Thursday, March 31, 2016

Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge Wrap Up

This month long challenge was hosted by CaffeinatedBookReviewer

It has been a great month! This was an awesome challenge that really motivated me to read more books from my shelves instead of just reading library books and arcs. I have a lot of books (too many to count) and I've read a very small percent of  the books I own. It's been a goal of mine for the past few years to read more of those books but I'm a sucker for shiny new books and I take many trips to the library and come home with a stack that I then 'need' to finish.
A lot of the books in the picture below are part of my lists and challenge goals for the year. It was great to strike a majority of them off of my lists! I've actually started adding books to my 2016 TBR Goodreads shelf so I have more to work towards throughout the year.

This is the pile of books that I took from my shelves to read for this challenge.
There's 21 books here and I read 7 of them before I got bored with this pile and dug a few others off of my shelves. Obviously not including a couple of ebooks I read.  

Books I Read
  1. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson (review)
  2. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (review)
  3. Room by Emma Donoghue (review)
  4. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White 
  5. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins 
  6. The Westing Game by Ellen Ruskin 
  7. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes 
  8. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
  9. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 
  10. The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
I reviewed all of these on Goodreads (at least the minimum 2-3 sentences in some cases) but have not posted all of these reviews on my blog yet. Some I will not share here because I didn't have much to say about them. 

I read 4 other books this month that either didn't count towards this challenge because they were arcs or that I didn't add in because I had just received them from the library halfway through the month. 

I probably could have done even better if I hadn't fallen into a slump for a whole week in which I just read Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas on my ereader at night! I am happy with 10 books (14 in all for the month) since it is double what I read in Jan. or Feb.
Now I just need to catch up with my reviews and blog posts!
Did you participate in this challenge? How did you do?
Also, if anyone knows of any other challenges like this please let me know! I could really use more motivation to finish off that pile (and then some!)

March 2016 Wrap Up

It has been a great reading month thanks to the Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge. I blogged less but I read more and that is a win since I probably spend more time blogging than actually reading these days. It motivated me to read several books from my shelves which I haven't done yet this year. Some of these books were on the '1001 Children's Books to Read Before You Grow Up' list and some were books that I wanted to read before the movie adaptation comes out.  Overall, I've made a huge leap in my goals in this month! I basically doubled the amount of books I read each month!

Books I Read

Pages Read: 4695

Challenge Progress

Here's a link to my Wrap-Up!
This is my first month participating in this challenge and I mostly joined because of the Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge but I will continue to read books from my shelves throughout the year. But these books are all the same as the ones in my Wrap Up linked above!

New Places Visited

(The Great Gilly Hopkins)

Jackson, Virginia

(The Trumpet of the Swan)
Ontario, Canada

Red Rock Lakes, Montana
Billings, Montana
Boston, Massachusetts
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(The Girl on the Train)
London, England

Ashbury, England
Witney, England

(The Westing Game)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
Lake Michigan

(Me Before You)
Central London
Stortford, Hertfordshire
Island of Mauritius
Dignitas, Zurich, Switzerland
Paris, France

(The Slave Dancer)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Lake Borgne
Whydah in the Bight of Benin (Africa)
Sao Tome

(Ready Player One)
Oklahoma City

Boston (? can't remember)

(The Girl With All the Gifts)
Stotfold, England
Stevenage, England
London, England


Fantasy Books Read in February:


No series finished this month

Books Read:


Do duologies count?

I read 15 picture books in March and reviewed 11 of them on Goodreads. 

See all the picture books I read HERE.

I  almost forgot to mention the #HidingReadathon hosted by Annika over at Hiding in Books that took place over Easter weekend!
I attempted to read more than usual, and I did read more pages a day than I usually do but I didn't actually finish a book since I was reading 2 books at once (one physical, one ebook, like usual.) I didn't think that warranted a separate wrap up so I thought I'd just make an honorable mention here!  

How did you guys do on your goals this month? What was your favorite book? 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Children's Picture Book Review: Be A Friend by Salina Yoon

Title: Be A Friend
Author: Salina Yoon
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's 
Publication Date: January 5, 2016

Dennis is an ordinary boy who expresses himself in extraordinary ways. Some children do show-and-tell. Dennis mimes his. Some children climb trees. Dennis happy to BE a tree... But being a mime can be lonely. It isn't until Dennis meets a girl named Joy that he discovers the power of friendship--and how special he truly is! At its core, this book is a heartwarming story of self-acceptance, courage, and unbreakable friendship for anyone who has ever felt "different".

My Thoughts: 

Dennis is an extraordinary boy who doesn't speak a word and mimes everything instead. He expresses himself with motion and acting instead of words. This sets him apart from other children in more ways than one. It gets lonely being a mime when everyone else would rather speak than listen. But one day a little girl notices Dennis and a beautiful friendship blossoms between them. 

I've always said that the best kind of people are the ones that you can have a comfortable silence with. Most people want to talk and think that silence is awkward but I couldn't disagree more. It may just be the introvert in me but I've always found that actions speak louder than words! 

Be A Friend is a beautifully illustrated story with a straightforward message. Be a friend. Everyone needs a friend no matter how 'strange' they may seem. Be a friend and you will soon see that everyone is extraordinary. 

I love this book. The rich, warm, colors pair beautifully with the grungy, antiqued coloring of each page. I love the diversity of the children in the book and their bright, happy faces. The red dashed lines really pop and depict Dennis' actions, giving us a look into his own personal thoughts and world. 

This is a beautiful book and I highly recommend it! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #72 - 5 Star Ratings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Ten Recent Reads That I Have Given 5 Stars

I'm going to cheat a little because the last 8 books I rated with 5 stars are books in a series, the first two series being every book in that series (that's out so far in the case of Throne of Glass).

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

The Map to Everywhere duology by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

I still haven't read the entire book yet (just the extended excerpt) but I loved what I read!

Cogling by Jordan Elizabeth
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
In the Shadows of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer