Leave Me

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In Gayle Forman’s debut adult novel, Leave Me, we meet Maribeth Klein, a woman who is so busy working as an editor at a magazine  and taking care of her family  that she doesn’t even realize it when she’s having a heart attack. After her heart attack, she thinks maybe it won’t be so bad. It’s her family’s turn to take care of her but this doesn’t turn out to be the case. So sick and tired of it all, Maribeth beth packs a bag and runs away. She doesn’t even know where she’s going when she gets to the train station but she finds her self in Pittsburg.

I loved Maribeth from the first sentence of the first paragraph on the very first page of the book. I realize that she’s suppose to be a flawed character and not everyone is going to like her straight off. I realize a lot of the women who read this book aren’t going to like her at all. It’s going to be hard for them to understand how a woman could leave her family, her children behind and run away.

Honestly, Maribeth is probably the fictional character that i’ve related to the most since I read Lara Jean from Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Yeah, I know that’s an odd comparison but let me explain. I am a full time college student and I work on average I work 20 hours a week. When I started reading this book, it was November. I work retail, so it super busy at my store and everyday that I wasn’t in class, I was at work. I wanted to run away so badly. Believe me, I thought about it too several times.

I guess this was maybe a bit of an eye opener for me too? I see myself being very much like Maribeth when I’m older. In a way, she’s always what i’ve aspired to be. A career woman, living in New York with a family. I don’t have kids but work and school is basically like having two jobs. I learned from Maribeth that I need to always make sure that I stop and make time to take care of myself.

I really loved the plot progression. I loved how witty the writing is. I loved how all the characters served a purpose and were well developed. the thing I appreciate the most was that it ended in a good spot. Meaning, the story wasn’t dragged out longer than it needed to be. Which, if you’ve read any of my posts or other book reviews, you know that stories being dragged out longer than they need to be is my biggest pet peeve, well in books it is anyways.

There was a line in this book that spoke to me on so many levels “Yes, she was in motherfucking crisis!”.  I laughed out loud so hard when I read this line. I just love it so much. I even took a picture of the page in the book and circled this line and added it to my snapchat story. I feel like this is going to be playing in my head several times once I start classes again in April. Another one I loved was one where it said something about the kids being “fuck ups in training”.

I got to meet Gayle when she went on book tour for this book! This was actually my second img_8217time to meet her and hear her speak. The first time I met her, I was rushed through the line because it was a book fest and there was a billion people in line and she had to leave early to catch her flight. I love listening to her speak. She’s witty and the message she has always speaks to me and sticks with me. I’m really happy that I got to actually talk to her for more than two second this time and take a picture with her. She’s super sweet and was surprised to see that I had a copy of Sisters in Sanity with me. We both agreed that it doesn’t get enough love.

Something funny I want to include that’s kind of related to the book but not really. So I was really stressed out at work one day and I was telling someone I work with the plot of this book and she goes “So like Harry Potter?”. I love this girl but she has selective hearing, so i’m pretty sure the only thing she heard me say was “The book I’m reading” and zoned out when I was describing the plot. I’m not sure if I find this funny because i’m a book nerd or because this girl is crazy but I still thought i’d share it.

I’ve now read 5 out of 7 of Gayle’s books and I’ve yet to meet one that I didn’t like. I gave Leave Me, 4/5 stars. I really liked Maribeth and once I had time to read this book, I couldn’t put it down.

Much Love,

Kait

Leave Me

2017 Reading Goals

In 2015, I had a great reading year, probably my best ever. With that in mind, I set some pretty ambitious reading goals for 2016. If you read last week’s post, you know I achieved zero of those goals.

It may seem silly but I have set reading goals for myself for 2017. I love reading at I was to constantly get better at the things that I love and the only way to achieve that is to set goals for yourself.

  1.  I’m going to read for 30 minutes daily. Even if it means setting a timer for myself like my mom had to do with my daily reading log in grade school. What I realized looking back on 2016, was that I didn’t have the time to read, but I didn’t make the time for it either. I’m going to make time to read because reading is something that I love to do.
  2. I’m setting my goodreads challenge at 30 books. 50 was way too ambitious last year. I read 23 books in 2016 (I didn’t finish my reread of The CliqueI till the first of January), so I feel like 30 is pushing myself to read more and to be realistic about it.
  3. I’m not making any promises but I’d like to finish the other 4 books in the Harry Potter series that I haven’t read yet.

Much Love,

Kate

2017 Reading Goals

2016 Reading Wrap Up

2016

Remember this time a year ago I set some really ambitious reading goals? I am here to report, that I failed. Miserably. I’m not ashamed though.

I read 24 books this year. This is way less than I read in 2015, where I read almost double that at 37 books. I started my first job this year where most weeks, I work and average of twenty hours. In addition to that, I’m a full time college student. It really saddens me  but I haven’t had the time, or even the energy to read as much as I’d like to.

