Friday, May 27, 2016

5 THE #DASHNERDASH BINGE READ: The Maze Runner plus a #giveaway

Today is the day I'll be binge reading The Maze Runner for The #DASHNERDASH Binge Read. In case you're unfamiliar with it, Click here to read all about it. But here's the short of it. Counting down to September 27 for the release of The Fever Code, we'll be reading The Maze Runner series. 

Follow me on Twitter @2readornot2read and/or Facebook as I live tweet my reading process. Reading will begin at 7:00 cst. I hope you can join me. And if you're reading along with the #DASHNERDASH, leave me a comment below or tweet/facebook me because I'd love to know you're thoughts on The Maze Runner.

And I have a blogger confession: This will be my first time reading through these books. 

I hope you're as excited as I am. And to kick things off, To Read, or Not To Read will be giving away a set of autographed Maze Runner books, thanks to Random House Children's Books. 

Please read my giveaway policy before entering. This giveaway is restricted to US addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Live Google Hangouts with James Dashner at the End of Each Month

Join new and established James Dashner fans in THE #DASHNERDASH BINGE READ, a rereading of all four titles in the bestselling Maze Runner series, in advance of the September 27 publication of the eagerly anticipated Maze Runner prequel novel, The Fever Code. When discussing the reread on social media, readers are encouraged to use the hashtag #DashnerDash to follow along in the conversation.

Has it been a while since you have entered the Glade, or are you curious to know more about all the Maze Runner series buzz? Now is the time to have your questions answered and discussed as Random House Children’s Books invites Dashner fans worldwide to participate in a discussion of one title in the series each month.

The reread will kick off on May 27 with The Maze Runner—fans can submit questions via the James Dashner Facebook page. Selected questions will then be discussed by the author and his editor, Krista Marino, in a series of live Google Hangouts during the last week of each month. The first Google Hangout with Dashner and Marino will happen the week of June 27. Specific details will be posted on the Facebook page and shared via social media.

Rereads of The Scorch Trials begin on June 27, followed by The
Death Cure on July 27, and The Kill Order on August 27. Questions can again be submitted via Facebook, and a book-club-style discussion will occur at the end of each month. The Google Hangout for The Kill Order at the end of August will lead right into the publication of The Fever Code on September 27.

What better way to celebrate the start of summer than by revisiting a beloved series and introducing the books to new fans? Look for the first two chapters of The Fever Code, recently revealed in the paperback edition of The Rule of Thoughts, to be discussed in the Maze Runner Google Hangout as well. Titles are available wherever books are sold. The series has sold over 14 million copies in all formats.

JAMES DASHNER is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series—The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order—as well as the bestselling Mortality Doctrine series, which includes The Eye of Minds, The Rule of Thoughts, and The Game of Lives. To learn more about James and his books, visit, follow @jamesdashner on Twitter, and find dashnerjames on Instagram.

#DashnerDash / Facebook

0 BEDMATES cover reveal

Image Map
Everyone makes mistakes, especially in college. But when you're the daughter of the President of the United States, any little slip up is a huge embarrassment. Maddie McGuire's latest error in judgment lands her in police custody, giving the press a field day. Agreeing to do community service as penance and to restore her tattered reputation, Maddie never dreams incredibly good looking but extremely annoying vice president's son, Jake Simmon, will be along for the ride.

Recently returning from Afghanistan with a life-altering injury, Jake is wrestling with his own demons. He doesn't have the time or patience to deal with the likes of Maddie. They're like oil and water and every time they're together, it's combustible. But there's a thin line between love and hate, and it's not long before their fiery arguments give way to infinitely sexier encounters.

When Jake receives devastating news about the last remaining member of his unit, the darkness he's resisted for so long begins to overwhelm him. Scared to let anyone close, he pushes Maddie away. But she isn't about to give up on Jake that easily. Maddie's fallen for him, and she'll do anything to keep him from the edge as they both discover that love is a battlefield and there are some fights you just can't lose.

About Nichole Chase
Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal and Recklessly Royal. She lives in Georgia with her husband, toddler, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats. When not devouring novels by the dozens, you can find her writing, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.

0 Review and Giveaway: Marlene by C.W. Gortner


Marlene: A Novel of Marlene Dietrich by C.W. Gortner

Publication Date: May 24, 2016
William Morrow
Hardcover & eBook; 384 Pages
ISBN: 978-0062406064

Genre: Historical/Biographical/Women's Fiction

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A lush, dramatic biographical novel of one of the most glamorous and alluring legends of Hollywood’s golden age, Marlene Dietrich—from the gender-bending cabarets of Weimar Berlin to the lush film studios of Hollywood, a sweeping story of passion, glamour, ambition, art, and war from the author of Mademoiselle Chanel.

