Thursday, December 31, 2015

Challenge Completion: Full House Reading Challenge 2015

Full House Reading Challenge 2015; hosted by Book DateRULES: This challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st, 2015.  Create a post committing to your participation.  Read and review books based on topics on the card below.  There will be a link every quarter for you to add your reviews as you go along.  The goal is to complete the full house card, with one free exchange if there is something on a square that you really dislike.

Here are all the books I read for this challenge!  You could say I used my free exchange for the "Award Winning" square because I technically only read an award finalist not the actual winner.  I had a lot of fun reading these categories this year.  I spent most of my time reading books I wanted to read then seeing if they fit any of the criteria, but a couple of the squares I went searching for books.  Both ways worked really well for me.  I look forward to doing this challenge again in 2016! 

Published in 2014: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins 
You heard about the book online: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Author new to you: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Library Book: My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten
Published pre 2000: Matilda by Roald Dahl
Published 2000-2013: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer
Novella: Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Author outside you own country: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
You love the cover: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
First in a series: Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein
Published 2015: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Book by and author you really like: Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
Debut novel by author: The 100 by Kass Morgan
Outstanding hero or heroine: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Set in the Southern Hemisphere: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
A Keeper: The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Won or Borrowed: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
A Top Book of 2015 for you: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Set in the Northern Hemisphere: Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
Setting that I now want to visit: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Type of Book I Rarely Read: Room by Emma Donoghue
2nd book or more in a series: Winter by Marissa Meyer
Award Winning: The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo (National Book Finalist)
Free Choice: Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting
Been on You TBR Forever: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#70)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Favorite wand from the series of the ones we learned about.

I really like the history of the Elder Wand.  Yes, it's brutal and bloody but there is something so interesting about a wand that left a trail throughout time.  So many wands were mistaken for the actual Elder Wand that it became legendary and myth-like.  It's pretty cool to see something that you've only known in childhood stories become real, even if it cause strife where ever it goes.  It's fascinating how people misinterpreted the allegiance of the wand and it ended up with names like the Deathstick.  It's just so fascinating!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


by Scott Westerfeld
published: Simon Pulse, 2005
pages: 425

Tally Youngblood wants to be pretty and when she turns sixteen she will get to do just that.  She'll have the operation and move to paradise, where everyone will be beautiful.  However, her new friend Shay has no interest in becoming pretty. She wants to run away and stay ugly forever.  But Shay doesn't want to do it alone though, she wants Tally to come with her.  Tally has to make a life altering decision, either way there will be major consequences.

This book didn't immediately captivate me like I hoped it would.  I liked the concept of the book and thought it was interesting but the plot didn't seem to take off until the book was well over half way through.  I knew I wanted to finish the book, but I was on the fence about whether or not I wanted to continue on the series.  It wasn't until the last 50 pages or so that I decided I wanted to know what was going to happen in the next couple of books.

This is the kind of book that I would have loved if I had read it in high school.  The characters are compelling and Tally deals with pressure from multiple sides, which most teenagers deal with at some point.  She is relatable and interesting; I found myself routing for her at every opportunity.  Shay on the other-hand is just as compelling, but more impulsive.  She doesn't always think about the consequences of her actions, but is fiercely loyal.

I do like the writing in this story.  Scott Westerfeld has a unique way of getting to the heart of the characters and their conflicts with vibrant dialogue and descriptions of the dystopian world in which they live.  I'll be interested in reading more of Westerfeld's work.

Stars: 3/5


"With a beginning and ending that pack hefty punches, this introduction to a dystopic future promises an exciting series."
     --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Highly readable with a convincing plot that incorporates futuristic technologies and disturbing commentary on our current public policies.  Fortunately, the cliff-hanger ending promises a sequel."
     --School Library Journal, starred review

"This book, the first in a trilogy, asks engaging questions about the meaning of beauty, individuality, and betrayal.  Highly recommended for SF fans or anyone who likes a good, thoughtful adventure."
    --Kliatt, starred review

A Full House Reading Challenge 2015 Book!
A TBR Pile Challenge 2015 book.
An Alphabet Soup Challenge 2015 book. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books For the First Half of 2016

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (January 5)

2. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (January 5)

3. The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth (January 12)

4. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (February 2)

5. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (February 16)

6. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro (March 1)

7. The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins (March 8)

8. When We Collide by Emery Lord (April 5)

9. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (May 3)

10. Ruined by Amy Tintera (May 3)

Monday, December 28, 2015

2016 Challenges!

The Eclectic Reader Challenge 2016 , hosted by Book'd Out.
This challenge will run from January 1st to December 31st 2016.  Create a blog post committing to your participation.  You can choose your books as you go or create a list in advanced.  You have to read a book from each of the genres listed below.  You can read your chosen titles in any order, at any pace, just complete the challenge by December 31st 2016.  Each time you read and review a book as part of this challenge, make sure you identify it by adding either a direct statement or the challenge image badge to the post.

