Orange sky with shadowy trees and a full moon with the text "#SummerOfPLL: A Pretty Little Liars Readalong: July 2nd - August 31st"

#SummerOfPLL — A Readalong!

Orange sky with shadowy trees and a full moon with the text "#SummerOfPLL: A Pretty Little Liars Readalong: July 2nd - August 31st"

It’s summer, and that means there’s lots of time for reading! My friend and booktuber Wulfie, aka Silly Little Ravenclaw, and I are doing a full readalong of all of the Pretty Little Liars books by Sara Shepard in July and August! If you’ve been wanting to read this series but haven’t gotten around to doing it yet, you should join us and discuss it with us using the hashtag #SummerOfPLL on Twitter!

Our schedule (created by Wulfie!) is as follows:

1.) Pretty Little Liars — July 2-4
2.) Flawless — July 5-7
3.) Perfect — July 8-10
4.) Unbelievable — July 11-13
5.) Wicked — July 14-16
6.) Killer — July 17-19
7.) Heartless — July 20-22
8.) Wanted — July 23-25
9.) Twisted — July 26-28
10.) Ruthless — July 29-31
*Break/Catch-up/Read-Ahead/Whatever-You-Want Time!* — August 1-4
11.) Stunning — August 5-7
12.) Burned — August 8-10
13.) Crushed — August 11-13
14.) Deadly — August 14-16
15.) Toxic — August 17-19
16.) Vicious — August 20-22
17.) Alison’s Pretty Little Diary — August 23-25
18.) Pretty Little Secrets — August 26-28
19.) Ali’s Pretty Little Lies — August 29-31

Halfway through the readalong we’ll have a four-day break which can be used to catch up if you’re behind, read ahead if you want, or take a break from these books completely if you’re getting burned out! The three companion books to the series (listed as 17-19 in the list above) will be read after the full series — Wulfie considered putting them chronologically in the schedule where they should be but didn’t feel like figuring that out, so this method seemed easier. ūüôā

Would you prefer a calendar to a list of dates? I’ve created a calendar for each month with our reading dates written out!

A July calendar with the #SummerOfPLL reading dates listed earlier in this blog post.

 

An August calendar with the #SummerOfPLL reading dates listed earlier in this blog post.

If this pace doesn’t work for you or if you don’t want to read ALL of them in two months, that’s totally okay! You are definitely still welcome to join in the discussion with us. This is a MOUNTAIN of books and a huge undertaking, but it should be a lot of fun as well!

Are you planning to join us? Awesome! Let us know on Twitter using #SummerOfPLL or talk with us in the comments of this blog post and Wulfie’s YouTube video. We hope you’ll join us, and happy reading!

-B

TBR Thursday: #24in48 Edition!

It’s still Thursday on the west coast for another 55 minutes. Fight me.

Today is a very special TBR Thursday — it’s the TBR Thursday where I detail my expected reading list for the 24 in 48 Readathon! This readathon session runs from January 27th at midnight EST through January 28th at 11:59 PM EST, and the goal is to read for 24 hours during that 48-hour period. Or as much as you can. It’s up to you!

I am, admittedly, making up my reading list as I write this post. I may add things. I may change my mind this weekend. Who knows? For now, here are my reading plans! (Which mostly involves catching up on ARCs!)

1.) The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

I am conveniently choosing to ignore the fact that this on my last TBR Thursday. Especially since my last TBR Thursday was actually on Monday. It WILL be read.

2.) The Girl With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

I need to read a historical fiction YA novel for class! And I own the ebook! Yay! This one is also a definite read for this weekend.

3.) Down In The Belly Of The Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

I have ARCs I need to read! I’m going to focus a little heavily on the ones I have from NetGalley this weekend. I’ve only barely joined and need to raise my ratio quite a bit (because someone accidentally got auto-approved for four books during LibraryCon LIVE! without realizing that clicking = the book is on my shelf now… That’s how I got¬†Reign of the Fallen!)

4.) See All The Stars by Kit Frick

See above thing about NetGalley. I’m excited for this one!

5.) The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

This was one of the once I got accidentally during LibraryCon LIVE! and I know absolutely nothing about it. I’m going to read it anyway!

6.) The Summer Of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

The only ARC I have from Edelweiss! This is another one that I’m really excited for.

