Thursday, October 31, 2013

October 2013 Wrap-Up

Here's a summary of my book-related activity for October. I did Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, and just overall got a lot of reading done! I'm motivated by how close to the end of the year it is, and how far I still am from completing my challenges! So I'm at the point where I'm making piles of books based on completing my challenges, and setting lots of goals each month. It's only increased my husband's perception of me as a completely crazy person.

Books I read (linked to the reviews)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (TBR pile)
The Escape (Animorphs #15) by K.A. Applegate (TBR pile)
Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #3) by Louise Rennison (reread)
The Warning (Animorphs #16) by K.A. Applegate (TBR pile)
Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #4) by Louise Rennison (reread)
Club Monstrosity (Monstrosity #1) by Jesse Petersen (NetGalley)
The Monsters in Your Neighborhood (Monstrosity #2) by Jesse Petersen (new book)
Haunted (Women of the Otherworld #5) by Kelley Armstrong (TBR pile)
Donuts by Julia Dweck (free ebook)
Pie-Rits by Julia Dweck (free ebook)
X-Men: Schism by Jason Aaron (borrowed from Jonathon)
Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer (new book)

Books I bought

The Monsters in Your
Neighborhood by Jesse Petersen

Books I've been approved for on NetGalley

Will O' the Wisp by
Tom Hammock
The Darkness of Shadows
by Chris Little

Books I got as gifts

Such a Long Journey
by Rohinton Mistry

Progress on challenges

I completed the following letters for the A-Z Book Challenge: K, P, X

I read 4 books for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge.

I read 0 books for the Anne Rice Challenge.

I completed the following squares for the Book Bingo Challenge: read 3 books from your tbr pile, read 3 books everyone but you has read

I read 0 books for the Nerdy Non-Fiction Challenge.

I read 2 books for the Dystopia Challenge.

I read 10 books written by women.

I read 6 books for the Seriously Series Challenge.

Progress on my TBR pile: I added 4 books to my to read list and removed 7, so my pile decreased by 3 this month!

Challenge Abandoned: 2013 Debut Author Challenge

I've having more success with some of my challenges than with others, but I have utterly failed at the 2013 Debut Author Challenge. I thought that my review copies would cover this, but this year almost all of my review copies were from authors who have written other books before. So, I've read only one debut author book this year.

I therefore admit defeat, and will not let this challenge taunt me with its incompleteness anymore! On to the challenges I have a chance of completing!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Title: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1)
Author: Louise Rennison
Publication Date: 1999
Length: 247 pages

This is the first book in a series that takes the form of Georgia Nicolson's diaries. Georgia's a fairly typical teenage girl in that she's rather ridiculous, and often a dreadfully selfish person without even realising it.Yet Georgia and her friends manage to be delightful and hilarious to read about.

In this first installment, Georgia learns to kiss from a boy who gives lessons after school, becomes infatuated with Robbie (the Sex God), spends a lot of time trying to flatten her fringe, improve her complexion, and fit a yoga routine into her busy schedule, and worries that her mother might be having a passionate affair with the man who's decorating their living room. Meanwhile, her best friend Jas is falling for Robbie's younger brother Tom, her little sister Libby (who is quite mad) is always hitting people and saying "bad boy!", and her cat is terrorising the neighbour's poodle.

But it's not just the plot that makes this book so brilliant, it's the writing. Even when Georgia's talking about totally mundane aspects of her life, she's just SO FUNNY while doing it! I don't know how Louise Rennison writes so perfectly from the point of view of a teenager.

I maintain the 5 star rating I gave this book when I first read it back in high school.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Animorphs #14 - The Unknown by K.A. Applegate

Title: The Unknown (Animorphs #14)
Author: K.A. Applegate
Publication Date: January 1998
Length: 166 pages

There's a rumour going around that the government has uncovered proof of alien life, and that they're hiding it on a top-secret base called Zone 91. The Animorphs know that the Yeerks will have to check it out, to find out if the government has found a piece of Yeerk technology, or if it's just a conspiracy theory.

Things I liked about this one include the Yeerks taking over the bodies of horses (and subsequently pooping and being embarassed about it, and also trying to dial phones with hooves), and when Rachel, Marco, and Cassie have to make up fake names, and Cassie comes up with Cindy Crawford, and gives the fake phone number 12345678, which is hilarious.

Things I liked less include Cassie thinking that the best morph to disguise herself in a stable is... a horse! So suddenly there's this extra horse in the stable; no one will find that suspicious at all! Throughout that scene, I was all "OMG morph a fly! MORPH A FLY!". Sigh.

