Thursday, April 30, 2015

Finals Week is Upon Us

Today is Thursday and I don't have classes on Thursdays so they are always a great day and totally spoiling me this semester. I was supposed to have one class, but my professor does a split classroom. We have class on Tuesdays and we are online on Thursdays.

So this morning I got up and tackled my mountain of Laundry, followed by shopping at Walmart, and just hanging out with friends for the rest of the day.

Next week is finals week, but unlike everybody else I'm not stressed about finals just getting moved out of my dorm. I have one final on Tuesday at 8-10 at night. I don't know why they schedule finals at this time, but I have one every semester. I have a final paper for English due on Wednesday. Then I'm really done for the semester.

I always buy myself a treat for finals week and this semester I decided to try these Dole Banana Dippers. 

Mangoes were cheap this week so I decided to try one, but does anybody know when a mango is ripe?

I am going to miss my friends over summer break, but I'm excited to go home and work for the summer. I'm also taking too summer classes. The first one starts May 18th. 

If you are a college student how stressful is your finals week? 

Have you tried Dole Dippers? Any good?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Switching Things Up

It's really no secret that I haven't been blogging much. I have noticed that I do not enjoy writing reviews anymore. This used to be my favorite part of blogging, but I guess I have just got burned out. So although I haven't been reviewing the books that I read, I have read some seriously amazing books. I'm going to do a March and April wrap up soon and I will talk about all the books there.

I want to start changing things up. I have always been afraid to reveal too much about myself on the blog. I don't share the blog with anybody except my sister, so I was always afraid that if I revealed too much somebody would stumble upon it. Although I'm still not going to share the blog with anybody in my real life, I still want to start putting more me in the blog.

I would like to start doing posts every once in awhile about life. I'm almost finished with my Sophomore Year of college and I get to start working again soon. I'm also going to be home for the summer, so that will be a change from my apartment living at college. I talk about it sometimes, but I would love to talk about it more often because nobody in my friend group is super supportive. I love to run, and running has been a passion of mine for almost 4 years now.

I would like to explore a variety of topics about college with you next year. I'm going to get a really small meal plan next year, so that means more grocery shopping, and time to look for more savings. I would love to share my passion for healthy foods, and a runner's diet.

Most of all I want to bring the fun back into the blog and I'm hoping that through more personal posts I can find what I love about blogging again. Books are still going to be an important part of this blog, but this blog can be so much more.

I will hopefully start this off with telling you guys my running story in honor of the Avera Breast Cancer Race I will be running in 2 weeks.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dewey's Read-A-Thon April 2015 Finish Line

1:12 to 2:31 pg 287 to pg 335

Pretty sure I fell asleep somewhere in here. I woke myself up because I really wanted to finish this book. 

Pages Read: 48
Time Read: 1 hour 19 minutes
Total Pages Read: 360
Total Time Read: 9 hours13 minutes

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 18, I'm pretty sure I fell asleep during this hour, but woke up to finish my book. 
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Scheider
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? The read-a-thon is always great I hope to do more updates during the fall read-a-thon. 
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I always love the hourly updates. They keep me motivated. 
  5. How many books did you read? 2
  6. What were the names of the books you read? Meant to Be by Lauren Morill and The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Scheider
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? The Beginning of Everything
  8. Which did you enjoy least? Meant to Be
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? NA
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? We will see what October brings, but I will be a reader again. 
April 2013: 296 pages
Oct 2013: 92 pages
April 2014: 440 pages
Oct 2014: 417 pages
April 2015: 360 pages

April 2013: 8 hours 6 minutes
Oct 2013: 3 hours 44 minutes
April 2014: 11 hours 24 minutes
Oct 2014: 8 hours 44 minutes
April 2015: 9 hours 13 minutes

Although I was a bit disappointed on missing out on so many hours of the read-a-thon I was able to do comparable page numbers to what I have done previously. This the latest I have stayed up for the read-a-thon. It also is my 2nd longest amount of time I have spend reading for the read-a-thon. What I love so much is that each read-a-thon is different. I have not had the same read-a-thon experience twice. It keeps it new and exciting and I will be participating in October! 

