously. Who plans to fault someone’s fiance’s plane?!? LIKE YOU WANT SOMEONE THAT BAD WHO CLEARLY DOESNT WANT YOU THAT YOU TRY TO KILL THEIR SIGNIFICANT OTHER?!!!

It was just freakin weird.

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I feel like I’m missing a few titles but these are the ones I remember the most over the years!

What are some titles that surprised you both in good and/or bad ways? Or ones you just can’t seem to forget about?