Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Favorite Books Read in 2014

     I've read 112 books this year ! I'm so proud ! Its the first year I've actually kept track of  what all I've read through Goodreads. Its my most favorite website :) I'm just going to list the books I read that I gave at least 4 stars to. I'm pretty stingy with my stars, so you know they're good when they get that many from me. Those are the books I would gladly reread, they're special to me, and sometimes they change me. I love books. They're my most prized collection and favorite hobby. So, here are my favorites from this year.

  • Gone Girl ~ Wow. I've never been more surprised by a book. After reading so much for so long, I don't really get surprised when it comes to mystery books, but this one. WOW. Also, its one of the best book to movie adaptations I've ever seen !

  • The Fault in our Stars ~ This books absolutely broke my heart. Beautifully written, beautiful story. John Green inspired me to just be more eloquent in my day to day. I don't know if I'll ever get over this book.

  • The Selection ~ I'll just highlight the first book of this series. I was pleasantly surprised after reading this. I picked it up to be just some light summer reading on vacation and found myself clicking purchase next book in the series on my kindle. Loved the premise, loved the royalty, such a fun read.

  • Ready Player One ~ I couldn't be farther from being a gamer, but this book was awesome ! It appealed to my nerdy side and my 80's loving side. My husband never reads, but he adamantly suggested I read it; I finished in a couple hours.

  • If I Stay ~ This was apparently the year of heart breaking young adult novels. I think people either love or hate it,  I was a definite love ! I first found out about this book from the movie trailer. So glad I read it !

  • Fallen ~ Another YA that surprised me. The battle between Angels and Demons is oddly interesting to me, and this series had a lovely little twist I didn't see coming. Awesome ! Side rant: I've had a lot of problems with how some authors have been finishing their series. This one ended exactly how it should have ! Thanks, Lauren Kate !

  • Attachments ~ This was my first Rainbow Rowell book, and good lord what have I been missing !? It was just quirky enough to keep me smiling, the ending was wonderfully sweet. Sigh. I'd read it again tomorrow :)

  • Deeply Odd ~ Its the second to last Odd Thomas book, and we're finally going back home. The weirdness was just right, and Odd's senses were right on point. I was so happy Dean Koontz got his Odd groove back, however sad that Odd is almost done :(

  • Neil Patrick Harris: Choose your own autobiography ~ I don't know what else to say about this book except that it was just lovely. Neil is such a cool person and hearing about his upbringing, and then his little family. I actually learned a lot about him ! I teared up and I laughed out loud. What more could a gal ask for ? 

  • Cinder ~ I've never really read anything Cinderella-esque and I was totally hooked. I read this so quickly and I was really sad I have to wait to find out what happens. I'm also mad I waited so long to read it ! Its been on my kindle since April !

Friday, December 26, 2014

2015 Alphabet Soup Challenge

     I know, I know. So many challenges !!! Never fear though ! This one should be pretty simple :) Rules are as follows:
It’s an alphabet challenge!!! The challenge is to read one book that has a title starting with every letter of the alphabet.
You can drop the A’s and The’s from the book titles as shown below.
For those pesky Q, X AND Z titles the word with the challenge letter can be anywhere in the title.
 Make a list on your blog from A-Z. Throughout the year, as you go along, add the books you are reading to the list. Towards the end of the year, you can check and see which letters you are missing and find books to fit.

Books can be read in any order and all formats – print – e-book – audio – are acceptable for this challenge!

     I'll be updating this page as I go, so stay tuned !


     First, a synopsis from Goodreads: When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?

     Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

     I really, really disliked this book. I'm talking 1 out of 5 stars. It felt to me that every minute detail had to be included for no reason, so many questions were left unanswered, and Elphaba still wasn't likable. The one character I ended up liking was killed off without any sort of pomp and circumstance. I kept reading because I honestly thought it would get better, more interesting, everything would all make sense. Spoiler alert, it doesn't. Another major problem I had with the book was the writing. I know Gregory Maguire has made a fortune off these books of his, but honestly it felt like he was trying way too hard. He was loquacious with irrelevant details, but left me with so many unanswered questions.