Raised in genteel poverty after the First World War, Maria Magdalena Dietrich dreams of a life on the stage. When a budding career as a violinist is cut short, the willful teenager vows to become a singer, trading her family’s proper, middle-class society for the free-spirited, louche world of Weimar Berlin’s cabarets and drag balls. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, seductive silk cocktail dresses, and androgynous tailored suits, Marlene performs to packed houses and becomes entangled in a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention.

For the beautiful, desirous Marlene, neither fame nor marriage and motherhood can cure her wanderlust. As Hitler and the Nazis rise to power, she sets sail for America. Rivaling the success of another European import, Greta Garbo, Marlene quickly becomes one of Hollywood’s leading ladies, starring with legends such as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Cary Grant. Desperate for her return, Hitler tries to lure her with dazzling promises. Marlene instead chooses to become an American citizen, and after her new nation is forced into World War II, she tours with the USO, performing for thousands of Allied troops in Europe and Africa.

But one day she returns to Germany. Escorted by General George Patton himself, Marlene is heartbroken by the war’s devastation and the evil legacy of the Third Reich that has transformed her homeland and the family she loved.

An enthralling and insightful account of this extraordinary legend, Marlene reveals the inner life of a woman of grit, glamour, and ambition who defied convention, seduced the world, and forged her own path on her own terms.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

My Thoughts

Marlene Dietrich is an unforgettable actress. There's something about her presence and beauty that captivate audiences, even today. She lived her life on her own terms and left a legacy of classic movies. It's not surprising that many novels have been written about this screen siren. However, though this novel is fiction, it closely follows the life of Dietrich from childhood to adulthood.

Marlene begins in 1914. She was an intelligent girl who wanted more out of life than what her mother had planned. After seeing a movie, nothing else would do for her. She knew her destiny was to be in films, and she would do whatever it takes to get there. Along the way, she meets many people who would shape and influence her life. And her life is very vibrant and interesting to say the least. 

Marlene Dietrich's life was glamorous, but it was also full of hard work, passion, and pain. Through this novel you get a glimpse into the life of a beloved actress as she walks the rocky road of stardom. And if one thing is to be said about her, it's that she's a survivor. 

C.W. Gortner has written many books based on some of history's most interesting women. I've read a few of his books and enjoyed them immensely, so I was excited to read his latest novel to see how he would make the golden-age of Hollywood come to life. Once again his love for his subjects and hours of research are reflected in the prose. He could have me convinced he was a fly on the wall of Marlene's bedroom.

About the Author

03_CW GortnerC.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information visit C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twittter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube. Sign up for C.W. Gortner’s Newsletter for updates.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 24

Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, May 25

Review at Broken Teepee

Thursday, May 26

Friday, May 27

Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 30

Interview at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, May 31

Wednesday, June 1

Thursday, June 2

Friday, June 3

Sunday, June 5

Monday, June 6

Tuesday, June 7

Review at The Lit Bitch


To enter the Marlene Blog Tour Giveaway please see the GLEAM form below.

  • Winner #1 will receive a copy of Marlene by C.W. Gortner.
  • Winner #2 will receive a copy of Marlene by C.W. Gortner & a Marlene-inspired necklace and matching bracelet. Hand-beaded in Guatemala, lime-green and purple beads. Necklace is Egyptian-style drape, and bracelet has centerpiece purple floral gemstone design.

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

– Giveaway is open to US residents only.

– Only one entry per household.

– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.

– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

0 2016 Classics Challenge: The Merry Wives of Windsor

Title: The Merry Wives of Windsor
Author: William Shakespeare
First Published in 1602

WHEN I Discovered This Classic

 I discovered this book back in high school. And then again in college. 

WHY I Chose to Read It 

I have read many of Shakespeare's plays, but never this one. I thought this would be a good opportunity to do so.

WHAT Makes It A Classic

It's Shakespeare.

WHAT I Thought of This Classic

This isn't my favorite play by the Bard, but it wasn't so bad either. I love the way Shakespeare portrays the women in this play. 

WILL It Stay A Classic

Four hundred years and still going strong. I don't think Shakespeare is in any danger of being lost to time.

WHO I’d Recommend It To

I think every one should read it at least once. Though, nothing beats seeing the play preformed live. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

0 Last Week In Review (11)

What I'm Reading

I made a little progress in this book last week


I added a few more books to my currently reading pile.

I'm listening to Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman on audio. I love it so far.

My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse is fantastic so far.

What I finished Reading

I had more success with category last week.

I have a lot of things going on right now, so I can always count on P&R to help me relax.

This show has only been on a few weeks but I'm still enjoying it. I don't love it, but it's entertaining nonetheless. 

And I managed to fit an episode of Gilmore Girls in.

One more thing I've been watching, but have forgotten to add to my list, is The Night Manager. It's really good and if you have the opportunity you should definitely watch.

