Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2015's Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge


Here I am signing up for yet another 2015 challenge. I didn't do any year-long challenges in 2014 so I guess I'm making up for it next year. We'll see how this goes! This one is the Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by A Bookish Girl. It's all about reading mystery/crime/thriller novels. This should not be hard for me since I love that genre.

There are several levels of the challenge. I'm going with the Amelia Peabody level, which means I need to read 10 mystery/crime/thriller novels in 2015. I will keep track of my progress here.

Progress:

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Week in Review

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Good morning. I hope you had a great week. My daughter marched in our local Christmas parade on Saturday with her dance school. She had a great time and it was an absolutely perfect day for the parade ~ about 60 degrees and sunny. Last night was my annual book club holiday dinner and book swap. I was thrilled to end up with a copy of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I can't wait to read it!

Reviews and Blog Posts
This was a week for signing up for challenges! And I am hosting a giveaway of one of my favorite books of 2014.
Reading
I finished reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner. It was good but I told my 10 year old I'm not sure he'll want to read it right away. Those creatures in the maze are a bit scary!

I also read Matchless by Gregory Maguire, which was a very short Christmas story based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl. And now I'm reading Fifty Mice by Daniel Pyne. I'm enjoying the story but have struggled a bit with the writing style. Next up is Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.

What are you reading this week? It's Monday! is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, so hop over there if you'd like to see what others are reading too. You can also check out the younger version of It's Monday!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Travel the World in Books Challenge


This has turned into my week for signing up for challenges, since I haven't felt like writing reviews. This time I'm signing up for the Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge hosted by Mom's Small Victories, I'm Lost in Books and Savvy Working Gal.

The nice thing about this challenge is that it's very flexible. I get to choose how I want to travel the world and for how long. I've decided to work on this challenge for all of 2015. I'm going to try to read books that take place in at least 10 different countries and 5 different continents. I'll determine the country by setting, and I will include all genres, including nonfiction.

I don't have a list of books. I'll just see how it goes throughout the year. I'll list out the countries below as I go along.

Progress:

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Best of 2014 Book Giveaway

best of 2014


The year has almost come to an end so it is time to share my favorite books read in 2014. I figured I might as well participate in the Best of 2014 Giveaway Hop too, so I can share one of these favorites with one of you!

I'm going to present my favorite book in each of several categories, and the winner can choose one of these books as their prize. This giveaway is open internationally to anyone who can receive books from The Book Depository. Note: I reserve the right to order through Amazon for U.S. residents if the price is better. **Affiliate links below in an effort to offset the cost of all of these giveaways I do!

Without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2014:

Favorite Historical Fiction

When Sarah Grimke turns 11 years old, her mother gives her a very special birthday gift: her very own slave, 10 year-old Handful. But Sarah is an unusual Southern girl who abhors slavery, even at her young age. She tries to refuse the gift, but her mother forces her to accept it. So she takes Handful as her handmaid, and they form a unique relationship that lasts a lifetime.
Read the rest of my review






Favorite Mystery/Thriller

Chris Harper has been dead for a year when Holly Mackey shows up in the squad room holding a card with a photo of Chris on it with the caption I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM. Detective Stephen Moran has a history with Holly so she has brought him this card, which she found on a board at St. Kilda's boarding school. The board is called the "Secret Place" and is meant for the girls to post their secret worries and thoughts anonymously. Now it's time to figure out who put up the card so they can finally solve the case.
Read the rest of my review




Favorite Blend of Historical and Contemporary Fiction

Sophie Collingwood knows everything about Jane Austen. She has read every book and loves everything about her. Recently graduated from Oxford, she takes a job at an antiquarian bookshop where she quickly gets two requests for the same obscure book. These requests start her on a journey to learn the truth about Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Read the rest of my review

 

 

 

 

Favorite Literary Fiction

When Gus Silva is a boy, his father who is known for his temper kills his mother in a rage. Gus, who was home when it happened, stopped talking. Only Hallie Costa, the local doctor's daughter could break his silence. Years later, they fall in love. But another act of violence tears them apart.
Read the rest of my review

