Monthly Wrap Up

August 2014 Wrap-Up

August was pretty awesome! Bout of Books 11 really jump started my reading again! I was also glad that I allowed myself one guilt free book. It was much needed (9 out of 10 books previously read were review books … I was due for something fun and mindless!). Just an overall awesome month!

Books read: 6 (YTD: 41)

Safe KeepingThe CompetitionOne KickFather of FearPrivate #1 SuspectA Time to Kill

Safe Keeping by Barbara Taylor Sissel
The Competition by Marcia Clark
One Kick by Chelsea Cain
Father of Fear by Ethan Cross (Review scheduled for 9/2)
Private: #1 Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
A Time to Kill by John Grisham

Pages read: 2269 (YTD: 14,717)

Challenge Progress:

Eclectic Reader Challenge: 5/12
Official TBR Pile Challenge: 7/12
What’s in a Name Challenge: 3/5

Books received: 23 (see list here)

Hard copy Review books: 3
Electronic Review books: 1
Purchased Used: 18
Purchased New: 1
Paperbackswap:
Grandmother:

Memes posted: 4

Events Participated In: Bout of Books

I read a total of 10 hours and 23 minutes
I read 626 pages
I finished 1 book I was already working on; 1 book in its entirety, and began a third.

Recipes shared: 0

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READING CHALLENGES 2014

#TBRChallengeRBR Checkpoint 8

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Well, here we are at the eighth TBR Challenge checkpoint.

I continue to be one book behind in this challenge, but I was able to knock out A Time to Kill by John Grisham in August. I still can’t believe that I had never read this book before. I really, really enjoyed it and highly recommend it to everyone. I am so glad that I read it; especially at a time when we have had a lot of unrest in the Midwest because of race issues. Definitely a timeless classic book in my opinion.

I’m not sure where I’ll head next with my list for this challenge. I have picked up The Dante Club and Relic a couple of times and set them both aside … I have a feeling I will need to use both of my alternates. Here’s what I’ve still got left to choose from, which one would you choose next!??!:

  1. The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
  2. The Hunt for Atlantis by Andy McDermott
  3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  4. Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
  5. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Alternates:

  1. Mallory’s Oracle by Carol O’Connell
  2. McNally’s Secret by Lawrence Sanders
4/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2014, READING CHALLENGES 2014

2014.41 REVIEW – A Time to Kill by John Grisham

A Time to Kill
by John Grisham

Copyright: 1989
Pages: 515
Rating: 4/5
Read: Aug. 22 – 29, 2014
Challenge: Official TBR Challenge
Yearly count: 41
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: N/A

A Time to KillBlurb: Clanton, Mississippi. The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle – and takes justice into his own outraged hands.

For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life … and then his own…


Review: This book was from my own shelves, all opinions expressed below are my own.

What really defines a “classic”? Is it something from a gazillion years ago that we are forced to read in high school, with language and dialects that we can’t even follow along with? Or is it something that can be written in the 1980s and still resonate with a reader in the year 2014? I go with the latter.

I originally placed this book on my to-read list this year for the Official TBR Challenge. I don’t remember why this particular book made it onto my list, but I’m sure it was just the shock of realizing that I had never read this book. I will be honest, I have seen the movie (though years ago, and I only recalled that Matthew McConaughey portrayed the defense counsel).

But here’s what really gets me about this book. You’d have to be a complete recluse with no contact with the outside world to not know what has happened in Ferguson, Missouri in the past few weeks. All I want to say about the matter is that it was a sad situation and the violence and rioting was completely unacceptable. But back to the book … I was amazed at how the racism aspects of this book is still very relevant to today’s world. The events of the past month have proved that there are still very large problems in our country. Ones that are ignored for the most part, until things come completely undone.

And that, my dear readers, is why I feel like this book is such a classic. If I can read a book that was published when I was 5 years old and be able to sit down and realize that the plot of this book could be played out today in just about any court in the country … it just speaks volumes to me.

Personally I highly enjoyed this book. And I think it should be required reading. My one and only complaint is that it really could have been about 150 pages shorter. Every character we encounter along the way seemed to have their own back story, which just continued to draw out the book. But the last 100 pages were full of nail-biting suspense and really set the bar for Mr. Grisham’s fellow authors.

