Goal Check in

Okay, so I thought that I had made a post about my reading goals. Turns out that I was wrong. In all honesty, it probably wasn’t worth it. I don’t have very many. The biggest goal I’ve been working on is to read more books that I own. I want to clean up and read more books from my Kindle as well. I have 4 other challenges that I am working on to. One My 12 Friends Recommend, will be finished this year and the other three will go on year after year,

Total books Read This Year: 104 

I’m using the Goodreads numbers, as I tended to update that with all of my books, including the ones I read to/for my kids.

#Offmybookshelf: My goal for this was to have 75% of the books I’ve read to be from my own shelf.  For simplicity sake, I have included any digital titles that are mine in this count.

35 of the books that I have read so far has been from my personal collection. So that puts me at 33%,  I will do better with this goal. 

12 Friends Recommend: 1

I have read All American Boys by Jason Reynolds. Rated it 5 stars,  Kelly Hager recommended anything by Jason Reynolds.

100 Must Read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Female Authors: 0

This was a list I found on Book Riot and knew that I had to read the list. I started this last year and have already read 6 and dnf’d 1 (but will return to it) but I do have a quite of few titles that overlap with other challenges and goals and hope to make a lot of progress.

Nebula Shortlist: 0

Clarke Award Shortlist: 0

For both of these I plan to read all of the shortlist for the awards going back to the beginning of the award. I have not begun reading for these challenges but plan to start soon.

I guess I have not made a lot of progress on any of my goals, but I have half a year to make a dent and I plan on doing just that. I did have a goal with my book hauls, but it didn’t work. EPIC FAIL. So I am going to try something new: I will place a dollar in a jar for every book (kindle or print) that I read that I own. With the exclusion of pre-orders, I plan to take a break from buying books and focus on reading what I already own. I also had a goal about completing series, but I think that will happen naturally if I can stick to reading my own books.

Summer Classics:  I have picked out 5 classics that I want to read over the summer. (If this goes well I will pick out 5 for the Fall).

Persuasion by Jane Austen (Currently Reading)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

1984 by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I will do another goal check in at the end of summer to see if I’ve made any progress.


May 2018 Wrap – Up

I tried to do the  quarterly wrap-ups, but it hasn’t worked out. So I’m going to try to go back to monthly wrap-ups. I am going to do it a little different. I know that I will be making big changes to the blog, as my reading has evolved. But I am not sure how or when, as I am trying to figure all of that out still.  But until then….

Audio: 3

Friday Night Bites (Chicagoland Vampires, #2)  Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #3)

Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

Children’s: 1 

Big News! (Emma is on the Air, #1)

Graphic Novels: 5

Foiled (Foiled, #1) Faith, Volume 2: California Scheming

Oddly Normal, Book 2 Goldie Vance Vol. 3

Rapunzel's Revenge (Rapunzel's Revenge, #1)

Print (#Offmybookshelf): 6

Hidden Legacy Amish Christmas Abduction (Amish Country Justice #3)

No Grater Evil (The Dinner Club Murder Mysteries #3) Grounded Hearts Night Song Heartstone (Heartstone, #1)

Print (Library):1 

Kindness for Weakness


Total Books Read: 16 


This was a pretty good reading month. How was yours?


Always Shine!




DNF Review: Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Little & Lion

Little & Lion by Brand Colbert

August 8, 2017- Little Brown

327 pg. – Fiction, Young Adult, contemporary

Purpose: Random TBR

Source: Library

If you want to read what this story is about, click here.

There will be spoilers!!!

Okay, so this is a book that I have been wanting to read since it came out. In fact, when random.org picked this for me to read this round I was super excited. It wasn’t the first book that I picked up only because I had to wait for the library hold to come through.

This isn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. And I have no interest in what it is. I thought that this was supposed to be about a brother and sister learning to deal with the brother’s mental illness.  And while there is that, it is mostly about the girl, Little discovering her sexuality. This is YA so there is drama and angst, and I’m just not interested in reading about it.

The writing was fine, and even pulled me in. But there’s a love triangle (possibly square) and I hate love triangles.  Especially ones that I don’t think are done right.  Little (Suzette) comes back from her boarding school (she was sent there so her parents could focus on her brother’s developing mental illness without having to deal with her. <Another issue that I have with the book.) where she was in a relationship with her roommate. I’m not sure if it’s over or on pause since she is spending the summer at home. She doesn’t go back so I’m thinking something happened, but she keeps bringing Iris up so I’m thinking that maybe it’s not completely over.  Her first day back she sees her old friend Emil, who is attractive and she would date except it’s what her parents have wanted to happen for so long.  Then she goes to a welcome home party and finds a girl attractive there. Based on the synopsis,  Little falls for the girl but so does Lion.

