Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2013 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge

This reading challenge is hosted by Michelle @ True Book Addict on the Christmas Spirit Blog. The goal is to read Christmas themed books and there are different categories. You can sign up at this link.
I am trying for the Mistletoe category of 2-4 books. I know Mrs. Miracle will be one of the books and I haven't decide yet on any others. If I like Debbie Macomber, I may read another one of her books for the challenge. I am also going to do the Fa La La La Films, because my husband loves Christmas movies and we will be watching a bunch of them, starting with Miracle on 34th Street, which we watch Thanksgiving night. Thanks to Michelle for hosting!

Books read:
Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Miracle on 34th Street

Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Spirit Read-a-thon Wrapup

I was able to finish my reread of Legend by Marie Lu just in time for the booktalk today! I read 267 pages. I did not get to start Mrs. Miracle yet, but maybe this week. I also need to post a signup post for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge, which I can hopefully do tomorrow, since I work a 10 hour day today and will not have any time. Thanks to Michelle for hosting!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The I Haven't Reached My Reading Goals Yet! Read-a-thon Signup


This read-a-thon is hosted by Debz at Debz Bookshelf. The goal is to read books for the book challenges of 2013. I have several challenges I need to finish including the New Authors Challenge, Paranormal Reading Challenge, Dusty Bookshelf, and Book Bingo. I am working on a few titles this week, so I will update this post with a reading list hopefully on Saturday. You can signup at this link. Good luck to everyone and thanks to Debz for hosting!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Monster Read-a-thon and Review-a-thon Wrapup


I managed to review 3 books and realized I actually had reviewed Dirty Little Secrets the first time I read it, so I reviewed all my backlogged books! I read 699 pages and finished Unstoppable and Dirty Little Secrets. I also managed to finish Midnight in Austenland shortly after the end of the read-a-thon, so I reviewed Shelter, Midnight in Austenland, and Unstoppable. I should be ready for my booktalks on Monday! Thanks to The Book Monsters for hosting!

Shelter by Harlan Coben

This is another one of my reads for the March Madness booktalks. This is book one in Coben's Mickey Bolitar series. I have not read any of his Myron Bolitar books, but I know Mickey is mentioned in Live Wire.

Mickey Bolitar is still reeling from the death of his father and from his mother's drug addiction and only wants a little normalcy. Unfortunately for Mickey, his life is complicated. He is forced to live with his uncle who spent the last fifteen years, Mickey's whole life, ignoring Mickey's father. Mickey starts a new school and thinks he has found a nice, sweet girlfriend, but then Ashley vanishes, leaving Mickey stunned. Driven to find her, Mickey searches for clues and believes the Bat Lady may have the answers he needs. When the Bat Lady yells at him that his father is still alive, Mickey will risk everything to find out the truth. Joined with by Spoon and Ema, who are outcasts, Mickey will have to spy in a strip club, face down a notorious war criminal, and risk his life if he wants to find Ashley and some answers.

Even though they visit a strip club, called a "go-go dance club," the book still would fit for ninth grade. There was enough action and suspense to make this a quick read, but it does seem written for a lower level. I liked the characters, although the bullies seemed a little too one dimensional and cliche. Mickey's friends are funny and endearing and his uncle seems to be someone Mickey can rely on. The ending was sort of a cliff-hanger, but most of the story-lines seemed to come to a close.

Favorite Character: Mickey. He is very loyal, almost too much so. He is both tough and in need of some guidance.

Favorite Quote: "The court is my escape and my paradise." The section about how basketball is his escape was really well-written.

I did like most of the characters and this was a fairly quick read. I do want to read the sequel, but it may be awhile before I pick it up. I also want to try to read one of the Myron Bolitar books. 3.5 cups of cocoa.

Christmas Spirit Signup and Starting Line

This is a read-a-thon hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading...Christmas! You do not have to read Christmas related books for the read-a-thon, but you do for the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge.
I am just now signing up, but I am also going to make this my starting line post. I have to reread Legend by Marie Lu this weekend, because I have to booktalk it Monday at the high school. I am mainly worried I will reveal too much, since I have already read Prodigy. I did stop myself from reading Champion until after the booktalk. If I finish Legend, I may start Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber. Thanks to Michelle for hosting!

Read pages 38-305 in Legend and finished it!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Unstoppable by Tim Green

This is one of my books for our March Madness booktalk event I am doing with our local high school librarian. I usually don't pick up sports stories, but this was a good, quick read.

