Thursday, August 17, 2017

Review: When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by Kimberly Willis Holt

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

This was one of the choices for my son's 7th grade summer reading, so we both read it.  The book is about a boy name Toby who lives in Antler, TX, which is a small town where "nothing ever happens."  The story takes place during the summer of 1971.  His best friend Cal's older brother is currently serving in the Vietnam war and has been writing each week, so we learn that war is nothing like how they used to play soldiers in the lawn.

The biggest thing to happen to Antler is the day Zachary Beaver's trailer pulls into town.  He is supposedly the world fattest boy and is put on display like a circus act.  People can pay $2 to see him in person.  This would have been a novelty, but Zachary's legal guardian leaves town without him and nobody knows when he will return for Zachary.  The town sort of adopts him and the boys soon realize they have more in common with Zachary than they ever imagined.

Another theme in the story is abandonment.  Not only was Zachary abandoned, but Toby's mother leaves for Nashville to try out in a singing competition.  Toby eventually realizes his mother's dreams of becoming a country music superstar were not being fulfilled in Antler and she wasn't happy here.  He begins to wonder when or if she is really coming back.

This was a pretty fast read with a number of thought provoking topics for young readers.  My son and I both remained engaged throughout the book and enjoyed the characters and their stories.  I would definitely recommend it for middle school children.  There was a lot more substance to this story than your typical middle grade book and it allowed my son to read something a bit different from his typical reading selections.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: In Too Deep by Jude Watson

Image result for In too deep 39 clues

In Too Deep is the 6th book in the 39 Clues series.  This time around Amy and Dan are off to Sydney, Australia.  This was the last destination their parents visited while on their quest.  Amy and Dan visit their Dad's cousin Shep who is a pilot and surf bum in Sydney, to see if he has any clues as to what their parents discovered or where they may have visited.  He helps them trace some of their parents steps, which of course puts them in great danger at the hands of the other Cahill family members.  

Irina informs Amy that the only person who can tell her who killed her parents is herself.  She begins having increasing flashbacks and starts piecing the events of that night together.  She is afraid to tell Dad what she remembers, which causes some tension between them.

Our history lesson in this book is about Amelia Earhart.  Her final journey involved stops in several of the areas Amy and Dan visit and of course they discover Amelia was a Cahill.  

The stakes are getting higher and the violence continues to escalate.  One of the Cahill family members even dies in this book, which was a bit of a shock.  Amy and Dan have been told from the very beginning that they shouldn't trust anyone.  They are now even questioning if their au pair, Nellie, is working for someone involved in the quest. 

This was another entertaining story.  My son and I have enjoyed learning some history while following the Cahill children on their quest.  Once he finishes his assigned summer reading for school I'm sure we will start the next book in the series.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bookish Goals Status Update: July 2017


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 2017 Goals.

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

  • Read and review at least 40 books 
    1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
    2. Everbound by Brodi Ashton
    3. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
    4. This Girl by Colleen Hoover
    5. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
    6. The Black Circle by Patrick Carman
    7. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
    8. Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout
    9. Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready
    10. Unhinged by A.G. Howard
    11. The Death Cure by James Dashner
    12. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
    13. Matched by Ally Condie
    14. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
    15. Ensnared by A.G. Howard
    16. Elegy by Tara Hudson
    17. Bitter Pill by Stacey Kade
    18. The 6th Target by James Patterson
    19. United We Spy by Ally Carter
    20. In Too Deep by Jude Watson (39 Clues #6)
    21. Until the Beginning by Amy Plum
    22. Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell
  • I am once again participating in the New To You Challenge hosted by The Herd Presents.  I'm going to aim for 12-15 books. Any book over 80 pages qualifies as long as it is new to you.  New author, new genre, new series, etc.
    1. Three Dark Crowns - New Series and New Author
    2. Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout - New Series and New Author
    3. Matched by Ally Condie - New Author and New Series
    4. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - New Series

  • Read at least 10 New Adult books (My definition of NA = protagonists are post high school, but under 30)
    1. This Girl by Colleen Hoover
    2. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
    3. Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready 
    4. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
    5. Bitter Pill by Stacey Kade