My copy of the book included an author note from Mr. Grisham. I want to leave you with the last sentence:

This one came from the heart. It’s a first novel, and at times it rambles, but I wouldn’t change a word if given the chance.

If you have never read this book, do not hesitate. If you have read this book, consider a re-read.

Bout of Books

Wrapping Up Bout of Books 11!

Well, what a fun week I had last week! I read a lot more than normal 🙂 And I had a lot of fun! I think my only complaint with what I accomplished was that by Sunday I really ran out of reading steam. I just wasn’t in the mood. Which was a shame, because I had all Sunday to myself … hubs took Garrett up to his parents house for a visit and I was alone from 10am until 6pm. But after a pedicure and grocery shopping, the only thing I had enough energy for was a nap. Anyway, to quickly sum up my Bout of Books progress:

Total pages read: 626
Total time read: 10 hours 23 minutes

Monday August 18 

  • Time read: 121 minutes
  • Pages read: 124 pages
  • Challenges: Book Scavenger Hunt … that was a lot of fun! And my non-bookish friends on Instagram are probably hating me for blowing up their feed temporarily 🙂
    • Also today I finished Father of Fear by Ethan Cross … a review book that I’m scheduled for a review on 9/2. It was really good!!

Tuesday August 19

  • Time read: 162 minutes
  • Pages read: 186 pages
  • Challenges: 0

Wednesday August 20

  • Time read: 60 minutes
  • Pages read: 56 pages
  • Challenges: 0

Thursday August 21

  • Time read: 51 minutes
  • Pages read: 67 pages
  • Challenges: 0

Friday August 22

  • Time read: 84 minutes
  • Pages read: 90 pages
  • Challenges: 0
    • Finished Private: #1 Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro today.

Saturday August 23

  • Time read: 99 minutes
  • Pages read: 73 pages
  • Challenges: 0

Sunday August 24

  • Time read: 46 minutes
  • Pages read: 30 pages
  • Challenges: 0

I had a wonderful week, and I’m already looking forward to Bout of Books 12 … January 5-11, 2015!!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, August 25, 2014

Two books this week. One review book:

The Tenth ChamberAbbey of Ruac, rural France – A medieval script is discovered hidden behind an antique bookcase. Badly damaged, it is sent to Paris for restoration, and there literary historian Hugo Pineau begins to read the startling fourteenth-century text. Within its pages lies a fanciful tale of a painted cave and the secrets it contains – and a rudimentary map showing its position close to the abbey. Intrigued, Hugo enlists the help of archaeologist Luc Simard and the two men go exploring.

When they discover a vast network of prehistoric caves, buried deep within the cliffs, they realize that they’ve stumbled across something extraordinary. And at the very core of the labyrinth lies the most astonishing chamber of all, just as the manuscript chronicled. Aware of the significance of their discovery, they set up camp with a team of experts, determined to bring their find to the world. But as they begin to unlock the ancient secrets the cavern holds, they find themselves at the centre of a dangerous game. One “accidental” death leads to another. And it seems that someone will stop at nothing to protect the enigma of the tenth chamber.


And one that I purchased new:

Sycamore RowOne of the most popular novels of our time, A Time to Kill established John Grisham as the master of the legal thriller. Now we return to Ford County as Jake Brigance finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial that exposes a tortured history of racial tension.

Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County’s most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises many more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Jack Morgan, P, RATING, Read in 2014, SERIES

2014.40 REVIEW – Private: #1 Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Private: #1 Suspect 
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 377
Rating: 4/5
Read: Aug. 19 – 22, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 40
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy (Rec. from grandmother)
Series: Jack Morgan #2

Private #1 SuspectBlurb: Private’s Jack Morgan is accused of a horrible murder – and not even his own world-class investigators can prove he didn’t do it.

Since former marine Jack Morgan started Private, the elite investigation firm has been sought out by the famous and powerful to handle their problems. Private’s detectives are the smartest, fastest, and most technologically advanced in the world – and they always uncover the truth. But when his former lover is found killed in his bed, Jack instantly becomes the number one suspect. As the police focus on Jack, the Mob strong-arms him into recovering $30 million in stolen pharmaceuticals for them. And the beautiful manager of a luxury hotel chain persuades him to solve a string of murders at her properties. Now, while Jack fights for his life, one of his most trusted colleagues threatens to leave Private – and Jack realizes he faces the most clever and powerful enemies ever.


