Monday, December 23, 2013

2014 Challenge

Ready for a new challenge?

This year we will be stretching out reading boundaries a little bit more!  If you thought 2013 was tough, wait until you see this list!  You will definitely be reading Outside the Box this time around!  I had fun making up the categories and added one just for YOU!  Make up your category and share it with the rest of us!  I will ADD them to the list and allow people to chose the one you made up, or their own!

I hope you have fun!  In 2014, I will also be better at getting the posts up for you to share your reviews.  And we will have a Wrap-Up in December, so that everyone can see what you read in one simple post!

Here are the Categories 
(to see what you are getting yourself in to this year!)

Classics are the new black – read a classic novel
It’s a serial thing – you’ve read the first in a series (or even three of them), it’s time to read another!
Lost in translation – time to read a book that was first written in another language and then translated.
It’s about time! – read a book that has been sitting on your shelf for at least two years! (and haven’t read it yet!)
By the numbers – read a book with a Number in the title
Weird Science! – read a book that features some form of science – and maybe discover an untapped passion.
I just love a good Duet – a book written by more than one author.
New Guy in Town – read a Debut book written by a new author.
Almost Human – read a book from the perspective of an animal – or an alien – or a robot! (at least feature an ‘almost human’)
Chunkster-time! – read a book that is longer 500 pages. (Time to dust off War and Peace)
Random Rescue – go to a used book store and RANDOMLY pick a book! (could even be from a grab-bag)
Under-Aged Writer – read a book by an author who is not yet 21. Here's a little help.
Time for exercise – read a book that is set in or around a sport or exercise activity (like yoga or baseball). This can be fiction or nonfiction!
Make-Believe - This category is just for YOU! (and anyone who wants to try it!) Here is your chance to let others know what would get you outside of your Comfort Zone!

Here are the levels


Choose your level – just how far out of the box do you want to go?

I’m a little Scared: 3-4 categories
It’s not so bad out here!:  5-7 categories
Look at me, outside my comfort zone!:  8-10 categories
Outside In!: 11-13 categories
No Box can Contain Me!: I did ALL 14!

Now, for the deets!

This challenge will run from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014.   

1. Sign up any time.  However, sign-ups will close 1 December 2014
2. You cannot use any books or reading material that was read before 1 January 2014.
3. This year you can post at any time under the Category found below, but you must post a link to your review for it to count! If you don’t have a blog, be sure to link up the review you did in GoodReads, Amazon, Library Thing, etc. We need to read your review! 
4. Share the Love (PLEASE!?!) – Write your intentions on your blog, link back to this post, have the button on a side bar, so others will know what fun you are having, and they can have it too!
5.  You cannot use one book for multiple categories.  You can, however, read a book for this challenge and use it for another challenge.
6. Comment below with how comfortable you are of climbing out of your literary box!  BUT, don’t feel you have to be tied to that level! You are shy and want to start slowly but love the feeling of the air outside of where you are…go for it!  You thought you wouldn't be contained and think that the box is warm and comfy, that’s okay too!
7. Be encouraging!  Sometimes it’s a little frightening coming out of your comfort zone. Go to the other participants’ sites and give them words to help free them. Offer suggestions on the best ways to climb out of the box – give them a ladder that they can use!
8. Optional – share books.  Be willing to swap books with other participants (unless they are library books, or books that are not yours, then you might find yourself in a whole other type of box, and I can’t help you then!)
9. Make sure you post your reviews every month.  Who knows, I just might have a surprise giveaway that month!

Here are the links for the Sign Up and the Various Categories!

December and Wrap-Up of ROtB Challenge

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Wow - It's the end of the year!  Boy - I got a job and everything went out the window.  I do apologize, but hope that you all stayed the course and did your reading.  I know that I have been busy reading and haven't quite made the "Not Box can Contain Me" status - but I definitely got "Outside My Comfort Zone" this year with my reading!

Here are the categories and what I read!  I would love to see your list, either below in the comments OR on your blog with links to all of your reviews (I am in the process of writing the rest of my reviews, now that it is Winter Break!).  All links will go to books on GoodReads.

