Category Archives: Not a Book Review

The December/January Roundup

It’s that time again… sitting down to figure out just how much I’ve read in the last two months. December and January have wildly fluctuated from busy to boring, so my reading has gone a little mad, too.

Score: 5/5 (Books I loved and will definitely read again)

Score: 4/5 (Books I liked and might read again)

Score: 3/5 (Books that are alright)

Score: 2/5 (Books I’ll probably get rid of)

Score: 1/5 (Books I actually hated, or couldn’t finish)

  • None! Hooray!

Fun Stats: Over the two combined months, I read 27 books, totaling 8,224 pages. 2 of them were anthologies, containing 35 stories. I had 2,274 blog-views. For my challenges, I’ve read 0/10 graphic novels, 0/5 steampunk novels, 2/5 dystopian novels, 6/50 library books. So far I’ve read 9/100 books

While you’re here, check out the Best of 2010

What challenges are you working on? Are there any books I should really take the time to read?

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Bloggiesta

I fully blame Chachic for the fact that I’m doing this. Because she posted it, I was intrigued, so I went over to the Maw Books Blog and found out that it’s basically a blogging fiesta (hence the name) where you take the time to do the things your blog needs, and so do a lot of other people. It’s like the NaNoWriMo but for bloggers who want to make their blogs pretty.

My list of projects for this weekend is:

  • Actually reviewing the last few books I’ve read. Half-Done!
  • Cleaning up my “Reviewed Books” page. Done! 1/23
  • Updating the “About Aelia” page. Done! 1/22
  • Setting up guest posts? (Anyone interested?) Decided against it
  • Misc. other things that will occur to me.
  • Mini Challenges Completed: none
  • Flashback Mini Challenges Completed: Analyze Your Blog & Anchor Text

That said, this weekend there’s an event at work (which involves a volcano!) and I’m not sure that I’ll have a ton of time, but I”m gonna do my best to do at least a few of these things.

End of Weekend Analysis

Well, I didn’t do too well with this, (bummer) though I did get to check out a lot of new blogs this weekend. That was pretty cool. There are some great people out there blogging about books. They are both inspiring and intimidating.

All told I logged about 10 hours on blog-improvements, though you won’t see some of them, since they’re on my side. (I did actually create some templates, and clean up some of the bits and pieces on my “Reviewed Books” page.)

Other cool things I found because of Bloggiesta include a Giveaway (over at Bookalicio.us), and all the Mini-Challenges. Some of them were awesomely informational. (Seriously, the Mini-Challenges rocked.)

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Yearly Wrap-Up: 2010

I feel like this would be a good time to wrap up the year*, and talk about the best books of 2010, and why I think they were the best, except that I’m honestly a little lazy, and I’m not sure what more I can say about some of these books that wasn’t already said in the review, so instead I’m going to compose a list of 10 great books from 2010.

In no particular order, my favorites from 2010:

1. Hot by Julia Harper

I found it on an approved list of books for an extra credit assignment, and I ended up tracking it down. I’m glad I did, because it was hilarious, and I found myself enjoying it, laughing out loud and anxiously waiting to find out what was going to happen– besides the predictable romance plot. One doesn’t read romances expecting un-romantic endings; it wouldn’t sell.

Check it out on Goodreads or Amazon.

2. The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne

Sometimes impulsively-selected books are terrible, and sometimes they’re amazing. Luckily, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet featured a fun narrator with a great voice and a sense of humor. She felt true to her age, and carried the entire story off because of her well-managed perspective. (And it had a few Shakespeare jokes which I enjoyed, as well.)

Check it out on Goodreads or Amazon.

3. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. I knew I would like it; there were too many good reviews for me to not like it, but I didn’t realize quite how amazing it was until I was absorbed in it. I am definitely glad I took the time to read it; Bianca was a fascinating character with a brilliant narrative voice, even if she wasn’t the wisest character ever.

Check it out on Goodreads or Amazon.

4. A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

I really loved the fact that this was Rumpelstiltskin, but re-imagined in such a way that it was a totally unique story. I loved the world building, the characters, and the plot. I enjoyed the way the mystery unraveled, and all the things that happened along the way. It was a strong debut novel (and deserving of the award it won.)

Check it out on Goodreads or Amazon.

5. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

I wasn’t expecting to love this book. I saw the cover and thought “huh, lime green?” but decided to check it out anyway. It’s not my usual fare; it’s sarcastic, and a little dark. Vera’s life isn’t sunshine and daisies, and her life doesn’t magically get better by the end. But her voice is brilliant, her story enthralling, and the flowcharts entertaining. I’m glad I took the time to read it; it’s one of the better books I’ve read recently.

Check it out on Goodreads or Amazon.

6. The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I picked up Moon Called; I thought I might like paranormal romance, but I wasn’t sure. Soon after, I was reading all sorts of paranormal series; Cassandra Palmer, The Hollows, Kate Daniels, and Women of the Otherworld. I blame Patricia Briggs for being my gateway author, yet I love her for it. Mercy is amazing, and I can hardly wait for the next book in the set (due March 2011).

Check it out on Goodreads or Amazon.

7. The Hero & The Crown by Robin McKinley

This is a perpetual favorite which I re-read for what felt like the millionth time, and I loved it just as much as I did the first time. Aerin is amazing, Damar fascinating, Luthe mysterious, Maur terrifying, and the story brilliant. I always read The Hero and the Crown and then The Blue Sword back-to-back, so in many ways they feel like a single book. There are, of course, people who don’t appreciate the brilliance of the Damar books, but they are silly.

Check it out on Goodreads or Amazon.

8. Kiss Me Deadly edited by Trisha Telep

At the time it made sense to review this set in three parts; short fiction isn’t meant to be read in one gulp, but I’ll admit right now that with as much as I talk about it, it would be much more convenient for it to be in one post. Regardless, it was an entertaining, lightly romantic, and fun supernatural anthology, and I’d suggest it to anyone who’s looking for some easy-to-read paranormal stories.

Check it out on Goodreads or Amazon.

9. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Another perennial favorite is Howl’s Moving Castle, which has the honor of being one of the first DWJ novels I ever read. (Shortly behind it is the first omnibus of Chrestomanci.) Sophie is a great narrator, the land of Ingary is entertaining– your classic fantasy-land– and the story is mysterious and adventurous enough to keep you hanging on for more. The other two Sophie-related books, Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways are also very entertaining.

Check it out on Goodreads or Amazon.

10. Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Immediately after reading Kiss Me Deadly, I decided that I wanted to read more about killer unicorns, so I sought out Rampant, and then I found myself reading Ascendant (the sequel). It’s not often that you come across a book which manages to be unique without being terrible. (Admittedly, the idea of evil man-eating unicorns is either hit-or-miss, I do know people who didn’t enjoy it as much as I did.)

Check it out on Goodreads or Amazon.

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Books which might have made the list if I were not so attached to a “top ten” list: Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson, Beastly by Alex Flinn, Unexpected Magic by Diana Wynne Jones, and The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview.

Reviews t0 look forward to (from me, at least) in 2011:

Tortall & Other Lands by Tamora Pierce, River Marked by Patricia Briggs, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride, The Eternal Kiss ed. by Trisha Telep, Corsets & Clockwork ed. by Trisha Telep, Matched by Allie Condie, and Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry, to name a few.

So tell me, what books did you love in 2010? Which books are you excited for in 2011?

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* I’ve been trying to write this post for the last week, so I’m glad it’s finally done! (Now to write the monthly wrap-up for tomorrow…)

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Secret Santa!

I was participating in The Neverending Shelf‘s Secret Santa, and was lucky enough to get two books I’ve always wanted to own:

Sunshine by Robin McKinley & Deerskin by Robin McKinley. It’s always very exciting to me when I get the chance to own books that I’ve really liked.

It seems my lovely partner was Michelle of Hooked to Books.

Thanks, Michelle! I can’t wait to read these!

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The October/November Roundup

I didn’t read a ton during October and November, so they’ve been combined into one post.

Score: 5/5 (Books I loved and will definitely read again)

Score: 4/5 (Books I liked and might read again)

Score: 3/5 (Books that are alright)

Score: 2/5 (Books I’ll probably get rid of)

Score: 1/5 (Books I actually hated, or couldn’t finish)

  • None, thank goodness

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Fun Stats: Over the two combined months, I read 22 books, totaling 6,386 pages. 1 of them was an anthology, containing 13 stories. I had 1,076 blog-views. I gave away 3 books!

What books did you really enjoy this month? (Or last month?) What books are you looking forward to reading?

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Happy Thanksgiving

On a holiday which is supposed to be about taking time to appreciate what you have, and giving thanks for all the good things which have come your way– though this is not how the holiday started*– I would like to say Thank You to all of my readers. Whether you’re American (in which case, Happy Thanksgiving) or not (for you, I say have a beautiful day) I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. It makes me feel important.

I am also going to say thank you in the general sense to all the authors who have written books I have appreciated, and those I have not. Without bad books, you cannot appreciate the good ones, and were I not to have some good books, I might be crazy by now, so thank you.

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* I am carefully resisting the urge to rant and rave about the massacre of Native Americans, the celebration of gluttony which the holiday has become, or any of the other “ugly” sides. However, if you’d like to discuss it, please comment. I’m always interested in other people’s opinions about this particular holiday.

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E-Books and E-Readers?

I’ve been wondering for a while if it’s worth my time to get a Kindle. On the one hand, it’s technology, which means it’s dated nearly as fast as you can buy it. On the other hand, it’s a small piece of technology that can hold tons and tons of books.

So I’m asking you, oh people of the internet. Is it worth getting a Kindle? Are any of the other readers better? If price wasn’t an issue, would you get one? Which one would it be?

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Secret Santa Fun

Bringing some attention to the Booklovers Secret Santa (hosted by The Neverending Shelf) it sounds fun!

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Sneak-Peek

There are two different blogger memes that I’ve noticed recently, – Alita.Reads participates in Mailbox Monday (started by Marcia at The Printed Page, and hosted for October by Avis at She Reads and Reads) and Chachic participates in In My Mailbox (hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren)*

The sentiment of both is the same; take a moment to consider the books you’ve received or bought during the past week. I hear it can be hard to participate, because you inevitably get sucked into other people’s lists, and you end up really wanting a lot more books.

I’m modifying both (a little) and not participating in a pure way. I’ve got some upcoming reviews, and I went and got a few more books.

Today, for example, I received April Lindner’s Jane from the ladies at LitSnit. I couldn’t help reading a bit of it already (despite the fact that I have forbidden myself to start any new books until I complete reviews for all the books I have recently finished). I also got a nifty gift-card for Borders from someone, and couldn’t help spending it (and then some) picking up The Eternal Kiss anthology and Diana Peterfreund’s Rampant. I also grabbed Gail Carriger’s Changeless, though I’ve gotten the impression from some reviews/discussion that I may not like some upcoming plot**.

I am working on coming to a solid opinion on Kiss Me Deadly, because it was mostly very, very good, but there were a few that left me unsure of how I felt.

I was going to get Linger today, but I am not sure I want to read it because I have a) heard rumors of a cliffhanger, and I loathe those, and b) am of the opinion that there is going to be an awful lot of upcoming angst. I hate moping. It’s unproductive and frustrating to read.

Regardless, I’ll be giving these a try.

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* There seem to be an awful lot of female book bloggers. Is that just because females are more likely to read the same genres as me, or is it really because there are more female bloggers than male?

** I am not a fan of marital angst. Beware, here be spoilers: nor am I a fan of things which are stupidly easy to predict. As soon as I heard that she was kicked out, I went “oh, she’s pregnant, and he forgot that she makes him human, so he thinks it can’t be his” which is stupid, because he was so smart in the first one that it’s hard to reconcile. I’m getting mixed reviews on the second and third books, and wonder if I should leave it alone at book 1 instead of risking more. End spoiler, highlight to read. I apologize to anyone who may inadvertently see this anyway.

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Giveaway (The Winners Are…)

I have to admit, I’ve been pretty excited, waiting to find out who won. I spent a few minutes tallying everything, ensuring that I had counted everything I could. Ultimately, because of the way the drawing came out, and the amount of interest, I’m giving prizes to the top three from my drawing. Congratulations to:

Carol Wong (who gets a Mystery Book)

Erin of LitSnit (who gets Mystery Book #3) and

Jenny of Jenny’s Books (who gets a book from the Book Depository)

I entered everyone in a random.org list (not .com as I first said, whoops) and had it generate a list for me. The top three get prizes. I’ll be emailing you shortly.

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