Weekly Book Recap

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey.
Last week was a quiet week at work and there wasn’t a whole lot going on after work either so I had time to get some reading done. Now I just need to catch up on my reviews. A Winter’s Respite Read-a-thon starts today so I hope to read several books for this. 
Finished Reading: 
As Good As Dead by Elizabeth Evans (Netgalley)
This book will be published March 31. Look for my review in March.
The Guest House by Erika Marks
Look for my review later this week. 
Surrender by Violetta Rand (Netgalley)
Look for my review tomorrow. 
What I wrote: 
I wrote my review for Autumn in Carthage by Christopher Zenos. 
Currently Reading: 
Columbine by Dave Cullen 
Reading Next: 
Heart of Fire by Mary Lennox (Netgalley)
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Paper Towns by John Green (audio book)

2015 Reading Challenge Addict

I would say I’m a Reading Challenge Addict. I’ve signed up for 18 reading challenges. My goal is to complete all of them so I’m going for the Out of This World level of 16+. My challenges are:

  1. 2015 Where Are You Reading? Challenge
  2. 2015 Contemporary Challenge
  3. 2015 Historical Romance Reading Challenge
  4. 2015 Erotic Romance Reading Challenge
  5. 2015 Alphabet Soup Challenge
  6. 2015 Books in Translation
  7. 2015 New to You Challenge
  8. 2015 Literary Pickers Challenge- completed 11/24/15 
  9. 2015 Back to the Classics Challenge
  10. 2015 Victorian Bingo
  11. 2015 Pages Read
  12. 2015 Banned Books Challenge
  13. 2015 What’s In a Name? Challenge
  14. 2015 You Read How Many Books? 
  15. 2015 Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge- completed 11/17/15
  16. 2015 Netgalley Challengecompleted 12/13/15
  17. 2015 Just For Fun Reading Challenge
  18. #2015HW Reading Assignment Challenge

You can see my progress on each challenge here.

2015 Netgalley Reading Challenge

The Netgalley Reading Challenge is hosted by Ariel at Fictively
The goal of this challenge is to get your feedback ratio to at least 80%. I recently joined Netgalley so my feedback ratio is currently at 0%. Therefore I am going to try to read and review at least 30 books. Hopefully I will be able to do more than this though. 
Goal: 30 Galleys

  1. As Good As Dead by Elizabeth Evans
  2. Surrender by Violetta Rand
  3. Playing Doctor by Kate Allure
  4. Heart of Fire by Mary Lennox
  5. Power and Possession by C.C. Gibbs
  6. Escape Velocity by Jess Anastasi
  7. Stealing Hearts by Erika Marks
  8. Fool’s Paradise by Jo Ann Ferguson
  9. Game Play by Lynda Aicher
  10. Stealing Rose by Monica Murphy
  11. Enchantment Lake by Margi Preus 
  12. The Joker’s Dozen by Laurie S. Sutton
  13. Seduction by Violetta Rand
  14. Love, Lucy by April Lindner (Invitation) 
  15. A Touch of Passion by Bronwen Evans 
  16. Sinful by Joan Johnston 
  17. Unforgiven by Lori Adams 
  18. Cupcakes and Crushes by Keri Ford  
  19. Loving Lucas by Violetta Rand 
  20. College Bound by Lilia Ford
  21. How to Lose a Bachelor by Anna Banks 
  22. Calling Her Bluff by Kaia Danielle 
  23. The Billionaire’s Christmas Proposal by Victoria James
  24. Compromising Her Position by Samanthe Beck  
  25. The Royal Conquest by Stacy Reid 
  26. A Whisper of Desire by Bronwen Evans 
  27. Persuasion by Violetta Rand 
  28. Crashed Out by Tessa Bailey
  29. His to Take by Katee Robert 
  30. Say You’re Mine by Diane Alberts

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object, quote, etc. from the books/films/J.K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related. The list of topics can be found here.

This week’s topic: 
Best spot to chill at Hogwarts


I think the best spot to chill would be Hagrid’s hut. He always supplies tea and you never know what kind of creature he’s going to have there. Also, Fang is there to cuddle with even though he’ll slobber all over you. 

Book Review: Autumn in Carthage by Christopher Zenos

 

Title: Autumn in Carthage
Author: Christopher Zenos

Genre: Science Fiction

Format: eBook (332 pages)

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

The nether side of passion is madness. 

