For What It's Worth

Thursday, June 14, 2018

whatever wednesday: summer fun a to z


TBB Asks is hosted by The Blended Blog

1. Walk or bike ride? I just started bike riding over the winter and I loved it. It’s waaaay too hot to do it in the summer though – so walking but either early in the morning or very late afternoon.

2. Favorite picnic food? I’ll eat anything lol I don’t really picnic but if we go to the beach I bring PB&J sandwiches, fruit and some chips.

3. Pool or lake? Pool! I live in FL so while I love lakes – GATORS, and brain-eating amoeba that goes up your nose and kills you so NOPE.

4. Favorite flavor of ice cream? Oooh I love most flavors of ice cream. Coffee, pistachio, cookie dough, even vanilla…I like it all.

5. Ice cream cone or in a dish? If it’s really hot, then a dish because I can’t eat it fast enough before it melts. If it’s a little cooler then a cone because…mmmm cones. 

6. Flip flops or slides? I guess flip flops but I usually just wear sneakers.

7. Jean shorts or jean capris? Shorts. I’m only 5 feet tall so capris make me look chopped in half lol

8. Favorite summer fruit? I LOVE fruit of any kind but I guess watermelon for summer. I feel hydrated after I eat it when it’s hot.

9. Corn on the cob or cut off the cob? On the cob – loads of butter and a little salt. Even if it’s super messy. And we always leave one row for the dogs who nibble when we’re done :-)

10. Favorite summertime song? I love The Boys of Summer by Don Henley but the song that makes me all summery – happy is Island in the Sun by Weezer. The video is adorable. Puppies. Kittens. Baby animals!

11. Favorite summertime activity? Olympic style couch sitting and ice water drinking. I mean…I’m in FL. I just try not to move much until October lol

12. Favorite berry? I love all berries! Sadly, our berry season is in the late winter/early fall. (basically winter is my summer)

*Do you sense a theme?? I like food lol

13. Bikinis, tankinis or one pieces? I own them all but I guess it depends where I’m going. At home – bikini, to the beach or public pools – probably a tankini or one piece. I usually wear a swim guard shirt too to protect myself from the sun so it doesn't really matter.

14. Dresses or skirts? I have just recently started wearing skirts and dresses. It still feels weird to me but it is a heck of a lot cooler than wearing shorts.

15. One word to describe summer? HOOOOOOOOOT

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

tell me something tuesday: goals and favorites so far

Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging.

Question: Midyear update – favorite reads and goal progress


I’ll start with GOALS:

I’m not big on setting very rigid goals but I do the Goodreads reading challenge and for 2018 I REALLY wanted to tackle my physical TBR pile. So how is that going?

Goodreads Challenge:

My goal is 100 books for the year and I’m at 86 so boo-ya! I’m kicking Goodreds challenge butt!

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Karen has read 86 books toward her goal of 100 books.

* Hits publish and doesn't finish another book this year and fails challenge lol

TBR Reading:

I started 2018 with about 89 physical books to read. My goal was to get down to 50-ish before I go to ALA next week.

I haven’t done an official count since last month but had hit 50 then and I’ve read even more – so I’m going to guess I’m around 40-ish physical books on my TBR pile. This makes me happy, HAPPY. HAPPY! And such a stress reducer. I don’t feel pressured reading anymore and it’s heavenly.

Talk to me again when I get back from ALA with more books though lol


Now, this is where I’m faltering. Some days I feel like I have a lot to say and loads of ideas for posts.

Actually sitting down and writing any of it??? No urge. It’s hot and I’m having more fun playing in my garden. I really hope this phase passes because I started the year having fun blogging again and had 3 posts per week – which felt like a manageable schedule. But now even that is a struggle. Maybe I’ll come back refreshed after ALA.

Favorite reads:


Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett – to me, she’s the undisputed Queen of contemporary YA. Her books are quirky, sweet and relatable.

Favorite New Author:


Talia Hibbert – A Girl Like Her and Wanna Bet – Sexy, witty, relatable romances that also tug at your heartstrings.

