Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Were Hard For Me To Read

Hey, y'all! This is my first ever TOP TEN TUESDAY post and I'm super excited to join in the fun! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish. Today's theme is all about books that are hard to read for whatever reason... subject matter, obnoxious characters, poor writing, boring, hits too close to home emotionally, whatever the case may be. In no particular order, here are my choices:

1. Gone by Lisa McMann
Gone is the third book in the Dream Catcher Series and in my opinion, it is one of the worst endings to a trilogy I have ever read. Seriously. I wanted to chuck the book at the wall several times throughout it and the ending? Ugh. Just ugh. I will never read that series again now that I know how craptastic the ending was and that's a real shame because the first two books were good! *smh*

2. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
I know that these books have become a phenomenon and middle-aged women all over the country are panting in anticipation of the upcoming movie, but I just don't get it. Christian Grey is abusive and damaged but hey, he makes a load of money so let's ignore all of that! I know that by the end of the series, Christian has really grown and changed but I'd have been out the door way before we ever reached that point.

3. The Lovely Bones by Alive Sebold
Talk about depressing... now that I'm a mama, and even before, books about the deaths of children and teens bothered me. Same with animal cruelty, it's just really hard for me to go there. While this book is beautifully written, it's just too sad for me and I know I'll never crack the spine of it again. Ever.

4. I Swear by Lane Davis
As a high school counselor, books about bullying really hit home for me. It saddens me that young people feel that there is no better answer than taking their own lives and it kills me how very cruel, mean, and heartless some kids can be to one another. I knew this book would be hard for me going in and then couple that with a disgusting and hate-worthy character in Macie, the main mean girl, and this book pissed me off, rubbed me the wrong way, and made me really, really sad.

5. Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
Another trigger topic for me is domestic violence and abusive relationships, especially when the victims are teenage girls. It saddens me so much that some young girls, and women, allow themselves to be treated this way. I pity the sense of helplessness and hopelessness that they must feel to continue to remain in such damaging relationships. This book ended strong though with a positive message of hope, I just don't think I would ever want to read it through again.

6. Miracle by Elizabeth Scott
This book has SO MUCH potential but there were two things that killed it for me. The first was a true struggle to connect emotionally with Megan, the main character. I just could not get there with her for some reason. The second was Megan's parents who made me want to climb into the book and smack them around a few hundred times because they were just clueless about how to help her. Drove me (and the counselor inside) absolutely insane.

7. A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
I love the Game of Thrones series but this book, the fourth book, was a total snoozefest. It dragged by soooo slowly and when a book is that freakin' large, dragging means you could be reading it for weeks! And that's exactly what happened to me, it took me over 7 weeks to finish that book. You know something is wrong when that's the case.

8. Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return) by L. J. Smith
The Vampire Diaries series was never by any means literary genius at work, but they were entertaining reads that kept me engaged and interested. However, The Return series just went downhill as it went along, and this third book was utter rubbish. Getting through it was painstakingly awful and while I don't agree with the higher ups' choice to continue the series with a ghost writer, I can kind of understand why they decided they didn't need any more installments written by Smith.

9. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Again, the Twilight Series is hardly a literary classic, but I was quite invested in the story and was a proud Team Edward member. (Gosh, remember those days?!) Breaking Dawn, however, was a total disappointment in how it ended and then there's the awful and disgusting birthing scene. Ew. And don't get me started on the creepy imprint.

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
Yes, it seems insane that this would pop up on a list of books that I mostly didn't like or that hit an emotional cord with me. This book is here for an entirely different reason... this was hard for me to read because I never, ever wanted Harry Potter to end. Finishing the book was bittersweet in that I loved it and loved the ending and loved knowing what all happened to the characters I was so invested in... but then it was over and that was so sad. I'll admit there were tears. Potterhead for life. Always.