    • Last year I read three of the books that had been on my TBR list the longest.  I now have 46 books that were all added on September 7, 2010 that would qualify.  I plan on reading at least 3 more of them this year. 
      1. Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell

    • Finish reading at least 5 series I have already started.  (I have several trilogies with final books I still need to read. ***Challenge Completed***
      1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater - The Raven Cycle Series
      2. This Girl by Colleen Hoover - The Slammed Series 
      3. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton - Everneath Series
      4. Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready - WVMP Radio Series
      5. The Death Cure by James Dashner - The Maze Runner Series
      6. Ensnared by A.G. Howard - Splintered Series
      7. Elegy by Tara Hudson - Hereafter Series
      8. United We Spy by Ally Carter - The Gallagher Girls 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, 2017.
      1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
      2. Everbound by Brodi Ashton
      3. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
      4. This Girl by Colleen Hoover
      5. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
      6. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
      7. Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout
      8. Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready
      9. Unhinged by A.G. Howard
      10. The Death Cure by James Dashner
      11. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
      12. Matched by Ally Condie
      13. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
      14. Ensnared by A.G. Howard
      15. Elegy by Tara Hudson
      16. Bitter Pill by Stacey Kade
      17. The 6th Target by James Patterson
      18. United We Spy by Ally Carter
      19. Until the Beginning by Amy Plum
      20. Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell
      • Achieve a Professional level in the 2017 Prequel and Sequel Challenge hosted by Novel Heartbeat with 76 - 100 points. You can click on the link for the sign up. ***Challenge Completed***
        1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Cycle #4_ - 12 pts (finished series + sequel)
        2. Everbound by Brodi Ashton (Everneath #2) - 2 pts for a sequel
        3. This Girl by Colleen Hoover (Slammed #3) -12 pts (finished series + sequel)
        4. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton (Everneath #3) - 12 pts (finished series + sequel)
        5. The Black Circle (39 Clues #5) - 2 points for a sequel
        6. Where She Went by Gayle Forman (If I Stay #2) - 2 pts for a sequel
        7. Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready (WVMP #4) 12 pts (finished series +sequel)
        8. Unhinged by A.G. Howard (Splintered #2) - 2 pts for a sequel
        9. The Death Cure by James Dashner (Maze Runner #3) - 12 pts (finished series + sequel)
        10. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls #5) 2 pts sequel
        11. Ensnared by AG Howard (Splintered #3) - 12 pts finished series +  sequel
        12. Elegy by Tara Hudson (Hereafter #3) - 12 pts (finished series + sequel)
        13. The 6th Target by James Patterson (Women's Murder Club #6) - 2 pts sequel
        14. United We Spy by Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls #6) - 12 pts completed series
        15. Until the Beginning by Amy Plum (After the End #2) - 2 pts sequel
        16. Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell (Kay Scarpetta #4) - 2 pts sequel
                                                          Total Points = 108
      • 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 16 new releases read/reviewed during 2017.  The minimum length for a book to qualify is 100 pages. 


        Wednesday, August 2, 2017

        Review: United We Spy by Ally Carter

        United We Spy (Gallagher Girls, #6)

        United We Spy is the 6th and final book in the Gallagher Girls series.  The Circle members have been after Cammie for the majority of the series, but their identities and motive have always been a mystery.  Now they are on the verge of starting another world war, so time is running out.

        The Gallagher Girls and Zach can't rely on the CIA, MI6, or any other government agencies because someone is leaking information to the Circle from the highest levels.  Fortunately, they have the unlimited resources of Macey McHenry's family.  Their private jet comes in handy on more than one occasion and Macey has a few other tricks up her sleeve.  With a genius like Liz on her team and some of the best trained spies in the world as her best friends, Cammie sets out to complete a mission that has been escalating for generations.

        Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the conclusion of this series and my time at the Gallagher Academy.  From the castle like stone building to all of the secrets it contained, this was a very unique setting for an action packed and highly entertaining series.  With the girls graduating from high school and moving on with their careers, we can only hope their most dangerous mission is now behind them.

