Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Maze Runner Series Binge Read - #DashnerDash

This past week I picked up copies of The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure in my local little free library.  Then I stumbled upon this binge read that started yesterday and decided now is as good of a time as any to start the series.  Below is the summary from The Reader Bee.  For additional information, check out the Maze Runner Series on Facebook and join in!  

Hey Gladers!!

Today begins the #DashnerDash Binge Read!!
Join me and some other great bloggers as we binge read
The Maze Runner Series 
from the very beginning, in anticipation of The Fever Code release!!

If you've not yet read these books, you should totally do so!
I read them last year, but didn't review them, so I'm going to reread them again,
review them, AND finally watch the movies!!
If you have already read the books, join me for another read along!!

Check back at the end of the June for my first review of The Maze Runner!
And check back also for a chance to win a SIGNED Copies of the books as we go along!!

All the information you need is below!!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Review: Beyond the Grave (39 Clues #4) by Jude Watson

Beyond the Grave (The 39 Clues #4)

The fourth book in the 39 Clues series takes Amy and Dan to Egypt.  We learn about the ancient tombs, mummies, and other Egyptian history as the Cahill kids continues the search for their next clue.  Shortly after their arrival in Egypt they stumble upon The Ekat stronghold, which is located in a hotel owned by the Oh family. 

As Amy and Dan narrowly escape capture by the Ekats, they run into a good friend of their Grandmother's named Hillary Vale.  She gives them Grace's guide book of Egypt, which she used during her numerous trips to explore the area.  The kids are ecstatic to find that it contains many of her notes regarding the quest.  Hillary insists Grace wanted Amy and Dan to have the book along with the contents of a safety deposit box.  This lifts Amy and Dan's spirits since they were beginning to doubt their Grandmother's intentions.

Amy and Dan have another close call when they run into Jonah Wizard along the way.  Their luck doesn't improve much once they are rescued.  They are once again reminded of the fact that they can't trust ANYONE.  They expect to be double crossed by their relatives, but it isn't a relative that turns on them this time.

At the end of the book they reunite with their Uncle Alistair under shady circumstances.  Amy and Dan need to decide if joining forces with him again will be to their advantage.  He has saved their lives on more than one occasion, but he has burned them just as many times.

Overall this has been an enjoyable series so far.  There is plenty of action and tons of shenanigans to hold my son's attention.  He also enjoys learning the historical and geographical facts these books contain.  He is; however, going to have to take a break from the series for the next couple of months. He wants to read the books on his sixth grade summer reading list next.  This is the first summer he has had required reading and he is actually excited about it, which is a good sign!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: Shade Me by Jennifer Brown

Shade Me is the first book in a new series by Jennifer Brown.  All of her previous books are stand alone novels, so this is a little different for her.  

Nikki Kill is a high school senior with a condition known as synesthesia.  When she sees numbers and letters they present themselves to her as colors.  This is very distracting when she is trying to study; therefore, she has never been a strong student.  She also associates colors with emotions and can read people based upon the colors she sees.  

Nikki doesn't see the benefits of synesthesia until she begins investigating the attack on fellow classmate Peyton Hollis.  Peyton is from a very wealthy and powerful family and is practically royalty within their school.  The two girls didn't hang out in the same circle of friends and never actually spoke until the night of Peyton's attack.  For some unknown reason, Peyton called Nikki when she knew her life was in danger.  Nikki is determined to uncover the truth behind the attack, but the deeper she digs the more dangerous things become.

In addition to YA I read a number of adult mysteries and thrillers, so I was intrigued by this book from the start.  Jennifer wove a number of clues throughout the story and included more than enough action to keep the pages turning.  There is even a bit of a romance mixed in to spice things up.  

