With the lofty reading goal of 80 books this year – more than I’ve ever read before – I’m hoping the three reading challenges I’m participating in will help spur me on to victory.
I’m on target so far with another 12 books under my belt, making my total for the year at a respectable 23 books read. I may just make that crazy goal, yet.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the new books I’ve read, shall we? Maybe you’ll find something that sparks your interest to add to your reading list.
#RockMyTBR 2016 Reading Challenge
New books I’ve managed to clear off my TBR pile:
GLORY (The Dust Chronicles #3) by Maureen McGowan
This is the final book in the series that I started late last year. (I won signed copies of the first two books while participating in the YA Scavenger Hunt a few years ago – sweet!) Nice to finally finish the series and see the ending of Glory’s journey. She was a fun character.
Good read. Really enjoyed the series.
Glory is a Deviant. That is what she was always taught, growing up in the domed city of Haven. She has the power to kill with her gaze, but she’s learned to control this power and use it only against the monstrous Shredders who survive on the asteroid dust that mutated their DNA.
Now, living in a settlement Outside, Glory has the chance to embrace her “Gift” and reunite her remaining family. But she can’t hide from the threat of Shredder attacks or the knowledge of what Management is doing to the employees of Haven.
Can she face losing everything she has left to bring freedom to Haven? Will she choose the familiar safety of Cal’s love or risk Burn’s dangerous passion? Ultimately, Glory must decide how far she is willing to go to keep her family safe, and what it really means to be a monster. (Plot summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about Maureen McGowan here.
Follow Maureen on Twitter here.
Follow Maureen on Facebook here.
KIKI AND JAQUES by Susan Ross
I received a copy of this book from the publisher from their fall catalog. This was a debut novel that had an intriguing premise, although it mostly fell flat for me. I reviewed this book in detail on the blog.
All in all, it wasn’t a great read for me, just an okay read.
Twelve-year-old Jacques’s mother has passed away, his father is jobless and drinking again and his grandmother’s bridal store is on the verge of going out of business. Plus he’s under pressure from an older boy to join in some illegal activities. At least Jacques can look forward to the soccer season. After all, he’s a shoe-in for captain.
But the arrival of Somali refugees shakes up nearly everything in Jacques’s Maine town, including the soccer team. So Jacques is surprised to find himself becoming friends with Kiki, a cheerful and strong-minded Somali immigrant. Despite their many differences they are able to help one another triumph over problems with friends, family and growing up. (Plot summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about Susan Ross here.
Follow Susan on Twitter here.
Follow Susan on Facebook here.
REQUIEM (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver
I read the first two books in this series about three years ago and then I somehow missed the last book until now. (I think I was waiting for it to come out in paperback.) Great series. I especially loved exploring the concept of love being a disease that made you insane. That whole argument about are we better off with our emotions or without them?
So glad I finally got to find out what happened to Lena.
Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.
After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.
As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view. (Plot summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about Lauren Oliver here.
Follow Lauren on Twitter here.
Follow Lauren on Tumblr here.
What books are waiting to be read on your TBR pile? Have you taken any books down from your TBR pile, lately?
2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge – There are some crossovers from list to list, so I’m choosing which ones count here.
There are always wonderful ideas given in the discussions of the Book Riot’s Goodreads Read Harder Group. I love looking through the conversations here – so many great reading suggestions for each category! (You can also follow the Twitter hashtag #ReadHarder, if you’re curious.)
New books I’ve read for this challenge:
ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake
(Read a horror book)
An agent who read the beginning of one of my WIPs suggested this book to me as a comp title. I have to say, it was enlightening, and it did help give me some great ideas for my own story. I don’t read too many horror novels, so it was nice to branch out and read a good book in a different genre.
The cover had a quote from a famous YA author I like, touting this book as, “spellbinding and romantic”. While I did really enjoy it, I didn’t exactly find it romantic.
Not one bit.
It was still definitely well worth the read…just maybe keep the lights on. ALL the lights. (Did I mention I don’t read may horror novels?) This book would count as definitely branching out of my comfort zone. Funny, since I’m now writing my first paranormal story. Probably need to read a LOT more like this. *shivers*
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
Yet she spares Cas’s life. (Plot summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about Kendare Blake here.
Follow Kendare on Twitter here.
Follow Kendare on Facebook here.
REQUIEM (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver
(Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel)
(See the description details above in the TBR challenge.)
Yes, I’m counting this book in two separate challenges.
Why? Because I can.
And because it seems like every dystopian book I’ve been reading lately has also been coming from my TBR pile. Go figure.
LADY MIDNIGHT by Cassandra Clare
(Read a book over 500 pages long)
I absolutely love the Shadowhunters world and each series set there that Clare has written. I’ll read these books over and over and never tire of them. Says something right there about Clare’s storytelling ability, doesn’t it?
I’m especially excited about finally getting to read more about Emma and Julian, best friends with that extra parabatai bond. *swoon*
Did someone say chemistry? Clare has that in spades with her characters as well.
Fantastic story, which I devoured only too soon. I will be in agony until the next book in this new series arrives.
And that cover? Too die for!
In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.
A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other — but they can never fall in love.
Emma Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, one in a long line of Shadowhunters tasked with protecting the world from demons. With her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of an secret Los Angeles where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries start turning up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were murdered years ago, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge — and Julian’s chance to get back his half-faerie brother, Mark, who was kidnapped five years ago. All Emma, Mark and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks . . . before the murderer targets them.
Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. As she uncovers the past, she begins to peel away the secrets of the present: What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents — and can she bear to know the truth?
The magic and adventure of the Shadowhunter Chronicles have captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Fall in love with Emma and her friends in this pulse-pounding, heart-rending new volume sure to delight new readers and longtime fans. (Plot summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about Cassandra Clare here.
