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

Reading Challenge: Perpetual Victorian Bingo

The Perpetual Victorian Bingo Challenge is hosted by Becky’s Book Reviews. The goal is to get a bingo by reading 8 books but I’d really like to fill up the card.

Books Read:
1837
1838
1839
1840
1841
1842
1843
1844
1845
1846
1847
1848
1849
1850
1851
1852
1853
1854
1855
1856
1857
1858

1859

1860

1861

1862

1863

1864

1865

1866

1867

1868

1869

1870

1871

1872

1873

1874

1875

1876

1877- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. 1877. 963 pages.

1878

1879

1880

1881

1882

1883

1884

1885

1886

1887

1888

1889

1890

1891

1892

1893

1894

1895

1896

1897

1898

1899

1900

1901

Reading Challenge 2015: You Read How Many Books?

This challenge is hosted by Book Dragon’s Lair. I am aiming for level 3: 200 books.

1. Looking for Alaska by John Green

2. His Wicked Games by Ember Casey

3. Autumn in Carthage by Christopher Zenos

4. The Guest House by Erika Marks

5. As Good As Dead by Elizabeth Evans

6. Surrender by Violetta Rand

7. Playing Doctor by Kate Allure

8. Heart of Fire by Mary Lennox

9. Paper Towns by John Green 

10. Power and Possession by C.C. Gibbs

11. Columbine by Dave Cullen

12. Escape Velocity by Jess Anastasi

13. Stealing Hearts by Erika Marks

14. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

15. Fool’s Paradise by Jo Ann Ferguson

16. Game Play by Lynda Aicher

17. Beastly by Alex Finn

18. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

19. The Billionaire Wins the Game by Melody Anne

20. Stealing Rose by Monica Murphy

21. The Secret to Seduction by Ember Casey

22. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

23. Enchantment Lake by Margi Preus

24. Beyond Love and Hate by Zoe York

25. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

26. The Joker’s Dozen by Laurie S. Sutton

27. Seduction by Violetta Rand

28. The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

29. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

30. Lost and Found by Nicole Williams

31. Love, Lucy by April Lindner

32. A Touch of Passion by Bronwen Evans

33. You and I Alone by Melissa Toppen

34. You and I Together by Melissa Toppen

35. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

36. Where She Went by Gayle Forman

37. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

38. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

39. Sinful by Joan Johnston

40. Unforgiven by Lori Adams

41. Mental by Justice Serai

42. Cupcakes and Crushes by Keri Ford

43. Vibrizzio by Nicki Elson

44. The Day of the Wave by Becky Wicks

45. Revive by Tracey Martin

46. Hooked by Christine Manzari

47. Tragically Broken by N.J. Danner

48. Find Me in Manhattan by Shealy James

49. You and I Forever by Melissa Toppen

50. Finding Gabriel by Rachel L. Demeter

51. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

52. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

53. One More Day by M. Malone

54. Hate List by Jennifer Brown

55. The Things I Do For You by M. Malone

56. Seven Dirty Words by Charlotte Howard

57. The Professor’s Daughter by Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert

58. The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

59. Bad Boy Daddy by Chance Carter

60. Loving Lucas by Violetta Rand

61. College Bound by Lilia Ford

62. The Boss’s Daughter by Aubrey Parker

63. How to Lose a Bachelor by Anna Banks

64. The Devil’s Playground by Eliza Freed

65. Calling Her Bluff by Kaia Danielle

66. A Kindled Winter by Rachel L. Demeter

67. I Do by A.J. Pine

68. The Billionaire’s Christmas Proposal by Victoria James

69. He’s The Man by M. Malone

70. Compromising Her Position by Samanthe Beck

71. The Family by Marissa Kennerson

72. The Royal Conquest by Stacy Reid

73. Love on a Summer Night by Zoe York

74. The Butterfly Code by Sue Wyshynski

75. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

76. A Whisper of Desire by Bronwen Evans

77. Persuasion by Violetta Rand

78. Crashed Out by Tessa Bailey

79. His to Take by Katee Robert

80. Say You’re Mine by Diane Alberts

81. Seduction and Surrender by C. C. Gibbs

82. Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin

83. Finding Dandelion by Lex Martin