I particularly didn’t like this love triangle because it’s messy. She obviously didn’t resolve everything with Iris. She’s interested in Emil, and he’s interested in her. The only reason that they didn’t get together was because it’s something that their parents have wanted (and that’s her reasoning not his). And the girl? Well, being interested in the same person as your brother is awkward at best.

To be honest, I didn’t make it very far into this book. I am assuming that a love triangle develops with Suzette (but hey maybe one develops with the girl between Little & Lion). And hey maybe I’m wrong (If I am, please tell me so I can go back to it). But, I’m also a little concerned that Little believes it’s up to her to save her brother. He is bipolar not dying.  And did I mention that I think that their sibling relationship reads a little weird?

I didn’t want to wade through a messy love triangle just to get to sibling relationship story. So this was a pass for me.


January Book Round-Up

As I prepare to do my quarterly check-in, I thought now would be a good time to start doing some book round-ups.  There will be two children’s book round-ups and then February and March round-ups. While the children’s book round-ups includes all of the books that I’ve read, the adult book round-ups only include books that do not have reviews posted.

Wolves (I Bring the Fire, #1) Wolves (I Bring the Fire #1) by C. Gockel 2 stars

So this is one that I was excited about reading (audio) until I started it. It was ok, but the ending ruined it for me. It just stopped. It didn’t have a cliffhanger, it just stopped. Maybe this is a serial novel, in which case I was not prepared for. There wasn’t any resolution to anything that was happening, I had more questions than answers. Some parts were confusing, and that was okay because it was clarified later.  I probably won’t continue this unless there comes a time where I am able to read all of the books back to back, unless someone tells me that the first book is the only one that just stops as it did.

Forces of Nature Forces of Nature (#1) by Cheris Hodges – 3 stars

This was pretty good. Instant attraction, hot and steamy sexy times and an overall story that was interesting. Though, I do think it’sstupid that the parents kept secret the information that may have kept this romance from happening in the first place (however illogical it is). Kind of like Romeo and Juliet without the kids knowing that they were enemies.

The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) by Deborah Fletcher Mello -3 stars

I really enjoyed this, the romance was sweet. There was humor, family and friendship. My only complaint is some of the resolution and mending of friendships happened rather quickly. Looking forward to the next one.

The Unyielding (Call of Crows, #3) The Unyielding (Call of Crows #3) by Shelly Laurenston – 4 Stars

Oh wow! This was intense. But, I did enjoy it. You got to know more about the clans and the characters. Erin has her time to shine, though there was a lot of times I just wanted her to shut up. But the ending… it answers my question about whether or not this was the final book or not.

The Dog Who Came for Christmas The Dog Who Came for Christmas by Sue Pethick – 4 stars

I liked this one, more contemporary with a romantic angle than a straight romance, but that’s okay. I think it ended rather abruptly, I would have like to have seen that scene wrap up completely before ending it. It’s not overwhelming with the Christmas decorations and traditions so it’d be okay to read anytime. 


That’s all for now!


Always Shine!

Sunday Happenings- March

Yeah, so I didn’t quite get to all of the books that I wanted to last month. In fact, I didn’t read anything on the list. Which is why I don’t do TBRs. So, I think I will just talk about what I am currently reading and see how this goes next month.

I am currently reading:

The Knight (The Patrick Bowers Files, #3)

The Knight by Steven James- this is the third book in the Patrick Bowers files. I am actually almost finished with it, may even finish it when I am finished with this post. I like Patrick as a character, he is not the friendliest or the most patient investigator. He is full of contradictions and surprises. While in the end, the case usually comes together the actual investigating part is messy and full of dead ends. Much like a real investigation would be. With this installment, James proves that he is not only knowledgeable in investigating techniques and monstrous real-life like bad guys, but also in classic literature. It’s been a while since I have read the first two books in the series, but it wasn’t hard to get into this one, In fact I found that I missed it.

Where Hope Begins

Where Hope Begins by Catherine – I just started this one, so I’ve read the first couple of chapters. While I have not been hooked just yet, I am comfortable waiting for it. I read West’s The Memory of You for review and was pleasantly surprised.

What I will Read Next:

Strong Enough to Die (Caitlin Strong, #1)

Strong Enough to Die by Jon Land- I know that I will be reading this next because it’s a library book and I don’t think I can renew it. But this is a series that I have wanted to start for a long time and when I accidentally came across it while looking for another book, I took it as a sign that I was supposed to start it.


Who knows what will happen after that?


Always Shine!

