Monday, May 21, 2018

COYER Summer Birthday Bash Sign-Up


It is almost time for the Summer COYER challenge.  The official sing-up post is over at the COYER Challenge Site.  The challenge begins June 9th at 12 am EST and ends August 31st at 11:59 pm EST.  The review linky and giveaway widget will remain open until September 1st at 11:39 pm EST. 

I have participated in the COYER challenges since the summer of 2015 and always look forward to them.  To help celebrate their 5th Birthday they are bringing back some of their favorite challenges from the past 5 years.  The only requirement is to link your sign-up post prior to the start of the challenge.  From there you can participate in as many or few of the challenges as you like.  Just remember to link your reviews.

Since it is summer and I should hopefully have more free time, I'm going to try to reach the Spring Clean level with 11-20 books read/reviewed.

The following is my List for the Summer Challenge:
  1. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
  2. Don't Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray Kacvinsky
  3. The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
  4. Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
  5. See How They Run by Ally Carter
  6. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  7. Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  8. The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright
  9. High Five by Janet Evanovich 
  10. One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
  11. Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols
  12. Between the Lines by Tammara Webber
  13. Never Never by Colleen Hoover
  14. The Sixth Man by David Baldacci
  15. Cress by Marissa Meyer

Friday, May 4, 2018

Bookish Goals Status Update: April 2018



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 2018 Goals.

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

  • Read and review at least 36 books 
    1. Crossed by Ally Condie
    2. The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin
    3. Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout
    4. Love Show by Audrey Bell
    5. Invaded by Melissa Landers
    6. The Grift of the Magi by Ally Carter
    7. Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade
    8. Reached by Ally Condie
    9. United by Melissa Landers
    10. White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig
  • I am participating in the Try Something New challenge hosted by The Herd Presents.  I'm going to aim for level 2 with 11-20 books. Any book over 80 pages qualifies as long as it is new to you.  New author, new genre, new series, etc.
    1. The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin (Shaw Confessions #1) - New Series
    2. Love Show by Audrey Bell - New Author
  • Read at least 10 New Adult books (My definition of NA = protagonists are post high school, but under 30)
    1. The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin
    2. Love Show by Audrey Bell
    3. Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade
    • Read three of the books that had been on my TBR list the longest.  I now have 45 books that were all added on September 7, 2010 that would qualify.  


    • Finish reading at least 5 series I have already started.  (I have several trilogies with final books I still need to read. 
      1. Reached by Ally Condie - Book 3 in the Matched Series
      2. United by Melissa Landers - Book 3 in the Alienated Series
    • TBR Challenge.  For this challenge I want to read at least 20 books that were on my TBR list AND were published prior to January 1, 2018. 
      1. Crossed by Ally Condie
      2. The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin
      3. Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout
      4. Love Show by Audrey Bell
      5. Invaded by Melissa Landers
      6. The Grift of the Magi by Ally Carter
      7. Reached by Ally Condie
      8. United by Melissa Landers
    • I joined the New Release Challenge hosted by Unconventional Book Views and Books, Movies, Reviews Oh My! My goal is to reach New Release Newbie level with 12 new releases read/reviewed during 2017.  The minimum length for a book to qualify is 100 pages. 
      1. Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade - Released 3/20/18
      2. White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig - Released 4/24/18

      Thursday, May 3, 2018

      Review: Reached by Ally Condie

      Reached (Matched, #3)

      Goodreads Overview:

      Cassia’s journey began with an error, a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect fa├žade of the Society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.

      The wait is over.


      One young woman has raged against those who threaten to keep away what matters most—family, love, choice. Her quiet revolution is about to explode into full-scale rebellion. With exquisite prose, the emotionally gripping conclusion to the international–bestselling Matched trilogy returns Cassia, Ky, and Xander to the Society to save the one thing they have been denied for so long, the power to choose.

      Review:

      Reached is the third and final book in the Matched trilogy.  In this installment Cassia, Ky, and Xander are reunited and must work together to find a cure for the plaque that has taken over the Society.  They once thought the Rising and the Pilot would save them from the controlling Society, but they are beginning to see that even the rebellion has its flaws. 

      While I really enjoyed Matched, I struggled a bit with the pace and length of this book.  It seemed to go on FOREVER.  I never really got into the poetry aspect and the fixation on "paper" was lost on me.  In this day and age when everything is digital, I can see where they are coming from with the lack of writing on actual paper, but I don't see the lack of paper itself as being detrimental. I would have connected more if the focus was on free thinking, creativity, and the fine arts that were all but eliminated from life in the Society vs. the lack of paper.

      Overall, I think this story could have been told in half as many pages and would have been considerably more enjoyable. As it was, I rally had to force myself to keep reading.  Ally did bring everything to a nice conclusion, but if I were to go into this series knowing what I do now, I would have stopped after reading Matched.  I don't feel like I really gained much over the course of the final two books.

      Wednesday, April 11, 2018

      Review: Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade

      Finding Felicity

      Goodreads Overview:

      Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with.

      But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real. However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home—and a lot of therapy.

      Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself.

      Review:

      I have to thank Stacey for an advanced copy of Finding Felicity.  I took it with me on spring break and enjoyed this wonderful story while basking in the sun.  It has been a long winter in Ohio and this was a great way to kick off the spring/summer season.

      Caroline Sands is happier watching Netflix on her laptop than interacting with others.  It is safe within the confines of her bedroom and there is no chance of rejection.  The real world isn't so kind.  She gets nervous around others and often stumbles upon her words.  She wants to make friends and become part of the popular crowd, but she doesn't know how to go about it.  When she leaves for college she is determined to play the part of various characters to make friends and attain the life she thinks she wants.  