Did I mention that despite spending the day reading yesterday I still managed to take 6,414 steps and walk 2.88 miles. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dewey's Read-A-Thon Hour 18 Update

Long time no see! This day turned out different than planned, but great news I got a lot of reading done. 

from 12:56 to 1:48 I read pg 74 to pg 117
from 2:25 to 2:55 I read p 117 to pg 140
from 3:23 to 4:56 I read pg 140 to pg 208
from 6:20 to 8:00 I read pg 208 to pg 287

First of all this book is amazing. It is seriously probably my best read-a-thon book yet and my favorite book of the year so far.  I fit in studying inbetween reading. I have a test on Monday so that is important. I was mostly disconnected for the social aspect of this read-a-thon. At 8 we went and visited my friend at her desk job and we just hung out, so I didn't get any reading done from 8 to 1 am. 

Pages Read: 213 
Time Read: 5 hours 35 minutes
Total Pages Read: 312
Total Time Read: 7 hours and 54 minutes

I have about 40 pages left in The Beginning of Everything and I need to know how Ezra's story ends, so I'm going to stay up for another hour or so to finish this book and then I will update in the morning. Happy Reading everybody!

Dewey's Read-A-Thon Hour 4 Update

I woke up at 7:00 am and finished the last of Meant to Be, which I have been reading for majority of this month.

From 7:03 to 7:44 I read pg 265 to pg 290

Then I fell back asleep for a while
The Beginning of Everything is my To-Be Read List pick for April. 
I woke up at 8:45 and read until 9:10 from pg 0 to pg 17

 Then I made breakfast. I had a cheese omelet, toast, and fruit salad with granola.

from 9:52 to 11:05 I read pg 17 to pg 74

Pages Read:99
Time Read: 2 hours and 19 minutes

I hope everybody is having a great read-a-thon, so far. I'm going to take a break to get a quick shower and eat some lunch. 

Dewey's Read-A-Thon April 2015 Starting Line

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I'm reading from South Dakota, United States
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Sheider. I'm planning on this being my book for most of the day. 
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Fruit Squish'em, Apple Sauce, Yogurt, Granola.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
My name is a Rachael. I have been a book blogger for over two years. I love reading YA and Adult fiction. I am 2 weeks away from finishing my Sophomore Year of college.  When I'm not busy with school work I'm always reading or with my friends. I also enjoy running and love living a happy active lifestyle. 
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
This is my 5th Dewey's Readathon. Last read-a-thon was very productive. I was able to finish 2 books and start another one. Most of my day was free, so I was able to just lay around all day long. I don't know if I will have that opportunity this read-a-thon. I'm hoping to read a great book to get the day started. 

I have way too many books at college and only 3 weeks left, so although I have a lot of homework I'm trying to get at much done during the week as I can and then I'm going to forget about it until Sunday. The Beginning of Everything is the book I plan to read for most of the day. I'm hoping to start it soon. Then I have no idea which book I will start yet. I also may start a book on my kindle.

I'm going to start reading as close to 7:00 am central time as possible. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George (no spoilers)

Book: Princess of the Silver Woods
Author: Jessica Day George
Publication: Dec 12, 2012
Series: Princess #3
Source: Local Library
Read: Feb 9-21, 2015
Summary (from Goodreads):

When Petunia, the youngest of King Gregor's twelve dancing daughters, is invited to visit an elderly friend in the neighboring country of Westfalin, she welcomes the change of scenery. But in order to reach Westfalin, Petunia must pass through a forest where strange two-legged wolves are rumored to exist. Wolves intent on redistributing the wealth of the noble citizens who have entered their territory. But the bandit-wolves prove more rakishly handsome than truly dangerous, and it's not until Petunia reaches her destination that she realizes the kindly grandmother she has been summoned to visit is really an enemy bent on restoring an age-old curse. The stories of Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood get a twist as Petunia and her many sisters take on bandits, grannies, and the new King Under Stone to end their family curse once and for all.

My Thoughts:
*may spoil previous books in series, but will not have any spoilers for this novel*

This was my least favorite book of the Princess Series. The book could be slow at times and was not based on the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood as much as the other two were based on their fairy tales.

Petunia was the main princess of this book, but all the other sisters had a role in this book also. I loved finding out more about their family especially Rose. The King Under Stone returns except this time it is one of his 12 sons as king. There were still a lot of loose ends surrounding King Under Stone that needed to be wrapped up and I'm happy to say that Princess of the Silver Woods was able to give me peace with these characters and their future.

