Adult, Books, Musings

Try a Chapter Tag

I don’t know if this tag has made its way to the blogging community (probably because I am super late to be posting this here … HA!) but the premise is simple.  Pick some books from your shelves that have been sitting unread and read the first chapter.

This is a great tag for people in reading slumps or who are so excited about too many books and need to pick one… as long as you pick one and don’t keep cycling books chapter by chapter.


I tried to step my editing game up a bit with this one.  I have been trying to push myself not only here but in all aspects of my life.  I am tired of being sad and mopey, it is time to stand tall and be proud of the things that I do.

Adult, Books, Comics, Musings, YA (Young Adult)

Summer Reading Wrap Up

So it has been a while since I have wrapped up the books I have read.  Not only has it been difficult for Gretchen and I to get together all summer for various reasons (time conflicts, mental health, internet being actual butts) so you weren’t getting weekly wrap ups in any way but I have been completely nonexistent on the blog.  Which we all know I am attempting to change here and now… hopefully forever, but no promises.

In any case I am going to try and talk a bit about all of the books I have read in June, July, and August.

This was the first book for book club this season so there is a full discussion on it here!  I loved this.  I still feel that way.  It did seem to check all of the boxes of things that Michaela would like though.  So if you feel very strongly that we are akin then definitely check this out.


This was an ARC review I did back in June.  It wasn’t my favorite book I’ve read this year but I definitely did enjoy it.  I had heard of Lisa Jewell as an author and this was my first of hers.  I think that I will look into some of her other work.  She is a bit more commercial than I usually go for but not bad by any means.

The second book club book was Gretchen’s pick and I was super not a fan.  That could have been due to the fact that I was super ill at the time of reading it but I kind of hated it.

Next we kicked off the second season of Nostalgia Junkie.  Unfortunately the unanimous decision on this was that we weren’t super huge fans.  It may be that we just aren’t the target audience but we all had issues with it.

Taylor’s pick for the first round of book club was a debut and we all really liked it.  It was surprising because it takes a really good book to win all three of us over.  This one did it so you should definitely check that out!

Gretchen and I read Nimona together and we did a video review of it for you guys.  It was super cute and sweet and we completely understood why so many people loved it.  I have followed Noelle Stevenson for a while and new she is a cookie to pay attention to in comics.  Watch her.  She will do great things.

I started the second round of summer book club picks with Middlesex.  Taylor was the one who liked this book the most, Gretchen and I had a bit of an issue with the way it was laid out. You should watch the whole discussion to find out more.

I have to say that I do so love Patton Oswalt.  I haven’t spoken about this anywhere else.  It was a pick for my pop sugar challenge and I listened to it on audio, read by the man himself.  It is always great to listen to autobiographical works when written by the author and especially so when he is as awkward and nerdy as you.

Now we find ourselves in the books I read for booktubeathon.  This was my pick for the book I would only read at night.  I both read the physical edition and listened to parts on audio.  I actually wound up enjoying it more than I thought I would.  It also fulfilled the requirement of a book that is more than 100 years older than me for the Pop Sugar challenge.

This was listened to entirely on audio.  I was conflicted with this.  I was expecting a bit of a funnier story from Steve Martin.  That isn’t to say I wasn’t a fan of his writing style, it just caught me off guard.  It was about a community that I haven’t spent much time learning about so I did enjoy that aspect of it.

This one will be featured in an upcoming post so look out for that.  It was a book with yellow on the cover and a book I learned about from booktube.  I ended up really enjoying this one though it took me a while to decide that.  It was definitely one the the end justified the rest of the book for me.  I like what it was saying politically.

This was both Taylor and my own book to movie adaptation and we both came out of it feeling like … welp that was a mess.  I think it was meant to be a mess.  It was really entertaining but all over the place.  We both enjoyed it but were mildly disoriented by the experience.  Which I think is apt.

I reviewed this one on the blog yesterday actually!  So here we have an interesting new comic coming from Image.  We all know how much I love Image.  If you like robots and stories that ask what it means to be human then definitely give this one a go.

Gretchen and I did a discussion of this one but the audio ended up being a bit borked.  Over all I enjoyed the experience.  It read a bit like fanfiction but it was nice to dip back into a world that I loved as a child.  I am curious to see if watching it as a play would be better than reading it if I ever get a chance to do so.

David Wong is a comic god.  Well, he is.  This one isn’t my favorite of his works but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good book and he isn’t a good writer.  I loved hearing from a female protagonist it did change the way the story progressed for me.  If you like science fiction and laughing, give this one a go.

There will be a future review of this one on the blog as well.  Gretchen and I have already filmed it, it just needs to make its way out into the world.  We enjoyed listening to the audio book but we didn’t feel like it ended up doing for us what it was trying to. It was a delight to listen to though so there is that.

