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text 2014-02-28 00:45
2014 Reading Challenge Progress: January and February

I was wanting to do a progress update each month on what I'm reading, but January was not a good month for books.  Because as much as I love to read, I also love anime and video games, and so that is what happened in January.  




Nonetheless, I still got some reading in (even if I might have had to cheat a little bit, but, hey, as my little brother defends: "A volume of a manga series is technically a book, too!"), so according to my calculations, I have managed to read 6 books in January... 4 of which were four volumes of manga of which I'm not certain whether or not they count for some of the challenges I'm participating in, so I'll at least be fair in that aspect.


Which is fine.  It just means I have more books to read in order to add onto each challenge and my end goals for 2014.


February ended up a bit better than January, so at least I feel like I'm making better progress.


A forecast for March has me listing several more titles in a row... so hopefully I don't burn myself out (as if that could happen), though my lists never go as planned, so we'll see.  I may create a March post, or I may wait and do bi-monthly posts... which might be better now that I think about it.




Related posts:

More Reading Challenges!

2014 TBR Pile Challenge -- Roof Beam Reader



100 Books in a Year hosted by Book City Chick

Outdo Yourself Challenge hosted by The Book Vixen

2014 TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Roof Beam Reader

2014 TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Bookish

2014 Series Challenge hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat.




The four volumes I read of Sukitte iinayo will only be included in the generalized Reading Challenges on Goodreads and BookLikes.  

I wrote a compiled review for all four volumes:  Review -- Sukitte iinayo, Vol. 1 to 4.


The Book Thief was chosen as a read-along with my BFF for our own personal Mini Book Club.


All other books read are automatically included in the above two challenges as well.


2014 Reading Challenge:

1.  Sukitte iinayo, Volume 1 by Hazuki Kanae  -  Review, Volumes 1 to 4

2.  Sukitte iinayo, Volume 2 by Hazuki Kanae

3.  Sukitte iinayo, Volume 3 by Hazuki Kanae

4.  Sukitte iinayo, Volume 4 by Hazuki Kanae

5.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak  -  Review 

6.  The Distance Between Us by Kasie West - Review

7.  The Unbound (The Archived, book 2) by Victoria Schwab - Review

8.  Split Second (Pivot Point, book 2) by Kasie West - Review

9.  The Giver by Lois Lowry - Review

10.  Serial Hottie by Kelly Oram - Review

11.  The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima - Review

12.  This Is What Happy Looks Like - Review



Otherwise, here is my January and February progress for each of the other challenges listed:



100 Books in a Year hosted by Book City Chick 

Present Progress:  8 books read



1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -- Review

2.  The Distance Between Us by Kasie West -- Review



1.  The Unbound by Victoria Schwab -- Review

2.  Split Second by Kasie West -- Review

3.  The Giver by Lois Lowry -- Review

4.  Serial Hottie by Kelly Oram -- Review

5.  The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima -- Review

6.  This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith -- Review




2014 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Outdo Yourself Challenge hosted by The Book Vixen

Goal: 102 to 106 books

Present Progress:  8 books read



1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -- Review

2.  The Distance Between Us by Kasie West -- Review



1.  The Unbound by Victoria Schwab -- Review

2.  Split Second by Kasie West -- Review

3.  The Giver by Lois Lowry -- Review

4.  Serial Hottie by Kelly Oram -- Review

5.  The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima -- Review

6.  This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith -- Review




2014 TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Roof Beam Reader

Goal: 12 pre-selected books

Present Progress:  2 books read


No progress in January.



1.  The Giver by Lois Lowry -- Review

2.  The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima -- Review




2014 TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Bookish

Goal:  31 to 40 books

Present Progress:  6 books read



1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -- Review

2.  The Distance Between Us by Kasie West -- Review



1.  The Giver by Lois Lowry -- Review

2.  Serial Hottie by Kelly Oram -- Review

3.  The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima -- Review

4.  This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith -- Review




2014 Series Challenge hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat.

Goal:  7 to 11 series

Present Progress:  2 series


No progress in January.



1.  The Unbound by Victoria Schwab / Book 2 of The Archived series -- Review

2.  Split Second by Kasie West / Book 2 of Pivot Point series -- Review


See also:  2014 Series Challenge 





I promise I'll come up with a better format for my next update post.  This one seems kind of clunky and chaotic, but I suck at finding a good structure or format until after the fact.  What would really make my day would be the ability to include tables in my blog posts...  I... might think about inserting photos of my actual tables I keep on an excel spreadsheet for my book lists and reading lists, though I wonder if that might be too extreme.

