Wednesday, December 7, 2016

2017 Dystopia Reading Challenge



Welcome to the third annual Dystopia Reading Challenge! 2017 will my third year hosting the challenge and my second hosting alongside Claudia from My Soul Called Life! There will be giveaways, possible read-a-longs, and badges awarded! Our big addition to the challenge this year is Dystopia Bingo! Check it out further down!


THE GUIDELINES
  • » This challenge will run from January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017.
  • » You can join at anytime before November 1, 2017.
  • » Books must be read and reviewed in 2017.
  • » Audiobooks, re-reads, short stories, and crossovers are fine.
  • » You don't have to be a book blogger to participate! You can track your progress on Goodreads, Shelfari, Booklikes, etc.
  • » Sign up below with your post, shelf, etc. and leave a comment letting us know what your personal goal is. 
  • » Link up your reviews each month on the post we'll provide!


CHALLENGE LEVELS




Read and review 1-5 dystopian books to receive the Recruit badge.



Read and review 6-10 dystopian books to receive the Rebel badge.




Read and review 11-15 dystopian books to receive the Revolutionist badge.




Read and review 16+ dystopian books to receive the Leader badge.

(My personal challenge goal will be Leader - Track my progress HERE)



DYSTOPIA BINGO

This year we're doing something new and fun! In addition to the standard challenge book goals, we're throwing in a bingo card! For each row you complete, you get an extra entry into the end of year giveaway, and bragging rights!




UPDATE SCHEDULE

  • » March 16th - First Quarter Update
  • » June 15th - Second Quarter Update & Giveaway
  • » September 14th - Third Quarter Update
  • » December 14th - Challenge Wrap-Up & Giveaway


MONTHLY LINK-UPS
  • » January Link-up


LISTS TO GET YOU STARTED


HOW TO SIGN UP
  • » Enter your information in below as follows: Your name @ Your blog name (i.e. Tracy @ Cornerfolds).
  • » If you are a blogger, grab the button below, create a blog post or page letting us know you are participating in this challenge and what your personal goal is ― be sure to link back to this post!
  • » If you are not a blogger, you can use Goodreads (or any other book tracking site) and create a shelf for the challenge and link to that
  • » Lastly, Tweet about the reading challenge!



GRAB THE BUTTON





JOIN THE CHALLENGE


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Waiting on Wednesday #111: Lost Girl by Chanda Hahn


Happy Wednesday, fellow book lovers! This week's "can't wait to read" is:

Lost Girl
by Chanda Hahn
Publication Date: December 13, 2016
Wendy doesn't remember anything about Neverland—or the experiments done on her there as a child. Seven years later, all she wants is a normal life, but shape-shifting shadows plague her dreams and turn her life into a waking nightmare. When the shadows attack at a football game and a boy disappears right in front of her, she realizes these wraith-like shadows are real. They’re not just haunting—they’re hunting.

A mysterious boy named Peter, his foul-mouthed sidekick, and a band of misfit boys intervene before Wendy faces a similar fate. But can they trust Wendy enough to take her to Neverwood Academy and reveal all of their hidden secrets when she's hiding a secret of her own, or will the dreaded Red Skulls find her and drag her back to Neverland?
A Peter Pan retelling! If you stop by my blog with any regularity then you know what a sucker I am for Pan and anything to do with Neverland. This retelling sounds so different and I cannot WAIT to read it! I just need to find time...


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine.
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #125: New to me indies in 2016


Today's Topic: 
Top Five New-To-Me Indie Authors 
I Read For The First Time In 2016
(& Five More I'm Excited For)


In keeping with the #ReadIndie theme, today I'm sharing new-to-me indie authors that I read this year! All five of these were amazing and highly recommended! I've also added five indie authors that I really want to read as soon as possible! 