Harrison's life has always been hard. His mom is an addict and he has been through 6 different foster families. When his mother misses a hearing about his future, Harrison is forced into an adoption with a vicious foster parent. When a tragic accident occurs, Harrison flees fearing he will be in trouble, but out of his trouble comes a ray of hope. The social worker recognizes he is not a troublemaker, only someone who has lived a hard life. She sends the boy to live with her own daughter, who is a lawyer, and his husband, a football coach. Coach sees Harrison's potential and introduces him to football. Harrison excels in the sport, begins a romance with the local doctor's daughter, and makes a true friend. After an injury, Harrison is facing a diagnosis that may be too much to bear. Is he truly unstoppable?

This book was based on the author's own experiences with his wife's cancer. Green is a veteran football player turned sports author and he knows how to capture the sport. At times though Harrison faces so much that it seems just a little unreal.

Favorite Character: Justin. He is a real friend to Harrison and even though he faces his own demons, he remains a good and loyal person.

Favorite Quote: "Believe in the incredible and you can achieve the impossible."

This would be a great read for reluctant male readers and I think some of the teen boys will want to pick this as their March Madness choice. It is a quick and easy read, but full of action. 3.5 cups of cocoa.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

I read this for my Free Square for Book Bingo. It was suggested to me, because I read Austenland. I love Shannon Hale's novels and this one was just as good as the first book. You could read this one and not have read Austenland, because the stories only slightly connect.

Charlotte has been dumped by her husband who had been cheating on her for months, but Charlotte is nice, so she bottles up all her emotions and does not fight back. She is also an overprotective mother who basically stalks her daughter's boyfriend, because she is afraid that all men are terrible. With all this self-doubt and for her children, Charlotte decides to take a vacation. Since she just read all of Austen's collected works, she decides on England and her travel agent sets her up with an extra special vacation at Austenland. This Austen-themed park is right up Charlotte's alley and she is paired with the brooding Mr. Mallery and she is given a brother in the sweet Edmund Grey. What really peaks Charlotte's interest is a murder mystery that just may be real. Part Agatha Christie and part Austen, Hale creates a heroine who is just recognizing her strength and gives her the perfect setting.

I loved the romance and mystery in this one! It really felt like she had captured some of the Christie mystery style with the subtle romance of Austen. I love reading Christie's novels and I loved the one Jane Austen I read, so this was a great read for me. I feel like I should definitely read more Austen soon. I also loved that Charlotte remained nice, but finally learned to express healthy anger and pride.

Favorite Character: Charlotte. As corny as it sounds, she really grew throughout the story, but maintained her goodness. She is meek and nice at the beginning and by the end she knows proper boundaries and reactions. She can be nice without being a doormat.

Favorite Quote: "But how do you know if the ending is truly good for the characters unless you've traveled with them through every page?" I am bad about reading the ending and then the story and this quote really made me think about the wrongness of that.

I loved the story and Charlotte and I really hope Hale writes more of these! 5 cups of cocoa for sure!

Monster Review-a-thon


So I didn't really drop off the face of the earth, but work has kicked my butt lately! We are so short-staffed and I end up doing most of my prep work for programs and school visits at home now, so little reading, reviewing, and blogging here. I do hope to review my 3 backlogged books, but I don't know if I will finish them all by Friday. My goal is to write at least one tonight and hopefully finish a couple on Friday. Hopefully I will be back posting a little more regularly very soon!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Monster Read-a-thon Updates


I will just include all my updates for this read-a-thon in one post.

Day 1:
Currently reading: Unstoppable, Along for the Ride
Pages read: Along for the Ride- 5 pages, Unstoppable- 238 pages

Day 2
Currently reading: Unstoppable, Along for the Ride, and Midnight in Austenland
Pages read: Unstoppable- 122 pages and finished!, Along for the Ride- 5 pages, Midnight in Austenland- 10 pages, Dirty Little Secrets- 112 pages

Day 3
Currently reading: Along for the Ride, Dirty Little Secrets, Midnight in Austenland
Pages read: Dirty Little Secrets- 112 and finished!, Along for the Ride- 18 pages, Midnight in Austenland- 39 pages

Day 4
Currently reading: Along for the Ride
Pages read: Along for the Ride- 4 pages

Day 5
Currently reading: Didn't read my books at all today :(
Pages read: None :(, too many household chores, sigh

Day 6
Currently reading: Midnight in Austenland
Pages read:Midnight in Austenland- 21 pages

Day 7
Currently reading: Midnight in Austenland
Pages read: Midnight in Austenland- 13 pages

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Monster Read-a-thon


This is hosted by Kate and Kristen @ Book Monsters. Since I am not doing so great with my reading lately, I think it is definitely time for another read-a-thon! As far as the reviewing goes, we will see if I can actually finish some books. Since I am doing booktalks with the high school librarian next month and we really need to decide on books, I will be focusing at least the first part of the week on these. We are going to do a March Madness reading challenge and present our "teams," aka books and characters. Books may come and go, if I realize they are not going to work, but for now this is the list:

For booktalks:
Unstoppable by Tim Green-finished!
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Dirty Little Secrets by CJ Omololu- reread and finished!