 

Reading is essentially going to take place entirely on my iPad this weekend, and I am okay with this. I need to use my Kindle app more since I already have so much good stuff on there!

Are you participating in #24in48, too? What are you planning to read?

State of the King Address: My Stephen King Reading Quest

Though I haven’t talked about it a ton, I am on a quest to read every Stephen King novel. While I’m not at all sure about how likely it is, I’d like to be able to finish this quest by the end of 2018. I’m a good chunk of the way through it already, which is good, but there are still a LOT more for me to read. Additionally, some King books are more dense for me than others (I swear it feels like it took me ages longer to get through¬†Dreamcatcher than it did for me to get through¬†Under the Dome…), so it’s hard to estimate how long one of these books will take me to read until I’ve actually started it.

Here are all of Stephen King’s published novels in alphabetical order (with The Dark Tower listed in chronological order) — the¬†bolded titles are the ones I have read so far and the italicized titles are ones I still need to get to.

11/22/63
Salem’s Lot
Bag of Bones
Black House
Carrie
Cell
Christine
The Colorado Kid
Cujo
Cycle of the Werewolf
The Dark Half
The Gunslinger
The Drawing of the Three
The Wastelands
Wizard and Glass
The Wind Through the Keyhole
Wolves of the Calla
Song of Susannah
The Dark Tower
The Dead Zone
Desperation
Doctor Sleep
Dolores Claiborne
Dreamcatcher
Duma Key
End of Watch
The Eyes of the Dragon
Finders Keepers
Firestarter
From a Buick 8
Gerald’s Game
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
The Green Mile
Insomnia
IT
Joyland
Lisey’s Story
Misery
Mr. Mercedes
Needful Things
Pet Sematary
Revival
Rose Madder
The Shining
Sleeping Beauties
The Stand
The Talisman
The Tommyknockers
Under the Dome

According to this list, I have read 27 of King’s 49 novels, and I still have 22 left to read. This is a lot, but on the other hand at least I am more than halfway through the list. I am hoping to prioritize those 22 books in 2018 — I’d really like to get through the rest of these!

My partner is currently finishing up the Dark Tower series and wants me to start it too, so¬†The Gunslinger is going to be one of my next few reads. I’m excited to start finishing up this quest I started so long ago!

Have you read all of King’s novels? Which ones are your favorites? Have you gone on your own quest to complete all of a different author’s works? Tell me about it in the comments!

#ReadersCrossing Wrap-Up!

#ReadersCrossing has come to an end! I read a lot of books during the challenge, though most of them weren’t actually for the challenge. I completed the Natural path and a couple of the extra challenges, but I wasn’t heavily focused on completing more than I had to. I think that made the challenge better for me — it wasn’t hard to stay easy-going, much like the Animal Crossing games themselves!

My last read for the Natural path was for “Yellow Cover,” and I read¬†Under the Dome by Stephen King. For a book of around 1100 pages, I hadn’t at all expected to finish it in less than a day, but it turned out to be a really quick read!

Here’s a recap of the books I read, how I felt about them, and the XP I got for each!

 

Set in the Wilderness
The Wilderness Within¬†by John Claude Smith — a disappointing psychological horror book. 2 of 5 stars. Check out my review here!¬†2 XP

Animal on the Cover
A Walk in the Woods¬†by Bill Bryson — charming and entertaining nonfiction (though it had a touch of fatmisia that made me uncomfortable). 4.5 of 5 stars. Mini-review here!¬†2 XP

Yellow Cover
Under the Dome¬†by Stephen King — a solid King book (in more ways than one!). Content warnings for sexual assault, abuse, violence, and gore. 5 of 5 stars.¬†2 XP

A Classic
A Clockwork Orange¬†by Anthony Burgess — not the worst book ever, but I really didn’t care for it. 3 of 5 stars. Mini-review here.¬†2 XP

Set in Your Country
Prairie Fires¬†by Caroline Fraser — lived up to expectations! Great book about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life and family. 5 of 5 stars. Mini-review here!¬†2 XP

Timed Challenge: Read a Book in 24 Hours
The Big Bad Fox¬†by Benjamin Renner — I read this adorable graphic novel in roughly 25 minutes, so I definitely met the requirements here… If you want a cute story about a fox who steals eggs to hatch and eat and then ends up accidentally becoming a mother to them, you’ll love this. 5 of 5 stars.¬†2 XP

Free Space
Tash Hearts Tolstoy¬†by Kathryn Ormsbee — great asexual rep! Tash’s web series goes viral, and her love and home lives become increasingly complicated. Well worth reading. 5 of 5 stars.¬†2 XP

 

That gives me 14 XP total, and leaves me at level 2! It’s not a giant level jump or anything, but I certainly had fun!