        Saturday, July 29, 2017

        Stacking the Shelves: Untamed by A.G. Howard




        Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, be it physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

        Tynga publishes her post each Saturday, so be sure to link up your posts and check out what books others have added to their shelves that week.

        From the Library

        Untamed by A.G. Howard

        Untamed (Splintered, #3.5)Goodreads Overview:

        A post-Ensnared collection of three stories—available in both print and e-versions.

        Alyssa Gardner went down the rabbit hole and took control of her destiny. She survived the battle for Wonderland and the battle for her heart. In this collection of three novellas, join Alyssa and her family as they look back at their memories of Wonderland. 

        In Six Impossible Things, Alyssa recalls the most precious moments of her life after Ensnared, and the role magic plays in preserving the happiness of those she loves. Alyssa’s mother reminisces about her own time in Wonderland and rescuing the man who would become her husband in The Boy in the Web. And Morpheus delves into Jeb’s memories of the events of Splintered in The Moth in the Mirror, available in print for the first time.

        This collection expands upon Ensnared's epilogue, and includes some deleted scenes to provide a “director’s cut” glimpse into the past and futures of our favorite Splintered characters.




        Wednesday, July 26, 2017

        Waiting on Wednesday: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares



        Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.  You can also check out Can't-Wait Wednesday hosted by Wishful Endings.

        A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland
        Release Date: September 5, 2017

        I saw this on one of last weeks WoW posts and thought this sounded like an interesting read.  I haven't read Our Chemical Hearts, so I should probably check that one out in the meantime.

        Goodreads Overview:

        A Semi-Definitive List of Worst NightmaresFrom the author of Our Chemical Hearts comes the hilarious, reality-bending tale of two outsiders facing their greatest fears about life and love one debilitating phobia at a time.

        Ever since Esther Solar's grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther's father is agoraphobic and hasn't left the basement in six years, her twin brother can t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.

        The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them. 

        Esther doesn't know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares. 

        Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn't counted on: love.

        Saturday, July 22, 2017

        Stacking the Shelves: Don't Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray




        Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, be it physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

        Tynga publishes her post each Saturday, so be sure to link up your posts and check out what books others have added to their shelves that week.

        Ebook from the Publisher

        Don't Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray

        Goodreads Overview:

        Don't Kiss the Messenger (Edgelake High School, #1)For most of her teenage life, CeCe Edmonds has been dealing with the stares and the not-so-polite whispers that follow her around Edgelake High. So she has a large scar on her face—Harry Potter had one on his forehead and people still liked him.

        CeCe never cared about her looks—until Emmett Brady, transfer student and football darling, becomes her literature critique partner. The only problem? Emmett isblindsided by Bryn DeNeuville, CeCe’s gorgeous and suddenly shy volleyball teammate. 

        Bryn asks CeCe to help her compose messages that’ll charm Emmett.CeCe isn’t sure there’s anything in his head worth charming but agrees anyway—she’s a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately, the more messages she sends and the more they run into each other, the more she realizes there’s plenty in his head, from food to literature. Too bad Emmett seems to be falling for the wrong girl… 

        Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book involves one fiercely scarred girl who wants the new guy in town, the new guy who thinks he wants the new girl, and the new girl who really isn’t sure what she wants, and the misunderstanding that brings them all together. This modern Cyrano de Bergerac retelling will make you laugh, swoon, and fall in love.


        Wednesday, July 19, 2017

        Waiting on Wednesday: Dream Fall by Amy Plum



        Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.  You can also check out Can't-Wait Wednesday hosted by Wishful Endings.

        Dream Fall by Amy Plum
        Release Date: September 7, 2017

        I'm currently reading Amy Plum's most recent release, Until the Beginning, and decided to share Dream Fall this week.  This book appears to be considerably different from her previous books, but I have enjoyed all of her others and will definitely give this one a try.

        Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)Goodreads Overview:

        Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse...but she was terribly wrong.

        Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.


