Finished Pages #2 – August Challenge Part 1

Hello everyone! Today I want to talk about the first three books I finished for my book challenge in August! I had set myself the challenge of reading 20 books…but I only got to read 13, some of which were different from what I had originally planned in my August Challenge post. But alas! That is better than not reading any books so let’s get to the reviews!! 🙂

1. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (Goodreads)
Goodreads rating – 4.14 out of 5 stars
My rating – 4 out of 5 stars
SUMMARY: One of Agatha Christie’s most famous mysteries, Murder on the Orient Express was inspired by two real-life crimes and the author’s own experience being stranded on the Orient Express during Christmas of 1931. While traveling to Paris, a wealthy American is stabbed to death in his cabin on the Orient Express. With the train stuck in a snowdrift, there is no easy escape for the killer. Fortunately, detective Hercule Poirot is aboard and launches a clever investigation into the curious assortment of passengers, of whom each seems to have a motive.
REVIEW: This was my first time reading an Agatha Christie book and I really enjoy her descriptive writing style. The window into life in the 1930’s was very interesting and I did not see the outcome of the mystery coming AT ALL. Very impressed 🙂 If you haven’t read any Agatha Christie novels I would recommend starting here.

2. The Cartoon Introduction to Economics: Volume Two: Macroeconomics by Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein (Goodreads)
Goodreads Rating: 4.06 out of 5 stars
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
SUMMARY: Need to understand today’s economy? This is the book for you. The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume Two: Macroeconomics is the most accessible, intelligible, and humorous introduction to unemployment, inflation, and debt you’ll ever read.Whereas Volume One: Microeconomics dealt with the optimizing individual, Volume Two: Macroeconomics explains the factors that affect the economy of an entire country, and indeed the planet. It explores the two big concerns of macroeconomics: how economies grow and why economies collapse. It illustrates the basics of the labor market and explains what the GDP is and what it measures, as well as the influence of government, trade, and technology on the economy. Along the way, it covers the economics of global poverty, climate change, and the business cycle. In short, if any of these topics have cropped up in a news story and caused you to wish you grasped the underlying basics, buy this book.
REVIEW: Long story short, loved this book as much as the first volume. Still informational with a side of humor 🙂

3. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer (Goodreads)
Goodreads Rating: 3.46 out of 5 stars
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
SUMMARY: The procession that crosses Chaucer’s pages is as full of life and as richly textured as a medieval tapestry. The Knight, the Miller, the Friar, the Squire, the Prioress, the Wife of Bath, and others who make up the cast of characters — including Chaucer himself — are real people, with human emotions and weaknesses. When it is remembered that Chaucer wrote in English at a time when Latin was the standard literary language across western Europe, the magnitude of his achievement is even more remarkable. But Chaucer’s genius needs no historical introduction; it bursts forth from every page of The Canterbury Tales.
REVIEW: It took me a little while to get back into the flow of this book but I really enjoyed it. I read the Canterbury Tales in high school and did a film project incorporating some of the characters, so it was fun to reread and remember how crazy that whole project was. The Wife of Bath and the Miller are my two favorite stories. The Canterbury Tales can be over loquacious at times and some of the tales aren’t as interesting, but there are some true gems.

Hope you enjoyed the reviews! Let me know in the comments below if you have read any of these! Also what did you read in August that you think I would enjoy? 🙂

Book Review – Nowhere to Turn by Lynette Eason

*peeks out from behind the curtain* Hi everyone! Sorry it has been ages since my last post. August turned into a bit of a blackhole between work and illness. But I am back now! Kicking things off with a review of a book that was sent to me for honest review from  Baker Group Publishing.

Nowhere to Turn

DESCRIPTION (No spoilers):
The day Danielle Harding takes her 11-year-old son, Simon, and flees from her abusive husband, is the same day Kurt Harding dies. A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe–but in reality, the danger has just begun. When Kurt was alive, he took something important to a mysterious person. That person wants the item back and believes Dani now has it. As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to hide for long . . .