Oliver was different from all the other love interests. His wall was harder to break down, but he was willing to help the princesses and went to great lengths to do so. I loved having Galen in this book also. He is just a great character that I fell in love with.

I loved how she intertwined elements of Little Red Riding Hood and the story line from Princess of the Midnight Ball into this novel. I enjoyed finding more out about their mother also. I love the Westfalin Princess and I knew at the end of Princess of Glass I just wasn't at peace with their journey. This book answered so many of my questions I still had about the Kingdom Under Stone. The ending was predictable as most fairy tales are, but I wouldn't have wanted any other ending for the Westfalin Princesses. Princess of the Midnight Ball was clearly my favorite in the series, but I think the whole series is worth reading.

Hosted by Misty @ The Book Rat and Bonnie @ A Backwards Story

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review: Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George (no spoilers)

Book: Princess of Glass
Author: Jessica Day George
Publication: May 25, 2010
Series: Princess #2
Source: Local Library
Read: February 5-9, 2015
Summary (from Goodreads):

Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program, whereby young princes and princesses travel to each other's countries in the name of better political alliances--and potential marriages. It's got the makings of a fairy tale--until a hapless servant named Eleanor is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince. Ball gowns, cinders, and enchanted glass slippers fly in this romantic and action-packed happily-ever-after quest from an author with a flair for embroidering tales in her own delightful way.

My Thoughts:
This sequel to Princess of the Midnight Ball was a fun read. I really fell in love with the character of Poppy. Jessica Day George stated her reason for writing this Cinderella retelling is that there is no way the girls would want to be stuck in another fairy tale where there is a lot of dancing.

Poppy moves to another castle as part of the Princess exchange program. I really loved Poppy's character in Princess of the Midnight Ball, so I was happy to see her as part of this novel. She is very strong person. Poppy does not want to dance despite being great at it.  I didn't like Christian as much as I liked Galen, but he was very charming. Then there is Eleanor or Ella. Eleanor was born into a wealthy family, but after the death of her parents became a maid. She is clumsy, and could care less about doing her duties correctly. There is a twist to this Cinderella tale and that is that the Fairy Godmother is evil. The Corely told Ella lies in order to trap her in an enchantment.

I loved this Cinderella retelling because it mixed in the elements of Princess of the Midnight Ball into Princess of Glass. The story took a different turn to Cinderella. I didn't expect the ending that happened. It was not nearly as complex as the ending from Princess of the Midnight Ball, but I really liked the ending especially since there was some points that I wasn't sure what Poppy's part in the story was. This was my favorite in the Princess series because I love how this story took a twist on the tale of Cinderella. I really liked Eleanor and Princess Poppy as characters. I would recommend this series.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Book Review: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George (no spoilers) (Princess #1)

Book: Princess of the Midnight Ball
Author: Jessica Day George
Publication: January 20th, 2009
Series: Princess #1
Source: Local Library
Read: Jan 28-Feb 5, 2015
Summary (from Goodreads):

A tale of twelve princesses doomed to dance until dawn…

 Galen is a young soldier returning from war; Rose is one of twelve princesses condemned to dance each night for the King Under Stone. Together Galen and Rose will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to dance at the midnight balls. All they need is one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love—to conquer their foes in the dark halls below. But malevolent forces are working against them above ground as well, and as cruel as the King Under Stone has seemed, his wrath is mere irritation compared to the evil that awaits Galen and Rose in the brighter world above.

 Captivating from start to finish, Jessica Day George’s take on the Grimms’ tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses demonstrates yet again her mastery at spinning something entirely fresh out of a story you thought you knew.

My Thoughts:
This was a book I have been wanting to read ever since I fell in love with fairy tale retellings, but I just kept putting it off. My main reason is that it was readily available at my local library. I could go grab it off the shelve when I was ready to read it. The Princess of the Midnight Ball is based on the 12 Dancing Princess, which I reviewed as part of my Original Fairy Tales Feature I started during fairy tale fortnight last year. In this post you can see my love for the 12 Dancing Princess Fairy Tale and my love for the Barbie 12 Dancing Princess movie. Obviously I should have known that I would love Princess of the Midnight Ball.

Jessica Day George's writing was beautiful. Every detail of the novel was written so vividly. The elements of the Midnight Balls were described in great detail and were beautiful.  I loved the mystery involved in Princess of the Midnight Ball. I knew the mystery, but I still wanted to see how the story would play out with Jessica Day George's version. I found it interesting that the Princesses were forced to dance instead of wanting to dance.