Nathan Price is a college professor with crippling impairments, seeking escape from his prison of necessity. One day, in a package of seventeenth-century documents from Salem Village, he stumbles across a letter by his best friend, Jamie, who had disappeared six months before. The document is dated 1692- the height of the Witch Trials. The only potential lead: a single mention of Carthage, a tiny town in the Wisconsin northern highland.

The mystery catapults Nathan from Chicago to the Wisconsin wilderness. There, he meets Alanna, heir to an astonishing Mittel-European legacy of power and sacrifice.In her, and in the gentle townsfolk of Carthage, Nathan finds the refuge for which he has long yearned. But Simon, the town elder, is driven by demons of his own, and may well be entangled in Jamie’s disappearance and that of several Carthaginians. As darkness stretches toward Alanna, Nathan may have no choice but to risk it all.

Moving from the grimness of Chicago’s South Side to the Wisconsin hinterlands to seventeenth-century Salem, this is a story of love, of sacrifice, of terrible passions- and of two wounded souls quietly reaching for the deep peace of sanctuary.

Review:

This is a book that I got for free off of Amazon and I’m not really sure what made me get it other than the free part. I don’t normally read science fiction and when I say don’t normally I mean never. Whatever it was that made me choose this book, I am so glad I did. Nathan is a very relatable character for anyone who has a mental disorder or has suffered from depression. Though the author never names what mental disorder Nathan actually has, I think this added to his character. The way he goes looking for his best friend, Jamie, after he goes missing says a lot about the kind of person he is and what that friendship meant to him. He takes a sabbatical from the university and goes to Wisconsin to a tiny town where the locals are mysterious.

Alanna is one of the locals he meets and I just picture her as being this gorgeous elegant woman. I wanted a romance to ensue between Nathan and Alanna from the moment she was introduced and I got just that. I love that the author did parts of the story from her viewpoint.

A major problem I had with this story is the Salem witch trials. From reading the blurb about the book, you would think that the witch trials plays a significant role in the story. This is not the case until closer to the end of the book and even then it’s not a huge part.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I think I may pick up a few more science fiction books to give a try.

Rating: 4.5 stars



Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is a freebie. I decided to write about the Top 10 Classics I’ve Never Read But Plan to This Year. Here they are:

1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I’ve picked up this book to read 3 different times and just have never finished it. It’s on my list to start this week. I enjoyed what I did read of it but I always get distracted. Hopefully this time I will finish it.

2. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. This novel intimidates me because of its content but I want to give it a try.

3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I started reading this when I was maybe 14 but for some reason never finished it. I think it’s time I gave it another shot.

4. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. This has been at the bottom of my TBR pile for a couple of years.

5. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This is another one that I started but never finished. I think I was still an undergrad at the time and got busy with school and just never picked it back up.

6. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I’m not sure why I’ve never read this.

7. Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. I’ve always wanted to read these and just never got around to it.

8. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I had never heard of this until the movie came out in 2012. I have no idea why it had never crossed my path but after seeing the movie I knew I wanted to read the novel. In my opinion, the book is always better than the movie.

9. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. This is another that has been at the bottom of my TBR pile for a few years.

10. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. This novel intimidates me due to its size. I’ve been wanting to read it for years but I’ve always felt like I didn’t have time. This year I’m going to make time for it.

Are there any Classics that you plan to read this year? Also what topic did you pick for this week’s TTT? I’d love to hop over to your blog and read yours.

Weekly Book Recap

                                  
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey.
Finished reading:

Autumn in Carthage by Christopher Zenos
Currently Reading:

As Good As Dead by  Elizabeth Evans 
The Guest House by Erika Marks
Up Next:

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Columbine by Dave Cullen 
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 
Heart of Fire by Mary Lennox 

Book Review: His Wicked Games by Ember Casey

Book Review: His Wicked Games by Ember CaseyHis Wicked Games by Ember Casey
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 236
Format: eBook
four-stars

Trapped with a billionaire in his mysterious mansion...can she beat him at his own game?

Lily Frazer would do anyhing to save the Frazer Center for the Arts - even take on the infamous billionaire Calder Cunningham. When Lily breaks onto the Cunningham estate, she only wants to find and reason with Calder. (All right, all right, she wants to punch him in the face, too, but that's Plan B.) As it turns out, the arrogant billionaire is willing to give her the money he promised, but there's a catch: she must win it from him.

