Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Blogger Resolutions I Have For 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s topic is Top Ten Resolutions for 2016 (Mine are specifically about book blogging and told using gifs.)
1. I will post my review of the book soon after reading it and not end up having to write several reviews at once like I did last year.
2. I will review more nonfiction books.
3. I will read and answer my email at least every other day.
4. I will read 100 books this year.
5. I will read the books on my bookshelves that have been there for years.
6. I will read more classics this year.
7. I will post my Top Ten Tuesday posts actually on Tuesday. (Starting next week obviously.)
8. I will read books that are chunksters (very long books) this year.
9. I couldn’t think of a ninth resolution to go with this gif but I just had to use it!
10. I will stop using so many gifs in my blog posts. Just kidding!

Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand

I was happy to read the second installment of the Winter Street series. This is one crazy family. This review does contain spoilers because it is hard to review it without them. First the book description:

Another Christmas on Nantucket finds Winter Street Inn owner Kelley Quinn reflecting on the past year as he writes a holiday letter to friends and family. Though the year has had its share of misfortune and worry, the Quinns have much to celebrate. Kelley, now single, at least is on better terms with his first wife Margaret, who is using her celebrity to lure customers to the inn in record numbers. Their son Kevin has a beautiful new baby, Genevieve, with the Inn’s French housekeeper, Isabelle; and their daughter, Ava, is finally dating a nice guy–her devoted colleague, Scott. 

Now the Quinns are looking forward to celebrating Genevieve’s baptism, welcoming Isabelle to the family, and enjoying the cheer of Nantucket’s traditional Christmas Stroll. But just when a peaceful family gathering seems within reach, Kelley’s estranged second wife, Mitzi, shows up on the island after souring on her relationship with the inn’s former Santa Claus. Soon Kelley isn’t the only Quinn entertaining a surprise guest from Christmases past as lovers old and new gather beneath the mistletoe. With jealousy, passion, and eggnog consumption at an all-time high, it’s going to take a whole lot more than a Christmas miracle to get the Quinns–and the inn–through the holidays intact.

Do not read on if you do not want spoilers!

Overall the story seemed mostly like a game of switching partners. This was my biggest criticism of the book. It’s like Elin just decided to disassemble the new couples that formed in Winter Street and put them all back together again.

The exception is Ava who is going back and forth between  Nathaniel and Scott. She basically cheats on Scott because she’s jealous of him helping out another woman who was injured. This was beyond ridiculous and immature. Ava seems to be so insecure as a woman that it’s sickening.

The main reason I read this series is to find out if soldier Bart will be found and returned home. Of course he will but Elin is torturing us until the end. This book does give more information about what happened. I like the story of Bart being held as POW but it makes the book series rather depressing to read at Christmastime.

I also want to know if Jennifer will sober up or if her pill addiction will escalate. Again, I liked this storyline but it’s not something that I want to read in a Christmas book.

I hate having to wait a whole year to find out how this series ends. The last book won’t come out until later this year. This series is truly a soap opera but this second installment was more tightly written then the first. I was leaning towards four stars but settled on three because of the tired musical romantic relationships.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The First Half of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s topic is Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the First Half of 2016
1. The Dirt on the Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones
In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she’s more than a little taken aback. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in.
Paranormal, romance, series (Releases Jan 5)
2. A Ghoul’s Guide to Love and Murder by Victoria Laurie
M.J., Heath, and Gilley, are back home in Boston, where their new film is sure to be a monster hit! To promote the film, the studio is sponsoring a special exhibit of supernatural artifacts at a local museum. Unfortunately, Gilley—whose mind is engaged with wedding plans—gets talked into donating to the exhibit the very dagger that keeps the dangerous ghost Oruç and his pet demon locked down in the lower realms. Before M.J. can recover the bewitched blade, there’s a murder and a heist at the museum, and the dagger is stolen.
Paranormal, romance,, mystery, series (Releases Jan 5)
3. The Siren by Kiera Cass
From Kiera Cass, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Selection series, comes a captivating stand-alone fantasy romance. Kahlen is a Siren, bound to serve the Ocean by luring humans to watery graves with her voice, which is deadly to any human who hears it. Akinli is human—a kind, handsome boy who’s everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. Falling in love puts them both in danger . . . but Kahlen can’t bear to stay away. Will she risk everything to follow her heart?
Young adult, romance, fantasy (Releases Jan 26)
4. Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It by Grace Helbig
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grace’s Guide and the host of The Grace Helbig Show on E! comes a beautifully illustrated, tongue-in-cheek book about style that lampoons fashion and beauty guides while offering practical advice in Grace Helbig’s trademark sweet and irreverent voice.
nonfiction, advice, humor (Releases Feb 2)
5. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end.
Young adult, science fiction (Releases February 16)
6. Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky
The story of four superfan friends whose devotion to their favorite boy band has darkly comical and murderous results.
Young adult, humor (Releases February 23)
7. All the Broken Places by Anise Eden
Cate Duncan is a promising young therapist, dedicated to her work. But after her mother’s suicide, she is seized by a paralyzing depression. To save her job, Cate agrees to enter a program with Dr. Angeline MacGregor, run by her stern son, Ben, that use unconventional approaches include crystals, aura reading and psychics. 
Suspense, paranormal, romance (Releases February 16)
8. Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices) by Cassandra Clare
It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.
Young adult, paramormal, series (Releases March 8)
9. The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
Cassie O’Malley has spent her whole life trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically. It’s been two-and-a-half years since her mother dumped Cassie in a mental institution against her will for something Cassie claims she didn’t do. Now, at eighteen, Cassie enrolls in college, ready to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.
Young adult (Releases March 15)
10. The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
This extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault. Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.
Young adult (Releases March 22)

