2010 Challenge – Complete!

I finished my 2010 Challenge!  I am very excited about this.  A month ago, I really didn’t think it would be possible, but I am so glad I did it.  It was a huge challenge (for me at least) and I feel really accomplished.  It also pushed me to read things I wouldn’t normally pick up on my own, like historical novels (like them, but don’t usually read them) and award winning books that I might have otherwise overlooked.

So now I am gearing up for next year’s challenge.  My original plan was to tone it down a bit, but I like challenges, so I have joined a few.  My 2011 Challenge will linked under the header all year.  Between the British Books Challenge, the Debut Author Challenge, the PaperBackSwap YA Challenge, and my personal TBR challenge, I think I will have my hands full.  But in a good way! :)

Oh, and two challenges I forgot to mention above: Nonfiction Challenge, because I really need to read the nonfiction I accumulate, and Pick an Author Challenge.  I did that in 2010 with John Green and really enjoyed it, so this year I have picked Melina Marchetta.  I have already read one of her books, Jellicoe Road, and loved it, so I’m excited to read everything else!

Weekly Recap 12/19/10

I’m splitting my recaps of what I’ve read each week into a different  post than In My Mailbox.  Maybe this will lead back to individual review posts, but I’m not getting my hopes up!  I’ll never really be a hardcore blogger.  It got to be too much work and not enough fun.  I do like being able to go back and look at what I’ve read and received, plus I like to  keep up with my challenges here.  Anyway…!  I had a crazy week at work and after work, so I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted to, but here’s what I’ve read this week:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – This book was really interesting. There were times when I wasn’t totally sure about it, but in the end I really liked it.  I went into reading it thinking it was a series of short stories, which it kind of was and kind of wasn’t.  Some reviews I’d read had found it disjointed and I think that mindset helped me not feel that way.  I loved all the characters in the graveyard and really liked Bod.  He was a good kid that wanted to see the world outside the graveyard, but was also very protective of the world inside the graveyard.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – I liked this a lot!  It was a fantastic Christmas time read.  I liked Lily a lot.  Dash took a bit of time to warm up to at the beginning, but I liked him by the end.  I loved the challenges they made for each other and the things they wrote in the journal.  Very thought provoking!  I really liked the supporting characters, especially Mark and Boomer.  Very fun book!

In My Mailbox 12/19/10

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Click here to learn more about it.

Books Received:

  • When I was Joe by Keren David (PBS FIFO)
  • The Secret Circle Vol 1 by L.J. Smith (PBS Game)
  • The Secret Circle Vol 2 by L.J. Smith (PBS FIFO)
  • Crash Test Love by Ted Michael (PBS Game)
  • Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney (PBS Game)
  • Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet by Kashmira Sheth (PBS FIFO)
  • Unwind by Neal Shusterman (PBS Game)

Books Mailed:

  • Annexed by Sharon Dogar (PBS Game)

Debut Author Challenge 2011

In 2010, I read 14 Debut Authors.  I’m sure I can match that this year, so I am joining the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren.

Debuts Read:

  1. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  2. Entangled by Cat Clarke
  3. XVI by Julia Karr
  4. So Shelly by Ty Roth
  5. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
  6. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  7. Bumped by Megan McCafferty
  8. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  9. Human.4 by Mike Lancaster
  10. Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

Debuts I Own:

  1. Liar Society by Lisa Roecker, Laura Roecker
  2. Illegal by Bettina Restrepo
  3. Department 19 by Will Hill
  4. Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray

The list is subject to change, of course!  I’ll update this post as I read the books! :)

British Books Challenge 2011

After a big 2010 YA Reading Challenge, I told myself that I was going to do something much smaller for 2011 and concentrate more on just reading the books I own.  But today I came across this and I can’t pass it up!  I love all (well most) things British and love reading books by UK Authors.

I linked to it above, but you can read more about the challenge here on the hostess’ (The Bookette) blog.  For international folks, there are two options – Winston Churchill (6 books) and the Royal Family (12 books).  At this point, I am only committing to Winston Churchill, but after making a list of the books I own that work for the challenge, I will probably end up as part of the Royal Family!

Books Read:

  1. Trash by Andy Mulligan (1/11/11)
  2. Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (1/21/11)
  3. Entangled by Cat Clarke (2/2/11)
  4. Pretty Bad Things by C.J. Skuse (5/7/11)
  5. Rockoholic by C.J. Skuse (6/9/11)
  6. 0.4 by Mike Lancaster (10/16/11)
  7. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding (11/27/11)

I am not committing to reading all of these, but here’s what I own right now:

  1. Skins by Ali Cronin
  2. Split by a Kiss by Luisa Plaja
  3. My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day
  4. Big Woo by Susie Day
  5. On The Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison
  6. The Declaration by Gemma Malley
  7. When I Was Joe by Keren David
  8. Almost True by Keren David
  9. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones
  10. The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones
  11. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
  12. Slam by Nick Hornby
  13. About a Boy by Nick Hornby
  14. How to Be Good by Nick Hornby
  15. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  16. Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy
  17. The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness
  18. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
  19. One Day by David Nicholls

Plus there are several books coming out in 2011 that I know I want to read, like Jessie Love NYC by Keris Stainton, so this list will grow and change.  I’m sure I also own books by UK Authors that I just don’t realize are from the UK.  Will be doing more research on that!

So I’ll be back in 2011 to update this post as I read the books!

Weekly Recap 12/12/10

Books Read:

Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt – I wasn’t really a fan of this.  I’ve liked half of Barnholdt’s books so far… I liked Two Way Street and One Night That Changes Everything, but didn’t like Aces Up and Reality Chick/Watch Me.  Shannon wasn’t very likable to me.  For someone who was supposed to be really smart, she seemed really ditsy and stupid.  I didn’t understand the appeal of Cole either.

X-Isle by Steve Augarde – I had read some reviews of this book on Goodreads and they weren’t super inspiring, but I ended up really liking this book!  It was dystopian and I am a dystopian junkie.  I liked that it was set in the near future and there wasn’t any science fiction involved.  Everything that happened could have happened in our world.  I really liked Baz and all of the boys on the island.  Ray was a conundrum at times, but understandable in the end.  The middle of the book was a little long, but not terribly so.  One thing that made me laugh was that people on Goodreads were complaining about the Fart Club, saying it was preteen boy humor.  Eh, maybe, but it had a point that made perfect sense.

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, Bk 6) by Richelle Mead – This was so good!  I will miss this series.  I’ve always loved Rose and she didn’t disappoint in this book.  I don’t really want to say anything spoilery, but I thought this book had a great storyline, loads of action, and the right amount of emotion. :)

Annexed by Sharon Dogar – This was okay.  It was kind of slow and sometimes the characters were unlikeable.  Anne especially was really frustrating at the beginning.  The writing felt pretty stilted sometimes and the dialogue didn’t really flow naturally.

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Click here to learn more about it.

Books Received:

  • Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, Bk 6) by Richelle Mead (Amazon)
  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (Santa Jacki)
  • Zombies vs Unicorns by Holly Black et al (Santa Jacki)
  • Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick (PBS FIFO)
  • Half Upon a Time by James Riley (PBS FIFO)
  • The Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon – and me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver, Bk 3) by E. Lockhart (PBS FIFO)

Books Mailed:

  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  • Paper Towns by John Green
  • Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt

Weekly Recap 12/5/10

I had this all typed up and totally forgot to post it yesterday.  I am useless!  :) This week I was back in maniac reader girl mode, which is good because I had PBS Swap reading to do and I am really really close to finishing my 2010 Challenge!  I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it, but here I am.  As of right now, I need to finish a book that starts with X for the Alphabet Challenge (I am halfway through X-Isle), read 1 Historical Fiction book (Annexed, also need to read it for a swap), and read 2 more Newbery Award winners (The Graveyard Book and The Tale of Despereaux).  Totally doable!  I also had a goal of reading 150 books this year, which I think I will miss, but that’s okay.  I’ll probably be closer to 140 books for the year, and that is not too shabby at all!

Books Read:

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen – I liked this a lot!  I swear there’s crack dusted in Sarah Dessen books.  On the surface, they seem like they should be light reads, but they always end up entertaining and thought provoking.