The Genres:

1. A book about books (fiction or nonfiction)
2. Serial Killer Thriller
3. Paranormal romance
4. A novel set on an island - Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill (England is an Island.)
5. Investigative journalism (nonfiction)
6. Disaster fiction
7. Steampunk sci fi
8. Any book shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize
9. Psychology (nonfiction)
10. Immigrant Experience fiction
11. YA historical fiction
12. A debut author in 2016
Full House Reading Challenge 2016; hosted by Book Date

RULES: This challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st, 2016.  Create a post committing to your participation.  Read and review books based on topics on the card below.  There will be a link every quarter for you to add your reviews as you go along.  The goal is to complete the full house card, with one free exchange if there is something on a square that you really dislike.

Published in 2015: Spelled by Betsy Schow
Debut Novel: Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
A dominant color on cover: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Way out of comfort zone: Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Book from a series you love: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Memoir: You're Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day
Author's surname starts with the same letter as yours: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
You didn't want to put it down: Everland by Wendy Spinale
New Author to You: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Library Book: The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
Been on TBR 'forever': Matched by Ally Condie
First in a series: Splintered by A.G. Howard
Published in 2016: Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly
Author Outside own Country: The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (UK)
Color Word in the Title: 13 Little Blue Envelops by Maureen Johnson
Family relationship word in title: The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
You'd like to change the cover: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
Had laugh out Loud Moments: Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Would make a good movie: Runaways: Pride and Joy by Brian K. Vaughan
Thought Provoking Book: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
By author you wish was better known: Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly


Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2016 hosted by My Reader's Block

RULES: This challenge runs from January 1st- December 31st, 2016.  Commit to a challenge level. Read as many books from your TBR pile as possible.  Books must be owned prior to January 1st, 2016 to count.  No library books.  Check the page for the rest of the rules.

Challenge Levels:

Pike's Peak: 12 books
Mount Blanc: 24 books
Mt. Vancouver: 36 books
Mt. Ararat: 48 books
Mt. Kilimanjaro: 60 books
El Toro: 75 books
Mt. Everest: 100 books
Mount Olympus (Mars): 150+ books

My Level: Pike's Peak

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
2. Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
3. Splintered by A.G. Howard
4. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
5. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Gailbraith
6. Matched by Ally Condie
7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
9. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Alphabet Soup Challenge

There are some letters on my page of book reviews that don't have any books under them and I think it's high time for that to change.  I've decided that I will read a book for every letter of the alphabet this year because that would be fun. (excluding the "the"s in the book titles)   Here's where I will keep track of that adventure.  I'm not going to necessarily read the books in alphabetical order, but hopefully I will get to each book.

# -
A - All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
B -
C -
D -
E -
F -
G -
H -
I -
J -
K -
L - Lumberjanes Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max
M - Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
N -
O -
P -
Q -
R -
S - Spelled by Betsy Schow
T -
U -
V -
W -
X -
Y -
Z -

The Book List Challenge 

I've been reading off a book list since 2007.  This year I would like to continue to read more books off of it.  It's a yearly updated book list so books change and disappear off the list, others are added.  There are over 450 books to read, so it shouldn't be a problem. It's the Teenreads Ultimate Reading List if you'd like to take a look.

My goal is 10 books off the list this year.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Notable Quotable: Libba Bray (#105)

"The mere suggestion of fame and fortune casts a glamour all its own.  It is rather alarming how quickly people will turn someone else's fiction into fact in order to support their own fictions of themselves." 
     --Rebel Angels

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#69)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

What long lost magical item did you find in the Room of Requirement?

There are so many amazing magical items in the Room of Requirement.  The item I found there happens to be the old magic mirror that Beast uses to watch Belle and then gives to her so that she'd always remember him.  They didn't didn't need it after the curse broke and when they had kids, their middle child found it in an old drawer in a desk in the library.

When their middle child got her Hogwarts letter, she packed it amongst the items she was taking to school.  She used it sometimes for good, but mostly to figure out where Filch, Mrs. Norris, and the professors were so her friends could sneak around without getting caught.  Sometimes she used it to spy on a crush but that ended badly once, so she decided to keep it only for mischief.

