Cleaning up the “Want to Read” Bookshelf Week #4

Current Books on “Want to Read” Bookshelf: 243 (added 11 in the last week)

I am following several book bloggers. Sometimes the books sound so good that I have to add them to my “Want to Read” shelf. This seems to be a recurring problem, so this week I will take a look at the oldest 10 books. If I delete one of the books, I will take a look at the next one until I have 10 that I will read.

Sadly, I was only able to read one book (see below), so my want to read shelf remains largely unchanged.

Books I’ve read off the WTR Shelf:

15703770Book Title: The Runaway King

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Added to WTR Shelf: November, 2012

Finished Reading February 17, 2019

Goodreads Summary: “A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom? The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King.”

Reason for Keeping: I added it back in 2012 because I had read the first book, which of course I now have to re-read. I don’t really remember reading the first book at all, so I am slightly intrigued why I thought it was so good that I had to add the 2nd and 3rd book in the series to the “Want to Read” shelf.

The link to my review is here.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 3

 

The oldest 10 books that I have decided to read:

Book #1.

17347389Book Title: The Dream Thieves

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Added to WTR Shelf: December, 2012

Goodreads Summary: “Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…”

Reason for Keeping:  Same comment as above for the Runaway King.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 3

 

Book #2

17667561Book Title: The Shadow Throne

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Added to WTR Shelf: June, 2013

Goodreads Summary: War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. But everything that can go wrong does. His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves. But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country. Along the way, will he lose what matters most? And in the end, who will sit on Carthya’s throne?

Reason for Keeping: This is the 3rd book in the series following the Runaway King. If I read the other two books, I also have to read this one.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 2

 

Book #3

18170134Book Title: NYPD Red #2

Author: James Patterson

Added to WTR Shelf: September, 2013

Goodreads Summary: “When NYPD Red arrives at a crime scene, everyone takes notice. Known as the protectors of the rich, famous, and connected, NYPD Red is the elite task force called in only for New York City’s most high-profile crimes. And Detective Zach Jordan is the best of the best, a brilliant and relentless pursuer of justice. He puts professionalism above all, ignoring his feelings for his partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald, the woman who broke his heart when they first met in the academy.

But even with their top-notch training, Zach and Kylie aren’t prepared for what they see when they’re called to a crime scene in the heart of Central Park. They arrive to find a carousel spinning round and round, its painted horses grinning eerily in the early morning dark. There is only one rider: a brutally slaughtered woman, her body tied up and dressed in a Hazmat suit, on display for the world to see.

The victim, a woman of vast wealth and even greater connections, is the fourth in a string of shocking murders that have hit the city. As the public pressure mounts, and political and personal secrets of the highest order hang in the balance, Zach and Kylie must find out what’s really behind the murderer’s rampage. But Kylie has been acting strange recently–and Zach knows whatever she’s hiding could threaten the biggest case of their careers.”

Reason for Keeping: I’ve read other books in the NYPD Red series and they are always entertaining.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 2

 

Book #4

6178648Book Title: Nothing to Envy

Author: Barbara Demick

Added to WTR Shelf: November, 2013

Goodreads Summary: “Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population.

Taking us into a landscape most of us have never before seen, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to the one government station, and where displays of affection are punished; a police state where informants are rewarded and where an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life.

Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors. Through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her six subjects—average North Korean citizens—fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we experience the moments when they realize that their government has betrayed them.

Nothing to Envy is a groundbreaking addition to the literature of totalitarianism and an eye-opening look at a closed world that is of increasing global importance.”

Reason for Keeping: The description of this book is really intriguing, which is probably why I put it on the WTR shelf in the first place. Even though the library doesn’t have a copy, I think that it is worth the $12 investment anyway.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 1

 

Book #5

12285072Book Title: Mudwoman

Author: Joyce Carol Oates

Added to WTR Shelf: January, 2014

Goodreads Summary: “Mudgirl is a child abandoned by her mother in the silty flats of the Black Snake River. Cast aside, Mudgirl survives by an accident of fate—or destiny. After her rescue, the well-meaning couple who adopt Mudgirl quarantine her poisonous history behind the barrier of their middle-class values, seemingly sealing it off forever. But the bulwark of the present proves surprisingly vulnerable to the agents of the past.