Here's a quick recap of my Categories and the books I read in 2013:
  1. To the Screen - Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - and then I promptly watched the movie and quite enjoyed both!
  2. Another Voice - The Wedding Beat by Devan Sipher. It was neat to read "Chick Lit" from a guy's perspective.
  3. Opposites Attract - Red Shirts by John Scalzi.  I am not as much of a sci-fi fan as I once was (loved Peter David's Imzadi series long ago), but this was a very humorous look at "Ensign Number Six" and Star Trek.
  4. Five Star Day - Matched by Ally Condie.  I heard nothing but high praise for this book for so long, that I thought I would give it a try.  Not a series I will continue with, but I did enjoy the commentary on a totalitarian society.
  5. XyZ pdQ - still don't know what to do with this one.
  6. It's My Birthday - I decided to go with a book that was written in 1967 (oops... there it is... you know how old I am!)  I chose From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  7. From One Place - I love reading books from England.  Having had the wonderful opportunity to live there for a year, it makes me appreciate British authors and stories all the more, because I can picture where they are and what they are talking about.  I read Millie's Fling by Jill Mansell.  If you are looking for a good laugh, she's a great author with a list of characters that you fall in love with!
  8. It's All about Me - I saw this one on the New bookshelf at the library at the beginning of the year and grabbed it.  Wild by Cheryl Strayed was a great 'biography' - a tale of one woman who was lost and found herself along the Pacific Crest Trail.  It almost made me go out and buy a new pair of hiking boots!
  9. Visit an Old Friend - I love Jane Austen (if you couldn't tell already!) I read Emma almost two decades ago and wasn't all that impressed by it.  I love the movie adaptations (both) so I thought that I would give it another try.  Wow!  So glad I decided to revisit this story.  I quite enjoyed it!
  10. Look at the Pretty Pictures - I grabbed a graphic novel and read Soulless by Gail Carriger.  I had been interested in the book itself, but our library only had the GN available.  Glad I skimmed through that instead of wasting my time on the actual story.  I was underwhelmed, to say the least!
  11. She Made Me Do It - I guess I would have to say The Hunger Games by Suzanna Collins.  I have read too many book reviews (shout-out to The Perpetual Page Turner) and heard so much gushing about this book, that I felt it was high-time to find out for myself.  Wow! is all I could say.  I know that it is YA dystopia (and there is so much of that out there), but it just grabbed a hold of me and didn't let go.
  12. I Couldn't Help Myself - So...I would have to say Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins would go here!  I HAD to read them!  I was so glad that the library was able to get them to me quickly before I started a riot!
  13. To Be or Not to Be - Believe it or not, I have not done this!  I have been meaning to all year!  I wanted to (and still do!) memorize The Desiderata.  My husband quotes it often and I have read it a few times, but I actually want to have it in my mind so that I, too, can recall bits of it at anytime!
Not bad... I got 11 out of 13 in this quest to expand my horizons.  How about you?  Did you read anything that you normally would not have?

Don't forget to Link your Wrap-Up!  I will be having a drawing on the 7th of January, 2014 - for an Amazon Gift Card!  Each separate post will be your slip in the hat!  This should inspire you to get books for next year's challenge!

I have a Challenge for myself next year, hope you will join me on a new adventure.  I promise to be better! (And to not hold a drawing in the summer when NO ONE posted about their readings!)

Below is a linky-thingy to link to your Year-End wrap-up!  Looking forward to seeing your wrap up from 2013 and hope you join us for 2014's Reading Outside the Box Challenge!
2014 Challenge!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Reviews

Boy - I have been a bad host, and I am very sorry!  I have been rather busy myself - but I have managed to read a few books for this challenge.

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Don't forget, post your Name with the Number of the category you read.  I look forward to reading your reviews, and I hope you check out different reviews yourself.  It's a great way to feed your TBR pile!

Here's a quick recap of the Categories:
  1. To the Screen
  2. Another Voice
  3. Opposites Attract
  4. Five Star Day
  5. XyZ pdQ
  6. It's My Birthday
  7. From One Place
  8. It's All about Me
  9. Visit an Old Friend
  10. Look at the Pretty Pictures
  11. She Made Me Do It
  12. I Couldn't Help Myself
  13. To Be or Not to Be
Happy Reading!

Here are the Challenge Rules and Info...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September Reviews

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Oops!  I guess I took a bit of a vacation... I started a new job and was so busy that I forgot to do August's Reviews!  I figured, though, with so many people NOT signing in the past two months, that I wasn't the only one on 'vacation.'  Hope you are still reading!