I was surprised by how Jennifer ended this story and almost felt like it could have been wrapped up in one novel.  There are some loose ends, but not enough to make this a series based solely on this one case.  I'm almost wondering if Nikki will begin working with the officer who investigated this crime, Chris Martinez, to help solve future investigations or cold cases.  It would be a great way for her to put her synesthesia to good use and it could be the basis for a great series.  Jennifer gave us bits and pieces of information about Martinez's past, but I think there is a lot more to him than we know.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

COYER Summer Vacation Sign Up


Last summer was the first time I joined the COYER challenge and I loved it.  I struggled a bit with the winter challenge because most of my books were not electronic or "nearly free" and didn't qualify, but I still participated and linked as many reviews as I could.  This time around I am excited to see that there will be very few rules.  

Ebooks, Audio books, paperbacks, etc. all qualify.
Free, full price, from the library...all qualify.

Simply create a Sign Up post and link it back to one of the three hosting blogs.  Fantasy is More FunBecause Reading, or Books, Movies, Reviews Oh My!

All of the details can be found on the official sign up along with other ways to participate.

The challenge will run from June 18th - September 2nd.

Coyer now has an official website!!  You can link all of your reviews here!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Stacking the Shelves at BEA and BookCon

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.

BEA and BookCon

As you may have seen from my posts earlier in the week, I had a pretty successful trip to BEA and BookCon.  I had to buy the Richelle Mead and Ransom Riggs books for them to sign, but the rest were free from the publishers. 

I bought Carry On and The Nightingale for less than half the cover price, but the rest of the books were free from the publishers.

I really didn't need any more tote bags, but I couldn't pass up these cute freebies.  

When I was at the Harry Potter Park at Universal I tried to find a cute souvenir, but I couldn't find anything that wasn't ridiculously priced.  I found this shirt at BEA and thought it was perfect...and it was less than half the price of a t-shirt at the park :)

The following is a photo of the souvenirs I brought home for my eleven year-old son.  He specifically asked for a signed copy of Dav Pilkey's new book, so of course I HAD to make that happen.  I bough my little Slytherin his house stationary/journal/wax stamp set since it was half off and came with the Harry Potter sticker book.  I also got a deal on the Waterlife adult coloring book.  By the last day of the show it was marked down from $14 to $5. He loves his bird book like this, so I couldn't pass it up. Dog Man, The Gauntlet, and The Great Shelby Holmes were all free from the publishers.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Review: My True Love Gave to Me - Twelve Holiday Stories

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

I have had this book on my TBR list for over a year and a half.  I wanted to read it over the holidays, but in typical holiday fashion, things came up and I didn't get around to it.  With Summer Days and Summer Nights being released May 17th, I needed to tackle this one before I found myself even further behind.

I downloaded the audio book from the library and listened to the first five or six stories while I trained for my next half marathon.  Each story is about 50 minutes long, which helped push me a little further than the 35 - 40 minutes I had been running each day.  I listened to the last half of the book during my five hour drive to BEA and the time literally flew by.

The stories were all very different and I enjoyed seeing how the various authors expressed their personalities and styles.  I have read several books by Holly Black, Ally Carter, David Levithan, Stephanie Perkins, and Rainbow Rowell, but the rest of the authors were new to me.  Not new to me in the sense that I haven't heard of them, but rather they have been on my TBR list forever and I simply haven't gotten around to reading their books yet.  I was really impressed with  Kiersten White and Gayle Forman's stories and will have to bump them further up my TBR list.

Overall this was a very entertaining collection of stories that will put anyone in the holiday spirit.  I would, however, recommend taking a break between each story to allow yourself time to process what you have read before moving onto the next.  When I listened to the stories back to back in the car, I found the transitions to be a bit awkward.  It was more enjoyable for me when I started each story with an open mind.  For example, moving from a contemporary romance to a supernatural story involving a mysterious disappearing elf was easier to process when I listened to them independently.  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

BookExpo America Day 2

Friday was a FULL day at BEA.  The first item on the agenda was to pick up one of the Miss. Peregrine bags they were handing out Thursday morning.  I saw a number of people walking around with them in the afternoon, but they were out by the time I arrived.  I also grabbed a bag from Penguin and a Twin Peaks bag.

Then I was off to meet Emily Giffin. She is the author of Something Borrowed and Something Blue.  I really enjoyed her other novels and was excited to receive a copy of First Comes Love.  It is an adult contemporary scheduled to be released June 28th.

