Monday, March 31, 2014

Reading Challenges 2014

I've never really participated in reading challenges in the past (other than the Goodreads Reading Challenge) but I decided I was going to be a little more involved in the book community this year and challenges seemed like a good way to get started. If you think about it, they're an easy way to kill two birds with one stone. (The involvement plus knocking books off of my TBR)

Here is a list of all the challenges I am currently participating in on Goodreads. Feel free to check them out and maybe even join in if you want.

1. BOTM Challenge
Duration: End of 2014
What is it? : You read a certain number of the groups Book of The Month picks. This group (Addicted to YA) has four group read books a month so by the end of the year there will be a total of 48 books for you to choose from. The best part is that you can choose how many books you want to challenge yourself to read. My goal is 12.

2.  YABC Quarterly Challenge
Duration: Through May 31st
What is it? : This is a challenge that lasts three months (a new one will start in June). Basically, there are 10 categories that usually are related to the time period of the challenge and you have to read a book from each category. For example, Category 4 has to do with March 15th being Learn About Butterflies Day and in honor of that you need to read a book with a butterfly on it to meet the requirements for that category. This is probably the challenge that I'm most excited about, even though I'm kind of behind. I think I can catch up though.

3. 14 From the Book List Challenge
Duration: End of 2014
What is it? : There's a list of 28 books, some older and some relatively new (all published 2013 and earlier) and you have to read 14 books from that list. I'm participating in this one because a lot of the books on the list are books that have been sitting in my TBR for a really long time and I figured this might be a good push for me to try and read some, if not all, of the 14 books I picked.

4. A-Z Challenge
Duration: End of 2014
What is it? : This one is a pretty common challenge. It's pretty much a classic. There are several variations to the A-Z Challenge and in the one I'm participating in, you have to read a book for every letter of the alphabet (as in the first letter of the title has to match with a specific alphabet). Ideally, you would end up reading 26 books for the challenge but certain letters (Q, X, Z) are so very difficult to match. I think I'd be happy with just 23 books though.

5. 5 Series Challenge
Duration: End of 2014
What is it? : You pick 5 series that you plan on reading/completing from start to finish in 2014. There are a lot of really popular series that I haven't even gotten around to starting so this seemed like a great way to read some of those series/books. I picked The Precious Stone Trilogy/Ruby Red Trilogy, The Infernal Devices, Lux, Legend and Mara Dyer.

6. Color Challenge
Duration: End of 2014
What is it? : Read a book that has a cover that matches one of the color categories. There are levels in this challenge. If you read one book for each color category you've completed level 1. Two books per category is level 2 and so on. Some of the colors are tough though. For example, I don't know about very many orange books.

These are only some of the challenges that I'm participating in. Goodreads is full of such challenges and I'm sure you can find many many more in various groups around the site. There are a lot of books for me to read if I want to complete all of these challenges but thankfully there is also a lot of overlap. I counted and I think I have 44 books to read to complete the challenges. Here's my Challenges TBR shelf if you want to check it out.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

2014 Reading Goals

I realize it's March and we're well into the start of the year but better late then never right? I mean I already kind of had goals I just never wrote them down anywhere... until now. So here it is, my list of reading goals for 2014. I'm putting it out there for the world to see, mostly so I can hold myself accountable for it at the end of the year.

Reading Goals 2014
1. Read at least 60 books.
2. Read books that have been sitting in my TBR shelf for years.
3. Read more books from series that I've already started..
4. Complete 10 series, either those I'm already in the middle of or those that I start this year.

Four goals is all I can come up with right now. If I create more, I'll make sure to add them but until then this is all I have. Also, I originally had this goal of reducing my TBR list but I'm pretty sure that that isn't really going to happen so I didn't include it for the sake of creating realistic expectations for myself.

