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Hiatus

Hi there friends!

Wow! It’s been a while. I figured it was time for me to actually write about my recent decision to take an open-ended hiatus.

Since becoming a mom I’ve realized, as most new mom’s probably do, that some of the hobbies I used to spend my time on have to get cut by necessity. I just don’t have the time to read and write about what I’ve read. Reading is still something I’m doing a lot (thank the Lord for audiobooks!!!), and although I love reviewing, and the book blogging world in general, I just don’t have the time to keep up with BookTasty.

I still plan on sharing my reading queues on instagram and talking books when I can on twitter, but I wont be blogging for a while. I really hope to return to blogging when my little guy gets older and I figure out how to schedule free time a bit better.

Thank you for supporting me and BookTasty!

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Reading Queue: October

The Reading QueueHiya!

October is here and the weather in Manchester has definitely turned to autumn! The skies have been gloriously sunny, but the air has that crispness that I love!

Before I talk about my reading plans for the month of October, let’s recap the five books I read in September, shall we?!

Angus, Thongs, & Full Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicholson #1) by Louise Rennison

Virals (Virals #1) by Kathy Reichs

On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God (Georgia Nicholson #2) by Louise Rennison

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Knocked Out by My Nunga Nungas (Georgia Nicholson #3) by Louise Rennison

 

I’m loving this Confessions of Georgia Nicholson books! They’re so much like a YA version of Bridget Jones’ Diary! So, for October I plan on continuing to work my way through the series. Hopefully I’ll get through most of them! I also plan on listening to a bunch of audiobooks as well!

October Reading Queue October Reading Queue2
“Dancing in my Nuddy-Pants” (Georiga Nicholason #4) by Louise Rennison

“…Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers” (Georiga Nicholason #5) by Louise Rennison

“…And Then It Fell Off In My Hand” (Georiga Nicholason #6) by Louise Rennison

“…Startled by His Furry Shorts” (Georiga Nicholason #7) by Louise Rennison

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Andieh

Behemoth (Leviathon #2) by Scott Westerfeld

Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy #2) by Leigh Bardugo

The Perilous Sea (Elemental Trilogy #2) by Sherry Thomas

I want to know what delicious books are on your Reading Queue! You can comment on this post, or join us on Instagram! If you’re interested in joining, just use the hashtag #readingqueue with a photo of the books you are planning to read! And don’t forget to update us throughout the month!

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Familiar Places: Virals by Kathy Reichs

Hi there!

I’m currently typing this post up in our attic/office with the roof windows open on this rare sunny day in Manchester. It really is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea and write a book review!

Recently I finished listening to the audiobook for Kathy Reich’s Virals, the first book in a sci-fi series of the same name. I waited a long time to finally read this one and I’m so glad I read it now, after just moving across the pond from South Carolina, because the story is set in Charleston. Reading about the familiar places was soothing to my heart as I adjust to life in a new place out of my home country! It was comforting!

Overview

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the VIrals by Kathy ReichsBones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage “sci-philes” who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends. They’re a pack. They are Virals.

My Thoughts

I don’t know what I was expecting, but when I decided to read Virals, I wasn’t sold. I assumed I wasn’t going to enjoy it and I have no earthly idea why! What I got was a fast paced sci-fi mystery/thriller that hooked me from the start. The first page lands you smack-dab in the middle of a forest where our main character, Tory, is being chased by unknown and armed pursuers. From that moment on the story is full of dead bodies, breaking and entering, fake identities, hunting for evidence, and even more being chased by armed men. As if the mystery plot wasn’t interesting enough Reichs also weaves in this whole science fiction virus plot that just takes the story to a whole new level! I was immediately sold.