      When her plan doesn't go as she envisioned, she has to improvise.  She always believed all of the other students had life figured out and she was the only one scrambling to stay afloat.  She begins to realize everyone else is scrambling as well.  They are just better at faking it.

      While she always thought she wanted to be part of the partying crowd, she soon discovers where she truly belongs.  

      I thought this was a great story that any teen should read and would likely enjoy.  Unless you are one of the few super popular kids at school, the grass always seems greener in someone else's shoes, but that rarely is the case.  I enjoyed seeing Caroline take some risks and assert herself.  It wasn't easy for her, but once she began establishing connections with some of the girls in her dorm she gained some confidence.  She learned some valuable lessons and discovered who she really is and where she best fit in on campus.

      It has been several years since my college days, but I could relate to many of the events and found certain scenes to be ridiculously funny.  If you are looking for a fun summer read, I would look no further.   

          

      Monday, March 19, 2018

      Upcoming Book Release: Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade


      Description:

      Felicity meets Fangirl in this contemporary novel about a young woman who must leave behind her fantasy life—inspired by her favorite WB show from the 1990s—and create a real one at college.

      Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with.

      But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real. However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home—and a lot of therapy.

      Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself.

      Why you should read Finding Felicity:

      I have read almost all of Stacey's books and enjoyed each and every one of them.  She has said on more than one occasion that readers will enjoy Finding Felicity even if you haven't watched the television show, but I felt like I needed to have a basic understanding of the characters if I wanted to fully appreciate the book.  All of the episodes are available on the ABC app, so I watched the first two and was pleasantly surprised.  I had no idea what the show was about, but I found it to be very funny and highly entertaining. Now I can hardly wait to read Finding Felicity!  The timing couldn't be any better because I leave for spring break the Thursday after the release.  Thanks to Stacey I already have a copy of the book downloaded to my eReader, so you can count on a review shortly after my return. 








      Links to Purchase the Book:

      If you would like to purchase a copy of Finding Felicity here are a couple of links.


      Chapter One Excerpt:

      Bustle posted an excerpt from the first chapter, which can be found here.


      Tuesday, March 6, 2018

      Review: Invaded by Melissa Landers

      Invaded (Alienated, #2)

      Invaded is the second book in the Alienated series.  In the first installment, we were introduced to some L'eihr exchange students who were sent to earth to help foster an alliance. We didn't really know why their leaders were interested in an alliance, but it was clear none of the exchange students really wanted to be there.

      Things didn't exactly go as planned during the exchange.  As a result, Cara is sent to L'eihr to help establish the new colony that is intended to integrate the humans and L'eihrs.  Her boyfriend Aleyx and his friend Serene must return to earth to repair the alliance.  As much as he hates life on earth, he will do anything to be able to return to L'eihr to be with Cara. Cara, however, is beginning to question her decision to move to L'eihr.  The food is terrible, there is no privacy, their version of gym class is equivalent to boot camp, and someone is trying to set her up for failure.

      I enjoyed learning more about life on L'eihr and seeing what it was like for Cara to try and blend into such a different culture.  It is never easy being different, but this was taken to a new extreme.  She was top in her class at her high school on earth, but she is nowhere near as advanced physically or academically compared to her new peers.

      Aleyx has his own issues to deal with.  There is an extremist group that continues to jeopardize his safety and the success of the alliance.  We also learn more about Serene and her abilities as an emotional healer.  She does a great job of helping others, but she doesn't have anyone on earth who can return the favor.

      Overall, I enjoyed the story and have already started reading the final book in the series.  As you can imagine, a long distance relationship spanning a galaxy can certainly put a strain on a things.  Cara and Aleyx survived this difficult period and it is now time to sit back and relax on their new colony.  Unfortunately, the last few chapters hinted that there may be more drama to come and life on the colony may not be a walk on the beach like they are hoping for.

      Thursday, March 1, 2018

      Review: Love Show by Audrey Bell

      Love Show

      Goodreads Overview:

      Hadley Arrington is the career-driven Editor-in-Chief of her university’s prestigious newspaper. Jack Diamond is a laid back student whose good looks have made things even easier than they need to be. She’s the girl who came out of nowhere and kissed him in the rain. He’s the boy who made her do something crazy.

      When the stakes seem too high, they have to decide if they’ll let their love show or if they’ll walk away for good.

      Review:

      I am a fan of Tammara Webber's books and follow her on twitter.  A few years ago she recommended Love Show, so I added it to my TBR list and purchased the ebook.  It sat on my nook for quite a while, but it finally made it to the top of my TBR list when I finished the book I was currently reading at my son's swim meet.

      Hadley is finishing up her senior year of college and wants to become a war correspondent.  She is fluent in arabic and is ready to jump into the action.  She refuses to listen to her family and friends about how dangerous her decision may be.  Her job choice also puts a strain on her unconventional relationship with Jack.  From the very beginning she created all sorts of rules for their relationship, which were supposed to protect her from the one thing she fears the most....falling in love.  Her mother has been married and divorced more times than you can count and she is determined to put herself ahead of any relationship, but she may throw away the one thing that has ever made her truly happy.  

      Another story line involves her openly gay roommate who is dating someone who "can't" come out of the closet.  We get to see how that changes him emotionally as well as the hoops he has to go through in that type of situation.  The relationship is not a healthy one, but he refuses to see how it is impacting him until it may be too late.

      Love Show was an outstanding read.  It is new adult, so there is definitely some adult content/romance throughout.  I loved the characters, even though I found Hadley's decisions to be extremely frustrating at times.  I wanted to shake her and make her see things more clearly.  Until the last few chapters of the book it was like she had tunnel vision and would only allow herself to focus on her career and her job at the newspaper.  She couldn't see what she was literally right in front of her face.  The ending was satisfying, but it wasn't an easy road to get there.