A DNF Round-up{11}

A DNF Round-up{11}


DNF Round-Up is a feature in which I talk about my latest books I marked as did-not-finish and reflect upon why they didn’t work for me.

1. Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin

Dearest Clementine


source: Free on Kindle
Where I stopped: page 88


Twenty-year-old Clementine Avery doesn’t mind being called bitchy and closed off. It’s safe, and after being burned by her high school sweetheart and stalked by a professor her freshman year of college, safe sounds pretty damn good.

Her number one rule for survival? No dating. That is until she accidentally signs up for a romance writing class and needs material for her latest assignment. Sexy RA Gavin Murphy is more than happy to play the part of book boyfriend to help Clem find some inspiration, even if that means making out…in the name of research, of course.

As Gavin and Clem grow closer, they get entangled in the mystery surrounding a missing Boston University student, and Clem unwittingly becomes a possible target. Gavin tries to show Clem she can handle falling in love again, but she knows she has to be careful because her heart’s at stake…and maybe even her life.

Why I DNF-ed:

This wasn’t bad, but it was just SO. STANDARD. NA heroine with a rough past that gives her intimacy issues but oh wait, here’s this super hot guy who will take the time to get to know her. Just not really what I’m interested in reading as far as NA goes. I will say that the love interest was slightly more original in that he wasn’t the growly alpha male type, but I also found him rather boring. Not to mention I didn’t understand their attraction to each other at all.

2. Those Girls by Lauren Saft

Those Girls

source: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my final opinion of the work.
Where I stopped: At 30%


 Some girls will always have your back, and some girls can’t help but stab you in it.Junior year, the suburbs of Philadelphia. Alex, Mollie and Veronica are those girls: they’re the best of friends and the party girls of the school. But how well does everybody know them–and really, how well do they know one another? Alex is secretly in love with the boy next door and has joined a band–without telling anyone. Mollie suffers from a popular (and possibly sociopathic) boyfriend, as well as a serious mean streak. And Veronica just wants to be loved–literally, figuratively, physically….she’s not particular. Will this be the year that bonds them forever….or tears them apart for good?

Lauren Saft masterfully conveys what goes on in the mind of a teenage girl, and her debut novel is raw, honest, hilarious, and thought-provoking, with a healthy dose of heart.

Why I DNF-ed:

I’m a sucker about mean, unlikable girls–it’s why I love Courtney Summer’s novels and Before I Fall. I love when authors pull back the layers on the “unlikable” girls to reveal complex inner lives and powerful writing. That’s what I thought I’d get with Those Girls. The thing is. . . *Those Girls* are mean, but they’re not that complex, and they’re pretty. . . well, boring. The main characters in this book were vapid and shallow. . . by which I mean, they were shallow character-wise, not that they were intentionally written to be shallow. One girl has a lot of sex. One girl has a jerk of a boyfriend. One girl joins a band and smokes a lot, I guess. They’re catty, but there’s no depth. I love dark, gritty, contemporary books, but this isn’t it.

3. Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat

Between the Notes


source: I received an electronic advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Where I stopped: 20%


 When Ivy Emerson’s family loses their house—complete with her beloved piano—the fear of what’s to come seizes her like a bad case of stage fright. Only this isn’t one of her single, terrifying performances. It’s her life.

And it isn’t pretty.

Ivy is forced to move with her family out of their affluent neighborhood to Lakeside, also known as “the wrong side of the tracks.” Hiding the truth from her friends—and the cute new guy in school, who may have secrets of his own—seems like a good idea at first. But when a bad boy next door threatens to ruin everything, Ivy’s carefully crafted lies begin to unravel . . . and there is no way to stop them.

As things get to the breaking point, Ivy turns to her music, some unlikely new friends, and the trusting heart of her disabled little brother. She may be surprised that not everyone is who she thought they were . . . including herself.

Debut author Sharon Huss Roat crafts a charming and timely story of what happens when life as you know it flips completely upside down.