Swooning on Saturday

Book boyfriends *sighhhhh*. Every female reader has them and I've decided to start a new thing where I post some truly swoon-worthy material from some of the best book boyfriends around. It won't be a weekly thing, just something I do when the mood strikes me. And boy, has the mood struck me today! I have a certain steamy male from Ignited by Corrine Jackson to thank because when I read this passage, I just KNEW I had to post about it. Get ready to feel faint, ladies! This boy is a keeper:

"This is me giving you fair warning that I'm going to chase you with everything I have, and when you decide to let me catch you, you'll never doubt how much I love you. Even when I become a weak human and you can kick my ass six ways to Sunday." pg. 129

This series has a couple swoon-worthy dudes but this guy wins my heart. You really, really, REALLY should read this series to find out why!

Click here for information!

The Problem with Ugly Covers

People say you shouldn't judge a book by its' cover but let's face it, we do it ALL. THE. TIME. Whether we're standing in an aisle at Barnes & Noble, or perusing our friends' updates on Goodreads, the covers of books heavily determine what piques our interest, or what we choose to completely overlook. This is making me sad today because a series that I'm reading, The Sense Thieves Trilogy by Corrine Jackson, is so amazingly good, but it doesn't seem like that many people are reading it or have even HEARD of it. And the reason I say this is because the second and third book of the trilogy each only have under 800 ratings on Goodreads which we all know is low for that site. The first book though has around 3,400 ratings, a much more respectable number. I'm about to tell you my theory on why...

Here is a picture of the covers of the second book, Pushed, and the third book, Ignited:

Okay... these aren't the WORST covers in the world but let's face it, they're darn sure not the best looking either. Someone on Goodreads described them as "cheap looking" and I think that's a great description. I also just don't think the covers fit the series at all. I get absolutely no feeling from these that this series is going to be something spectacular and had I not read the first book previously, I would totally overlook these and never would have been introduced to the amazing world that Corrine Jackson created. In my opinion, whoever designed these covers needs to get a new job, stat. Seriously, ewwww. 

The first book, Touched, had a better cover but clearly the publishers decided to go in a different direction with the second and third books in terms of design... it's a shame cause the direction they went was not a positive one. Here's a pic of the first book:

Still not my favorite cover of all time, but WAY better than the ones that follow it. I'd have picked this up and checked it out if I saw it. In fact, seeing it on an ARC tour site led me to read the description and subsequently sign up for the tour. So happy I did cause this series is awesomesauce. I just started the third and final book in the trilogy, Ignited, and I'm so excited to see where things go. I'm not typically a "ship-jumper" when it comes to love triangles, but the second book had me totally falling in love with the other guy which REALLY surprised me. I don't know if I'm alone in that feeling or not but I'm really hoping to see the protagonist choose the dude I want to see her with. 

Anywho... please check this series out if you haven't. Ignore the fugly covers and judge these based on the descriptions. Seriously, this series is GREAT. For information on Touched, the first book, click here. And trust me, this series gets better and better, even if I want to go old school and put a paper bag book cover over them *grin*. Happy Reading!

Mama Knows Best!

As a new parent, you will find yourself simply inundated with well-meaning advice and opinions from family members, friends, acquaintances, pediatricians, even complete STRANGERS. At first, you soak up everything that's said to you and find yourself running to Google for constant confirmation. And guess what? You end up hearing SO MUCH conflicting information, you end up wanting to bash your head against the wall. In addition to the confusing nature of a thousand different voices and ideas in your head, it can be annoying when people are constantly trying to tell you what to do, what they did, and what you're doing wrong. My solution?

Learn to trust yourself.

This isn't the easiest lesson to learn but trust me, once you start listening to your inner voice and your own mother's intuition, you're going to be a much happier and confident mama. The first time I strayed from advice that I was getting from SO MANY PEOPLE was when it came to sleep training. Everyone and their grandma insisted that "crying-it-out" (CIO) was the end all and be all when it came to successful sleep training. My mother-in-law, pediatrician, coworkers, friends, acquaintances, online mamas in my Facebook mom's group, everyone was pushing me to let Emma CIO. So I tried it... one horrible, horrible night that I will probably regret for the rest of my life. Letting my sweet baby cry so hard and ignoring it went against every feeling I had inside of me. That experience opened my eyes to the truth: no one, and I mean no one, knows what is better for your baby than you do. Does my daughter still suck at sleeping in her crib and end up in my bed every night? Yep. And the truth is that I couldn't be happier about that because I know that we're doing what is right for our family right now. 

