Tag Archives: Reading Challenge

Series Catch-Up Mini Challenge: Series Finale – The Maze Runner

SeriesCatchUp

Time for Series Catch-Up Mini Challenge #2: Series Finale. Which series did you wrap up completely during this challenge? How did you feel about the series as a whole? Have you read any other books from this author outside of the series?

Let’s talk about THE MAZE RUNNER series. 

So The Maze Runner. This has been one roller coaster of a ride for me since I first read TMR back in March of 2012. I actually really enjoyed it. I was super curious so then I picked up The Scorch Trials which I loved! Then the roller coaster started to go downhill. And fast. Let’s take a look…

Each cover photo will lead you to my review for the book! Please be aware that if you haven’t read the whole series there may be some mild spoilers once you start reading about later books in the series.

The Maze Runner (March 2012): I first picked up The Maze Runner back in March. I was looking for another dystopian because 2012 was a seriously dystopian kick for me! I’d heard a lot of good things about this series and I needed to know for myself. I think the beginning started out a little slowly, but once the action started to pick up, I couldn’t tear myself away! I think the one thing I really had a problem with was the Grievers because honestly… Even in a future world, what kind of creature is that? That was the one thing that I couldn’t quite get on board with, but I was hoping for some interesting answers in future books. I was invested in Thomas’s story and I needed to know how book two would play out!

The Scorch Trials (June 2012): I dove into The Scorch Trials and rushed through it. I really loved the second book in this series. I was captivated, interested, and even more sucked in by the questions that TST brought up. I liked it so much more than TMR – And I had really, really liked the first book! That made me even MORE excited for the last book in the series…. And that was where I went very, very wrong.

The Death Cure (September 2012): The Death Cure was just kind of one big disappointment. There were SO many questions and mysteries that popped up and *SPOILER ALERT* people have the chance to get their memories back!! So WHY was I left hanging? I had so many complaints and still so many questions after the book was over. And that was it! I was just really disappointed that this was how the whole series wrapped up and I just felt like I needed a few more answers. My opinion went from “Yes, read this series!” to “I don’t think I can recommend this anymore.”

The Kill Order (December 2012): After my disappointment with TDC, I never should have picked up TKO. I was not impressed with it at all. I didn’t feel like it was really a part of the series, and I felt like it was seriously lacking a good plot. I didn’t like the characters and I was tired of hearing about the Flare. I came to a point about halfway through where I put it down and never picked it back up again. I was forcing myself to push through it and I just didn’t want to do that, so I marked it as DNF and wallowed in how much I was let down by the last few installments to The Maze Runner series.

Favorite book of the series: The Scorch Trials

Least favorite book of the series: The Kill Order

Movies?: Is there a movie in the mix?? Despite my disappointment in the end, I’d definitely be interested in seeing this series as a movie!

Would I re-read?: Nope.

Bonus
: I love the covers!! Each one is so detailed and colorful.

Link up your mini-challenge post below! What series did you finish up?


Series Catch-Up Mini Challenge: Favorite Series Highlight – Vampire Academy

SeriesCatchUp

Time for Series Catch-Up Mini Challenge #1: Highlighting a favorite series of mine. While we all know that I could go on an on about Harry Potter as my favorites series (and really, I have many, many times) so I thought I could choose a different series to talk about.

Let’s talk about THE VAMPIRE ACADEMY series. 

I actually still haven’t finished the series yet. As part of the Series Catch-Up Challenge, I want to finish book six by the end of the year. When I first thought about this mini challenge, I was planning on picking a series that I had already finished, but I realized I didn’t want to gush over Harry Potter again because let’s face it – I can do that all day. We all could. I wanted to pick a series that was more recent and also fresh in my mind (so that ruled out the Hunger Games as well because I can barely remember what happened in books two and three). I just started the Vampire Academy series this year and I’ll finish the whole series in the 2012 calendar year!

Each cover photo will lead you to my review for the book! Please be aware that if you haven’t read the whole series there may be some mild spoilers once you start reading about later books in the series.