Why I DNF-ed:

Sigh. I got sucked in by the pretty cover & the fact the main character plays the piano. My brain somehow skipped merrily over the part where the main character has to move to the “bad” side of town after growing up super privileged, which isn’t my kind of story at all. . . or at least not how it’s portrayed here. I know the summary says affluent neighborhood, but I guess I kinda thought this would be more about a semi-comfortable, but still middle class, family having to deal with a stroke of bad luck. Not so. Ivy’s definitely from a *wealthy* family, and the judgements and prejudice she has the entire time just annoyed me. Now, except for my very first job, every. single. job. or internship I’ve had has been at a poverty relief non-profit, so I KNOW this is realistic. . .  but I still don’t want to read about a whiny main character having to “see the light” about her judgements of poor people. And yes, I’m sure she goes throughout the book, but for me I didn’t really care about her journey to that point.



June 2015 Wrap-Up

June 2015 Wrap-Up


 WOW was June a blur! First: I got into grad school! I shared that news in a Sunday wrap-up. I’m going to start classes part-time in August to work towards a Masters of Library Science degree!(Also, I realized I never mentioned that my declared concentration is in archival studies). So trying to get that stuff squared away has taken up quite a bit of time. June’s been kinda long.



I was going to say I didn’t really watch anything this month, but you know what I DID watch? Serenity, the movie follow-up to Firefly(which I’ve watched multiple times). For some reason I’ve always had trouble getting my hands on a copy of the movie and WOW. I had been spoiled for one big plot point before watching, but there was a LOT revealed. And once again, it made me weep for Firefly’s short life. So many hints of interesting plot lines that could have happened.



June’s playlist:


Some often-played songs:

A Room of Her Own-Life Swimming

I’m slightly obsessed with this upbeat song.

Fall-Cider Sky

I feel like every month I’m sharing another Cider Sky song! Seriously, friends, they’re stuff is GOOD.


Hometown-Twenty One Pilots

I think this is my favorite song from the new Twenty One Pilots album.






June was a pretty good reading month!(probably because it felt so LONG. I felt like it would never end!) 10 books read and only 1 DNF. Plus, TWO 5 star reads. That’s always exciting.

5 star Reads:

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgewick

4 star Reads:

Underneath Everything by Marcy Paul Beller
What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

3 Star Reads:

She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgewick
The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
First & Then by Emma Mills

2 star Reads:


1 star & DNF Reads:

 Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat(DNF)


I reviewed Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu, which I thought was a great book that seems to have mostly flown under the radar.

I also shared some more recommendations for various things(always one of my favorite posts!)

I also had fun putting together my list of 10 books I’m anticipating for the rest of 2015!



Eliot has discovered he can reach the bookshelf. #catsofinstagram #booksandcats

A photo posted by Stormy Campbell (@stormydawnc) on

Today’s surprise mail: a signed bookplate for All the Rage! #alltherage #bookmail A photo posted by Stormy Campbell (@stormydawnc) on


I actually don’t have anything that caught my eye this month–I haven’t been around as much on my normal internet spheres due to busyness.

Favorites favbook      

I’m torn between Midwinterblood & Illuminae! Though, if I have to pick. . . I think I’d go with Midwinterblood just because I think the story “stayed” with me longer.



   If a life can be ruined in a single moment, a moment of betrayal, or violence, or ill luck, then why can a life not also be saved, be worth living, be made, by just a few pure moments of perfection?

From Midwinterblood


See, this is why I used to keep a journal and I’m trying to get back into the habit–because otherwise, things just become a blur. I have a mostly positive association with June, but for the life of me I’m having trouble remembering specific things that happened. It was a mostly good month, though!


Top Ten Books I’ve Read so far in 2015{Top Ten Tuesday}

Top Ten Books I’ve Read so far in 2015{Top Ten Tuesday}

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, which features (you guessed it!) top ten lists on a given topic each week. This week’s topic is. . . .Top Ten Books I’ve Read so far in 2015. These are in no particular order, because there’s no way I could rank them, and I’m also not including any re-reads.

1. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy


I want to give this book a million hugs! I was actually kinda on the fence about reading Dumplin’, because Side Effects May Vary was my most anticipated debut of 2014. . . and I was really disappointed by it, sad to say. However, I will be singing Dumplin’s praise for months! I loved main character Willowdean so much, how she was *mostly* happy with herself while also having moments of insecurity and how she wanted to love her body but sometimes she just got down about things. It was so spot-on and perfect and I highly recommend putting it on your TBR!

2. Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

Not Otherwise Specified

Not Otherwise Specified is not my normal kind of read, but it was free on pulseit.com one weekend & I gave it a shot. It’s written stream-of-conscious style, which generally makes me cringe, but for some reason I just found it SO easy to get into Etta’s voice. . . and then I didn’t want to leave. I enjoyed SO many things about this book and I’m sad it’s been flying under the radar!

3. All the Rage by Courtney Summers


THIS BOOK. Courtney Summers always writes great novels, but I think this is by far her best, and it SLAYED ME. It’s harsh and tough to read, and you WILL feel All the Rage when reading, but it’s also so perfect in its portrayal of what it’s so often like to deal with a unspoken culture that refuses to give girls the safety they deserve.

4.A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade final for Irene

I love A Darker Shade of Magic because it’s so FUN. I mean, it’s dark at times. This is not a happy go-lucky-fantasy. There are the creepiest villains ever, mind you. There are high stakes, but there’s also swashbuckling and parallel dimensions and it’s a marvel of fantasy world-building. It’s EXACTLY the kind of fantasy I love to read.

5. Atonement by Ian McEwan


On the other hand, Atonement is a super not-happy book, but it’s SO GOOD. I thought it was a really fast-paced book for literary fiction(since those books tend to be rather on the slow side), and even though I saw the ending coming, for me it didn’t take anything away from the story at all. I felt I totally GOT the characters and the themes of story and truth. I was surprised I loved this book because I didn’t like the previous Ian McEwan book I read, but I realize why Atonement is considered a modern classic now.

6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus

The Night Circus is one of those books that just felt it was WRITTEN for me. There’s subtle blending of magic, reality, and history. There’s an enchanting circus and the people that work within it. There’s beautiful writing that I totally would have loved EVEN IF I hated the plot(luckily, I loved the plot). I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book!

7. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Rest of Us Just Live Here UK

Patrick Ness never disappoints, but I think The Rest of Us Just Live Here may be my favorite book of his after A Monster Calls. It’s so clever and real. It feels much more contemporary than his usual writing(though there are science fiction elements, they’re in the background) and I absolutely loved the premise of this book. Luckily, everything else that followed afterwards was great too.

8. Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman


Illuminae wasn’t a book I KNEW I wanted so much, but oh man, am I glad this book exists. It’s very clever science fiction that uses a found documents technique and does so VERY WELL. I read half the book before I realized I had such a great sense of these characters from only reports, instant messages, and a few journal entries here and there. It’s relentless and despite how large it is, you don’t want to put it down.

9. Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgewick


Midwinterblood has a similar feel to The Night Circus, in my opinion. Midwinterblood is definitely a little darker, but they both give me this same sleepy, enchanted feeling. Very fairytale-esque. This is such a beautiful story about love and sacrifice that feels authentic and not at all cheesy.

10. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

the start of me and you

Okay, I guess I am ranking my books a little, because this was actually a 4 star read for me. However, it’s my favorite of the 4 stars I’ve given this year. I am convinced that Emery Lord can do no wrong when it comes to contemporary YA. I loved these characters so much, including the romance, and it made my heart ridiculously happy.

LET’S CHAT: Do we share any favorites at the halfway point through this year?