        Tuesday, July 18, 2017

        Review: The 6th Target by James Patterson

        The 6th Target (Women's Murder Club, #6)

        The 6th Target is the sixth book in the Women's Murder Club (WMC) series.  In this installment Lindsay Boxer, a San Francisco homicide detective, is called to the scene of a shooting on a ferry boat.  Four people are dead and one of the members of the WMC is seriously injured.  There are a slew of witnesses, but the shooter manages to escape.  

        Lindsay is also investigating a series of incidents that have occurred in Cindy Thomas's apartment building.  Cindy is a reporter for the local newspaper and one of the four members of the WMC.  She got a great deal on this new apartment, but she is beginning to wonder if this move was a big mistake. 

        There is a third case that develops when a child prodigy is abducted along with her nanny at a local park.  The family is very wealthy, so Lindsay assumes a ransom note will soon follow, but the kidnappers never make contact with the police or the family.  When Lindsay discovers this isn't the first incident involving a gifted child and a nanny, she begins to connect the dots.

        District attorney Yuki Castellano is called in to prosecute the ferry shooter.  With video footage of the shooting clearly showing the defendant in action, this should be a slam dunk case.  She even has a number of witnesses who can clearly identify the defendant, but she knows she will need to proceed with caution.  She is up against a high profile defense attorney who will leave no stone unturned.

        This was another great addition to the series.  I love seeing how the characters evolve and how their combined talents can solve some of the toughest crimes.  The books are action packed and relatively fast reads, but this series is still a major commitment.  There are currently sixteen books available and I'm sure there are more to come.  

        Wednesday, July 12, 2017

        Waiting on Wednesday: Snow Lane by Josephine Angelini



        Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.  You can also check out Can't-Wait Wednesday hosted by Wishful Endings.

        Snow Lane by Josephine (Josie) Angelini
        Release Date: January 2, 2018

        I have been a fan of Josie's since reading her Starcrossed series, which I would highly recommend if you haven't read it.  She just posted on her blog about her upcoming release Snow Lane, which is based upon true stories from her childhood, but it is still a work of fiction.  Like the character in this book, Josie is from a large family.  She was the youngest of eight children and was encouraged by her husband, agent, and editor to share some of her hilarious family stories.  Snow Lane sounds more contemporary than her other books, so I am definitely intrigued.  

        Snow Lane
        Overview:

        Fifth grader Annie is just like every other girl in her small suburban town. 
        Except she’s starting to realize that she isn’t.
        Annie is the youngest of nine children. Instead of condemned to the lowest spot on the totem pole, she wants to carve out place for herself in the world. But it’s hard to find your destiny when the only thing you’re good at is being cheerful. Annie is learning that it’s difficult to be Annie, period, and not just because her clothes are worn-out hand-me-downs, and she suffers from a crippling case of dyslexia, but also because there are secrets in her life no one in her family is willing to face.

        Snow Lane is a story about a resilient girl who, in spite of many hardships, can still find light in the darkest of places.

        Tuesday, July 11, 2017

        Review: Bitter Pill by Stacey Kade

        Bitter Pill

        Bitter Pill is one of Stacey's earlier releases that was published using the name Stacey Klemstein in 2008.  The book was edited and re-released in 2013 under Stacey Kade.

        Rennie Harlow grew up in a small town and moved to Chicago after high school.  She graduated from college, got married, and had a great job.  Life was moving along smoothly until she discovered her husband was having an affair with his paralegal.  She moved back to her hometown and is now living in the apartment above her mother's garage while working as a freelance writer for the local paper.  As if being divorced and returning home isn't scandal enough, trouble constantly surfaces around her.  She has discovered not one, but three dead bodies over the past year and the townspeople are definitely talking.  

        At the beginning of this book she finds the body of the local pharmacist.  She arrived early that morning to pick up her mother's medication and became concerned when the store was still dark and Doc Hallacy didn't open the door promptly at 8:00 a.m., which has been his routine for as long as she can remember.  As an investigative reporter she takes it upon herself to assist the attractive young sheriff, Jake Bristol, with the investigation.  Not only does she need to clear her name, but the first hand knowledge will make for a great story in the paper.

