Hours 13 thru 19 update

Wow. It's the end of hour 19, only a few more to go! I highly doubt I'll make the full 24 hours. I'm the queen of needing sleep. I took 2 power naps during this block of time- one at hour 16 and another at hour 17. I felt refreshed right after, but now I'm beginning to fade. I nodded off a few times this last hour while reading.
I've had a successful few hours though! I finished 2 books! I had volumes 1&2 of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book as my graphic novel reads for these late hours. I read the book a few years back, and really enjoyed the graphic novel adaptations.
I munched a bit, had dinner, ate some coffee bark, and drank a lot of water.

So, it's time to start hour 20... I'm thinking of heading to the comfort of my bed with the Kindle and seeing how much more I can squeak out.
Hope you've all been enjoying yourselves! I'm excited to spend tomorrow (today) catching up with everyone after I recover!

Now, for the stats -
Pages read: 819
Time spent reading: 10hrs 25mins
Books read: The Graveyard Book volumes 1 & 2, graphic novel adaptations
Books Finished: 4
Posts written: 4
Challenges: 1
IG posts: 7

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Update #2 - hours 6 thru 12

Hello again, readathon friends! We just finished hour 12, so I think that calls for a midway update!!

In the past 7 hours, I've been loving the sun and reading outside. I took a break during hour 10 to do a bit of work with Bear and relax my eyes. Throughout each hour I've continued to take 10-20min breaks to check the internet and make some yummy eats. I finished 2 books during these last 7 hours and am going to be starting a new one for hour 13. I finished Looking For Alaska then started and finished Gracefully Grayson. Not sure yet what I'll pick up for hour 13, but I'm thinking it is time for a graphic novel.
I also had the best snack ever for lunch: mozzarella, basil, & prosciutto pinwheels with balsamic drizzle. YUM.

What books have you finished?  What snacks did you love?

Now, how about those stats?
Pages read: 469
Time spent reading: 7hr 10m
Books read: Looking For Alaska by John Green and Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
Books finished: 2
Blog posts written: 3 (intro, hr5, this)
Challenges completed: 1 (opening meme)
IG posts: 6
Coffees consumed: 2

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

The first 5 hours

Hi readathoners! Time for a little update after finishing hour 5 of the readathon.

This year, I've decided to do less blog updates.... so I'll be posting every few hours when I'm needing a break. 

We just completed hour 5, and so far I'm feeling great! 

Still on book 1, Looking For Alaska by John Green and LOVING it. Just got past the rip your heart out part, hence why I'm taking a mental break. 
I've had some coffee, mimosas, and a fried egg breakfast sandwich... no heavy snacking yet!

I have spent most of my reading time outside on the back deck and a bit of each hour surfing IG posts. I also want to share my favorite quote encountered during this reading block:
"You spend your whole life stuck in a labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present." - Alaska to Miles, from Looking For Alaska by John Green 

Now, onto the stats:

Readathon stats:
Pages read: 177
Time spent reading: 3hr 22m
Books read: Looking For Alaska by John Green 
Books finished: 0
Blog posts written: 2 (opening meme & this)
Challenges completed: 1 (opening meme)
IG posts: 4
Coffees consumed: 2

Hope everyone is having fun... don't forget to stretch! 

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Hour 0

Hour Zero - Introductions, please!
Happy readathon!  Time to kick it off by answering some Qs posted over at  24hourreadathon.com

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I'm reading from the great state of NY. I'm located in Binghamton, in central NY... or 'upstate' to many, although I'm only about 15min from the PA border.... that's what you get though when you're above NYC. Haha

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I downloaded Dead Mountain: The Untold True Story of The Dyatlov Pass Incident specifically for the readathon. I recently watched a horror movie about this, which made me want to read the real story.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Okay, weird confession time: I love stale cheetos. So, I bought a bag and opened them up and dumped them into a bowl yesterday so they'll be stale today. I don't do this often (cause let's be real, it IS odd) so I'm looking forward to it. I'm also really excited for mimosas- Bear promised to be my bartender today! 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
29 (I'll be 30 on May 3rd!), Im a teacher (7th year!) & teach middle school at an alternative school for at risk teens, I'm engaged to my best friend and we're getting married June 27th, I'm a (soon to be official) stepmomma to the coolest 9yr old, I'm obsessed with ANYTHING Harry Potter, I've been an avid reader all my life, I've got 2 fur babies- Farley (a 13yr old yellow lab) and Lily (a 3yr old bulldog), and I love instagram (you'll find me there a lot today- papajm25)... that's all for now folks! 

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?
The biggest thing I did  differently today is I planned out a LOT more variety. 
My huge variety of snacks and books (my Kindle is loaded this year):

So, what about all of you (1,699 other participants!)... Can't wait to meet you all!!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


The readathon is so close I can taste it!

It is that time again - time for Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon! The readathon starts this Saturday!

