New Year; New Challenges, Episode V

So here we are near the end of January and I’m only just now getting around to posting my annual “New Year; New Challenges” post. I received a promotion at work right around Thanksgiving and have been trying to deal with the change to my schedule. Having a job with irregular hours can sometimes throw off my schedule outside of work. I’m trying to find my balance between work, life, and blogging, and I appreciate you all sticking with the blog as I figure it out.

With all of that being said, here is my goal for 2015: 140 books. Since I successfully completed reading 100 books in 2014, 10 more books gets added to my goal. (2011 = 100 books, 2012 = 110 books, 2013 = 120 books, 2014 = 130 books, etc) As per years past, you can keep track of my reading progress and what books I’ve read here.

In no particular order, here are some of the books releasing in 2015 that I’m looking forward to reading!

  1. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  2. Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost
  3. Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard
  4. And I Love Her by Marie Force
  5. The Heir by Kiera Cass
  6. Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan
  7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (This is an exclusive collector’s edition!)
  8. The Seven  Sisters by Lucinda Riley
  9. When A Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
  10. Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell
  11. Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt
  12. Tiny Little Things by Beatriz Williams
  13. One Night with a Billionaire by Jessica Clare
  14. Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen
  15. A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

Well readers, what are your reading goals for 2015? What titles are you excited to read?

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What Are You Reading This March?

March has been an absolutely crazy hectic month for me. As such the amount of time I’ve been able to dedicate to reading has been quite short. It’s the 22nd of the month and I’ve only read 5 books!! I guess I should be happy that my total is 5 and not 0. With such a small amount of books completed this month, I’m being realistic with what else I plan to complete this month. On my list is Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare.

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Attachments was Rowell’s first novel and is a true gem. After reading Eleanor & Park and Fangirl I was dying to read more. I’m literally on pins and needles awaiting her next novel Landline due out this July. City of Bones got bumped up my list after I saw The Mortal Instruments movie. I found the premise of the movie unique and found myself drawn to the characters (especially the heroine Clary.) Knowing I had the first book already in my bookshelves, I quickly grabbed it. The series is currently five books long, with the sixth and final installment due out May (I think I can catch up before then!)

Well readers, over to you. What are you all reading this month?

Kim’s Review of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

frrEleanor & Park was my first foray into the world of Rainbow Rowell books. What a wonderful way to “dip my toe” into the Rainbow Rowell reading pool. Upon finishing it I was quickly directed to read Fangirl, also by Rowell.  Given how much I enjoyed Eleanor & Park, I was eager to start Fangirl immediately. Little did I know the profound way it would change me….

From Goodreads:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I thought Eleanor & Park was stellar. I still think it’s stellar. But when compared to the absolute perfection that Fangirl exuded they are simply incomparable. Fangirl speaks to a demographic of people who typically aren’t the heroes and heroines of novels. It champions people who are different. People who go against the flow. People with anxiety. People with learning disabilities. It speaks to lovers of fan fiction. To people so in love with fictional characters that it inspires them to continue writing their story. It’s a story for all the people who had to grow up too fast. Who had to be adults way before their time.  Fangirl is a love letter for anyone who’s gone through a difficult time in their life – whether it’s an issue with family, friends, or themselves – Fangirl speaks to the underdog in each of us. Fangirl gives voice to the confident person living (dormant for some) inside all of us. It is in essence, a love letter to the goodness that exists in human nature. The goodness that exists in us.

I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to fully express the feelings I had reading this book. All I can tell you is what I said above and that upon finishing the book I went back and re-read if three times. I urge everyone to read it. Then re-read. Then tell a friend to read it.

5 out of 5 Stars (Really 100 Stars)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
St. Martin’s Press (2013)
Hardcover: 448 pages
ISBN: 9781250030955

2013 – A Year In Review

fireworksIt’s totally cliché, but where the hell has this year gone? With today being the very last day of 2013 I figured I’d do a quick “Year in Review” post to talk about my progress with reading challenges and also to discuss my favorite books of the year!

Quick rundown on how I did with my reading challenges: I successfully read 120 books this year. In fact, as of the time of writing this post I am at 199 books for the year! (WOOT!) You can see all the books I’ve read with links to their reviews here. Now, a bit of bad news. I utterly failed (for the second year in a row) the audio book challenge. I didn’t listen to 1 audio book this year (read: pathetic.) I also didn’t do so great with the Book to Movie challenge either, with only 2 out of 12 read. Now, to the good news: I completed 78% of the Color Coded Challenge, or 7 out of 9 reads. I actually had a blast doing this challenge. You don’t realize how many books use colors in their titles until you do a challenge like this! Additionally, I unsurprisingly completed the Historical Fiction Challenge as well as the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary challenge with no trouble at all.

And now for the difficult part: Picking my favorite reads of 2013.

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  2. The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley (look for my review next week!!!)
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  4. The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers/Making It Last by Ruthie Knox
  5. Beauty and the Billionaire by Jessica Clare
  6. Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
  7. Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander/Easy by Tammara Webber
  8. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  9. Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost
  10. The Secret of Ella and Micha/The Forever of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

Having read almost 200 books this year, choosing 10 (really 12) of my favorites almost killed me. So, in the effort of easing my conscience I’m giving you some of my runners-up (in no particular order)!

  1. Pride, Prejudice, and the Perfect Match by Marilyn Brant
  2. The Edelstein Trilogie by Kersin Gier (Book one, two, & three)
  3. The Westfield Wolves/Regency Vampyre Series by Lydia Dare
  4. Return to Longbourn by Shannon Winslow
  5. The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen
  6. Losing It by Cora Carmack
  7. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  8. Bittersweet by Noelle Adams

This was hands down the hardest year yet to pick my favorite books. When you read almost 200 books in a year I guess that should be expected, no?

Ok, the burden is being passed to you. What did you love reading this year?!? Please let us know below. And finally, enjoy the rest of your New Year’s Day, hopefully with a great book. See you in 2014!