Remember how I said that I wanted to finish the Harry Potter Series this year? Hehehe, that didn’t happen. I did, however, read the second and third books in the series and I loved them. It’s not that I didn’t want to read more of them. It’s that i’m now at the point in the series where the books are super duper long and it goes back to not having the time.

Another goal I had set for myself reading wise this year was to reread/ finish reading Ally Carter’s Gallager Girl series. I had every intention of doing this- I even bought the books in the series missing from my collection in late January or early February. Sadly, I haven’t touched any of them. Also, I did this right before the rerelease of the series with the cool new covers. I mean, i’m happy I have them with the covers I knew them having when I was initially reading the books in middle school/ high school but damn, those new covers are cool.

The third reading goal I had set for myself this year was to read at least one nonfiction book per month. I did this in January, with Kelly Cutorone’s book Normal Gets You Nowhere Then, I pretty much forgot about that goal. I am not going to set this goal for myself again for 2017 but there are some nonfiction books that i’d like to read such as Yes: My Impossible Journey to the Main Event of Wrestlemania by Daniel Bryan, Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham and The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gains. I’m not making any promises and I’ll talk more about my 2017 reading goals in next week’s post.

So at this point you’re thinking, what did you read in 2016, Kaitlyn? I read 24 really good books, that’s what I read. And with the fact I have zero free time, i’m really proud of that. In those 24 books, I had one reread, The Clique by Lisi Harrison, that’s my favorite book of all time. I read one comic book WWE: Then, Now, Forever. I read seven American Girl books, a short story (it was for a writing class I took), a memoir, and thirteen novels.

Best and Worst of 2016:

I hope you had a fabulous 2016 and accomplished all your reading goals. If not, I hope you read some really good books!

Much Love,

Kate

 

2016 Reading Wrap Up

Saige Paints the Sky

Saige Paints the Sky by Jessie Haas is the second book of two about Saige, American Girl’s 2012 Girl of the Year. WARNING: This is the second book and while this review is spoiler free, reading it might accidentally spoil what happens in Saige.

The sequel picks up right where the first book leaves off. There’s still no art program in the school and Mimi is still in the rehab center. Saige misses spending time with Mimi after school at the ranch, riding horses and painting in the art studio. Mimi let’s Saige ride her horse, Georgia with Luis, her next door neighbor but Saige finds out that Mimi might sell Georgia and this worries her. Also, Saige is having problems balancing her two friends Gabbi and Tessa.

Honestly, I feel like this book didn’t need to be written and reading it dragged out the story line. I was very happy with how everything wrapped up at the end of the first book. This book was around 120 pages and I read these American Girl books in about an hour. So the fact that like 10 pages in, it felt like it was dragging says something. I also think that if I was eight or nine years old reading this, it’s something I wouldn’t have noticed.

I did still enjoy reading the book. I liked getting to know Saige more. I really loved reading about her painting and riding horses, the things she’s most passionate about. I love how Saige is willing to fight for those passions. I think Saige is a good role model for little girls.

I enjoyed reading Saige Paints the Sky but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the second part was unnecessary and because of that I give it 3/5 stars.

Much Love,

Kait

Saige Paints the Sky

Isabelle

Isabelle by Laurence Yep is the first book in a series of three about Isabelle, American Girl’s 2014 Girl of the year.

Isabelle has just started school at Anna Hart School of the Arts. And while she’s excited to finally get to go to school there, she can’t help but noticing that all of her classmates are so talented, especially Jade, her older sister. The Autumn Festival is coming up and while she does great helping her mom design costumes, Isabelle can’t help but feel like she’s falling behind her classmates in the dace room. She has to learn to stop comparing herself to others and become her own dancer.

I’d bought Isabelle off eBay in March. She didn’t come with her book so, when I was at the American Girl store for Melody‘s release and saw it was on sale for $3, I picked it along with the other two books in her series up without hesitation.

This was a nice fun read. I liked how it was simple and to the point without unnecessary characters and subplot lines. I really enjoyed the writing. I liked how the story was resolved but there was just enough at the end so that i’m intrigued to read the next book.

What I really liked was how Isabelle was dealing with the feeling that she isn’t as good as the others students at her school. This is something that we all go through at some point, feeling like we aren’t good enough. I applaud American Girl for taking on such strong themes and for doing it in a way that not just me as an adult can relate to but in a way that someone who is eight or nine years old, the target audience, can relate to. And while I won’t say what it is, (it would be a spoiler) I love the lesson that Isabelle learns at the end of the story.

Overall, I give Isabelle 4/5 stars and I can’t wait to read the second and third parts of Isabelle’s story!

