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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

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My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (2)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (1)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (10)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

27 / 51 states. 53% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

22 / 50 books. 44% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

39 / 52 books. 75% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

26 / 40 books. 65% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

25 / 100 books. 25% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

63 / 104 books. 61% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

68 / 165 books. 41% done!
Saturday, January 10, 2015

Forget Stepping Through a Wardrobe, How About Stepping Into A Famous Painting?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

People have been fascinated by the work of Fausto Corvo, a 16th Century painter, for hundreds of years.  Sunni Forrest is just one of his legions of fans.  She admires the artist so much that she's chosen him to be the focus of her school art project.  It just figures that Blaise Doran, her way-too-good-looking American classmate, chose Corvo as well.  His project will, no doubt, outshine hers by a mile.

While Sunni and Blaise are at Blackhope Tower comparing notes on one of Corvo's most famous paintings, The Mariner's Return to Arcadia, 1582, the strangest thing happens—Sunni's annoying stepbrother disappears.  Not that that's something to complain about.  It's just the manner in which it took place.  Sunni can't quite believe it, but she's pretty sure Dean vanished into the painting.  Impossible.  The weirdest thing is, Sunni can see him on the ancient canvas.  Determined to find out what in the world is happening, Sunni and Blaise walk the same mysterious labyrinth that Dean did.  To their astonishment, they find themselves in the same predicament as the younger boy.  

As the kids move through the painting, discovering layers upon layers of worlds, they meet intriguing people, dazzling creatures, and dangers beyond their worst imaginings.  Getting sucked into the Blackhope enigma may mean leaving their own world behind.  Forever. 

In her debut novel, The Blackhope Enigma, Teresa Flavin introduces an intriguing premise that opens up all kinds of fascinating possibilities.  It's an exciting story full of adventure, mystery, and suspense.  Although Sunni and Blaise are teens, the book has more of a middle grade feel to it.  As in many MGs, the main characters don't develop much throughout the story.  Overall, though, The Blackhope Enigma is a fun, fast-paced read that should appeal to anyone who digs a fantastical adventure/mystery tale.    

(Readalikes:  Sequels The Crimson Shard and The Shadow Lantern by Teresa Flavin)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for intense situations/scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Blackhope Enigma from the generous folks at Candlewick Press.  Thank you!

Nothing New or Original Makes Zombie Novel a Meh for Me

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Dealing with a monster is nothing new for Scarlet, a 33-year-old single mother of two girls.  After all, she does battle with her slutty ex-husband every day.  Nate Oxford fights a boring desk job that's about as fulfilling as his marriage.  Being with his 7-year-old daughter is about the only thing that gives his life meaning.  Eighteen-year-old Miranda Hayes' only concern is getting away, road-tripping with her sister and their boyfriends. 

These three very different people are going about their daily business when the world goes stark, raving mad.  A vicious outbreak is consuming people all over the globe, turning them into bloodthirsty zombies.  None of them are safe.  All of their panicked minds come up with the same solution—Red Hill.  Although the isolated ranch doesn't belong to any of them, they head there anyway, praying to be let inside.  

As the fates of the trio intertwine, they must learn to trust each other in order to survive.  But as their world becomes an increasingly deadly place, the question becomes not just how to keep going, but why?  Is it worth living if it means doing so without their loved ones in a world gone hopelessly awry?  

I've read a lot of zombie novels and Red Hill by Jamie McGuire is pretty much the same as all the rest.  It's more upbeat, true, but it's still the same ole same ole.  McGuire's characters are likable, although they all seem pretty blasé about the whole zombie thing.  Their emotions, especially at first, just don't ring very true.  Because Red Hill takes place in a remote location, it's not as action-packed as other horror novels—really, the story is more about the humans than the zombies.  All in all, though, this is a pretty average monster novel.  There's nothing new or original about it.  Thus, it was just an okay read for me.    

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other zombie novels)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, blood/gore, and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Red Hill with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.  
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