     Over all, an incredibly frustrating book. It took me almost 2 weeks to read, which is way long for me. I hope there are others out there that enjoyed this book, but I don't know if I'll even try another one of these for a long time.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

More Reading Challenges

     Instead of listing the 13 (THIRTEEN !!! Yikes !) challenges one by one, I'm gonna try to list a few in one post. I definitely don't want to become redundant. The First challenge is the Let me count the ways challenge. Pretty simple, really, just counting the pages that I read this year. There are different levels you can sign up for.

Bronze: 0 - 2000 pages
Silver: 2,001 – 4,000 pages
Gold: 4,001 – 6,000 pages
Platinum: 6,001 – 8,000 pages
Diamond: 8,001 – 10,000 pages
Multi-Diamond: 10,001 + pages
I'm definitely going for the Multi-Diamond. This year alone I read over 34,000 pages, so this one is pretty simple.
     The next challenge I'm doing is the What an Animal challenge. Pretty basic as well, I'll have to read at least 6 books with an animal as the main role, an animal that plays a big part, an animal on the cover, or a lead that can turn into an animal. There's 3 levels: 1-6 books is level 1, 7-12 books is level 2, and 13+ is level 3. I think I'm going to go with level 2, just because I have no idea how many books I currently own that fit into that category.
     Another challenge I'm going to participate in is the Book Blogger Recommendation. This one sounds super cool, just because there isn't a category that I have to hunt down books for. A lot of these I'm expecting to already be on my TBR list. The rules are pretty easy
The challenge runs from January 1st 2014 to December 31st 2015
There are five levels to choose from. You can increase your goal as many times as you want, or (because we all know real life happens!) you can decrease your goal once at any point throughout the year.
The full list of books to choose from will go up on New Year’s Eve
You don’t have to commit in advance to your choices, though of course you can plan them if you want to.

The Levels

Bronze – 3 books
Silver – 5 books
Gold – 10 books
Platinum – 25 books
Diamond – 50 books +

I'm super excited to see what books I can choose from !
      Another easy one will be 52 books in 52 weeks. Rules are easy, the week starts on Sunday, challenge runs January 1, 2015- Dec 31, 2015, and you can join at any time. I read over 100 books this year, so it shouldn't be a problem.
     Last challenge listed in this post will be the 2015 Monthly Motif challenge. This one sounds fun too (of course, they all sound fun to me. Nerd, who me ?). Each month will have a different theme or motif as follows:
JAN- Book to Movie or Audio
Read a book that has a movie based off of it. For an extra challenge, see the movie or listen to the audio book as well.

FEB- Award Winner
Read a book that has won recognition or a literary award. Here's a list of literary awards to help you get started on your search: Literary Awards.

MAR- Genre Jumble Read a book in a genre that you've never tried or that you're least familiar with. For example, if you typically reach for romance novels, try a mystery this time. Ask your local librarian for great suggestions on the genre your least familiar with.

APR- Mystery, Murder, and Mayhem
Read a murder/mystery book, a book in which someone dies of mysterious causes, or a book in which the truth must come out.

MAY- Library Love
Show your library some love and visit your local branch. Choose a book to read that they have on display.

JUN- Take A Trip
Choose a book to read that takes place in a country different than the one you live in or choose a book written by an author that is from a country different than your own.

JUL- Standing Up
Read a book in which the main character stands up for themselves, stands against an enemy, or stands up for something they believe in.

AUG- Alternate Reality
Read a book that's set in the future, on another planet, in another dimension, or in an unknown world. A Dystopian book will count this month as well.

SEP- Furry Friends
Read a book that includes an animal either as a main character or supporting character. Horses, cats, dogs, insects, bird, etc. The book doesn't have to be about the animal but the animal needs to play some sort of role in the story or be mentioned several times throughout the book.

OCT- Goblins, and Ghost, and Ghouls, Oh My!
Cozy mystery ghost stories, paranormal creeptastic, funky fantasy creatures- it's up to you!

NOV- An Oldie but a Goodie
Pick a book published before 2000 that you've always wanted to read, but just never got to. Or pick a book set in the past (before 2000).

DEC- That's a Wrap
Finish a series you've been meaning to finish or read the next book in a series you started but never finished.