Vampire Academy (Feb 2012): I first picked up Vampire Academy when I borrowed it from my friend Lisa back in February 2012. I was really hesitant about starting it because at that point in time I was “so over” the whole vampire scene and I was getting tired of hearing the same vampire plot lines over and over again. Lisa vouched for it and I decided to give it a shot. To my surprise I ended up really, really enjoying it! I loved how Richelle Mead came up with a variation on the traditional vampire idea. I also loved the Rose-Dimitri relationship. I was immediately intrigued and extremely interested in picking up the next book of the series!

Frostbite (Jun 2012): I finally got a copy of Frostbite and decided to read it in June – I think I originally got it from Book Mooch. I was so excited to see a different kind of adventure and action take off in Frostbite. We get a bit more character development – also when we’re first introduced to Adrian who becomes another major character in the series. In Frostbite we also got to find out a lot more about the Strigoi which turns out to lead to a huge twist in events. This book was also the first of many, many WTF moments that Richelle Mead seems to incorporate into the Vampire Academy series. I laughed, I cried, I finished the book thinking “I gotta have more!!”

Shadow Kiss (Sep 2012): Once I figured out I could borrow ebooks from the library as well as physical copies, I browsed through the selections and found Shadow Kiss! I actually read this one in my free time at work (which my work totally did not know about) and quite a bit of work got negelected because Shadow Kiss was an amazing story. I couldn’t wait to find out what the truth was behind Rose’s visions and if the ghost story had any truth behind it. Then once again, I had the biggest WTF moment of the series so far. Oh. My. God. Even though I’ve finished the fifth book, I still can’t believe that twist was even considered much less executed in the book.

Blood Promise (Oct 2012): Once I was done with Shadow Kiss, I knew I had to jump on Blood Promise. There was no way I could leave that ending open for long and I HAD to know what happened. Unfortunately I felt like the beginning of the book was a little hard to get into and I was still on a high from the last the book and I was DYING for answers. I also felt a little lost with the book taking place in Russia. I felt like it just was too far removed from the original characters and the setting – I just got lost in Russia and then the plot was a little weird for me for a while. Don’t get me wrong – I still enjoyed it – but after the first three books, I think I was just expecting a whole lot more!

Spirit Bound (Nov 2012): Spirit Bound was one of the first books I decided to read for the Series Catch-Up Challenge. This was the series I wanted to finish the most! Although I was a bit disappointed with book four, I was still terribly curious to find out WHAT THE HECK was going to happen with this plot! At this point, I couldn’t tell where it was going and how this was going to end. Finally at the end of this book, I got to see the big picture and what was once broken in the previous books, we get to see pieced back together, but not without a price. It was really interesting to see some serious advancements in the magic and awareness of such. We really get to see the Moroi figure out many secrets of the spirit and that also takes us to another major plot twist!

Now I’m reeling for book six which will be one that I pick up before the year is out because I HAVE to know what happens!!! I have to finish one book that I promised to review before the year is out and I had just started The Kill Order which is the prequel to The Maze Runner series, after writing this post, I cannot wait to get Last Sacrifice! I’m getting more and more excited to finish the series.

Favorite book of the series: Shadow Kiss. With a HUGE twist at the end and a lot more history about the entire background of the Moroi/Dhampirs/Strigoi, I found myself most interested and engrossed in this book. I really couldn’t stop reading and I felt like I got the most plot out of this book!

Least favorite book of the series: Blood Promise. I didn’t dislike it by any means, but I felt like this book was a bit slower than the others and with it taking place almost entirely in Russia, I just felt a bit lost. The plot also took kind of a weird turn for me and I was hoping for a bit more action than there was compared to the previous books.

Movies?: While I haven’t heard of any movie adaptations proposed for the series, I definitely would love to see the Vampire Academy series on the big screen! I think it would be excellent to see everything unfold in a movie and I think I’d be a lot more creeped out by actually seeing the Strigoi.  Then again, I would really hate for it to get compared to the Twilight series by the masses and I know it would be. I’m sure even as a book series it’s gotten compared to Twilight, which it really is nothing like it, in my opinion.

