Discussion: Real life bookish friends

This post is inspired by one Laura posted over at Boats Against the Current about real life bookish friends. In her post, Laura talks about how most of her bookish friends are people she's met online, especially through book blogging. It got me to thinking about how lucky I am to have so many booknerds in my life.

I have many bookish friends, though we don’t always have the same taste in books.

I come from a family that reads, and growing up my dad always had a western in his hands and Mom always had a romance novel. Now they both seem to gravitate towards mysteries/thrillers, which is nice because they share books. My brother is a voracious reader and some of our sci-fi/fantasy interests overlap, but he’s much more into sci-fi and I think thrillers/horror while I go more toward sci-fi/fantasy and romance. My sister-in-law is also a reader, though honestly I have no idea what she likes to read. Hmm...

I have a weirdly large number of friends from high school who got their MLS degree and are now librarians, if that gives you an idea of how many bookish people I surround myself with, haha. I remember once in middle school, there was a “rule” about no reading at the table because lunchtime is for socializing. Friend A told Friend B “Hey! No reading at the table!” and Friend B said “But Elley is reading…” The response was “Yeah, well, she gets a special pass, she’s never not reading.” So you can pretty much picture high school me right there. We also tried to start a literary club, and all I really remember about it is that we each picked a weird alliterative color name; Friend A was Prissy Purpy, another friend was Gwen Green, and I think I was Lana Lellow. ...And I am still a giant nerd to this very day.

I am lucky enough to have two BFFs who are readers, though one of them looks down her nose rather at my current love of romance novels. She recommends amazing books, though, and they tend to be ones that really make me think. We seem to talk mostly about fantasy, and she was bugging me to read A Song of Ice and Fire looooong before the show ever came out on HBO. She also introduced me to Margaret Atwood ...I really should listen to her more.

My other BFF lives an hour and a half drive away but has really similar reading tastes, so we talk a LOT, but it’s mostly online over Facebook messenger and the like. You may recognize her from her monthly guest posts on my blog, Peekaboo's Corner. Someday she'll figure out how we can do a long distance podcast, and then we'll REALLY set the bookish world on fire. Oh wait, fire and paper is bad...

My husband is also a reader, though not as voracious a reader as I am. He reads mostly Dragonlance books and the Wheel of Time series, and while I tried to get into them I thought they were boooooriiiiing. Still, sometimes I read a book that I know he’ll love, like Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, and then I will throw it at his head (sometimes literally) and yell “READ THIS RIGHT NOW!” Sometimes he does, and then we can talk about books together, which is pretty much the perfect romance, haha.

Since I started book blogging and actually USING my Twitter account (for mostly book stuff) I feel like I'm connecting with the bookish community as a whole, and I feel like I'm starting to forge little fledgling friendships with a few others online. It's hard because the online community, while great at connecting people from all over the globe, can feel a little impersonal sometimes. I just started participating in the #otspsecretsister project this round, which is sort of a like a giant bookish Secret Santa project that runs for 6 months, and I feel like I'm getting closer to that bookish group as well.

How about you? Do you have many bookish friends? Are they online or IRL or a mix of both?

Book Review: The Counterfeit Boyfriend by Cindi Madsen

The Counterfeit Boyfriend

Author: Cindi Madsen
Publisher: Cindi Madsen Books (June 25, 2018)

Goodreads   Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)

My twin brother’s talked me into a lot of crazy things, but taking his place on a road trip with his girlfriend so he can party with his friends is a whole new level of insanity. What’s even more insane is I somehow find myself agreeing to it—thanks, alcohol, guilt, and bribery. I’m determined to undo the arrangement, but then I meet Gwen, this sexy redheaded hurricane of energy and brains.

And then she kisses me. Just like that, I’m driving her up the coast, on our way to a wedding with a mess of complications. With each hour and each stop, I’m falling harder and harder for a woman who doesn’t know my actual name.

I’m trying to do the right thing. Or the lesser of the wrong things. All my life I’ve had to clean up my brother’s messes, but for the first time ever, I’ve landed the upper hand in one of our switcheroo schemes. Now I’ve just got to come clean and convince Gwen that I’m the brother she should be with.

Rating: 4 stars
This book is so cheesy and unrealistic and I just adored it. It got off to a bit of a rocky start and I almost stopped reading it after the first chapter, but kept going in the hopes that I could count it for a particular category in a book bingo challenge I'm participating in. Turns out it didn't fit the book bingo category, but I'm glad I kept reading anyway! Counterfeit Boyfriend is told in the first person past tense, which seemed really odd to me and sometimes came off as feeling pretty awkward and cumbersome. The POV switched between Ethan and Gwen, and it's really interesting to get each of their viewpoint into what they're feeling and what's happening, and this way the reader really gets the full impact of the number of times/situations in which if the timing/wording/circumstances had just been a SMIDGE different, everything would have turned out in such a different way.

This book is fun fluff, and besides, I'm a sucker for both the road trip romance trope as well as the mistaken identity trope. Gwen and Ethan are so cute together, and the level of banter!

"I know you're strong and all, but you're not the Hulk."
"Are you sure about that? Have you ever seen me get angry enough to test that theory? I mean I'm not confirming or denying anything, but I'd also like to point out that you haven't seen me and Superman in the same room, either."

Later the whole Hulk/Superman thing comes up a couple more times, and it's just hilarious and touching and nerdy and I love it. This whole book is just a great summer beach read, and is great if what you're looking for a cheesy trope-y fluffy romp, with a dollop of heartbreak, a sprinkle of grand gestures, and a whole heck of a lot of happy-ever-after.