This book is most likely going to be in my top 10 books of the year.  It honestly blew me away.  It will also be featured in an upcoming review.  I went into this book skeptical and came out just amazed.  She was able to do so much and so well.  I loved it.  A must read in my opinion.

This was a comic that I picked up based on Taylor’s recommendation.  He had really enjoyed it or had heard good things about it, I am not certain which at this point but I picked it up.  It wasn’t my favorite comic but it did go somewhere entirely unexpected and I give it props for that.

And now we reach the last book I read in August which happens to be Gretchen’s pick for the second round of book club.  This showed up on the blog earlier this week so you can find our discussion of it there.  I enjoyed it, even if much of that video is us picking apart the book.  Sometimes you just have to say, it was a fun experience.

Apparently I have read 19 books in the last three months… which honestly amazes me since I have been struggling to read.  A lot of them were audio books and a good chunk were thanks to the booktubeathon but hey they were things that I read.  I have been reading more in the last couple weeks so the hope is that I am feeling safer in myself again and will be able to read a whole bunch more and talk about it with you guys.  That is the hope anyway.

As far as my reading challenges go:

Goodreads: 66/50 surpassed!
Pop Sugar: 27/40 (13 left I think I can do it!)

How are you guys doing after the summer?  Are you excited for fall.  It is my favorite season and I am in the mood for all of the Horror books!  I need a bunch of cider and pumpkin bread and some crisp fall air and I will be a happy girl.

Talk to you guys tomorrow!

Adult, Books

The Circle by Dave Eggers Review

Pop Sugar Challenge Update: 9/40
A Book From the Library

I was going to write out this review as a normal blog post and then realized how silly it would be.  Honestly I probably should have live streamed this review if I was trying to accurately follow the themes of the book but a video will have to suffice for now.


Title: The Circle
Author: Dave Eggers
Publisher: Knopf
Page #: 508
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia/Utopia

Tomorrow I will have a review of a young adult novel so if you are a YA fan do look out for that.  I know I don’t read it as much any more, mostly I only read it when Gretchen tells me to but I do still occasionally dip into it on my own.


Adult, Books

新年快乐! The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu Review

Happy Lunar New Year guys!  I hope you are wearing red and eating lots of dumplings tonight!  Its time for the year of the monkey and in honor of the new year starting I thought I would review a book translated from Chinese!  I hope you enjoy and don’t mind me butchering the Chinese language, I’m still learning.  Plus, I’m a little bit rusty.

Pop Sugar Reading Challenge Update: 8/40
A Science-Fiction Novel!


Title: The Three-Body Problem
Author: Cixin Liu
Translator: Ken Liu
Publisher: Tor Books
Page #: 400
Genre: Science Fiction

I always worry that I don’t get my point across in video reviews but I need to keep doing them in order to get better!  Gretchen and I will be back tomorrow with our #readyourowndamnbooks TBR/Haul so do look out for that!


Adult, Books

Alternate by Ernie Luis ARC Review

I requested and received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review!


Title: Alternate: The Complete Omnibus Edition
Author: Ernie Luis
Publisher: Self Published
Page #: 206
Genre: Science Fiction

I have three words for you. Time travelling assassins. If that doesn’t make you want to read this book I don’t know what will.

Alternate is a novel in four parts. The first of which was very obviously a short story on its own. It contains a complete arc and ends in such a way that a short story would, complete, final. The next three sections just continue that story line. We open with Grey ruminating on the loss of his daughter while drinking. As the story unfolds we get to see where that loss leads him.

I have to say that I really liked this story. It was fast paced and interesting. I enjoyed the concept. I think it did a wonderful job exploring the themes of loss when combined with time travel. Time travel stories so often are tied with loss. What is the most common thing someone would do if given the opportunity? Save a loved one.

While I enjoyed some of these characters story lines. I did feel like it became a bit repetitive at times. I understand why that repetition exists, its how these characters were brought together, but there are only so many losses that would bring people to do this kind of work, to be this desperate in their lives.

I think my favorite part of this was the fact that for a portion of the book toward the end, you aren’t really sure who the good guys are. You know who the ultimate bad guy is, but there are two factions of good guys who are fighting each other while both fighting the big bad. It was definitely an interesting take.

It brings up the question of whether or not time travel is worth it in the end which is something you will have to find out by reading the book for yourself.

I hope you guys enjoyed this review.  I will be back tomorrow with a special new feature!  Get excited.  I’m hyped.


Adult, Books

Uncommon Bodies Anthology ARC Review

I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review!

This book is already published if you want to read it by all means pick up a copy!


