Mid Year Update

Let’s take a look at the progress for what goals I have set for myself.  You can take a look at the resolutions page here.

My goals are:

75 books total   According to Goodreads I have read 66 books (this does include some picture books)

12 children’s fiction books  I have read 12 so far (consider this goal met-I still want to keep up reading more children’s books to keep up to date for my job)                        3 picture books (I have read more than 3 picture books, but these are the ones on my Goodreads):  Big Bad Bubble Back to Bed Ed Library Mouse                                                                      

 

 

9 early reader/fiction books:        

Untitled design                                                                

5 classics I have read one classic so far: The Secret Garden.  Oh boy I need to get on this one.

5 rereads I have re-read 3 books.  I am planning on re-reading the first two Mara Dyer books before that last book comes out.

hunger games catching fire Mockingjay

 

 

 

 

16 books from my category list  I have one category left.

A book that is from a debut author or a first book from an established author.  Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
A book that is non fiction. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
A book that is a graphic novel. Blankets by Craig Thompson
A book that is set in the winter.  Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
A book that has been sitting on your shelf for a long time. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
A book that takes place in an urban city. Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
A book that is set at the beach or in a beach community. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
A book that is a mystery, thriller, or horror. 
A book that is set in the southern United States. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
A book that has something to do with a war.  Ignite Me by Tahreh Mafi
A book that is considered a children’s classic. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgsen Burnett
A book that has been adapted to a movie. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
CHALLENGE: A book that is recommended by someone else. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
CHALLENGE: Pick 3 books that have all been published in 2014.  Cress by Marissa Meyer, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee, and A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

 

Another big goal was to research and finalize plans for my masters.  I am almost done working up a list of the schools and the cost.  It will be expensive, but I really don’t want to wait much longer.

 

How are you doing with your goals?

Is reading too much a bad thing?

I have a confession. I have read almost 50 books already this year and have not rated one of them 5 stars. Sure I rated The Hunger Games trilogy 5 stars, but that was a re-read (so I am not counting it). I don’t know if I am just not picking books that are really resonating with me, if I need to change the types of books, or I am becoming one of those readers that never likes anything. *shudders*

I am hoping that the rest of the year will bring some 5 star books in.

Here are my top 5 books of the year so far.

  • Blankets by Craig Thompsonblankets
  • The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Brackendarkest minds
  • Hopeless by Colleen Hooverhopeless
  • Cress by Marissa Meyercress
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusakbook thief

 

That brings me to a thought I had the other day.   Is reading too much having a negative effect on me?  All of the books I listed are different than a lot of other books I have read in the past.  I really, really enjoyed them.  So why couldn’t I give them the full five stars?

Do you think reading a lot of books can be a negative?

That Not So Loving Feeling

Recently I have not been loving what I have been reading.  I don’t think it is a full on reading slump, but more a reading ho-hum feeling.  I have still been reading, but not feeling excited about the books I am reading.  Part of this has to do with the fact that I read some fantastic books last year.  I think January was an excellent month, for me, last year.  For awhile there I felt like I was throwing four and five-star ratings like someone throws beads at Mardi Gras.

Here is how I plan on getting back into the swing of things.

I am reading something I love.  Currently I am re-reading The Hunger Games.  I don’t normally re-read books.  I always feel like I don’t have the time.  However,  I need something that know I love.  So far it hasn’t totally jump started that love, but I am enjoying being back in that world.

I am planning a trip to the bookstore.  I am not a person who buys books often.  In fact, I haven’t bought books in a long time.  I have been using the library a lot, and staying away from the bookstore.  It has helped me continue to pay down debt.  This will be one exception to my book buying halt I have going on.  I want to be able to just browse and grab something that sounds so great to read.  Plus, the library where I live is ok, but doesn’t have a bunch of things I have been wanting to read. Nothing gets you jazzed about reading like a bright, shiny new book.

I am going to be reading a few different kinds of books at the same time.  I normally don’t read a bunch of books at once.  However, I need to hit on that book that I can really get into.  I don’t want to start a book and get stalled.  Then have nothing else to turn to.

The last thing I am doing is taking a break when I need it.  I am reading both books really slow.  If I don’t feel like reading, I am not going to force myself.  I have been in the mood to watch T.V., or talk to friends, or do something else.  If I force myself to read every night, I am only going to loathe whatever I am reading.  No matter how great the book is!

What do you do to get back into reading?  How do you find the next book that will jump start your love for books?

Halloween Reads

This top ten Tuesday didn’t really seem like something I wanted to write about.  I am a bit burnt out on series.  Instead I am going to talk about the books I will be reading for October and those Halloween books I recommend.

The books I will be reading this October:

Monsters by Ilsa J Bick

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This is the final book in the Ashes Trilogy.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

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I purchased this book last year, but saved it until October.  Now is the time.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

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I loved the book Dark Places, but didn’t really enjoy Gone Girl.  This is the only Gillian Flynn book I haven’t read.  I am eager to see what I think of book.

Books I recommend for October:

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

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A ghost story that isn’t really that scary.  If you need a book light on the scare, check this one out.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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This book is a who done it.  The book is perfect for a rainy, windy October night.