Would I re-read?: In all honesty, I probably wouldn’t re-read the series. I really do love it, but the books are just so long and involve so much time that with all of the books I have now to read, I would never have time to re-read all of these books! Actually, I think the only way I might re-read is if they actually did make movies out of the books. I always re-read (or read for the first time) any book that’s being adapted to the big screen so I have the story fresh in my mind. Without that push, I just wouldn’t have the time to read all of the books again! 

Link up your mini-challenge post below! What series did you pick to highlight? What favorite series did you share with us? 


Reading Challenge #2: A-Z Title Challenge

It’s almost book day! It’s almost book day! I got the notice yesterday that my plethora of new books have been delivered to the front office at my apartment complex! Too bad the front office is only open until 5 everyday except for Wednesday… Makes it hard for us working chumps to ever pick up packages! But Wednesday they’re open until 6, so tomorrow is book bonanza!

Until then, I started looking at a new reading challenge, which if I work retroactively, I’ve actually already almost completed. And so begins…

ALPHABET/A-Z TITLE CHALLENGE: Read a book whose title begins with each letter of the alphabet. Mysteries only – Trying not to repeat authors as much as possible!

A- A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone #1) by Sue Grafton
B- Body Movers (Body Movers #1) by Stephanie Bond
C- Candy Apple Red (Jane Kelly #1) by Nancy Bush
D- Dating Dead Men by (Wollie Shelley #1) by Harley Jane Kozak
E- Eleven on Top (Stephanie Plum #11) by Janet Evanovich
F- Fudge Cupcake Murder (Hannah Swensen #5) by Joanne Fluke
G- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) by Stieg Larsson
H- Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz
I- Immortal In Death (In Death #3) by J.D. Robb
J- The Jinx (Rachel Benjamin #2) by Jennifer Sturman
K- The Key (Rachel Benjamin #3) by Jennifer Sturman
L- Lye In Wait (Home Crafting Mystery #1) by Cricket McRae
M- Murder Is Binding (Booktown Mystery #1) by Lorna Barrett
N- Naked In Death (In Death #1) by J.D. Robb
O- One For the Money (Stephanie Plum #1) by Janet Evanovich
P- Peach Cobbler Murder (Hannah Swensen #7) by Joanne Fluke
Q-
R- Revenge of the Spellmans (The Spellmans #3) by Lisa Lutz
S- Size 12 is Not Fat (Heather Wells #1) by Meg Cabot
T- This Pen For Hire (Jaine Austen #1) by Laura Levine (does “this” count for T?)
U-
V- A Vision of Murder (Psychic Mystery #3) by Victoria Laurie
W- Whiskey Sour (Jack Daniels #1) by J.A. Konrath
X-
Y-
Z-

So far this is a compilation of all the books I’ve ever read. I think once I complete them all, I’ll start over and try to do so in a year’s time frame! Not sure where I’ll find an X though… That might be hard!

Reading Challenge #1: Mysteries from each US State

So I haven’t really done a reading challenge before besides a goal for how many books to read in the year (so far 2012’s goal is 90 books. I’m hoping to surpass and actually get to 100!). I was browsing in the Cozy Mystery group that I joined on GoodReads and I saw this challenge and thought what a great idea it was! It’ll help me expand on the kind of mysteries I’m reading and give me some distinct goals instead of aimlessly hopping around from one book to the next as well as expanding my horizons on new authors, new settings, and even new time periods.

Rules: Read at least one mystery set in each one of the states. No particular time limit.

Here’s what I have so far:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California – Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida – B is For Burglar by Sue Grafton (although this only half takes place in FL. Does that count?)
Georgia – Body Movers by Stephanie Bond
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois – Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana – Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts – The Square Root of Murder by Ada Madison
Michigan – A Vision of Murder by Victoria Laurie
Minnesota – Cherry Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire – Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett
New Jersey – Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich
New Mexico
New York – Vengeance in Death by JD Robb
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon – Candy Apple Red by Nancy Bush
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia – Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews
Washington – Lye In Wait by Cricket McRae
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Hmmm, well… It’s not much! Difficult when I read a series and it all takes place in one spot, plus the multiple ones that take place in NY and CA. I’ll have to update periodically when I get some more books under my belt!