Title: Uncommon Bodies
Author: Anthology (full list of authors on Goodreads)
Publisher: Fighting Monkey Press
Page #: 300
Genre: Short Story Collection

I spent a long time trying to figure out how I would review this collection. It is difficult enough to review a collection of short stories written by one author, but when there are so many people writing so many pieces the challenge becomes ever greater. I feel as if that is the beauty of this anthology though. There are so many different stories in it. Some of them I was confused by, others I was awed. Some terrified me and others had me sighing at the adorable protagonist and their love interest. All of these things are held in one book and I was dumbfounded as to how I could sum it all up, and perhaps I can’t.

I’m not going to go through all 20 stories, it would take me forever and I doubt anyone would want to read that so I will do my best to discuss what I think was done really well here, and what I think could have been improved upon.

As far as the collection as a whole goes, I definitely think that it had a great breadth of pieces. I also appreciated how many of the pieces were incredibly inclusive not only because of its seamless discussion of common ailment, disfigurements, and disabilities along side mythical or magical creatures, but its inclusion of different sexualities. I actually thought the relation of physical “deformity” with non-hetero-normative sexuality identification incredibly interesting and if I could go into more detail without spoiling you I would. It is perhaps something I will write a paper on at some point in my life.

I am not sure, however, whether or not I liked the order in which these stories were curated. The breadth of the tones and genres in here is astounding for sure but it was a little difficult for me to go from a romantic story to a horror story to a poem to something else entirely. While I feel like it does allow the book to keep the stories separate from each other it is also a little jarring.

If you want to know some of my favorite stories in the bunch then I would say that the opening and closing stories, We is We by Michael Harris Cohen and Scars: First Session by Jordanne Fuller were incredibly poignant. I think they book end this collection incredibly well. The first was moving in its portrayal of the duality of opinions in conjoined twins. Whether or not it is better to be a spectacle behind the glass or experience the real world. The latter was an incredible story about over coming years of mental and physical abuse. I also want to shout out Undead Cyborg Girl by Kim Wells for its ability to make me laugh and awe on cue.

Stories that I found uncomfortable were mainly only uncomfortable because they were not my preferred style of story. All The Devils by Keira Michelle Telford read a bit like Jack the Ripper fanfiction to me, not only because of its erotic overtones, but because the writing wasn’t pushed as far as I thought some of the other stories were, and Reserved by SM Johnson was equally uncomfortable but only because of the over-sexualization to the point of fetishization of disability. Now I don’t have a disability and I cannot say whether these stories accurately or inaccurately portray such fetishization because of this, but it made me uncomfortable and I would put that forward as my only grievance.

The stories were interesting enough to keep me engaged. I was able to read two or three a day and finish it within a week. If you have an interest in magical realism there is plenty of that in here for you, if you have an interest in connections between perceived deformity and assumed deformity I think this also has some interesting comments.

Overall I really enjoyed the collection and would recommend it to you all if you haven’t already to look into it!

Books, Musings

Happy New Year! 2015 Wrap Up and Top 5 Books!

Hey Guys, I have a two week streak of having posts for you.  Three times a week at least, no less.  I’m going to try and keep this up.  I’m working really hard.  Speaking of working hard, I edited three videos this week all pertaining to the year as a whole.

You will find two of those videos below but the last can only be found over on Gretchen’s Blog so please go check it out!

In this first video I talk all about the year as it pertains to you guys here on my blog as well as tell you my Top 5 Books for the year:

On top of that, Gretchen and I got together to talk about all of the things we have done together this year including: our book club videos and everything to do with Betwixt the Books.

How was your year?

What were your favorite books this year?

I hope you guys are looking forward to the new year and I hope its a good one for you!

Happy New Year!

Adult, Books

This Book is Full of Spiders by David Wong Book Review

You remember when I wrote book reviews, me too.  Let’s do that again.

Title: This Book is Full of Spiders
Author: David Wong (pseudonym of Jason Pargin)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Page #: 406
Genre: Horror, Humor, Science Fiction

This is the Sequel to John Dies at the End.  Actually, the last legit review that I posted was Taylor’s take on the first book in this series or if you want my opinion from earlier this year you can read that as well.

As far as sequels go I think that this definitely keeps the tone of the first book, it is equally terrifying and hysterical.  However as far as structure goes this book is completely different.  Where as the first book was more or less chronological you knew that the story was progressing linearly even if it was more like two lines that you jump back and forth between you had no idea what was going to happen plot wise.  Events were happening left and right that kept you feeling completely overwhelmed much like the characters were.  In this novel the events are very straight forward and make sense but the timeline of the novel is all kinds of messed up.

You jump forward and back in time to meet with different characters as they travel which I think is how you are able to get a handle on what is going to happen next in the story.  There is a very clear trajectory here you just might not read it in order per say.  That isn’t to say that you read something that happens days earlier, its more a few hours but still enough to give you a handle on what is going to happen while keeping you slightly off balance.