And the games he has in mind aren't exactly... innocent.

Lily isn't about to give up the money without a fight (or let some haughty bastard seduce her), but she quickly discovers that there might be more to the brooding Calder than she initially perceived. As their games of cat and mouse become increasingly intense, she suddenly finds herself confused by her own emotions. Can she deny her attraction long enough to win the money she needs?

Review

When I first sat down to read this book I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had read that Ember Casey said her inspiration for this story was Beauty and the Beast. It wasn’t until i was about halfway through the book that I realized that it was loosely a modern day more erotic version of it. Calder Cunningham is a spoiled billionaire playboy who only dates super models (our beast). Our beauty comes in the form of one Lily Frazer whose mind is set on saving the community center she and her father worked so hard to build. She’s tough and extremely potty mouthed. My favorite type of heroine. Both Calder and Lily come with a ton of baggage from previous relationships and events.

I really enjoyed this book and the way the writer introduces you to each character in the story. When the twist in this story is revealed, most people will probably be angry at Calder. I think I was more angry at Lily though for being so single minded. I really am a hopeless romantic though so anytime someone tries to deny their feelings toward someone else who is trying to make their feelings known it irks me.

This book did not end on a cliffhanger, however I am now so invested in these characters that I want to read the remaining books in the series. So be warned, if you pick up this book, be prepared to want to finish the series and you may want to make sure you are going to have time for that seeing as how there are now 9 books in this series with at least 3 more coming out this year.

 

four-stars

Winter 2015 Mini Bloggiesta Goals and Progress

Bloggiesta is a mini marathon of catching up on blog related items that you need to check off that ever growing list. It can be anything you like as long as it has to with your blog. And you get to participate along with all those other bloggers that are in the same boat. So get together your list and get ready for the Winter 2015 Mini Bloggiesta: January 17-19. Sign up here.

  • Write reviews that need to be written
  • add 2 pages (about me, contact, policy, etc)
  • do two mini challenges
  • comment on other Bloggiesta participants blogs
  • Add pictures to posts that need them
I may add to this as the Mini Bloggiesta approaches. Comment and let me know if you are participating as well! I look forward to seeing everyone’s to do lists and progress on them. 
Update: I ended up making two blogs instead of one so I changed the initial URL of this blog. I didn’t realize that I never updated the sign up link for this challenge until Monday night… Sorry about that!! Also my laptop decided it was no longer going to work this weekend so I was only able to get a few things done since I can’t do the pages and pictures that I wanted on my iPad.  

Book Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Book Review: Looking for Alaska by John GreenLooking For Alaska by John Green
Published by Speak on December 2006
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 221
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words-and tired of safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps". Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Review

This is the first book I’ve ready by John Green. (I know, I know how could I have not read A Fault In Our Stars? It’s on my TBR list.) I must say say this book was incredible and I want to read everything he’s ever written. There are parts of this book that I will not be able to talk about because I refuse to reveal any spoilers that will ruin this book for anyone else who may not have read it yet. I will say that this book was definitely not what I was expecting but I think it was better because of it. 

This book is written from the view point of Miles Halter, a skinny 16 year old nerdy guy who is fascinated by famous last words. This fascination leads him to seek his “Great Perhaps” by attending boarding school at Culver Creek where he meets his roommate “the Colonel”, a boy named Takumi, and a girl named Alaska Young. Miles falls in love with the beautiful, intelligent, mysterious, unattainable Alaska.

The book is divided into the Before and the After, but you don’t know what the turning point is exactly until it hits. The Before is made up of mundane happenings: going to class, pulling pranks, doing stupid things, and hooking up. The central discussion in the book is about Simon Bolivar’s last words: “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?”

So what’s the labyrinth? I asked her… 

 That’s the mystery, isn’t it? Is the labyrinth living or dying? Which is he trying to escape-the world or the end of it? 

When the After comes, the “labyrinth” becomes an important question encompassing all characters.

This book is about how one person can influence another person’s life. I like the way Alaska is presented as mysterious and moody. I feel that most teenage girls and are that way and though we don’t know a lot about her, this book is about the way she influences Miles. Miles is such a relatable character especially for people who were nerds and didn’t quite fit in during their high school years.

Verdict: Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it! There are several good quotes in this book and it makes you think.

four-half-stars