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Young Adult

The dystopian city of Chicago is composed of five factions. Each year, all of the 16 year olds are given an aptitude test to determine which of the five factions they belong in. These teens then choose the factions where they will live out the rest of their lives. It may be the one in which they grew up, or it may be another.
Read the rest of my review

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Middle Grade

Carson Fender is extremely bored with his life in North Dakota. Nothing exciting ever happens in his small town, so he has taken on the role of prankster in his middle school to liven things up a bit. But in the midst of his latest prank, a strange man runs up to him, hands him a package, tells him to deliver it to Mr. Jensen and runs off. Suddenly his school pranks don't seem so exciting.
Read the rest of my review

 

 

 

 

Favorite Picture Book


The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak is a fabulous book that is quickly becoming popular. It is meant to be read aloud by an adult to a child, but my daughter has been reading it aloud to everyone who will listen. The premise is that the reader has to read whatever is written on the page, even if it's gibberish. It's quite funny and holds everyone's interest, despite the lack of pictures.







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Visit these other blogs for more Best of 2014 books!

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2015 Library Challenge


I'm signing up for another 2015 challenge. This one is the Library Challenge hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. I did a library challenge a couple years ago and it was a great motivator to use the library more. My kids take a lot of books out of the library but I tend not to. So in 2015, I will try harder to do so.

Since my kids already check out library books all the time, I'm only counting my own checkouts for this challenge. So I'm going with ROOKIE level (6-11 check outs in 2015).

We have a great library system here in Wake County, NC. The system, like the county, is huge and there are several libraries. Our local library is always packed. When the kids were younger, we would go to story time a couple times a month. They also host tons of other events, including job search assistance programs, business counseling events for people looking to open a business, SAT/ACT test practice sessions and even yoga! Once in a while, the library even hosts musical groups in the lobby.

There are computers available for research and fun. They offer book club kits for adults and kids, and book discussions for different age groups. In the summer, the summer reading program is very popular. And I love all the reading lists they offer for different grades, reading levels and interests.

I'm already looking forward to spending more time at our library in 2015!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week in Review

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Now that it's December and I don't have a challenge motivating me to write every day, I seem to have gone back to my less-frequent blogging. I also haven't read much this past week, so I don't have a lot to share today. We've been busy getting everything ready for Christmas. I finally got some shopping done and figured out what we're getting the kids. I'm very late this year!

Reviews and Blog Posts
    Reading
    I finished The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto, which I hope to review within the next couple of days. I also read The Big Book of Parenting Tweets, mentioned above. It was very funny. I started reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner, but haven't made much progress.

    Kids Reading
    C read Potterwookiee (The Creature from My Closet Book 2) by Obert Skye. He really likes this series, so I'm going to try to get the next two books from the library.

    M read Candy Fairies: 1 Chocolate Dreams by Helen Perelman. She spent the weekend carrying it around and reading it. It's the first book she hasn't been able to put down in a while, so I'll definitely be getting her more in this series.

    What are you reading this week? It's Monday! is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, so hop over there if you'd like to see what others are reading too. You can also check out the younger version of It's Monday!

    Friday, December 5, 2014

    Book Review: The Big Book of Parenting Tweets edited by Kate Hall and Science of Parenthood


    The Big Book of Parenting Tweets: Featuring the Most Hilarious Parents on Twitter is a fun, quick read ~ mostly because it's a bunch of 140-character jokes, which don't take long to read. But it's definitely worth it! My husband and I went through most of the book together, and we were both cracking up over these tweets from some very funny parents.

    The best part is that I could relate to just about all of them! Actually, maybe that's not a good thing. Now that my kids are older, it was nostalgic to read through the tweets about babies and toddlers. When I got to this one, I said to my husband, "Yes! That's us now!"


    There are plenty of tweets included about older kids and teens as well. And several silly cartoon-like pictures throughout the book that highlight some of the funny situations we parents find ourselves in. The glossary at the end of the book is particularly helpful to anyone who isn't a Twitter expert.

    I really enjoyed The Big Book of Parenting Tweets. I highly recommend it to all parents if you need a little laughter in your stressful day! It would make a fun gift for new parents as well.