Announcing the 2016 Star Wars Reading Challenge!

I’ve always loved the Star Wars movie series but have never read the books. This weekend I saw The Force Awakens and I fell in love all over again on a much deeper level. I’ve decided to read the Star Wars books but it’s always more fun to read a series together, so I created a Star Wars reading challenge!
This challenge is also a little different because there are two optional TV series that are included. Also if you are like me, you are overwhelmed by the number of Star Wars books in the expanded universe. Don’t worry! I break it all down so you know where to begin.
There are three levels to this challenge. This challenge is also little different because you do not have to choose a level. If you are like me you will be reading books from all three levels. I simply wrote out different levels to help break down the expansive Star Wars universe. 
 
LEVEL 1: Read the Del Rey timeline books only. Watching the TV series and movies will be optional.  This list includes (and they are in order):
 
I: The Phantom Menace

II: Attack of the Clones
The Clone Wars (TV series)
Dark Disciple

III: Revenge of the Sith
Lords of the Sith
Tarkin
A New Dawn
Rebels (TV series)

IV: A New Hope
Heir to the Jedi
Battlefront: Twilight Company

V: The Empire Strikes Back

VI: Return of the Jedi
Aftermath
Aftermath: Life Debt
Aftermath: Empire’s End
New Republic: Bloodline

VII: The Force Awakens

LEVEL 2: Read the Del Rey timeline books, watch the TV series, and read the Star Wars series of books and comics that lead up to The Force Awakens.

Read the short stories that take place before The Force Awakens. The list of short stories include:

The Perfect Weapon

High Noon on Jakku

The Face of Evil

The Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku

All Creatures Great and Small

Other books include:

Lost Stars (young adult)

Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure (junior novel)

Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure (junior novel)

The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure (junior novel)

Comics include:

Star Wars: Shattered Empire

Star Wars Special: C-3PO

There are also reference books, a collector’s magazine, and activity books. These will be optional. For the full list visit here.

LEVEL 3: Read the Stars Wars expanded universe books and comics

My mind is blown by how many Star Wars books there are. For a full chronological list of the novels, reference books, kids’ books and comics visit here. There are far too many for me to make a list!

Is there anything else I should know?

This challenge runs from Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2016.

Books DO NOT need to be reread! If you have finished a book before this challenge started it will count.

You may read books from ANY level and count them towards the challenge!

Books may be hard copies, ebooks, or audiobooks.

Books may count towards other reading challenges.

You do not need a blog to participate. You can sign up using any social media profile.

Please post, tweet, blog, pin, and Instagram about my challenge to spread the word.

Use the hashtag #2016StarWarsRC on social media

2016 Reading Bites Reading Challenge

The Reading Bites vampire reading challenge is back for 2016 by request!

I love anything to do with vampires. One of my favorite sayings is “Forget being a princess. I want to be a vampire!”

I’m inviting others who love the vampire book genre to join me for this reading challenge.

This is a design it yourself challenge. I want you to choose your own reading goals.

New for 2016! 
To help you reach your Reading Bites goals, I will be hosting a few vampire readathons! I will be calling this the #ReadingBiteathon. The first one will be January 15 – 21, 2016. This is the winter edition. I will do one each season of the year. The sign up page for the first readathon can be found here.

The Rules: 

  • This challenge begins January 1, 2016 and ends Dec 31, 2016.
  • You may sign up anytime during the year.
  • I won’t be creating different levels. Read as little or as many books as you want.
  • You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks.
  • Books may be YA, adult, horror, romance, etc.
  • You may reread books.
  • Books may count towards other reading challenges.
  • Use the hashtag #2016ReadingBites
  • If you could be so kind, please place the The Reading Bites Challenge banner on your blog to help spread the word.
  • Please link back to this blog, post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.

Announcing the #ReadingBiteathon! A Vampire Readathon

To help you reach your Reading Bites goals, I will be hosting a few vampire readathons! I will be calling this the #ReadingBiteathon. The first one will be January 15 – 21, 2016. I will be doing one each season of the year.

You do not have to sign up for the year long 2016 Reading Bites Challenge to participate in the readathon but if you would like to please visit this post for info and to sign up!

The Rules: 

  • This readathon begins January 15, 2016 at midnight and ends January 21, 2016 at midnight.
  • You may sign up anytime between now and during the readathon. Even if there is only a day or two left you are welcome to participate.
  • I won’t be creating different levels. Read as little or as many books as you want.
  • You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks.
  • Books may be YA, adult, horror, romance, etc.
  • You may reread books.
  • Books may count towards other reading challenges especially my 2016 Reading Bitesyearlong challenge.
  • Use the hashtag #ReadingBiteathon on social media.
  • If you could be so kind, please place the ReadingBiteathon banner on your blog to help spread the word.
  • Please link back to this blog, post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.

2016 Wattpad Reading Challenge Info and Sign Up

A few months ago I learned of this magical place where people can share their stories, books, and writing. It’s been called the “Youtube for writing.”
This place is called Wattpad.
I want to commit to reading stories on Wattpad so decided what better way to do that then create a reading challenge?
The Reading Challenge Rules:
 
This challenge will begin January 1st, 2016 and end December 31st, 2016.
You must create a profile on Wattpad to be able to use the site.
Some authors share their stories in installments. A story on Wattpad does not need to be completed in order to count.
You can only count a story once. This means if a story has five parts added later, it may not count as five more stories.
If you started reading a story in 2015 and parts were added to it after Jan 1, 2016 you may count it.
There are five levels to this challenge.
 
Level 1: Just Curious About Wattpad
Read 1 – 5 stories on Wattpad
Level 2: Wattpad Newbie
Read 6 – 10 stories on Wattpad

Level 3: Wattpad Explorer
Read 11 – 15 stories on Wattpad

Level 4: Wattpad Lover
Read 16 – 20 stories on Wattpad

Level 5: Wattpad Fandom
Read 20+ stories on Wattpad

You may move up or down in levels if you need to.

If you are a book blogger or booktuber please give a review of the story.

Is there anything else I should know?

You do not need a blog to participate in this challenge. You can sign up using any social media profile (including your Wattpad profile).

Please post, tweet, blog, pin, and Instagram about my challenge to spread the word.

Please post, tweet, blog, pin, and Instagram about the stories you read. This helps more authors get their work read on Wattpad.

Use the hashtag #2016WattpadRC on social media.

Check back here or follow me on Twitter @hippiesreadtoo for info about Wattpad Readathons I will host throughout the year.

Sign up using Linky Tools below and the comment sharing the level you are choosing.

See Me by Nicholas Sparks

I heard that Nicholas Sparks’s new novel was a thriller. So when I saw this in the 7-day express section of my library I snatched it up. It kept me hooked until the end.

First the book description:

Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. With a history of violence and bad decisions behind him and the threat of prison dogging his every step, he’s determined to walk a straight line. To Colin, that means applying himself single-mindedly toward his teaching degree and avoiding everything that proved destructive in his earlier life. Reminding himself daily of his hard-earned lessons, the last thing he is looking for is a serious relationship.

Maria Sanchez, the hardworking daughter of Mexican immigrants, is the picture of conventional success. With a degree from Duke Law School and a job at a prestigious firm in Wilmington, she is a dark-haired beauty with a seemingly flawless professional track record. And yet Maria has a traumatic history of her own, one that compelled her to return to her hometown and left her questioning so much of what she once believed.

A chance encounter on a rain-swept road will alter the course of both Colin and Maria’s lives, challenging deeply held assumptions about each other and ultimately, themselves. As love unexpectedly takes hold between them, they dare to envision what a future together could possibly look like . . . until menacing reminders of events in Maria’s past begin to surface.

As a series of threatening incidents wreaks chaos in Maria’s life, Maria and Colin will be tested in increasingly terrifying ways. Will demons from their past destroy the tenuous relationship they’ve begun to build, or will their love protect them, even in the darkest hour?