Galen, the groundskeeper, stole my heart, he was handsome, and he knew he shouldn't be involved with the princesses, but was anyways. Rose was the main sister in this book, but each sister had a part in the book and It was fun to get to know every sister and you get to know the family more through the two other books in the series.

Princess of the Midnight Ball was magnificent and magical. I enjoyed reading this mysterious book. I would find myself saying I would only read a few pages before bed and then an hour later finally deciding I should go to sleep. Another neat thing about this book was how knitting was involved in the story. I myself know how to knit so that was a neat part of the book and historically accurate as men and soldiers used to knit. I wish I read this book sooner, but it was a great book to read and I highly recommend this novel.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

My To Be Read List And the Winner Is....

And the Winner is....

I'm super excited to read this book. It will be the next book I read. Meant to Be is taking me awhile as I'm just not getting into it. 

Book Review: Cinderella by Jenni James (Faerie Tale Collection #4) (no spoilers)

Book: Cinderella
Author: Jenni James
Publication: Feb 18th, 2013
Series: Faerie Tale Collection #4
Source: Inter-library loan
Read: Jan 29th-31st, 2015
Summary (from Goodreads):
A girl with a secret and a prince on a mission.

  When Prince Anthony spies Eleanoria Woodston outside her family home dressed as a servant, he knows something is amiss. Pretending to be John, his cousin’s outrider, he decides to take matters into his own hands and figure out why Ella hasn’t been seen at court. And more importantly why the daughter of one of the wealthiest families in the kingdom dresses like a pauper.

 Ella has had her own bout of trials, including losing her beloved father and facing the wrath and jealousy of her stepmother and stepsisters. Becoming a servant doesn’t seem all that bad until the handsome John comes into her life, now he appears to be upsetting everything. Never before has she been so unsettled. Just his presence is making her dream of a life beyond this one.

 When John invites Ella to the ball and she grudgingly accepts, he wonders if he’s truly losing his mind. How would he ever pull off pretending to be John while obviously hosting the ball as Anthony? Especially when the stubborn girl has made it quite obvious she would never attend a ball with a snobbish prince.

My Thoughts:

Cinderella was another short novel by Jenni James. As I mentioned above I got this book through inter-library loan and it came all the way from Hawaii. I live in the midwest so the book made quite a trip. I had already started Cinderella previously, but wasn't able to finish before the due date, so I picked up where I left off.

Ella meets Prince Anthony before the ball, but she doesn't know he is a prince since he disguises himself as John, the village boy she beat at horse racing. Mentioning horses, Ella has a passion for horses, but of course that privilege was taken away when her father died. Ella is the wealthiest person in the kingdom, but she doesn't know that and is treated like a servant.

Ella dreams of a brighter future and she knows that future can exist with Anthony. I enjoyed the chemistry between Ella and Anthony. It was also nice to see the inclusion of Anthony's parents. Ella was very kind to her stepsisters and stepmother at the end. I enjoyed how every character was given an ending. Some of the magic was taken out of this Cinderella story, but Jenni James managed to write her own unique spin on Cinderella.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Review: Sold for Endless Rue by Madeleine E. Robins (no spoilers)

Book: Sold for Endless Rue
Author: Madeleine E. Robins
Publication: May 14th, 2013
Source: Inter-Library Loan
Read: Jan 13-17, 2015
Summary (From Book Jacket) (The Summary is full of spoilers so I only put the non-spoiler part below):

Inspired by the fairy tale "Rapunzel," Sold for Endless Rue is a moving, eloquent novel of three generations of women, bound to each other by love and duty.

 Salerno, Italy, in the thirteenth century is home to the world's first medical school, a temple of learning that admits both men and women. The city is filled with medicos and their patients, but in the hills, people seek help from midwives and hedge-withches like Crescia.

 One tumultuous day, Crescia saves the life of a nameless girl who becomes Laura, her daughter and apprentice. Soon Laura's skill at healing surpasses Crecia's and the older women enrolls her at the Scuola.
My Thoughts:
I was originally intrigued by this story because it was a Rapunzel retelling, but Sold for Endless Rue is so much more than just a Rapunzel retelling. I found out about this book through Bonnie @ A Backwards Story and she even reviewed it for A Month of Rapunzel last year. Sold for Endless Rue was a historical fiction novel based on thirteen century Salerno, Italy which houses the first medical school that accepts both men and women. 

