The Summer I Became a Nerd

***** (5 out of 5)

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

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I’m not gonna lie, I needed this book.  I have been soooo stressed and busy lately I could feel myself start to spiral.  Two weekends ago we went to Nebraska, last weekend we went to Oregon, this weekend we are going to Vegas, and 4 days after we get back, we leave for Germany.  Its an understatement to say we have a lot going on.  On top of that I am procrastinating writing a review for Lion Heart, because I don’t know what to say, and Astrologer’s Proof because I haven’t even read it yet.

Yesterday, while hiding from my to-do list, (i.e. procrastinating) I was skimming through some blogs when I found a post about The Summer I Became a Nerd by Book Princess Reviews.  I read the first paragraph of the synopsis, skipped the second (because they usually reveal too much) and then read Mandy’s first paragraph:

Mandy

I didn’t even bother reading the rest of her post.  Those two paragraphs were all it took to ensnare me.  I downloaded the book and started reading it immediately.  I was leaving work so I read for the two minutes it took me to get to my car then I had to wait till I got home.

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Its a good thing this book is short-ish because I could not put it down.  I stopped reading only for dinner and my softball game. I even read while we hung out in the parking lot, drinking beers before the game.  I read until 1 am, when I finished the book.  So I pretty much read from 4 to 1.  Its been a while since I binge-read that hard.

The Summer I Became a Nerd is about Maddie, who is a closet nerd.  She fears the rejection of her peers if they were to find out about her nerdiness.  On the outside she is your typical cheerleader dating the quarterback, but on the inside she is all about comics.  It makes me sad to think that there are girls that feel like they have to hide who they are because it isn’t socially acceptable, but I get it.  I have never completely hid that side of me, but I don’t usually flaunt it either.

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I have two groups of friends; my sports buddies and my nerd buddies.  With my nerd buddies I can be whoever I want.  We play D&D and they don’t care if I watch the big game at the same time.  They accept both sides of me.  But my sports buddies aren’t as open.  They know I’m nerdy but they don’t know the extent, and they tend to make fun of me if I get too intense about it.  They don’t make fun of me in a mean way, more of a big brother sort of teasing way.  They will watch all the new Marvel movies, but they don’t understand how people can enjoy reading.

This is why I LOVE e-readers.  For some reason it is socially acceptable to play on your phone and ignore everyone while watching the big game or getting beers before our league games, yet if I pull out a book, everyone accuses me of being anti-social and makes fun of me for reading.  But if I read on my phone no one says anything.  They just assume I am playing games, texting, or whatnot.  Its awesome!

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This book not only appealed to me because I was able to relate to it, but it appealed to me because it was a light, fun, easy read.  When I am spiraling I tend to gravitate toward romance novels and cliche teenage novels.  The Summer I Became a Nerd definitely falls into the later category.  Its got all the cheesy, classic, teenage-summer-love tropes you could ever want.  And I absolutely loved it! Like I said before, I could not put it down.  It was the absolute perfect book that I needed yesterday.  I can’t wait to read the sequel.

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Thank you Mandy for your post! I needed this book so much ❤ I can see why it is your favorite contemporary of ALL TIME. (and I did go back and finish reading your post after I finished the book)

Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

Amazon

Big Hid

*** (3 out of 5)

Big Hid by Roisin Swales

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Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

Amazon $10.51 

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.  Giveaways are free raffles for books.  The trade-off is that, if you win, you write a review.  Its that easy!  I have won 4 books so far.

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I don’t have any kids, but I have a 10 year old brother and a 3 month old niece.  I used to read a ton to my brother, but I have yet to read to my niece.  I am a bit out of the loop when it comes to children’s books, so I apologize in advance if my review offends anyone.  (I entered the giveaway with the intention of giving the book to my niece, but I still need to write the review)

In all honesty I thought this book was stupid.  The story was too simple, and missing a huge plot point.  Why did Big Hide?

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I feel like that should be an important part of the story. The back cover says “A tale of friendship and overcoming sadness,” but the story has no indication that Big is hiding because he is sad.

I did really like the colors and illustrations in the book.  The illustrations are different from anything I’ve seen, and they are fun.  The colors are bright, happy, and warm.  As weird as it sounds I also liked the physical feeling of the book.  It is fairly big (10.5″ x 9″) and the pages are very thick.  The texture of the pages is rougher than a normal page.  Almost like construction paper.

