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Sunday, January 31, 2016

What I Read in January

I can't believe January is already over, I feel like just yesterday it was the first. Anyway, this month was a pretty good reading month, and I finished a couple of the books on my TBR list. I did have a slow start in regards to reading because I was taking a one week Winter class. But I still managed to finish seven books. Let's get started!

1. Silverglade- The Dream by Richard Lewis Grant. 

I really enjoyed this book. It is the first book in a fantasy series for Middle-grade readers but people of all ages will enjoy it. 4/5 Stars

2. Hearthland Episode 34 by Chautona Havig 

It is interesting to see how the loose ends are starting to get tied up. I am going to be sad when I finish the final episode soon. 3/5 Stars.

3. This Song is (Not) for You by Laura Nowlin 

This book was just okay. I kept hoping something amazing was going to happen but nothing ever did. I will have a longer review up soon. 2/5 Stars.

4. With This Ring? by Various Authors

I loved this collection of four novellas. All four of these authors were new to me and I loved each of their different styles. I also loved that the stories didn't get super cheesy. 4/5 Stars

5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I was actually supposed to finish reading this at the beginning of December for a class, but I never did. I finally got a chance to finish it this month. This was a re-read for me, and I still love it! 4/5 Stars

6. The De-moralization of Society by Gertrude Himmelfarb

First off, this is a non-fiction history book and I read it in preparation for my senior thesis. I usually don't read a lot of non-fiction books because I find them boring, but this book was so good. I loved Gertrude Himmelfarb's writing style and it wasn't to tedious to read. This is a must-read if you are interested in the Victorian Era, as well as finding out why it has the title that it does. 5/5 Stars.

7. HearthLand Episodes 35 & 36 by Chautona Havig. 
The concluding two episodes of another great serial novel by Chautona Havig. I loved the ending, even though I still wanted more, hopefully we will be visiting HearthLand again very soon. It was sad to say goodbye to these characters. 4/5 Stars for the whole series.

I am hoping February will also be a good month, but it might be hard since school has started up again.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Review: Fangirl

Today's review is on Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

Honestly, this was one of the hardest books I had to get through, not because it was dense, but  there were just a few elements that I didn't like. I both loved and hated it. And it is also the hardest book for me to review.

Fangirl is all about the main character's first year at college and how she is forced to get to know new people when her sister decides that she doesn't want to be roommates with her. She also has to learn how to juggle the demands of school and keep up with the fan fiction that she

One thing I didn't like was the fact that it is never explained why Cath decided to go the particular direction with her fan fiction that she did. I also didn't like the swearing, but at the same time I appreciate the fact that there weren't a lot of statements that said "he swore under his breath." Rowell's decision to write the swear words out made the story more realistic - however, I still don't like it. The passages from the fictional Simon Snow series at the beginning of each chapter was also kind of annoying.

I loved how relatable Cath was, and I loved how her and Wren (her twin sister) were foils to each other. I enjoyed Cath and Levi's relationship as it developed throughout the novel, although I feel like he was a bit of jerk sometimes. Cath could also be annoying and almost whiny at times. Even though Regan was a typical "bad girl", I loved the observations she made because they were so funny but true.

I didn't see what the big deal was about this book because it is very popular. This was my first book by the author and I don't know how I feel about her writing, I think I will have to read another one of her works in order to make a final decision. However, I don't know if I would necessarily recommend it to anyone.

I am giving this book 2.5/5 Stars because I liked it and I didn't like it at the same time.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations, let me know! :)


Thursday, January 21, 2016

My First Owlcrate Unboxing

For Christmas my parents bought me a one-month subscription to Owlcrate, which I received on Wednesday. 
Owlcrate is a subscription box service that you can sign up for either a one-month, six-month, or one-year plan. Each month you will receive a box that contains a book and several other bookish items. Every month there is a different theme, so all the items in the box have to do with that particular theme. To find out more about Owlcrate go to: https://owlcrate.com/.


I received the January box and this month's theme was Magic, so everything has something to do with magic.

The first item in the box was a Harry Potter Pop! figure from Funko. I got Ron Weasley, but I know that there were other characters you could get too.

The next item was a Patronus lip balm (white chocolate mint flavor) from Geek Fire Labs. The next two items were from Evie Bookish who made a bookmark inspired the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater (I don't know a whole lot about the series), and a beautiful print with a quote from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (which I have read and I will have a review up soon).


The next two items was a letter from the author of the book for January and a paper doll inspired by the book.
And finally, there is the Owlcrate book of the month for January and it is called Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley. The cover is so pretty and I am super excited to read this book soon. It is a fantasy retelling about the Bronte sisters and their brother Bramwell and together they create imaginary worlds that they are able to go to and I guess they end up in one of these worlds and trouble arises. I don't know anything else about this book but I will have a review up when I finish it.

I hope you have enjoyed my Owlcrate unboxing, even though it will be a long time until I do another one. It was nice to do something a little bit different for a change.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Book Review: Like Dandelion Dust

Today's review is on Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury. 



This was the first Karen Kingsbury book I have read in almost two years, and I mainly read it because one of the groups I belong to on Goodreads was reading it last August. I stopped reading her books when I read the last book of the Baxter Family saga because I found that her books have become too much like a soap opera and she used to much of her personal life in the story, especially in the Bailey Flannigan series. I also felt that she quoted the same verse all the time, Jeremiah 29:11, and that the characters sang the same song all the time, How Great Thou Heart (this is a great song, but this is the go to song for ALL of the characters, there are some other great hymns that could also be used). And I felt like she became too judgmental towards the character that weren't  perfect cookie-cutter Christians.

I apologize if the above sounds like a rant but I felt like I needed to explain why I don't really read her books anymore. That being said, Like Dandelion Dust reminded me why I used to love her books.