Review: This book was from my own shelves, all opinions expressed below are my own.

Those of you who have been following me for quite some time, know that I used to devour James Patterson. At one time I was caught up with his Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club and Michael Bennett series. There were very few Patterson books that came out that I didn’t read (and we all know he produces a lot!). But somewhere along the way I stopped reading him.

But when Bout of Books rolled around this week, I got to thinking about what I would want to read this week. I knew a James Patterson would be perfect … you can’t beat how quickly his books read … the short chapters are perfect for something like bout of books … and they’re pretty well mindless. Perfect. It also didn’t hurt that I looked and realized that out of the last 10 books I had read, 9 of those were review books. It was time for some guilt free reading.

I’m not sure why this is the Patterson book I chose. But I’m glad it was. I had read and reviewed the first Private book back in 2011. I remembered liking it, but had no other recollection of the storylines/characters. Luckily, that isn’t a big deal in this book – it reads decently as a standalone. As I look back over my 2011 review, I realize that I have the same main complaint about this book .. the sheer number of story lines. There are four in this installment – the murder Jack is accused of, a celebrity the firm is to keep track of, a “favor” that Jack has to do for the Mob, and a case of men being murdered in hotels. It was really too much; if I were writing the book, I would have cut out the whole deal with the celebrity and focused much more on the hotel killings, it was a much more interesting story line.

Regardless, though, this book was exactly what I needed at the time I read it. Fast. Short. Fun. And I was able to read it guilt free … something that I haven’t been able to do a lot of in 2014. So if you want a fun, mindless escape, I would definitely recommend this one.

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros #23

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Diane over at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts this meme.

Father of Fear

Today I’m featuring a book that I am currently reading for review. 

Donny Jeung considered removing his badge before sticking the hypodermic needle in his arm. It was a strange and fleeting thought. What difference did it make? He could take off the uniform and the badge and the gun, and he’d still be a cop. And he’d also still be a junkie. Such thoughts floated into the ether as he depressed the plunger and the heroin entered his veins. He leaned back against the toilet bowl, the porcelain cool on his back. Sounds and smells took on exaggerated vibrancy. The aroma of pine-scented air freshener and the acrid tang of urine swirled over the muted conversations and scraping of plates in the restaurant. Euphoria enfolded him, and for a few moments, he forgot the argument he’d had with his father earlier that evening.

I’m reading this one for a blog tour in September. I read and reviewed The Prophet back in 2012 and loved it! So I was excited to get pitched this one! This is actually the start of the prologue, and I never know how much to share so this is the first paragraph. I’m not very far into this one, but I’m definitely enjoying it so far!! I hope you come back on September 2nd to see my final thoughts

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, August 18, 2014

For a TLC Book Tour in September, I received this eARC:

RyderAyesha Ryder bears the scars of strife in the Middle East. Now her past is catching up to her as she races to unravel a mystery that spans centuries—and threatens to change the course of history.

As Israeli and Palestinian leaders prepare to make a joint announcement at the Tower of London, an influential scholar is tortured and murdered in his well-appointed home in St. John’s Wood. Academic researcher Ayesha Ryder believes the killing is no coincidence. Sir Evelyn Montagu had unearthed shocking revelations about T. E. Lawrence—the famed Lawrence of Arabia. Could Montagu have been targeted because of his discoveries?

Ryder’s search for answers takes her back to her old life in the Middle East and into a lion’s den of killers and traitors. As she draws the attention of agents from both sides of the conflict, including detectives from Scotland Yard and MI5, Ryder stumbles deeper into Lawrence’s secrets, an astounding case of royal blackmail, even the search for the Bible’s lost Ark of the Covenant.

Every step of the way, the endgame grows more terrifying. But when an attack rocks London, the real players show their hand—and Ayesha Ryder is left holding the final piece of the puzzle.


And then I made the mistake of going to my favorite used book store. I spent entirely too much time there and came home with entirely too many books 🙂

The Five Greatest Warriors Bone Yard Killing Spree The Tomb of Hercules Twisted Faceless Killers The Drowning People The Last Spymaster The Book of the Dead Blind Spot The Blood Gospel City of Dreams Kill Me If You Can Private Games The 13th Juror Hard Evidence Your Heart Belongs to Me What the Night Knows

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 11!

Bout of Books

Yeah! I’m totally signing up for Bout of Books again! I’m really looking forward to it!

