Freebie Friday: You Decide

Hello Readers!

I started a reading journal this year. As much as I love Goodreads, I stink at keeping it up to date. So I thought I’d go back to old fashioned pen and paper to keep track of what I’m reading.

And surprisingly, I’ve been keeping up with it. In it I keep track of the books I’m reading, I jot down thoughts about each book, make note of my favorite quotes, and also keep a log of the self-imposed reading challenges.

But this post is NOT about my reading journal. Instead it’s about one of those reading challenges.

At the beginning of the year I created my own book bingo card in the hopes that it would challenge me to read outside of my comfort zone.  This bingo card is filled with option like:

  • Read a book with a blue cover
  • Finish a series
  • Read a book a friend picks for you to read

When I created this bingo card I was very aware of the options and the limitations I was giving myself. But it’s a challenge right!?

Today, I’m writing this post seeking some help from you dear readers. I would like to complete another book bingo challenge. The challenge I’d like to complete is: let a friend pick a book for me to read.

With that being said, I do have some guidelines. Like I said the purpose of this challenge is to step out of my reading comfort zone, but I don’t necessarily want to be pushed off the edge.

I would love for anyone and everyone to suggest a book for me to read. The only guidelines that I ask you to follow are these: it’s a YA book, it isn’t a high fantasy, and that it isn’t an obscure book (I want to be able to get my hands on it after all).

You may be asking, how are you going to decide what book to actually read? Well, I’m leaving this post here, and hoping people will continue to comment throughout the week. Next Thursday night I will go through the comments, and depending on how many book suggestions I get will pick a few. Next Friday I will have a poll posted, and will ask you all to vote on which book you’d like me to read.

So, dear readers, PLEASE comment with all of your book suggestions. I am open and willing to read any book that is suggested.  I’m already looking forward to my next read!

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Freebie Friday: Books on My 2019 Reading Challenge(s) List – Part Three

Dear Readers!

We’ve made it! We’ve made it to part three of my 2019 Reading Challenge TBR list (blog) series.

And I feel like I’ve saved the best (challenge) for last! The last reading challenge is Book Bingo. Yes! I’ve created a book bingo that I feel will help take me out of my reading comfort zone.

To create the actual bingo card I found a website where I could plug in what I wanted the card to be filled with, and with s click of a button the website generated a bingo card.

Obviously there’s a free space because you know, bingo. But the other spaces on my customized bingo card are:

  • Buddy read a book
  • Read a book by a female author
  • Read a historical fiction book
  • Read a backlist (TBR) book
  • Read a book about music
  • Re-read a book
  • Read a manga
  • Read a superhero comic book
  • Read a book set in a foreign country
  • Read a book that was recently published
  • Read a classic children’s book
  • Read an e-book
  • Read a book that is 500+ pages
  • Listen to an audiobook
  • Read a book with a blue cover
  • Read an award winning book
  • Read a nonfiction book
  • Read a book that a friend suggests
  • Read a Stephen King book
  • Read a book that was made into a movie
  • Read a book set at a boarding school
  • Read book 2 in a series
  • Read a book borrowed from a library
  • Read a fantasy book

So there you have it dear readers! Those are the books on my Challenge TBR list.

I hoped you enjoyed this little series!

 

Freebie Friday: Books on My 2019 Reading Challenge(s) List – Part Two

Dear Readers!

2019 is the year of reading challenges. Today I’m going to share with you my (planned) TBR list for yet another challenge I’ve decided to take on.

This particular challenge – The A to Z Challenge – is one I found on girlxoxo.com I wanted to take on this challenge, not only because it sounded fun and manageable, but also because I felt it could help me clear my shelves — a task I’ve been meaning to tackle for a very long time. Another reason, is that I liked how I could easily customize this challenge to my own liking..

The books on this list are:

  • A is for Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
  • B is for Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
  • C is for Choker by Elizabeth Woods
  • D is for Dramarama by E. Lockhart
  • E is for Every Single Second by Tricia Springstubb
  • F is for Family by Micol Ostow
  • G is for Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
  • H is for Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
  • I is for Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil
  • J is for Joyride by Anna Banks
  • K is for ???
  • L is for Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaire
  • M is for Memento Nora by Angie Smibert
  • N is for Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic
  • O is for Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
  • P is for Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
  • Q is for Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
  • R is for Rebel Belles by Rachel Hawkins
  • S is for Small Town Sinners by Melissa C Walker
  • T is for Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
  • U is for Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  • V is for Vesper by Jeff Sampson
  • W is for Wanderlust by Kirsten Hubbard
  • X is for ???
  • Y is for ???
  • Z is for ???

As you can see there are a few blank spaces. The reason for those blank spaces is because, as I scrolled through my backlist of books to be read I couldn’t immediately find books to go along with those specific letters. And because I want to enjoy these challenges and not put so much pressure on myself I’ve decided that since it’s my challenge (and I can do what I want with it) I can leave those letters blank for now and fill them in eventually.

Are there any books that seem to have been sitting on your shelf forever?!? If so, are you hoping on tackling them this year? If so, please share in the comments!

