TBR Book Challenge 2017 (Update #1)

I mentioned earlier in the year that I wanted to make an effort to tackle my seemingly endless TBR book pile. I always feel like a setting challenge or making something into a project makes things a bit more fun when you’re restricting yourself in some way, so I decided to set myself some goals (and rewards). Here’s how I’ve done so far this year…

Total TBR books completed so far: 4

Books read: Masked Innocence by Alessandra Torre (kindle), Shift by Em Bailey, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, and Fearless by Fiona Higgins

Nostalgic books purchased: Sweet Valley University #21 – ‘For The Love Of Ryan’, and Sweet Valley High #106 – ‘Beware The Wolfman’

I’m currently reading It by Stephen King, which may take me forever to finish. But it’ll be another one off the TBR list, so that’s something to look forward to…

Book Review: Shift by Em Bailey

Book: Shift by Em Bailey – paperback edition, 304 pages.

Synopsis: Olive Corbett is not crazy. Not anymore.

She obediently takes her meds and stays under the radar at school. After “the incident,” Olive just wants to avoid any more trouble, so she knows the smartest thing is to stay clear of the new girl who is rumored to have quite the creepy past.

But there’s no avoiding Miranda Vaile. As mousy Miranda edges her way into the popular group, right up to the side of queen bee Katie – and pushes the others right out – only Olive seems to notice that something strange is going on. Something almost… parasitic. Either Olive is losing her grip on reality, or Miranda Vaile is stealing Katie’s life.

But who would ever believe crazy Olive, the girl who has a habit of letting her imagination run away with her? And what if Olive is the next target?

My thoughts: Honestly, there is nothing worse for me than starting a book only to find out it has paranormal themes in it. Not my scene at all. In this case, it is entirely my fault because I did little to no research before picking this up. I liked Em Bailey’s book ‘The Special Ones’, so I thought I’d give this a go. I persevered with this despite the fact it included paranormal themes, mostly just because it’s rare for me to stop reading a book once I’ve started. It has to be truly terrible for that to happen.

There really wasn’t much I liked about this book. I did like that it was set in Australia, although it took me a while to figure that out (not until the protagonist started using “mum” instead of “mom”). I didn’t like any of the characters in the book, and at one point the main character pissed me off so much I nearly gave up on reading. Who leaves their baby brother home alone (granted, asleep) and goes out to party? I really wish there had been repercussions following that to serve as some sort of lesson, but nope – things carried on as usual. There was also an insta-love thing playing out throughout the book, which I’ve never been a big fan of.

All things considered I actually didn’t mind the paranormal element of this book, it was probably the most interesting aspect of the story. I’m not sure I’d recommend this, but if you’re after a quick read that involves a unique kind of paranormal element, you might want to pick this up.

Rating: 4/10

February TBR

Fearless by Fiona HigginsSix strangers from across the world meet on the tropical island of Bali to attend a course designed to help them face their fears. Their backgrounds are as diverse as their fears – which range from flying, public speaking and heights, through to intimacy, failure and death. Friendships and even romance blossom as the participants are put through a series of challenges which are unusual, confronting and sometimes hilarious. A week of fun in the sun suddenly turns into something far more serious, however, when the unthinkable happens – a tragic disaster that puts the group in deadly danger, testing the individual courage of every member.

The Girl Before by JP DelaneyEverything that is yours, was once hers… Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection… but can you pay the price? Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

Ragdoll by Daniel ColeA body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Helen Baxter. The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts“True love can’t be strategized.” After book blogger Vivian Galdi s longtime crush pretends their secret summer kissing sessions never happened, Vivian creates a list of “safe” crushes, determined to protect her heart. But nerd-hot Dallas, the sweet new guy in town, sends the mission and Vivian s zing meter into chaos. While designing software for the bookstore where Vivian works, Dallas wages a counter-mission. Operation Replacement Crush is in full effect. And Dallas is determined to take her heart off the shelf.

January TBR

New Year, new pile of books to read! Actually it’s the same (enormous) pile of books, but here’s to whittling it down throughout the year! I didn’t actually have any particular books in mind that I wanted to read this month, so I just dove into my TBR pile and picked out a few that I thought looked interesting.

Here’s what I’m planning to read this month –

Shift by Em BaileyThe rumor mill is spinning when Miranda Vaile arrives at school along with whispers that she murdered her parents. But Olive Corbett wants nothing to do with the new girl. After “the incident,” Olive’s been the subject of too much gossip, and now she just wants to take her pills and stay under the radar. But even from the sidelines, there’s no ignoring the fact that there’s something not quite right about Miranda. How can this mousy girl step right into the popular group, become the queen bee’s best friend, and slowly seize control herself? It’s almost parasitic. But who would ever believe crazy Olive, the girl who has a habit of letting her imagination run away with her? And what if Olive is Miranda’s next target?

Fearless by Fiona HigginsSix strangers from across the world meet on the tropical island of Bali to attend a course designed to help them face their fears. Their backgrounds are as diverse as their fears – which range from flying, public speaking and heights, through to intimacy, failure and death. Friendships and even romance blossom as the participants are put through a series of challenges which are unusual, confronting and sometimes hilarious. A week of fun in the sun suddenly turns into something far more serious, however, when the unthinkable happens – a tragic disaster that puts the group in deadly danger, testing the individual courage of every member.

Masked Innocence by Alessandra TorreThe man was sinful. It wasn’t just the looks that made him dangerous, it was the cocky confidence that dominated every move, every touch. And the frustrating yet ecstatic fact about the whole package was that he could back it all up… Julia Campbell never knows what to expect with win-at-all-costs Brad De Luca. And she’s starting to like it that way. She gave up safe, conventional relationships when she let the elite divorce attorney seduce her into his world. Now that he’s determined to strip her naked of every inhibition, she’s in danger of falling too deep and too fast. But their affair begins to feel even more dangerous when a murder leaves a trail of suspicion that points straight to the mob… and Brad. Trusting a man with a bad reputation and a past full of secrets seems like a mistake. But when she’s forced to make a choice, the consequences will take her further than she could ever have imagined.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson Emily’s best friend Sloane disappears, almost without a trace – the only thing left behind is a to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that wallflower Emily wouldn’t normally do, and definitely not without her best friend. But what if completing the list could bring Sloane back? Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a stranger? Um… Go skinny dipping? Wait… what? Emily only has the summer to check everything off Sloane’s list. The question is, what will she find at the end of it?

TBR Book Challenge 2017

The list of books I have purchased but not yet read, is slowly getting out of control. It seems like every 6 months or so I take a look at the growing amount of books on my bookshelf, and hastily grab a bunch of them to take to the second hand book store (usually only to make room for MORE MORE MORE). I’ve decided to set myself a little challenge for 2017 to help get my TBR shelf under control.

Here is how the challenge will work –

1. My goal is to read at least 25 books off of my TBR shelf, which includes both physical books and kindle books.
2. Until the challenge is completed I am not allowing myself to purchase any new books.
3. HOWEVER, after every 2 books I finish I am allowed to purchase one “nostalgic” book for my collection (this is housed on an entirely different bookshelf and is a hobby, so I don’t count it in my standard TBR).
4. I am also allowed to borrow books from the library, to mix things up from time to time.
5. All the books I read for this challenge will also count towards my standard 50 Book Challenge for the year.

I’ll be tracking my progress on the blog as the year progresses, so stay tuned. Let me know if you’re going to participate this year, and best of luck if you do!