RATING – 1 out of 5 stars

REVIEW:
I just can’t seem to get into this book. I gave it the 100 page test but I just find myself smacking the book against my head and not really liking the characters. There is so much going on in this book that I found myself getting more and more annoyed with each plot twist rather than gripping the book and wanting to continue on. The main character Dani is likable enough and I do want to see her get safely out of the hell hole that is her life, but there is Stuart, her scary, stalker brother-in-law and he is one of main reasons why I can’t seem to enjoy this book. I understand that he is the main “villain” right now but I read more about him and his plan and it makes me not want to read anymore because I just get frustrated and annoyed with him. Is Stuart also the mysterious individual that Kurt took something important from? I don’t know…that section of the plot has yet to really open up. This mystery thriller is still stuck in the RUN AWAY phase and I have lost interest in waiting for it to turn into the FIGURE IT OUT phase.

A Rainbow of Recommendations

Hello everyone! A couple of days ago I told you about the BookTube-a-thon challenge. During the challenge, there were several video challenges as well that participants could submit for prizes. One of them was create a rainbow of your favorite books! I have tweaked this slightly and turned it into a rainbow of books that I recommend for everyone to read!

Rainbow of Recommendations

RED – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – This book is really representing the entire Harry Potter series. This series is the book that made me really dive into reading and opened my eyes to the online communities that can surround books! The hours I spent reading fan fiction, trading theories with friends about what would happen in the next books and the parties we had before the movies came out made this whole world and the community come alive. The books themselves are brimming with wild adventures, mischief, and a magical school teaming with all kinds of things to explore!
Goodreads Series rating – 4.44 out of 5 (link here)

ORANGE – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I reviewed this book in this post here. I am currently listening to the audio book which I suppose gives you a clue about how much I freaking love this book 🙂 Sci-fi, dystopian novel regarding a high-stakes scavenger hunt set partially in a virtual world? Still possibly my favorite book from this year.
Goodreads rating – 4.30 out of 5 (link here)

YELLOW – The Book of (Even More) Awesome by Neil Pasricha – My friend Meg gave me this book while we were studying abroad and it still makes me smile every time I read it. The book has short entries regarding the little things that make life awesome! Meg also wrote in some notes and awesome things from our time abroad. This book is pretty special and a great thing to read if you ever need cheering up.
Goodreads rating – 4.02 out of 5 (link here)

GREEN – The Economic Naturalist by Robert Frank – I can say, without a doubt, that this book is the reason why I became interested in economics. I randomly picked this book up at Ollie’s in either my sophomore or junior year of high school. The subtitle on this book is In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas. It does just that! The chapter titles reveal all of the different topics that this book covers: The Economics of Product Design, Supply and Demand in Action, The Economics of Discount Pricing, The Myth of Ownership, Psychology Meets Economics, etc. This book may sound pretty unapproachable but it is written for the everyday reader and answers some questions you didn’t even know you wanted to ask!
Goodreads rating – 3.38 out of 5 (link here)

BLUE – The Fault in our Stars by John Green – Break out the tissues because you will most likely cry. I can count on one hand the number of books that have actually made me shed tears, and TFIOS is definitely on that list. I don’t know how John Green does it but this is more than a cancer book, more than a YA book, more than a romance book. This book is important.
Goodreads rating – 4.46 out of 5 (link here)

PURPLE – The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson – This book actually stands for the Shades of London series with the first book being The Name of the Star. This series is about Rory, an American girl who transfers to a boarding school in London for what would be her senior year in high school. Right as she arrives, the first of a string of Jack the Ripper-style murders occurs and she becomes and integral part of the investigation due to some special powers that she didn’t know she had.  I am currently rereading the series and the third book, The Shadow Cabinet, is due to come out next year!
Goodreads Series rating – 3.89 out of 5 (link here)

Let me know in the comments below if you have made a similar post or what books you would recommend!! 🙂

2014 Goodreads and BookTube-a-thon Challenge!

Hello everyone! In yesterday’s post I mentioned the 2014 BookTube-a-thon challenge. The challenge was a fun way to tackle your TBR pile with some challenges and to read as much as possible in one week!  Since I was unable to participate in this year’s BookTube-a-thon, I have decided to combine it with the challenges from last year to make myself one giant reading challenge for August. I recently increased my 2014 Goodreads challenge from 150 books to 200 books, so I could use the help!  Some of the books are ones that I read in school but I still consider them part of my TBR list because I don’t remember much about them plus I would like to revisit them for fun. My TBR is getting obscenely long so it is time to make a plan and take it down! 🙂

2013 BookTube-a-thon Challenges:

1) Read a classic – The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

2)Re-read a book – Looking for Alaska by John Green
DFTBA ❤

3)Read something that had been on your shelf for forever – Bizarre History by Joe Rhatigan

4)Finish a series – I have read the original Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner but I still need to read The Kill Order which is the prequel to the series.