Follow Cassandra on Twitter here.
Follow Cassandra on Tumblr here.
HOLES by Louis Sachar
(Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie. Debate which is better.)
Just about every one of my writing friends could not believe it when I said I’d never read this book. “I’ve seen the movie” was not good enough. I promptly agreed to read this book as soon as possible. I’m glad I did. It’s a fantastic story and well told by Sachar. (And of course it’s better than the movie – which was pretty darn good.)
I watched the movie, again, after reading the book, and even though the acting was outstanding – how had I forgotten that Henry Winkler was in it? (I just met him at a book signing, so weird.) and I love Sigourney Weaver in anything she does – the book just delivers a stronger sense of emotional impact. It’s a little heavier, more realistic. You get a better sense of the relationships between the boys in the book and you feel how they suffer day to day at the camp. No Disney gloss-over. So my vote is a resounding, “the book was better”.
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.
It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption. (Plot summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about Louis Sachar here.
Follow Louis on Facebook here.
What books have taken you out of your normal reading pattern this year?
Bookish Cassie’s Reading Bingo Challenge – Cassie is the dynamic gal with a head of fantastic curls, always at the ready with great book recommendations. She writes the glorious blog Books and Bowel Movements that I just love. Cassie is doing this reading challenge on her Instagram account, which makes it fun and really easy.
If you’re on Instagram, feel free to join in with the hashtag #readingbingo2016. It’s that simple. You can find me on Instagram at litbeing. You can find Cassie there at bookishcassie.
New books I’ve read for this challenge:
THE MIRROR KING (The Orphan Queen #2) by Jodi Meadows
(Book with more than 500 pages)
I read Jodi Meadows’s debut novel INCARNATE a few years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. I loved the whole Incarnate series, and I know going forward I won’t be disappointed when I reach for one of her books. I did torture myself by waiting to read this series until the second book was coming out because I know how she likes a good cliff-hanger.
I was so right! She loves torturing her readers!
Right after I closed THE ORPHAN QUEEN, (Arg! That ending was golden!) I immediately purchased THE MIRROR KING, the sequel and the conclusion to this duology. (I have to admit I haven’t read many of these!) That is the sign of great writing in my book – when you want to find out what happens next. Without delay.
Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.
Her friends have turned. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.
Her magic is uncontrollable. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.
Her heart is torn. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule. (Plot summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about Jodi Meadows here.
Follow Jodi on Twitter here.
Follow Jodi on Facebook here.
Follow Jodi on Instagram here.
Follow Jodi on Tumblr here.
THE FIVE RED HERRINGS by Dorothy L. Sayers
(A book with a mystery)
I enjoy a good old fashioned murder as much as the next person. And I thoroughly enjoyed reading my first Dorothy L. Sayers novel last year, STRONG POISON. This one, I’m sorry to say, fell a little flat for me. Missing not only the fantastic chemistry between Lord Peter and Harriett (whom I hope returns very soon!) but also missing was some clarity.
In understandable dialect for one thing! The Scottish vernacular was so thickly shown that I had difficulty discerning what was being said much of the time – NOT ideal in a mystery novel! And the plot was a little lackluster as well. Still, I did adored the scenes with Lord Peter in them, especially when he was full of enthusiasm for a good murder. I hold out hope that the next book in the series will show this one to be a mere stumble.
During a painting retreat, a killer takes a creative approach to the ancient art of murder
The majestic landscape of the Scottish coast has attracted artists and fishermen for centuries. In the idyllic village of Kirkcudbright, every resident and visitor has two things in common: They either fish or paint (or do both), and they all hate Sandy Campbell. Though a fair painter, he is a rotten human being, and cannot enter a pub without raising the blood pressure of everybody there. No one weeps when he dies. Campbell’s body is found at the bottom of a steep hill, and his easel stands at the top, suggesting that he took a tumble while painting. But something about the death doesn’t sit right with gentleman sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. No one in Kirkcudbright liked Campbell, and six hated him enough to become suspects. Five are innocent, and the other is the perpetrator of one of the most ingenious murders Lord Peter has ever encountered. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)
Learn more about Dorothy L. Sayers here.
PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ by A.S. King
(An award winner)
King has become one of my must-read authors, and I am knocked out by each new novel she publishes. She is a master at using magical realism with astounding impact. This book is where it all began, and it won her a Michael L. Printz honor in 2011.
I chose this book for my February Relaxed & Groovy Book Club pic. Find the full blog discussion about the book here.
Eighteen-year-old Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.
So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, or even the police. But will she emerge and clear his name? Does she even want to?
An edgy, gripping story, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising. (Plot summary from author’s website.)
Learn more about A.S. King here.
Follow A.S. King on Twitter here.
SUNSETS AND HAIKU by Una Belle Townsend
(Collection of poems)
I received a copy of SUNSETS AND HAIKU from Una Belle herself, when she read about my participation in this reading challenge. So thoughtful!
Una Belle is one of the many generous and talented authors that belong to our local SCBWI Oklahoma chapter. I just adore her. I also wrote a review of her book on the blog. Find the full discussion here.
Ever-changing. Exotic. Thought-provoking.
In this exquisite photography collection, Una Belle Townsend, author and photographer, captures nature at its most elusive–when the sun, earth, clouds and atmosphere collide to create stunning tableaus from firecracker red prairies to picture-perfect pastel skies. Famous worldwide, Oklahoma sunsets explode in a kaleidoscope of colors as the sun disappears beyond the horizon. Paired with her stunning photos is a Japanese poetry form, haiku, which traditionally calls to mind nature and its seasons. (Plot summary from publisher’s website.)
Learn more about Una Belle Townsend here.
Follow Una Belle on Facebook here.
So what have you been reading, lately? What are you looking forward to reading next?