Super exciting plot aside, it also helps when your main character is engaging and likable. Tory, is your average teen who is also not-so average -she is incredibly observant, intelligent, courageous, funny, and really interested in science. She feels like an outsider at her posh Charleston private school, but is also building deep friendships with the other kids on Morris Island. She is exactly the type of girl I’d want to be friends with, if you know….I was a character in a sci-fi YA novel… Out of her group of friends, Tory is the “idea person”. She’s the one who has all of these ideas that are really good ideas (mostly) but make the other characters nervous because they usually involve breaking into someplace they shouldn’t be-all for good reasons of course! haha

Virals is set on the numerous islands that dot the coast of South Carolina, just outside of historic Charleston. As I mentioned before having just moved from South Carolina, it was so comforting to read about a location I’m familiar with. I think that when you’ve been to a place it always changes how you read a book set in that same location. The story seems more alive and exciting when you have experience in that particular setting. I loved reading about King Street, Sullivan’s Island, Mount Pleasant and Fort Sumter. It felt like I was home!

I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series and if you’re into sci-fi and mysteries you should also give this series a try!

Details

Author: Kathy Reichs
Publisher: Penguin Razorbill (November 2, 2010)
Format: Audiobook
Narrated by: Cristin Milioti
Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins
Series: First in the Virals series
YA/MG: MG/YA

 

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Reading Queue: September

The Reading QueueHiya!

Well, I think summer is officially over in Manchester! The weather seems to be saying, “Yeah it’s September now…it’s time to get chilly!”

Looking back at the past month, I’m actually pretty surprised that I read four books in August! I must say that I couldn’t have done it without audiobooks! I listen when I have to wash bottles (which I do often) and since we don’t have a car, I do a lot of walking around town so audiobooks continue to prove themselves very useful!August Books

  • Defy by Sarah B. Larson
  • Ignite by Sarah B. Larson
  • 99 Days by Katie Cotugno
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

We have finally begun unpacking our books (two months after the move!), so my plans for September are exciting as I’m re-discovering the unread books I brought with us to the U.K.

Reading QueueThe following books are on my Reading Queue for September:

  • Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louis Rennison (print)
  • On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison (print)
  • Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas by Louise Rennison (print)
  • Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (e-book)
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (arc print)
  • This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith (print)
  • Virals by Kathy Reichs (audiobook)
  • A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee (audiobook)

I want to know what’s on your Reading Queue! You can comment on this post, or join us on Instagram! If you’re interested in joining, just use the hashtag #readingqueue with a photo of the books you are planning to read! And don’t forget to update us throughout the month!

 

 

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Unstoppable: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Hello!

Is there an author who, in your opinion, can do no wrong? That author whose books you always enjoy. Ally Carter is this author for me. Everything she writes is awesome — her Gallagher Girls series is one of my favorites and Heist Society is really fun too. I was really excited to hear about Embassy Row, her newest series, and had high expectations, so I read All Fall Down, the first book in the Embassy Row series and as I mentioned before Ally Carter didn’t let me down! She is unstoppable!

Overview

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:All Fall Down by Ally Carter

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her–so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door who is keeping an eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace–no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . .  and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world all stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

My Thoughts

I had high expectations for All Fall Down, I was also nervous that I’d be disappointed because it wasn’t a Gallagher Girls novel, which are still some of my favorite books ever. As I started listening to the audiobook I was quickly rewarded with an interesting main character, and a plot full of family secrets and political intrigue, which is exactly what I was hoping for!

That interesting main character is Grace, who is carrying some deep wounds and insecurity. Grace knows her mother is dead, feels alone within her own family and is struggling to feel normal. On top of all that she is dealing with the fact that she is alone in her belief that her mother was murdered. Grace is definitely flawed – she makes some majorly questionable choices and hurts a lot of people while trying to prove she is capable and normal. Isn’t that what makes her interesting though?

One of my favorite things about Ally Carter’s novels is that they’re set in a contemporary time, but are located in a special place that makes the story feel more fantastical.Take the Gallagher Girls series, for example, which is set in today’s United States but takes place in a secret boarding school to train young spies (super cool right?). All Fall Down is similar in that the story happens in today’s world, but it is set in a fictional European country and even more specifically in the very unique setting of the Embassy houses. Because the story takes place in the embassies of many different countries, Grace’s story is placed in the middle of political intrigue and high society events, which makes it that much more captivating! I mean seriously mystery abounds…there are secret underground tunnels! For realz!