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I didn’t want to be unfair in my evaluation (I feel really bad calling a children’s book stupid) so I looked at other reviews online.  Most people just said it was beautiful and they liked the simplicity.  One person said Big Hid  “can easily start the conversation about sadness, depression, social anxiety”  I disagree with this because there is no indication he is hiding because he is sad.  No one had anything bad to say about the book, so I was still worried about my review.

Next, I brought the book to work, and gave it to a coworker to see what she thought.  While showing her the book,  a couple other guys joined the conversation.  Kristin, who has a 1 year old, thought the book was incredibly stupid. (her words not mine) Andy, who has two daughters aged 3 and 6, thought the book would be okay for a 2 year old.  Kristin disagreed saying that she wouldn’t even bother reading it to her 1 year old.  Andy did say that halfway through he thought Big wasn’t really hiding but that he had died, which would have been a little morbid, but not completely out there.  Gary, who doesn’t have kids, liked the illustrations, but thought the story was too simple.  All three agreed (without any prompt from me) that it was weird that the book left out why Big hid.

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I decided to go ahead and give it an honest 3 star review.  It is a children’s book so it is supposed to be simple, but it is missing a major key issue.  Other than that I didn’t have any issues with the book and I liked the illustrations.

6 Degrees of Separation – Wild Swans

6 Degrees of Separation is a monthly post hosted by Books are my Favorite and Best.  They pick a book to start you off, and then you list the next book that comes to mind, then you go from that book to another book, creating a chain. You do this 6 times (so you have 7 books including the one you started with).

If you missed my first “6 Degrees of Separation” post it started with Pride and Prejudice.

This month’s starter is Wild Swans.

Disclaimer: The header titles are affiliate links to Amazon.  If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

1. Wild Swans

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I have never read this book, but the closest book I can think of, that I have read, was an autobiography about a Chinese man and his childhood in China.  For the life of me I can’t remember the title and google failed me.  I am going to cheat a little and use that as my second book even though I can’t remember the name.

2. ????

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The circumstances of why I read the book still piss me off.  It was required reading in my American Lit Class.  It was a book written by a Chinese man about his childhood in China.  My teacher said it counted as American Lit because the author lived in America when he wrote it.  I think that is baloney. The teacher didn’t want to be teaching American Lit so she did whatever she wanted and that was her half-assed attempt at justifying it.  When I think of American Lit I think the plot, at very least, should take place in America.  We did read Pudd’nhead Wilson which, in my opinion, qualifies as American Lit.

3. Pudd’nhead Wilson

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Pudd’nhead Wilson is not a very well known Mark Twain book.  I think the most well known is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has a history of being banned for its use of the “N” word. I read this as part of my High School curriculum and didn’t have a problem with it.  When thinking of banned books The Diary of Anne Frank comes to mind.

5. The Diary of Anne Frank

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This book came to mind as a banned book, but I wasn’t 100% sure it was.  So I googled it and learned 2 things.  The title is not The Diary of Anne Frank, it is The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. And the book is not banned because of all the Nazi stuff, it is banned for a scene where Anne Frank learns about her anatomy.  Here is an article that includes the passage that upsets people.  While The Diary of a Young Girl was an actual diary, there are other books that are written as if they were diaries.  For example the American Diaries series.  The first American Diaries book I read was American Diaries #18: Janey G. Blue: Pearl Harbor, 1941.

6. American Diaries: Janey G. Blue

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This is a historical fiction book about a girl living in Hawaii when Pear Harbor is attacked.  It is written as if it were her diary.  Another historical fiction book that includes Blue in the title is Girl in Blue.

7. Girl in Blue

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This was my favorite historical fiction book as a child.  It was an awesome story about a girl running away and dressing like a boy to fight in the Civil War.


I love this post it’s so much fun 🙂 Let me know how your chains turn out!

The Mystery Blogger Award

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I was nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Natalina at Never Too Late!  I am super excited to be nominated! Thank you so much!

For those of you who don’t know what the Mystery Blogger Award is, it was started by Okoto Enigma.  She started it as a way to discover new blogs.  Here are the rules:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

So three things about myself:

  1. I have two kitties that I love! Their names are Logan (after wolverine) and Kaylee (from firefly)
  2. I went to Colorado School of Mines and got a degree in Applied Mathematics
  3. I collected elephants as a child and I still like to buy one every now and then again

Here are the 5 questions from Natalina with my answers:

  1. What made you start a blog?
    • I love reading books and it just seemed like it would be cool to start a book blog.
  2. Where would you travel to if money was not an issue? Why?
    • Ireland.  It just seems so beautiful and majestic and I think it would be really cool to visit.
  3. What is your biggest fear?
    • Saunas.  I have no idea why but they creep me out and I can’t do them.  Might have to do with a Rugrats episode where the parents got locked in a sauna?
  4. If someone was writing your biography what would be its title?
    • Perfectly Tolerable (haha is that a cop out?)
  5. What is one thing you’ve never done but would love to to do?
    • I would like to travel more.  I have traveled a bit and I love it.  I definitely want to travel more!  I am going to Germany later this month.

