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Thursday, December 25, 2014

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Book Review: Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent; by Bill Peet

   I was attracted by the cute.. I mean handsome illustration of the green serpent, who turned out to be Cyrus, the main character of this picture book. Yup, I have weird cute level taste. Anyhoo, honestly, it horrifies me Cyrus was pressured into being violent by the other creatures. And of course, *click* excellent teaching tool for the kids while having fun reading this one.
   I am in love with the beautiful illustrations, and I actually feel for Cyrus in the book. It is beautifully written and the kids would love to read this with their parents or by themselves. 

Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent by Bill Peet Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent
By Bill Peet

A shark accuses Cyrus of cowardice because he won't sink any ships. The kindly sea serpent almost succumbs to peer pressure, but learns at last to be himself.

Finished Reading: 13th December 2014
Acquire: 16th August 2014
Rate } ♠♠♠♠♠
Release Day }  26thth April 1982
Publisher } HMH Books for Young Readers 
Format } Paperback
ISBN } 9780395313893
Pages } 48 pages
Source } Borrowed
Age Group } Children
Get your own copy }

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Book Review: The Haunted Library; by Dori Hillestad Butler

   I was looking for a new series to indulge for the kids at work, and I’ve bumped up onto this. Cute, it’s about a library and it happens to be haunted. Sorry, can’t get the job pun off my system in this one. It’s like reading Casper meets Ghost Whisperer, except Kaz (the ghost) is wee afraid to learn most of the ghostly abilities, like going through a wall, which is kind of ridiculous. See? If I am emotional about that part, the kids might actually enjoy this book.
   Plot is easy to follow and pretty much attached to any reader who picked it up. Characters are real enough that it pulled you into the story. The illustrations. What can I say about them. I love it! It’s a wonderful start for this series, and I would love to follow through this series. Can’t wait for the next one!

The Haunted Library by Dori Hillestad Butler The Haunted Library
(Haunted Library #1)

By Dori Hillestad Butler

When ghost boy Kaz’s haunt is torn down and he is separated from his ghost family, he meets a real girl named Claire, who lives above the town library with her parents and her grandmother. Claire has a special ability to see ghosts when other humans cannot and she and Kaz quickly form a friendship. The two join forces to solve the mystery of the ghost that’s haunting the library. Could it be one of Kaz’s lost family members?

Finished Reading:
23rd December 2014
Acquire: 16th August 2014
Rate } ♠♠♠♠♠
Genre }
Fiction | Children | Mystery | Supernatural
Release Day }  14th August 2014
Publisher } Grosset & Dunlap
Format } Paperback
ISBN } 9780448462424
Pages } 128 pages
Source } Bought for BND $8.00
Age Group } Middle Schooler
Get your own copy }
Paperback | Kindle

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

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Book Review: The School Is Alive; by Jack Chabert

I was intrigue. Come on, it sounded like RL Stine all over. If you grow up reading these you would understand why. I just got to pick this one up! It’s a worth fit read. Hey, I just spent 3 months reading the same book, I needed a quick read, to rush the last one down.

Plot is fast and the characters are.. how do I say.. cute? Even the location is a character on it’s own. the storyline ran fast and kept the short attention span kids to actually read it to the end. I can only say, it’s like Hogwarts.. a homicidal Hogwarts, minus the magic ingredient. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I refer you back to Harry Potter.

To top this one off, I am so.. looking forward to the next book; (and trying to get a copy for my school library).

The School is Alove, Jack Chabert The School Is Alive!
By Jack Chabert

Eerie Elementary is one scary school!
This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!
In this first book in the series, Sam Graves discovers that his elementary school is ALIVE! Sam finds this out on his first day as the school hall monitor. Sam must defend himself and his fellow students against the evil school! Is Sam up to the challenge? He'll find out soon enough: the class play is just around the corner. Sam teams up with friends Lucy and Antonio to stop this scary school before it's too late!

Finished Reading: 22nd December 2014
Acquire: 21st December 2014
Rate } ♠♠♠♠♠
Genre }
Fiction | Children | Mystery | Supernatural
Release Day }  24th June 2014
Publisher } Scholastic
Format } Paperback
ISBN } 9780545623926
Pages } 96 pages
Source } Bought for BND $8.00
Age Group } Middle Schooler
Get your own copy }
Paperback Kindle

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Monday, December 22, 2014

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Book Review: The Pact; by Jodi Picoult

   This has been on my shelves for a bit, until Lifetime Channel showed the movie version of this book. I was incredibly hook and armed with the knowledge, the book version must be better and of course, it is Jodi Picoult, so that means it ran differently. I was right.

   The book is frustratingly good. (Yes, using the word “frustrating”). Regardless, reading this book throughout 3 months (I was busy with work and life), I found it kind of riveting. (Yep) I found myself wanting to slap Emily. Is it bad, I actually want to know more about Emily, her life, her view. Chris is, however, a typical athletic partner her Emily, pushed to the wall, I’m pretty much frustrated about that. Then the parents. Gosh, the connections, the obvious jealousy, the obvious expectancy, typical parents.