Meredith “M.R.” Neukirchen is the first woman president of an Ivy League university. Her commitment to her career and moral fervor for her role are all-consuming. Involved with a secret lover whose feelings for her are teasingly undefined, and concerned with the intensifying crisis of the American political climate as the United States edges toward war with Iraq, M.R. is confronted with challenges to her leadership that test her in ways she could not have anticipated. The fierce idealism and intelligence that delivered her from a more conventional life in her upstate New York hometown now threaten to undo her.

A reckless trip upstate thrusts M.R. Neukirchen into an unexpected psychic collision with Mudgirl and the life M.R. believes she has left behind. A powerful exploration of the enduring claims of the past, Mudwoman is at once a psychic ghost story and an intimate portrait of a woman cracking the glass ceiling at enormous personal cost, which explores the tension between childhood and adulthood, the real and the imagined, and the “public” and “private” in the life of a highly complex contemporary woman.”

Reason for Keeping: The description of the book sounds really good, and I can get the book free from the library.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 1

 

Book #6

50398

Book Title: Northanger Abbey

Author: Jane Austen

Added to WTR Shelf: September, 2014

Goodreads Summary: “Jane Austen’s first novel—published posthumously in 1818—tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen’s fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. The satirical novel pokes fun at the gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex.”

Reason for Keeping: I have read other Jane Austen books and I always like them, so why not give this one a try also?

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 1

 

Book #7

375802

Book Title: Ender’s Game

Author: Orson Scott Card

Added to WTR Shelf: May, 2015

Goodreads Summary: “Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military’s purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine’s abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth-an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails.”

Reason for Keeping: I am a big fan of Orson Scott Card and I have been meaning to read this book for a very long time.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 1

 

Book #8

127515

Book Title: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Author: Jack Finney

Added to WTR Shelf: July, 2015

Goodreads Summary: “On a quiet fall evening in the small, peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovered an insidious, horrifying plot. Silently, subtly, almost imperceptibly, alien life-forms were taking over the bodies and minds of his neighbors, his friends, his family, the woman he loved—the world as he knew it. First published in 1955, this classic thriller of the ultimate alien invasion and the triumph of the human spirit over an invisible enemy inspired three major motion pictures.”

Reason for Keeping: This is a classic sci-fi book, and one that I have been meaning to read for a very long time.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 1

 

Book #9

26827675

Book Title: Troublemaker

Author: Leah Remini

Added to WTR Shelf: November, 2015

Goodreads Summary: “The outspoken actress, talk show host, and reality television star offers up a no-holds-barred memoir, including an eye-opening insider account of her tumultuous and heart-wrenching thirty-year-plus association with the Church of Scientology. Leah Remini has never been the type to hold her tongue. That willingness to speak her mind, stand her ground, and rattle the occasional cage has enabled this tough-talking girl from Brooklyn to forge an enduring and successful career in Hollywood. But being a troublemaker has come at a cost.

That was never more evident than in 2013, when Remini loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. Now, in this frank, funny, poignant memoir, the former King of Queens star opens up about that experience for the first time, revealing the in-depth details of her painful split with the church and its controversial practices.

Indoctrinated into the church as a child while living with her mother and sister in New York, Remini eventually moved to Los Angeles, where her dreams of becoming an actress and advancing Scientology’s causes grew increasingly intertwined. As an adult, she found the success she’d worked so hard for, and with it a prominent place in the hierarchy of celebrity Scientologists alongside people such as Tom Cruise, Scientology’s most high-profile adherent. Remini spent time directly with Cruise and was included among the guests at his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes.

But when she began to raise questions about some of the church’s actions, she found herself a target. In the end, she was declared by the church to be a threat to their organization and therefore a “Suppressive Person,” and as a result, all of her fellow parishioners—including members of her own family—were told to disconnect from her. Forever.

Bold, brash, and bravely confessional, Troublemaker chronicles Leah Remini’s remarkable journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom, both for herself and for her family. This is a memoir designed to reveal the hard-won truths of a life lived honestly—from an author unafraid of the consequences.”