Just this past weekend, my husband's entire family went out to dinner at a nice restaurant for his grandma's birthday. We were not in attendance because we didn't have a sitter since my mom was out of town. I KNOW many people in his family didn't agree with our choice and thought we should have just brought our daughter with us. My response? Nope! My kiddo is wonderful but she gets bored easily and evening is already her most cranky-prone time of the day (as it is for most infants!). Going out to dinner at a restaurant just wouldn't be enjoyable right now, plus she's still not eating table food. No thank you! I'm not paying that much money for a meal out that my husband and I are not going to enjoy. Maybe that makes me sound like a selfish brat, but it is what it is. As a parent, you have to know what you're willing to do, and what you're not.

And do not even get me started on the table food debate... I am so tired of our grandmothers trying to tell us what worked for all their kids. Great for you, that's awesome. But I'm doing things my way and really don't need to hear for the umpteenth time how you never did pureed foods. I'm too nice to tell them to piss off because, respect your elders and all, but trust me on this: that crap goes in one ear and right out the other. My daughter is still choking on puffs. We'll get there when we get there. Raising a kid shouldn't be a race, kids hit developmental milestones when they're ready, not when mama, daddy, or grandma are ready. Not all moms may agree with me on that and that's kind of the point I'm making here... we're all free to parent the way that we see fit. 

So the next time you're in the store and you opt for the flavored yogurt rather than the plain stuff the pediatrician recommended, the daycare provider insists that your baby should go to the doctor because she thinks she or he has an ear infection but you see no sign of it and your baby seems right as rain to you, or you find yourself rocking your 8-month old to sleep even though everyone tells you they're too old for that, know that you are not alone and YOU ARE RIGHT. When it comes to what is best for that baby that you are raising, who you love more than life itself, who you would jump in front of a speeding bus for... you know what is best. Mother's intuition is a very real thing but it doesn't just develop fully overnight. It will grow and adapt with you as you become more comfortable in your parenting role, or at least it did for me. I am a much more comfortable and confident mama than I was when I first brought her home from the hospital. 

Learning to trust myself has made me feel more in control and way happier... and now it's a whole lot easier to grin and bear it through the constant barrage of well-wishing advice givers. Cause really? Most people mean well so I just smile and nod and move on with my life. At the end of the day, the only people that truly matter when it comes to raising your child are you and your partner.

Waiting on Wednesday (47)


Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

Expected publication date: January 27, 2015 by Viking Juvenile

Gayle Forman is a brilliant writer so when I saw this book on Goodreads, I just KNEW I would have to read it. If you haven't read any of Forman's writing, you seriously need to rectify that immediately. I Was Here sounds absolutely heartbreaking, but also intriguing. And if it's anything like Forman's other books, I'll need some kleenex before it's all said and done. Ahhhhhh, I love great writing *smile*

Waiting on Wednesday (46)


Life loves a good curveball…

Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas's life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she's living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals' super-hot rookie pitcher.

But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.

But baseball isn't just a game. It's life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…

Expected publication date: October 7, 2014 by Entangled Teen

Woohoo! Saw this on Goodreads when a friend posted it and the cover immediately made me want to know more. Don't you LOVE how a good cover can do that?!? I really like the synopsis of the story too... hot boy, forbidden relationship, sassy protagonist. Check, check, CHECK! This one sounds fun and lighthearted, perfect for a jam-packed Fall. Enjoy! *XOXO*

New and Improved Design!

Karens Addictions

SQUEEEEEE! Check out the site, y'all! I've been majorly MIA because I've been waiting for the amazing and talented Lori from Imagination Designs to redesign the blog and look at what an incredible job she did, woohoo! I'm in love with my new site and hope y'all like it too. Karen's Addictions was in desperate need of an overhaul and I could not be more thrilled with the results. In fact, I'm so happy, I'm going to hold a contest! Stay tuned for info on that and more. Hope you all are having a fabulous week! *XOXO*
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