Amber Can Read : June 2018

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This month is a 2-for-1 special where I’m sharing what I read last month and my picks for the Book Challenge by Erin 9.0!

Books read this month : 4 

1. The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody


This one was okay. The premise was realistic enough, but it kind of dragged on and on during some parts. Recommended for anyone who likes YA fiction with some heavy themes (death being the primary one).

2. At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider

I’ve read her blog on occasion, so when I was browsing my public library’s eBooks app and saw this one, I decided to give it a go. It had some interesting insights about travelling the world with children, but I probably would have enjoyed it more if I was an avid fan of hers. Recommended for those who love to travel or enjoy reading about others’ self-discovery.

3. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella


I enjoyed this one a lot! It was funny but had a couple of good underlying messages, plus I was satisfied with the ending, which can make or break a book for me. Recommended for anyone who enjoys light reads or feels like the way we represent ourselves on social media is all a lie.

4. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

I’ve only watched their show a few times (#nocablelife), but I find them funny and likable. I enjoyed reading about their life before the show, including how they met and how they started to grow their business. Recommended for fans of the show or nerds like me who just love biographies/autobiographies.
And now for my Book Challenge by Erin 9.0 picks! I’ve written about the challenge before, and I encourage you to join the Facebook group if you’re interested in participating. This challenge starts on July 1 and will end on October 31!

• 5 points: Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages – The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

• 10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “N” – Newsworthy : The Supreme Court Battle over Privacy and Press Freedom by Samantha Barbas

• 10 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) orange cover – The Martian by Andy Weir


• 15 points: Read a book with an unlikeable character  – Dumplin‘ by Julie Murphy


• 20 points: Read a book from the list of 100 books that PBS calls “The Great American Read” – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


• 20 points: Read a book with something related to water in the title; i.e. ocean, sea, lake, river, waves, etc.The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro


• 25 points: Read a book you’ve owned the longest but haven’t read yet (or that has been on your goodreads “to read” list the longest, or has been sitting in your kindle the longest)…basically, read a book you’ve been meaning to read the longest but haven’t got to it yet. – The Shadow Scholar by Dave Tomar


• 30 points: Read a book with an emotion word in the title; i.e. joy, sadness, grief, love, anger, etc.  – A Little Something Different : Fourteen Viewpoints, One Love Story by Sandy Hall

• 30 points: Read a book (must be at least 2 words in the title) where each word in the title of the book begins with the same letter – Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

• 35 points: Read a book featuring a character who shares your profession or similar one – The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Lots of good books in my future!

Linking up with Steph and Jana

Amber Can Read : April 2018

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Books read this month : 5

I definitely did better this month than last month!

Book 1 : Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt

I’m usually a self-help book junkie, but this one was just okay. He had some good ideas about goal-setting, but since I didn’t take notes, I’ve already forgotten them! Might be worth a reread at some point in the future.

Book 2 : Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton

Oh Sue Grafton, I’m so sad that this will be your final book because it was so, so bad. It was long, full of graphic content, and pretty boring at times. Not recommended at all.

Book 3 : Crooked House by Agatha Christie

This was one of my Erin 8.0 challenge books, so it was something that I wouldn’t have normally chosen. However, I enjoyed it. I didn’t figure out the ending and was pleasantly surprised by the twist. It was definitely better than Y is for Yesterday! Recommended to fans of mystery novels.

Book 4 : The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

This was another Erin 8.0 selection (the challenge ends on April 30, so I’m trying to finish it!). This one was okay. I didn’t love the narrator and many of the characters on the ship, so I found it hard to have sympathy when things happened to some of them. Recommended if you’re into mysteries that kind of drag on…ha!

Book 5 : Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Yet another Erin 8.0 selection! I’ve got two more left to complete the challenge! I absolutely loved this book! I’ve seen a lot of criticism of the main characters, and I understand why, but I couldn’t put this one down. It has some heavy content, but I enjoyed it and how she chose to end it.

Have you read anything good lately? Let me know what you’ve read – whether you’ve liked it or not!

Linking up with Steph and Jana!

Amber Can Read : March 2018

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Amber Can Read

Books read this month : 2 

You can generally tell how my life is going by the number of books I’ve read in a month and how often I post on here. Since I only read 2 books last month and this is just my second post in March, I’ll let you be the judge of how everything is right now!

Book 1 : Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Ugh. I should’ve just read the first one in this trilogy and called it a day. Books two (reviewed in February) and this one were both terrible! I feel like Kwan tried to pack too much into both of the books and got away from the snarky humor that I loved so much in the first one. Plus, this one felt like it ended on a little bit of a cliffhanger. Cliffhanger may not be the right word, but something was revealed that just seemed thrown in and could’ve been more fully explored. I don’t recommend this one at all.