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

February 28, ,2017 – Balzer & Bray

464p – Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary

Purpose: Review, #offmybookshelf

Source: Edelweiss, Publisher, Bookshelf

5 stars

I was given a copy of this title, free, en exchange for my honest opinion. 

his is another book that talks about a white police officer shooting a black male. But make no mistake, it is also a book that stands out on its own. You have probably already heard of this book, as it came out and took the world by storm. I am not one that ever feels that a book deserves a bunch of hype, but in this case I can understand it. It is good for so many reasons, but it is not a perfect book. (I have yet to find one that is.)

Starr is at  party in her neighborhood when shots are fired. Her old friend, Khalil is there with her and quickly gets her out and safely away. While heading to her house or her father’s store, they are pulled over by a white officer for  a busted headlight. While Starr is mentally reciting the lessons of how to behave when pulled over by the police, it is apparent that Khalil did not receive those lessons.  As the police is making his way to the car, Starr does ask if there is any drugs in the car. What could have simply been a routine stop quickly escalates into a homicide. This is due to both Khalil’s mouthiness and the officer’s fear/prejudice/choice.

**With the rising number of shootings, people -black people in particular- have been having conversations with their kids about what to do when you are pulled over by the police? Is it necessary? If you have taught your kids to be respectful of authority then no it’s not. Because, regardless of your opinion of the police or your socio-economic circumstance the police are in a position of authority. EVEN IF YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG. I have been pulled over before and was told that I resembled a suspect that the police were looking for. No I didn’t believe them, but I was still respectful. Sometimes, it’s not about being right, it’s about doing the right thing.**

Starr then struggles with how to reconcile what has happened, with the way the world reacts and how the police handle the situation. It’s murder to Starr and every other black person that was not there that night. But the police do not see it as such. This brings up a lot of emotions, one that just didn’t make much sense to me. She felt that by being with Chris, she was somehow betraying Khalil. After a year of dating, you’re just not realizing that your boyfriend is white and now you think you’re betraying your race? In reality, all of these feelings would have come up at the beginning of their relationships and not now, and they would have been resolved  by this point. Especially with Big Mav as a dad. So, I’m calling flag on the field.

**I am with a white man, I have two biracial babies. My dad always had something about white people. I did not go to a school that was dominantly white, but I was constantly the only black person around.  And before anyone thinks that you only date white guys cause that’s all you’re around, bull. It’s a choice to date outside of your race-regardless of what your race is. It doesn’t happen by accident, so you can’t wake up one day and realize dude my boyfriend’s white. Yes, there are some things that make the differences in race more apparent.  But I’m calling foul on Starr’s sudden realization. **

As Starr deals with the loss of Khalil and with what the news is reporting about him, she is learnign that there is more to him than even she knew about. And she has to come to terms to that. At the same time the communities around her are reacting. Either by trying to figure how to deal with the anger and the hurt that they feel or by trying to get justice in a situation that is all too familiar to them.

This is bringing to light so many things for Starr, not just with her community, but with her family and her fellow classmates. She is learning so much,  she is learning to use her voice but most importantly, she is joining the conversation.

This book is powerful, not just because of the content of its pages. It is joining the conversation. It is lifting back the covers and giving the world an inside peek at how things really are -as much as  a work of fiction can. The Hate U Give acts as a window into Starr’s story that is at once all to familiar and completely foreign-depending on a reader’s own experiences.  Thomas does an amazing job in creating characters that are real and emotionally authentic.  She has taken a situation that is in itself already complex and controversial and pulled back to give 360• view of it. There’s surprises. there’s humor and there’s truth. Truth about the pain, the anger and the feeling of being lost in your own world.


Always Shine!

January Wrap-Up

I used to do these all of the time, and then stopped. Then I tried just talking about my favorites and least favorites. Well, I am just going to show the statistics of what I read and then show what I read in images. January was a decent reading month.

Here are the Stats:

Total Books Read: 16>> Digital: 4 – Print: 9- Audio: 3   Review Books: 5

Total Pages Read: 4100   Average Rating: 3.6

Here are the Books:    

          Dark Screams: Volume One Nate the Great and the Big Sniff Mrs. Jeepers on Vampire Island (The Adventures Of The Bailey School Kids Super Special, #6) Santa Claus Doesn't Mop Floors (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, #3) To the Moon and Back (Baxter Family #3) I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871 (I Survived, #11) Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club, #1) Explanatorium of Nature The Unyielding (Call of Crows, #3)

                                        The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) Blood of the Earth (Soulwood, #1) Forces of Nature                                                                                                                       Love Story (The Baxter Family, #1) Shadows of Hope The Dog Who Came for Christmas Wolves (I Bring the Fire, #1)


Always Shine!