   Suicide is a serious subject and this book made sure how it affects the people around the victim, and what the victim is going through up to the event. What it lack of it depth on Emily’s character. Jodi left the mystery in the air for me. Otherwise, it is frustratingly good.

“I love you," he whispered, and that was the moment he knew what he was going to do. When you loved someone, you put their needs before your own. No matter how inconceivable those needs were; no matter how fucked up; no matter how much it made you feel like you were ripping yourself into pieces.”

Jodi Picoult; The Pact The Pact
By Jodi Picoult

For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from Chinese food to chicken pox to carpool duty-- they've grown so close it seems they have always been a part of each other's lives. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more. They've been soul mates since they were born.
So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There's a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father's cabinet-- a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described.

Finished Reading: 22nd December 2014
Acquire: 26th April 2014
Rate } ♠♠♠♠
Genre }
Fiction | Young Adult | Romance | Mystery | Young Adult
List }
100 Books in a Year 2014 | TBR Challenge | TBR Pile Challenge (i) | Tbr Pile Challenge (ii)
Release Day }  29th August 2006
Publisher } Avon
Format } Paperback
ISBN } 9780061150142
Pages } 512 pages
Source } Bought for BND $13.25
Age Group } PG 18 yo +
Get your own copy }
Paperback | Kindle

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

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2015 Mount TBR Reading Challenge

Mount TBR 2015January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015
Host by: My Reader’s Block.

Challenge Levels:
Pike's Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR piles/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s

And the rules:
*Once you choose your challenge level, you are locked in for at least that many books. If you find that you're on a mountain-climbing roll and want to tackle a taller mountain, then you are certainly welcome to upgrade.  All books counted for lower mountains may carry over towards the new peak.

*Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2015.

*You may sign up anytime from now until November 4th, 2015.

*Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2015. No ARCs (none), no library books. No rereads. [To clarify--based on a question raised last year--the intention is to reduce the stack of books that you have bought for yourself or received as presents {birthday, Christmas, "just because," etc.}. Audiobooks and E-books may count if they are yours and they are one of your primary sources of backlogged books.]

*You may count any "currently reading" book that you begin prior to January 1--provided that you had 50% or more of the book left to finish in 2014.  I will trust you all on that.

*Books may be used to count for other challenges as well.

*Feel free to submit your list in advance (as incentive to really get those books taken care of) or to tally them as you climb.

*There will be quarterly check-ins and prize drawings!

*A blog and reviews are not necessary to participate. If you have a blog, then please post a challenge sign up and link THAT post (not your home page) into the linky below. Non-bloggers, please leave a comment declaring your challenge level--OR, if you are a member of Goodreads, I will once again put together a group for the challenge there. Feel free to sign up HERE (link coming soon).  At the beginning of the year, I will once again have a sidebar link for called Mount TBR Review Headquarters for 2015 reviews and progress updates.

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2015 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge


January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015
Hosted by:
Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book.


This challenge will run from January 1st, 2015 until December 31st, 2015.

You can join anytime. You do not have to review the book. Books can come from any genre.

You do not need to link up each spoonful.

Make a page or a post or a GoodReads shelf where you will keep track of your spoonfuls. I keep track of mine on my Challenge Page.

Crossovers to other challenges are allowed and encouraged!

It’s an alphabet challenge!!! The challenge is to read one book that has a title starting with every letter of the alphabet.

You can drop the A’s and The’s from the book titles as shown below. For those pesky Q, X AND Z titles the word with the challenge letter can be anywhere in the title.

So there are two different ways you can set up your own A-Z Reading Challenge.

A – How I plan to do it: Make a list on your blog from A-Z. Throughout the year, as you go along, add the books you are reading to the list. Towards the end of the year, you can check and see which letters you are missing and find books to fit.


B – Make a list now of 26 books, picking one for each letter of the alphabet. For example: A – All the President’s Menus by Julie Hyzy  B- Bushel Full of Murder by Paige Shelton  C – Criminal Confections by Collette London D – Dark Chocolate Demise by Jenn McKinlay etc.

Books can be read in any order and all formats – print – e-book – audio – are acceptable for this challenge!

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2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge


January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015
Host: Roof Beam Reader.

The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months).


1. Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2014 or later (any book published in the year 2013 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile – I WILL be checking publication dates). Caveat: Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books end up in the “can’t get through” pile.

2. To be eligible, you must sign-up with Mr. Linky below – link to your list (so create it ahead of time!) and add updated links to each book’s review. Books must be read and must be reviewed (doesn’t have to be too fancy) in order to count as completed.