Rich in emotion and fueled with suspense, SEE ME reminds us that love is sometimes forged in the crises that threaten to shatter us . . . and that those who see us for who we truly are may not always be the ones easiest to recognize. 

Geez, I don’t think that description was long enough.

I always worry a bit when an established author tries a new genre but Sparks did a great job here. Some of his fans aren’t too happy. If you are one who hates thrillers or crime dramas I can understand why you didn’t like this book. (Although it does seem he touched on the thriller genre in The Guardian as well where a stalker also kills a dog. Yes a dog gets killed in this book too.)

While it was a solid effort at a thriller it wasn’t perfect. The first 200 pages reads like a contemporary romance then suddenly switches to a thriller. Sparks doesn’t mesh the two styles together well.

Also there wasn’t enough build up of suspense. The scene where Maria’s home is trashed would have been better before the stalker confronts her not after. The story would have been better if Sparks had put small but subtle tension in the first 200 pages. Like Maria feeling she’s being watched or noticing her stuff moved around.

It was hard for me to believe Maria was in her thirties much less a lawyer. She seemed so immature to me in her speech and mannerisms. It kind of irritated me that she was so passive. Both Colin and her best friend seemed to always have to fight her battles for her. It was impossible for me to imagine her being tough enough to be an assistant DA.

However, I really liked Colin despite his horrible habit of saying okay to everything. I love underdog stories and a bad boy, bodybuilding, tattooed fighter is exactly my type. I especially liked how he turned his faults into strengths and it’s what helps him be the hero. Although I think he should change his major from teacher to criminal law because he showed he’d be an excellent detective.

The twist at the end of the book really pulled the whole story together. The mystery of who was stalking Maria kept me reading to the very end. My rating is .

The Shadowhunters Countdown Reading Challenge Info and Sign Up

What is so special about March 8, 2016?
Cassandra Clare will be releasing Lady Midnight, book one of her new Shadowhunters series The Dark Artifices.
Then, in 2017, Cassandra Clare is promising a sequel trilogy to The Infernal Devices called The Last Hours.
Not to mention the Shadowhunters television series which will be coming next year.
Are you ready? Well I’m not! I still haven’t finished reading all of the other Shadowhunters books. This is why I created this reading challenge.
There are three levels to this challenge.
 
LEVEL 1: Read The Mortal Instruments series only. This includes:
 
City of Bones
City of Ashes
City of Glass
City of Fallen Angels
City of Lost Souls
City of Heavenly Fire
LEVEL 2: Read The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments. The Infernal Devices is a prequel series. This includes all the books listed above at level 1 as well as:

Clockwork Angel
Clockwork Prince
Clockwork Princess

LEVEL 3: Read The Infernal Devices, The Mortal Instruments, The Tales from The Shadowhunter Academy, and other Shadowhunters books. This includes all the books from level 1, level 2, as well as:Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy
The Lost Herondale
The Whitechapel Fiend
Nothing but Shadows
The Evil We Love
Pale Kings and Princes
Bitter of Tongue
The Fiery Trial
Born to Endless Night
Angels Twice Descending

The Bane Chronicles

The Shadowhunter’s Codex

Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader

Is there anything else I should know?

BOOKS DO NOT NEED TO BE REREAD! If you have finished a book before this challenge started it will count!

You do not need a blog to participate. You can sign up using any social media profile.

Please post, tweet, blog, pin, and Instagram about my challenge to spread the word.

Use the hashtag #ShadowhuntersCRC on social media

Sign up using Linky Tools below and the comment sharing the level you are choosing.

#TBRTakedown and #aYearathon Wrap Up Post

#TBRTakedown and #aYearathon was an almost total success!

Since I combined #TBRTakedown with #aYearathon all the books were part of a series. One book was also for the #shadowhuntersummer reading challenge. I also read a book for the summer reading challenge I am hosting #summerRES2015. and read a book for the #ReadingBites2015 challenge I am hosting. Here is the breakdown of the books I read.

Read! 1. A book that’s been on my TBR pile for over a year
The Struggle by L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries Book 2)
Read my review here
Not read 2. An unread sequel sitting on my self
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire Book 2)
Read! 3. A first book in a series sitting on my shelf
Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax (Ten Beach Road Book 1)
Read! 4. A book out of your comfort zone on your TBR
I originally had chosen City of Bones but decided to read Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices Book 1) instead,
Read! 5. A book from your most recent book hall
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Book 1)
Started 6. A book from the #fivefaves reading challenge
I read 131 pages of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet Book 1)