Reason for Keeping: I originally added this book to the WTR shelf because I was intrigued by the inner workings of scientology. I am still intrigued and feel that this book might be similar to Educated by Tara Westover, which I really liked.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 1

 

Book #10

22609485

Book Title: The Soul of an Octopus

Author: Sy Montgomery

Added to WTR Shelf: November, 2015

Goodreads Summary: “In pursuit of the wild, solitary, predatory octopus, popular naturalist Sy Montgomery has practiced true immersion journalism. From New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, she has befriended octopuses with strikingly different personalities—gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma. Each creature shows her cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures like an orangutan; jetting water to bounce balls; and endlessly tricking companions with multiple “sleights of hand” to get food.

Scientists have only recently accepted the intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees but now are watching octopuses solve problems and are trying to decipher the meaning of the animal’s color-changing techniques. With her “joyful passion for these intelligent and fascinating creatures” (Library Journal Editors’ Spring Pick), Montgomery chronicles the growing appreciation of this mollusk as she tells a unique love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopusreveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.”

Reason for Keeping: I purchased this book back in 2015 because I was going to write a book with a main character as an octopus. I read about half of it before I got into other books, and didn’t have time anymore. I never picked it up again. However, since I own this book, and because the book was good, I will finish reading it.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 0

BOOK REVIEW: The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

15703770Title: The Runaway King

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Book Length (Audiobook): 8 hours 27 mins

Rating: X out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: The Runaway King is the sequel to the False Prince (see my review of the False Prince here). First, I guess I should explain that Sage the orphan from the first book was really Prince Jaron in disguise. At the end of the book, he reveals his true identity, and takes his rightful place on the throne. At the beginning of The Runaway King, King Jaron has been king for 1 month, and everything is already in shambles. The Princess who was betrothed to his older brother Darius, is now betrothed to Jaron. The only problem is that the two of them dislike each other, and she is courting favor and winning allies among Jaron’s regents (behind his back).

At the funeral of Jaron’s family, Roden (one of the other orphans from the first book) tries to assassinate Jaron. It is discovered that the pirates (who everyone thought killed Jaron in the first book) are trying to kill him again — and it is possible that they are being paid to do so by another country, which has neighboring lands to Carthya. This neighboring country is on the brink of declaring war against Carthya. Jaron, not knowing who to trust (and because the regents decide to put a Steward in place until Jaron comes of age), leaves the castle and becomes “The Runaway King.” His plan in to infiltrate the pirates and to stop the coming war, or to at least be better prepared.

My Review: I liked this book. It was entertaining and was a fast paced story. However, it didn’t have the same “I need to get to the ending as fast as possible to find out what’s happening” pull as the first book did. The reader knows that Jaron is hiding as “Sage”, and knows what Jaron intends to do. The book is about the unfolding of these plans. Since there is a third book, I could only assume that Jaron would pull off whatever scheme he cooked up — and I had no illusions that it would be like Game of Thrones where the author killed off my most favorite characters because it would happen like that in real life. This is a YA book after all.

One of the things that I don’t like about YA in general, is the age of the main characters. Jaron is supposed to be 14 years old, but acts like he’s 34. Maybe I am just showing my age a bit, but I don’t remember being so capable when I was 14. Another thing that struck me as weird, is the Imogen / Jaron relationship. They are friends, but also more? This did not seem well fleshed out, but rather only mentioned in a few lines of dialogue toward the end of the book. It left me confused as to whether they did have romantic feelings for each other, or was it really only a friendship? Maybe this will be explained in the 3rd book.

The Audiobook Recording: Nothing special to report.

 

BOOK REVIEW: A Walk Through Hell, Volume 1 by Garth Ennis

42199506

Title: A Walk Through Hell, Volume 1

Author: by Garth Ennis and Goran Sudzuka (Artist)

Book Length: 129 pages

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Comic, Horror, Mystery

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: When two federal agents go missing inside a warehouse, FBI Agents McGregor and Shaw go in to find them. They soon realize that what they walked into is not just an ordinary warehouse, but a fun house…for insane people. If it wasn’t creepy enough to fall unconscious and wake up without a pulse, the two FBI agents find one of the missing agents blowing his own head off again and again like some gruesome version of ground-hogs day. Will they ever make it out alive?