5)Read something over 500 pages – On top of this challenge, I am also rereading the Harry Potter series. I love rereading it every couple of years and going back to that time of dressing up for book releases, having day-long parties before the movie releases and all of that fun stuff! So my book that I will re-read will be Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I aim to have Prisoner of Azkaban finished before August starts which shouldn’t be an issue. I know this should be for the re-read a book challenge but I don’t really have any books over 500 pages that I want to dive into right now.

6)Read 300 pages a day – This is the one challenge that I know I won’t be able to complete 😦 With the Erie County Fair in August and working some pretty dismal hours, I shall try my best but on the 11 and 12 hour days, I’ll be lucky if I stay awake long enough to read 100 pages!

7)Read an audio book – The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket and narrated by Tim Curry. I have been meaning to finish this series for ages! I have read up to the 6th book, The Ersatz Elevator, but it has been so long that I really need to start from the beginning and go through them all again.

2014 BookTube-a-thon Challenges:

1) Start and finish a series – Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

2) Read a book with pictures in it – The Cartoon Introduction to Macroeconomics by Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein (I recently have been needing something economics-related in my life so I found these cartoon introduction books. I read the into to Microeconomics and really enjoyed it!)

3) Read a book from the genre you have read the least this year – Historical Fiction – Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

4) Read a book someone else picks out for you – My friend Kara has been trying for ages to get me to read some Agatha Christie so I shall be reading Murder on the Orient Express.

5) A book with red on the cover – Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

6) Read a book-to-movie adaptation – Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

7) Read 7 books in 7 days – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs; The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey; The Expats by Chris Pavone; The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson; Mrs Queen Takes the Train by WIlliam Kuhn; Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli; and the Puzzler’s Dilemma by Derrick Niederman

August Reading Challenge

TOTAL NUMBER OF BOOKS – 20
TOTAL NUMBER OF PAGES – 6,011

LET’S DO THIS!!

Finished Pages #1

Hello everyone! Today I want to do a review of the books I have read this past week. I read three books so this will be a relatively short post. Let me know in the comments below if you have read any of these! Also, I am leaving for vacation next week and need to pack some good beach reads so leave your recommendations down below as well! 🙂

A Study in Sink

A Study in Sink by Maureen Johnson – I FINALLY got around to reading this! This was a perk for donating to the Harry Potter Alliance’s Equality For The Win campaign last year. It is a fan fiction starring John Green and Benedict Cumberbatch. Hank and Katherine also make an appearance. This was super short but as with all of Maureen’s writing, I was hooked, I was laughing, and I loved it. 🙂 It’s only about 20 pages so if you want to read it, you can click the link here and make a $15 donation to the HPA to get it!

MicroEcon

The Cartoon Introduction to Economics: Volume One Microeconomics by Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman, Ph.D – I studied economics in college and I have been missing it recently. I have had this sitting on my shelves for a while and read through just as a fun, educational light read to exercise that part of my brain again. If you were ever interested in the basics of economics and wanted some humor and a very approachable way to learn it, definitely pick this up 🙂 I found it on Thriftbooks for pretty cheap (I think $6) but it is currently out of stock there. I would check Books A Million or another discount book site for it.

We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – This book is about an octopus who becomes a pirate captain. This book is about how to make the perfect scones. This book is about what happens when you mix all the chemicals in your bathroom and how that puff of smoke will affect the rest of your life.
Okay…I was lying. This book. Holy crap this book. You can’t really say too much about We Were Liars without giving it away but it is definitely worth the read. When I first started reading it, I wasn’t really sure where it was going but then it all came together in the end and I didn’t see it coming. I still have a massive book hangover from this book. I am going to re-read it again and I would encourage you to do so as well because once you figure out what happens, the entire story transforms and I feel like it needs a good re-read to fully appreciate how intelligent and crafty this book is. (Also if you are looking for another great E. Lockhart book to read, I highly recommend The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks)

Don’t forget to leave your reviews of these books if you have read them and your beach read recommendations in the comments below! 🙂

❤ Carolyn