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John – This was really good.  There were a few times I felt like it was missing that little something that would make me LOVE the book, but overall, I still founding it really interesting and enjoyable.  I really liked the band and all the drama associated with that, and just that could have been a good book.  Adding in a deaf girl and her family drama just made it even better.  Piper’s parents drove me nuts, but I loved her brother and their relationship.

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler – This was okay.  It was entertaining, but I had high expectations for it based on how much I liked Twenty Boy Summer, and it just didn’t live up to them.  I never really connected with Delilah and her relationship with Patrick seemed rushed into.  Patrick having a crush on her as a 12 year old shouldn’t have automatically meant they were in love at 18.  It just didn’t feel real.  I also felt that the end didn’t have as much resolution as I would have liked.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – This book was totally swoonworthy!  I really liked all the characters and how real they felt.  The book made me feel like I was in Paris and now I really want to go!  It was also really hard to put down.  I didn’t mean to read it all in one evening, it just happened!  I definitely recommend this!

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead – I read this for my Newbery Award challenge.  It was a pretty easy read and was entertaining.  I liked the concept and how everything tied together in the end.

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Click here to learn more about it.

Books Recieved:

  • Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John (Amazon)
  • Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz (PBS FIFO)
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Yang (PBS FIFO)
  • Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler (Borders)
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Amazon)

Books Mailed:

  • Fear Is No Longer My Reality by Jamie Blyth (PBS FIFO)
  • The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (PBS FIFO)
  • Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle (PBS FIFO)
  • Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ocker (PBS Friend)
  • Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John (PBS Game)
  • Anna and the French Kiss (PBS Game)

Weekly Recap 11/28/10

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

Books Read:

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff – This was really good.  I really liked the world it was set in – very creepy and interesting.  There were times when the book confused me a bit, but overall I found it really enjoyable.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – I can’t believe I let this sit on my shelf for 18 months without reading it!  It was soooo good!  It sucked me in right from the beginning.  I think I drove my family crazy on Thanksgiving/the day after because I was constantly walking around with the book because I just couldn’t put it down!  I definitely recommend this to anyone, though I seem to be one of the last people on the planet to read it. :)

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle – This was cute.  I really liked John Green’s story.  Maureen Johnson’s story was cute and really funny.  I didn’t love Lauren Myracle’s story, but I am not a huge fan of hers, so that wasn’t unexpected.  Overall it was a quick fun wintry read.

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Click here to learn more about it.

Books Received:

  • NONE!

Books Mailed:

  • The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Weekly Recap 11/21/10

So I missed a week again!  I have a good excuse again – I was in Nashville for my sister’s birthday!  Also, I am still in my reading funk, so I haven’t been thinking about books all that much.  Barely reading for a month is definitely making finishing my 2010 Challenges difficult, but I am still pretty confident in several categories.  It at least got me to read things I might not have read on my own this year.

My “books read” is kind of depressing right now…

Books Read:

Queen Geek Social Club by Laura Preble – I didn’t really like this.  The main character was annoying and it just felt like the book was random and a bit pointless.  I finished it because I needed a ‘q’ for my alphabet challenge. :)

Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L.J. Smith – I recently started watching the TV show The Vampire Diaries and like it a lot!  It is interesting and a lot of fun.  I bought the first season DVDs, which came with the audiobook of the first book in the original series.  I had a 4 hour car ride each way to Nashville, so I decided to listen to this.  It was awful!  Elena in the book was so unlikable.  I have issues with audiobooks anyway, so that could have been part of the problem, but the book just didn’t have the same charm the show has for me.

Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts – This was fun.  I really liked the 3rd book in this series and this one didn’t live up to that one, but it was still a good read.

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher – I didn’t like this nearly as much as I liked Incarceron.  I felt like I had to force myself to stay engaged with this and I was pretty bored through a lot of the book.  After loving this world in Incarceron, I really thought I would like this more.  I also was disappointed by the lack of answers in this book.  Some of them I kind of understand why they weren’t answered, but it was still a bit frustrating.