For those of you who don't know, this readathon was started in October 2007 by Dewey... Dewey died in late 2008. In 2009, the readathon was renamed in her honor and continues to this day, twice a year. Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon is now hosted Andi & Heather of The Estella Society.
Back when it started out, the readathon had 37 participants. This year, it looks like we're going to have over 1,000 participants!

The readathon is always fun and is a great way to whittle down your TBR, socialize with other bookish folk, and most importantly- READ!

Like in the past, I will be doing updates on the blog but will primarily share my reading notes & progress on my instagram page. I'll tweet occasionally, but that tends to get me much too distracted and before I know it I have been sucked into the internet.

I have not yet built my readathon stack, but I do know I will be reading a few from my Kindle. I have 1 novella that I plan to read, and I am hoping to read a few graphic novels. My goals are to set some time aside to join a twitter conversation, instagram hourly updates, read 4+ books, write 1 review post, and drink a lot of coffee and mimosas. I will start right at 8 (NY's start time) and plan to go the full 24 hours... probably with a few hammock naps scattered throughout the day. Bear has the day off again this year and he told me he will be my mimosa and coffee maker. I am crossing my fingers for a nice day so I can catch some sun while reading too!

As Saturday draws nearer, I will post my official readathon stack and my readathon snack stack (because we all know food is just as important to a good readathon experience!)

So, if you haven't already, click the link and join up. I promise it is a blast. If you can't work in the full day, just join for a few hours- it is really fun and it is a great way to meet new bookish friends!
Hope to see you around!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


Dog Gone, Back Soon - some quick thoughts

Dog Gone, Back Soon by Nick Trout
Bedside Manor Series, book 2
Hachette Books // April 8, 2014
paperback, 336 pgs
ISBN-13: 978-1401310899
source: egalley from the publisher

About the book:
When Dr. Cyrus Mills returned home after inheriting his estranged father's veterinary practice, The Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, the last thing he wanted was to stay in Eden Falls, Vermont, a moment longer than absolutely necessary. However, the previously reclusive veterinarian pathologist quickly found that he actually enjoyed treating animals and getting to know the eccentric residents of the tiny provincial town-especially an alluring waitress named Amy.

So Cyrus is now determined to make Bedside Manor thrive. Not an easy goal, given that Healthy Paws, the national veterinary chain across town, will stop at nothing to crush its mom-and-pop competitor. And the rival vet practice isn't Cyrus's only competition; a handsome stranger shows up out of nowhere who clearly has a mysterious past with Amy. To top it off, Cyrus finds himself both the guardian of a very unique orphaned dog and smack in the middle of serious small town drama.

My thoughts:
What a cute and heartwarming tale! I adored this book. When I started this book, my initial thought was that I'd be bored with it. I was delightfully surprised to find that this story was engaging, funny, easy to read, and a little bit quirky. The male protagonist, Cyrus, was developed fairly well for one that we don't hear a full back story from (if, like me, you haven't read the first book... which, I'd like to). He was needy, nerdy, and new. I didnt think he was typical- Cyrus was different from other male leads, which was refreshing. I found that Amy, Lewis, Winn, Charlize, Gabe, and Dorkin were all interesting without taking over or needing much of their own stories. The character I loved best though, was Stash. He is amazing in every way! The ability he has mixed with the emotion that Cyrus transferred to him was a great build.
The overall story- big box vs ma and pop- has been done, but this setting (Veterinarians in Vermont) was new and added a different take on a classic underdog tale. The drama was just enough without being pushy and over dramatic; the same goddess for the romance. The technical veterinary and pathological stuff was interesting and really kept the sidelines entertaining.
Overall, I really liked this book. Quick and easy read, certainly pleasurable, totally a summer beach book.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Book image and synopsis from Goodreads.com
I received this book as an egalley from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review


What exactly is the truth about Alice?

Roaring Book Press // June 3, 2014
hardcover, 208pgs
ISBN-13: 978-1596439092
source: egalley from the publisher

About the book:
Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party. When Healy High star quarterback, Brandon Fitzsimmons, dies in a car crash, it was because he was sexting with Alice. Ask anybody.

Rumor has it Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the "slut stall" in the girls' bathroom: "Alice had sex in exchange for math test answers" and "Alice got an abortion last semester." After Brandon dies, the rumors start to spiral out of control. In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students tell all they "know" about Alice--and in doing so reveal their own secrets and motivations, painting a raw look at the realities of teen life. But in this novel from Jennifer Mathieu, exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.