Phew ! If you made it this far, thanks ! I'm setting my Goodreads challenge at 120 books for 2015. Lets see how I do :)

Merry Christmas, Friends !!!!

     I hope everyone has such an awesome Christmas and gets everything you want :) I sent the hubby a link to several books I want, so lets see what I get :)

Monday, December 22, 2014


     I have no idea why I waited so long to read this !!! This spin on Cinderella trumps them all ! The story follows Cinder, a gifted mechanic, who is also a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, hated by her stepmother. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

     I told myself I wouldn't get stuck in a series when I have so many other books to read right now, but it happened. I'm not even sorry. I started reading this while at work and absolutely couldn't stop. I ignored emails and coworkers just to find out what would happen next. Although, lets be honest, coworkers know that when I'm reading I can't even hear them. I liked how there would be little snippets of Cinderella mixed into the story, but I still didn't know what happened next. Awesome writing, the idea behind it is so interesting. I tend to hate cliffhangers, just because I desperately need to know what happens right NOW but its OK. I don't even mind it, just because it keeps the story on my mind. I'm dying to find out what happens ! I asked for the next 2 books for Christmas, so we'll see if I get them.

P.S. I only have 2 books left in the Winter Reading Challenge !!! Yay ! Such fun, but man I'm ready to read what I want to read, whenever I want.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Eclectic Reader Challenge

     I like to think of myself as eclectic or quirky, so a reading list with that title is intriguing. This is just over the course of 2015, so there really isn't a time crunch on it (which I'm glad for). I'm going to go ahead and try to make a tentative list, but some of these I have no idea yet. This is just going back to me trying to read new things and getting out of my comfort zone :)

  1. Retellings (of fairytale, legends or myth) ~ I'm thinking one of the Lunar Chronicles. I've only read the first !
  2. A book set in a country starting with the letter S (eg. Sweden, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Slovakia) ~ Girl with the dragon tattoo 
  3. PI Crime (fiction featuring a private investigator) ~The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  4. A novel published before you were born ~ Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
  5. Contemporary romance ~ Captivated by you by Silvia Day
  6. Fiction for foodies (fiction featuring food/food related business) ~ oh man, I have several of these on my to-read list. One is Delicious by Ruth Reichl
  7. Microhistory (Non Fiction) ~
  8. Science Fiction set in space ~ Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  9. Sports (Fiction or Non fiction) ~ Michael Jordan: The Life 
  10. Featuring diversity ~
  11. Epistolary Fiction (fiction written in the format of letters/emails/diary entries) ~ I've still never read the Diary of Anne Frank, so thats what I'll do
  12. Middle Grade/YA Adventure ~ The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

To Be Read Pile Challenge

I'm joining the 2015 TBR pile reading challenge !! I've got well over 300 books that I want to read, and that number is always climbing. I hope to never finish reading, but I do hope to get that number down to something that doesn't overwhelm me as much. I'm allowed 12 books and 2 alternates (just in case I can't get into them). I'll be updating these with links to reviews and dates completed as the year goes on. So stay tuned !!!!

The Christmas Wedding James Patterson

Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Dark Place Gillian Flynn

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Defending Jacob by William Landay

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

2 Alternates:

A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Road

     The Road by Cormac McCarthy was my local author read, and I had some issues with it. I feel a little weird about it though because everyone else just loves it. Its based in a post apocalyptic America, everywhere is ash and char. Very few people are alive, and the ones that are have turned to cannibalism for food. A father and son are trying to get to the coast, away from the snow that could eventually kill them.

     I'll talk about the writing first. I initially really didn't like it, but after finishing, I get it. I've never seen a writing style so minimal. The smallest amount of words are used to speak or describe something, and it makes sense. In that kind of world, being surrounded by such a desolate landscape, There isn't much to say. I get it, and for that I think McCarthy is brilliant. Now to the plot. I honestly thought it was very anticlimactic and I'm not understanding why this story needed to be told. I'm of the belief that stories serve a purpose. They teach a lesson, make you laugh, show you a different way of life, or show you how to be strong after difficult times.  I didn't really get anything from this book, and that makes me sad. I had pretty high hopes for it, but I'm sure lots of people will disagree. That's ok. I'm not going to like everything you like and you won't like everything I do.

