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? 🙂

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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.

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!!

Goodreads 2014 Book Challenge!

If you haven’t heard of Goodreads, it is an app where you can track all of the books you have read, are reading, and would like to read. You can sort your books into shelves and it will give you recommendations based on those shelves and how you rated the books in them. Being a book lover, this app is AWESOME! They also have an option to participate in their 2014 Book Challenge where you input the number of books you would like to read this year and it keeps track for you!  My goal for 2014 is a rather lofty one. 150 books in one year. That sorts out to be around 3 books per week. We are about half way through the year and I am actually a little ahead of of schedule! 84 books read so far!  I figured a top 10 list of the books that I would recommend of those 84 was in order 🙂 I would like to mention though that these are in no particular order. If you click on the titles, it will take you to the Goodreads page if you would like to read the official summary or reviews from other people.

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 1. Seriously I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres – I was stuck in an airport for 6 hours so I downloaded this book to listen to while I was waiting. Listening to Ellen tell her story was such a good life choice. I may have been that weirdo that burst out laughing in the middle of a busy airport for no apparent reason to the outside world, but I was enjoying myself. There is something soothing about Ellen’s voice that made the whole thing pleasant. If you need something easy and happy to listen to (or read) definitely check out Ellen’s books.

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 2. Into the Black: Odyssey One by Evan Currie – This book took me a little while to get into but dear god am I glad I stuck with it. The edited version is AMAZING and the adventure that these characters go on through space, discovering a new alien race and all the trials and tribulations that come with intrerupting a war makes for one hell of a read. I am planning on picking up the next couple books in the series but haven’t gotten around to it yet. If you like space-related sci-fi, definitely check this one out 🙂

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 3. Divergent Series by Veronica Roth – I am pretty sure everyone knows about this series but trust me, it’s not over hyped and definitely worth the read. When you get to the end of Allegiant, let me know and I will come over with a blanket, disney movies, cookies and tea. I would also recommend reading the mini stories that Veronica has released.

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4. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking – Quiet took me a long time to finish but I am glad that I did. I felt like I learned a lot about both myself and others while reading this book. If you are looking for a good book to either learn more about introverted people or to understand yourself better, I would highly recommend this book.

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5. This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl – Esther’s book is a compilation of some of her journal entries and drawings while she was struggling with cancer. This book reveals the good, the bad, the hope and the sorrow of all the comes with fighting cancer.  This book made laugh, cry, angry, and everything else. It’s a good one. DFTBA Esther.

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6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – This could be my top pick for the entire year for all of the books. I just read it back in February and I really want to read it again. I DEVOURED this book while on a plane and I could not put it down. This book is one giant treasure hunt in an virtual reality and just thinking about everything that happens is making me flail and dying to pick it up and re-read it. Even if you aren’t really into futuristic sci-fi, please check this book out. The author is so good at building these virtual worlds and I really want to check out some of his other work.

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7. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – This is probably one of my top YA pics for the entire year so far.  Boy and Girl Meet. Boy and Girl initially don’t like each other. Boy and Girl end up liking each other. Girl’s family is a piece of crap.  Boy helps her out. etc etc This book is glorious and it makes me want to hug everyone and tell them it will be okay and this feels like a much better example of romance in your early teens.

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8. Girls with Slingshots Volumes 1 – 7 by Danielle Corsetto- I actually read all of these online but spent so much time that I ended up counting them as actual books (which they are published). Girls with Slingshots is one of a few web comics that I make sure to check on every time there is a new post. GWS is about a group of characters who are all in their mid-twenties and dealing with anything and everything in today’s age from relationships, drinking, moving in and out of your parent’s house and with a talking cactus and his talking mustache occassionally. GWS is one of those little nuggets of gold that you want to share with the world and protect all at the same time because it is just so good! I recently met the writer at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival and holy crap did I fan girl over her. Like, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t function, fan girling. It was awesome 🙂 If you do end up reading this comic, I would suggest starting from the beginning otherwise you will probably be confused about a lot of things. But trust me, it is worth it!

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9. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan- I don’t really know how to describe this book other than a treasure hunt surrounding books and a secret society. To say anything else would be giving away some major plot points but trust me, this one is good 🙂

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10. The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner – This series did take me a few chapters to get into but I got HOOKED! The story is about a group of boys who have been sent into this Maze with no memory of their life before the maze. They are located inside a set of walls which keeps them safe from the maze at night, where it is very dangerous. They are trying to find a way out when all of a sudden a girl shows up and everything changes. This book is INTENSE. You get very attached to some characters who are later viciously injured or killed. These books will challenge your idea of right and wrong and you better hang onto your seat because it is one crazy ride!

Let me know in the comments below what your favorite books have been so far this year! Any recommendations??