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review 2014-02-27 23:14
Brief Thoughts: This Is What Happy Looks Like
This is What Happy Looks Like - Jennifer E. Smith

This book certainly tried hard to squeeze meaning out of every sentence, piece of dialogue, and action. It might have gotten a little clunky or wordy in its execution as well; there were a lot of things that could have been left unsaid. Nonetheless, cute and breezy it set out to do; cute and breezy it accomplished. I can't fault a book for trying so hard to be spectacular; you could practically FEEL how hard this book was trying.


So it was enjoyable, at best, but still kind of mediocre on my scale.

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review 2014-02-25 01:17
Not really a review: The Demon King
The Demon King - Cinda Williams Chima

I'm not going to lie. I really, really resent this book right now.

And I've started this post four times because I can't seem to find the right words to describe the struggle I felt while reading this book. It was boring and monotonous.


Sure, the writing was great and the details were plenty... but sometimes you CAN have too much detail. I'm sure I was drowning in detail to the point where I physically said aloud: "Why do I care?"

I like to see myself as fairly tolerant when it comes to books. I have a pretty average standard and can overlook certain aspects in exchange for other traits a book may display more favorably.


The world had potential: Seven Realms, wars going on, a rich back-history of conflict, a legendary warrior queen who saved the world, some snippets of human drama between opposing groups of people who hate... well, just because the hate has been expanding for generations. There is a lot of potential in this world.

But I'm not sure if I could find anything in The Demon King that was to my liking at all. I didn't like the characters (except maybe Prince Liam Tomlin, what little appearance he makes with his witty banters and nonsensical responses), there appeared to be very little direction in the story line, despite the fact that you knew exactly where the story was headed, and (I repeat) there was too much info dump.

To me, the entire book felt like a prologue of sorts -- as if this one book was the build-up and back story behind the true story that has yet to begin.

So I resent this book, but not for all the things mentioned above; I resent this book because of the fact that the actual story doesn't even really begin until the end. Things actually start to get intriguing in the last 20% stretch of The Demon King.

If I cared enough, maybe I could overlook the first 80% and be happy to continue the series. I'm not sure if I'm feeling as generous right now though.



This book was read as part of my 2014 TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Roof Beam Reader.





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text 2014-02-19 21:10
2014 Series Challenge

As of 4/28/2014 -- This post has been reblogged and updated.


I've decided to take my original post for the 2014 Series Challenge I'm participating in this year and create a post for it on it's own.  Things may look less messy this way... I hope.  I just need to rearrange things a little and use this as my official 2014 Series Challenge "go to" post for updates.  And maybe reblog it monthly depending on how my progress is going.


I suck at structure, though, so whatevs.



Originally part of my More Reading Challenges post.


See also: 2014 Series Challenge on my bookshelf for a list of books completed for this challenge.




2014 Series Challenge hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat.

- THIS!  This Reading Challenge is perfect for all of those series that I still need to finish (Divergent, etc...), or those series in which I've already read Book #1 (Partials, Lunar Chronicles, so on and so forth), as well as all the series I'm following like a maniacal fangirl that conclude this year (The Grisha...), and am truly wanting to simply finish said series!  I am SO participating in this one!  Besides, I already have a list of series I'm reading and need to finish, and series I'm wanting to start reading that finish this year.  I have an excel spreadsheet for that too.


And OMG!  Badges!


Goal:  Gold Badge (7 to 11 series)

I'm going to be realistic here and not go for the Platinum even though I've already listed at least 20 different series I could finish this year (Keyword: "could").  But since there are definitely at least 5 series I already had plans to finish, I'm going to challenge myself to finish at least two more.



