Monday, January 30, 2017

A Winter's Respite Readathon Wrapup

Seasons of Reading

I was able to finish 5 books for the readathon, Heartless, Looking for Me, Midnight Frost, The One and Only Ivan, and The Copper Gauntlet for a total of 1507 pages! That is the best I have ever done during a readathon. A big thanks to Michelle for hosting!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

This is book 2 in the Magisterium series and this review will have some spoilers for book 1. I read this for COYER as I received it as an eARC and will also work for Beat the Backlist, since I have had it on my TBR for over a year. It will also work for the Harry's Trunk Scavenger Hunt: Lightning-Bolt Scar, since both Callum and The Enemy of Death have scars, which is part of Beat the Backlist: Hogwarts Mini Challenge. This book is also my January Reading Assignment Challenge Book. Now finally to the review!

The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium, #2)
Scholastic Press

Callum Hunt barely survived his Iron Year at the Magisterum and is back home with his father for the summer. Callum's big secret, which his father also knows, but doesn't realize Callum knows, is weighing heavy on everything Call does. He doesn't want to believe he has the soul of the Enemy of Death and he wants to believe Havoc, his Chaos-ridden wolf, really cares about him and is not evil too. When Call sees his father has a secret weapon, one that might kill Call and Havoc, he leaves and finds his friends, Tamara and Aaron. Aaron, as the Makar, has had an interesting summer where the whole magical community is looking to see if he has the enough chaos magic to defeat the Enemy of Death. Little do Tamara and Aaron know that Call is the Enemy of Death and that he doesn't want to fight Aaron. As the three go back to the Magisterium, they hear tell of an attempt to steal a device that could kill anyone with chaos magic, a device that looks similarly like the one Call's father wanted to use on him. The device is moved, but then stolen, and when Call's father becomes the suspect and could be killed, Call and his friends set off to save him. Call believes his father still cares about him and his friends believe in Call, but when the truth comes out, will they all still be friends?

I really like this series and the authors' take on magic. It does have some similarities with Harry Potter, but the twists are different and our "heroes" have dark sides. The second book moved at a faster pace than the first book and I think a little more detail was needed to tie the two together. However it was very action-packed with no slow spots, so it will have high appeal to middle school reluctant readers. I would like to see the female characters have stronger roles, because other than Tamara, the girls were basically just crushing on Callum and even Tamara was not given as much chance to prove herself as the boys were. I did enjoy this one, but not as much as the first one. However, I believe this one setup the third book to be a strong one. 4 cups of cocoa.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Book club book reviews

This month I am going to write short reviews of the two book club books I read this month.
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
William Morrow Books

Up first is The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James. James presents the story as a diary of Jane Austen's has been found and it tells the story of a long lost love and how this love is reflected in Jane's books. The author does make it believable by mimicking Austen's style and does remind you of the romances in Jane's work, but more tragic. I liked the story and would probably read more by this author. It is not quite as good as Austen, but few things are, so it may not be for more picky Jane fans. The book club liked it, but they don't tend to like Austen so they were fine with it not being as descriptive and conventional. I give it 4 cups of cocoa for the fact that she made her story convincing. 
Looking for Me

Our second book club book was set part in Kentucky and part in South Carolina and was a family story. Teddi Overman loves antiques and restoring them or creating something new from them. Growing up, Teddi lived on a farm in Kentucky, where her mother was unhappy and wanted Teddi to find a good job as a secretary. Teddi instead runs away and creates a successful antique business in Charleston, South Carolina. Teddi's younger brother loves nature and is sensitive to the ways of animals. Teddi hates leaving him, but loves her job. When Josh runs away into the Red Gorge, the family is devastated. Teddi never truly gives up hope on Josh being alive and as poachers are attacked and one even killed, Teddi begins to suspect her brother and that he is living life as a nature vigilante. Teddi must make peace with her family in order to live her own life. I really liked this one and all the different family dynamics. Teddi learns more about her parents only after their deaths and Teddi is caregiver for her grandmother. Teddi slowly learns Josh's story and deals with the guilt of having to make decisions about the farm by herself. She finally opens herself up to love and trust a man, after seeing the strain her parent's marriage placed on her mother. All the book club ladies (this group is all women) loved this book as did I. It was a five cups of cocoa story for me.