    My rating: 4/5

    This review was written based on a copy of The Big Book of Parenting Tweets that I received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

    Thursday, December 4, 2014

    Book Review: Just in Time for Christmas by Kim Boykin


    Miranda Hamilton loves Christmas. It is her favorite time of the year and she is determined to make everything just right. Her bed and breakfast is decorated with lots of holiday cheer, and this year she is the chair of Magnolia Bay's tree lighting and cotillion. She's in her element. Until Logan Mauldin steps in with a donation that lands him a role as co-chair.

    Just in Time for Christmas by Kim Boykin is a quick, sweet holiday romance novel that will help get you in the mood for Christmas. Miranda and Logan have a history that dates back to their childhood, and Miranda is determined not to fall for him now. But Logan has recently realized his attraction and is just as determined to win her heart.

    I really enjoyed the relationship between Miranda and Logan. They had a clear spark that was based on a fun history and this made them more endearing. It's a simple, pretty predictable story, but it's good. If you're looking for a short, fun romance novel that will get you into the holiday spirit, check out Just in Time for Christmas.

    My Rating: 3/5

    Visit the author's website

    This review was written based on a copy of Just in Time for Christmas that I received from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Monday, December 1, 2014

    Week in Review

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    Good morning. I can't believe it's December today! I think my participation in National Blog Posting Month (#NaBloPoMo) during November made the month really fly by! We spent the weekend decorating for Christmas. It's starting to look very festive around here, although it still seems a bit surreal. I haven't gotten used to the fact that Christmas is only a few weeks away!

    Because of #NaBloPoMo, I once again have several posts to share, including a GIVEAWAY that ends at midnight tonight!

    Reviews and Blog Posts
    Reading
    I participated in the Christmas Spirit Readathon last week, but didn't read as much as I had hoped. I did finish First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett. I absolutely loved it! And it prompted me to start Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, which I honestly didn't get into as much as I had hoped. I read about 25% of it and then moved on to Just in Time for Christmas by Kim Boykin, which I did finish and plan to review this week.

    After that, I picked up a book at the library called The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto, which I'm enjoying so far. Next, I plan to read The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

    Kids Reading
    C still hasn't gone back to Mockingjay. I'm sure he will eventually. He did get a new book at the library, though, and he flew through it. It's Wonkenstein (The Creature from My Closet Book 1) by Obert Skye. He has the second book in the series to read next.

    M read Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition on Thanksgiving so that Jolly, our elf could come back!

    What are you reading this week? It's Monday! is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, so hop over there if you'd like to see what others are reading too. You can also check out the younger version of It's Monday!

    Sunday, November 30, 2014

    Month in Review: November and #NaBloPoMo

    What a month! I cannot believe I made it through and actually managed to post here every single day in November. This was my first time participating in #NaBloPoMo and while I may try again someday, it will likely be a year from now, not next month!!

    If you are a regular visitor, you know that I generally post just 2-3 times a week (on a good week) so posting every day for 30 days straight is unheard of! I'm not going to recap every post from this month, but I will do my regular recap of books I read and reviewed during the past month.

    BOOKS READ IN NOVEMBER: 6
    REVIEWS WRITTEN IN NOVEMBER: 7

    1. Codename Zero by Chris Rylander ~ reviewed
    2. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman ~ reviewed
    3. There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In: Three Novellas About Family by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya ~ read and reviewed
    4. The Giver by Lois Lowry ~ read and reviewed
    5. Dangerous Denial by Amy Ray ~ read and reviewed
    6. The Secret Place by Tana French ~ read and reviewed
    7. First Impressions by Charlie Lovett ~ read and reviewed
    8. Just in Time for Christmas by Kim Boykin ~ read


    YEAR-TO-DATE TOTALS:

    Total Books Read: 56
    Total Reviews: 52


    Historical Fiction: 7
    Middle-Grade Fiction: 14
    Picture Books: 3
    Young Adult: 4
    Contemporary Fiction: 10
    Mystery/Thriller: 13
    Nonfiction: 3
    Memoir: 2

    For review: 32
    For book club: 9
    For me: 15