INDIES I'VE LOVED

Anyone? by Angela Scott
Floor 21 by Jason Luthor
Hook & Jill by Andrea Jones
Jackaby by William Ritter
Stygian by Santino Hassell


INDIES I'M EXCITED FOR

The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
The Collector's Society by Heather Lyons
Drown by Esther Dalseno
Marrow by Tarryn Fisher
Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
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Monday, December 5, 2016

#ReadIndie Audiobook Review: Jackaby by William Ritter


Title: Jackaby (Jackaby #1)
Author: William Ritter
Narrator: Nicola Barber
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Add to Goodreads

“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion--and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary--including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police--with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane--deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

I have had my eye on Jackaby for over a year, at least. The cover is just gorgeous and the synopsis is intriguing. For some reason, though, I was scared to actually read it. I think part of it was that there's no romance, which is something I really prefer to have in my YA. I was also a little iffy about a book that was described as "Doctor Who meets Sherlock." Coming out on the other side, I am glad I read it, although it wasn't quite as incredible as I'd hoped it would be.

This isn't so much Jackaby's story as it is the story of Abigail Rook who is new to New Fiddleham and in immediate need of a job. She stumbles across Jackaby by accident and basically stumbles into becoming his assistant. I really enjoyed Abigail and found her to be a refreshingly normal heroine. She didn't have any super magical powers or amazing skills other than being an intelligent young woman, and I really enjoyed that after a long string of (admittedly incredible) fantasy novels.

I also really loved Jackaby! It is very obvious that he is essentially Sherlock Holmes, just with a little bit of a paranormal flair. However, I'm not entirely sure why he was compared to Doctor Who, unless it was just because of his personality. He did give off a strong Ten/Eleven vibe. That's really where the comparisons to Who end though and I'm not sure it's entirely fair for the synopsis to claim that similarity... Regardless, Jackaby was a fun character, although I've heard that he did get on some readers' nerves, and I can also understand that position. Personally, I loved his quirks and strangeness, but I'm also a huge fan of Ten! ;)

Jackaby and Abigail together were so much fun to read about! I loved the relationship between the two of them, platonic as it was. There was also a great cast of minor characters including a really interesting ghost and duck duo. Despite there being no -real- romance in this story, there was a teensy bit of romantic feelings thrown in for good measure and, although I'm not sure there was a real need for it, I did find it to be cute and believable.

The plot of Jackaby had a very whodunit atmosphere and it kind of felt like being in an episode of Scooby Doo, but with legit supernatural stuff instead of a guy in a mask. I really enjoyed this addition to the more classic Sherlock Holmes tales and did enjoy the way the fantastical elements were worked in, although it did make the whole read feel a little more silly than I might have expected from this kind of mystery. New Fiddleham also offered a fantastic atmosphere to the mystery.

Overall, I enjoyed Jackaby, although it isn't necessarily the kind of book I would usually read. One thing that I did find odd was that Abigail repeatedly described herself as an adult, all the other characters were adults, but this was a young adult novel. I think this may be the first time I've encountered a YA book with an all-adult cast. As I've said, it was a little more silly than what I would usually read, and it actually was a little slow in places, but the mystery was fun and every now and then I enjoy a lighter read.




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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Weekly Recap: 11/27 - 12/3



Tracy's Happenings Off the Blog

This has not been an awful week, I have to admit! I spent a lot of time working, but I also had a good amount of time to spend doing fun things!

Most importantly, this week my husband and I binge watched Poldark. All of Poldark. And now I don't know what to do with my life because no one knows when season three will be released. If you have watched this, let's be friends (so I have someone else to talk to about it)! Last night I also finally got the chance to go see Moana. While I did enjoy it, it wasn't my favorite of the "new Disney" movies. The songs were just okay in my opinion and there was a really weird evil crab. Still, I liked it and it will almost certainly end up in my collection!

As you may have seen, I have also continued toying with my blog header because I have a problem and no one has stopped me. Please let me know what you think!

This week was also the beginning of #ReadIndie and we have gotten off to a great start! Two reviews and two giveaways have been posted so far and we have several more coming! Definitely check it out if you're interested in supporting indie authors and maybe winning a free book!