I am still working on the last book club book of the month, but I think it is going to be a DNF for me, so I am going to post this without that review.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Beat the Backlist Challenge signup


This is hosted by Austine and Tia at novelknight and you can signup at this link.
My goal is to read 20 books off of my TBR list, particularly at least 10 books I own.
I would like to finish:
Cress and Fairest by Marissa Meyer
Books 2-4 of the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
and many others that I will add at a later date.

I think I am going to signup for the Hogwarts House Challenge as well, because it looks like fun.

Thanks to the novelknight bloggers for hosting!

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Winter's Respite Readathon Check in

Seasons of Reading

So far I have managed to finish two books! Heartless, which was awesome, and Looking for Me, which was also a good read. I think it was around 600 pages I have read so far! I have also started Midnight Frost. I am really excited about my progress so far. If I didn't have to work tomorrow, I would join the 24in48 challenge, but since I work and then we also go to our brother and sister in laws tomorrow, I know I could not get in 24 hours. Hope everyone is doing well with the challenge!

Goals for week 2: Start Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier (another book club book) and keep reading Midnight Frost. I may also read on The Copper Gauntlet if I get time. I definitely need to read quite a bit of Thirteen Moons and would love to finish Midnight Frost (100 pages in as of now). 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 Bookish Resolutions Challenge signup


The 2017 Bookish Resolutions Challenge is hosted by Laura @ Trips Down Imagination Road and Michelle @ Because Reading and you can sign up at this link. For this challenge you must have 2 of 3 main goals, Blogging, Reading, and/or Personal and then subcategories for these goals.

My goals:

Reading Goals

1. Read at least 6 Classics. I barely missed this goal last year and definitely want to reach it this year.
2. Read at least 70 books this year. I gave up on keeping track of books last year and I want to challenge myself to keep up with it this year.
3. Finish at least 4 series. I did not reach it last year, but I want to try again this year.

Blogging Goals

4. Blog at least 10 times a month. I almost met this goal last year and am trying again this year.
5. Complete at least half of the challenges I sign up for this year. I came very close to completing this goal, but not quite. I am slowing signing up this year.
6. Be more active commenting on blogs and on Twitter. By more active, I mean getting on Twitter and/or commenting on blogs at least once a week.
7. Review at least half of the books I read. I basically just stopped writing reviews by the end of the year and I would like to do better with this in 2017.

Personal Goals

8. Lose at least 20 pounds. I gained back most of what I lost last year and then some, so I would love to lose that weight again and maintain the weight loss.
9. Eat and drink healthier. I would like to eat at least a vegetable or fruit a week. I eat horribly and am not in good shape. I would also like to cut down on sodas, because that is all I have been drinking lately.
10. Exercise more. I would love to exercise at least a few times a month and possibly up this to a few times a week as I get in a bit better shape. I don't want to push things too fast, so for the first month or so, I would like to exercise at least 3 times a month.

Thanks to Michelle and Laura for hosting! This is a fun challenge and one that you can make work for you!

2017 Challenges Signup Part 2

This is hosted by Karen at Books and Chocolate and you can signup at this link. Although I haven't reach my goal of six the past two years, I still want to aim for six books. I do manage to read classics when I participate in this, so I keep signing up in hopes of reading six.

Retellings Reading Challenge 2017

This is hosted by Jo at Once Upon a Bookcase and you can signup at this link. I love retellings and twists, so I had to sign up for this. I am picking Medium, because I know I have 4 retellings I want to read this year and I suspect I will read at least 5, so 5 to 8 is a good range.

2017 Challenges Signup Part 1


This is hosted by Julie and you can signup at this link. I am aiming for the L'Engle level again and hope to read some of the new Newbery's announced next week.

This is hosted by Bev and you can signup at this link. I love rereading, so I knew I wanted to sign up for this one again. I am going for Feeling Nostalgic which is 8 books and I should be up to rereading this many.

 This is hosted by Sandy at Somewhere Only We Know and Holly at Words Fueled by Love and you can sign up at this link. I am trying for Level 1 again and am aiming for 4 series again. I didn't quite reach 4 last year, but I know of at least two series that I want to finish this year and I am sure there will be more.