Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole 4

Should they stay or should they go? This month's contenders:  Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, ppenstance by Carol Shields, Eight by Kathering Neville, Fast Forward by Judy Mercer, and See Jane Run by Joy Fielding

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole was created by Lisa at Lost In A Story. She's since cleaned up her TBR list (go Lisa!), but has inspired others to work on their TBR lists. I saw this meme over at Lampshade Reader and decided to take the plunge!

How to participate:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  • Order by Ascending Date Added
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or let it go?

My Goodreads TBR list is mostly books I own but haven't read yet, so I'm going to use my wish list instead. Starting off with 113 titles on my wish list and maybe if I get that cleaned up, I'll move on to my Amazon list next!


Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Date Added: June 19, 2009

In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. 

Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. 

Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

Added from the Ultimate Reading List, I didn't care for the excerpt so am letting this one go. Honestly, I'm not sure what I was thinking when I added this one as it isn't something I'd normally pick up to read. My 2009 self was weird....

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang might not be to everyone's taste, but I do recommend it to anyone looking for a well written story that isn't the usual rainbows and unicorns of Young Adult reads.
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Title:  Falling Into Place
Author:  Amy Zhang
Release Date:  September 9, 2014
Publisher:  Greenwillow Books
Source:  ARC provided via Amazon Vine

On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. 

Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road. (Goodreads)

My Review:

Liz is a high school student who deliberately crashes her car, hoping to die.

The story tries to show how Liz got to this point.

Falling Into Place opens at the scene of the crash, with an unknown narrator watching everything unfold. Flashbacks are woven in between the chapters, but are easy to keep track of thanks to the chapter headings. Every now and then the author drops in what she calls a Snapshot, little vignettes from Liz's life.

To be honest, Liz is not a very likable person. Neither are her friends. I got flashes of the movie Mean Girls at times while reading, which may or may not have been a coincidence.

Liz is one of the popular girls and has ruined some of her classmate's lives for no real reason. I remember mean girls at high school, but no one planted drugs on a guy for making fun of one of her friends or humiliated another because her friend wanted to be first chair in band instead of second.

She seems to know that she's a bully and has some regrets, but doesn't know how to stop acting out. She doesn't even try. I couldn't dredge up much sympathy for her and had a hard time caring.

The story flips back and forth between the hospital after the crash and all of the flashbacks. I preferred the flashbacks, as they were more interesting and gave much needed background.

Despite all of this, I still enjoyed reading Falling Into Place. The author does have a way with words and even with the unlikable characters, I wanted to find out what happened next! And kudos for tackling difficult subjects like bullying, eating disorders, drugs, and teen suicide.

While it might not be to everyone's taste, I do recommend it to anyone looking for a well written story that isn't the usual rainbows and unicorns of Young Adult reads. I give it a 4/5 rating.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Reading Challenge Roulette (here we go again)

2019 Reading challenges for Alexia's Books and Such:  What's In A Name, Bookish Resolutions, Library Love, and Mount TBR Challenge.

Another year, another stab at reading challenges.

I know, I know....I have a dismal history with reading challenges and rarely complete them. But hope springs eternal! And you have to admit, these are some pretty good challenges!

What's In A Name Challenge

What's In A Name Challenge

I used to do this challenge and missed it, so going to give it another shot. Carolina Book Nook is the new host this year, taking over from Charlie at The Worm Hole. I really need to plan ahead with this one instead of winging it!

The Details:

  • The challenge extends from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019. You can sign up any time, but only count books that you read between those dates.
  • Read a book in any format (hard copy, ebook, audio) with a title that fits in each category.
  • Don’t use the same book for more than one category.
  • Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed, it’s encouraged!
  • You can choose your books as you go or make a list ahead of time. 

The Categories:

  1. A precious stone/metal (ex. Ruby Holler, The Silver Chair)
  2. A temperature (ex. In Cold Blood, Love in the Time of Global Warming)
  3. A month or day of the week (ex. Tuesdays with Morrie, March)
  4. A meal (ex. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, A Feast for Crows)
  5. Contains the word “girl” or “woman” (ex. Gone Girl, The Woman in the Window)
  6. Contains both the words “of” AND “and” (ex. A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Book of Blood and Shadow)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Amazon First Reads for January 2019

Amazon First Reads for January 2019:  Killer Collective by Barry Eisler, Forgotten Hours by Katrin Schumann, Snow Gypsy by Lindsay Jayne Ashford, Blood for Blood by Victoria Selman, Smoke & Summons by Charlie N Holmberg, and Rock Needs River by Vanessa McGrady

Amazon First Reads program is an amazing deal that not many people seem to know about.

As per the website:  The Amazon First Reads program gives Amazon First Reads members the opportunity to download a Kindle book from our editors' picks each month before the official publication date, for $1.99 - Prime members receive it for free. Customers can also shop editors’ picks in hardcover at exclusive prices. New titles are announced on the 1st of each month. (source)

I'm always surprised when I find out that people aren't aware of this program, but it's well worth signing up! Granted, some month's picks are better than others and I sometimes skip a month, but it's a fun way to discover new titles! And did I mention that it's FREE?

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Here are January's First Read titles:

A fast-paced, page-turning novel of betrayal, vengeance, and depraved secrets in high places from the New York Times bestselling author of the John Rain and Livia Lone series.
Killer Collective by Barry Eisler

When a joint FBI-Seattle Police investigation of an international child pornography ring gets too close to certain powerful people, sex-crimes detective Livia Lone becomes the target of a hit that barely goes awry - a hit that had been offered to John Rain, a retired specialist in “natural causes.”

Suspecting the FBI itself was behind the attack, Livia reaches out to former Marine sniper Dox. Together, they assemble an ad hoc group to identify and neutralize the threat. There’s Rain. Rain’s estranged lover, Mossad agent and honeytrap specialist Delilah. And black ops soldiers Ben Treven and Daniel Larison, along with their former commander, SpecOps legend Colonel Scot “Hort” Horton.

Moving from Japan to Seattle to DC to Paris, the group fights a series of interlocking conspiracies, each edging closer and closer to the highest levels of the US government.

With uncertain loyalties, conflicting agendas, and smoldering romantic entanglements, these operators will have a hard time forming a team. But in a match as uneven as this one, a collective of killers might be even better. (Amazon)

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

First Book of 2019

I'm a little late to the party but decided to join in the fun of deliberately choosing the first book I'll read in 2019. I usually don't give it much thought, but can see how the first book can sorta, kinda set the tone for your reading year.

This one leapt out at me as I was browsing my TBR piles. I've read all of the other Badass books so couldn't resist pre-ordering this one as well. Who wouldn't want to start the new year as a badass?

You Are A Badass Every Day

For anyone who has ever had trouble staying motivated while trailblazing towards badassery, You Are a Badass Every Day is the companion to keep you fresh, grateful, mighty, and driven.
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For anyone who has ever had trouble staying motivated while trailblazing towards badassery, You Are a Badass Every Day is the companion to keep you fresh, grateful, mighty, and driven.