My thoughts:
I wanted to love this, I really did. It was good, but it certainly didn't blow me away like I'd hoped. This book has a lot of hype, and maybe that's what killed it a little for me.
I did truly enjoy the format, where each character told their side of things. It created Alice without giving her her own voice, which was neat. I liked how each character really let out their truths, even if they were nasty. It shows you how human nature and nurture / environment can work together or against each other.
The story is sad, and probably happens more often than we realize. This book made me struggle to relate to teenagers growing up now- technology is the enemy in high school and fortunately, I didn't have to deal with it in my high school years. It makes me sad for teens now, but it also gives me hope that if more teens read this, they'll realize that gossip spreads like a virus.
The message behind the book (in short, if you didn't see it happen, don't talk about it) is a positive one. It is a message that ALL people need to take to heart- not just teens. Words hurt and can do terrible things to a person. While he message was good, the delivery didn't make it seem as important. The book just kind of ended, and nothing was ever really discussed further. I would have liked to see this message have a bigger impact. I feel like the cover has a big impact - it can really lead to a greater discussion, especially when tied to some certain issues in the book.
I overall enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to YA fans and older teens, but I can't say that I fell in love with this one. It kind of just hit in the middle for me.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Book cover image from Goodreads.com, synopsis from Amazon.com


100 Skills mini review

100 Skills for the End of the World as We Know It by Ana Maria Spagna
Storey Publishing // April 21, 2015
paperback, 224pgs
ISBN-13: 978-1612124568
source: egalley from the publisher

About the book:
What skills will you need after a global catastrophe? Whether it’s the end of oil, an environmental disaster, or something entirely unforeseen, Ana Maria Spagna outlines 100 skills you’ll find indispensable for life after the apocalypse. Once the dust has settled, you’ll need to know how to barter, perform basic first aid, preserve food, cut your own hair, clean a chimney, navigate by the stars, stitch a wound, darn socks, and sharpen blades. You’ll also want to build a stable and safe community, so you’ll need to master the arts of conversation, child raising, listening, music making, and storytelling.

My thoughts:
I adored this book! I'm big on homesteading and have always has an interest in survival skills, so this was right up my alley.
It is a down and dirty, quick tip guide with the greatest illustrations ever. There were lots of tips and skills I was already aware of, but there were plenty more that I didn't know. I feel like I learned a fair amount, as well as got some good reminders. This is definitely a book everyone should own, if only for the reminders. You never know when you'll need these tips. I should go buy it in paperback now, because one problem we have yet to design a solution set for is technology and the end of the world.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

book image, synopsis from Amazon.com
I received this as an egalley from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review


A twisted fix

The Remedy by Suzanne Young
Simon Pulse // April 21, 2015
hardcover, 416 pgs
ISBN: 9781481437653
source: egalley from the publisher

About the book:
In a world before The Program…
Quinlan McKee is a closer. Since the age of seven, Quinn has held the responsibility of providing closure to grieving families with a special skill—she can “become” anyone.
Recommended by grief counselors, Quinn is hired by families to take on the short-term role of a deceased loved one between the ages of fifteen and twenty. She’s not an exact copy, of course, but she wears their clothes and changes her hair, studies them through pictures and videos, and soon, Quinn can act like them, smell like them, and be them for all intents and purposes. But to do her job successfully, she can’t get attached.
Now seventeen, Quinn is deft at recreating herself, sometimes confusing her own past with those of the people she’s portrayed. When she’s given her longest assignment, playing the role of Catalina Barnes, Quinn begins to bond with the deceased girl’s boyfriend. But that’s only the beginning of the complications, especially when Quinn finds out the truth about Catalina’s death. And the epidemic it could start.

My thoughts:
The first word that comes to mind is twisted. Then interesting. 
Once I've thought it through and I'm over the shock of the twist in this series, I am able to think critically about the web that Suzanne Young weaved. 
She started with deep characters, and that stays true throughout the series. The characters in The Remedy are deep, but in a different way. Quinn is the central character in The Remedy. Her job as a closer makes her like a morphling... she changed with every assignment, just building on her base. Young made her vulnerable, scared, and a girl looking for her own life. As she built the new characters on top of Quinn, these personal pieces faded from the surface but were still visible. I see this as quite beautiful writing. And after finishing the book, I had even more of an appreciation for this. 
The other thing I really loved about this book was the psychological thriller aspect. I don't think the other two books contained as much as this one, and I felt compelled to know what is going on, what's coming next, and who is tied to it all. The answers, when they finally did come, left me shocked & disturbed - as good writing should!
The Remedy tells the story of what went down BEFORE The Program & Treatment. It adds a sufficient amount of creep factor and ties up some questions lingering from the previous books. This book is capable of standing on its own. You'll enjoy this if you've read the first books in the series, or if you happen to have an interest in how big brother could control us...

About the author:
Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program series. Originally from Utica, New York, Suzanne moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of not freezing to death. She is a novelist and an English teacher, but not always in that order. Suzanne is the author of The Program, The Treatment, The Remedy, A Need So Beautiful, and Hotel Ruby. You can visit her online at Suzanne-Young.Blogspot.com.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Cover image, synopsis, and author information from edelweiss.com
I received an advance egalley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review