New Books

Reading Challenge Update

I really have nothing new to report here. Still behind in everything. BUT I'm in the beginning stages of moving. By beginning stages, I mean that I'm cleaning out closets and cabinets and bookshelves in preparation for moving. I did manage to cull some of my books, which gave me a chance to really think about some of the books on my shelf that I haven't read yet and, in turn, which books I want to read in my challenges. So that's progress . . . I think.

How are you doing in your challenges?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

0 A Pressing Engagement Book Blast

02_A Pressing Engagement

A Pressing Engagement (Lady Darby Mystery #4.5) by Anna Lee Huber

Publication Date: May 17, 2016
eBook; 83 Pages

Series: Lady Darby Mysteries
Genre: Historical Mystery

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In this delightful novella from the national bestselling author of A Study in Death, Lady Kiera Darby has one last mystery to solve before she can walk down the aisle...

Scotland, 1831. With her wedding to fellow investigator Sebastian Gage only a day away, Kiera is counting down the hours. But just when matrimonial jitters threaten to consume her, Kiera receives a welcome distraction in the form of a mysterious gold necklace.

The Celtic torc, thought missing for decades, was directly involved in a recent investigation. Now, Kiera feels compelled to uncover the truth behind its sudden reappearance.

But with an overwhelming flock of wedding guests, a muddled cat, an unpaid favor, and a ferocious storm throwing things into disarray, it’s anyone’s guess whether Kiera and Gage will actually make it to the altar...

Includes an exclusive preview of the next Lady Darby Mystery, As Death Draws Near.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks

Praise for the Lady Darby Mysteries

“[A] fascinating heroine…A thoroughly enjoyable read!”—Victoria Thompson, national bestselling author

“[A] clever heroine with a shocking past and a talent for detection.”—Carol K. Carr, national bestselling author

“[A] must read…One of those rare books that will both shock and please readers.”—Fresh Fiction

About the Author

03_Anna Lee HuberAnna Lee Huber is the Award-Winning and National Bestselling Author of the Lady Darby Mystery Series. She was born and raised in a small town in Ohio, and graduated summa cum laude from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN with a degree in music and a minor in psychology. She currently resides in Indiana, and when not working on her next book she enjoys reading, singing, traveling and spending time with her family.

For more information please visit Connect with Anna Lee Huber on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, May 17

Wednesday, May 18

Thursday, May 19

Friday, May 20

Saturday, May 21

Sunday, May 22

Monday, May 23

Tuesday, May 24

Wednesday, May 25

Thursday, May 26

Friday, May 27

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

0 From Page To Netflix: In the Heart of the Sea

In the Heart of the Sea is an adaptation of the book with the same name written by award-winning author Nathaniel Philbrick. Last week, I reviewed the book here, in case you missed it. But to make a long story short, I really liked it. The movie was originally released in theaters December 2015. However if you're like me, you don't often have time to go to the movies, so you wait until they're available on Netflix. And after reading this book, I was really interested to see what director Ron Howard had in store for audiences.

In the Heart of the Sea stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Huntsman: Winter's War) and Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). Hemsworth plays the first mate, Owen Chase, on board the Essex. He's the more experienced whaler and expected to be made captain of the Essex, but is passed over for the less-experienced captain, George Pollard, who also happens to be related to the owners of the Essex. This oversight causes tension between the two sailors. Which doesn't help when the sh*t hits the fan.

One thing I liked about this movie is that the story is being told by Tom Nickerson (Brendon Gleeson) who was just a young, lowly crewman when the Essex made its infamous journey. I thought this was great since Philbrick got some of his information for the book from the journals of Tom Nickerson. Nickerson, many years after this incident, is an older man still haunted by the events that happen. He never talks about what happened to anyone, including his wife, until a writer--Herman Melville--shows up wanting the details of the fated voyage. Reluctantly, Nickerson tells his tale to a riveted Melville and with it, he starts to loosen the hold the past has on him.

I liked the acting and I thought the overall story arc of this movie was okay. The story took awhile to build, but once it got there, it was good. However, there were three major flaws that kinda disturbed the flow of the movie for me. The first flaw was special effects. They were not bad, but they weren't that great either. I expected better in this day and age. When I think of all the great movies that are set in the ocean--Pirates of the Caribbean, Life of Pi, Jaws--and how much better their effects were, it makes me wonder what the heck they spent their budget on.

The second thing was accents. I have a thing about accents. If you can't do it well, don't do it at all. The characters are from Nantucket. So they would have a pretty strong New England accents, but Hemsworth accent was all over the place. At times he sounded like Thor. I expected him to produce his mighty hammer at any time. Others times, he seemed to have a handle on the accent and it was okay. But the inconsistency of it made me dizzy.

