It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey.


1. In the After Light by Alexandra Bracken – This is the third book in The Darkest Minds Trilogy, and I’ve blown through this series so quickly that I didn’t even make time to review the first two books. It’s been awhile since I’ve started a series that I could not stop and had to read each book back-to-back because the story is so engrossing, so I would definitely recommend it! The basic premise of the series is that a generation of children succumbs to a curious disease where they either die or possess potentially dangerous powers. The children who survive are sent into government “rehabilitation” camps, where they are separated by colors that represent which power they have. Ruby possesses one of the most dangerous types of powers, which makes her both extremely valuable and vulnerable. I won’t say anymore to preserve some suspense, so if you like dystopias (even if you’re a bit sick of them), check this series out. So. Good. 


2. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin – What a long journey it has been to get through this series! I started this book maaaaany months ago, primarily listening to the audiobook. I’ve mentioned that I’m a fan of the show, which is definitely a factor in how long it has taken me to read the series; because I know most of the major things that happen through the end of the third book, I honestly haven’t been in a huge rush to finish it. I gave myself until the new season starts to finish all of the released books, so I’m starting to feel the pressure. Also, I convinced my fiancé to start the series, and he is now on book five and threatening to reveal spoilers if I don’t catch up!

P.S. Happy New Year!

Wool | By Hugh Howey

You may have noticed that I’ve been absent from my blog the past few weeks, which makes me sad. The good news is that I should have some more time in my schedule to start writing new reviews now that I’m officially done with grad school!


So with the distracting business of degree-earning behind me, I can finally start reviewing some of the books I’ve managed to squeeze in recently. First up is Hugh Howey’s Wool, which I thoroughly enjoyed!

22319819_edited-1Book: Wool by Hugh Howey 
Science Fiction
Simon & Schuster
Publication Date:
March 12, 2013

Synopsis: The Silo houses an underground civilization where the remainder of humanity lives, while the mere air of the outside world is deadly. The people of the Silo have lived there for decades, their record of history only going back to a rebellion that occurred a couple of generations before. Everyone has a job to fulfill, with young people shadowing the old to take their place when they pass on. When someone dies, a couple is chosen from the lottery and given a chance to have a child. The Silo operates on many cycles such as these to ensure that their underground world and limited resources will remain for generations to come.

The Silo is shrouded in taboos – the biggest of which is speculating about the outside. The top floor is lined with screens that provide the image of the outside world, but the camera lenses that capture that image continuously become more clouded by the toxic grime that prevents them from leaving. The lenses are occasionally cleaned by those who break the rules, or by those who simply can’t stay inside any longer and volunteer themselves. The cleaners are sent outside in protective suits that last just long enough for them to scrub away at the grime on the lenses before disintegrating into dust, leaving the Silo’s inhabitants a clear view of the outside, if only for a day.

Perhaps the one dangerous question that enters the most curious of minds is why: why do the cleaners condemned to death even bother, when they all swear that they’ll refuse to do it? It is the answer to this question that places Juliette’s life in danger. Juliette is a mechanic who unwittingly gets roped into being sheriff – a job she never planned nor prepared for. Just days into her new job, Juliette begins to unravel the dangerous thread that her predecessor left behind, which changes everything she’s ever known about her world. Will this be the start of the next rebellion?

Thoughts: I’ll be honest – it took me awhile to get into this one. The book was originally released in five novellas, and the Wool Omnibus Edition combines them into one volume. I didn’t really get hooked until part three, but I will say that the first two parts are very important for context (and they’re relatively short!). With that said, I ended up giving Wool four stars, so I was clearly able to get over the slower pace of the beginning.

Wool is a post-apocalyptic novel that poses the classic SciFi question of what if, with its main characters questioning whether what they know is reality. The setting of this novel is richly described and immersive, with the Silo presumably existing in a terrifying future version of our own world. Though it’s typical for SciFi novels to be mainly plot-driven, I was really drawn to the characters in this book, particularly Juliette. I love stories with strong female protagonists, and Juliette fits the bill; she’s intelligent, independent, level-headed, and often defiant. The supporting characters are great as well, including the main antagonist.

I gave Wool four stars instead of five because there are some plot holes and unanswered questions that I wish would’ve been addressed. I also thought the ending was a bit rushed, though not unsatisfying. Perhaps some of my questions will be answered in the last two books of the Silo Saga, Shift and Dust. The story of Shift takes place prior to Wool, so I imagine it answers a lot of questions about how the world of the Silo came to be. Dust picks back up after the events of Wool, and to be honest, I’m a little tempted to skip Shift because I really want to continue with Juliette’s story!