My List:


Series Completed for Challenge: (10)

1.  The Archived by Victoria Schwab

-- #1 -- The Archived -- Read in 2013

-- #2 -- The Unbound -- Read in Feb. 2014 -- Review

-- #3 -- Untitled work -- publication date unknown


2.  Pivot Point by Kasie West

-- #1 -- Pivot Point -- Read in 2013

-- #2 -- Split Second -- Read in Feb. 2014 -- Review


3.  Study by Maria V. Snyder

 -- #1 -- Poison Study -- Read in Mar. 2014 -- Review

 -- #2 -- Magic Study -- Read in Mar. 2014 -- Review

 -- #3 -- Fire Study -- Read in Mar. 2014 -- Review


4.  Healer by Maria V. Snyder

 -- #1 -- Touch of Power -- Read in 2013

 -- #2 -- Scent of Magic -- Read in 2013

 -- #3 -- Taste of Darkness -- Read in Mar. 2014 -- Review


5.  Glass by Maria V. Snyder -- Series Review

-- #1 -- Storm Glass -- Read in Apr. 2014

-- #2 -- Sea Glass -- Read in Apr. 2014

-- #3 -- Spy Glass -- Read in Apr. 2014


6.  Insiders by Maria V. Snyder -- Series Review to come

-- #1 -- Inside Out -- Read in Apr. 2014

-- #2 -- Outside In -- Read in Apr. 2014


7.  Chasing Evil Trilogy by Leslie Tentler

-- #1 -- Midnight Caller -- Read in Apr. 2014 -- Brief Thoughts 

-- #2 -- Midnight Fear -- Read in Apr. 2014 -- Brief Thoughts

-- #3 -- Edge of Midnight -- Read in Apr. 2014 -- Brief Thoughts


8.  Glass Sisters by Laura Griffin

-- #1 -- Thread of Fear -- Read in 2013

-- #2 -- Whisper of Warning -- Read in Apr. 2014 -- Review


9.  The Bodyguards by Cindy Gerard

-- #1 -- To the Edge -- Read in May 2014 -- Review

-- #2 -- To the Limit -- Read in May 2014 -- Review

-- #3 -- To the Brink -- Read in May 2014 -- Review

-- #4 -- Over the Line -- Read in May 2014 -- Review

-- #5 -- Under the Wire -- Read in May 2014 -- Review

-- #6 -- Into the Dark -- Read in May 2014 -- Review


10.  The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

-- #1 -- The Assassin's Curse -- Read in 2013

-- #2 -- The Pirate's Wish -- Read in May 2014 




Series Started Reading Before 2014:

1.  The Lotus War by Jay Kristoff

 -- #1 -- Stormdancer -- Read in 2013

 -- #2 -- Kinslayer -- To Read

 -- #3 -- Untitled book -- Publication in 2014


2.  Divergent by Veronica Roth

 -- #1 -- Divergent -- Read in 2012

 -- #2 -- Insurgent -- Read in 2013

 -- #3 -- Allegiant -- To Read


3.  The Grisha by Leigh Bardugo

 -- #1 -- Shadow and Bone -- Read in 2012

 -- #2 -- Siege and Storm -- Read in 2013

 -- #3 -- Ruin and Rising -- Publication in June 2014


4.  Five Hundred Kingdoms by Mercedes Lackey

 -- #1 -- The Fairy Godmother -- Read in 2012

 -- #2 -- One Good Knight -- Read in 2012

 -- #3 -- Fortune's Fool -- Read in 2012

 -- #4 -- The Snow Queen -- Read in 2013

 -- #5 -- The Sleeping Beauty -- Read in 2013

 -- #5.5 -- A Tangled Web -- Read in 2013

 -- #6 -- Beauty and the Werewolf -- To Read


5.  Storybound by Marissa Burt

 -- #1 -- Storybound -- Read in 2012

 -- #2 -- Story's End -- To Read


6.  The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

-- #1 -- The Darkest Minds -- Read in 2013

-- #2 -- Never Fade -- Read in 2013

-- #3 -- In the Afterlight -- Publication in September 2014



Series Started/Planned to Start Reading in 2014:  

1.  Skylark by Meagan Spooner

 -- #1 -- Skylark -- To Read

 -- #2 -- Shadowlark -- To Read

 -- #3 -- Untitled book -- Publication in 2014


2.  Soul Eater by Eliza Crewe

-- #1 -- Cracked -- Read in Mar. 2014 -- Review to come

-- #2 -- Crushed -- Publication in August 2014


3.  The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas

-- #1 -- The Burning Sky -- Read in Mar. 2014 -- Review

-- #2 -- The Perilous Sea -- Publication in August 2014

-- #3 -- Untitled -- Publication in 2015


4.  Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

-- #1 -- The Cuckoo's Calling -- Read in Mar. 2014 

-- #2 -- The Silkworm -- Publication in June 2014 


5.  Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce -- To Read

-- #1 -- Alanna: The First Adventure

-- #2 -- In the Hand of the Goddess

-- #3 -- The Woman Who Rides Like a Man

-- #4 -- Lioness Rampant


6.  Mindhunters by Kylie Brant

-- #1 -- Waking Nightmare -- Read in May 2014 -- Thoughts

-- #2 -- Waking Evil -- Read in May 2014 -- Thoughts

-- #3 -- Waking the Dead -- Read in May 2014

-- #4 -- Deadly Intent -- Read in May 2014

-- #5 -- Deadly Dreams -- Currently Reading

-- #6 -- Deadly Sins -- To Read



Series Given Up On:

1.  Someone Else's Fairytale by E.M. Tippetts  -- Gave Up

-- #1 -- Someone Else's Fairytale -- Read in Mar. 2014 -- Brief Thoughts

-- #2 -- Nobody's Damsel -- To Read

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review 2014-02-19 20:54
Review: Serial Hottie
Serial Hottie - Kelly Oram

I'm not certain I know why I picked up this book and started reading it all of a sudden.  (Especially with all the books on my TBR list that I have lined up... but y'know, stuff happens.)  It was Amazon Kindle cheap, it sounded cute, I like mysteries... and I might have needed a distraction from another book I'm not quite getting into right now.


Nonetheless, this book was cute, breezy, fast-paced, and despite a slight need for a good beta-read or editing as well as some tweaking on some factors I found a bit unsettling, it was actually an eerily addictive read once I got started on it.


I'm not going to deny that I kind of liked the characters and the interactions of all the friends.  I especially loved watching Ellie and Angela's relationship grow close as sisters -- it was rather nice.  In fact, I think I really liked Ellie's interactions with just about everyone and I liked that she was a no-nonsense, spunky, stand-up-for-herself type of girl who didn't take crap sitting down.  Of course, she had a tendency towards the irrational (pegging Seth as a serial killer type before she'd even officially met him), and when she got mean, she got downright mean, but when she was kickass, she was pretty damn cool.


Even the three J's (what little appearance they made) were delightful to see around.  I just wished we got to see more of them cause they seemed adorable... in a sense.


Mainly, Ellie's character has given me faith in the young women of our world because she reacts appropriately to creepy-stalker guys even though he's as gorgeous as he is hot.  When the boy breaks into her room to sit and play a video game he doesn't like just to get her attention, thank goodness she thought it disturbing and NOT swoon-worthy like her sister did!  She DID NOT fantasize him watching her sleep at night... she locked her windows and became extremely cautious about letting him into the house.  She DID NOT swoon over the crazy hot neighbor boy who was, in fact, a little disturbingly unstable and creepy.  


I gave her props for not going into instalove territory... though it still doesn't mean the relationship in the latter parts of the book sat well with me.  Seth still got off easy on a lot of his actions just because he's good-looking -- actions that probably would not have gone over well if he were, well, NOT good-looking.  Then again, Ellie has her own weirdness that seems highly inappropriate, even if not extremely intense up to Seth's level.


She can be pretty manipulative and stalker-ish as well.  And might I suggest anger management for the lot of these kids?  My goodness, the amount of blood shed that was non-serial killer-related was a bit much.  Either that, or I just grew up in a very, very tame community and had a very, very quiet life as a teenager.


While Seth does show a lot of behavior that I think might require some toning down as well as some checking (for instance, I love when Ellie puts him in his place by bluntly telling him that he does not own her and that he needs to quit bossing her around and she actually means it), I also feel like Ellie jumped to conclusions about him way too quickly with the name calling and the serial killer accusations.  Then again, he did sneak into her room without her knowledge and he did seem to get too touchy-feely with her when she was obviously uncomfortable with it.  So I'm a little more forgiving of her when she gets all rude and in his face about his behavior.


Nonetheless, it was quite apparent that Seth would not be the serial killer.  It was more apparent that he was involved in investigating the murders rather than committing them.  Something about plot twists and stuff like that...  But kudos for the creepy, stalker-ish behavior that made it seem like he could be the most likely suspect.


While I may have enjoyed the reading of this book, the tone of the story didn't quite sit well with me.  We essentially have a serial murder occurring, but the story is being told in the flippant tone of a stubborn, rebellious, teenaged, ticking time bomb of angry who could very well be the next victim.


Then again, the entire story and characters unfolded kind of weird for me.


In a nutshell:  I seemed to have finished said book rather quickly.  O.o


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