        This is a light and sometimes humorous murder mystery.  Rennie isn't a skilled investigator, but she is personable and people feel comfortable talking to her.  She also has great intuition and can think outside the box.  That is why Bristol allows her to unofficially assist with the investigation and often invites her along to watch how people respond in various situations.  Being young and naive she finds herself in some dangerous situations and doesn't always interpret the clues correctly.  Especially when the warnings are directed at her.

        I have enjoyed all of Stacey's book, but I would have to list this one towards the top.  738 Days is probably my favorite with Bitter Pill a close second.  I would recommend this book to any reader and not just someone looking for a mystery.  I flew through this book in only a couple of days and was definitely surprised by the ending.  It wasn't at all predictable and was highly entertaining from start to finish.

        Monday, July 10, 2017

        Review: Elegy by Tara Hudson

        Elegy (Hereafter #3)

        Elegy is the third and final book in the Hereafter series.  I was fortunate to pick up an ARC at the 2013 RT convention.  I kept meaning to read it, but for some reason it never made it to the top of my TBR list even though I read the first two books immediately after they were released.  As part of my 2017 New Year's Bookish Goals I decided it was time to complete some of the series I started in previous years, but never got around to finishing.  My goal was to complete 5 series, but I have already finished 7 with the conclusion of this book.

        The Hereafter series is about a ghost named Amelia who is trapped between the "light" and "darkness"...AKA heaven and hell.  There are "Seers" who are humans with the ability to see ghosts.  Joshua is a seer, but he is also a boy Amelia saved from a tragic accident, which results in their ability to physically touch each other.  (Amelia ordinarily can't touch humans without passing through them.)  This is definitely a bonus since Amelia and Joshua have been dating the entire series.  They would like nothing more than to continue their happy existence forever, but the Demons from the Netherwold will not stop until they claim Amelia.

        When she refuses to turn herself over, the Demons decide it is time to take matters into their own hands.  When the violence begins to strike a little too close to home, Amelia is forced to make a decision.  She formulates a plan and solicits the help of some unlikely candidates to hopefully end the evil once and for all.

        I thought Tara did a excellent job of tying up all of the loose ends in this series, but I was shocked by the lack of detail at the very end.  We can see how things end at the present time, but there are far reaching implications that are never mentioned.  There was an epilogue which tried to soften the ending, but it doesn't really accomplish what most readers were likely hoping for.  A short story or a an additional chapter set well into the future would have been the icing on the cake for me.


        Thursday, July 6, 2017

        Review: Ensnared by A.G. Howard

        Ensnared (Splintered, #3)

        Ensnared is the third and final book in the Splintered series and picks up a month or so after Unhinged ended.  Alyssa needs to figure out a way to save Wonderland from the destruction Queen Red cast upon it.  Without the help of Jeb, Morpheus or her Mother she must enter the looking-glass-world to rescue the people she loves most.  If she can complete this first mission, she plans on defeating Queen Red once and for all and taking her rightful place on the throne.

        The love triangle between Jeb, Alyssa, and Morpheus plays an even larger part in this book .  Love triangles aren't usually ideal, but it was an essential part of this story.  The two guys bring out the best in Alyssa in both her human and netherling worlds.  I have been on Team Morpheus since reading Unhinged, but I gained a greater appreciation for Jeb the longer he and Morpheus worked together.  I don't want to give away how this situation plays out, so I will simply say it wasn't at all what I was expecting.  

        I was very satisfied with the conclusion of this series.  The magical elements and mutant creatures contained in AnyElsewhere provide the perfect backdrop for this twisted tale.  There is plenty of danger and action mixed with the two love stories to keep the pages turning.  All of the characters have grown by leaps and bounds since the beginning of this series.  It was great to see them working together to reach a common goal.  I would have preferred a bit more detail in the Epilogue, which I was pleased to discover is likely provided in Untamed, the collection of short stories released after Ensnared.  I have already added it to my TBR list and hope to get to it soon.



        Wednesday, July 5, 2017

        Waiting on Wednesday: What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum



        Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.  You can also check out Can't-Wait Wednesday hosted by Wishful Endings.