The next item on the agenda was to get a copy of Dog Man by Dav Pilkey.  This is the ONLY book my 11 year-old son requested that I pick up for him at the convention.  Preston loves his Captain Underpants series and was ecstatic to receive a signed copy.  I also couldn't pass up the Slytherin stationary/journal/wax stamp set since it was half off and came with the Harry Potter sticker book.  Preston is definitely a Slytherin, so this was a must have.

Next I was off to meet Mary Engelbreit.  I love all of her cartoon drawings and even took one of my messenger bags my mother-in-law made for me out of her crown fabric.  I asked her if she has a Scottish Terrier since they are in so many of her drawings.  She said she used to, but now she just draws them because they are cute and fun to draw.  

The rest of the day was devoted to waiting in line for signed copies of The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, Stealing Snow by Danielle Page, and The Amateurs by Sara Shepard.  As you can see, I did pick up a few additional books along the way.

Monday, May 16, 2016

BEA 2016 Day 1: Fierce Reads Party

BEA was in Chicago this year, which is a pretty easy drive for me from Columbus, Ohio.  I arrived around noon on Thursday with the hopes of meeting Ransom Riggs, David Levithan, and Stacey Kade.

I missed Ransom by an hour or so, but I was thrilled to meet David Levithan.  I tried to get his autograph at BEA 2014 when I was in New York, but it didn't work out.  It felt like I ran into him everywhere this time around and was surprised by how personable and accessible he was.  Even when he wasn't at a signing or a show event, he was hanging out in the booth .  I even saw him passing out copies of Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven King during her signing.

Then I was off to see Stacey Kade, who I have been Facebook and Twitter "friends" with since meeting her at RT back in 2012.  I loved her Ghost and the Goth and Project Paper Doll series, which are both YA.  738 Days is her first NA novel, which is scheduled to be released June 7th.  I will try my best to have my review up prior to the release.

That evening I attended the Fierce Reads blogger event at the Berghoff, which was definitely one of the highlight of my trip.  THANK YOU Fierce Reads for the invitation!!

Below is a picture Fierce Reads shared on their twitter page thanking the bloggers.  Mary and part of me made the photo, so I had to share it :)

This is about as crazy as it gets at a book event, so I will caption this one Authors Gone Wild.

From left to right are Kami Garcia, Marissa Meyer, Caleb Roehrig, and Leigh Bardugo.

Here I am with Marissa Meyer, the author of the Lunar Chronicles series.  I've read the first two books in the series (Cinder and Scarlet) and LOVE this series.  It amazes me how creative and imaginative she is.

I haven't read any of Leigh's books, but her The Grisha and Six of Crows series are both on my TBR list.  I think I'm going to start Six of Crows first since Flo gave it a great review.

Caleb was definitely the life of the party.  The Book Nerds will be reading his debut novel, Last Seen Leaving, as our June read along.  The release date isn't until October, but we can't wait that long.  If you have the chance to meet him, keep an eye out for the little purple hat he is wearing.

Kami Garcia was a completely new author to me.  I looked her up on Goodreads and she has quite a few books and series currently available.  I have obviously been living in the dark.  We received a copy of The Lovely Reckless, which is a contemporary YA romance scheduled to be released October 4th.

When we left the party, we each received a bag containing Last Seen Leaving, The Lovely Reckless, Heartless by Marissa Meyer, and George Orwell's 1984 along with some other great swag.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Creativity Corner: Lost Ocean 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.

This week I completed my second page in Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Replica by Lauren Oliver

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

Replica by Lauren Oliver
Release Date: October 4, 2016

I've enjoyed all of Lauren Oliver's books that I have read so far.  She will be signing this book at BEA, so I added it to my TBR list and hope to pick up a copy next week.

Goodreads Overview:

ReplicaGemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. 'A sickly child', her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father's connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she's always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father's name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute's walls, Lyra - or number 24 as she is known as at Haven - and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven's purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever...