Saturday, December 20, 2014

2015 New to You! Reading Challenge

New to You Reading Challenge

At the start of 2014, I re-introduced myself to reading for me - not children's books (for/to my kids), nor reading for a college course.  I could probably count on one hand the number of books I had read for me on one hand in the previous 10-15 years.  (I know, but I'm getting better.)

Nonetheless, I considered myself fairly well-read.  How wrong I was!  I've read probably close to 100 books in 2014 and all of them are new-to-me in some way - be it a new author, a new genre, etc. etc. etc.  And every time in 2014 I started to think I was more literarily (did I just make up another new word :p ?) plugged in, something new came slapped me upside the head.

I'm starting at level one, which means 6 'new to yous'.  (There are 6 additional levels, going all the way up to 100+ 'new to yous'.)  Hopefully, I'll keep on the ball with record keeping and be able to bump up my level at least once during 2015.

Click on that l'il button at the top of the post, head on over to visit Anna at Herding Cats and Burning Soup (host and her blog) to get all the 'Deets' and to sign up!

Bout of Books Readathon January 2015

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 5th and runs through Sunday, January 11th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 12 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I don't think I've ever tallied how many books I read during a week before, so this will be fun.  I'll be going for 7 books, like 'a book a day keeps the boredom away' or something like that.  I'll either be reading ARCs for reviews (I've got 3 scheduled in that time frame, and 9 others during the rest of January and early February, but I've read a couple of them already) or from my extensive, almost-crush weight TBR pile and list.  Seriously, I keep wondering when my Kindle app will say, "Does not compute."

If you are a reader, click the button at the top and join in!  If you don't read, but know someone who does, share this post with them!  (Heck if you do read, share it anyway?  I'd be ever so grateful!)  

I seriously like this early-in-the-new-year readathon.  Last year (or is that this year, since it's still 2014), I got a wonderful jump start on my reading year from participating.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, y'all! :O)


1.  (to be added)

2015 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge

The 2015 edition of the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge is hosted by Robin at the blog by the same name.  (Click the button to go there, see the details and sign up!)

There are several mini-challenges this year, which I think are new and fun features.  I actually read more than 52 books last year, but slipped up on the record keeping and linking reviews, so I'm trying again this year and determined to do better!

Week 1 - (to be added)

2015 BooksNTunes Challenge

The Books N Tunes Challenge is hosted by Sophia Rose and Shari at A Delighted Reader, and pairs the books we read with the songs that come to mind while reading those books.  Sounds like fun, right?  So click the banner above to learn all the details and sign up!  (There is also a blog link-up or two for during the year so you can share with others doing the challenge!)

It can be as simple as hearing the Star Wars theme when reading a book such as:

(link goes to GoodReads)

which, BTW, is SO funny I nearly spewed my coffee on several occasions.  

I'm starting out at the lowest level - Hum Baby (10 books/tunes) with a strong hope to be able to move up during the year.

1.  (to be added)...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review - Certainty by Victor Bevine


When you’re fighting an injustice, can it be wrong to do what’s right?

Inspired by the scandalous true story that shocked a nation at the close of WWI.

With America’s entry into World War 1, the population of Newport, Rhode Island seems to double overnight as twenty-five thousand rowdy recruits descend on the Naval Training Station. Drinking, prostitution, and other depravities follow the sailors, transforming the upscale town into what many residents—including young lawyer William Bartlett, whose genteel family has lived in Newport for generations—consider to be a moral cesspool.
When sailors accuse a beloved local clergyman of sexual impropriety, William feels compelled to fight back. He agrees to defend the minister against the shocking allegations, in the face of dire personal and professional consequences. But when the trial grows increasingly sensational, and when outrageous revelations echo all the way from Newport to the federal government, William must confront more than just the truth—he must confront the very nature of good and evil.

Based on real-life events, Certainty recalls a war-torn era when the line between right and wrong became dangerously blurred.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Review: The Unforgivable Fix by T. E. Woods


The killer won’t come for you, you fool. He’ll come for me.

Detective Mort Grant of the Seattle PD has finally decided to sell. The home where he and his late wife raised two kids feels too large and too full of old memories. His son is married and raising a family of his own, and despite desperate efforts to find her, Mort has lost touch with his wayward daughter. That is, until the day she walks back into her childhood home and begs for his help.

For the last four years, Allie Grant has been the lover—and confidante, confessor, and counselor—of one of the world’s most powerful and deadly men. But a sudden, rash move has put Allie in the crosshairs of a ruthless Russian crime lord. Mort knows of only one place where Allie will be safe: with The Fixer.

As a hired desperado, The Fixer has killed twenty-three people—and Mort was complicit in her escape from the law. She has built an impregnable house, stocked it with state-of-the-art gear, armed it to the teeth, and locked herself away from the world. But even The Fixer may not be able to get justice for Allie when real evil comes knocking.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Review: The Resurrection of Tess Blessing by Leslie Kagen


The Resurrection of Tess Blessing is by turns heartbreaking and heartwarming, emotional, perceptive, slightly magical, and funny. It’s a redemptive story about second chances and realizing what—and who—is really important, before it’s too late.

After she is diagnosed with breast cancer, fifty-one-year-old Tess sets forth on a mission to complete her final “to-do” list before, what she’s sure is, her impending death. She needs to make peace with her estranged sister, say goodbye to her mother’s long-kept ashes that she keeps in the garage, rescue her daughter from the grip of an eating disorder, help her son grow-up, and reignite the spark in her marriage. One factor she never considers is that she might have to stick around and deal with her handiwork.

Tess is aided on her quest by narrator, Grace, who lends the story its most brilliant elements: subtle magical realism and deep psychological complexity. Is Grace an “imaginary friend,” guardian angel, or a part of Tess who knows better than she?

The Resurrection of Tess Blessing is authentic, funny, sad, and at its heart… redemptive.