Did you participate in #ReadersCrossing? What was your favorite read of the challenge?

#ReadersCrossing Update! | Three Quick Reviews

Hello! Last time I checked in for #ReadersCrossing, I’d finished one of the five books I’d put on my TBR. In the meantime, I’ve finished three more! Here’s a run-down of my thoughts on them:

Set in Your Country: Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser

As I mentioned previously I picked up this book because of @AnaMardoll’s live Tweet of it, and I was not at all disappointed. This is an excellent non-fiction book for anyone who grew up with the Little House books and wants more insight into the people inside them.

Final rating: 5 of 5 stars.

A Classic: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

I didn’t care for this one. I didn’t hate it, exactly — it was a bit more engaging than a lot of classics that have bored me in the past — but I couldn’t get myself to care about the main character at all and it just didn’t work for me. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read ever, but meh.

Final rating: 3 of 5 stars.

Animal on the Cover: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

I was introduced to Bill Bryson by my high school history teacher, and I hadn’t yet read this one until today. This was a wonderful narrative about Bryson’s attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m knocking off half a star, though, because there were a handful of fat-shaming comments and I didn’t appreciate them. They weren’t overly distracting, but they were still there and I believe they should be acknowledged as not okay.

Final rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

To no one’s surprise, I’ve gotten distracted by other books in between reading these! In fact, I’ve read four more books in addition to the four I’ve read for this reading challenge, meaning I’ve read eight books in the last ten days. This is a faster pace than I am used to and while I’m pretty sure winter break has everything to do with it, I’m enjoying it while it lasts! I’m going to end up reading probably at least 1-2 other books before I finish the last book on my #ReadersCrossing TBR because I have library books that are going to be due soon, and my last book for the challenge is¬†Under the Dome and will undoubtedly take more time to read than the rest of the books I picked!

If you’re participating in #ReadersCrossing, how are you doing so far? What’s everybody reading?

#ReadersCrossing “Set in the Wilderness” Read: The Wilderness Within by John Claude Smith

Image of book cover from GoodReads
Image of book cover from GoodReads

Title: The Wilderness Within

Author: John Claude Smith

Category: Adult Psychological Horror

Publisher/Date: Trepidatio Publishing/6 October 2017

Edition: Paperback

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36083781-the-wilderness-within

The forest is alive. 

While visiting fellow writer, Frank Harlan Marshall, Derek Gray senses a palpable dread within Frank’s house and the forest that surrounds it; a subtle, malignant sentience. What should be a joyous event, as they await the surprise arrival of a long-lost friend, comedian “Dizzy Izzy” Haberstein, is fraught with unease Derek does not understand.¬†

Derek’s confusion is upended by the chance meeting with musician Alethea, formerly of Dark Angel Asylum, a band that dropped out of sight once the leader, Aleister Blut, ended up in an insane asylum. As their relationship blossoms, Derek’s disorientation at the hands of the forest manifests as his world turns sideways…and one of Frank’s fictional creations‚ÄĒa murderous monster named Average Joe‚ÄĒgains foothold in the surreal, psychological terrain.¬†

As the worlds of reality and fantasy meld, what transpires bounds from deeply profound to pure madness. 

As much as I love horror, I tend to be skeptical of a lot of psychological horror stories because it’s all too easy to make them veer into ableist territory — there are SO many stories out there that rely on a character being “cr*zy” or “m*d” or “ins*ne” in order for there to be any story in the first place, and this book was no exception to that. In fact, this book plays into that ableist trope on multiple occasions, and it’s tiring. The characters were rather flat and had little substance, and I just didn’t care.

In addition to the ableism, there were multiple racist comments, sexist comments, homomisic jokes that the main character actually took the time to explain to the reader why he laughed at, and fatmisic comments, and the further I read the more angry I got. None of these things were central to the book at all — they were just the personalities of these characters. They weren’t in-your-face lines, but they certainly bothered me while I was reading. I felt myself distancing myself from the narrator and not really caring what happened to him because I didn’t like him as a person.

