Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bookish Goals Status Update: June 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.

  • Read and review at least 45 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. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
    17. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
  • 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.
    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. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire - New author
    10. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig - New author
  • 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
    • 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.
      1. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
    • Finish reading at least 5 series I have already started.  (I have several trilogies with final books I still need to read.

    • Attend a book convention
      • 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)
      • 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
                                                          Total Points = 14
      • Complete 2 half marathons during 2016
        1. I ran in the Glass City Half Marathon on April 24th and finished in 2:17:25
        2. I'm registered by the Emerald City Quarter Marathon August 28th
        3. I'm registered for the Columbus Half Marathon October 16th
      • 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. 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.

      Wednesday, June 29, 2016

      Waiting on Wednesday: Witch's Pyre by Josephine Angelini

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

      Witch's Pyre by Josephine Angelini
      Release Date: September 20, 2016

      This is the third and final book in the series.  I've read the first book and already have a copy of the second book in the series.  I plan on reading it shortly before the release of this book to help keep the story fresh in my mind.  

      Witch's Pyre (The Worldwalker Trilogy, #3)Goodreads Overview:

      Lily Proctor has come a long way from the weak, sickly girl she used to be. She has gained power as a witch and a leader, found her way home, chosen to face battle again, and (after losing her first love and being betrayed by her new love) she has learned more about loss and grief than she ever wanted to know.

      Thrust once again into a society different from anything they have ever seen, Lily and her coven are determined to find answers―to find a new path to victory, a way to defeat the monstrous Woven without resorting to nuclear weapons or becoming a tyrannical mass murderer like her alternate self, Lillian. But sometimes winning requires sacrifices . . . and when the only clear path to victory lies at Lillian's side, what price will Lily be willing to pay?

      Internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini takes us on another emotionally wrenching thrill ride in the stunning conclusion to her Worldwalker Trilogy.

      Monday, June 27, 2016

      Author Event: David Baldacci at the Columbus Metropolitan Library

      Dedication new buildings page.jpg

      To help celebrate the grand reopening of the Columbus Metropolitan Library's main branch there was an author event and book signing with David Baldacci.  I am currently working my way through his King and Maxwell series, but my Mom has read just about all of his books.  She lives only a couple of hours away, so I invited her to attend as well.

      From the time the doors opened at 1:00 until the presentation began at 2:00, we were treated to some classical music performed by members of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

      Then David Baldacci took the stage for about 45 minutes.  His presentation was as engaging as any of his books, so I would highly recommend seeing him speak if you ever have the opportunity.  He told several humorous stories about encounters with readers and events that have taken place while researching content for his books.  He also discussed the fact that he was an avid reader as a child, which inspired him to write.  

      The one thing that caught the attention of my 11 year-old, who was forced to tag along, was the fact that he wrote the final book in the 39 Clues series.  He discussed the differences between writing adult and children's books and how he was approached by Scholastic to write the final book in the 39 Clues series.  He also discussed what it is like writing a book for a series like the 39 Clues, which has so many different authors.  Preston and I just completed the fourth book in the series, but Baldacci wrote book 16, so we have a long way to go.  Hopefully this presentation will inspire him to keep reading, which is always a good thing.

      He also discussed his foundation, which was established to help "promote the development and expansion of new and existing literacy programs."  He is a proponent for libraries in a time when decreased funding often hits libraries the hardest.  

      After his presentation there was a book signing.  When I met him at BEA a few years ago I received a copy of his latest book, which I had personalized for my Mom for Christmas.  It was part of a series I wasn't currently reading and I thought she would appreciate it more than I would.  This time around I was able to get a couple of my books signed.  

      In addition, my son decided he wanted to have "his" book signed.  The book he is currently reading is Flush by Carl Hiassen, which is one of the books he chose from the 6th grade summer reading list.  It was really funny when Preston handed Baldacci the book.  He looked at the fish on the page Preston wanted signed....then looked at the cover and laughed.  He told Preston that he knows the author and his kids really enjoyed the book.  He was a good sport and signed the book, which definitely made the little man's day.

      Wednesday, June 22, 2016

      Review: 738 Days by Stacey Kade

      738 Days was my top priority on Friday at BEA.  I left Columbus, Ohio at 7:00 AM to ensure I arrived before 1:00, which was when they were going to start passing out tickets for this signing.  Stacey didn't think there would be a problem with them running out of tickets, but I wasn't taking any chances.  I've read all of her books, with the exception of Bitter Pill, and really wanted a signed copy to add to my collection.

