Saturday, January 31, 2015

Stacking the Shelves: Paper Towns by John Green

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 Purchased:

Paper Towns by John Green

I read my first John Green book, The Fault in Our Stars, shortly before the release of the movie.  I loved the book and immediately added all of his books to my TBR list.  I selected Paper Towns as my next John Green book because the movie is scheduled to be released June 5, 2015.

Paper TownsGoodreads Overview:

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)

After reading the first two books in the series, this was one of my absolute favorite YA series.  We had to wait over two years between the release of the second and third books, so I was beyond anxious for the release.  Perhaps my expectations were unrealistic, but this book didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Michelle inserted chapters throughout the book which told the story of Mara's ancestors.  This provided a history of the "superpowers" Mara and her friends possess.  We also come to understand the motivations behind the research that is being conducted at Horizons, which shed some light on not only the characters' pasts and onset of their conditions, but also their future.

We eventually learn if Jude is "real or not real" and how he is connected to Horizons and Dr. Kells.  I wish there could have been a way for Michelle to tell this story without using quite so much graphic violence.  I read a lot of adult murder mysteries, so I am not opposed to violence as a whole.  I just didn't think it was fitting for this series and specifically not when it was associated with Mara.  It didn't bother me in the least when Mara "punished" a character with her powers, but it was a completely different story when she had to defend herself by traditional means.

The biggest disappointment had to be the lack of Noah throughout the story.  I don't want to give away any spoilers, but he did not have nearly the presence that he had in the first two books.  He is one of my favorite YA characters and is probably the sole reason I loved the first two books as much as I did.  Without his presence, it felt like something was missing.

Overall, I felt like the story tied everything together and provided a satisfying ending.  While it didn't live up to my 5 star hopes, it was still an entertaining story and a nice conclusion to the series.  The last 100 pages was the saving grace for me. It probably doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine what must have occurred around this point, but I flew through the last 100 pages. If only the entire book could have been like that I would have given it 5 stars like the previous two.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Marathon Monday: NHL All-Star 5K

I am not usually a fan of running in the cold, but as soon as I heard there was going to be an NHL All-Star 5K, I immediately signed up.  Living in Columbus, OH the weather could have been sub zero with a foot of snow this time of year, but we were very fortunate.  It was in the upper 20's with no snow on the course.

The Blue Jackets national anthem singer, Leo Welsh, was there to sing both the Canadian and U.S. national anthems.  Jody Shelley, a former Blue Jacket player and currently one of their TV broadcasters, was also there to support the event and start the race.

Here is a picture of my son and I in front of the arena with the All-Star banner.

Several of the NHL Mascots were there.  My son is a Penguins fan, so he was really excited to see Iceburgh.

Toronto Maple Leafs mascot - Carlton 

The Finish Line

The Entrance to Winter Park with my finishers medal!!

They had an All-Star Zamboni out at Winter Park along with an outdoor skating rink for fans.  There was an under 18 All-Star game going on during the race to help entertain the spectators who were waiting for runners to finish.

I certainly didn't achieve a personal record during this race, but it was a lot of fun.  There were almost 4,000 runners in the second ever NHL All-Star 5K.  Before the start of the race they announced there were only 300 runners in North Carolina for the first ever All-Star 5K a few years ago.  It is a great show of support for this event that over 13 times as many runners were willing to register and run in the cold and potential snow in Columbus, OH when a warmer weather state such as North Carolina couldn't generate a fraction of the support.    

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. 

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
Release Date: February 24, 2015

I saw this book on a WoW post last week and thought it sounded really interesting.  The cover has a creepy feel, but throw in a prince and I was hooked. 

The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter, #1)Goodreads Overview: 

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. 

Vanishing Girls By Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 10, 2015

I really enjoyed Lauren Oliver's stand-alone novel Panic as well as her Delirium series.  I still need to read Rooms, which is her adult stand-alone that was released last September, but I'm already adding this one to my TBR list.  

Vanishing GirlsGoodreads Overview:

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the third book in The Raven Cycle series.  When I was at BEA last year, I asked Maggie how many books she is planning on writing in this series.  Her response was four, so we should have the conclusion to this series sometime next fall.

The primary focus of this book is not only on finding Glendower, but also Blue's mother who left at the end of the last book.  Ronan and Adam develop a stronger relationship as they combine their skills to strengthen the ley line.  We also discover why Ronan is working so hard to restore the "power" to his family farm.  

There are a few additional characters that appear throughout this book.  Malory, the older gentleman Gansey worked with in England while researching their ley line, came to stay with the Raven Boys for a while.  He added some insight into what Gansey was like several years ago as well as assisting with the search for Glendower.  Colin Greenmantle is not only the new Latin teacher at Aglionby Academy, but he has a connection with the Gray Man and ultimately to the Raven Boys.  Greenmantle's wife, Piper, becomes a major character towards the end of this story as well.    

One character dies in this book, which was completely unexpected.  This rattled the remaining characters and is forcing them to continue their quest to find Glendower at an even more rapid pace.  If death can come so suddenly and without ceremony, it could happen to anyone.  With the foretold death of a certain character in the first book in this series, it is even more important to those with this knowledge to find Glendower and receive a favor.  

I've thoroughly enjoyed this entire series so far and can't wait to see how it will conclude.  I am confident Blue and Gansey's relationship will continue to develop and they will find Glendower, so they can live happily ever after.  Authors never make it quite that easy for us, but that is what I will be hoping for until the release of the final book next October.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Marathon Monday: First Run - Burlington, VT

My husband, his twin, and my nine year old son (Preston)  had a healthy start to the new year.  They ran in the Burlington, Vermont First Run on New Years day.  It was a 5K fun run, so it didn't have chip time, but Preston's time was 30 minutes flat according to when he crossed the finish line.  He didn't start at the beginning of the pack, so his official time would have been in the 29 minute range.  That is a pretty impressive run for a little guy.  
One of my favorite quotes from the day came from an older gentleman my husband overheard telling.  He was telling someone how got passed by "a kid in elf pajamas".  (There was a costume contest, so Preston insisted on wearing his new Christmas pajamas and his Keep Vermont Weird hat.  It was a great costume, but unfortunately he didn't win the contest.  

First Run - Burlington, VT
Getting ready to start the race.

Here is a video of Preston crossing the finish line.

The three finishers