Don't forget, post your Name with the Number of the category you read.  I look forward to reading your reviews, and I hope you check out different reviews yourself.  It's a great way to feed your TBR pile!

Here's a quick recap of the Categories:
  1. To the Screen
  2. Another Voice
  3. Opposites Attract
  4. Five Star Day
  5. XyZ pdQ
  6. It's My Birthday
  7. From One Place
  8. It's All about Me
  9. Visit an Old Friend
  10. Look at the Pretty Pictures
  11. She Made Me Do It
  12. I Couldn't Help Myself
  13. To Be or Not to Be
Happy Reading!

Here is the Challenge Rules and Info...

Monday, July 29, 2013

top beginnings and endings

The Broke and the Bookish want to know our Top Ten Favorite Beginnings and Endings.  Right now, I could only think of SIX!  Looking forward to having my memory jogged by what you have liked! With endings, it's a little harder, because you don't want to give the story away. 


“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Zane accidentally kills Death in Piers Anthony’s On a Pale Horse, which is the start to a great fantasy series on The Immortals (back before it was 'cool'!).

"If Singletree’s only florist didn’t deliver her posies half-drunk, I might still be married to that floor-licking, scum-sucking, receptionist-nailing hack-accountant, Mike Terwilliger." …And One Last Thing by Molly Harper (hilarious!)

“Day 5994… I wake up….The body is the easiest thing to adjust to, if you’re used to waking up in a new one each morning. It’s the life, the context of the body, that can be hard to grasp.” Every Day by David Leviathan captured my attention completely with his writing style and premise.

When June has an accident where her passenger dies, she begins to complete a list of “20 Things to do before I turn 25,” in honor of Marissa. The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski is a poignant book about a lady trying to discover herself through someone else's list of things to do.


I don’t want to say what it is, but the ending of Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee is bittersweet and heartwarming at the same time.  One of those books you just hug to your chest when you finish, as you are wiping away the tears.

Don't forget our Lazy Days of Summer GiveAway!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway

Being that it's bloody hot outside....

...and that summer is almost over for some of us....

Colorimetry and I am a Reader, Not a Writer are hosting a
Lazy Days of Summer *Spontaneous* Hop!  
Make sure to check out the other sites so you can enter to win other great prizes.

Here at Musings, we are giving away a new copy of

Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Fill out the Rafflecopter, and may the odds be ever in your favor! 

Open to US residents only, as I am shipping it direct to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Here are the other blogs that are Hoppin! during these Lazy Days of Summer!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

i H8 Crappy Endings!

I don’t know about you, but the ending is usually what makes or breaks a rating that I give a book.  I could be enjoying the book all along, really excited to find time to read it, and then BAM!   

You get hit with a super crappy ending!  What is it?  Does the publisher breathe down the author’s back and DEMAND the book right now, whether or not it’s been finished?

What do I mean by crappy endings?!

It’s rushed
It just doesn’t fit
It almost seems like someone else wrote it

You know the ones.  You almost feel let down when you finish the story.  And you want your time back!  Unfortunately, it seems that there are more ‘bad endings’ out there than good ones.  Even Nicholas Sparks (bless his soul, I think he is learning!) has endings that rip your heart out, but at least you have an emotion other than “What just happened?

The last two fiction books I have read thoroughly disappointed me with their endings.  It almost makes me want to stick with non-fiction, as they really don’t have endings to begin with!  But I would really like to understand why this happens.   

Does the author just not know how to finish it?  
 Did they end up in the hospital and the editor had to find someone to wrap up a well-developed story? 

And that’s the thing… The story is going well until the end!  The author is obviously creative enough because they sucked me in, in the first place!  There are books that I have cried at the end (Nicholas Sparks, aside), and those books weren’t considered, in my book, books with bad endings.  Things didn’t necessarily go as planned, but it made sense and it fit and it wasn’t rushed!

Let me know which books you felt were bad endings and why … So I can avoid reading them!

Monday, July 8, 2013

July Reviews

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Hoping everyone had a wonderful Fourth!

Everyone must be at the beach, reading like crazy, as we didn't have ONE review for June!  Hopefully you will have some reviews for this month.  

Don't forget, post your Name with the Number of the category you read.  I look forward to reading your reviews, and I hope you check out different reviews yourself.  It's a great way to feed your TBR pile!