Paper Towns by John Green – Finally one I really liked!  I always seem to really like John Green’s books.  This one wasn’t quite as amazing as An Abundance of Katherines, but it was still really good – thought provoking, moving, and funny.  It makes me a little sad that I am pretty close to be caught up on John Green’s work. (though that was my challenge for the year…)

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Click here to learn more about it.

Books Received:

  • Ruined by Simone Elkeles (PBS Game)
  • Vampire Diaries: Stefan’s Diaries: Origins (PBS Friend)
  • Monster High by Lisi Harrison (Borders)
  • Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts (Borders)
  • Moloka’i by Alan Brennert (PBS FIFO)
  • Keep Sweet by Michele Dominguez Greene (PBS FIFO)
  • The Miracle Stealer by Neil Connelly (PBS FIFO)
  • Plain Kate by Erin Bow (PBS Game)

Books Mailed:

  • Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts (PBS Friend)
  • Twelfth Grade Kills by Heather Brewer (PBS Game)

Weekly Recap 11/7/10

I missed two weeks in a row!  Oops. :)  In my defense, it’s been a busy couple weeks with the end of baseball season, a couple football games, Halloween, and my grandmother’s birthday thrown in.  I haven’t been in front of the computer much recently!

I am excited that I have been mailing out a lot more books than I am getting in!  I’m trying to not buy books right now because I have so many to read that I really want to read.  It’s hard because there’s always good stuff coming out, but I am learning to be more patient.  Now I just need to get out of my reading semi-funk and read more!

Books Read:

The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel – This didn’t really work for me.  I have a big family and am still stuck at the Kid Table despite being close to 30 so I thought I would relate, but I didn’t.  The family wasn’t very likable and didn’t seem to like each other all that much.  The sections of the book were weird, like an issue comes up, then it’s resolved… the next issue comes up, then it is resolved.

The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus, Bk 1) by Rick Riordan – I LOVED this!  I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series and I liked that this was back in that world with new characters.  I really liked all three of the main characters.  I am sad that we have to wait another year for the next installment!

Eleventh Grade Burns (Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Bk 4) by Heather Brewer – Still loving this series.  I really like Vlad and his friends and family.  This book was really good!  I’m a little sad that I am so close to the end of the series!

Jane by April Lindner – This was really good!  It wasn’t as good as Jane Eyre, but it was a good modernization.  There were times I really liked Jane, but I was really frustrated with her for the 3rd 4th of the book.

Feed by M.T. Anderson – This was good.  Weird, but good.  The language took a bit to get in to.  The concept was really really interesting and it made me keep reading because I just wanted to find out what would happen next.

Twelfth Grade Kills (Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Bk 5) by Heather Brewer – I am kind of sad that this series is over!  I really liked Vlad.  The last book was really good – lots of action and twists.

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Click here to learn more about it.

Books Received:

  • My Invisible Boyfriend by Susie Day (PBS Game)
  • Jane by April Lindner (PBS Game)
  • Annexed by Sharon Dogar (Borders)
  • The Compound by S.A. Bodeen (Borders)
  • Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green (PBS FIFO)

Books Mailed:

  • Intertwined by Gena Showalter (PBS FIFO)
  • Hemingway in Love and War by Agnes Von Kurowsky (PBS FIFO)
  • The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez (PBS FIFO)
  • Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson (PBS FIFO)
  • Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer (PBS FIFO)
  • Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill (PBS FIFO)
  • Betrayal in Death by J.D. Robb (PBS FIFO)
  • Reunion in Death by J.D. Robb (PBS FIFO)
  • Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (PBS FIFO)
  • Six Rules of Maybe by Deb Caletti (PBS FIFO)
  • Tenth Grade Bleeds by Heather Brewer (PBS FIFO)
  • Jane by April Lindner (PBS Game)
  • Swim the Fly by Don Calame (PBS FIFO)
  • Halo by Alexandra Adornetto (PBS FIFO)
  • The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel (PBS FIFO)
  • Feed by M.T. Anderson (PBS Game)
  • Shadowland by Alyson Noel (PBS FIFO)
  • Switch by Carol Snow (PBS FIFO)
  • Close Quarters by Emma Harrison (PBS FIFO)