***If you don’t want to read spoilers or anything weird about penises, skip here!***

The climax of the novel was just disgusting, and it was¬†literally a climax. The narrator starts turning into a tree while he is having sex, and his¬†erect penis is literally what’s keeping him rooted into the ground. Are you¬†kidding me? Honestly, if I’d have known that this graphic sex scene was what was going to end up being the high point of the novel, I probably wouldn’t have even bothered reading. The last thing I need is a sexist pig making this much of a big deal out of his erection. No, thanks.

***End spoilers and penises***

While I was reading this book, it felt most of the time like there was just nothing happening. Coupling that with my apathy for the characters, I ended up really bored by this book. It wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read, but I didn’t care for it at all and I can’t say I’d recommend it.

Final rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, clearly my first book for #ReadersCrossing was a flop. It happens. This was the book I was most worried about not liking, so now that I’ve gotten it out of the way I can read the books that I think I might like a bit more!

How is #ReadersCrossing going for you? Have you read any good books for it yet?

#ReadersCrossing! | My Winter Break TBR

I haven’t posted in a little while! It’s the end of the term! I am finishing assignments and grading things and doing a massive housecleaning project! This will all be out of the way soon enough. I hope.

Anyway, I’m participating in the #ReadersCrossing challenge hosted by Read at Midnight over winter break! It runs from December 10th (tomorrow for me) until December 31st, which is perfect for my reading schedule. I have an ambitious pile (with a monster of a book included in it), and I can’t wait to get started! (After I finish grading papers. Because, you know. Students receiving grades is important too.)

Benni. blog: bennilovesbooks.wordpress.com. friend ID: 3749 7558 844. favorite camper: Apple. #readerscrossing level: 1
My image editing skills are poor, but my excitement is high!

Animal Crossing for GameCube was the first video game I ever played, and so the whole franchise has had a lot of significance to me personally. From when I played the GC version at an old friend’s house around the time it first came out to 2005 when I bought a Nintendo DS Lite to play Wild World to now when I have Pocket Camp accessible on my phone, I’ve spent a lot of time on this game because it’s calming yet always keeps me busy and entertained, and it’s done wonders for my mental health.

I chose the Natural path for this challenge (though I’m hoping to read more if I’m able to get through the giant book in a reasonable amount of time) in part because it allowed me to partially attack some areas of my TBR that needed addressing already and I thought this would be a good way to help me along with that. It’s not a diverse pile, which is a bit of a bummer, but I’ve got plans to read some fantastic-looking diverse YA for some of the other squares on the challenge board once I read these books, so I’ve got that to look forward to as well! Without further ado, here’s my TBR!

Benni's TBR pile

Set in the Wilderness
The Wilderness Within by John Claude Smith — I was actually a bit hesitant to choose the Natural path because I don’t really have books that are set in the wilderness on my shelves (except for another one that I forgot about, which you’ll see later in this list), but this book came in my Nocturnal Readers Box this month so I took it as a sign! This book is a psychological horror/thriller, and I hope I like it!

Animal on the Cover
A Walk in the Woods¬†by Bill Bryson — the aforementioned book set in the wilderness that I forgot about. Oh well. It has a bear on the cover and I like bears. I also like Bill Bryson. This book is a nonfiction book about the Appalachian Trail.

Yellow Cover
Under the Dome¬†by Stephen King — I also don’t really own books with yellow covers, but this book cover is pretty yellow so I’m counting it. Additionally, as part of my current DayZero Project list I’m working on reading all of Stephen King’s novels, so this is getting me one step closer to that goal as well. This book is very large.

A Classic
A Clockwork Orange¬†by Anthony Burgess — I also have a list of 10 classics that I’m reading for a¬†different¬†DayZero goal, so this book is also pulling double-duty. It’s also been sitting on my shelf for a while, and I probably should read it sooner or later.

Set in Your Country
Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser — I was captivated by @AnaMardoll’s live Tweet of this book, and I’m really excited to read it myself as well. I’m in for a wild ride with this one.

That’s all I have planned so far! Are you participating, too? Comment below with your TBR or a link to your TBR post, and also feel free to friend me in Pocket Camp! I love adding new friends!

Happy camping!