Book Blitz: The Geek and the Goddess by Allie Everhart (Excerpt, Giveaway)

The Geek and the Goddess
Allie Everhart
Publication date: August 7th 2018
Genres: Romance, Young Adult
People always say they wish they could predict the future. But not me. I already know my future. I’m going to lose my sight. I don’t know exactly when, but it’s going to happen. And it’s the reason I’ll never fall in love.
At least that’s what I thought. Until one day a guy walks into my chem class and changes all that.
I thought for sure he’d avoid me after he saw how people at school treat me. The teasing. The nicknames. Just being seen with me is enough to ruin his reputation, yet this guy still wanted to date me. And he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
That’s how it began. How it ended is not at all what I expected. Ours is an unlikely love story.

Book Blitz: The Girl Who Sees by Dima Zales (Teaser, Giveaway)

The Girl Who Sees
Dima Zales
(Sasha Urban, #1)
Publication date: August 7th 2018
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
I’m an illusionist, not a psychic.
Going on TV is supposed to advance my career, but things go wrong.
Like vampires and zombies kind of wrong.
My name is Sasha Urban, and this is how I learned what I am.

Book Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Sea Witch

Author: Sarah Henning
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (July 31, 2018)
Hardcover, 368 pages
Goodreads   Amazon

Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.

Rating: 5 stars
fell in love with Sea Witch, and I fell hard. I'd kind of like my heart back please, and maybe some tape or glue so I can try to piece it back together? Thanks.

I kept thinking I knew what to expect next from this book, and then no. No I did not. It's written in the first person present tense, which I don't really love but Henning makes it work for her with a few minorly awkward seeming areas. Interspersed through the main story being told in Evie's (present tense) voice, there are flashback chapters told from an omniscient view that alternates focus on various major players. Just when I'd start to get comfortable and smug, thinking I knew what was in play and what was coming next, there'd be one of these expository chapters that would reveal the inner mind and motivations (and machinations) of various characters. Then suddenly it was like my whole world was tipped on its axis and I was like "Wait, what? WHAT?!?!" I just... I can't... This book... *sigh*

Just amazing. Words can't express the level of amazing this book is. Are we sure this is Sarah Henning's debut novel? And, um, can she please have a whole dragon hoard of almost-finished novels that will be ready to publish very soon that are just as mind-blowingly amazing as Sea Witch? Because I have definitely added Sarah Henning to the top of my auto-buy list.

Evie is a great character and, having heard that this is sort of an Ursula (from Disney's The Little Mermaid) origin story, I kept trying to figure out where she'd go to the bad. I have a soft spot for villains, especially believable villains who are the hero of their own story, or who fall while trying to do the right thing. I love the complexity of the relationships between them all, and I had some major second-lead syndrome going on too.

Monthly Wrap-Up: July 2018

2018 Reading Challenge

Books read in July: 12

Books read in 2018: 109/150

I had been tracking the children's books ARCs I'd been reading all year, and decided I didn't like counting children's books in my number of books read. SO! Edited my dates read in Goodreads to get an accurate snapshot of how many middle-grade and above books I've read this year. ;)


The Ripped Bodice's 2nd Annual Summer Romance Bingo runs from June 1 to August 31

Each square represents a book you've read this summer, and you fill in the square with the title & author once you've met the criteria. To get a bingo you need to get 5 in a row (vertical or horizontal) and for each row you complete you can enter to win prizes at https://www.therippedbodicela.com/bingo

My progress for July: 9

    • Damsel in Distress: Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn (read 7.1)
    • Fairy Tale Retelling: Beast by Lisa Jensen (read 7.13)
    • Queer Historical: A Gentleman Never Keeps Score (read 7.14)
    • Tech in the Big City: Status Update by Annabeth Albert (read 7.20)
    • Book That is Now A Movie: Matchmaker's Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken (read 7.22)
    • Heroine's Eyes are Described Using the Ocean: The Princess Bride (the good parts version) (read 7.24)
    • Fashionista: Born to Be Wilde by Eloisa James (read 7.24)
    • Extreme Location: Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole (read 7.31)
    • Firefighter: Under Control by Shannon Stacey (read/marked DNF 7.31)
Total: 17/25

Book Review: Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Liesl Shurtliff

Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Author: Liesl Shurtliff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (May 29th, 2018)
Hardcover, 304 pages
Goodreads   Amazon

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rump, comes the true story behind another unlikely hero: a grumpy dwarf who gets tangled up in Snow White's feud with the wicked queen.

Ever since he was a dwarfling, Borlen (nicknamed "Grump") has dreamed of visiting The Surface, so when opportunity knocks, he leaves his cavern home behind.
At first, life aboveground is a dream come true. Queen Elfrieda Veronika Ingrid Lenore (E.V.I.L.) is the best friend Grump always wanted, feeding him all the rubies he can eat and allowing him to rule at her side in exchange for magic and information. But as time goes on, Grump starts to suspect that Queen E.V.I.L. may not be as nice as she seems. . . .
When the queen commands him to carry out a horrible task against her stepdaughter Snow White, Grump is in over his head. He's bound by magic to help the queen, but also to protect Snow White. As if that wasn't stressful enough, the queen keeps bugging him for updates through her magic mirror! He'll have to dig deep to find a way out of this pickle, and that's enough to make any dwarf Grumpy indeed.

Discussion: Real life bookish friends

This post is inspired by one Laura posted over at Boats Against the Current about real life bookish friends. In her post, Laura talks about...