In my opinion, my best posts are:

Here are my nominees:

I tried to pick people who have not been nominated before.  So I apologize if you have already done this!

Here are my five questions:

  1. What is your favorite book?
  2. What was the last thing you created?
  3. What is your favorite childhood memory? (Or at least a very good memory?)
  4. If you were granted 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
  5. What is the best joke you have ever heard / told? (This is my funny question, hahah get it? Cuz jokes are funny)

Good luck everyone and thanks Natalina!!!

 

Lady Thief

***** (5 out of 5)

Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen

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Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links. That means if you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in my posts are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

Scarlet Series:

I love Robin Hood.  Not specifically the Robin Hood in this book, but Robin Hood in general.  I have read a TON of Robin Hood related books and watched at least 7 of the Robin Hood movies plus the 2006 BBC TV series.  I don’t know what it is about the rapscallion, but I just can’t resist him.  As a result this review might be a little tiny bit biased.

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I liked this book almost as much as I liked Scarlet. I really enjoyed how the story is told through Scarlet’s POV.  You still get some of her slang and odd way of talking, but it isn’t as noticeable in this one.  For the most part she just replaces “was” with “were.”

Side story time! I accidentally said “were” instead of “was” in a sentence today when talking with my friend.  I corrected myself immediately, and I don’t think he noticed, but I was surprised and knew exactly where it came from.  Sometimes if I get super engrossed in a book I will catch myself talking like the character.  Thanks to Pinterest I actually have a name for it! Experience-taking:

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Since I don’t believe everything I read on the internet I googled it (yes I see the irony), and it seems to be an actual thing.  There is an article by Medical Daily that explains it really well and provides background into actual studies that have been conducted. It is not unusual for this phenomenon to happen to me, and its usually not concerning, but it sucks when the character’s grammar is so bad and I have to make an effort not to talk like her.

Alright, enough about me.  Back the the review:  Its a Robin Hood story so its awesome.  I love all the characters and I think its super clever to make Will Scarlet a girl.  (not a spoiler! Its in the synopsis of the first book)  The characters are so real and each have their own personalities and I even started to like one of the bad guys (gasp! I know its awful).  Though this bad guy has some irredeemable qualities, he isn’t 100% awful like you are originally led to believe.  Though it is a little frustrating to start to feel bad for someone you are sworn to hate! And then to top it off one of the good guys has some bad qualities too!  His aren’t his fault (PTSD) but the way Scarlet handles them is stupid and just puts herself in danger without actually fixing anything.  I didn’t like that.

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Since Robin Hood is such a well known story there isn’t a whole lot you can do to change up the plot.  There were some big things that happened that were totally predictable.

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But there were a lot of smaller things that were total surprises and there were still some large plot twists.  So it stayed captivating and exciting.

It did end on a cliff hanger and I HATE cliffhangers, but the third and final book has been published so at least I don’t have to wait long to find out what happens!

Overall this is a great book and I can’t wait to read the next one!

Bonus content:  I am definitely not a stickler for correct grammar and punctuation (I’m sure you could find tons of errors in my posts) but I get really excited and proud of myself when I find errors in books.  I don’t know what it is, maybe just knowing that I saw something that editors, and computers, and who knows how many other people missed.  Or maybe its those stupid memes where they hide duplicate words and I always fall for it.

The

Drum-roll please … I would like to point out that location 2601 in the kindle edition says “but not the the dais”  The word “the” is written twice in a row!

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Yay me! Okay that was it.  Not super exciting bonus content but it made me happy.

Scarlet

***** (5 out of 5)

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

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Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links. That means if you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in my posts are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

Scarlet Series:

Completely random intro:  I have noticed on a couple other book blogs that the blogger keeps a “review notebook” close by when they read so they can write stuff down.  I thought this was a brilliant idea because I am always telling myself I will remember something to add to the review and then forgetting it. So I stole borrowed a notepad from work and gave it a shot:

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As you can see, I failed.  (and yes, I know I spelled “grammer” wrong) I wrote a comment about the very first sentence of the book and then didn’t write anything else.  I’ll come back to my comment later, but the fact that I had only one, speaks volumes to how awesome this book was.  I couldn’t even remember that I was supposed to be reviewing things.  I was so completely engrossed in the story that it never once occurred to me to write anything down.  I read the book in two sittings and only stopped because I had a volleyball game.

