2017 Bookish Bucket List | July Update

2017

I have done this now for the past three years and have been decently successful with it.. This year I have set a lot of goals for myself and really want to throw myself back into the book community and blogging world. The past year off has left me wanting so much from books because I have missed the atmosphere and love of books.  

♠ Read at least 100 books. I have a challenge I have created for myself and its the year I take on some completed series. [My reading is finally beginning to pick back up. I have read 19 books so far.]

♠ Read and Complete 6 Series. This goes along with the challenge I have am creating. There are so many out that I have yet to pick up and its crazy. [I am still only at one series completed but I am working on a few]

♠ Read at least three daunting books. This is a repeat from last year.I feel like I am always so intrigued and interested in the huge books, but never get around to reading them because they are intimidating. (I am counting this as over 500 pages.) [I have quite a list building up of those large books I want to tackle and it is going to happen very soon]

♠ Read 45 books from my TBR. I just recently moved and don’t have my books. I have been going to the library and with that it give way to an endless array of books. I really want to make sure I am still reading books that I had actually purchased. [I have been able to read 14 books from my TBR so far!]

♠ Read at least 5 Non-Fiction Books. I started doing this last year and really enjoyed it. I love learning more and I have a lot I am interested in. [ I have been able to complete 2 so far and they were absolutely wonderful!]

♠ Start New Blog Series. I really want to work harder on developing my blog. There are many things I participate in that are created by other bloggers and I really want to come up with something that is completely my own and get others involved in! [I have some new features that I have worked on, but it is still a work in progress.]

 

 

What are some of your 2017 goals/resolutions?

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Series Serial Reader| July Update

ssr

ABOUT


The past couple of years my life has taken me all over the country doing a variety of different things, but it has kept me from reading. Especially reading all the books that have been coming out and catching up on series I have started. I decided that I wanted to make this a year revolving mainly around series. I made the decision that it would be fun to create a challenge for myself and that is how Series Serial Reader came about. To check out my full first post click here.

 

THE SERIES


The series I want to read fall under a few different categories:

Completed Series I Need To Finish
◊Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
◊Marked Men by Jay Crownover
◊Misborn by Brandon Sanderson
◊Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
◊Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
◊Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
◊2B Trilogy by Ann Aguirre
◊Asylum by Madeleine Roux
◊Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
◊The Sparrow and The Wolf by Tim Stead
◊Shattered Sea by Joe Abercrombie
◊Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black
◊Mortal Instuments by Cassandra Clark

Completed Series I Want To Start/Read
♦ Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger {started}[1/5]
♦ Bloodlines by Richelle Mead {started}[2/6]
♦ Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
♦ Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima
♦ Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
♦ Immortals by Tamora Pierce
♦ Protector of the Small by Tamora Pierce
♦ Legend by Marie Lu
♦The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
♦ The First Law by Joe Abercrombie
♦ White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter
♦ The Sweet Trilogy by Wendy Higgins
♦ The Grisha by Leigh Bardugo
♦ Lux by Jennifer L. Armentrout
♦ Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
♦ Georgia Kincaid by Richelle Mead
♦ The Magicians by Lev Grossman
♦ All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
♦ The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence
♦ The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
♦The Book of Ivy Duology by Amy Engel {started} [1/2]
♦ Imperial Radch by Ann Leckie

Series I Need To Catch Up On
♣ Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R Ward {working on it} [2]
♣ A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
♣ Saints of Denver by Jay Crownover
♣ Gentlemen Bastard by Scott Lynch
♣ The Divine Cities by Robert Jackson Bennett

Uncompleted Series I Want To Start
♠ Age of X by Richelle Mead
♠ Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs
♠ Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
♠ A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin

[1/45]

I have only completed one series but I am working on many others! 

New Beginnings | Quotes

I am about to make a move across the country for a new job and thought these quotes were fitting for where I am at in my life right now.

“make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”
― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

“And I realized that there’s a big difference between deciding to leave and knowing where to go.”
― Robyn Schneider, The Beginning of Everything

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was. Likewise, I never imagined that home might be something I would miss.”
― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“But there’s no such thing as a completely fresh start. Everything new arrives on the heels of something old, and every beginning comes at the cost of an ending.”
― Jennifer E. Smith, The Geography of You and Me

“Hard is trying to rebuild yourself, piece by piece, with no instruction book, and no clue as to where all the important bits are supposed to go.”
― Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down

“Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.”
― Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

“Love the world and yourself in it, move through it as though it offers no resistance, as though the world is your natural element.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”
― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