I think that part of the charm of these books are the characters.  They are so delightfully flawed.  These are not heroes, they aren’t really antiheroes, they are just normal guys who have been given some sort of higher purpose and they muck up so much that you kind of watch all of these events occurring with a sense of dread settling into your stomach the entire time.  They swear and fail and freak out in all the right ways.

It somehow manages to feel completely plausible while being completely outrageous and I sort of love it.

Plot wise you wouldn’t necessarily have to have read the first in the series because it isn’t so much a continuation of a line of events as another snap shot in David and John’s lives.  However I think that both are outstanding books and should be given a chance.  If you think the structure of this book is more to your liking then by all means read it first.

There will apparently be another installment in this series next year some time and I honestly can’t wait.  While these books will never make it into the literary cannon of classics I think that they have a firm place among the cult classics.  One of the best contemporary series I have read.  Go pick up these books if you haven’t already.  Seriously!  Go do it!


Adult, Bibliomancy For Beginners, Books

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury Book Review (Bibliomancy for Beginners)

Classic science fiction corner with the Bibliomancers:

Title: The Martian Chonicles
Author: Ray Bradbury
Publisher: Bantam/Spectra
Page #: 182
Genre: Science Fiction



Next week we will be discussing John Dies at the End by David Wong.  You should read it and meet us next Tuesday at 8:30 to discuss it!

Friday I am going to post a review for Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store so look forward to much gushing!

Adult, Books

The Host by Stephenie Meyer Book Review

So while I used to read two books a week I sort of stopped doing that because of stress in general and being super annoyed at genres and books and myself.

This week I am doing a companion read that is in no way related to the book club book.

I am going to talk about The Host, so get ready for my feels.

Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Page #: 620
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian

So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

*cough* Stephenie Meyer and the whole Twilight phenomenon *cough*

It was super popular so everyone decided to hate it.

I get it, I do.  I know the problems that are inherent in Twilight.  I will stand by the fact that when I read that series at thirteen it entertained me.  I will also stand by the fact that it created a generation of readers.  There are people who didn’t read a lot until the read Twilight and now they do and I think that any book that is able to do that is alright by me.

Today we are not talking about sparkly vampires, we are talking about parasitic aliens.

I read The Host for the first time a little over a year ago and I loved it.  I read it before the movie came out so that I could watch the movie and know the ins and outs of what was going.  Honestly the movie was more entertaining to make fun of than it was as a movie in itself.  Watch it if you want, but the book, like 95% of book to movie adaptations is better.

I reread The Host while I was in New Hampshire on my spontaneous vacation.  When Taylor saw I was reading it he did the normal “You’re reading The Host Again” scoff.  Which I simply replied with, “I like The Host, it is interesting.”  The whole parasitic alien thing isn’t exactly unique but I honestly don’t like science fiction involving aliens … like ever (this is from a traumatic experience I once had as a child which I can tell you about at a later date).

Yes The Host is a romance book.  Yes The Host has a love … triangle … quadrangle … something?  However, it is an extremely well done love … quadrangle.  I loved the way this story plays out.  I felt like the pacing of the plot and the growth that the characters experience was justified and not plot driven in any way.  I usually hate love triangles because they are just there to add tension.  This love triangle was created by the situation the characters were in and was worked through in a way that didn’t seem like one character pining after another who loved someone else … etc. etc.  It was an interesting take.

It is not a very thoughtful book, it is definitely what Gretchen would call a Popcorn read.  You read this book to enjoy the ride, because it is sweet and entertaining, not for its literary value.

I love reading books that make me think, but I was on vacation and I don’t want to be having philosophical epiphanies while on vacation.  I wrote a story about porn stars for goodness sake.

My favorite part about this novel are the stories that Wanderer tells the humans.  It is the one thing they took out of the film.  Which is understandable because they would have needed an astronomical special effects budget.  The interesting part of this story. The thing that sets it apart from any other weird romance book, is the fact that our main character is parasitic alien who has lived countless lives on various planets as various species and the stories she can tell about those lives.

If you enjoy science fiction then maybe this book isn’t for you, because it isn’t the best in its genre, however if you are looking for an easy read to get your mind of things for a while, by all means check it out.  It has interesting stories within it and it is a heart warming story.  I feel like I read somewhere that Stephenie Meyer was working on a sequel.  I don’t know if she still is, but the story works fine on its own.  It doesn’t need to be continued in my opinion.

Overall I give the book a four out of five stars for being entertaining but not outstanding.  It was good.  It helped me get out of my reading slump.

I hope you guys enjoyed this little review and I will be back on Sunday with some KPop Spam.  (I had this playlist put together like three weeks ago and just never wrote up the blog post because of my hiatus)