The third flaw was the whale as the antagonist. In this ultimate man-versus-nature movie, I think they went overboard with having the whale follow them on their journey constantly antagonizing them. After all, the movie was thrilling enough without adding that in. They still had to face weather, starvation, dehydration, cannibalism, no nautical instruments or maps to guide their way. They really didn't need the revenge-seeking whale (other than for the original part the whale played in destroying the Essex.) They also didn't need the cheesy moment of "understanding" between Owen Chase and the whale toward the end of the movie.

As far as the book-to-movie adaptation goes, I would read the book. It's really good, but the movie isn't so bad either--despite my problems with it. I am glad that I waited to watch on Netflix instead of going to the theater. This movie isn't streaming yet, but you can get it on DVD if you subscribe to that plan.

Until Next Time, Happy Watching!

Monday, May 16, 2016

0 Last Week in Review (10)

What I'm Reading

I didn't get very far in this book last week, but I'm still enjoying it!

My first novel on the Hollywood siren Marlene Dietrich. I wonder how much of this novel is based on truth?

What I Finished Last Week

Nothing. It was a slow reading week for me.

What I'm Watching

In addition to not having a lot of reading time, I didn't have a lot of time to watch television. I did however re-watch some episodes of Parks and Recreation on Hulu.

Also on Hulu, I discovered a new mystery series that has piqued my interest: Houdini and Doyle.

If you like mysteries with a hint of the supernatural then you should check this show out.

New Books

Recently, I also was able to attend  Fall 2016 Blogger Preview event hosted by HarperCollins, so I look forward to telling you about their upcoming selection.

Reading Challenge Update

This year has been my personal worst for reading challenges. I had such hopes, but I'm behind in everything. I haven't given up though, and I'll not stress myself out over this either. Reading is fun, an escape. So I'm not going to beat myself up over this, and I hope if you're behind like I am, that you won't either.

Did you finish any books this past week?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

0 Review: In the Heart of the Sea

Title: In the Heart of the Sea
Author: Nathaniel Philbrick
Publisher: Penguin
Published: November 10, 2015
Paperback, 301 pages
ISBN: 9780143126812
Genre: Nonfiction
Source: Bought


In 1820, the whaleship Essex was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale, leaving the desperate crew to drift for more than ninety days in three tiny boats. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents and vivid details about the Nantucket whaling tradition to reveal the chilling facts of this infamous maritime disaster. In the Heart of the Sea—and now, its epic adaptation for the screen—will forever place the Essex tragedy in the American historical canon.

My Thoughts:

"Even though it is little remembered today, the sinking of the whaleship Essex by an enraged sperm whale was one of the most well-known marine disasters of the nineteenth century. Nearly every child in America read about it in school. It was the event that inspired Moby-Dick." 

I've never seen a live whale, but pictures of them show their wonder, beauty, and at times, their ferocity. I knew nothing about this story before reading In the Heart of the Sea, but I bet the tale is still told in Nantucket. Especially among sailors. However, you don't have to be a seafaring enthusiast to enjoy this true story about a crew whose ship sank far away from land and their will to survive despite the odds, and there were many, stacked against them.

Nathaniel Philbrick is a seasoned writer who has written many historical nonfiction books. Philbrick has won many awards and has also been a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for his novel Mayflower.  If you've ever read any of his books you can understand why. Philbrick writes with such ease and clarity that he makes the accounts of the past come alive.

It might sound strange to say that a nonfiction book had me on the edge of my seat, but it did. Philbrick recounts the tale of the Essex with such detail that I felt nervous many times for the crew--even though I knew how their story would end. Many times I was on the side of the whales. After all, the whaling industry during this time period almost wiped out the whale population. Who could blame the whale for being angry? The crew, of course, was just trying to make a living, but at such a steep cost.

"Whales were described by the amount of oil they would produce (as in a fifty-barrel whale), and although the whalemen took careful note of the mammal's habits, they made no attempt to regard it as anything more than a commodity whose constituent parts (head, blubber, ambergris, etc.) were of value to them. The rest of it--the tons of meat, bone, and guts--was simply thrown away . . ."

Phibrick didn't hold back on the brutality that was dished out to the whales. He didn't hold back on the process that the whalemen used to get the oil. It was really gross actually. Nor did he hold back on the brutality that the crew faced while drifting aimlessly in the ocean. Their hunger, their fear, their thirst. It reminded me of the quote from "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink." To be surrounded by water and yet unable to drink any of it seems like a living hell. But some of the men did survive, and they were forever changed because of it.

This was truly a remarkable story about a remarkable time in history. I appreciate the research that went into it. I haven't read Moby-Dick, but knowing that this story inspired it, inspires me to move it towards the top of my tbr pile. I know that there's a movie based on this book, but it doesn't compare. The book is better!

My Rating


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