Bottom line: Wool is a mature, refreshing take on the familiar SciFi dystopian novel. The world of the Silo is engrossing and its characters are engaging. Highly recommend!

Liebster Award: Round 2


Thanks to Keely at ireaditandwept for my second Liebster Award nomination! A lot has happened since my first nomination back in April, so I’m going to give it another go. The rules for Liebster Award nominations are pretty simple: 1) Answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you; 2) List 11 facts about yourself; and 3) nominate some fellow bloggers with 200 followers or less. This is a great way to discover new bloggers and make connections in the blogging world, so I hope you’re all encouraged to participate if you get nominated!

11 Questions from Keely

1. What was the first book you ever read?
I remember reading a lot of classic children’s books when I was first learning to read (like The Giving Tree, for example), but the first books I really remember enjoying were those in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. 

2. Who was your favorite school teacher?
It’s a tie between my 7th grade health teacher and my 11th grade English teacher, mainly because their love for teaching and their students was so evident every day.

3. Have you ever had a book hangover? (i.e. unable to read anything or pretty much focus on life because of a book)
Yes. This pretty much happens every time I finish one of the books in the Outlander series.

4. What did you want to be when you grew up (as a kid)?

5. If you had a million dollars what would be one of the first things you spent it on?
Land…then a house to build on that land…then books to fill the house with, of course!

6. Say you had a fire and you could only choose to save one book off your shelf, which would you pick, and why?
Probably a book from my set of Jane Austen novels by Juniper Books, because it’s one of my favorite gifts that my fiancé has ever given me.

7. Are you a cat or a dog person?
Dog! I have two cocker spaniels.

8. What book are you currently reading?
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. I’m loving it so far!

9. If you could pick any book to describe your life which would you choose?
This is hard! I can’t pinpoint any one book that really represents my life because I mostly read historical fiction, which doesn’t always translate to modern life. So, I’m copping out of this question.

10. Many authors write under a pen name, if you had one what would your name be?
Eliza King.

11. What is your favorite quote, preferably from a book?
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R. R. Martin

11 Facts About Me

1. I’ll be a married woman soon!
2. Baking is one of my favorite hobbies.
3. Homeward Bound was one of my favorite movies as a kid. Try to tell me you don’t cry every time you watch this scene.
4. Cheesecake is my favorite dessert.
5. Mumford & Sons is one of my favorite bands.
6. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is one of my guilty pleasures.
7. I have an obsession with candles. I hoard them.
8. I have a recurring dream that all of my teeth are falling out.
9. I’m of French, Scotch-Irish, and German descent. Supposedly.
10. My paternal family has been in Texas since 1800.
11. Random people tell me that I look like Anna Kendrick.


Nagina at OhBookish
Jasmine at thesepaperwords
Ashley at For the Love of the Page

Questions for Nominees

1. What was the first book you ever read?
2. Have you ever had a book hangover? (i.e. unable to read anything or pretty much focus on life because of a book)
3. What’s the weirdest book you’ve ever read?
4. How is book blogging working out for you – what are the highs/lows you’ve experienced?
5. Are there any books that you’ve been avoiding?
6. Do your friends come to you for recommendations?
7. Say you had a fire and you could only choose to save one book off your shelf, which would you pick, and why?
8. Is there a character you initially liked but later started disliking?
9. Do you have a specific way that you organize your bookshelves?
10. What upcoming 2015 book are you most excited about reading?
11. What book do you wish everyone would read?

Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait to Get

TTT_edited-1Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s list is Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait to Get. You’ll notice that some of my picks are already out – and some have been for a long time – but sometimes I’m just late to the party. Also, I hate having to wait for sequels, so I’m always looking for well-established series to start! Here’s my list of sequels I can’t wait [or still need] to read, in no particular order:

177337571. Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley
Book #2 in the Checquy Files Series

2. Brothers and Sisters (working title) by Bee Ridgway
Sequel to The River of No Return

60438493. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Book #2 in the Chaos Walking Series

161305494. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Sequel to The Shining

134975. A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
Book #4 in the A Song of Ice and Fire Series

thenug-6dI209kITeSlowly but surely making my way through the series…

6. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Book #2 in the Oxford Time Travel Series

179011257. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
Book #2 in The Bone Season Series

8. Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
Book #2 in The Darkest Minds Series
So I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here, seeing as I’m just over halfway through The Darkest Minds.
But I have a pretty good hunch I’m going to want to continue with the series.

9. Book #9 in the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
Because this happens every time I finish one of these books:
tumblr_m28cyovTJi1r2gugdo1_500See you in five years, Gabaldon!