3. The link you post in the Mr. Linky below must be to your “master list” (see mine below). This is where you will keep track of your books completed, crossing them out and/or dating them as you go along, and updating the list with the links to each review (so there’s one easy, convenient way to find your list and all your reviews for the challenge). See THIS LINK for an idea of what I mean. Your complete and final list must be posted by January 15th, 2015.

4. Leave comments on this post as you go along, to update us on your status. Come back here if/when you complete this challenge and leave a commentindicating that you CONQUERED YOUR 2015 TBR LIST! Every person who successfully reads his/her 12 books and/or alternates (and who provides a working link to their list, which has links to the review locations) will be entered to win a $50 gift card from or The Book Depository!

5. Crossovers from other challenges are totally acceptable, as long as you have never read the book before and it was published before 2014!

*Note – You can read the books on your list in any order; they do not need to be read in the order you have them listed. As you complete a book – review it, and go back to your original list and turn that title into a link to the review- that will keep the comments section here from getting ridiculously cluttered. For an example of what I mean, Click Here.

Monthly Check-Ins: On the 15th of each month, I’m going to post a “TBR Pile Check-In.” This will allow participants to link-up their reviews from the past month and get some recognition for their progress. There will also be small mini-challenges and giveaways to go along with these posts (Such As: Read 6 books by the June Check-in and be entered to win a book of your choice!). I’m hoping this will help to keep us all on track and make the challenge a bit more engaging/interactive. I started these mini-challenges last year, and I think they were a great success, so I am continuing them this year!

Chat: On Twitter, Instagram & Facebook, use #TBR2015RBR

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2015 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

outdo yourself rc

January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015

Reading Challenge Details:

  • Runs January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015 (books read prior to 1/1/2015 do not count towards the challenge). You can join anytime before 9/30/2015. Sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
  • The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more in 2015 than you did in 2014. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. You can move up a level as often as you’d like but no moving down. Remember, the idea is to challenge yourself.
  • Books can be any format (print, ebook, audio).
  • Books can be any genre (fiction, nonfiction, romance, mystery, etc.).
  • Novellas that are 100 pages in length (give or take), as well as full-length novels, will count for this reading challenge.
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • To join the challenge, grab the 2015 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge button below and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc., so as long as you have a dedicated shelf for the 2015 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge and your profile is not private. The point of linking up is to have a place where people can see what you’re reading.


  • Getting My Heart Rate Up: read 1–5 more books (or 250–1,499 more pages)
  • Out of Breath: read 6–10 more books (or 1,500–2,749 more pages)
  • Breaking a Sweat: read 11–15 more books (or 2,750–3,999 more pages)
  • I’m on Fire!: read 16+ more books (or 4,000+ more pages)
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2015 Authors A to Z Reading Challenge


January 1, 2015, December 31, 2015
Hosted by:
Samantha Lin.

Here are the details/rules:
– The challenge runs from 1 January to 31 December 2015
– Read a book written by authors with last names from A to Z, and try to collect every letter of the alphabet
– Only last names count, so William Shakespeare would fall under S, not W
– Speaking of Shakespeare, the books you read may fall under any form/genre: prose, poetry, drama; fiction, non-fiction, academic monographs…
– Your books don’t have to be “physical” either–ebooks and audiobooks are more than welcome!
– Crossovers with other challenges and re-reads are also more than welcome!
– You do not need to have a blog or review the books in order to participate–having a list somewhere (such as GoodReads) is fine
– Come December 2015, I’ll be making a post for you to submit your completed challenges. If you manage to finish by 31 Dec 2015, then you’ll be in the running for a booktastic prize draw!


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2015 Just For Fun Reading Challenge

Just For Fun reading Challenge 2015

January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015

This group will start out as a PUBLIC GROUP but will close to new members on January 31, 2015.

As bloggers we are all on timetables to read books, get reviews posted, host giveaways, etc.

But we also travel around to other blogs and see books we would just like to read because of their recommendation or the cover or title catches our interest. The Meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” adds more books to my Wish List and To-Be-Read pile every week.

As followers you get our recommendations, win books from us, pick up books at the library or buy them at a store.

But our lives are so busy these books sometimes sit in our To-Be-Read piles for months or even years.

This is the 5th year I am hosting this challenge to encourage you to read some of those books. 12 books in 12 months JUST FOR FUN!!!!!!!!!!


This year there will be no months designated as Catch-Up Months!

If you miss a month it is up to you to catch up. Just designate you are catching up when you list the book and include the date.

You are not required to review these books. They are to be read JUST FOR FUN. You can review if you wish.

Crossovers to other challenges are not encouraged as these books are to be read Just For Fun without thought to reviews or other challenges. But challenges just as Read-A-Latte or 150+ Reading Challenge are permitted crossovers as you are counting the total of books you are reading throughout the year as JFF books should be included in those totals. The other exception is a Where Are You Reading or location challenge because again you are keeping track of the total of books you read but categorizing them by setting.

This reading challenge is hosted by Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book. For more information and to sign-up, please see this post.


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