In case you don’t know … here’s what it’s all about:

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, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th 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 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Sounds exciting, right?! I’m so excited! I’ll also be keeping track of my goals and progress here on this page.

My goals:

  • Read
  • Visit new blogs
  • Participate in at least 1 challenge

Once again, I’m keeping it very simple. It works best for me that way … I don’t like to feel pressured, once I get to that point I essentially shut down 😦

My progress:

Monday August 18 

  • Time read: 121 minutes
  • Pages read: 124 pages
  • Challenges: Book Scavenger Hunt … that was a lot of fun! And my non-bookish friends on Instagram are probably hating me for blowing up their feed temporarily 🙂
    • Also today I finished Father of Fear by Ethan Cross … a review book that I’m scheduled for a review on 9/2. It was really good!!

Tuesday August 19

  • Time read: 162 minutes
  • Pages read: 186 pages
  • Challenges:

Wednesday August 20

  • Time read: 60 minutes
  • Pages read: 56 pages
  • Challenges:

Thursday August 21

  • Time read: 51 minutee
  • Pages read: 67 pages
  • Challenges:

Friday August 22

  • Time read: 84 minutes
  • Pages read: 90 pages
  • Challenges:

Saturday August 23

  • Time read: 99 minutes
  • Pages read: 73 pages
  • Challenges:

Sunday August 24

  • Time read: 46 minutes
  • Pages read: 30 pages
  • Challenges:
4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, E-Book, Fiction, Kick Lannigan, NetGalley, RATING, Read in 2014, Review Book, SERIES

2014.38 REVIEW – One Kick by Chelsea Cain

One Kick
by Chelsea Cain

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5
Read: Aug. 9 – 13, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 38
Format:  E-Book
Source: NetGalley
Series: Kick Lannigan #1

One KickBlurb: From the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell thrillers: The first in a nail-biting new series featuring Kick Lannigan, a young woman whose complicated past has given her a very special skill set.

Famously kidnapped at age six, Kick captured America’s hearts when she was rescued five years later. Now, twenty-one, she finds herself unexpectedly entangled in a missing child case that will put her talents to the test.

Trained as a marksman, lock picker, escape artist and bomb maker by her abductor, Kick could not return to the life of the average young girl after her release. So, in lieu of therapy, she mastered martial arts, boxing, and knife throwing; learned how to escape from the trunk of a car, jimmy a pair of handcuffs, and walk without making a sound—all before she was thirteen.

Kick has trained herself to be safe. But then two children go missing in three weeks, and an enigmatic and wealthy former weapons dealer approaches her with a proposition. John Bishop uses his fortune and contacts to track down missing children. Not only is he convinced Kick can help recover the two children—he won’t take no for an answer.

With lives hanging in the balance, Kick is set to be the crusader she has always imagined herself. Little does she know that the answers she and Bishop seek are hidden in one of the few places she doesn’t want to navigate—the dark corners of her own mind.

A heart-stopping, entertaining thrill ride, One Kick announces the arrival of a blistering new series by a stunning talent in the thriller realm.


Review: I received a copy of this book for free via NetGalley, all opinions expressed below are my own.

Some people went out and got drunk when they came of age; Kick had picked out a Glock with a nine-round magazine and applied for a concealed-weapons permit. (p. 25 of eARC)

When I first saw this book mentioned, I was really intrigued. I have read and enjoyed the first 3 books in the Archie/Gretchen series. But for some reason I never continued reading those books. So I was excited to see a new series and Kick sounded like a really interesting character.

And I am happy to say that I really liked this book! It reads so fast and is so intriguing. Obviously it’s a tough subject to deal with …missing children and pedophiles … but I felt as if it was handled with such care that it wasn’t hard for me to read at all. I can’t tell you what a character Kick is. She’s strong, but not as strong as she wants people to believe. And then there’s Bishop. I can’t wait to learn more about him in the future! There’s definitely something there with him and I’m dying to find out exactly what it is!

You know it’s a good book in a new series when you reach the last page and are absolutely dying to know what happens next! Sometimes that’s the bad thing about reading series books … the wait for the next installment can be a killer! But you can guarantee I’ll be on the lookout for Ms. Cain’s next Kick Lannigan book!!

Overall I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s a great read. Fast paced, interesting, exciting. Just a great read that will leave you salivating for more!

Highly recommended.