For fun:
Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale
Splintered by A. G. Howard
Champion by Marie Lu

I also realize it is November and I need to finish up some of  year-long challenges. I still have to find several Everybody has read this, but you books and a few new authors. Good luck everyone with the reading and thanks to Book Monsters for hosting. I will do an update post soon!

Friday, November 1, 2013

R.I.P. VIII Wrap-up


This challenge is hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings and runs from September 1 through October 31. I was able to finish four book, well five if you count House of Hades. Even though these books would probably not creep out anyone else, they were as scary and/or suspense as I can stand!
1. Always a Witch by Colleen MacCullough
2. Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
3. Teacher's Pest by Charles Gilman
4. Something Borrowed, Someone Dead by MC Beaton- no review
5. House of Hades by Rick Riordan

I also read all of the short stories by Poe that are in the Nevermore Poe Collection. I had never read William Wilson before and it had Poe's usual twisted ending. I still like Tell-Tale Heart the best, because the guy just had to tell what he did. This collection also included the Raven, which is one of my favorite poems, perfectly sad and creepy! Thanks to Carl for hosting and I hope to do this again next year!

House of Hades by Rick Riordan

This is the fourth book in the Lost Heroes of Olympus series, so this review will definitely have spoilers for the first three books. It will also have spoilers for the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, which should be read before the Lost Heroes of Olympus series.

While Percy and Annabeth are suffering their way through Tartarus, the rest of the crew of the Argo II are trying to make their way to the House of Hades, a temple dedicated to Hades that just so happens to also link to the Doors of Death. For Percy and Annabeth to survive, they will have to make their way to the Doors and to stop the monsters from regenerating they will also have to shut the Doors after they have made it inside. A seemingly impossible task, but some beings from the past could be their way to survive or their worst nightmare. Percy must face that he is not the completely nice and unselfish guy that he thought he was and Annabeth must face that she cannot always be the one to control her own destiny. Leo will have to make a difficult choice, love or duty, and Frank will have to embrace his destiny as a son of Mars/Ares. Hazel must learn to use the magic given to her by her mother's blood and Piper learns that to be a true warrior means to see her beauty as the weapon it is. Jason learns to let others lead and that being a true friend is sometimes the best remedy for someone with a broken heart. Poor Nico must reveal his unrequited love and hope for acceptance. The two demigod camps are heading to battle and Reyna must decide if she can trust the Greeks and just how much of herself she can sacrifice.  If the group can embrace their flaws they may survive the House of Hades and have a greater chance of saving the world from Gaea.

I think this book could also be entitled "Everybody Loves/Hates Percy." I won't reveal too much, but we do see Percy's main flaw, that he often forgets his friends once the immediate danger is over. He has forgotten Calypso, he forgets the titan Bob, and he finally has to face all those he has killed in a unique and painful way. Riordan makes the characters grow up in this one and that is why the publisher recommended age is a little higher on this one. If you didn't feel sorry for Nico before this book, you will at the end and that is all I will mention or I will give away a pretty big spoiler. I will say I love how the characters matured and dealt with the huge flaws that hang over their heads. This is a great penultimate book and I am kind of afraid of the last book in this series. I am hoping we do not have to say goodbye to anyone of the seven or Nico.

Favorite Character: Hmm, my favorite is kinda of a spoiler, but I won't reveal too much about the situation. Calypso captured my heart in the first series and she does again in this one. Life is so unfair for her. She supported her dad, but she has paid for the support she gave, just let her have someone! I love her transformation in this one and there are two scenes with her in this book that broke my heart! One is an indirectly related scene and the other is with her.

Favorite Quote: "Not giving people a second thought...that can be dangerous." This is pretty much the theme of the entire book, but it is true in life as well.

Riordan's books are always 5 cups of cocoa for me. His writing style is awesome and you grow attached to his characters. I can't believe I have to wait another year for the next and last one in this series!