It ended up in the Room of Requirement because one of their excursions went wrong.  They ducked into the Room of Requirement quite by accident and it saved them from being found.  They saw all the amazing things in the room and she set the mirror down, enthralled in all the trinkets.  She walked away and the room swallowed the mirror.

She looked long and hard before they left but no one could find it again.  Much to her dismay, she never found that room again.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Walking on Trampolines

by Frances Whiting
published: Gallery Books, 2015 (originally 2013)
pages: 368

When Lulu meets Annabelle, she is bewitched.  They quickly become the best of friends, sharing secrets and a language that no one else knows.  But when the unthinkable happens, they lose track of each other.  Lulu has to come to terms with her life and move on, but it doesn't happen easily or over night.  Lulu takes a journey to find herself and her purpose, amid new beginnings and unexpected endings. 

I love the title of the book, Walking on Trampolines.  It's not explained at all in the book, like some title would be; it's not even mentioned.  But it describes everything this book is about, everything that Lulu struggles with, every decision, every moment in her life.  Life is hard and sometimes you get thrown off, become unstable, just like walking on a trampoline.

The book delivers rich characters that made me hate them and love them at the same time.  There were characters that had no clue what they were doing, characters that were very self aware, and characters that were slightly naive.  This book was really about Lulu's journey into acceptance and happiness, but it proves that everyone you meet has some affect on you regardless of how long you know them.

Duncan is my favorite character in this book.  He has a great personally: he's flamboyant, boisterous and tender to those he loves.  He's also very aware that he is an asshole.  He likes to meddle and does his best to help Lulu when she comes to work for him.  He is a force of nature in Lulu's life and helps her discover happiness. 

The characters in this book are the reason people should read it.  The plot seems to be slightly trivial next to the amazing amount of lively and developed characters you come across in these pages.

Frances Whiting has the ability to create characters that feel so real.  I feel as though I've known them for a long time.  I will be waiting more from Whiting in the future! 

Stars: 3.5/5


"A tender exploration of friendship, families, and first love."
      --Liane Moriarty, author of What Alice Forgot

"Whiting has crafted a compelling and emotional journey... Fans of Liane Moriarty, Sarah Dessen, and Jennifer Close will adore Whiting's heart wrenchingly honest and utterly earnest tale of female friendship, unbreakable bonds, and learning to let go."
     --Booklist, starred review

"Whiting's novel, reminiscent of novels by Kristin Hannah, evokes all the emotions the best books should: joy, sadness and the truth that life is messy, yet full of love."
     --RT Book Reviews

A Full House Challenge 2015 Book!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bring Me

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham - I've been dancing around this for a while now and I've made a decision to dive head first into this series.  It sounds like everything I've ever wanted in a graphic novel/comic bind up.

2. Rat Queen Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Weibe - I've heard good things about this series and I just want to start it.  Kickass female leads is all I need to know in order to read this.

3. Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Willson - Superheroes are my jam and this comic has been on my radar since it began.  I would love to see this under the Christmas tree this year!

4. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Hard Cover) - I have all the other books, but I somehow managed not to buy this one.  I want it on my shelf.

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling - It's beautiful and I want it.

6. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab - I've never read any of her books, but I really want to and this one seems like a great one to start with.  I wouldn't mind seeing this on Christmas morning!

7. Something Real by Heather Demetrios - I've wanted this book since I found out it was coming out.  I haven't picked it up because it hasn't been in my line of sight, but I know I'd read it so fast if I owned it.

8. The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips - I would love to own this. Aside from the cover being beautiful, it's a film noir murder mystery kind of story.

9. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - It's a book about a bookstore and the cover alone gives it right to a space on my bookshelves.

10. Jackaby by William Ritter - I'd love a copy of this book.  I haven't read it yet, but I really like the cover and I've heard great things about it.  Santa could definitely bring this for me.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Fandom Mashup (#14)

Hosted by Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Micheline has come up with a great idea and I can't pass up the opportunity to participate.  Each week Micheline will pose a unique fiction scenario and I will choose 5 characters from 5 different fandoms to help me with the situation.  It's going to be quite fun, I can already tell!

Scenario:  There are secret santa gifts under the tree.  Who do you hope bought you gifts and what do you hope they bought you?

I don't have five this week but I had to post this one because it is my ultimate fictional gift wish.

Hawkeye (Marvel) - He could bring me a custom bow that goes along with some personal archery lessons.  He's a master archer who once trained with the circus, and now he's apart of the Avengers so lessons from him would be amazing!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Notable Quotable: Rainbow Rowell (#104)

"You never know when it's going to be the last time you see somebody and don't want to miss your chance to say good-bye." 