“Some people, they can’t just move on, you know, mourn and cry and be done with it. Or at least seem to be. But for me… I don’t know. I didn’t want to fix it, to forget. It wasn’t something that was broken. It’s just…something that happened. And like that hole, I’m just finding ways, every day, of working around it. Respecting and remembering and getting on at the same time. ”
― Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

“Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

“Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go but rather learning to start over.”
― Nicole Sobon, Program 13

“You can’t look back – you just have to put the past behind you, and find something better in your future.”
― Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls

Friday Reads | Moving Edition

downthebookhole

 I am currently still reading Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. This book has been taking me awhile to get through, but its because I haven’t had the time to fully dedicate to it. I am enjoying it and really hoping to finish it before the end of the month. As for what other book I am going to pick up or read after this one I have no idea. There are so many books I have been wanting to read. I have had such a great desire to read just haven’t had the attention span or time. After I make this move this weekend, I have one full week before I start my job. I am hoping to get some reading in before I start my job as I get settled into my new place. I also really want to make sure I set aside time every night to do some reading because I need it in my life.

What are you reading this weekend?

 

Gillian Flynn | Author Exploration

I have been wanting to do some Author Explorations for awhile and have been craving some Gillian Flynn so I thought she was a good place to start! One of my favorite things is to fall in love with an authors writing and then read everything they have ever written. This is something that has been a slow progress because I love so many authors and many have lots of books. It is something I definitely want to work on in the future.

Who Is Gillian Flynn?

I am not going to pretend I know Flynn in any sort of way so this is the bio I pulled off of Goodreads!

Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. She has so far written three novels, Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller; Dark Places; and her best-selling third novel Gone Girl.

Her book has received wide praise, including from authors such as Stephen King. The dark plot revolves around a serial killer in a Missouri town, and the reporter who has returned from Chicago to cover the event. Themes include dysfunctional families,violence and self-harm.

In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers’ Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories.

Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master’s degree from Northwestern University.

The Books

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows, a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan
Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn 

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

How They Should Be Read

The answer is there is no real order in which they must be read because they are all stand alone books, but I do have some suggestions. These books could be read in publication order. A lot of people always choose to read authors books in the order in which they were published. In my opinion this would be a good choice because Flynn’s first book was my favorite! I feel like the order I actually read them in was by popularity. I picked up Gone Girl right before the movie came out and got totally sucked into Flynn’s writing. I think if you are not a huge fan of mysteries and thrillers or unsure about Flynn you should pick up her short story The Grownup first just to get a feel for her writing. I do not think it is one of her best works in my opinion but gives you a feel of her writing.

Publication Order                       Order I Read Them                      If Unsure About Flynn

Sharp Objects                                 Gone Girl                                       The Grownup
Dark Places                                  Sharp Objects                                    Gone Girl 
Gone Girl                                      The Grownup                                  Sharp Objects
The Grownup                                 Dark Places                                     Dark Places 

My Thoughts

I do not read a lot of mystery or thriller books, but once I read Gone Girl I had to get my hands on the rest of her work. Flynn has a way of writing that keeps you completely in the dark and guessing the whole time, thinking you know what is going to happen until she completely throws a plot twist. Throughout each of the books I was on the edge of my seat. These books are definitely on the darker side too. They are dark and twisted, to the point where they make you question Flynn’s background. She is a mastermind with her writing and really puts a lot of effort into crafting her stories so that you only get small pieces of information at a time.

My favorite book was Sharp Objects and my least favorite was Dark Places but they are all really great books. They are such quick reads that completely suck you into them. There are even movies out for Gone Girl and Dark Places and I have heard mention of a movie for Sharp Objects!

For more information check out my reviews!
Gone Girl
Gone Girl | Movie Edition
Sharp Objects
The Grownup

Similar Reads 

If you are like me and fly through Flynn’s books and then need more like them, I have found a few that fill small parts of what I am missing in my life from the absence of more Gillian Flynn books.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

You by Caroline Kepnes

Velocity by Dean Koontz

Top 5 Wednesday | Books Set In Non Western World

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey (YouTube, Goodreads) and if you would like to join, here is the link for the Goodreads group with all the information.

This week’s topic is Books Set In Non Western World 

♦ Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)

♦ Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys (Lithuania/Siberia)

♦ The Martian by Andy Weir (Mars)

♦ Cinder by Marissa Meyer (New Beijing)

 

What are some of your favorite YA books set in the non western world? 