New Books

Library:


This Week I Read




MC's Happenings Off the Blog

This week was my first full week of work since October....it was painful. But I have been getting lots of reading and blogging done as well! I have already been starting to plan things into the new year, and it feels so good to get myself organized. 

As you are reading this, I am off on a trip to Boston to see my old college team play some hockey. I'm super excited! I'm also meeting up with a couple blogger and author friends while I'm up here! I probably won't get much reading at all done this weekend, but I am planning on stopping at a few bookshops in Boston, so get ready to see a lot of new books on here next week!


New Books

Purchased:


This Week I Read




In Case You Missed It

Monday book review of Dark Matter
The topic was holiday gift guides for Top Ten Tuesday
On Tuesday I hosted the Vampire Academy 10th anniversary blitz
On Thursday #ReadIndie kicked off with a giveaway
Friday #ReadIndie book review of Empath
Saturday #ReadIndie review & giveaway of Your Irresistible Love


Upcoming Reviews



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
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Saturday, December 3, 2016

#ReadIndie Review & Giveaway: Your Irresistible Love by Layla Hagen


Title: Your Irresistible Love (The Bennett Family #1) 
Author: Layla Hagen
Publication Date: January 15, 2016
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Pages: 326
Add to Goodreads

Sebastian Bennett is a determined man. It’s the secret behind the business empire he built from scratch. Under his rule, Bennett Enterprises dominates the jewelry industry. Despite being ruthless in his work, family comes first for him, and he’d do anything for his parents and eight siblings—even if they drive him crazy sometimes. . . like when they keep nagging him to get married already.

Sebastian doesn’t believe in love, until he brings in external marketing consultant Ava to oversee the next collection launch. She’s beautiful, funny, and just as stubborn as he is. Not only is he obsessed with her delicious curves, but he also finds himself willing to do anything to make her smile.
He’s determined to have Ava, even if she’s completely off limits.

Ava Lindt has one job to do at Bennett Enterprises: make the next collection launch unforgettable. Daydreaming about the hot CEO is definitely not on her to-do list. Neither is doing said CEO. The consultancy she works for has a strict policy—no fraternizing with clients. She won’t risk her job. Besides, Ava knows better than to trust men with her heart.

But their sizzling chemistry spirals into a deep connection that takes both of them by surprise. Sebastian blows through her defenses one sweet kiss and sinful touch at a time. When Ava’s time as a consultant in his company comes to an end, will Sebastian fight for the woman he loves or will he end up losing her?
Amazon | iTunes | B&N | Kobo | Google Play

I have read two books by Layla Hagen in the last couple years and, although Withering Hope is forever my favorite by this author, I thoroughly enjoyed both! When I got a chance to read the first in her newest series, The Bennett Family, I expected no less than a great read! It is worth noting that the books in The Bennett Family series, like those in Hagen's Lost series, can be read as standalones or in order.

Your Irresistible Love is about Sebastian, a man who has created an incredibly successful business from the ground up, and Ava, the woman he has hired as his company's new marketing consultant. Ava is an independent woman working for a company with a strict no fraternization policy while Sebastian is not terribly interested in finding love, much to his family's dismay. Unfortunately for Ava and Sebastian, they are instantly attracted to each other and don't seem to be able to escape their chemistry.

I really enjoyed Ava and found her to be a fantastic, strong main character. I love it when female characters are already complete people before "the man" arrives. I also really liked Sebastian, although I had some problems with his Alpha Male antics at first, although he grew on me. Sebastian's greatest assets are his upbringing and family. These things allow him to be both confident and humble at the same time, which made for a love interest I did end up enjoying.

The romance between Ava and Sebastian was undeniably insta-love. Although I usually hate this, I was okay with it here just based on the fact that it's a standalone romance novel. I did like the forbidden romance feel that it had because of their work relationship and I really enjoyed the banter they shared. I also loved many of the other Bennets in the family who I'm sure we'll get to know more of in future installments!

Your Irresistible Love is an enjoyable, light-hearted romance that will definitely be loved by anyone who likes the genre! I would like to point out that, although this book is shelved several times as New Adult, I don't really feel like the characters fall into that age range. This is definitely adult romance. Overall, I did enjoy this and plan to continue reading Layla Hagen romance in the future!






GIVEAWAY
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Friday, December 2, 2016

Horror Reading Challenge: December Link-up


Welcome to the final month of the 2016 Horror Reading Challenge! The challenge is almost over! I hope everyone has met their goals for the year! Please share your horror book reviews for the month of December in the link-up below using the format Your Name @ Your Blog (Book Name).



December Review Link-up



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Dystopia Reading Challenge: December Link-up


Welcome to the last month of the 2016 Dystopia Reading Challenge! We're so close to the end! I hope everyone has met all their goals for the year!


Link-up Rules
  • Link up your book reviews under "Review Link-up" as follows: Name of book @ Your blog name, Goodreads, Shelfari, Booklikes, etc.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, visit and comment on the blog linked before you. This helps to create community :)
  • Feel free to visit and give some comment love to other bloggers too!



December Review Link-up

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#ReadIndie Book Review: Empath by S. Usher Evans


Title: Empath
Author: S. Usher Evans
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Sun's Golden Ray Publishing
Pages: 244
Add to Goodreads

Lauren Dailey is in break-up hell.

Stuck between moving on and letting go, she puts on a brave face while crying herself to sleep at night. But when a mysterious voice promises escape from her sadness, she is suddenly transported to a new world. And in this place, the slightest touch pulls her out of her tortured emotions into the mind of another - an empath.

The villagers - sweet Aerona and her mischievous twins, wise Siors, and hunky Cefin - welcome her and the blessings her empath powers bring. But this world is not without its dangers. The Anghenfil, a fire-breathing monster, has haunted the village for decades, and has a taste for empaths. And that mysterious voice promising escape from sadness? It's sounding more like a whisper tinged with smoke and embers.

Can Lauren keep the monsters in the mountain and in her head at bay? Or will she succumb to the darkness like the empath before her...

Lauren Dailey has been having a rough couple of months. She has ended things with her boyfriend after realizing that he wasn't interested in marrying her. She is stuck in a boring, dead-end job. She keeps replaying her breakup in her head, wondering why she couldn't make it work. And worst of all, it seems that everyone around her is happily in love and rubbing it in her face. She feels like she has hit rock bottom...until she is transported to a different world with no running water and a dragon hiding in the mountains. Oh, and she's also an empath.

Anyone who has been through a breakup knows that it usually feels like the end of the world. And in a small sense, it is; it is the end of a big part of your life and it often comes as a shock to the system. Not quite as much of a shock as being transported to a new world and becoming an empath, however, as Lauren quickly learns. She has spent months after her breakup burying her feelings and pretending that she is ok. But now, suddenly, she cannot touch another living thing without being overwhelmed by an onslaught of emotion.

It took me a little while to connect to the characters in Empath, but I eventually grew to care about all of them. Sometimes I was so frustrated that Lauren wouldn't share her true feelings with people, but I understood her anxiety and was able to relate to her thought process. I have been there before - not giving people a chance to grow to love the real me because I assumed they wouldn't like me. I loved that Lauren was able to encounter other characters with the same fears, so she could learn that numerous people, no matter what walk of life or world they live in, struggle with the same worries and anxieties.

Empath was written as a response to a time in S. Usher Evans' life when she felt a lot like Lauren. The story comes across as very personal, but not like a diary entry. You can easily get lost in the adventure and dragon fighting, but you are still left with a wonderful and personal message. Anyone who has lived with anxiety or depression (whether related to a breakup or not) can empathize with Lauren's story. It is a lovely lesson in learning that sometimes you can admit that you aren't ok - and that is ok.

Empath is the sixth S. Usher Evans book that I have read. While I have truly enjoyed them all, Empath has now become my favorite. I hope you will give it a try and enjoy it as much as I did.




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