Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bookish Goals Status Update: November 2016


In an effort to help keep myself on track, I am going to post monthly status updates showing where I stand for each of my 2016 Goals.

Anything highlighted in gray is currently in progress, but not yet completed.

  • Read and review at least 40 books 
    1. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
    2. First Family by David Baldacci
    3. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
    4. Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan (39 Clues Book 1)
    5. I Survived Hurricane Katrina (I Survived #3)
    6. I Survived the Joplin Tornado (I Survived #12)
    7. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer 
    8. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
    9. One False Note by Gordon Korman (39 Clues #2)
    10. The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis (39 Clues #3)
    11. My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins
    12. Shade Me by Jennifer Brown
    13. Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson (39 Clues #4)
    14. Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
    15. 738 Days by Stacey Kade
    16. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
    17. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
    18. The Crown by Kiera Cass
    19. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
    20. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
    21. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
    22. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
    23. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
    24. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
    25. The Bronze Key by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black
    26. The Partner by John Grisham
    27. Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
    28. For This Life Only by Stacey Kade
    29. All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
    30. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
    31. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
    32. This Girl by Colleen Hoover
  • I am once again participating in the New To You Challenge hosted by Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  I'm going to aim for the "Dipping the Toes" level with 12 - 24 books that qualify. Any book over 80ish pages qualify as long as it is new to you.  New author, new genre, new series, etc. - Goal Complete
    1. Confessions of a Shopaholic  - New series
    2. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey - New author and New Series
    3. Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan - New series
    4. I Survived Hurricane Katrina - New author and New Series
    5. One False Note by Gordon Korman - New author
    6. The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis - New author
    7. Shade Me by Jennifer Brown - New series
    8. Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson (39 Clues) - New author
    9. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig - New author
    10. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire - New author
    11. The Maze Runner by James Dashner - New author & New Series
    12. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee - New author & Series
    13. If I Stay by Gayle Forman - New author & Series
  • Read at least 10 New Adult books (My definition of NA = protagonists are post high school, but under 30)
    1. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
    2. 738 Days by Stacey Kade
    3. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
    4. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
    5. This Girl by Colleen Hoover
    6. November 9 by Colleen Hoover
    • Last year I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which was the book that had been on my Goodreads TBR list the longest.  This year, I have 49 books that were all added on September 7, 2010 that would qualify.  I plan on reading at least 3 of them. Goal Complete
      1. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
      2. The Partner by John Grisham 
      3. Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
    • Finish reading at least 5 series I have already started.  (I have several trilogies with final books I still need to read. 
      1. The Crown by Kiera Cass - The Selection Series
      2. Allegiant by Veronica Roth - The Divergent Series
      3. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater - The Raven Cycle Series
      4. This Girl by Colleen Hoover - The Slammed Series 
    • Attend a book convention - Goal Complete
      • I had an absolute blast at BEA this year.  I posted daily recaps with pictures and highlights in May.
    • I joined the Mount TBR Reading Challenge. My goal is to reach Mount Blanc level - Read 24  books in 2016 that I owned before January 1, 2016.  Ebooks that you own count, but you must own the book....No library books.
      1. First Family by David Baldacci
      2. Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan (39 Clues #1)
      3. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
      4. One False Note by Gordon Korman (39 Clues #2)
      5. The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis (39 Clues #3)
      6. Shade Me by Jennifer Brown
      7. Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson (39 Clues #4)
      8. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent #3)
      9. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments #3)
      10. The Partner by John Grisham
      11. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (Maze Runner #2)
      • Achieve a Professional level in the 2016 Prequel and Sequel challenge with 76 - 100 points.  I finished last year with 82 points, so hopefully this year will be similar.  The sign up and description can be found at Novel Heartbeat. (Link Up Quarterly)
        1. First Family - King & Maxwell #4 - 2 points for a sequel 
        2. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - Lunar Chronicles #2 - 2 points for a sequel
        3. The Girl Who Played with Fire - Millennium series #2 - 2 points sequel
        4. One False Note by Gordon Korman (39 Clues #2) - 2 points sequel
        5. The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis (39 Clues #3) - 2 points sequel
        6. Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson (39 Clues #4) - 2 points sequel
        7. Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (The Naturals #2) - 2 points sequel
        8. The Crown by Kiera Cass (Selection Series #5) - 12 pts (finished series + sequel)
        9. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent #3) - 12 pts (finished series + sequel)
        10. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (MI #3) - 2 points sequel
        11. The Bronze Key by Clare & Black (Magisterium #3) - 2 points sequel
        12. Four to Score by Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum #4) - 2 points sequel
        13. All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (The Naturals #3) - 2 points sequel
        14. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (Maze Runner #2) - 2 points sequel
        15. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Cycle #4_ - 12 pts (finished series + sequel)
        16. This Girl by Colleen Hoover (Slammed #3) -12 pts (finished series + sequel)
                                                          Total Points = 72
      • Complete 2 half marathons during 2016 - Goal Complete
        1. I ran in the Glass City Half Marathon on April 24th and finished in 2:17:25
        2. I ran the Emerald City Quarter Marathon in 1:02:26
        3. I ran the Columbus Half Marathon on October 16th. Time 2:17:42
      • I joined the New Release Challenge hosted by Unconventional Book Views and Books, Movies, Reviews Oh My! My goal is to reach New Release Pro status with 16 new releases read/reviewed during 2016.  The minimum length for a book to qualify is 100 pages.
        1. Shade Me by Jennifer Brown - Release date 1/19/16
        2. 738 Days by Stacey Kade - Release date 6/7/16
        3. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig - Release date 10/4/16
        4. The Crown by Kiera Cass - Release date 5/3/16
        5. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee - Release date 8/30/16
        6. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover - Release date 8/2/16
        7. The Bronze Key by Clare & Black - Release date 8/30/2016
        8. For This Life Only by Stacey Kade - Release date 8/30/2016
        9. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater - Release date 4/26/16
        10. I picked up a TON of new releases at BEA, so I should make serious headway towards this goal the last half of the year.