Notable Quotable: Jennifer A. Nielsen (#103)

"A person can be educated and still be stupid, and a wise man can have no education at all." 
     --The False Prince

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#68)

hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews.

Which books would you recommend Ron?

Ron already got a great book from Fred and George about how women work, which is hysterical so here are some books that I think would help explain the other mysteries of his life.

The History of the Telephone by Herbert Newton Casson - The next time he tries to call Harry he'll know how it works and what's going to happen on the other line.

Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle -  I think this would go a long way to help him with future puzzling moments.  If he thought a little bit more like Sherlock, he might come up with some solution that don't involve him embarrassing himself or getting in trouble.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


by Marissa Meyer
pages: 824

Princess Winter is kind, generous and well loved by the people on Luna.  She is also the stepdaughter of Queen Levana, which happens to be a dangerous position.  While Levana tries to secure her vision of world domination, Winter has been subtly undermining Queen Levana for years.  Disguising her strength in her biggest weakness, Winter decides it's time to do something about her stepmother and her personal guard Jacin, knows where to go for help.

The conclusion of The Lunar Chronicles is upon us.

I think I've said this in every Lunar Chronicles review, but this story is so much more than just a retelling of Snow White.  Sure, you get the Snow White story, but you have the fate of the world and Luna resting on a couple rebels too.  I was curious to see how different sections of the story would be represented and I wasn't disappointed.  I thought it was really cool that Snow White's seven dwarfs were represented in the other main characters.  It was never said explicitly that Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and company were the seven dwarfs but subtle hints and actions made it increasingly obvious. The way that Snow White is weaved into the more complex and ultimately engaging plot is incredible.

It was long for a good reason. With eight main characters to follow and for main story arcs to conclude, it is impossible to know exactly where everyone is all the time.  It's hard to balance them well and move the plot forward in an engaging fashion. To be honest, this was one of aspects of the book that concerned me before reading it. I think it is done fairly well in this book. There are definite periods of time where I wondered what a certain character was up to because they hadn't been apart of the central plot for a chunk of time. Cress goes missing for a while and so does Winter.  But for the most part, the page time is well balanced and the absence of certain characters provide more momentum for the story.

This book was so gratifying. Marissa Meyer threw me for a loop and then gracefully put everything together in the end.  She finished this story in a most unpredictable yet completely satisfying way. I am sad that my time in the Lunar Chronicles world is ending but I am looking forward to what Marissa Meyer will write in the future.

Stars: 4/5 


"Yes, it's another one of Meyer's very fractured fairy tales, in which she offer a new amalgam of Grimm's fairy tales, science fiction, violence, women's lib, and romance."

"Like the previous entries in this widely appealing series, this title features strong heroines taking control of their destinies set against a fully developed and imaginative world.
     --School Library Journal

A Full House Reading Challenge 2015 book!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books Read in 2015

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This year I've read a lot of great books!  Here are my top ten (in no particular order.)

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - This is one of the best dystopian novels I have ever read.  The characters are fantastic and the timeline is a huge part of what makes this story work.

2. Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly - I read this one so quickly, it was altogether engaging and charming.  The characters are quirky and silly and sarcastic.  Oh it's so much fun and there's a good mystery too!

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - This book made me reminiscent of my years of reading and writing fan fiction. Also, the struggle with big change and new challenges Cath deals with hits home.

4. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch - This fantasy book came at me by surprise.  I found it at the library and listened to it.  I gradually fell in love with Meira as she kicked ass but was still a complex character with complex emotions and motivations.  Oh it is so good!

5. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - It's a Beauty and the Beast retelling which gave it points even before I opened the book. The story telling is so enchanting and I really liked the characters.

6. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen - I love fantasy and this series is great.  It has a smart mouthed main character who likes to put himself in danger for the fun of it.  A kingdom is in trouble.  It's so good.

7. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - I love historical fiction and this one is set during WWII in England/France.  It's a great and emotional read.

8. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - This book is so engaging.  It's about love and life and people's circumstances in the world.  There characters are so great and they fall into this unlikely relationship that warms my heart.

9. Winter by Marissa Meyer - This is the conclusion to an amazing set of retellings, and it's incredible.  There's so much action and adventure and peril and imminent danger.

10. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson - This is a graphic novel about super villains and the divide between good and evil.  It's so good!

11. The Young Elites by Marie Lu - This book has some incredibly interesting characters and antiheroes.  It's just the beginning of a series too, which has me very excited about the sequels.