My Review: The artwork was really good, and the overall story was creepy as hell. The story alternates from a past case that the partners were working on, which is somehow related to them being stuck in the warehouse. The back and forth between the past case and the scenes in the warehouse got a little confusing at times, but it all pulled together in the end. As this is only Volume 1, I would be curious to see what Volume 2 holds in store for the two agents.

Professional Reader

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Talking with Psychopaths and Savages by Christopher Berry-Dee

32713413Title: Talking with Psychopaths and Savages

Author: Christopher Berry-Dee

Book Length: 292 pages

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Psychology, True Crime

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: Criminologist Christopher Berry-Dee goes deep inside the mind of the world’s most sick ,sadistic and predatory people alive. The author introduces the book as follows “Welcome to ‘Christopher World’, with a gilt-edged invitation to take you on a journey for, dare I say that I am your ‘tour guide’ on a road trip into the deeply disturbing and darkest recesses, the abyss of the minds of psychopaths and savages, because now that you are reading this book, you are coming with me, like it or not!” The author discussed the differences between “psychopath” and “savage”, fleshing out his thesis using 9 “case studies” on some of the most vile and violent people on Earth.

My Review: Although I found the crime details thoroughly disturbing, there is also something surreal, and therefore fascinating (all be it in a negative way), about people who kill without empathy or remorse. I have a hard time killing a spider, so I cannot even imagine how someone can be capable of killing another human being, and then acting like it was nothing. The concept of harming another person is completely alien to me, and somehow, because of this, I was able to disassociate a bit from the narrative, and see it more as a story rather than the facts of a real life crime. To not disassociate, would have certainly led to agoraphobia. These psyhopaths are outwardly just ‘normal’ people…they could be anyone!

This book dives into what makes these people tick — what drives them to kill. “And what motivates the psychopath is the desire to take what he, or she, wants regardless of the consequences. He is insensitive to all but his own needs; his inability to recognise the needs or rights of others means that he sweeps them casually aside or simply uses them for his own ends.”

In telling the story of John Cannan, a British robber, serial rapist and murderer, the author paints the following horrifying picture “The dark hair is well groomed…He is dressed immaculately…His voice is soft, almost upper-class…Confident, he is seemingly a worldly person who could almost certainly hold his own in any company…So far so good, for there is nothing to worry about in what you see in John, is there? But ‘Buyer Beware’, because what he portrays is a mask , when everything behind it can be demonstrably monstrous. He is like a fake Rolex watch — all shiny and false — then, when you rewind it, the spring breaks, and savagery is released.”

Shiver. Puts a whole new perspective on internet dating, doesn’t it?

If you like to read true crime novels, or just like to be plain scared, then this book is for you.

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

12432220Title: The False Prince

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Book Length (Audiobook): 8 hours 15 mins

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: The King, Queen, and Crown Prince are dead, and the (now) heir to the throne, the youngest son of the King, is presumed dead (although no body has ever been found). Carthya is on the brink of civil war when nobleman Connor takes orphan boys Sage, Roden, and Tobias to his estate to train them for the biggest con job in history. Each of these boys will compete to impersonate Jaron, the lost prince. The boy who wins the competition will become King, but for those boys who lose, only death awaits.

My Review/Expectations: Honestly, I was very surprised to like this book as much as I did. I had originally read it back in 2012, and am reading it again so that I can read the 2nd and 3rd books in the series (which are part of the top 10 oldest books on my Want to Read Shelf). The story of this book is fun and entertaining, and I found myself eager to continue listening to it. Sage is of course the front-runner (and the main character), so it was obvious from the beginning that he was going to be chosen by Connor to be the False Prince, but this didn’t lessen the quality of the overall story. The writing is good, but easy, so I was able to breeze through in a few days at 1.6x times the normal speed (Audiobook).

There was a plot twist at the end, but I saw it coming a mile away. This could have been because I had read the book before (even though I didn’t remember anything about the story), or maybe there were just numerous hints throughout the book…but I would say that this added to the story rather than detracted. I kept waiting for the big reveal!

I would definitely recommend this book.

The Audiobook Recording: Nothing special to report.