Anywho. This one was funny and entertaining. A bit fluffy compared to other books in the series, though.

3 stars.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Read-a-Thon: End of Event Survey

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Er, most of them. Thanks to a recent lack of sleep and a busy day, I was pretty much exhausted throughout! Not my strongest read-a-thon!
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I read books from the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate and the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison, and both were excellent read-a-thon choices!
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope, I like it just the way it is!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Umm, everything? (This survey tries to make me think at this point in the game; I'm already half asleep.)
  5. How many books did you read? I read 3 and a half books. That's about half what I usually accomplish, and I was away for nearly half the read-a-thon altogether, so I'm OK with that.
  6. What were the names of the books you read? The Escape (Animorphs #15) by K.A. Applegate, Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #3) by Louise Rennison, The Warning (Animorphs #16) by K.A. Applegate, and half of Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #4) by Louise Rennison.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? I'd say they were pretty evenly matched this time.
  8. Which did you enjoy least? See previous answer.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I was not.
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I'll definitely continue to return every read-a-thon, and hopefully next time I can be back to my more hardcore read-a-thoning self!

Read-a-Thon Hours 23 and 24: 5:00 - 7:00

What are you reading right now? Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #4) by Louise Rennison

How's that going? Still great.

Books finished so far: The Escape (Animorphs #15) by K.A. Applegate, Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #3) by Louise Rennison, and The Warning (Animorphs #16) by K.A. Applegate

Pages read these hours: 62

Total pages read so far: 604

Food consumed this hour: None.

OK, so there was a fair bit of dozing near the end there, too. But hey, 604 pages, even with a wedding in there! Not too shabby!

Read-a-Thon Hours 21 and 22: 3:00 - 5:00

What are you reading right now? Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #4) by Louise Rennison

How's that going? Filled with hilariosity.

Books finished so far: The Escape (Animorphs #15) by K.A. Applegate and Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #3) by Louise Rennison

Pages read these hours: 105

Total pages read so far: 542

Food consumed this hour: None.

After accidentally having a bit of a snooze a while ago, I actually feel pretty awake, so I think I'll be finishing this read-a-thon off strongly!

Read-a-Thon Hours 13 to 20: 19:00 - 3:00

What are you reading right now? The Warning (Animorphs #16) by K.A. Applegate

How's that going? This one's actually getting pretty intense!

Books finished so far: The Escape (Animorphs #15) by K.A. Applegate and Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #3) by Louise Rennison

Pages read these hours: 44 (mostly in the last two hours, before which I was dancing the night away)

Total pages read so far: 437

Food consumed this hour: Social food (pickles, cheese, etc.) and a Monster energy drink.

OK, part of me thought that the dancing would make staying up for 24 hours easier. But I failed to realise that coming home from a social and NOT going straight to sleep is a very real challenge!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Read-a-Thon: Mid-Event Survey

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired? It was pretty bad for a while there, but I'm starting to feel a bit better now. It's now 7:00 pm here, and evening is when I thrive!
2) What have you finished reading? I've finished one Animorphs book and one Georgia Nicolson book, which is neary half of my original pile.
3) What is your favorite read so far? Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #3) by Louise Rennison
4) What about your favorite snacks? Actually, with all my out-and-aboutness today, I've pretty much just had normal meals instead of fun snacks. So nothing really stood out.
5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love! Er, not really. I always suck at the community thing durin. I pretty much just read the updates of the bloggers I already follow.

Read-a-Thon Hours 11 and 12: 17:00 - 19:00

What are you reading right now? The Warning (Animorphs #16) by K.A. Applegate

How's that going? Pretty good. The Animorphs have one of their more stupid plans, which always make me roll my eyes a bit, but also there have been scary times in fly morph.

Books finished so far: The Escape (Animorphs #15) by K.A. Applegate and Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #3) by Louise Rennison

Pages read these hours: 94

Total pages read so far: 393

Food consumed this hour: Cranberry ginger ale.

Soon I'll be leaving for the social, so I'll be away for a few hours. But then I'll be back to power through the last few hours!

Read-a-Thon Hours 9 and 10: 15:00 - 17:00

What are you reading right now? Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #3) by Louise Rennison

How's that going? Great. Oh Georgia, you make such bad decisions!

Books finished so far: The Escape (Animorphs #15) by K.A. Applegate

Pages read these hours: 75

Total pages read so far: 299

Food consumed this hour: A sandwich from the Safeway deli.

OK, so apparently this tired thing isn't going away today. I constantly feel like I'm dozing off. I clearly need a vacation.

Read-a-Thon Hours 5 to 8: 11:00 - 15:00

What are you reading right now? Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #3) by Louise Rennison

How's that going? Hilarious!

