Monday, June 30, 2014

Reading Challenges Update: June 2014

Here is where I stand with the challenges I have joined after the month of June (only challenges that I read books for this month are featured here):

Ebook (19/25)
18. The Road to Nyn by Brian G. Michaud
19. Running Through a Dark Place by Michael J. Bowler

Audio Book (10/25)
9. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
10. Enduring Courage by John F. Ross

Graphic Novels (8/12)
8. The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley

100 Books in a Year (59/100)
52. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
53. The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley
54. Clan Lord by Joel Babbitt
55. World War Z by Max Brooks
56. The Road to Nyn by Brian G. Michaud
57. Enduring Courage by John F. Ross
58. Running Through a Dark Place by Michael J. Bowler
59. Hexed by Michelle Krys

Historical Fiction (7/15)
7. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Dystopia (3/5)
3. World War Z by Max Brooks

British Book (6/12)
6. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Free Reads (23/30)
20. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
21. The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley
22. Clan Lord by Joel Babbitt
23. Enduring Courage by John F. Ross

Author Alphabet (15/26)
15. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Witches and Witchcraft (5/5) - COMPLETED!
5. Hexed by Michelle Krys

YA Mythology (6/12)
5. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
6. Running Through a Dark Place by Michael J. Bowler

Elsewhere Online: June 2014

As you know from my Stacking the Shelves posts, I review for two other websites ( and As I cannot post my reviews there and here, but I would still like to count the books I read for the challenges, I am going to have a post like this at the end of the every month listing the books I reviewed and what challenges the went towards.

Title: Hexed
Author: Michelle Krys
Challenges: Witches and Witchcraft, 100 Books in a Year

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Running Through a Dark Place

Running Through a Dark Place
by Michael J. Bowler
published by author
May 2014
ISBN 9780990306306
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: E-Book, YA Mythology, 100 Books in a Year

Michael J. Bowler picks up the second book in his Knight Cycle, Running Through a Dark Place, right where the first book, Children of the Knight, leaves off.  (I do not want to give any major spoilers for the first book, so I am not going to go into too much detail about the plot, as it would give too much away.)  After the success of his first campaign, Arthur wants to fight for more rights for the youth of Los Angeles who are treated as adults only in criminal matters.  Once again, he and his Knights have a tough battle ahead of them, and there is a lot of growth along the way.  Oh, and Merlin has finally appeared!

Taking a historical figure made mythological and imagining what his crusade would be in today's age is really ingenious, and is a testament to Michael J. Bowler's skill, but hat I like best about his writing is that he does not pull any punches.  He lays the tough issues out there as they are and shows his characters' struggles in tackling these issues.  While many of his characters are what would be considered at-risk youth, Running Through a Dark Place, and the rest of Michael J. Bowler's Knight Cycle, will appeal to all youth and those adults who work with youth.  

Rating 4/5

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Enduring Courage

Title: Enduring Courage
Author: John F. Ross
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ISBN: 978-1-4272-3923-5
Why Read?: First Reads
Challenges: Audio Book, Free Reads, 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts:  I had never heard of Eddie Rickenbacker, WWI Ace, before, but his life was very interesting.  I actually found his years of racing before any safety standards come out to be the most exciting.  This is simply a wonderful biography.

Rating: 4 stars

Stacking the Shelves: 6/22-6/28

For possible review (on Bookloons):
The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker
Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark
Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark
Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark
The Competition by Marcia Clark

First Reads from Goodreads:
Now You Tell Me!: 12 Actors Give the Best Advice They Never Got by Scott Willman

Requested from Paperback Swap:
Gold by Chris Cleve

Bought on Amazon:
Like Clockwork by Margie Orford

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: 6/15-6/21

First Reads from Goodreads:
Extraction by Stephanie Diaz
How to Speak Brit by Christopher J. Moore

Requested from Paperback Swap:
Mrs. Ames by E. F. Benson

Bought on Amazon:
Blessed Are the Dead by Kristi Belcamino

Bought on HumbleBundle:
The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris
How Music Works by David Byrne
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Rules of Prey by John Sanford
Baudolino by Umberto Eco
Bearing an Hourglass by Piers Anthony

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Road to Nyn

The Road to Nyn
by Brian G. Michaud
published by author
ISBN n/a
Why Read?: Review
Challenges:  E-Book, 100 Books in a Year

In The Road to Nyn by Brian G. Michaud, the protagonist, a newly-made squire named Kay, must travel with a rag-tag group of friends to stop the evil goblins from invading his kingdom.  They, of course, encounter many obstacles along the way which help Kay grow as he learns to believe in himself.

As far as middle grade fantasies go, The Road to Nyn is pretty formulaic, which is not always a bad thing for this age group.  Like the road in the title, the plot is very much a series of events, or what a friend of mine terms “and then” storytelling.  There a few events, though, that feel a tad disjointed, and it takes a while to realize how they all fit together.  Michaud does incorporate some fun fantasy elements which make for an entertaining tale.

While there is nothing really to set Brian G. Michaud’s The Road to Nyn apart from other middle grade fantasies, it is a delightful read for its target audience.  Older readers, though, might find it lacking in the depth they crave.

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, June 15, 2014

World War Z

Title: World War Z
Author: Max Brooks
Publisher: Broadway
ISBN: 978-0-307-34661-2
Why Read?: Book Club
Challenges: Dystopia, 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts:  I am not a fan of zombies so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this, probably because the zombies actually never make a real appearance.  Brooks does an excellent job making fiction feel like non-fiction.

Rating: 4 stars

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: 6/8-6/14

First Reads from Goodreads:
Mom in the Movies by Richard Corliss
Screaming Divas by Suzanne Kamata
Soulsnatcher by Kerry Alan Denney
The Biology of Luck by Jacob M. Appel
Dangerous Illusions by Joseph J. Gabriele

Requested from Paperbackswap:
Banished by Sophie Littlefield
Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Bought on Amazon:
The Cutting by James Hayman
Nothing Real Vol. 1 by Claire Needell

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Stacking the Shelves: 6/1-6/7

First Reads from Goodreads:
A Perfect Double by Sean Cronin
Portrait Inside My Head by Phillip Lopate

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Clan Lord

Title: Clan Lord
Author: Joel Babbitt
Publisher: Author
ISBN: 9781940880013
Why Read?: First Reads
Challenges: Free Reads, 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts:  Babbitt's sci-fi world is well-imagined, even if I could not figure out exactly how the humans got to this planet filled with a flying monkey-like race, and why exact they needed them.  Razz is an interesting protagonist, although the title kind of gives away what happens to him in this first installment. 

Rating: 2 stars

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Dumbest Idea Ever!

Title: The Dumbest Idea Ever!
Author: Jimmy Gownley
Publisher: Graphix
ISBN: 978-0-545-45347-9
Why Read?: First Reads
Challenges: Graphic Novels, Free Reads, 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts:  This graphic memoir is cute and good for middle grade readers.  It has a great message about following your dreams and really made me want to check out Gownley's fictional works.

Rating: 3 stars

Grave Mercy

Title: Grave Mercy
Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Recorded Books
ISBN: 9781464023835
Why Read?: For Fun
Challenges: Audio Book, Historical Fiction, British Books, Free Reads, Author Alphabet, YA Mythology, 100 Books in a Year

Thoughts:  With a kick-ass heroine and plenty of court intrigue, Grave Mercy is a very fun read.  LaFevers has a very unique concept for this trilogy and I love how she really brought out the medieval feel with the gods of old Brittany.

Rating: 4 stars