      Saturday, November 19, 2016

      Creativity Corner: Adult Coloring


      My 11 year-old son, Preston, is very crafty and enjoys all forms of art.  I decided to start this Creativity Corner feature as a way for us to look back on our projects while sharing ideas with others.

      This week I completed my second page in the Harry Potter coloring book by Scholastic.  Some of the pages are very detailed and look like they will be quite time consuming, but the pages with the house crests are very manageable.  I tried to make it as true to the original as possible.  You can't really tell in the photo, but there are two different colors of gold used.


      I also completed the first page in the Johanna's Christmas coloring book.  This book is a great way to put someone in the holiday spirit if you are looking for a gift idea.


      Tuesday, November 15, 2016

      Top Ten Movies: Favorite Movies of All Time

      Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten List on something bookish.  Click on the link above if you wish to participate.

      Top Ten All Time Favorite Movies

      Dead Poets Society



      The King's Speech



      The Breakfast Club


      The first 4 movies in the Rocky Series
      I used to love watching these as a kid!

      Image result for rocky 4

      The Harry Potter Series



      The Titanic



      Ferris Bueller's Day Off



      Star Wars Return of the Jedi
      This is the first Star Wars movie I was old enough to see in the theater when it was released.

      Image result for star wars return of the jedi

      ET 



      The Mighty Ducks
      Another series that I loved as a kid.  My son really enjoys this series as well.




      Monday, November 14, 2016

      Review: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

      The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)

      The Scorch Trials is the second installment in the Maze Runner series.  While I really enjoyed the original book, there was something missing this time around.  The characters now realize they are part of an experiment, what they need to do to survive, and how long it should take them to complete "The Scorch Trials."  The element of surprise was completely eliminated, which removed all of the suspense.  Danger still presents itself in various forms, but I felt like the characters were simply going through the motions to reach the "safe haven."

      We have the same cast of characters, but trust becomes a major issue for Thomas.  WICKED is supposed to be good, but they keep putting them in dangerous situations for no obvious reason.  When things don't go as planned WICKED swoops in to help Thomas, but they place him back in the trials without any explanation.  In addition, Teresa was supposed to be his best friend.  She is taken away and replaced with a boy from "Group B" who can also speak telepathically with him.  The Gladers discover there was another group consisting of all girls and one boy that went through an identical maze experiment.  They are now competing against the other group in addition to simply trying to survive the trials.

      The end of the book did not provide much of a conclusion.  The "scorch trials" are complete, but it is clear there is another book in this series.  The characters aren't provided any more information than what they started with.  They have no idea what WICKED is trying to accomplish or how much longer the trials will continue.  Based on past experience, they can only believe the safe haven is a temporary reprieve and there is more to come. 