It by Stephen King

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This is one creepy read.  It is long though, you have been warned.  Read it and then check out the made for tv movie.  That will really creep you out.  Good luck sleeping after watching Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown.  You have been warned, again.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen

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The bits about the building of the Chicago World’s Fair is interesting, but the serial killer bits are so creepy.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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This book is very dark and haunting book.

The Z Was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg

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A little something for the kids.  All the students I have read this book to love it.  It is a tame creepy book.

Do you theme read for Halloween/October?  What did I miss?  I would love some creepy recommendations.  Plus, how many times can I say creepy?  Apparently a lot!

Top Ten Intimidating Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This Tuesday is all about books that are intimidating.  Intimidating books, to me, are those that are big, have a lot of hype, or are so beloved.

Image1. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

This book has been on my TBR list for, probably, ten years or longer.  It has almost 1000 pages and for that reason I have put it off.

2. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Image

This is really any written work by William Shakespeare.  I read Romeo and Juliet in school, but worry about attempting to read something else by him.

Image3.To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is one that is so beloved that I am nervous I won’t like it as much as everyone as else does.

Image4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I anticipate really enjoying Jane Austen.  However, I am nervous that I won’t love Pride and Prejudice as much as everyone else does.  I know the story so well from the movies, what if I don’t fall in love with the book?

Image5.Harry Potter by J.K Rowling

I have put off reading this book for so long.   I worry I won’t love the books.  I have heard so many things and so many love it, what if I don’t?

Image6. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien

I really love the movies, but the books seem so long.  I just don’t know and have hesitated reading it.

Image7. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

This is the same reason as the Lord of the Rings.  I have never seen the show, but it seems like a big time commitment.

Image8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This book intimidates because I know it will make me sad.  I am just not mentally prepared, yet.

Image9. 11/22/63 by Stephen King

I want to read this book.  It sounds so good, and has great reviews.  Except, it is so big!

Image10. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson

I have heard this one is hard to get into.  I am worried that I won’t be able to get into the book.  Another one that a lot of people seem to enjoy.  I just don’t know!

What books are intimidating you or have you just put off?

Top Ten Books, So Far

This week’s top ten Tuesday, hosted at the Broke and the Bookish, is the best of so far this year.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is my top read this year, so far.  I fell in love with the characters, the story, and the setting.  It is so good.  The sequel is also good, but I love Cinder more!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I don’t know why I haven’t read this sooner.  The character of Charlie is so good.  I love the way the story is told, through letter to a friend.  If you haven’t read this yet, go, do it.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

This was my first Sarah Dessen.  At first I wasn’t sure I was going to really like it.  Then her writing sucked me in.  I love the characters.  I also found some really good, poignant quotes.   Just Listen is just beautiful.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This book reads like a movie.  It is one of my first jumps into science fiction, and it sure was enjoyable.  The 80’s references were fun, the story kept at a good pace, and the ending was great.

Shadows by Ilsa J Bick

This is a second in a series and I would recommend waiting until the last one is out.  However, I could not, not put this on my list.  This was also another first for me.  This was one of the first zombie series I have read.  Plus, the ending, oh my!

Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Another second in series.  I love this series so much.  I can’t wait to see what is going to happen.  If you haven’t picked this series up yet, you should.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

The characters were so real and the emotions are raw.  I really enjoyed the story and rooted for the characters.  A great young adult book that addresses heavy issues.

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Did I just say back to back Katie McGarry books?  Yes I did!  I just finished this one, and I think I liked it even more than Pushing the Limits.  How is that possible?  The great thing about this book is you don’t have to read Pushing the Limits to enjoy it.  I would recommend reading them in order they were published, but do what you want.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

I love, love, love Gayle Forman’s writing.  This book is no exception.  A wonderful cast of characters, a European backdrop, and a coming of age story, what more could you want?

The Selection by Kiera Cass

This one came as a surprise for me.  I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did.   The dystopian aspect is a bit on the light side, but that is ok.  The story is unique, fun, and enjoyable.  It sucked me in and I wanted to know what was going to happen to America.  Some cheesiness, but in the best possible way.  Team Maxon!

What have been your favorites of the year?  What do you look forward to reading in the next half of the year?

Review: The Silver Star

silver star   The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls 

 IT IS 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who “found something wrong with every place she ever lived,” takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town—a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister—inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.

 

I have to confess, I loved The Glass Castle.  In fact, it was one of my favorite books I read last year.  That means, The Silver Star, had a lot to live up to.  I felt the book did well, but I didn’t love it like I did her first book.

The Silver Star is about two sisters, Bean and Liz, and is a family drama.  Their mother takes off and leaves the girls on their own.  They have to leave to avoid social services and they run to where they were born, a small town in Virginia.  They take up residence with their uncle and find themselves learning how to adjust to small town life.

The interactions between the sisters, the classmates, and family members were one of the highlights of the book.  I especially liked the character of Bean.  She is so spunky and stands up for what she believes in.  Some of her actions I did not like, but that is what makes her so realistic.  I also liked the backdrop of the small town and the girls trying to blend in.

I recommend this book if you are a fan of Jeanette Walls or enjoy family dramas.

I give The Silver Star 4 out of 5 stars.