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord | Book Review

OPEN ROAD SUMMER BY EMERY LORD 

Genre: YA Contemporary

“You are the only person who can build emotional barriers, but you’re also the only person who can topple them. Other people can’t knock down the walls you’ve built, no matter how much they love you. You have to tear them down yourself because there’s something worth seeing on the other side.”
Emery Lord, Open Road Summer

Synopsis:
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.

Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

Goodreads | Amazon 

I am never drawn to contemporary books, but it is a thing to do in the summer and I am happy I picked this one up. It is based on two friends during the summer time and gave me exactly what I needed. This is a fun summer road trip following Dee’s music tour as Dee and Reagan work though situations in their lives while enjoying the time together.

I could not put this book down, it was a fast read and so much fun. I loved the friendship between the two girls and how much they were there for each other. They each had such different personalities and different ghost they were dealing with in their past. I really found a connection to Reagan and some of the things she was going through. She had developed so much throughout the story and it was really nice to see. Of course there is a love interest and at times it took away a little from the two girls,  but it added a deeper layer to the book as well.

The music aspect was so intriguing and nice to read about. I sometimes think that music isn’t used enough in books. Or is a focus in many books. I like that it showed some real realities that accompany the entertainment world and made Dee an actual human with flaws and a past.

Overall I thought this was a great and fun read. It is perfect for the summer time and included so many fun summertime things. The relationships were really well done and it showed all sides of those relationships, the good, bad and the ugly. I also really appreciated that there was a guardian figure present because in so many YA novels these kids run around all on their own. The characters were complex and the storyline was sometimes a little deeper than just a fluffy contemporary, but it was such a fast gripping read.

You might also like:

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Friday Reads | Last Moments of Freedom

downthebookhole

This is my last free weekend for awhile. Next weekend I am moving for my new job so it is going to be crazy busy with the packing, unpacking etc. The weekends that follow that are going to be busy with trying to get settled into a new location, work and doing all the things one must do when they move to a new state. So between packing and just straight up relaxing this weekend with a friend, I am going to try and read as much as possible. I am also trying to write some posts in case I do not have much time in the next few weeks. I am currently about a third of the way through Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. It is taking me a little longer than I had hoped to read this book because it take a lot of focus from me, but I am enjoying it. I am also thinking about starting The Politics and Civics of National Service: Lessons from the Civilian Conservation Corps, VISTA, and AmeriCorps by Melissa Bass. I served 2 years recently in AmeriCorps NCCC and it had a huge impact on my life. With the new changes going on in my life I am really missing the people I met and friends I made in this program. National service and civic engagement has become a huge part of my life and is really important to me. And because I like to make things difficult for myself and seem to work better multitasking I will probably be picking up another smut books just to break up the others.

What are you reading this weekend?

 

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward | Book Review


LOVER ETERNAL
 BY J.R. WARD

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

“How can you stand to have me near you?” “The only thing I can’t handle is your leaving.”
J.R. Ward, Lover Eternal

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood
#1 Dark Lover

Synopsis:
Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by this dark side, Rhage fears the time when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. She lost her faith in miracles years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves…

Goodreads | Amazon 

review

These books. There are parts that are so cheesy and unrealistic, but J.R Ward is an amazing writer. Only the second book in the series and I am so hooked. I am not a huge fan of romance novels at all, but Ward does so well with character and plot development. Although each book focuses on a relationship they all each continue with the war between the brotherhood and the lessers and the situations going on with all of the brothers. The books are such fast reads as it has an engaging plot and the switch between POV each chapter keeps you wanting more.

I love Rhage as a character and his relationship with Mary was so beautiful. He showed such dedication and really did everything for Mary. There were times I just wanted to smack Mary, but could understand where she was coming from. I was extremely happy with how this romance played out and thought it was perfect.  We get to learn so much more about each brother in this book and really start to get to know them.

So much is going on with the brotherhood and the plot thickens as more of the background is laid for the brotherhood and the lessers. I am definitely pulled in by the plot and liked how in this book there was more of a focus on what is going on rather than the romance.

Overall I think these books are really great guilty pleasure reads. There is a good storyline, lots of action and smoking hot vampires. There is also a lot of depth the the romances and they are not easy and perfect ones. These characters are damaged and flawed and I love that.

Top 5 Wednesday | Children’s Books

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey (YouTube, Goodreads) and if you would like to join, here is the link for the Goodreads group with all the information.

This week’s topic is Children’s Books

♣ Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

♣ American Girl Books (The Original Ones) by Various Authors
 
♣ Ever After High Series by Shannon Hale

♣ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

♣ Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

What are some of your favorite childhood reads?