Book Review: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Review: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Maybe in Another Life

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Maybe in Another Life

Expected Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press

Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
View at the Traffic light:



From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.


I haven’t read any of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s previous books, but I’m always a sucker for a good parallel reality story. Maybe in Another Life is a pretty interesting take on the genre, and I liked it. I understand why I’ve heard good things about Reid’s writing before. It’s not the most flashy or beautiful, but there’s something almost comforting about it, like a good friend handed me a cup of coffee and we sat on her sofa and she told me this story. It’s “relatable”, even though I’m not a fan of that word, and engaging.

Main character Hannah is kinda a mess. . . but she’s trying. Trying to get her life together, trying to figure things out, trying, trying. Sometimes her actions made me wince, but I couldn’t help but to love her anyway. I think there’s just something universal in Hannah’s struggle about trying to figure it all out. And I loved seeing the similarities between Hannah’s “two lives”! It was like having a small puzzle going on in the back of my head the entire time while reading.

I also really liked what Maybe in Another Life has to say about lives, choices, and fate. Hannah may believe in fate, but that doesn’t mean her two separate lives played out perfectly. Sometimes there were similarities, while other times they were quite different. As far as Hannah’s romantic entanglements went, I definitely appreciated one of her “lives” over the other(Henry the nurse all the way), but I understood where Hannah was coming from in each scenario.

The best part about this book, though, was Hannah’s friendship with Gabby. I LOVED seeing such a strong friendship between two women on the cusp on their thirties! So often I feel whenever I read anything other than YA, the friendships become. . . muted, almost. I guess that makes sense sometimes, since relationships of all can seem more intense as a teenager, but WOW did I love this friendship. It was so spot-on. I loved that there were hard conversations included when Gabby called Hannah out on something she had done, and moments of laughter and everything in between.

The one thing I wish had been more of a focus is Hannah’s feelings towards her career or lack thereof. It does get sometime in the book, but it’s majorly pushed to the side in favor of the romance and friendship. I don’t think it needed to be a major component, but I would have appreciated a little more inclusion. I also felt a lack of personal connection at times. It was relatable, so to speak, but it wasn’t a story that really grabbed my heart. I liked it, and I would recommend it, but I’m not sure I would read it again.


Maybe in Another Life is an interesting story about chances, fate, and creating your life. There’s a lot to like here, from the personal writing style to the friendship, but I didn’t fall head over heels. 3/5 cupcakes.



3 Stars

The Sunday Wrap-Up{87}

The Sunday Wrap-Up{87}


My Week

I started out the week by baby-sitting my youngest niece for the day(she’s 4) and WOW did that exhaust me. 4-year-olds have so much energy! I don’t know why it hit me so hard because I used to work with kids, but then again the kids I worked with were generally between 6 and 11, so four’s still on the young side. Though, because I was away at college for most of her life so far, she’s always been shy around me when she’s typically not shy at all, and I think I can safely say after Monday that shyness has left.

I also went to bingo on Thursday night with my dad and stepmom, which will never fail to crack me up for some reason. Anyway, I did not win, but I did get really close twice, which was kinda exciting after playing game after game of very sad bingo cards.


On Book Blog Bake

 It was a quiet week on the blog this week, which was unintentional. I schedule post in advance, and sometimes it’s a bit. . . haphazard. On the blog:

Monday I reviewed The Witch Hunter. It was a quick & entertaining read, but mostly forgettable.
Tuesday I shared my top ten TTT topics.


 Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway


I did not buy any books this week, but I did receive Tonight the Streets Are Ours and First & Then from NetGalley, both of which I’m VERY excited about.

 Question of the Week:

 It’s getting tough to think of more questions after doing this for about a year and a half(I believe that’s when I added the question of the week). I’m pretty sure I sometimes repeat them(but that’s okay, because the answers could change, I suppose). Hmm. Do you play any instruments? I played the piano & clarinet growing up, and I took a basic guitar class in college, but I was not very good at that one.