Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Borrowed Book Challenge 2012

I've decided to join a mini-book challenge.  This challenge only lasts three months (Feb 1 - April 30, 2012) and is hosted by LaToyaLiterallyThe Borrowed Book Challenge is all about borrowing books from your local library and supporting them in whichever way you can.  

I am a HUGE fan of the library and go there all the time to borrow books. The library is my main source for new reads and I love it.  I especially love the online feature my library has that lets you browse and request books online.  Then all I have to do is go once a week to pick up all of the books they have ready for me! It is great - and saves me time browsing the shelves.  Although half of the time I end up browsing the shelves anyway and pick up even more books to read. :) 

Because this challenge is only three months and I have a HUGE stack of ARCs to read from ALA, I am going to make it easy on myself and go with Level 1.

Level 1: Bookworm 1-3 books.

I don't know exactly what book I will choose each month from the library for this challenge, but I will make sure to post somewhere about it as I read them.

Wish me luck, and go here to join in on the fun!


Friday, January 27, 2012

New Look & Letter Grades

What better way to start out the new year but with a fresh new blog look?  I decided to update the look of the blog today and I am really happy with.  It feels clean, simple a lot more my style. Thank you shabbyblogs and cutest blog around the block for inspiration and clip art! 

Also, I decided to change up my book ratings.  I had a huge list of ratings from 1 to 10, without any type of cute graphics or fun stuff.  I decided to cut out some of the varying degrees of ratings and make a graphic! Now I have letter grades - with an "!" (!!!) being the best in show to a "U" (ugh.) at the bottom of the totem pole.  

 Now I am off to finish reading my current book so I can review it using my nifty new scale. Hope you guys like it!


Monday, January 23, 2012

ALA Midwinter was awesome!

I was able to make it to ALA Midwinter on Saturday and it was wonderful! It was so fun getting to meet and mingle with authors, publishers and other book lovers.  I dragged my brother to the conference with me so I wouldn't have to roam around alone and he had just as much fun as I did. It was great!  I was only going to be able to attend on Saturday, so I only signed up for access to the Exhibit Hall. But even with that limited access we still managed to spend almost the entire day there.  I met a lot of great people and really had an enjoyable time.  It makes me even more excited about attending future conferences (ALA Annual and BEA here I come!) I ended up with a HUGE stack of ARCs for review (lucky for me I live close - or shipping costs would have been beyond outrageous) and now I don't even know where to start reading! I will have to take a photo for you of the amazing books I was able to snag for review, but in the mean time here are a few I am really excited about:

BZRK by Michael Grant
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Grave Mercy by Robin LeFevers
The Storm Makers by Jennifer E. Smith
Torn from Troy by Patrick Bowman
Fracture by Megan Miranda
Black Heart by Holly Black
Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

 Where you at the conference as well?  
Which ARC are you going to start reading first?


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Where am I today? The ALA Midwinter Meeting!

I am excited! Today I am attending the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas!  I live just around the corner and couldn't resist the temptation to spend a day surrounded by other book lovers. This will be my first ALA conference, so I really have no idea what to expect.  I promise to take some pics and get as much good info for you as I can. *doeshappydance*

Wish me luck!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Read Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver for Free!

I just opened up my email and had a Book Blast from HarperCollins! Check out the details below..

 Yay for ENTIRE BOOK access! Love it. Enjoy.


Book Plugs - aka - MUST READS.

Ok, due to my slacker-pants-ness on the last couple months of 2011 I have not posted full reviews on any of the books below.  But I couldn't let them go by having missed out on their 15 minutes of blog fame!  All of the books below deserve a [Ten - Amazing! Loved it. Read it now!] rating.

(listed in no particular order since they are all amazing!)

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I can't say much about this book without spoiling it.  But lets just say that I loved it.  I waited for the library to have a copy before reading this one and immediately after I finished it I had to purchase one for myself to keep. It was that good. I loved the writing style, the characterization, the world building, the complicated plot - ALL OF IT! I can't wait for book two and have a strange urge to dye my hair blue.
The Darkest Powers Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong (The Summoning, The Awakening, The Reckoning)

I read all three of these books in quick succession.  Lucky for me I didn't start the series until they were all complete, how anyone else who read them as they were published survived I do not know! The story has action, mystery, strong characterization and a great - slow - romance. Love love love. 

The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men)

Wow. WOW.  That is about all I can say for these books.  Talk about an emotional dystopian roller-coaster.  I chewed through these books in just a few days - and got very little sleep.  I could not put them down.  It was an intense and heartbreaking struggle, but so worth it.  Once again, I don't want to say much to avoid spoilers, but this series put Patrick Ness on the top of my author watch list.  He writes it - I buy it.  Talk about cliffhanger endings - how people survived waiting for the next books I will never know. Lucky me again for waiting to start a series until after they are all published! Be ready with the second novel at your fingertips before you start the first books!