I will warn you there is a love triangle.

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If you read my last couple book reviews you might have noticed that I really really didn’t like the love triangle and I reviewed the series harshly because of it.  In general I think love triangles are overused and abused.  However, in Scarlet I didn’t mind it.  I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t go into details, but the love triangle actually helped the story and was fine.  It was also not overdone.

Alright so back to the first and only comment in my review notebook.  The writing is a little bit different.  Here are a couple random sentences from the first page of the book:

  • No one really knows ’bout me
  • It were too hot and stank of beer and men
  • It were heaving with bodies, laughs, and mugs slinging ’bout
  • that I’m none too pleased ’bout

It is written through the eyes of Will Scarlet so its written like he talks.  And he talks like a peasant in Medieval times.

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Halfway through the first page I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish the whole book if it stayed like that.  (it did)  But after a couple pages I didn’t even notice it anymore and it didn’t bother me at all.  I actually kind of liked it.  However, when I came back from my volleyball game, I had forgotten how bad it was and it took me a couple pages to re-adjust but then I was fine again.  It reminded me of Pudd’nhead Wilson (Amazon) by Mark Twain. There were certain characters in that story that were hard to understand.  Scarlet wasn’t nearly as bad as Pudd’nhead Wilson .  Also, as an added bonus, the way Will talks comes into play later in the book, so its not completely pointless.  Don’t let the grammar scare you! Its worth it.  Just try and get through the first couple pages and hopefully you will get used to it like I did!

I went through a Robin Hood phase in middle school where I read every single Robin Hood re-telling I could find.

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Because of that I will always have a soft spot for Robin Hood books, especially ones where the girls are not just love interests but part of the band.  My favorite from before, was one where Robin was a girl.  Since then there have been a lot more re-tellings with female Robins, but this is the first with a female Will Scarlet. (not a spoiler, it says Will is a girl in the synopsis)  It was super creative.

The plot was great too.  It kept all the Robin Hood vibes but was unique enough that it kept me on my toes.  There were some really great twists and turns.

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Like I mentioned before I was completely engrossed in the book!  It was awesome.  (I also enjoyed the chance to use Robin Hood gifs)  There is a very real chance this book may re-start my Robin Hood obsession, but at least there are two more books in the series to keep me satisfied!

The Beauty of Darkness

*** (3 out of 5)

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

The Remnant Chronicles Book 2

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Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links. That means if you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in my posts are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

The Remnant Chronicles:

If you read my reviews of The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal you may have gathered that I have a love/hate relationship with this series.  I love Lia but there are so many things that drive me nuts!

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Lets start with the good.  Lia is freakin awesome.  She is independent, strong, smart, and doesn’t take shit from anybody.  When the entire world is conspiring against her she doesn’t back down.  She risks everything to do what is right.  She would make a great role model for any girl.  Especially in today’s world when a lot of heroines put their love life before everything else, Lia is a breath of fresh air.

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While there is a lot of emphasis on the love aspect of the story, the rest of the plot is still very strong.  You could remove the love triangle and it would probably make the book better.  Lia fights for all the different Kingdoms, and she wins the hearts of the inhabitants wherever she goes.  She finds the good in every single place she visits.  You can’t help falling in love with the kingdoms who publicly denounce her and the inhabitants that support her.  Seriously Lia’s whole journey is an amazing story, all by itself.  It is the only reason I kept reading the series.

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Now for the bad: The love triangle

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I am not completely opposed to love triangles on principal but this one got tiring.  I really liked both men, and wanted them both to be happy.  At one point she makes her decision which I was glad of, but then, of course, circumstances conspired against her and we were right back where we started.  One of the classic tropes of love triangles is the “loser” finding someone else and living happily with them.  This happened here too but it was rushed and weird.  It just didn’t feel right.  It would have been so much better if Lia had made her choice earlier and then we could have seen the other romance bloom properly.

The other issue I had with the book was the ending.  The story dragged on right up until the very end and then it was super rushed.  It was so rushed I couldn’t even figure out what was happening.  I had to re-read a couple parts to figure out what was going on, and then I still didn’t understand.  It was awful.  All this build up is should have been great but it was just confusing.

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So overall this book had some really great parts, but others parts fell short.  I felt more frustrated with the book than anything else.  I didn’t get the closure I needed at the end of the series.  I debated giving the book only two stars, but I did like Lia and her Journey so I feel it deserved three.