Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cover Reveal: Disenchanted

Janet Ursel recently wrote a Christian Fantasy book called Disenchanted, which is due to release on July 14 of this year. I'm part of a launch party to read this before the book is released, so I figured I'd hype it up a bit and let you guys see the interesting cover that was just revealed!

As I mentioned before, I'm currently reading this but not quite finished, so you guys will hear all about it when I finish and review the book. Meanwhile, I'm intrigued by the notion of Christian Fantasy. The only books I've read in the past that could be categorized in that genre would probably be The Chronicles of Narnia. Janet will be doing a guest post here in July to tell you all more about the genre from her perspective. I'm excited!

I'd be curious to know: What do you guys expect from the story or think it might be about after seeing this cover?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2015 We Read Diverse Books Challenge: Quarterly Update #2

This is my second quarterly update for the We Read Diverse Books Challenge hosted by Janet Ursel at Gourmet Reading. There is a different challenge designed to question the way we see the world each month, and I've found this one really great so far. I've only finished 2 of my chosen books, but I'm reading the rest of them bit by bit. I'll update this regularly (until the next quarterly update) as I find out the next challenge, choose a book, and read the book.

Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm

May Challenge: Age
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

2015 Banned Books Challenge: Quarterly Update #2

This is my second quarterly update for the Banned Books Challenge 2015 hosted by Christine at Buckling Bookshelves. I started out with the "Trouble-Maker" level (3-5 books) and re-set my goal to the "Rabble-Rouser" level (6-9 books), which I've met now as well. Since I already re-set the goal once, I'm not doing it again, but some of these have been really great books! I've re-posted the books that I've read for this challenge thus far, and I'll keep updating this list here until my next quarterly update.

Books Read Thus Far:

Other Banned Books Read:

2015 TBR Pile Challenge: Quarterly Update #2

This is my second quarterly update for the 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge hosted by the ladies at Bookish! This year is flying by! My level of choice is "A Friendly Hug," so 11-20 books. I've already reached my goal with 12 books, but I probably won't re-set it now since there's still 8 more to go at this level. I've re-posted the links to my reads for this challenge thus far, and this is where I'll keep my list and links for the challenge until the next quarterly update.

TBR Pile Reads Thus Far:

More TBR Pile Reads:

2015 Audibook Challenge: Quarterly Update #2

This is my second quarterly update for the 2015 Audiobook Challenge hosted by the ladies at The Book Nympho and Hot Listens. I signed up for the "Stenographer" level (10-15 books). I've read 7 books for this so far, so I'm doing really well! I've re-posted the links to my reads for this challenge thus far, and this is where I'll keep my list and links for the challenge until the next quarterly update.

Audiobook Reads Thus Far:


More Audiobook Reads:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Audiobook / Banned Book / TBR Pile: Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is about a young man named Jacob who loses everything and needs to find his place in the world. He decides to join the circus in the days when they traveled on trains from town to town. The book also tells about Jacob decades later in a nursing home. Feeling lost again, he searches his past for a solution to the unhappiness and loneliness he's dealing with now.

(picture taken from Goodreads)

First Impression: I find this story really interesting. Gruen gives great perspective to the reader by switching between Jacob at 90 (or 93) and at 23. I'm curious as well about her research and historical accuracy--life in the circus, interactions of Polish vs. Jewish people, etc. I know some of what's going to happen from the prologue, but I'm also curious about how Jacob gets from that place to his elderly life. Happily married with five kids, and did he ever get a veterinary practice? Some of her numbers seem to be off on the timeline of his life. The book starts off a bit sad, but I'm really enjoying it now.

Conclusion: This is a great book. Gruen has fantastic writing style, well-developed characters, and meaningful action--everything you can ask for to really enjoy what you are reading. The timeline makes more sense when you find out what happened after the stampede. The author had it well planned-out and purposely gave tidbits once in a while, so I didn't know the complete story until the end. There were times where I was incredibly frustrated by what was happening, but it helped me to feel closer to my characters and drew me in. And did I mention that I loved Rosie? What a great sense of humor and honor in one unexpected character! I was particularly fascinated by the parts about Jacob as an elderly man. There aren't a lot of books written from the perspective of someone living in a nursing home who doesn't actually need special food and attention. There also aren't a lot of books set in the early days of circuses, so this book is quite the unique find. I'll definitely read more by Gruen in the future.

Recommendation: If you have a penchant for slightly quirky but intricate, unique book ideas, this is a good book for you. There also seems to be validity to Gruen's research, so if you're interested in circus life in the train days, this might be a good read for you, as well.

This is my seventh read for the 2015 Audiobook Challenge, my sixth read for the 2015 Banned Book Challenge, and my twelfth read for the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge. Chugging right along!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Giveaway Bonanza Winners!

Hello everyone! It's time to announce the winners! Drumroll, please!

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

A Tale of Two Cities / Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Naomi Bennet

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Middlemarch by George Eliot
Tully Family

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Thank you all for entering--this was the best response I've had to a giveaway yet! Winners have been contacted via e-mail today. Please respond by 11:59pm on Sunday, July 5 with your mailing address or your prize will be given to another randomly drawn entrant. And follow my blog or stay posted--I'm planning another giveaway in a few months with some books as well as some other fun book-themed items!