Here's a quick recap of the Categories:
  1. To the Screen
  2. Another Voice
  3. Opposites Attract
  4. Five Star Day
  5. XyZ pdQ
  6. It's My Birthday
  7. From One Place
  8. It's All about Me
  9. Visit an Old Friend
  10. Look at the Pretty Pictures
  11. She Made Me Do It
  12. I Couldn't Help Myself
  13. To Be or Not to Be
Happy Reading!

Here is the Challenge Rules and Info...

Link your Review!  Looking for good books to read!

Monday, July 1, 2013

review:The Wedding Beat

Title by Author: The Wedding Beat by Devan Sipher
Series (if applicable): none
Publisher: New American Library
Publication Date: 2012
Page Count:  254
Source: actually won it from “Chick Lit is Not Dead” blog.  Love those gals!
Blurb: Sometimes the best man isn't even in the wedding party...

Gavin Greene is a hopeless romantic. He's also a professional one: he writes the wedding column for a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, covering spectacular parties from coast to coast. But there's a thin line between being a hotshot reporter on assignment...and being a single guy alone on a Saturday night at someone else's wedding.

Everything changes on New Year's when Gavin meets Melinda, a travel writer with enchanting dimples. A moonlit stroll across a Manhattan rooftop seals the deal. Until an Aussie with attitude swoops in and whisks her away before Gavin gets her number.

Gavin crisscrosses New York City to find her again. And he learns that there's something worse than losing the woman of his dreams: Having to write an article about her wedding.

My Interest in this book is: What an interesting premise…chick lit written by a guy!

My Review:
The author, Devan Sipher, was actually the “Vows” writer for the New York Times for five years.  One of my favorite movies happens to be “27 Dresses,” so this was a perfect fit.  It was a fun book that was well-written – and written by a guy.  This dude knows how to write Chick Lit!  It was fun, quirky and quickly-paced, and the ending (thank goodness) didn’t disappoint.

Gavin Greene is a writer for ‘the paper’ and he happens to write the wedding column every week.  He travels around the US to cover weddings and is just looking for “The One!” His best friend, Jill, invited him to a party on New Years Day – one she doesn’t show up to, but he did.  That’s where he sees her, and ends up completely tongue-tied…and she gets away.

No one seems to know who she is or how he can get in touch with her.  He left without getting her information, except her name, which is Melinda.  How many Melinda’s who are travel writers can there be in New York?!  More than he thought there would be.

Gavin is also helping his brother, who is decidedly not a romantic, plan a wedding to a gal he met and wants to marry.  His Jewish mother wants to see her baby boy settle down as well.  What’s a wedding writer to do?  Besides start getting tired of the over-the-top weddings he goes to every weekend, he wants to find his own princess – the kind that spends months in Tibet or some far-flung place donating her time to poor children.

One thing leads to another (and one more ‘date’ with the wrong Melinda) and Gavin is just about done trying to find his elusive soul mate, when he finds her in his next wedding to cover.  How can this be possible?!

Will fates conspire or converge to bring him together with the woman that he thinks he loves.  Is she really all that he remembers her to be?  You will have to read this fun book to find out!

The characters were well developed and you really start to feel for this guy who is seemingly chasing a dream.  I found myself laughing out loud several times throughout this story.  I also found myself pleasantly surprised that a guy could write Chick Lit so well!  It’s light-hearted and fun, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wonders if guys can be romantics, too!

Favorite Quotes:
“A conversation with my parents was like living out a Dada manifesto.” (blogger’s note: if you have ever been to an art exhibit that features Dada – you would crack up!)

I had heard so many flowery vows about metaphoric trees, soaring birds and sunny skies. But Amy was acknowledging the darkness. The effort it takes every single day to pull yourself out of yourself. Who wouldn’t be grateful to have someone rooting for you and waiting for you? Someone willing to enter the darkness, Orpheus-like, and rescue you from yourself.

When I finished this book, I felt: Glad I had a chance to read this little gem!  Would definitely recommend it and it is the perfect beach read!
Rating: 4 Stars
Other books to read by this author or theme: looking forward to seeing if he writes another.  The Wedding Date” (by Elizabeth Young) is another great wedding themed one that I loved.  Book is so much better than the movie, IMHO.
Tag: chick-lit, weddings, guy’s perspective
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