Books finished so far: The Escape (Animorphs #15) by K.A. Applegate

Pages read these hours: 61

Total pages read so far: 224

Food consumed this hour: Light lunch of the wedding, consisting of egg salad pinwheel sandwiches, cheese cubes, and some veggies and dip.

I'm back! All told, I've only missed about 3 hours of the read-a-thon so far. Now I can read for the next 5 hours or so, at which point we'll be heading to the social for some after-wedding partying!

Read-a-Thon Hours 3 and 4: 9:00 - 11:00

What are you reading right now? I'm just starting Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #3) by Louise Rennison.

How's that going? I'm literally just starting it. So it's too soon to tell. But I gave this book 5 stars when I read it in high school, and I'm confident that will stand the test of time.

Books finished so far: The Escape (Animorphs #15) by K.A. Applegate

Pages read these hours: 60

Total pages read so far: 163

Food consumed this hour: Toast with peanut butter, and more orange juice.

Definitely had some eyelid drooping! I'm having a heck of a time waking fully up. But in an hour I'll be leaving for the wedding, so hopefully that rejuvenates me!

Speaking of which, this'll be my last update for a while. I'm not sure exactly how my schedule's going to be, but I'm getting picked up in an hour to go to the wedding, which starts in two hours, and afterwards I'm less sure what I'm doing. But I'll bring a book with me so that I can make use of any downtime! Have fun while I'm gone, and I'll see you later today!

Read-a-Thon Hours 1 and 2: 7:00 - 9:00

What are you reading right now? The Escape (Animorphs #15) by K.A. Applegate

How's that going? Morphing fun times! Also morphing scary times! There are sharks in this one.

Books finished so far: None yet.

Pages read these hours: 103

Total pages read so far: 103 (yay math!)

Food consumed this hour: Orange juice.

I'm having a really difficult time keeping my eyes open. I haven't been getting enough rest lately, and getting up this morning was not fun. I'm going to grab some breakfast now and hope that that helps.

Read-a-Thon: Introductory Questionnaire

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? I'm in the lovely Winnipeg, Manitoba, sometimes known as Winterpeg, but not right now because we haven't even had snow yet!
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? They're pretty evenly matched this time around; most of the pile is the next couple Animorphs books and the next couple Georgia Nicolson books, all of which I'm sure I'll love.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Butternut squash soup! Om nom nom autumny goodness!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I recently returned to school to take library tech, and I just got married last month!
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? Well, this is the first read-a-thon for which I won't be here the entire time, since I have a wedding to go to. I'm sad about missing part of the day, but I'm hoping it'll also make it easier, since the day will be more broken up, and also dancing energizes me.

See the rest of the Introductory Questionnaires here!

The 24 Hour Read-a-Thon Begins!

It's tiiiiiiiime! Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon! My favourite biannual event! And the October one is close enough to the end of the year that it's perfect for helping me catch up on all my reading goals for the year. Unfortunately, for the first time ever, I won't be able to read non-stop throughout the event this time. My husband's aunt is getting married! So I'll be gone for several hours in early afternoon, and several more in the late evening. But I'll definitely be reading for the first 5 or 6 hours, the last 6 or so hours, and hopefully some in between!

In no particular order, here are the books I've got piled up for today:
  • The Escape (Animorphs #15) by K.A. Applegate (163 pages)
  • The Warning (Animorphs #16) by K.A. Applegate (146 pages)
  • Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #3) by Louise Rennison (173 pages)
  • Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #4) by Louise Rennison (206 pages)
  • Deadly Offer (Vampire's Promise #1) by Caroline B. Cooney (192 pages)
This makes a total of 880 pages, which is a fair bit lower than usual, which makes sense since I'll be gone for up to half of the event. Let's see how much of this I can still get through!

Happy reading, everyone! Please comment and let me know where you're participating so I can follow your progress throughout the day and cheer you on!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Love Rehab by Jo Piazza

Title: Love Rehab
Author: Jo Piazza
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Length: 230 pages

Sophie's boyfriend has dumped her for Floozy McSecretary (or at least that's how Sophie refers to her). She descends into a pathetic state of begging him to take her back and wallowing in her misery. When he accompanies her friend to an AA meeting, Sophie realises that women like her need the 12 steps, too. So she starts Love Rehab, for women who are addicted to love.

Love Rehab takes off, and all kinds of women start coming to the meetings, many of them moving into Sophie's large house. The many characters really make this story fun, because they all have such different stories, and have all done incredibly stupid things in their desperate attempts to keep their guys.