I am so relieved and happy that All Fall Down turned out to be a great start to what seems like a fun series! Ally Carter…she will not let you down! Book two, See How They Run, is set to release in January 2016 and I’m so excited I can’t wait!!excited

Have you read All Fall Down —What’d you think? Who, in your opinion, is that unstoppable author that can do no wrong? Please leave your comments below, I love reading them!

Details

Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Scholastic Press (January 20, 2015)
Format: Audiobook
Narrated by: Eileen Stevens
Length: 8 hours and 32 minutes
Series: First in a series
YA/MG: YA

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Reading Queue: July & New Things

The Reading QueueHiya!

Well, as of July 1, I officially live in the United Kingdom! What!?

As you can imagine life has been full of boxes, trips to Ikea, and basically setting up house hence no Reading Queue post until today! Jessica over at Books a True Story and I have been talking a little about the Reading Queue and how we can improve it. She came up with the pretty cool idea of moving the meme to Instagram instead of doing a monthly post with linkup. Our main reasoning is to make it possible for more people to participate in the Reading Queue each month, so we’re going to try it out!

If you’re interested in joining, just use the hashtag #readingqueue with the books you are planning to read! It can be books you’re planning to read for the day, the month, the year – whatever :). Honestly, I might still post a monthly Reading Queue here on BookTasty, but there won’t be a linky.

It’s been about two years since Jessica and I had the idea to start Reading Queue, which I almost can’t believe! We’ve had a lot of fun and read a lot of books during that time! It’s been awesome to have an online book friend to bounce ideas off of and talk books with. I’m looking forward to seeing where our friendship and Instagram Reading Queue go in the future!

Also, thank you so much to all the other awesome bloggers who have supported and participated in the Reading Queue in the past! It’s been fun to connect with you guys through this meme! If you’re into it, keep on posting your monthly Reading Queue, but please also join us on Instagram!

I’ve posted my ReadingQueue for July on Instagram so come check it out! IMG_4623Be sure to follow me on Instagram and tag both Jessica and me if you want to participate with us – we want to know what you’re reading!

 

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Author Interview/Giveaway: Jessica Spotswood

Happy Monday! A special Monday!

In the miJessica Spotswooddst of the chaos that is my life right now I recently managed to read Sisters’ Fate, the final book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles trilogy by Jessica Spotswood (you can read my review here). This series is one of my favorites because I think magic and alternate histories are super cool…also romance. I like romance!

Due to how much I enjoy the Cahill Witch Chronicles, I’m super excited that today is a special day because we have Jessica Spotswood here with us answering some questions! Recently Jessica offered a free book to any blogger who wanted to host an interview and giveaway, and there was no way I was going to pass on the opportunity to chat a little with her…and giveaway a really fun read!

Interview

Q. Can you share with us 6 words that describe the Cahill Witch Chronicles for those who may not be familiar as familiar with them?
A. Sisters & witches & kissing! 
Q. I love the mix of alternate history and magic that you get when you read this series! What initially inspired you to write an alternate history mixed with fantasy?
​A. Thank you! ​My inspiration for the magical aspect was a dream I had in which my sisters and I (like Cate, I’m the oldest of three sisters) were fighting over a magical locket. The idea of writing about sisters with a powerful magical inheritance and exploring the mix of love and sibling rivalry really stuck with me. My inspiration for the alternate history was wanting to create a society – worse than today, or real history – in which powerful, clever, independent women were feared and scorned.

Q. The Cahill sisters are all so different. How you identify with one (or all) of the Cahill sisters?
​A. I identify most with Cate because I was in her head for three books; I know her best, know what she would do or say in so many situations. But I’m probably most like Tess – bookish, quiet, observant, good at school, always playing the peacemaker. Maura was hardest for me to identify with because she’s always picking fights, and I am so non-confrontational!