      I do not feel like I gained very much from reading this story.  We picked up some additional characters along the way, but Thomas and his friends are in basically the same situation they were in at the end of The Maze Runner.  I am hopeful The Death Cure, which is the final book in the original trilogy, will provide the EPIC conclusion I am looking for.     

      Wednesday, November 9, 2016

      Creativity Corner: Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford


      My 11 year-old son, Preston, is very crafty and enjoys all forms of art.  I decided to start this Creativity Corner feature as a way for us to look back on our projects while sharing ideas with others.

      Last weekend I completed my first page in Johanna Basford's Magical Jungle.  It is such a great coloring book and I can't wait to start on the next page, but my Johanna's Christmas coloring book arrived last week and I have to add it into the rotation.  I'm already working on the first page in that book :)


      Tuesday, November 8, 2016

      Top Ten Tuesday: Books I've Added to my TBR List Lately

      Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten List on something bookish.  Click on the link above if you wish to participate.

      Top Ten Books I Have Added to my TBR List Lately

      There really couldn't be an easier topic than this one.  Here are the last 10 books I have added to my Goodreads TBR list with the most recent addition listed first.

      The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
      My sister-in-law is currently reading this series and recommended it.

      The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)

      The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
      This is a YA novel involving spies that was recommended by Caleb Roehrig, who is the author of Last Seen Leaving.  I loved his book, so I'm sure I will love one he recommended and gave 5 stars.

      The Love Interest

      Victoria
      I have been reading more historical fiction and love the British Royal Family.

      Victoria

      Where She Went by Gayle Forman
      I read If I Stay recently and immediately added this to my TBR list when I was finished.

      Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)

      The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
      I tried to read The Host, but it wasn't for me.  This sounds like a Meyer book that is more my speed being a mystery/thriller instead of sci-fi.

      The Chemist

      Glitter by Aprilynne Pike
      This book is set in modern day, but the people living within the Palace of Versailles are still living like it is the 18th century with some modern day conveniences.  I visited Versailles a few years ago, so I was intrigued by the description.

      Glitter

      An Amber in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
      I've seen this series around for a while and finally added it to my TBR list.

      An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)

      The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti
      This is a YA Contemporary Mystery/Thriller

      The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

      Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton
      I was waiting in line at BEA and someone recommended the Merry Muffin Mystery series, so I added it to the list.  What a cute concept.

      Bran New Death (Merry Muffin Mystery, #1)

      The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
      This is another series that I have seen around for a while and finally decided I should give it a try.

      The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, #1)

      Monday, November 7, 2016

      Review: All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

      All In (The Naturals, #3)

      All In is the third book in the Naturals series.  For those of you who are not familiar with the series, it is a murder mystery series involving 5 teenagers recruited by the FBI for their abilities to profile, read emotions, detect lies, and analyze statistics.  Due to their individual upbringings and unusual childhoods they naturally honed these skills to exceptional levels.  

      This time around there is a serial killer on the loose in Las Vegas.  So far he has killed 1 person at a different casino each day starting on January 1st.  The FBI is called in because the casino owners want to put an end to this as quickly and quietly as possible before business plummets.  To top things off, there is a huge professional poker tournament just around the corner that must go on as planned.

      The naturals struggle with the case because there doesn't seem to be a common denominator.  Different locations, different methods and no common element between the victims,  The only connection between the cases is a mysterious set of numbers found on the wrists of each victim.  

      In addition, there is a breakthrough in Cassie's Mother's murder case.  Some remains were found that are believed to be hers.  Jennifer takes this portion of the story in a direction I don't think anyone would have anticipated.  What was deemed to be solid evidence in the case isn't as solid as it appeared and everything Cassie believed to be true is far from it.  

      Sloan, the statistician, eventually discovers a pattern that links each of the cases.  The locations and dates of the murders are tied to a mathematical code or sequence that has been around for hundreds of years.  They just need to discover when and where the next murders will take place in order to catch their UNSUB. (Unknown Subject)

      If you enjoy YA and thrillers/mysteries this is definitely the series for you.  I have thoroughly enjoyed every book in this series and have been glued to each detail from start to finish.  I love all of the characters and their unique abilities as well as their individual personalities.  They are all so different, but they complement each other beautifully and have really developed into a family.  

      The final book in the series, Bad Blood, was just released last week.  I should receive it from the library within the next few days and can't wait to see how the series will conclude.  If you haven't started the series yet, now would be the perfect time.