The Internet is like:

And I'm like:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday {10}

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
I haven't read the original Wizard of Oz books all I really know about Oz is what I learned from watching the movie one time and what is commonly known in pop culture. I'm assuming this is a very minimal background in this world. I've been very interested in reading re-tellings though, especially those of classic and well loved novels. (I'm currently reading Tiger Lily which is a re-telling-ish of Peter Pan). Dorothy Must Die is right up this alley since it's a retelling of The Wizard of Oz. 
(On a side note, I think re-telling is often not the right word for a lot of these books. Calling it an alternate story line might be more appropriate.)
Synopsis from Goodreads:
I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Life Update and What I'm Reading Right Now

I realize that I haven't been posting very much lately and that's kind of a bad thing when you have a blog because by starting a blog you've essentially made a commitment to regular posting and I've been slacking on that commitment lately. I have a good excuse though so just hear me out.

This past week was finals week and I was caught up in studying for my exams and wrapping up the quarter. The week before that was more or less the same. While I wasn't focusing on my classes, I was mostly busy studying for the MCATs. Yes, I am planning on applying to medical school and I am getting ready to take the MCAT on April 5th. March has mostly been a mix of studying for school and studying for this massive admissions test that is getting closer by the day. As you might imagine I haven't gotten very much time to do just read. I've also kind of placed a semi-reading ban for myself. I know, it sounds horrible and at times it even feels that way, but I needed to place this ban in order to really do the kind of studying I need to be doing.

I have a ton (read 19) of books on my bookshelf waiting to be read plus another few ebooks. So, 20+ books, all of which I really, really want to read. I know that they're the kind of books that once I pick them and get into it I will have a hard time putting it down. I can't really afford to do that kind of reading right now, as much as I would like to, so I'm exercising my will power and staying away from those books (for the most part). I can't remember the last time that I read so little in such a large period of time. It's kind of unfortunate that this is happening in March because earlier in the month I got an eARC of Plus One by Elizabeth Fama and The Here and Now by Ann Brashares and I haven't really gotten the chance to read them. I also received a physical copy of Sempre by J.M. Darhower for review and haven't gotten the chance to read that either.

There's another 12 days till my exam and I am sure that I will start reading a book as soon as I can after finishing the exam. On the plus side, I get a Amazon gift card for doing the bonus/trial section on the MCAT and we all know that I will be spending that gift card on books.

As for what I'm reading right now, I'm somewhat dual reading. First, there is Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson and Plus One by Elizabeth Fama. I've been reading both books for over 10 days now and am just about half way through the first one and 20% through the other. Like I said, the slowest reading I've probably ever done.

Anyway, I will be picking this blog and blogging back up in April, around the second week of April, and I'm also planning on starting a booktube channel then as well.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday {9}

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
The cover is nice and all but what really makes me want to read this are the first from the synopsis describing the book:
"John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park..."
That sounds amazing. I haven't read either of those books (don't worry, they're at the top of my TBR) but I've heard and seen nothing but rave reviews on both of them. So a book that takes the best of both worlds just has to be good right. I mean, everyone is expecting nothing less than good. Ideally, it would be the perfect book based on just that description. Anyway, here's the full synopsis:  
Synopsis from Goodreads:
John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.
When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Review Mash-Ups : Evertrue & The Moon and More

I already know this month is going to be slow for me. I'm currently in the process of studying for the MCAT which I will be taking in less than a month. I'm feeling a mix of emotions ranging from terrified to excited to ready-to-get-it-done-with. Due to the massive amounts of time that the preparation for the MCAT takes up I have significantly less time to do the reading that I want to do. I have a lot of books I want to read but not enough time to read them. That's okay though because I basically have to rough it through March and once I take the test in the first week of April I will have tons of time to read. (I'm already planning a major read-a-thon for the span on the summer.) The lack of time also means less updates and posts on this blog, only for the time being. So, for the sake of time, I've decided to do a mash-up review of the two books I've read so far in March.