A few more books that I loved so far!


Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee – Demons, Chinese mythology and interesting relationship dynamics made this one a winner

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake – Beautiful LGBQT, MG novel about self discovery, first crushes and family


Saga, Vol. 1 (Saga #1) by Brain K. Vaughn (writer), Fiona Staples (Artist) – I’m new to graphic novels and this was one of the first that I read. Loved the art and the writing but more importantly the relationships and gravity of the situation shined through on every page.

Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer – This M/M, NA romance kind of gutted me more before putting the pieces back together again. LOVED it!

Books I kind of hated but maybe loved??


The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black – I’m not a fan of the fae but I liked Black’s twist when it came to the heroine and her sister. But I found the fae to be cliche and little more than an elite group of frats kids pulling hazing pranks. Even so, I kind of want to keep reading the series.

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena – I had read several books like this previously so, for me, it didn’t really stand out and the mulpitle POV’s/timelines were jarring but it has a lot to say about rape culture, misogyny, double standards, religion and mental health. It is set in in Saudi Arabia but it would be foolish to think it doesn’t apply to all of us.

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Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi – the story was a little unfocused, the male protagonist annoying, and ultimately I felt like I was mislead and left hanging when it came to the romance but it was realistic and for some reason I can’t stop thinking about it and wanting to revisit Penny and Sam to see how they’re doing now.

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo – Clara is a seriously unlikable protagonist for much of this book but the heartfelt family dynamics and romance totally won me over and I even ended up liking Clara.

The Handsome Girl & Her Beautiful Boy by B.T. Gottfred – This is going to be a polarizing book. Gottfred explores masculinity/femininity/sexuality as Zee and Art uncover new sides of themselves and how they fit into a world that says they are wrong. This author often uses offensive language to get to where he’s going and I imagine Zee & Art’s experience isn’t everyone’s and may even be problematic. but this book pissed me off and made me think sooo…

How are you all doing with your goals so far?

What are your faves?

Monday, June 11, 2018

monday minis

Happy Monday!

I’ve been reading so many books lately that leave me with all kinds of conflicted feelings and TBH – I kind of hate that?? I like nice, tidy HEA’s. I know that’s not realistic or whatever but that’s what I want from my reading – an escape into unrealistic happiness. lol

Having said that – these three books made me question myself the whole time I was reading and even for days after so I still count it as a win. And - all end on a happy note.

So let’s dive in!

The Handsome Girl & Her Beautiful Boy
By B.T. Gottfred

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Everyone assumes that Zee is a lesbian. Her classmates, her gym buddies, even her so-called best friend. So many people think that Zee likes girls, even Zee is starting to wonder. Could they be onto something?

Everyone assumes that Art is gay. They take one look at his nice clothes and his pretty face and think: well, obviously.

But there's more to Zee and Art than anyone realizes. When Art first meets Zee, he knows he's found someone special--someone magical. Zee may not be able to see that magic in herself, but Art is bound and determined to show it to her.
What develops is a powerful connection between two people who are beautiful in all the ways they've been told are strange. As they explore their own complexities in gender, sexuality, and identity, they fall for the complexities they find in each other. 

With his trademark frankness, B.T. Gottfred delves inside both characters' heads in this story about love and living authentically. ~ Goodreads

My thoughts: This is by far – one of the strangest books I’ve read in a really long time. Art – the “beautiful boy” comes on strong….like really strong. I wasn’t sure if he was adorable or should be arrested for possible stalking. I mean – I can’t explain it – he’s not aggressive in anyway but all of his feelings come out in one giant, honest word vomit – all the time.

THGaHBB explores fluidity in both gender/sexuality, and gender roles and while there's a romance I found it more to be about chosen family and discovering the identities and relationships that work for you, even if they aren’t conventional.

This book is a bit of an emotional roller coaster and I honestly thought I hated it for a bit – then thought I loved it so….I don’t know. That’s not helpful lol (btw – Goodreads is pretty conflicted as well) and as a cishet, white chick – I can’t speak tot he accuracy of these portrayal’s or if they might be offensive to the LGBQT community.