Q. So, Maura just
makes me so angry but I also empathize with her—she really is interesting. If you were ever to rewrite the story from Maura’s perspective what do you think would surprise us about her story? Sisters' Fate by Jessica Spotswood
A. I hope it would be surprising how easy it is to identify with her. She makes a lot of terrible mistakes, but she has a very big heart and big dreams and is really just so full of wanting that she gets in her own way. Also, remember: she’s only fifteen. I bet most of us can think of a time when we acted out of jealousy or ambition and regretted it later.

Q. I’ve heard that you had to completely rewrite book 2, Star Cursed, from scratch. Did you have any similar stressful situations while writing Sisters’ Fate or did wrapping up the series come easier?
​A. No, fortunately writing Sisters’ Fate was much easier! I knew how I wanted the book to end, and at the end of Star Cursed, the stakes were already so high in the relationships between Maura and Cate and Cate and Finn, and tension was already at a breaking point both in the convent and in the city, so it was fun to get to ignite all of that. 

Q. What are you working on now that the series is finished?
​A. I just finished editing an anthology, Petticoats & Pistols, which will be out next April! It’s historical YA – fifteen short stories about American girls throughout history, from pirates to protestors and belles to bank robbers. My authors are amazing: J. Anderson Coats, Andrea Cremer, Y.S. Lee, Katherine Longshore, Marie Lu, Kekla Magoon, Marissa Meyer, Saundra Mitchell, Beth Revis, Caroline Richmond, Lindsay Smith, Robin Talley, Leslye Walton, and Elizabeth Wein. And I just finished writing my first contemporary YA, Wild Swans, which will also be out next April! It’s about a girl dealing with her mother – who abandoned her when she was two – coming back home with the two half-sisters she’s never met. She also falls in love with a tattooed poet.

Q. I know you’re now working in a library (me too!), so you’re surrounded by books all the time. What have been some of your favorite books that you’ve read so far this year?
​A. Yay libraries! My favorite books so far this year have been All The Rage by Courtney Summers (such an important, searingly angry book about rape culture); The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (creepy gorgeous and a master class in voice); ​The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace (a fabulous fantasy which I loved so much I blurbed); and Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt (which I also blurbed – the heroine Penny has an incredible journey).

Q. Okay, this is totally random I know, but I follow you on Instagram and Twitter and I need to know where on Earth do you get all of those adorable dresses that you’re always wearing?!
​A. Thank you! Mostly they are from Modcloth! ​I love a good quirky print.

Giveaway

Have you already read Jessica’s Cahill Witch books? Whether you have or have not, you should still enter the giveaway…because nothing is better than a free book!

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Satisfyingly Fun: Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood

Hiya!

Moving Sale

Our first yard/moving sale earlier this month.

So, things are getting pretty chaotic around my house! We make our big trans-Atlantic move in less than three weeks and the house is a mess of boxes, not to mention all the stuff we’re selling! Selling most of your things is strange in two ways. First getting rid of it all has mad me understand that yes, it is all just stuff that can be replaced. However, I have also seen myself go all “Gollum” about certain objects! For example, I have these two naked New Kids on the Block dolls (Joe and Donnie for those of you interested) from childhood and Husband gently tried to get me to throw them away. I responded in a very “precious my precious” kind of way and now, needless to say, they are safely inside a box that has been taped up and is going on our shipping pallet.

Somewhere in the midst of all the chaos and NKOTB doll hoarding, however, I managed to find time to read the concluding book in The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Sisters’ Fate! I had been looking forward to this final installment in the series for so long and I’m glad it was able to be my relaxing read in the midst of the transition and change!

Sisters' Fate by Jessica SpotswoodOverview

A fever ravages New London, but with the Brotherhood sending suspected witches straight to the gallows, the Sisters are powerless against the disease. They can’t help without revealing their powers—as Cate learns when a potent display of magic turns her into the most wanted witch in all of New England.

To make matters worse, Cate has been erased from the memory of her beloved Finn. While she’s torn between protecting him from further attacks and encouraging him to fall for her all over again, she’s certain she can never forgive Maura’s betrayal. And now that Tess’s visions have taken a deadly turn, the prophecy that one Cahill sister will murder another looms ever closer to its fulfillment.