Book 2 : The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

On a recent quiet afternoon at work, my friend showed me the movie trailer for this and then insisted that I needed to read it. I checked it out with the intention to get to it after my huge stack of things that I’ve had checked out since December (for the Erin 8.0 challenge). Instead, I read this one in two days, staying up ridiculously late one night to finish it! Oops! It took me a little bit to get into because it’s written as letters, and I got a little confused about who the characters were (#toddlermombrain), but once things clicked for me, I didn’t want to put it down! I really enjoyed this one and recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction (World War II era…which is my favorite historical fiction era!) or anyone who likes a twist on a love story. She and I are planning to see the movie and hope it lives up to the book.

Here’s hoping to things calming a down a bit so I can read and write more often! Have you read anything good lately? Be sure to share your recent favorites with me so I can read them…eventually! 🙂

Linking up with Steph and Jana!

Amber Can Read : January 2018

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Time to talk about books again!

Books read this month : 9

Book 1 : Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

I really enjoyed this one! There were a lot of parts that resonated with me, but of course since I didn’t take notes or write anything down, I can’t remember any of them right now! Recommended for fans of funny, Christian based nonfiction.

Book 2 : Before We Were Yours  by Lisa Wingate

I started reading this one the night that Will met some friends to see The Last Jedi. When he got home, I told him I would just read another couple of chapters, but then I stayed up until past 2 AM to finish it! Oops! Recommended for those who like mysteries and don’t mind a story going between past and present.

Book 3 : The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

This one was not my favorite. Early in the book, the main female character described how the main male character could be ugly, and the author chose to use cleft lip as a descriptor of an ugly person. As a mother of a child who was born with a cleft lip, I may be oversensitive to things like this, but it immediately shut me down. I slogged through this one because one of my friends loves it, but I wouldn’t recommend this one at all.

Book 4 : Slider by Pete Hautman

A pretty quick read about a teenager who wants to be a competitive eating champion. Those who know me in real life know that I have a strange fascination with competitive eating. This story even mentioned some of the real eaters (Joey Chestnut!). It was fun, but I probably wouldn’t read it unless you have a bit of the same fascination and don’t mind some very…realistic…descriptions of what could happen during a contest.

Book 5 : The Wonder  by Emma Donoghue

I think this one is considered historical fiction, and it takes place in Ireland, so it may not be interesting to everyone, but I liked it! The premise of this involves what some may consider child abuse, so if that makes you uncomfortable, skip this one. Otherwise, I recommend it because it has a twist that I didn’t expect and enjoyed!

Book 6 : Cheap Girls Club  by Crystal Lacey Winslow

Will got this one for me for Christmas since we’re focusing on finances this year. I thought it was sweet of him to get it! There were a few times that I got a little lost – like when she detailed a business she used to have or still has…I’m not sure – but otherwise, it was full of practical and straightforward information. I recommend it if you like to read about personal finance without it being too detailed or boring.

Book 7 : A Life in Parts  by Bryan Cranston

The first of three Erin 8.0 challenge books I read! I am a sucker for celebrity biographies and autobiographies. I feel like I always learn something new about people, even when the books aren’t very well-written. Thankfully, this one was well-written and captured my attention, even as I started fighting sickness! Random Bryan Cranston fact – he had initially planned to be a police officer. Can you imagine Breaking Bad without him?? I recommend this for anyone who is a fan of his work or of celebrity books in general.

Book 8 : A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Okay, I know it’s only January 11, but I’m going to just go ahead and declare this my favorite book of the year!! I loved this one so, so much. If you read Beartown first, like I did, you are going to be in for a surprise when you read this one because it hardly seems like the same author! I can’t recommend this one enough! Stop reading this blog (okay, not really) and click that link and go buy it…or go borrow it from your local library! And if for some reason, you don’t like it, just don’t tell me, or I will judge you… 😉

Book 9 : Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Poor Bernadette. This book was perfectly fine – a little weird and draggy at parts – but perfectly fine. However, since I read it right after the best book of 2018, I knew that it probably would be a letdown. This one is okay. I don’t really recommend it or not recommend it.

Read anything good lately? Have you read A Man Called Ove? Don’t answer that unless you absolutely loved it too!

Linking up with Steph and Jana

Book Challenge by Erin 8.0

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Clicking on these links will not add any additional costs to items you order and helps support my blogging costs. Thank you!

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I have been writing this post for about a week now! Christmas (and the FIVE different celebrations we went to) has gotten me all thrown off of my schedule!