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Feb 12 2019: Favorite Couples In Books

via Top Ten Tuesday – The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

As per That Artsy Reader Girl’s Blog, “Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

I assign each Tuesday a topic and then post my top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join me and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.

February 12: Favorite Couples In Books

I can’t think of any more than 6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cleaning up the “Want to Read” Bookshelf Week #3

Current Books on “Want to Read” Bookshelf: 232 (added 5 in the last week)

I am following several book bloggers. Sometimes the books sound so good that I have to add them to my “Want to Read” shelf. This seems to be a recurring problem, so this week I will take a look at the oldest 10 books. If I delete one of the books, I will take a look at the next one until I have 10 that I will read.

The books I deleted this week:

1. The Soul by Stephanie Meyer. I added the book to the WTR shelf in September, 2013. I am deleting it because it was never written by the author. It was supposed to be the 3rd book of The Host series.

2. Ice by James Follett. Turns out that I already read this book in 2017 in paperback (I own the book), but that I also had it on my WTR in its kindle format.

3. The Birth of Korean Cool by Euny Hong. I added this to the WTR shelf in August 2014. The library does not have a copy, and I have so many other books on the list to read, I decided not to keep it.

4. Adultery by Paulo Coelho. I added this to the WTR shelf in August, 2014. The library doesn’t have a copy, and I remember not really liking The Alchemist all that much.

5. We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas. I added this to the WTR shelf in August, 2014. The library doesn’t have a copy, and I’ve read a lot of books like it.

6. Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park by Lee H. Whittlesey. I added this book to the WTR shelf in May 2015 when I was visiting Yellowstone with my boyfriend. It was being sold at one of the gift shops. I added it to the WTR shelf so that I could check if I could get it for free at the library. Since I cannot, I will delete it.

7. Shadow Mountain: A Memoir of Wolves, a Woman, and the Wild by Renee Askins. Same reason as #6 above.

8. Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance: Same reason as #6 above.

9. American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation by Eric Rutkow. Same reason as #6 above.

The oldest 10 books that I have decided to read:

Book #1.

15703770Book Title: The Runaway King

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Added to WTR Shelf: November, 2012

Goodreads Summary: “A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom? The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King.”

Reason for Keeping: I added it back in 2012 because I had read the first book, which of course I now have to re-read. I don’t really remember reading the first book at all, so I am slightly intrigued why I thought it was so good that I had to add the 2nd and 3rd book in the series to the “Want to Read” shelf.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 2

 

Book #2.

17347389Book Title: The Dream Thieves

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Added to WTR Shelf: December, 2012

Goodreads Summary: “Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…”

Reason for Keeping:  Same comment as above for the Runaway King.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 2

 

Book #3.

17667561Book Title: The Shadow Throne

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Added to WTR Shelf: June, 2013

Goodreads Summary: War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. But everything that can go wrong does. His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves. But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country. Along the way, will he lose what matters most? And in the end, who will sit on Carthya’s throne?

Reason for Keeping: This is the 3rd book in the series following the Runaway King. If I read the other two books, I also have to read this one.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 1

 

Book #4.

18170134Book Title: NYPD Red #2

Author: James Patterson

Added to WTR Shelf: September, 2013

Goodreads Summary: “When NYPD Red arrives at a crime scene, everyone takes notice. Known as the protectors of the rich, famous, and connected, NYPD Red is the elite task force called in only for New York City’s most high-profile crimes. And Detective Zach Jordan is the best of the best, a brilliant and relentless pursuer of justice. He puts professionalism above all, ignoring his feelings for his partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald, the woman who broke his heart when they first met in the academy.

But even with their top-notch training, Zach and Kylie aren’t prepared for what they see when they’re called to a crime scene in the heart of Central Park. They arrive to find a carousel spinning round and round, its painted horses grinning eerily in the early morning dark. There is only one rider: a brutally slaughtered woman, her body tied up and dressed in a Hazmat suit, on display for the world to see.

The victim, a woman of vast wealth and even greater connections, is the fourth in a string of shocking murders that have hit the city. As the public pressure mounts, and political and personal secrets of the highest order hang in the balance, Zach and Kylie must find out what’s really behind the murderer’s rampage. But Kylie has been acting strange recently–and Zach knows whatever she’s hiding could threaten the biggest case of their careers.”

Reason for Keeping: I’ve read other books in the NYPD Red series and they are always entertaining.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 1

 

Book #5.

6178648Book Title: Nothing to Envy

Author: Barbara Demick

Added to WTR Shelf: November, 2013

Goodreads Summary: “Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population.

Taking us into a landscape most of us have never before seen, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to the one government station, and where displays of affection are punished; a police state where informants are rewarded and where an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life.

Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors. Through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her six subjects—average North Korean citizens—fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we experience the moments when they realize that their government has betrayed them.

Nothing to Envy is a groundbreaking addition to the literature of totalitarianism and an eye-opening look at a closed world that is of increasing global importance.”

Reason for Keeping: The description of this book is really intriguing, which is probably why I put it on the WTR shelf in the first place. Even though the library doesn’t have a copy, I think that it is worth the $12 investment anyway.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 0

 

Book #6

12285072Book Title: Mudwoman

Author: Joyce Carol Oates

Added to WTR Shelf: January, 2014

Goodreads Summary: “Mudgirl is a child abandoned by her mother in the silty flats of the Black Snake River. Cast aside, Mudgirl survives by an accident of fate—or destiny. After her rescue, the well-meaning couple who adopt Mudgirl quarantine her poisonous history behind the barrier of their middle-class values, seemingly sealing it off forever. But the bulwark of the present proves surprisingly vulnerable to the agents of the past.

Meredith “M.R.” Neukirchen is the first woman president of an Ivy League university. Her commitment to her career and moral fervor for her role are all-consuming. Involved with a secret lover whose feelings for her are teasingly undefined, and concerned with the intensifying crisis of the American political climate as the United States edges toward war with Iraq, M.R. is confronted with challenges to her leadership that test her in ways she could not have anticipated. The fierce idealism and intelligence that delivered her from a more conventional life in her upstate New York hometown now threaten to undo her.

A reckless trip upstate thrusts M.R. Neukirchen into an unexpected psychic collision with Mudgirl and the life M.R. believes she has left behind. A powerful exploration of the enduring claims of the past, Mudwoman is at once a psychic ghost story and an intimate portrait of a woman cracking the glass ceiling at enormous personal cost, which explores the tension between childhood and adulthood, the real and the imagined, and the “public” and “private” in the life of a highly complex contemporary woman.”

Reason for Keeping: The description of the book sounds really good, and I can get the book free from the library.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 0

 

Book #7

50398

Book Title: Northanger Abbey

Author: Jane Austen

Added to WTR Shelf: September, 2014

Goodreads Summary: “Jane Austen’s first novel—published posthumously in 1818—tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen’s fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. The satirical novel pokes fun at the gothic novel while earnestly emphasizing caution to the female sex.”

Reason for Keeping: I have read other Jane Austen books and I always like them, so why not give this one a try also?

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 0

 

Book #8

375802

Book Title: Ender’s Game

Author: Orson Scott Card

Added to WTR Shelf: May, 2015

Goodreads Summary: “Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military’s purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine’s abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth-an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails.”

Reason for Keeping: I am a big fan of Orson Scott Card and I have been meaning to read this book for a very long time.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 0

 

Book #9

127515

Book Title: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Author: Jack Finney

Added to WTR Shelf: July, 2015

Goodreads Summary: “On a quiet fall evening in the small, peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovered an insidious, horrifying plot. Silently, subtly, almost imperceptibly, alien life-forms were taking over the bodies and minds of his neighbors, his friends, his family, the woman he loved—the world as he knew it. First published in 1955, this classic thriller of the ultimate alien invasion and the triumph of the human spirit over an invisible enemy inspired three major motion pictures.”

Reason for Keeping: This is a classic sci-fi book, and one that I have been meaning to read for a very long time.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 0

 

Book #10

26827675

Book Title: Troublemaker

Author: Leah Remini

Added to WTR Shelf: November, 2015

Goodreads Summary: “The outspoken actress, talk show host, and reality television star offers up a no-holds-barred memoir, including an eye-opening insider account of her tumultuous and heart-wrenching thirty-year-plus association with the Church of Scientology. Leah Remini has never been the type to hold her tongue. That willingness to speak her mind, stand her ground, and rattle the occasional cage has enabled this tough-talking girl from Brooklyn to forge an enduring and successful career in Hollywood. But being a troublemaker has come at a cost.