     I'm working on expanding the genres that I read and I'm working on reading the books I missed out on due to attending a Christian school my whole life. I'm slowly getting there !

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dear John

     This book is another one that was read for the winter book challenge; its my book that shares a name with a song. I went into reading this knowing what would happen, I saw the movie in theatres many moons ago (BIG Channing Tatum fan). The book follows a man named John that has come home for leave while in the military. He meets the girl of his dreams and comes to terms with his relationship with his father. Honestly, this story just tore me to pieces. It wasn't even the romance that got me, it was the relationship between John and his father. The movie barely dives into that part of the story and I feel like it sheds so much light on Johns growth as a person and who he is.

     I know not a lot of people like Nicholas Sparks just because he writes the tragedies, but I think that's why I like him so much. This is not a romance that will leave you happy and singing love songs, but I still think its wonderful. I, of course, wish that John and Savannah end up together (this isn't a spoiler, you find this out in like the 3rd sentence, calm down), but I think even that makes him a better person. He knows what is right and for that John is a better man.

     Awesome story, quick read. I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

     P.S. Anyone that reads on a kindle, don't you hate it when it says you're at like 89% but you didn't account for the fact that there might be an excerpt or notes from the author at the end ?? I had 11% left to go and I wasn't prepared to say goodbye yet !!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate

     I'll just go ahead and say it, I really did not enjoy this book. I thought it felt like the author was just trying a little too hard. The rabbit trails that he followed were endless. The premise is that Isabel Dalhousie, a philosopher, has recently come across someone that is recovering from a heart transplant and is experiencing what they believe is cell memory. Very interesting concept, but poorly executed. The writing by itself was fine, I don't have any complaints about that. The story, however, is a different matter. I ended up giving it just 2 stars. I don't know, maybe I'm just not a philosophic person, but the book just rubbed me the wrong way.

     I've been struggling with my book choices recently. I'm thinking about trying something different and off topic for a couple days just to get back to normal. I've heard nothing but good things about Outlander. I was able to get the first book on my kindle for like $2 on sale which was nice. I need to get out of my book funk, so stay tuned !! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

How They Met and Other Stories...

     I picked this for my short stories book, and actually really liked it. I've never actually sat down to read a book of short stories (besides for the chicken soup for the soul books... was I the only one ?) and I was pleasantly surprised. I've never read anything by David Levithan before, but we shall remedy that for sure. There are 18 different stories about people from all walks of life and love, thus speaking to my chick flick loving heart. If I'm not mistaken, David Levithan is a young adult author, but that didn't keep him from writing about other couples in this book. Something that surprised me was that several of the stories were more about LGBT couples, I wasn't expecting that and then I couldn't put it down.

     I really enjoyed the book and I'll be checking out some other books written by David Levithan. This book kept me busy and awake while in line waiting for black friday shopping. It made me smile, laugh, and tear up. Several instances reminded me of past relationships, and I love when that happens. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure if its something I would read again.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Phantom of the Opera

     I'm a huge music person. I've always been a musical lover, so when the Phantom of the Opera movie came out, I was all in. I saw it several times in theaters and I now own the movie. I could probably sing the soundtrack backwards and forwards. I honestly didn't even know it was a book until just a few years ago. I've been wanting to read it ever since. I've had the book for a couple years now, I was just intimidated by it. Then came the Winter Book Challenge ! I was able to use this one as  "book that wasn't originally printed in my first language"  as it was printed in French.

     It took me about 2 weeks to read this book when normally a book that size takes no more than a day, it was just really difficult to get into. I'm not sure how I would feel about the book if I hadn't seen the musical and/or the movie. Its really romanticized in the musical, and I missed that in the book. The person telling the story is just very matter of fact about everything that happens. I guess maybe I wanted the book to sing to me haha. It was just an okay book. I gave it three stars.

     Hope everyone's day is awesome :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Winter Reading Challenge- so far

     So we're a month into the reading challenge so I thought I'd check in. My favorite books I've read so far would have to be Neil Patrick Harris' book and Deeply Odd. I'm about 10% into my local author's book, The Road, and I've finished half of one catagory (read 2 books with a meal in the title). I'm over halfway there, yay ! Some people have already finished and thats awesome ! I don't know how they did it. Without further ado, here's where I stand so far.

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.~ Neil Patrick Harris: Choose your own autobiography (294 pages, 4 stars)
10 points: Read a book written by an author who has published at least 10 books.~ Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz (335 pages, 4 stars)
10 points: Read a book of short stories.~ How they met and other stories by David Levithan (256 pages, 3 stars)
10 points: Read a book with a food (not a drink!) in the title.~ Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith (272 pages, 2 stars)
15 points: Read a book that was originally written in a language that is not your native language~ The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, French (360 pages, 3 stars)
25 points: Read a book from a genre you don't usually read.~ Of Noble Birth (416 pages, 2 stars)
25 points: Read a book with a song lyric in the title.~ Dear John by Nicholas Sparks, song is Dear John by Taylor Swift (276 pages, 3 stars)
Previous points- 0
Total points- 100

Library Challenge

     I've always been a big reader. So far, I've read about 106 books so far this year. I've very recently started to get involved in the book blogging world, and good lord it makes me feel so tiny !! I love it ! I've been doing the Winter Reading Challenge and have so far done pretty well ! I'm proud. I started to read Book Journey and Sheila just mentioned a Library challenge for 2015. Heck yes I'll do that. Sounds fun and it helps the library, so why not !?
     The challenge is to get to know your library a little more during the new year. You can utilize them however you see fit, checking out books, digital books, or audio books. I normally use the overdrive digital copies, and its freaking brilliant. However, I promise to go in and borrow a couple of actual books as well this coming year. Just get to know what your library does for the community ! I recently went in to mine just to renew my card and learned several things just in the few minutes I was inside. I also recently became a Friend of the Library ! If I had known that such a thing was around I would have joined much sooner. I initially joined just to get early access for their book sale, but the proceeds go to a good cause. My local library has the 4th floor which is a public laboratory and educational facility with a focus on information, design, technology, and the applied arts. Super cool. They also provide internet access, clubs for kids, classes (like sewing and zumba), and even dungeons and dragons meet ups. My local libary's website is Check it out !

     Anyways, there are some fun levels of committment

           1-5 check outs in 2015 – NOVICE
           6-11 check outs in 2015 – ROOKIE
           12- 16 check outs in 2015 – INTERMEDIATE
           17 – 22 check outs in 2015 – SEASONED
           23 – 27 check outs in 2015 – EXPERIENCED
           28 + check outs in 2015 – GOING PRO

     So ! There's that !

P.S. If you're wondering how many times I said the word library in this post, it was 6894730549 times :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Of Noble Birth

     This book was in the "Genre you wouldn't normally read" catagory in the Winter reading challenge. I chose it because I'm not a big fan of historic fiction, but the cover of it looked like something Fabio had done in his prime. I'm easily entertained. The story is about a pirate captain who, in trying to thwart his evil father, kidnaps who he believes is his half sister. They end up having intense feelings for each other and end up on the same side.

    This isn't a book I'd write home about or suggest a friend to read. It was entertaining, at least. I like pirates :) I honestly don't  have all that much to say about the book. I gave it 2 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Odd Thomas: Deeply Odd

    Dean Koontz is really one of the quirkiest authors I've read, making his Odd Thomas series one of my favorites. The premise is that Odd Thomas is just your regular ol' short order cook with just a few extra senses. He can see the dead, and can use psychic magnetism to find the bad guys. This is the 6th book in what is supposed to be a 7 book series, so absolutely don't read this first :). I'll be honest, I was a little disappointed in the 5th book, but this one has really gone above and beyond to win me back.

     Odd is tasked this time with saving children from a rhinestone cowboy turning them into sacrifices and really keeps you on your toes. His optimistic perspective is always on point, and his random thought trails still make me smile. He meets a new favorite character of mine called Edie Fischer with a limosine built like a tank.

     I really enjoyed this one. It kept me on my toes, and it had Odd acting like the badass we all know he is. I can't really tell a whole lot without spoilers (Doctor Who, anyone ?), but I will say it gave Odd a little more direction than the past couple books in the series did. I'm thrilled that Dean Koontz is planning on wrapping up the series as solid as it was in the beginning. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.