And I almost made it to ten this week! What sequels are you excited to start?

Book Bites: Earl Grey Ice Cream



There’s something about reading Jane Austen that makes me want to curl up with a hot cup of tea, which is exactly what I did when I read Persuasion for the first time last month. Since the 18th century – which saw the birth of Jane Austen – tea has been an integral part of British society and culture. I used tea as my inspirational ingredient for this week’s Book Bites recipe, and came across this amazing recipe for Earl Grey ice cream. You could experiment with a different type of tea if you wanted, but I do have to say as someone who doesn’t typically prefer Earl Grey tea, this ice cream is really good. I also thought I’d take this opportunity to show off my gorgeous set of Jane Austen novels from Juniper Books, which were given to me as a gift by my fiancé. Enjoy!


Earl Grey Ice Cream
Adapted from Country Cleaver

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 Earl Grey tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 5 egg yolks


  1. Heat milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and steep tea bags for 5-10 minutes. Stir the mixture and remove tea bags (I like to squeeze my tea bags out with the back of a spoon before removing to get a bolder flavor).
  2. Add eggs and sugar to a bowl and whisk together, slowly adding the cream mixture while stirring. Add the mixture back to the saucepan and stir over medium heat until thickened.
  3. Pour the mixture into a large bowl through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Cover and chill for at least two hours, or overnight.
  4. Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to instructions. Pour into a resealable container and place in the freezer until frozen through.
  5. Treat yourself to a few scoops, drizzle with honey, and curl up with a good book!


Top Ten Characters I Wish Would Get Their Own Book


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s list is Top Ten Characters I Wish Would Get Their Own Book, whether they be a minor or semi-main character. I actually had a little trouble with this one! I only came up with five, but in my defense I’m on a bit of a time crunch this week. Turns out all of the characters that came to my mind are guys, which is probably because I tend to like female-driven books. Here we go…

1. Robb Stark from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire Series
So I don’t think that Robb necessarily needs his own book, but I would like it if he had chapters told from his POV. What we see of Robb is mostly told from Catelyn’s perspective in the books, but I like how the show spent a little more time on him.

2. Finn from Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays
I loved Finn in this book, and I always think it’s interesting to get a look at a protagonist from a supporting character’s POV.

3. Ian Fraser Murray from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series
I know, I know. There are chapters told from Ian’s POV throughout the series, but I want more!

4. Rob McMorran from Susanna Kearsley’s The Firebird
Apparently Rob makes an appearance in Kearsley’s The Shadowy Horses, but I’d really like to see him with his own book! Perhaps something that takes place before The Firebird. 

5. Gale from Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games Trilogy
I didn’t really like Gale that much in the books, but I might feel differently if I could see things from his perspective.

Well, that’s all I got. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s lists – I’m sure I’ll come across a few that I wish I would’ve thought of myself!

Hyperbole and a Half | By Allie Brosh

17571564Book: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
Graphic Novel, Humor, Memoir
Publication Date:
October 29, 2013
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Hyperbole and a Half is a graphic novel based on Brosh’s blog of the same name, which originally featured some of the comics that appear in the book. Brosh humorously recreates various episodes of her life, including stories about her dogs and childhood. Brosh also touches on some heavier subjects, particularly with her two chapters about her struggle with depression; nevertheless, Brosh still manages to keep a streak of humor alive in these chapters without undermining their seriousness. Each chapter is, for the most part, independent of the others; therefore, it is somewhat difficult to provide a summary of the over-arching storyline.

Thoughts: Am I the ONLY person on the Internet who just recently discovered Brosh’s blog?! I don’t even remember how I came across it, but when I did I was distracted by it for at least an hour. So, I obviously had to get the book – and I LOVED it. I’m not sure how one would respond to the book if they weren’t at least familiar with the blog, so I would suggest maybe checking out some of her most popular comics there to get a feel for her style of humor. I don’t typically laugh out loud when reading (aside from the occasional chuckle), but I broke out into actual fits of laughter while reading this book. As someone who owns less-than-brilliant dogs myself, I thought the chapters about her dogs were especially relatable and hilarious. The chapter “Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving” was probably my favorite. After doing some Googling, I discovered that Brosh’s chapters on depression are actually pretty well-known for being able to portray what depression sufferers experience. Though I can’t personally relate, I really feel like I have a better understanding of depression than I did before reading this book.

Bottom Line: The fact that I continuously laughed out loud while reading this book (and that I pretty much read the whole thing in one sitting) is enough for me to give it five stars. I will definitely be revisiting Hyperbole and a Half whenever I need a pick-me-up!