That was never more evident than in 2013, when Remini loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. Now, in this frank, funny, poignant memoir, the former King of Queens star opens up about that experience for the first time, revealing the in-depth details of her painful split with the church and its controversial practices.

Indoctrinated into the church as a child while living with her mother and sister in New York, Remini eventually moved to Los Angeles, where her dreams of becoming an actress and advancing Scientology’s causes grew increasingly intertwined. As an adult, she found the success she’d worked so hard for, and with it a prominent place in the hierarchy of celebrity Scientologists alongside people such as Tom Cruise, Scientology’s most high-profile adherent. Remini spent time directly with Cruise and was included among the guests at his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes.

But when she began to raise questions about some of the church’s actions, she found herself a target. In the end, she was declared by the church to be a threat to their organization and therefore a “Suppressive Person,” and as a result, all of her fellow parishioners—including members of her own family—were told to disconnect from her. Forever.

Bold, brash, and bravely confessional, Troublemaker chronicles Leah Remini’s remarkable journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom, both for herself and for her family. This is a memoir designed to reveal the hard-won truths of a life lived honestly—from an author unafraid of the consequences.”

Reason for Keeping: I originally added this book to the WTR shelf because I was intrigued by the inner workings of scientology. I am still intrigued and feel that this book might be similar to Educated by Tara Westover, which I really liked.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 0

 

 

 

Cleaning up the “Want to Read” Bookshelf Week #2

Current Books on “Want to Read” Bookshelf: 227

I am following several book bloggers. Sometimes the books sound so good that I have to add them to my “Want to Read” shelf.

The Oldest 5 Books:

1.

Book Title: The Runaway King

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Added to WTR Shelf: November, 2012

Deleted/Read: I have decided to read this book. I added it back in 2012 because I had read the first book, which of course I now have to re-read. I don’t really remember reading the first book at all, so I am slightly intrigued why I thought it was so good that I had to add the 2nd and 3rd book in the series to the “Want to Read” shelf.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 1

Link: Goodreads

2.

Book Title: The Dream Thieves

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Added to WTR Shelf: December, 2012

Deleted / Read:  Same comment as above.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 1

Link: Goodreads

3.

Book Title: The Shadow Throne

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Added to WTR Shelf: June, 2013

Deleted / Read: This is the 3rd book in the series following the Runaway King.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 0

Link: Goodreads

4.

Book Title: The Seeker (this book was actually never written)

Author: Stephanie Meyer

Added to WTR Shelf: August, 2013

Deleted / Read: I deleted this book from the “Want to Read” shelf on February 3, 2019. I first added it back in 2013, because I guess there was a rumor that Stephanie Meyer was planning to write a sequel to The Host. Since then, nothing has materialized, so I think its time to give up the ghost. I didn’t really like the Host anyway (way too boring), so no real loss here.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 0

Link: Goodreads

5.

Book Title: NYPD Red #2

Author: James Patterson

Added to WTR Shelf: September, 2013

Deleted / Read: I’ve decided to read this book. I’ve read other books in the NYPD Red series and they are always entertaining.

Weeks on the Clean Up List: 0

Link: Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Reading Challenge Progress: January, 2019

I’m participating in two reading challenges in 2019. First, I have dedicated myself to reading 100 books this year on Goodreads. Last year I only made it to 70, so I am hoping that this year I can make it all the way to 100. See my current progress here.

Since 100 books is quite a lot, I have challenged myself to read 52 Books in 52 Weeks, in accordance with the following categories. This will challenge me to step outside my normal comfort zone and explore books that I otherwise would not read. See my current progress below.