The Codex Alera Series by Jim Butcher

This was such a good series! I loved how the characters grow and mature throughout the series. Butcher is a fabulous author and I loved every second of these action/adventure/fantasy/everything novels!   I enjoyed that each book came to a good conclusion on their individual plot-lines, but still continued to build on the overall story arc until the very end.  The only flaw that I found in this series is that they ended. I want to more!  I *heart* Tavi. Just sayin.  I plan to have this entire collection of novels sitting right next to my Harry Potter collection on the shelf someday.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

This was another lovely novel by Maggie Stiefvater.  I love her writing style.  The emotion she manages to create in her characters just sucks me right in. With alternating points of view between Puck and Sean you quickly get pulled into an different reality that is hard to let go of on the last page.  I would happily read hundreds of pages more... so here's hoping that someday Maggie decides to go back to the world of this stand alone novel. *prettyplease*

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
Why I waited so long to read this one I will never know. This book was awesome!  It managed to keep up with the action and pace of the first two novels, while still bringing the overall story arc to a nice conclusion.  Secrets are revealed and worlds are changed. I loved it!  Once again, I would love to read more - but I was perfectly happy with the conclusion of this series.  Such a great YA steampunk series to read - if you haven't started it yet, go do it!


Red Glove by Holly Black
Oh Cassel. What twisted webs we weave. After the ending of White Cat I wasn't sure what was going to go down in this book, but I was not disappointed at all by Red Glove. Such a good book! Just about anything I could say would be spoilery, so lets just say that this series continues to be awesome. 


A World Without Heroes (Beyonders #1) by Brandon Mull

This was such a fun read! A great start to a new fantasy series.  The book was really dialogue dense – lots of speaking! It didn't have a lot filler and description, which kept everything fast paced. The story was long and the plot was complicated, with great characterization.  I loved it.  I have never read the Fablehaven series, but if this book is an example of Brandon's writing I will be adding it to the top of my list! I can't wait for the second book to come out in March!

 Bayou Moon (The Edge #2) by Ilona Andrews

I haven't read a book by Ilona Andrews that I didn't like, but I think this one is my very favorite of all.  I LOVED this book.  Strong family bonds, an angsty-orphaned-changeling love interest and lots of homegrown magic. What's not to like?! I also loved the page count.  Most of this genre of book just seem so short, but this one was a comfy 447 pages, and even then I didn't want it to end. Yay for awesome books!

All of these books are fabulous and deserve their time in spotlight - so if they sound like something you might be interested in, go check them out. Now!  


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Where did the time go?!

Whoa. Two months. TWO MONTHS. 

That is how long is has been since I have posted anything on my blog! It is amazing how fast time flies by when you are busy.  However, I’m Back!!  No more slacking off.  Life is back into a normal routine and I have managed to find a good balance.  Which means I can make time for my book blogging hobby again! Yay!  I know it is in the middle of January now, but I wanted to share some year-end updates.

How many books did I read last year?!

I read in 155 books in 2011!! That is a crazy amount of books.  This year, I don't think I will be getting as much reading in since the hubs has graduated and we are able to spend more time together in the evenings, as well as, my new addiction of pinterest has me making homemade EVERYTHING.  My goal for 2012 is to read 75 books.  

How did I do on last year's challenges?!

2011 Debut Author Challenge  - Was a Success!!!! I was able to read twelve 2011 Debut Author books. Yay for actually accomplishing a goal.  Below are the books I read...

Warped by Maurissa Guibord (released 1/11/2011)
Across the Universe by Beth Revis (released 1/11/2011)
Forsaken by Jana Oliver (released 1/7/2011)
Clarity by Kim Harrington (released 3/1/2011)
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton (released 9/27/2011)
Divergent by Veronica Roth (released 5/3/2011)
Ashfall by Mike Mullin (released 10/2011)
Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic (released 2011)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake 
Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

2011 YA Historical Fiction Challenge  - Was a FAIL.  Doh! I did manage to read six YA Historical Fiction novels, but I was four short of my goal.  However, the books I missed out on are still on my future reading list and I will definitely get to them this year. For reals this time.  Below are the books I read for the challenge and the crossed out ones I didn't manage to finish.

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (posted)
Wildwing by Emily Whitman (posted)
The Boy In the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Star-Crossed by Linda Collison
The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Once by Morris Gleitzman
Viking Warrior by Judson Roberts

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird



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