The book is separated into three parts and therefore the story has a lot of time to develop. It starts out with Laura, who is taken in by Crescia. Crescia is a healer that lives in the hills. This part of the book was full of medical information. Sometimes it was interesting and sometimes I felt like I was just getting information thrown at me. 

In the second part of the story, Laura is grown up and living next door to Agnesa and Cencio. These two newleweds are desperate for a child, but no child has come. When Agnesa does finally fall pregnant, all she craves is the bitter greens that grow in Laura's garden. I really fell in love with Agnesa as a character and I really had a hard time liking Laura at some points during this section. I watched Laura's friendship with Agnesa grow and the friendship with sweet while it lasted. I do wish we got to find out what happened to Agnesa and Cencio. 

In the final section of the book the story is told by Beitela (Beita) tells her story. I loved seeing the elements of Rapunzel really mixed into this part. I loved Beita as a character. She reminded me of Melody in the Little Mermaid 2, who had a wall in her way. I also fell in love with Andrea and Tibault as characters. I think they really added to the story. 

The book was so complex and showed the differences among the three women. I really liked all three women, but Laura built a special place in my heart. Despite her flaws I believe she is a good person. Laura had many obstacles in her earlier life that lead her to her protective parenting style. She wanted the world for Beita and she went to great lengths to protect her daughter.  I understood Beita's attitude and the decisions she made. I found her lifestyle toward the end of this book to be very interesting and I was cheering for a happy reunion. 

I loved the ending. I think it wrapped up the novel well. I did want a little bit more development into the ending, but I was satisfied with what I got. My advice is to go into this novel is to not going into it expecting a straight Rapunzel retelling. The Rapunzel part of the book doesn't start until the 2nd part. I think this book had so much more character development than in some YA retellings. I enjoyed the journey I was taken through with the characters. This was a wonderful and I would recommend this to fairy tale fans. I would love to read more books like this one. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Read My Library Challenge Week 1 Update

In the first few short days of this challenge I have managed to finish two library books. I'm working on a non-library book right now.

I finished Bossypants by Tina Fey. I have been listening to this one for about three weeks as an audiobook in my car. Tina Fey records it herself and it was really fun to hear her talking about her own life.

Then I finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This book was released February 3rd, 2015. This novel is about WWII and the women's resistance. It was such a great read.

Here is my pile of current checkouts. I just picked these up at the library on April 2nd. The books are Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover, Mery by Jodi Picoult, The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, and At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks. 

This week topic is to tell us about your Library. Above are pictures of my local library. This library itself is pretty small, but it is part of a system that has 13 library branches. We can order books from any of the libraries and have them shipped to our library of choice. I usually just use the online account to place request and they tell me when I have a book in. Every once in a while I will browse and take a book off the shelf, but that is dangerous because I usually come out with a stack of books and too many to read in the time period.

The library is connected to my high school and middle school, which was the main reason I chose this branch of the library system. We have a couple others that are close to us. I continue to use this library while I'm away at college because I love the staff. I pass several of the libraries on the way home, but I stay at this library because it allows my sister to pick up my books for me and I love keeping the relationship I have with the staff. In high school I would spend many hours reading or talking to my friends in the library. We would hang out at the library after school or before school and just talk. During my senior year I spend almost half of my day in the library since I would be in there during my open period and my student aide period.

My library is pretty small, but thanks to the library system they usually have the books I want or I can inter-library loan them. I love the library and how it allows me to read so many books in a year. I only have so much money I can spend on books, so the library helps me to be able to try new authors and keep up with my favorite authors.

April To Be Read List~ Let's Vote

Hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading

First of all shiny new button and it is amazing! I have a random selection of books this month. I'm not going home until April 17th, so I'm focusing on the books that I have here. 

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

 Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

 A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys.

 But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister. Addie takes the seven-league boots and magic spyglass left to her by her mother and the enchanted tablecloth and cloak given to her by Rhys - along with a shy declaration of his love. She prevails in encounters with tricky specters (spiders too) and outwits a wickedly personable dragon in adventures touched with romance and a bittersweet ending.

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

 No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

 But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

 Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.