 Evertrue (Everneath #3) by Brodi Ashton

Rating: ★★★★

Everneath is a mythology inspired series that is a loose re-telling of the Persephone myth. I love mythology so of course I was excited about this series and happened to love the first two books. I got my hands on the third and final one, Evertrue, ASAP and read it just as soon. I think the best and biggest compliment that I can give Brodi Ashton is this:

"I just want to congratulate Brodi Ashton on accomplishing the seemingly impossible task of writing a non-disappointing conclusion to a well-loved series. That is all." (Yes, I did just quote myself)

Enough said. (Okay so this installment wasn't as exciting as the first two but I still liked it. I didn't like what was going on with Cole but I can live with it. I can accept that whole Cole thing. All in all, I was not disappointed with the conclusion to this series which is more than I can say for some of the other conclusions I've read recently.) 

Let's just take a moment to really appreciate this accomplishment though.

 The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Rating: ★★★

 I have to give Sarah Dessen the credit for making me fall in love with reading. I didn't become an avid reader until I discovered her books back in middle school. I read one book which was followed by another and another until eventually I'd read all her books and eagerly anticipated each new release. The Moon and More is her most recent novel and of course I had to read it. 

First of all, I opened this book and just after the first page was hit by a wave of nostalgia. Sarah Dessen has a way of writing that is just so smooth and nice to read and I've missed that cause the last time I'd read a book by her was when What Happened to Goodbye came out several years ago. Having said that, I don't think that this is some of her best work. It seemed like it was lacking in the things that are classic in Dessen novels. Things that her fans have come to expect from every book. For example, generally the main character is easy to relate to and they all have their own personal issues that most girls can sympathize with. Emaline's issue was probably that she wasn't really sure about her future and what she wanted in life but it seemed more like Emaline's issue was about a guy or maybe two. Secondly, I wasn't rooting for either guy which might have been the point. Maybe the whole point was that Emaline needs to focus on herself and that doesn't have to involve a boy. I'm all for that but if she's going to be in a relationship then I wish there was some purpose behind it. I found myself wondering why she was in this relationship in the first place. There's also a break-up in this book which did not feel like a break up at all to me. It lasted about 5 minutes and considering the circumstances I would think that she would maybe be a little more sad and not be over it as soon as she was. 

This book wasn't bad. It just didn't live up to Sarah Dessen standards. It was missing or lacking in the classic Sarah Dessen elements that we've come to love.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Drawing Amanda : Cover Reveal + GIVEAWAY!

Here it is, the cover for the upcoming novel by Stephanie Feuer:


Personally, I think it's an awesome cover. I'm excited to read this book cause the synopsis sounds pretty interesting. Here it is:

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Inky draws his crush for a game–and paints her into real danger.

DRAWING AMANDA is set in the under-parented, high-expectation world of a Manhattan international prep school. Fourteen-year-old budding artist Inky Kahn is still smarting from the death of his father. He thinks he’s found his big break when he bonds with the developer of a new computer game and snags a coveted drawing assignment, for which he uses his secret crush–Amanda–as a model.

But unbeknownst to Inky, the developer has a dangerous past, and is using his computer game to lure and stalk teenage girls. And Inky has inadvertently led Amanda right into his path. Blinded by his own ambition and sulking from his father’s death, Inky hides from the truth. Will Inky, with the help of Rungs, his cybergeek pal, discover the treachery in time and save Amanda before the creep ensnares her–or anyone else?

What do you think?

Also, the illustrator for this book, S.Y. Lee has offered to do a custom portrait of one lucky reader in the same style as the cover above. If you'd like to enter this giveaway for a chance to get your portrait done in a pretty cool art style then click this to go to the Rafflecopter.

Go ahead and add this to your Goodreads:

And follow Stephanie here:,d.cGU

Waiting On Wednesday {8}

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
This is the first book in a new and highly anticipated YA series and the debut of Anne Blankman.
I'm not really sure what it's about because, I'll be honest, a big part of me adding this book to my TBR was the cover. I have some serious cover lust for this book. The synopsis is interesting too, though. I haven't read many/any historical fiction novels so I'm expanding my horizons.
Synopsis for Goodreads
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?
Okay, now I know what it's about. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {2}

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
(or books I've recently added to my TBR on Goodreads)
Click on the cover to go to the Goodreads page.