Also, his characters often say offensive things. While I felt they went the went unchallenged and that bothered me in his previous book - The Nerdy and the Dirty - I think there was character growth and either self examination or being called out on it in this book. But it might be something that bothers another reader.

If you do take a chance on it – make sure to read to the very end – even the acknowledgments as Zee and Art make a few more appearances.

The Astonishing Color of After
By Emily X.R. Pen

Source: Library

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

My thoughts: A stunning novel about mental illness and family that uses magical realism (Leigh believes her mother became a bird when she died) and bursts of color to evoke emotions and bridge the gap between cultures to heal broken relationships.

Magical realism rarely works for me. I can’t seem to just go with it but I was totally swept away by Pan’s descriptions and prose.

I will say that is a quiet journey of a book and at times felt like it could have been pared down a bit for more emotional impact but still lovely and one of the better books about mental illness/suicide that I’ve read.

Feels Like Summer (Summer Storm #2)
by Sex de los Reyes

Source: Kindle Unlimited

Five-minute girlfriend. That's what Jett signs up for when she meets Adrian and his band Arabella at beach music festival Summer Storm. One kiss and the attraction is too electric to ignore, but Jett has no room for love and Adrian is Mr. Relationship who's getting over his recent breakup. The solution? Keep it simple. Keep it casual. For three months (that's the rule about breakups, right?), Jett helps Adrian move on and Adrian shows up on Jett's bed whenever she wants.

Then the three months are up and neither of them are in a hurry to be the first to leave. Does Jett walk away from a potential disaster or does she finally let someone into her closely-guarded heart?

My thoughts: I loved this one! What starts out as a very brief – 5 minutes! – fake relationship to show Adrian's ex that he’s moved on, becomes a 3 month project for Jett to *fix* Adrian so he can regain confidence and move on to a healthy relationship after the end things.

It only takes a few encounters to see that Jett is the one carrying the baggage of ex who has worn her down into thinking she’s unlovable and she needs Adrian more than he needs her.

Jett is stubborn as hell avoiding her feelings for Adrian but his calm steady presence had me hooked. He sticks with her no matter what – but doesn’t put up with her passive aggressive bullshit either. I adored them both.

Great conflict – that was agonizing while it was happening but a happy ending that left me smiling and downloading more books by this new to me author.

From the Ashes (Fires of Redemption Book #1)
By Xen Sanders

Source: Purchased

Sociopath. Killer. Deviant.

Monster, devoid of morals, incapable of human emotion. The villain known as Spark has been called this and more, and as a super-powered aberrant has masterminded countless crimes to build his father's inhuman empire. Yet to professor Sean Archer, this fearsome creature is only Tobias Rutherford--antisocial graduate researcher, quiet underachiever, and a fascinating puzzle Sean is determined to solve.

But one kiss leads to an entanglement that challenges everything Tobias knows about himself, aberrants, and his own capacity to love. When his father orders him to assassinate a senator, one misstep unravels a knot of political intrigue that places the fate of humans and aberrants alike in Tobias's hands. As danger mounts and bodies pile higher, will Tobias succumb to his dark nature and sacrifice Sean--or will he defy his father and rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains?

My thoughts: I've enjoyed other books (romances) written by Xen under the name Cole McCade (Autumn, His Cocky Valet). This one sounded a little different and exactly what I was looking for.

I don't want to say too much because of spoilers but this was an interesting look at nature vs nurture and the power to choose ones destiny rather than blindly following what you've been told.

Add in star crossed lovers & super villains trying to ignite a war and you end up with a rather surprisingly quiet little story but one that makes you question the MC's morality and if redemption is possible even after you have committed horrifying acts of evil. Like for real evil - not just killed a few people here and there in battle.

And of course a few exciting superhero/villain fight scenes!

This says Fires of Redemption Book #1 but I don't see anything about a sequel. That's too bad because I'd love to read more about this world and especially Sean's past.