I loved the plot, and it really makes you think what you would do in the same situation, if the birth parents of the child you've raised since he was a few days old decided they wanted him back what would you do. This was definitely interesting to show how it played out. I loved the characters, especially Joey because he is just lovable. The characters actually seemed realistic in this book, as opposed to some of Karen Kingsbury's other books.

The one thing I did not like about the book is how Beth's (Molly Campbell's sister) conversion story was the exact same conversion story of Karen Kingsbury, word for word, which can be found on her website. The only reason I didn't like this is because the author seems to do this in a lot of her books and it kind of shows a lack of creativity.

I liked this book, and it made me consider reading some Karen Kingsbury's latest releases, however it wasn't great.

I am giving this book 3/5 Stars.

Happy Reading,
Janelle

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out. :)


Friday, January 8, 2016

Book Review: Passenger

Today's review is on Passenger by Alexandra Bracken.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion.

First off, this was the first book I have read by Alexandra Bracken and I look forward to checking out more of her books in the future.

Passenger was interesting, especially since I haven't read many time travel novels before. It tells the story of Etta living in modern day New York who discovers that she can time travel. She has to find a particular object in a different time using clues that have been given by her mother. Along the way she also meets Nicholas, who can also time travel.

I loved the descriptions that the author uses to describe the various places that the characters travel too, as well as the whole time travel aspect. However, I am still a little bit confused by how the characters were able to time travel. There were also other things that I didn't quite understand.

The characters were okay, not great, just okay, however after thinking about it more I can kind of understand Etta a bit more than I thought I did. Nicholas was good, but there was nothing really about him that made me want to love him as a character.

However some of the stuff that I did not like about Passenger might be my own fault because I was in the middle of a reading slump when I read it. I do want to read the next book in the series because I really want to find out what happens to Etta after that cliffhanger of an ending.

I am giving this book 3/5 Stars because it was good but not great.

Thanks again to Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion for giving me an advanced copy to review for my honest opinion.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L.C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Top 15 Books of 2015

Since 2015 was good reading year for me, I wanted to share my Top 15 reads of last year. Just a note most of these books were published before 2015, but they were first reads for me. Also, they are in no particular order because it was hard enough for me to narrow which books were my favorites.

1. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseni 
This book deals with some hard topics, but it was so good. If you like historical novels/ somewhat more contemporary and are interested in reading a book set in the Middle East, I highly recommend this book.

2. The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer
It's no secret that I loved reading this series even though I was a bit reluctant to read it. It is a YA science fiction series that is amazing from start to finish.

3. The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
As a fan of Jane Austen and all things Regency this book was a satisfying read. It is full of twists and turns that I did not expect to happen, and it was hard to put this book down.

4. Othello by William Shakespeare 
I took a Shakespeare class last semester and Othello was probably one of my favorite plays to read. There is a lot of tension and intrigue throughout this play that I was captivated the whole time.

5. Dracula by Bram Stoker
This was another book I had to read for class, I was a bit worried about what it would be like but it was a fascinating read especially since it is the original vampire novel. And the story is told in an interesting collection of newspaper clippings, letters and journal entries.

6. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Yet another book I had to read for a class. This book was both boring and fascinating at the same time and I plan to have a review up soon about it.

7. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
This book is 600 pages long and I finished it in three days. It was captivating from start to finish and I can't wait for the second book to come out. I will have a longer review up soon.

8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas 
Throne of Glass was a book I was a bit nervous to start reading, but it is so good! If you love fantasy I highly recommend this book.

9. Divergent by Veronica Roth 
After watching the movie I started reading Divergent and I loved it and it made me want to read more YA books.  It is definitely an interesting concept and the whole series is good.

10. The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson
This novella was really good, it wasn't too predictable and it left me guessing until the end. It also wasn't too cheesy and one could easily read this in one sitting.

11. The Reckoning by MaryLu Tyndall 
I enjoyed this book, even though there were a few weird things that happened in it. I really hope that there will be more books in this series because I want to find out what happens next.

12. Deepest Roots of the Heart by Chautona Havig 
This historical novel by one of my favorite authors was really good and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

13. The Fellowship of the Ring By J.R.R. Tolkien
I loved The Fellowship of the Ring even though it took me a long time to get through it. Tolkien does a good job of building the world of Middle Earth and is a great story-teller. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series this year.

14. The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen
I know I have already had a Julie Klassen book on this list but this was also a really good read. I really loved how it felt more like reading a Jane Austen novel than a modern day author.

15. The  Keys to Spiritual Growth by John MacArthur
I was going to try and stick to mainly fiction books on this list but I really had to include this book on the list. It is a fantastic book that deals with various aspects of the Christian life and it is definitely a must-read for all Christians who want to grow in the walk with the Lord. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing what my Top 15 list. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Happy Reading, 
Janelle L. C. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

January 2016 TBR

Happy New Year!

Here is my January TBR list:

1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
I have been wanting to read this book for a while, and I got it as a Christmas gift so now I can read it!

2. Hearthland Episodes 34, 35 and 36 by Chautona Havig 
These are the last four episodes of this great serial novel. I am both excited and sad for the conclusion of this series.

3.  North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell 
Ever since I saw the miniseries based on North and South several years ago I really wanted to read this book. I finally got a copy of it and I am really excited to start it.

4. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien 
This is probably the third time this book has appeared on my TBR list, I plan on definitely finishing it this month.

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling 
After reading the first two books of this series I am excited to see what happens next.

6. This Song is (Not) for You by Laura Nowlin 
I received this book from the publisher and Netgalley, I am interested to find out more about this book and the author.

7.  A Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason


I also received this book from the publisher and Netgalley. I have seen the author's other book on Goodreads and it looks like it will be good.


Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! ;)