This book is also really funny, but some of the snark didn't quite do it for me. For example, when they were making fun of chick flicks, specifically When Harry Met Sally (which I must admit I LOVE), and they say that the nice, caring best friend guy is never "the one" because he's really gay. Which in one paragraph manages to stereotype gay men, deny straight men the right to be nice and caring, and suggest that women should just accept that they won't find a nice guy. So, bits like that took away from the book a bit for me. But overall I liked it.

4 stars.

Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Challenge Completed: 2013 Finishing the Series Challenge

I've finished a second 2013 challenge! I signed up for level 3 (finish 3 series) in the Finishing the Series Reading Challenge, hosted by Socrates' Book Reviews. The series I finished this year are the Mockingjay series, the Twilight series, and the Mayfair Chronicles.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ten Girls to Watch by Charity Shumway

Title: Ten Girls to Watch
Author: Charity Shumway
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Length: 353 pages

Dawn West is a recent graduate, trying to make her way in the world as a writer. So far, that consists of writing a lawn care advice column online, while she sits in her tiny, terrible New York apartment. When she gets a job tracking down past winners of Charm Magazine's Ten Girls to Watch contest and writing about their stories, she thinks this just might be her lucky break.

Right from the beginning, this book had me laughing out loud. There were moments when I could identify so much with Dawn, since I can totally relate to the position of being a university graduate with no career really coming of it. And she's just so witty! In these early pages I could hardly put the book down.

Once Dawn starts interviewing the TGTW winners, the story changes pace a bit, but is still really enjoyable. She meets all kinds of interesting women, who've done fascinating things with their lives. Sometimes she can't help but compare herself to them. As a result, this story is partly about Dawn coming to terms with her life and gaining some self-confidence.

I love that this book doesn't become about romance. Dawn has a crappy ex-boyfriend, and a promising new guy, and they both feature pretty prominently, but ultimately this book is about Dawn and her finding her path in life.

5 stars.

Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lichgates by S.M. Boyce

Title: Lichgates (The Grimoire Saga #1)
Author: S.M. Boyce
Publication Date: 2011
Length: 336 pages

During a sudden storm, Kara passes through a Lichgate and becomes trapped in an underground library. There, she opens the Grimoire and becomes its master, giving her great power. Now trapped in the world of Ourea, she gets caught up in an old conflict that is intensified by her arrival. The one person she may (or may not) be able to trust is Braedan, who has a dark secret and past that he's constantly running from.

This is just good fantasy. Ourea, the hidden world that exists alongside ours, is beautifully created. There are multiple peoples, with their own cultures, that coexist with a delicate peace (and in some cases not even that). The types of magic in this story are unique, like the concept of Bloods, the leaders of each race, who can control their people with their minds.

The romance in this book is the best kind: the kind where I'm all

but instead they act like real life people and don't fall right into love without even knowing each other. But this is just the first book in the series, so there's lots of time for romance to develop!

This book has a lot going for it: intense plot, original fantasy elements, great characters.

4 stars.

Full disclosure: Free ebook copy received from the publisher through NetGalley.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Brianna the Ballet Fairy by Julia Dweck

Title: Brianna the Ballet Fairy
Author: Julia Dweck
Illustrator: Kimberly Soderberg
Publication Date: December 2012
Length: 25 pages

Brianna is the smallest fairy, and she wishes that she could dance with the older fairies. A trickster pixie hears her wish and plays various tricks on Brianna by giving her things that will make her dance, but always have negative side effects. Luckily, a dragonfly comes along and tells her to true source of dancing ability.

This story is so sweet! Any kid who likes fairies and/or dancing is sure to love it. It has a positive, feel-good message.

As always, Julia Dweck's writing is delightful. Her rhymes are always perfect, and she uses such clever wording to make the lines rhyme while still seeming natural, and always having a great flow that makes her books perfect for reading aloud.

Kimberly Soderberg's illustrations are also lovely. Lots of bright colours, and plenty of sparkles!

5 stars.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Testing Guide by Joelle Charbonneau

Title: The Testing Guide
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publication Date: April 2013
Length: 10 pages (of actual prequel)

In this prequel to The Testing, Cia's older brother Zeen is hoping to be chosen for the Testing. And... that's about it, really. This is really more of a bonus chapter from another point of view than an actual prequel. While it's technically 57 pages long, that includes a Q&A and the beginning of The Testing. The prequel itself is only 10 pages long.

Having read The Testing, I enjoyed this closer look at Zeen. But I would only recommend it if you have read The Testing. I don't think it's the best introduction to the series. (And the only reason I think it's maybe meant to be is that it includes an excerpt from the first book.)

4 stars.