      The story is told with an alternating point of view.  Amanda Grace was abducted at the age of fifteen and was held captive for 738 Days.  The book starts out with a look at her rescue, but flashes forward to a couple of years later.  She is still dealing with anxiety and her family life remains strained from the incident.  

      Chase Henry is a famous actor who has fallen from grace.  Success got the better of him and he found himself lost in a life of alcohol, which led to a number of bad choices.  He has been sober for ten months and wants to get his life and career back on track.  He is filming a movie near Amanda Grace's hometown and his publicist insists it would be a great career move for him to invite her to the set.  It was his picture on a poster that gave her the courage to survive, so the connection makes complete sense.

      Amanda decides to take Chase up on the offer and they settle on a mutually beneficial agreement.  She will help him with some publicity while he gives her the opportunity to branch out from her overly protective life and family.  What neither of them expected was for their troubled pasts to lead to a real connection between them.  They provide a sense of comfort and support to each other that both have been desperately needing.  As their feelings begin to escalate, the shaky ground their relationship was built on threatens to tear them apart.  Add in a crazy celebrity stalker and this book is full of romance, action and suspense.  

      738 Days is by far my favorite of Stacey's books, which is definitely saying a lot.  She is one of my favorite authors and I would highly recommend reading any of her books.  I gave this book 5 stars and enjoyed every page from start to finish.  The pacing was perfect and everything wraps up nicely in one novel, which is rarely the case anymore.  

      Please be advised that 738 Days is NA and not her typical YA.  There is some adult language and content that readers may not expect based upon her previous novels.  The "adult scenes" were very well written and not over the top, but the added spice definitely kept the pages turning.  I really hope she continues to write NA since this book was an absolute pleasure to read.

      As a side note...Stacey, you totally underestimate yourself.  After reading this book, the tickets should have been gone within minutes :)

      Tuesday, June 7, 2016

      Happy Book Birthday to Stacey Kade - 738 Days

      If you don't already have a copy of 738 Days by Stacey Kade... today is the big day!! 

      I'm currently about halfway through and would highly recommend picking up a copy.  I've loved her other books, but this is definitely my favorite so far.

      FYI - It is NA, so you will probably have to look for it in the adult section instead of the teen section with the rest of her books.

      738 Days

      Goodreads Overview:

      At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.

      Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.

      Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he's sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.

      To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?

      Thursday, June 2, 2016

      Review: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

      Killer Instinct (The Naturals, #2)

      Killer Instinct is the second book in the Naturals series and picks up about six weeks after the end of the previous novel.  The Naturals (Cassie, Dean, Michael, Lia, and Sloane) all have gifts that allow them to read people and situations, which is an obvious benefit to an agency such as the FBI.  Cassie and Dean are natural profilers, Michael can read emotions, Lia is a human lie detector, and Sloane is a wealth of knowledge and statistics.

      After putting their lives on the line to catch a serial killer in The Naturals, the teens have been instructed to only work on cold cases.  To ensure they stick to the plan, Agent Sterling (the Director's daughter and Agent Briggs's ex-wife) moves into the residence to supervise and evaluate the program.  Her opinion could lead to the disbanding of the program, but that doesn't stop the team from investigating a local murder with the same MO as Dean's incarcerated serial killer father.  As the number of bodies begins to add up, the FBI agrees to officially pull the naturals into the active investigation.  

      Throughout the story we learn more about Dean, his relationship with his father, and the events he was exposed to as a child.  It is also revealed how the love/hate relationship between Michael and Dean developed.  I felt like both of these characters came a long way towards strengthening their relationship, which will only help the group dynamic moving forward.  When push came to shove they had each other's back and even extended themselves to help one another, which was a huge step in the right direction.

      This is the first YA murder mystery series that I have found that I thoroughly enjoy.  The characters are very unique and the stories are engaging from start to finish.  I looked forward to reading this book each day and simply did not want to put it down.  The only aspect that I could do without is the love triangle between Cassie, Dean, and Michael.  It was beginning to wear thin during the first book and continued for the majority of Killer Instinct.  I believe we have worked past it, which should relieve some of the tension between the characters in All In, which is the next installment in the series.

      It was announced in the closing chapters that there will be a change in how The Naturals program will operate moving forward.  I don't want to give anything away, but it will definitely open up the possibilities for the series moving forward.