        What To Say Next By Julie Buxbaum
        Release Date: July 11, 2017

        I have been seeing this book a lot lately and added it to my TBR list a couple of weeks ago.  I thought the cover was cute and summery, but it sounds like the topic is anything but.  I'm interested in seeing how this "unlikely friendship" develops.   

        What to Say NextGoodreads Overview:

        Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

        KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

        DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her. 

        When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

        Friday, June 30, 2017

        Bookish Goals Status Update: June 2017


        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 2017 Goals.

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

        • Read and review at least 40 books 
          1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
          2. Everbound by Brodi Ashton
          3. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
          4. This Girl by Colleen Hoover
          5. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
          6. The Black Circle by Patrick Carman
          7. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
          8. Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout
          9. Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready
          10. Unhinged by A.G. Howard
          11. The Death Cure by James Dashner
          12. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
          13. Matched by Ally Condie
          14. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
          15. Ensnared by A.G. Howard
          16. Elegy by Tara Hudson

        • I am once again participating in the New To You Challenge hosted by The Herd Presents.  I'm going to aim for 12-15 books. Any book over 80 pages qualifies as long as it is new to you.  New author, new genre, new series, etc.
          1. Three Dark Crowns - New Series and New Author
          2. Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout - New Series and New Author
          3. Matched by Ally Condie - New Author and New Series
          4. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - New Series

        • Read at least 10 New Adult books (My definition of NA = protagonists are post high school, but under 30)
          1. This Girl by Colleen Hoover
          2. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
          3. Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready 
          4. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

          • Last year I read three of the books that had been on my TBR list the longest.  I now have 46 books that were all added on September 7, 2010 that would qualify.  I plan on reading at least 3 more of them this year. 

          • Finish reading at least 5 series I have already started.  (I have several trilogies with final books I still need to read. ***Challenge Completed***
            1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater - The Raven Cycle Series
            2. This Girl by Colleen Hoover - The Slammed Series 
            3. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton - Everneath Series
            4. Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready - WVMP Radio Series
            5. The Death Cure by James Dashner - The Maze Runner Series
            6. Ensnared by A.G. Howard - Splintered Series
            7. Elegy by Tara Hudson - Hereafter 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, 2017.
            1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
            2. Everbound by Brodi Ashton
            3. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
            4. This Girl by Colleen Hoover
            5. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
            6. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
            7. Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout
            8. Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready
            9. Unhinged by A.G. Howard
            10. The Death Cure by James Dashner
            11. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
            12. Matched by Ally Condie
            13. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
            14. Ensnared by A.G. Howard
            15. Elegy by Tara Hudson

            • Achieve a Professional level in the 2017 Prequel and Sequel Challenge hosted by Novel Heartbeat with 76 - 100 points. You can click on the link for the sign up.
              1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Cycle #4_ - 12 pts (finished series + sequel)
              2. Everbound by Brodi Ashton (Everneath #2) - 2 pts for a sequel
              3. This Girl by Colleen Hoover (Slammed #3) -12 pts (finished series + sequel)
              4. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton (Everneath #3) - 12 pts (finished series + sequel)
              5. The Black Circle (39 Clues #5) - 2 points for a sequel
              6. Where She Went by Gayle Forman (If I Stay #2) - 2 pts for a sequel
              7. Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready (WVMP #4) 12 pts (finished series +sequel)
              8. Unhinged by A.G. Howard (Splintered #2) - 2 pts for a sequel
              9. The Death Cure by James Dashner (Maze Runner #3) - 12 pts (finished series + sequel)
              10. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls #5) 2 pts sequel
              11. Ensnared by A.G. Howard (Splintered #3) - 12 pts (finished series + sequel)
              12. Elegy by Tara Hudson (Hereafter #3) - 12 pts (finished series + sequel)
                                                                Total Points = 70
            • 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 16 new releases read/reviewed during 2017.  The minimum length for a book to qualify is 100 pages. 

            Thursday, June 29, 2017

            Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

            Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)

            It has been a couple of years since I completed the Vampire Academy series, so I decided it was time to finally read Bloodlines.  Adrian Ivashkov was my favorite character in that series, so this book was almost a guaranteed winner for me since he has a much larger part in this story.

            The story is told from Sydney Sage's point of view.  Her job as an alchemist is to protect humans from the vampire world and to make sure humans are not aware of their existence.  She was labeled a "vampire lover" because of her role in helping Rose and her friends in the Vampire Academy series, but she feels she did the right thing.  She explains her reasons for the decisions she made and the alchemists decide to giver her another chance.  She is assigned to protect Queen Vasilisa's sister, Jill, while the royal court works to change an ancient law that requires the King or Queen to have a living relative.

            Throughout Bloodlines we learn considerably more about Sydney and the role the alchemists play.  We are introduced to Keith, who is the head alchemist in Palm Springs, which is where Sydney is assigned.  He spent some time living with the Sage family when he was younger and Sydney is clearly not fond of him.  The only thing keeping their interactions civil is the fact that she has some dirt on him that could ruin his reputation.  When she discovers he is involved in far more than she ever could have imagined, she uses the knowledge to her advantage.

            We are also introduced to an elderly Moroi, Clarence, and his son Lee.  Clarence's niece was killed by Strigoi well before the start of this book, but he firmly believes it was a vampire hunter who really killed her.  Adrian is forced to stay with the older man, which is the complete opposite of the party boy lifestyle he is used to.  In addition, his parents are only giving him a small allowance, so he isn't able to maintain his lavish lifestyle.  He quickly latches onto Lee and Sydney to help get him out of this unsuitable arrangement.

            The ending of Bloodlines was a complete surprise and clearly sets up the plot line for The Golden Lily, which is the next book in the series.  I included the sequel on my COYER Summer Reading List and can't wait to see how the story proceeds.  

            Wednesday, June 28, 2017

            Waiting on Wednesday: Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite



            Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.  You can also check out Can't-Wait Wednesday hosted by Wishful Endings.

            Check Me Out by Becca Wilhite
            Release Date: February 16, 2018

            I came across this book last week while looking at all of the WoW and CWW posts and immediately added it to my TBR list. I'm sure the library tie in will catch the eye of a lot of readers.  

            Check Me OutGoodreads Overview:

            Greta loves her job as assistant librarian. She loves her best friend, Will, the high school civics teacher and debate coach. She even loves her mother despite her obvious disappointment that Greta is still single.

            Then she meets Mac in the poetry section of the library, and she is smitten. Mac is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and showers her with affection, poetic text messages, and free hot chocolate at the local café where he works. The only problem is that he seems to be a different person in his texts than in his face-to-face conversation.

            When the Franklin Library is threatened with closure, Greta leaps into action. She arranges for a "battle of the bands" book jam, hosts a book signing by a famous author, and finally, stages a protest that raises more than a few eyebrows.

            Through it all, she slowly realizes that it is Will, not Mac, who she turns to for support and encouragement. Mac has the looks; Will has the heart. How can she choose between them?

            Check Me Out is a contemporary romance--with just a hint of Cyrano de Bergerac--that reminds us that it is what's on the inside that matters most.

            Tuesday, June 27, 2017

            Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I've Read in 2017


            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've Read So Far In 2017

            I've spend the better part of 2017 finishing series and reading older books that have been sitting on my shelves for WAY too long.  In fact, I haven't read a single new release yet this year, but hopefully I will get to some soon.


            Where She Went by Gayle Forman

            The sequel to If I Stay

            Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)

            Matched by Ally Condie
            Book 1 in the series

            Matched (Matched, #1)

            Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
            Book 1 in the series

            Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)

            The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
            Book 4 in the Raven Cycle Series

            The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4)

            Unhinged by A.G. Howard
            Book 2 in the Splintered Series.  I'm currently reading Ensnared, which is the final book in this series.

            Unhinged (Splintered, #2)

            Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
            Book 1 in the Bloodlines Series

            Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)

            Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
            Book 5 in the Gallagher Girls Series

            Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls, #5)

            Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
            Book 3 in the Everneath Series

            Evertrue (Everneath, #3)

            Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout
            Book 1 in the Lux Series

            Obsidian (Lux, #1)

            Lust for Life by Jeri Smith-Ready 
            Book 4 in the WVMP Radio Series

            Lust for Life (WVMP Radio, #4)