Tag Archives: not a book review

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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The August/September Roundup

August and September were quiet months for me, reading-wise. I’ve combined the two months 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)

Fun Stats: Over the two combined months, I read 18 books, totaling 4,726 pages, 4,433 pages of which I actually read. 2 of them were anthologies, containing 8 stories I read. 11 were library books. I had 1,399 blog-views. I could not finish 1 book. I participated in Diana Wynne Jones Week, and worked on the Local Library Challenge, and the Short Story Reading Challenge.

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Banned Books Week…

Every year I tell myself that I’ll do something interesting, something meaningful, something special to mark the passing of a week which is 50% anger and 50% amusement for me. On the one hand, people are idiots, banning books because they don’t like them. On the other hand, people are hilarious, thinking that anyone else will listen to them.

So I’d like to take just a brief moment to mention that banned books week is upon us. The top 10 most challenged books of 2009 were:

1. ttyl, ttfn, l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs

2. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality

3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide

4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence

8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

9. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Have any of you read these? Are you going to read any of them now that you know they’re on this list?

I’m going to be picking up at least a few of these– most notably the ones I have not yet read. (I will not read The Color Purple again. Once was enough.)

I’ll say what I’ve said so many times before, in so many places: We need to allow children the freedom to read. We need to allow teens the freedom to read. We need to allow adults the freedom to read. And if that means that we’re allowing them to read books that say “thong” or that talk about more than kissing, then that’s what it means. Because really, kids know about sex, and as long as the books aren’t giving them some warped, abusive, violent representation of it (without good cause), then why shouldn’t we let them read it?

Also, we need to let children set their own curve. When I was 8, I was ready for some more grown up books than could be found in the children’s section. This does not mean that all 8 year-olds are ready, and it does not mean that no other 8-year olds are. It means that children mature in different ways at different speeds.

To round out the post, some sources:

ALA: Banned Books Week, Sept 25-Oct 2

ALA: Top 100 banned/challenged books 2000-2009

Robin McKinley on Banned Books Week

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Why I Need a Time Machine

We all have them, books we know are coming, which we can’t help longing for, though we know we’ll be waiting. There are a few that I’m dying for, that I can’t wait to get, and some which I’ve even pre-ordered. I’ve gone so far as to sketch my plan for stealing the TARDIS so I can get all of these books now, instead of having to wait.

1. Pegasus by Robin McKinley (Out November 2, 2010)

It was announced a while ago, and I’ve been reading bits and pieces about it on her blog. I even made the mistake of reading the three-chapter teaser she’s released, which made the wait all the worse, because I can’t wait to find out what’s next. And to make it more painful, she’s gone and warned us it will be a cliffhanger! Will that stop me from devouring it the day I get my hands on it and lamenting about the wait for part 2? No, it will not. Despite the warning, I will be a silly girl who reads her pre-ordered book the day it arrives and freaks out when she hits the cliffhanger she was warned about in advance.

2. Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales by Tamora Pierce (Out February 22, 2011)

I haven’t heard a lot about this one, but I grew up reading Tortall, and I haven’t not-loved a single book. Sure, I’ve loved some less than others (the Trickster pair, for example. Alianne was a little too Mary-Sue for me), but I know I’ll love this book, too. I love short stories, I love Tortall, and all the memories it evokes. A lot of my love-affair with Tortallan books is that I have memories of sitting with my friends (in bedrooms, on porches, in yards, on busses, in classrooms reading beneath the desks, to name a few places) and enjoying her books, and giggling together about how great they were and how cool it would be if we, too could speak to animals.

3. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce (Out Mid-2011?)

There’s no cover picture yet, and the publishing date keeps getting pushed back, and I’m agonizing over the chance to read more. I mean, I’ve even stooped to reading Beka Cooper fanfiction, which concerns me a little, because it takes a lot for me to hit that point. That being said, it’s the last book in Beka’s series, so it makes me a bit sad, though I’m sure I’ll love it. Oh but the anticipation is so agonizingly sweet.

4. River Marked by Patricia Briggs (Out January 25, 2011)

Mercy Thompson is back again (in the sixth installment, actually), still tattooed and sexy on her cover. (Which as I think I’ve said before, is funny to me because she’s not into provocative dress, and her only tattoo is the paw print.) Anyway, Mercy finally gets to meet some of her own kind, as they work together to defeat an evil thing from the river. I don’t know a lot of the details yet, but that’s fine by me, as Patricia Briggs hasn’t disappointed me yet. Interested? I’ve reviewed Moon Called, the first book in this series. I’d suggest this series to anyone who likes werewolves, ass-kicking females, and romance.

5. Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance (Out June 2011)

There are two parallel series set in one universe– Dorina Basarab and Cassandra Palmer move within the same world, and know many of the same people without knowing each other really– and the next book announced in their world is Hunt the Moon, which is distant enough that there is not yet a cover. I can’t wait to read it, because I love the way Karen Chance manages to make her vampires both human and inhuman.

6. The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons by Katie MacAlister (Out… ?)

If Katie’s trend holds, she’ll be releasing her book in November. I devoured all of her Dragon Septs books, back to back until there were no more to read. It will be exciting when this comes out (though it may be a while.) Thanks to silly facebook hijinks (that is, from the Baltic and Jim pages) I know a few plot points, but not a lot. The story revolves around Baltic and Ysolde, the Light Dragons. Someone dies. There is drama and intrigue and Ysolde wants to know about Baltic’s past. No more is known until the official blurb is released. As it is, this cover art is “subject to change,” but I get the feeling the only thing changing will be the tag-line (if it changes at all). (Thanks to Cover Lover for the image)

That’s all I’ve got for this issue of “Books I can’t wait for, and am making plans to steal the TARDIS so I can read NOW!” What books are you looking forward to?

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Return & a CLOSED Giveaway

I’m back (in theory) from my hiatus. I like to think that the break did me some good, but I have to admit that I am still feeling quite a bit of pressure to post. Ah, well, that’s fine. I did get some reading done (not a lot, since I was playing Sims 3: Ambitions quite a bit.) But there are at least a few reviews written to give me a bit of buffer.

To celebrate my return to the internet, I’m giving away a few books (with the help of my lovely, squishy panda.) There will be at least 1 winner (up to 4 winners, if there are enough interested parties.) *

Option 1: You’re feeling adventurous and you live in the U.S. or Canada, so you pick a Mystery Book.

Option 2: You’re not feeling so brave, or you don’t live in the U.S. or Canada, so you’d like a book of your choice worth up to $10 from the Book Depository.

Option 3: You’re traveling light, and you’d like a rain-check on the book. That’s fine, you can cash in at a later date.

Option 4: You’re traveling light, and you’d like a $10 donation to the charity of your choice, that’s great, just name the charity when you enter.

To enter, simply reply to this post in an interesting manner. I’d love more haiku/limericks, but am willing to accept pictures of your bookshelves, the view from your window, a stupid joke, a bad pun, or whatever else your heart desires. I’m even willing to accept replies in an un-interesting manner, if you so desire.

For additional entries, you can comment on any of my posts (after commenting here, to establish your interest), but only 1 comment per post will be counted**For even more additional entries, you can tell people about this post. Trackbacks and incoming links will be counted as 1 more entry per person.

You may enter any time between today (September 10th) and the end of the month (September 30th). Be sure that when you comment, you use a valid email so you can be contacted if you win. This is important. Winners will be chosen via random.org.

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* I’m thinking 1 prize for every 4 people interested.

** Comments make me happy, and I am so not above asking for them. 😀 Also, if you post 4 times on Howl’s Moving Castle, only the first comment will count.

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Brief Hiatus

I’m going to take an official break, as opposed to the un-official break I’ve been on for a couple weeks. I’ve been working a lot of extra hours, as I need to replace the tires on my car before it starts to rain, so I haven’t had a lot of time in which to read. Add to that a very nasty cold which may or may not be turning into a sinus infection, and what I really need is some time where I don’t have obligations (self-inflicted or otherwise.)

If you would like to help me with a guest post, please let me know. Otherwise, I’ll be trying to read and relax, and be ready with some newly read books next week. (September 9th, in theory).

Thanks for poking your head in.

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Harumph

Yes, I did just type out “harumph,” and I will mention that I am quite cranky while I do it. For the past several days, I have been attempting to read a variety of books, and I have come up against a brick wall more than once. I cannot bring myself to read some of the books that I’ve picked from my shelves, or have picked up from the library recently. There are a few in particular worth mentioning, and then I am going to share some pictures of my bookshelf. Continue reading

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Jane Austen’s Fight Club

It was by chance that I found this. Well, not exactly chance. It was by glancing at my boyfriend’s computer screen at the right moment that I noticed him watching this. It made me laugh, and looked like it was really fun to film.

For all of us who have ever been frustrated by Austen’s propriety. (Though I must say, with all the rigid rules, it makes it that much hotter when they finally do get together.)

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I would like to take a moment to mention that there are only 4 days left before I mail a free book. (And as I write this, there are only 2 people to choose between.) Take a moment and enter, if you’re even vaguely interested!

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