Category

Book Chosen

Date

1. Book published in 2019
2. Author you’ve never heard of The Moor by Sam Haysom. See my review here. Jan. 26 2019
3. A book you’ve read before
4. Book with a strong female lead
5. A play
6. A book set in Southern USA
7. A memoir on someone you admire Becoming by Michelle Obama. See my review here. Jan. 27 2019
8. Set in the Victorian Era
9. Character with career you wish you had
10. A plant on the cover
11. Published the year you graduated school
12. A graphic novel
13. Featuring music
14. An ugly cover

Category

Book Chosen

Date

15. A teen as the main character
16. The re-telling of a well-known story
17. Set during a holiday
18. Book picked out by someone else
19. Gothic Fiction novel
20. A book about time-travel
21. A title starting with the letter “J”
22. Fantasy novel
23. True crime novel
24. A self-published book
25. The name of a color in the title Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth. See my review here. Jan. 31 2019
26. A one word title
27. A book that makes you mad
28. A book that discusses mental health
29. A book published by HarperCollins

Category

Book Chosen

Date

30. An author who uses initials
31. A book that everyone’s talking about
32. A western
33. A book about a cult
34. Nominated for (but didn’t win) the 2018 Goodreads choice awards
35. A sports related book
36. A humorous novel
37. Set in South America
38. An allegorical book
39. Military Related: fiction or non-fiction
40. A character that is an immigrant
41. A book suggested by someone else in the challenge
42. A family member’s favourite book
43. A children’s book
44. An author who uses a pseudonym

Category

Book Chosen

Date

45. A “beach read”
46. The first book you see in a bookstore / library
47. Set in a country you’ve visited
48. Set in a post-apocalyptic world
49. A speed read
50. A fairy tale
51. A book about organized crime / the mob
52. An audiobook Educated by Tara Westover. See my review here. Jan. 14 2019

BOOK REVIEW: The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

35097255

Title: The President is Missing

Author: Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Book Length (Audiobook): 13 hours 5 mins

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Thrillers, Fiction

LinkGoodreads

Brief Summary of the Plot: US President John Lincoln Duncan has huge problems. When the book opens, he is rehearsing for an impeachment hearing (I guess Bill Clinton’s experience came in handy for these scenes). Duncan is being alleged both with negotiating with known terrorist Suliman Cindoruk, (the leader of a group called the Sons of Jihad), and then later calling off the assassination of Cindoruk. In addition to these personal troubles, the United States is facing an imminent threat from the Sons of Jihad, who plan to launch a devastating cyber attack (a.k.a. “Dark Ages”) against the United States.

Duncan becomes aware of this sinister plot against the United States when a woman with insider knowledge approaches Duncan’s daughter at school to deliver a message about Dark Ages. The message basically reveals that there is a mole in the White House (because no one outside of a few people knew of it). In an effort to save the day, the President doesn’t go “missing” as much as he goes incognito, disguising himself with the help of his deceased wife’s friend, who is conveniently a famous actress (doesn’t everyone have such a friend?). He isn’t missing because his secret service team figures out where he is going and follows him. Additionally, he remains in contact with various people in his cabinet.

As he remains in “undisclosed” locations, the cyber attacks on various locations begin, building up to the final event. Will President Duncan be able to foil the plot in time to save the country?

The Writing: As with most Patterson books, the writing has a “fun beach read” quality. I couldn’t really tell where Bill Clinton’s influence might have come in, except for the descriptions of the White House and some of the more political aspects. I felt it was written mostly by Patterson, but Bill Clinton was given a prominent by-line due to his famous status. It was clear that Bill Clinton wrote the last speech given by Duncan at the end of the book. Even though I have liberal leanings, the speech was a big turn off. Please don’t preach at me in my fiction book that I read for fun.

The Audiobook Recording: The Audiobook is read by several people, including Denis Quad (who plays the President). I find his impression of a Russian, Israeli and German to be flat-out hilarious. They do not even remotely sound correct (and I live in Austria and work with Austrians and Germans, so I know what I am talking about). The Israeli (woman) impression, sounds like a botched attempt at a Mel Brooks movie. Additionally, the classical music which was played during the assassin scenes was distracting, and often played over the words so it was actually hard to hear what was happening in the book.

Expectations: My expectations were met. Since I’ve read many Patterson books, I knew what to expect, and I knew what I was getting into.

Recommendation: Would I recommend this book? Sure, if you are looking for a book that is a fast, easy, and entertaining read. I usually read Patterson books on the beach, or on the plane. I read this book while running / walking, or doing chores around the house.