Much Love,

Kait

Isabelle

No Ordinary Sound: A Melody Classic 1

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Melody Ellison is American Girl’s newest historical character. No Ordinary Sound: A Melody Classic One by Denise Lewis Patrick is the first book of two about her.

Melody Ellison is nine years old and she’s living in Detroit in 1963. She’s been choose to sing a solo for youth day at her church and she’s having a hard time decide what song to sing. She takes advice from her older bother who is a really good singer and whose dream is to be a Motown singer. She also takes advice from her grandmother, Big Momma, who is also a singer. What ultimately, inspires Melody to choose a song is the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There are many unfair things happening during Melody’s time, even to Melody’s own family. It’s a tragedy that happens at a church in the south that leaves Melody silent. Will she be able to raise her voice and sing at youth day?

First things first, Melody is such a cute doll. I got her a week ago right when American Girl released her and I don’t like to play favorites with my dolls but she’s definitely one of mine.

Melody’s story struck a cord with me (musical pun intended). I remember learning about the Civil Rights Movement all throughout school but reading about it from Melody’s point of view. I liked seeing how Dr. King influenced her and gave her hope. They way that melody took the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church broke my heart. I almost cried reading that part.

I loved how bold and brave Melody is. She fights for what’s right and she won’t stand for the discrimination. Eventhough she’s a fictional character, I admire her.

I liked this Beforever bind up better that Maryellen’s. My biggest problem with Maryellen’s volume one was that it felt like it was three different short stories tied together in to one novel. This was not the case with Melody. Melody’s story was one story and I really appreciated that.

This story was beautifully written and because of that, I give it 5/5 stars. I will definitely be reading part two of Melody’s story in the very near future.

Much Love,

Kait

No Ordinary Sound: A Melody Classic 1

HAPPY ONE YEAR ANIVERSERY!

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It’s been one year since the very first post went live on Book Alphas. I can’t believe it! Time has really gone by so fast. So, I thought it’s time you get to know me a little better and I thought I’d give you 25 bookish facts about myself.

  1. I hate mass market paper backs. They’re bulky, the font on the page is small and they do not look good on my book shelfs.
  2. It physically pains me to see pages in books dog eared.
  3. I didn’t start reading the Harry Potter books till I was 18.
  4. My favorite genre is contemporary. I’ll read it in young adult and chick lit.
  5. To meet Sarah Dessen, one of my all time favorite authors, I made my Dad take me to Dallas (it was a four hour car trip and totally worth it).
  6. When I was in Elementary School, my favorite books to read were the American Girl Books.
  7. I still regularly read American Girl books (and collect dolls. I’m 20 and have no shame.)
  8. Out of all the books I was required to read in high school, the only one I finished was Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger.
  9. I’ve actually picked up more of J.D Salinger’s works since then.
  10. I have three favorite authors: Lisi Harrison, Sarah Dessen and Emily Giffin.
  11. I buy most of my books from Amazon.
  12. I love cheep books, so I buy a lot of books at the bargain section at Barnes and Noble, Half Price Books and Book Outlet.
  13. My favorite place to read is beach side.
  14. I write a review for every book I read but with only posting one review a week and I read a lot of books so, a book review is rarely up right after I read a book.
  15. I love how pretty rainbow bookshelves look but it makes me uncomfortable thinking that authors and series would be separated on my shelves.
  16. The name of the blog, Book Alphas, is a reference to one of my favorite authors of all time, Lisi Harrison. In her Clique series, the girls are always fighting over who is the Alpha- the leader who is the smartest, prettiest and coolest person of the group. She has a spin off series from the Clique, Alphas. The alphas series is about a group of girls who are all “alphas” and are at a boarding school for the best of the best. Alphas Academy. The purple color of the website is also a reference to The Clique. The main character, Massie Block, finds out that it means royalty and it becomes her favorite color- she even has a purple streak in her hair at one point!
  17. I love the smell of bookstores.
  18. I love to stare at how beautiful my bookshelves are.
  19. I have somewhere around 50 unread books on my shelf.
  20. I have a book buying addiction.
  21. I watch booktube, my favorites are PolandBananaBooks20, Jesse The Reader, A Book Utopia and Katytastic.
  22. My most owned (and i’d even say read) author is Lisi Harrison. I own and have read all 31 of her books.
  23. I’ve always loved reading. In my first grade year book, there’s a picture of me and next to it reads “my favorite thing about first grade is becoming a better reader.”
  24. I regularly go to book signings. I’ve been lucky enough to meet my three favorite authors, Lisi Harrison, Sarah Dessen and Emily Giffin. Some other authors i’ve met are Nicola Yoon, Ally Carter, Jesse Andrews and Gayle Forman.
  25. I’d love to read more short stories.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know about my bookish habits!

Much Love,

Kate

HAPPY ONE YEAR ANIVERSERY!