I can’t remember how I first heard about the Book Challenge by Erin, but I participated in the last one and am really excited about the upcoming challenge that starts January 1! I think it helped me read more because I was determined to finish the challenge, so I read instead of playing games on my phone…or cleaning…whatever.

Here are some of the rules for the challenge, straight from the Book Challenge by Erin Facebook group.

• First and foremost, have fun. Don’t stress. No one is being judged, graded, or penalized. Even if you finish only one book the entire challenge, if you enjoy it and it’s an accomplishment for you, then that’s awesome.

• The challenge will run from JANUARY 1, 2018 to APRIL 30, 2018. No books that are started before 12 a.m. on January 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on April 30 will count. (We live in different time zones – follow this according to your own time zone.)

• Each book must be at least 200 pages long. Audio books are fine too.

• A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once. If you want to switch the category of a book, or change the book you originally chose, no worries.

• You can read your books in any order you choose.

• Rereads can be used only once. If a book you love fits into a category, go ahead and visit it again. Read it in its entirety. But, only do this once for the challenge.

• There will be 10 book categories with a possibility of earning 200 points. That’s 10 books in four months. For some of you, this will be a BIG challenge; for others it will be easy peasy. It’s all for fun, remember!

• The first three people who finish the challenge will be invited to contribute a category for the next challenge. The following will get a small prize from me (1st to complete 1st round; 1st to complete both rounds; and WILD CARD random draw – all who finish the 10 book challenge will qualify as an entry!) Plus, everyone who completes the challenge will gets all sorts of recognition and support!

• Lastly, have fun. Don’t stress. No one is being judged, graded, or penalized. Even if you finish only one book the entire challenge, if you enjoy it and it’s an accomplishment for you, then that’s awesome. Wait, I’ve read that somewhere before…Good luck!

I didn’t finish first or get a wild card prize last time, but I still had a lot of fun participating! I also read a few things that I probably wouldn’t have read otherwise!

Here are the categories and points for this round, along with my selections for each category.

Book Challenge by Erin 8.0 – Categories:

• 5 points: Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages

My pick : In This Moment by Karen Kingsbury

Why I chose this one : Karen Kingsbury is totally my guilty pleasure author. If I’m going to read one of her books, I might as well get some reading challenge credit for it!

• 10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “L”

My pick : A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston

Why I chose this one : I’ve had it checked out from work for a ridiculously long time, so I need to read it. Plus, I’m a sucker for celebrity autobiographies/biographies.

• 10 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) red cover

My pick : Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Why I chose this one : I had a hard time with this one because I did a search for “books with red covers” and then couldn’t find anything my library had (I got all of my challenge books from the library I work at since it was easy to get them in one trip and so I know when things are placed on hold). This was the first red cover book that I found that my library had. Such a precise system, right?

• 15 points: Read a book with a character’s name in the title (i.e. Jane Eyre, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, We Need to Talk about Kevin, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Harry Potter books, etc.)

My pick : Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Why I chose this one : This one has been on my “to read” list for a while, so when I saw it at work and realized I could use it as a challenge selection, I was sold!

• 20 points: Read a book from this list: Book Riot’s 100 Must-Read Books with Plot Twists https://bookriot.com/2017/04/11/100-books-with-plot-twists/

My pick : The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Why I chose this one : It was the first one on the list that I found at work! 😉

• 20 points: Read a book with the words “house” or “home” in the title

My pick : Crooked House by Agatha Christie

Why I chose this one : I had originally chosen another book with house/home in the title, but my library didn’t have it. I found another one that my library had, but when I read the description, I was completely uninterested in it. I browsed our new purchases shelf and found this one.

• 25 points: Read a book by an author whose first and last name begins with the same letter (i.e. Cassandra Clare, Melina Marchetta, Ransom Riggs, Chris Cleave, etc.)

My pick : Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Why I chose this one : I had a hard time figuring out one for this prompt, so when I saw this one on the new purchases shelf at work, I grabbed it!

• 30 points: Read a book that was originally published in a different language than your own

My pick : A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

Why I chose this one : As I shared in my last book review post, I really enjoyed Beartown, also written by Backman, so I wanted to read another one of his books and see if I like his writing.

• 30 points: Read a book where most of the action takes place on a form of transportation i.e. bus, boat, car, plane, etc.

My pick : The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Why I chose this one : This has been on my “to-read” list for a while, so since it fit the prompt, I decided it was a good time to read it!

• 35 points: Read a book with a character that suffers from a debilitating physical illness

My pick : Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Why I chose this one : I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book and have been wanting to read it.

Are any of you planning to participate in this challenge or another reading challenge in the new year? Let me know if you are!