 

Freebie Friday: Books on My 2019 Reading Challenge(s) List – Part One

Hello Readers!

A few weeks ago I posted about what reading challenges I was taking on this year. In that post (which you can check out here) I explained what challenges I was taking on and why. Not only that I asked if you, dear readers, would want to know what books were on said challenge lists.

I decided not to wait for your response, and just share these TBR lists.  Why? Because it seems like a fun thing to share.

The first challenge I decided to take on is one that hopefully will help me tackle all those series I’ve started but haven’t finished. I’m calling it the Series Challenge. Not only do I hope to read  the books I haven’t read in the series, but I’m also planning on re-reading the first book – the book that originally got me hooked on that series.

Besides listing the series I’ve started, there are several series on this list that I’ve wanted to read but haven’t.

In no particular order, here are the series I’m hoping to get to in 2019:

  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
  • The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken
  • Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
  • Revenants by Amy Plum
  • Birthright by Gabrielle Zevin
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass
  • Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray
  • Shades of London by Maureen Johnson
  • Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • Hereafter by Tara Hudson
  • The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood
  • Jackaby by William Ritter

Because I don’t want this post to be super long, I have decided to be best to break it down into three parts. Consider it a mini-series of sorts.

So, dear readers, are there any series that you hope to start and finish this year? Please share in the comments! I’d love to hear all about what you’re reading, and what challenges you are taking on this year.

Freebie Friday: Challenges

Hello Readers,

I’m the kind of person who, at the beginning of a fresh (and hopeful) year sets out to complete a challenge. Specifically one that involves reading.  Every year I set a goal of reading a certain amount of books – that number often based upon the previous years outcome.

Besides setting a reading goal, I often am hopeful that I can conquer several other reading goals throughout the year. Some of those challenges are: clearing off my shelves, completing series I’ve started by haven’t picked up, and getting around to all those books I was once so excited to read (my backlist of books I call it).

This year was a little different though. I set my reading goal and said that was enough of a challenge.

And I set my goal lower than I usually do. I purposely did this with the knowledge that I can adjust accordingly throughout the year as I please. Afterall, it’s my reading goal.

But by the end of January came around I noticed something: I’ve been reading a lot more. More than I did in 2018, more than I usually do in any given month. And that’s because I’ve taken advantage of audiobooks.

This post isn’t about audiobooks, or my new-found love of them, but instead I’m going to talk about some of the reading challenges I’m undertaking in 2019.

Like I said, I generally only do one challenge: the Goodreads Reading Challenge. This year I decided to set my goal lower than normal. In the past years I’ve set my goal at 150 books, but this year I set it at 100. Why? Last year, I didn’t come close to reaching my target, and it really bummed me out. So this year, I decided to reset, recharge, and not over think it.

But again, by the end of January I realized something: I’m reading a lot more. So I decided, not to up my Goodread challenge, but to take on some others.

Now I don’t know that these are official challenges. Okay maybe one is, because I found it while Googling “reading challenges”, but they will challenge me.

The first challenge, besides the normal Goodreads one, I decided to undertake was a series challenge. I’m terrible with series. I read book one, love it, and by the time the next one comes out (even though I’m super excited about it), don’t pick it up. Why? Because more than likely I’ve forgotten what happened in the first book.

Well, I decided that this year I was going to read and finish the series I wanted to read and to finish. I created a list of series – which I’ve kept in my newly created book bullet journal – with boxes correlating how many books are in the series. Each time I read a book in the series I get to “x” it off. Which is more satisfying than I thought it would be.

The next reading challenge, which I found from this website, is the A to Z challenge. The thought behind this challenge it to read a book for each letter of the alphabet. I took it a step further and decided that I would use this challenge to get to some of those books that have been on my TBR list for quite some time. You know what they say: two birds one stone.

Once again, using my book bullet journal I listed the letters of the alphabet, a title from my TBR list, and a nice check box next to it, so that when I read a book from this list, I can mark it as read. Again, so satisfying.

I’m hopeful that, even if I don’t 100% complete all of these challenges, that I will at least knock a lot of books off my list, and accomplish my Goodreads challenge in the meantime.

So, dear readers, are you participating in any reading challenges this year? I’m interesting in hearing! We can cheer each other on.

And, if you are interested in hearing what books are on the two challenges I am taking, please let me know in the comments.

Freebie Friday: The Outsiders

Hello Readers!

Is there a book that you feel as if you should have read? Or as if you are the only person in the whole wide world that hasn’t read a specific book? Personally, I have felt that way. And quite honestly, I have several books that fit description.

About a month or so ago, just after finishing my re-read of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I was scrolling through Libby (my library’s audiobook app) in search of my next audiobook. And then I saw it …. And decided that my next read, or listen, should be a book that I’ve been meaning to, been wanting to read for a long while: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.

Somehow the book has escaped me. I feel like I should have read this book many years ago while still in high school. But it was never assigned to me, and at that point in my reading life, I read only because I had to, not for pleasure.

I happy to say that I have finally read this book. And today I thought I would share some thoughts with you.

***

Even though The Outsiders has been on my book bucket list, I had mixed expectations. On one hand those expectations were high because everyone I know who has read this book said that I was missing out, that it was that good. But on the other hand, my expectations faltered because I knew nothing of the story.

Up front I want to say that I did enjoy The Outsiders. But was it a new fave? While I understand its value and why it is coined as a classic, it wasn’t necessarily a new favorite.

As I started reading this book I quickly realized that I had somehow formed my own assumptions – all of which were incorrect. For example, I knew that Ponyboy Curtis was The Outsiders main character, I knew that he was the narrator. But I (wrongfully) assumed that he was much older than his fourteen years.  How did I make that assumption? The Outsiders was adapted into a movie with many high profiled actors of the time it was made. Most notably Patrick Swayze. Because he, as an actor, seemed to stand tall above the rest I assumed that obviously he as the lead role, he was obviously Ponyboy.

Imagine my surprise finding out that he wasn’t Ponyboy (I found out after reading and finally watching the adaptation that he was Ponyboy’s older brother, Darry). Finding out that this book’s narrator was only fourteen years old changed a lot for me. Seriously, it changed what I thought about what the story was about and how it would unfold.

Again, for some unknown reason, I convinced myself that Ponyboy was only a nickname – a ridiculous but good nickname. Finding out that Ponyboy’s real name was actually Ponyboy was eye-opening. At first I thought it silly, but by the books end I found I understood why he had such a unique name: Ponyboy, as a greaser himself, wasn’t like the rest of the gang. He was a unique character, and needed a unique name to reflect that.

As I dug into the book I quickly realized that The Outsiders is a character driven book. It’s cliche to say that, I know, but in this case it’s true. The whole plot revolves around a group of friends, and the lengths they’d go to to “be there” for those friends.

I appreciated that. The fact that a whole book was dedicated to friendship, and the bond and loyalty of those friendships, where there wasn’t a falling out, felt rare. And dare I say it, special.

Speaking of rarities, I found that, even though I gravitated towards one character, it is hard for me to actually pin down a favorite. I would say that they are all favorites but for many different reasons.

I gravitated towards Dallas, aka Dally, almost immediately. Dally may not be the typical fan favorite, but I felt that I saw beyond that tough guy exterior, and got to know him. He comes off as an unlikable character, but I found him to be wise beyond his years. More than that though, I found that he cared more about his friends than he cared about himself.  Don’t get me wrong, Dally wasn’t a selfless character, but he also wasn’t as cold-hearted as he’s made out to be. But what I liked best about, specifically Dally, is that he’s a complex character, and an overall good guy.

The Outsiders was originally published in 1967. Because of that, I feared that this book wouldn’t be relevant. And you would think that since so many years have passed since it’s original publication, that our society as a whole would have grown.

And while we’ve grown in numbers, the sentiments and the issues that The Outsiders raised are still relevant today. Issues of social class and social justice are still very relevant to the world of 2019.  At least I think so. And it’s because of this that I finally understand why this book is, not only a classic, but why it’s also still being assigned to students.

I had a feeling that I was going to like this book. In all honesty, I was expecting The Outsiders to be a five-star book for me. But it wasn’t. And the more I think about it, the more I realize why it is only a three star book. While I enjoyed it, ultimately it felt as if something was missing from the plot. And that something was action. There was no real action, and the moment that there was, it was fleeting.

While this definitely disappointed me, it didn’t ruin the book for me. It took me many years to finally get around to it, but I’m glad that I made the time to read The Outsiders. I’m glad that I had the chance to experience it.

Freebie Friday: Imposters Giveaway

Hello Dear Readers!

And happy Friday! Since I’m trying to get back on track with this whole blogging thing I figured it would be fun to celebrate with a giveaway!

Today, I am giving one lucky winner a chance to win a copy of Imposter written by Scott Westerfeld.  One lucky winner, eighteen (18) and over residing in the United States will win a hardcover copy of Westerfeld’s highly anticipated Imposters. This giveaway will be open from 8:00 am on October 26th until 11:59 pm on Friday November 2nd. One winner will be selected via random number generator, and will be contacted via e-mail on Saturday November 3rd. If a response isn’t received by Sunday 11:59 pm on November 4th, a new winner will be selected and e-mailed.

Imposters by Scott Westerfeld:

“Frey and Rafi are inseparable … but very few people have ever seen them together. This is because Frey is Rafi’s double, raised in the shadows of their rich father’s fortress. While Rafi has been taught to charm, Frey has been taught to kill. Frey only exists to protect her sister. There is no other part of her life. Frey has never been out in the world on her own – until her father sends her in Rafi’s place to act as collateral for a dangerous deal. Everyone thinks she’s her sister – but Col, the son of a rival leader, is starting to get close enough to tell the difference. As the stakes grow higher and higher, Frey must decide whether she can trust him – or anyone in her life.” – from Goodreads.com

Want a chance to win this book? To enter you first must subscribe to The BookBandit blog, and also must leave a comment on THIS post telling me what’s your favorite book series?

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

(Cover image and summary both from Goodreads.com)