My Thoughts

I am not specifically drawn to witches when reading but definitely to any storyline where characters have special magical abilities. I can’t help it! I just am a little obsessed with fantasy! Spotswood’s alternate history series mixed with fantasy is one of my favorite because its just a fun read and a good conclusion to the series. Honestly, sometimes I am let down by the concluding book in a series (ahem… we shall not name some of those infamous let downs here), but none of that happened with Sisters’ Fate. This installment picks right up where book two left off—I would have freaked if it hadn’t—which means that there is pretty much a ton of things happening at all times! We have secret meetings, memory erasing, romance, fighting, angry mobs, prison breaks, fires, pestilence…and did I mention romance?! *winky winky*

Interestingly enough Sisters’ Fate doesn’t read like your average final installment. There wasn’t this sense of things being closed down throughout like in most final books in a series. In fact I found myself wondering just how Spotswood would end everything because there was so much going on! I even checked Goodreads to double check that it was, in fact, the last book. This a unique quality for the end of a series because it shows that Spotswood didn’t check out of the storyline early — she instead continued to bring the same action that we found in the first two books and doesn’t begin tying things up until the last quarter of the story. In the end, some relationships were healed and some weren’t. Some loose ends were tied and some were not and I enjoyed that it wasn’t all tied up in a pretty package!

To be fair however, sometimes I did get annoyed with the back and forth bickering between Maura and Cate…and even sometimes Tess. Maybe this is normal for sisters? I don’t know because I don’t have any. It did seem as though a spat between Cate and Maura punctuated every cool action the storyline had for us and at times I felt like some of the arguing could have been reduced, but it does all play a roll wrapping the story up so I guess I really shouldn’t complain. Either way, the sisterly arguments, while maybe annoying at times, didn’t seriously interfere with my enjoyment of seeing the Cahill sisters’ stories come to conclusion.

Don’t read Sisters’ Fate unless you have read the first two books in the Cahill Witch Chronicles, or else you’ll be utterly and totally confused. But, if you did read and enjoy Born Wicked and Star Cursed than I definitely think you’ll find this to be a satisfying end to a fun trilogy!

Want to win this book? Check back tomorrow morning for my interview with author Jessica Spotswood and a giveaway of Sisters’ Fate!

Details

Author: Jessica Spotswood

Publisher:G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (August 14, 2014)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 368 pages

Series: Third/Final book in The Cahill Witch Chronicles

YA/MG: YA/MG

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Reading Queue: June

The Reading QueueHi friends!

What month is it?! June you say?! Oh my gosh! June is going to be crazy. First, my maternity leave is over and I started back at work today for one week until the end of the school year (luckily I have a husband with a flexible schedule), I’m still learning how to be a mother to a now three month old, and we’re moving to the UK. Yup! That’s right friends! We’re packing up our little family and moving across “the pond” to Manchester, England for my husband’s job! So yeah, there’s a lot going on!

Let’s talk about my June Reading Queue in the midst of all this crazy, but exciting, life stuff! Remember that I co-host this monthly event with Jessica at Books A True Story, so be sure to visit her blog (and her Reading Queue) too!

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How I Did Last Month

May was a better reading month than April was. Two were continuations in series that I love and one was a new title by one of my favorite authors so I devoured these three books pretty quickly!

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson All Fall Down by Ally Carter Sisters' Fate by Jessica Spotswood

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood

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My June Reading Queue

I have absolutely no idea how the month of June is going to be on the reading front. Moving to a new country is going to take up a lot of time, and although I am preparing myself mentally for less time to read I’m adding six books to this month’s queue!

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Defy by Sara B. Larson The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare The Diry Diary by Anna Staniszewski

Defy by Sara B. Larson

The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

The Dirt Diary Anna Staniszewski

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What are you planning to read this month? Did you reach your goals in May?  We would love for you to join up with us! It’s a fun way to see what others are planning to read each month. Plus, you never know who wants to read the same book you do! If you’d like to join up, just link to your own Reading Queue post below!