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Archive for December, 2011

Best Books of 2011!

Posted by Caitie F on December 31, 2011

I am doing this a little differently. I won’t just pick a certain number. instead, I will list all of the books that I gave a perfect 10 out of 10 in my spreadsheet! So here are my favorites that I read this year-in order of when read!!

The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld 

The link is to the first book, but the entire series needs to go onto this list. It is one of the best YA series ever written

Across The Universe by Beth Revis 

I thought the science fiction light was one of the best I have read. It is really a way to get more young women into science fiction, a little at a time!

Boys and Girls Together by William Goldman

This was a re=read for me and it stood up just as well the second time reading it! It is one of my favorite books of all time!

Sherlockian by Graham Moore

On of the most fun books that I read all year. Fantastic writing, great mystery, incredible plot! Just an all around perfect book!

Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty

Perfect ending to an amazing series! If you haven’t read the JEssica Darling series yet…you need to get on that!

Prom and Predjudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Another read that I picked up for fun and enjoyed immensely. Best re-telling of the Austen classic I have seen!

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Easily the funniest book I have read. Love her, love the book!

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

I saw this book everywhere earlier this eyar and had to get my hands on it. It was even better than I expected!

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

I had high hopes for the sequel to If I Stay…and it did not disappoint. Both are the absolutely fantastic and you need to try them.

Shine by Lauren Myracle

I said earlier it was my number one book of the year. Mryacle seems to get better and better with every book. This was such a moving and beautiful book.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Another book i have been picking up in bookstores since it first came out but was never sure of. Turns out, I should have read it a while ago!

Velva Jean Learns to Drive by Jennifer Niven

This was my unexpected love of the year. From the description, I thought it would be good. Then I opened it, couldn’t put it down, and thought it was one of the best books.

The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Jennifer Steil

The best memoir I read this year – and i read several. Such a beautiful book about a culture I knew little about!

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This wins for best historical fiction. I never knew about this horrible tragedy and it was so beautifully written and heart breaking. I adored it and you NEEd to read it is you like historical fiction at all

The Book of Jonas by Stpehen Dau

This isn’t out yet…but be on the lookout for it! Stunning debut that I hope you all love as much as I did!

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

This showed that Perkins did not have a fluke with Anna…this is the second best book i read this year and I cannot wait to read every book she ever writes!

Pure by Julianna Baggott

This is another one that isn’t out yet…but let me just tell you it is the best dystopian book in a couple years. in my yet-to-be-published review I even mention that this series might be better than The Hunger Games.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Somethings different by one of my favorite authors and it may be her second best book ever! Can’t wait for this series to continue!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Another fantastic start of a series! Loved every page.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Best biography I have ever read!

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Excellent and accessible book. Found out a movie is coming out of it in the next couple months!

Posted in Blogging, Editorial | 2 Comments »

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Challenge: 2012 Edition

Posted by Caitie F on December 30, 2011

Note, this is my personal sign up, to sign up  yourself for the actual challenge, go to this post.

I am super excited to be hosting and participating in this one this year. i need to do MUCH better since I read a whole 2 in 2011.

So I am going for…

The Bronze medal: 11-15 books from the list

I am not picking ahead of time and will just read what I like then post them here!

1. The Time Machine by H G Wells
2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
3. Dracula by Bram Stoker
4. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
5. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne 
6. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells 
7. August is a Wicked Month by Edna O’Brien
8. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
9. The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15

Posted in Challenges | 2 Comments »

End of the Year Survey!

Posted by Caitie F on December 30, 2011

So I think I will only finish one or two more books this year, and I really don’t think that they will be the answers to any of these questions, so I figured I would do the year end survey done by The Perpetual Page-Turner. I have skippe dsome questions that don’t really apply!

1. Best Book You Read In 2011? 

So hard to pick just one..but since I have to go with Shine by Lauren Myracle

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

Bumped by Megan Mcafferty. I adored the Jessica Darling series and was so excited to read something else, but it was just so eh.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

Velva Jean Learns to Drive. It is not my usual kind of book, but a publicist recommended it at BEA and I absolutely adored it!

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

I think it was still The Hunger Games…other than that Steve Jobs

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?

The Song of Ice and Fire – Am done with a book and a half but I love it!

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Well, George R R Martin for one. Also, Kristin Cashore, Lev Grossman, and Walter Isaacson

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

The Woman Who Fell From the Sky – it was a memoir that has interested me in so many others!

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?

Well it isn’t out yet, but I already read Pure and it was amazing!

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

Across the Universe! It did not disappoint!
11. Most memorable character in 2011? 

Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

Life Itself by Roger Ebert
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read? 

The Game os Thrones
 Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2011 (optional)


6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?

BEA. IT was awesome. Going in 2012 too, but with work.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I reached my goal of 100 books!

For challenges, not so well. I completed TwentyEleven, GLBT, and What’s in a Name…and failed at both TBR challenges, the Murakami challenge, Book Bloggers Rec Challenge, and the one I hosted. Oops

Looking Ahead… 


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?

The next two George R R Martin Books


2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

Pure…cause I want everyone else to read it! Also, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


In the next few days I will be posting my Best of 2011 (all books that I gave a 10 rating and the best 9s) and my 2012 goals!

Posted in Blogging | 1 Comment »

The 2012 TBR Challenge Sign Up

Posted by Caitie F on December 29, 2011

So I will try this again, since last year I failed miserably with only one book. Most of this list is just from last year, with a couple changes!

But first, here are the rules.

1. Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2011 or later (any book published in the year 2010 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile – I WILL be checking publication dates). Caveat: Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books end up in the “can’t get through” pile.

2.  To be eligible, you must sign-up with Mr. Linky below – link to your list (so create it ahead of time!) and add updated links to each book’s review.  Every listed book must be completed and must be reviewed (doesn’t have to be too fancy) in order to count as completed.

3.  The link you post in the Mr. Linky below must be to your “master list” (see mine below).  This is where you will keep track of your books completed, crossing them out and/or dating them as you go along, and updating the list with the links to each review (so there’s one easy, convenient way to find your list and all your reviews for the challenge).  See THIS LINK for an idea of what I mean.  Your list must be completed by December 31st, 2011.

4. Leave comments on this post as you go along, to update us on your status. Come back here if/when you complete this challenge and leave a comment indicating that you CONQUERED YOUR 2012 TBR LIST!  Every person who successfully reads his/her 12 books and/or alternates (and who provides a working link to their list, which has links to the review locations) will be entered to win a $50 gift card from Amazon.com or The Book Depository!

5. Crossovers from other challenges are totally acceptable, as long as you have never read the book before and it was published pre-2011!

*Note – You can read the books on your list in any order; they do not need to be read in the order you have them listed. As you complete a book – review it, and go back to your original list and turn that title into a link to the review – that will keep the comments section here from getting ridiculously cluttered.  For an example of what I mean, Click Here.

1. The innocent Man by John Grisham
2. Youth in Revolt by C. D. Payne
3.  Stardust by Neil Gaiman
4. Plan B by Jenny O’Connell
5. A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E.L. Konigsburg
6. Jester by James Patterson
7. 1921: The Great Novel of the Irish Civil War by Morgan Llywelyn
8. Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
9. Parrot and Oliver in America by Peter Carey
10. The Corrections by Johnathan Frazen
11. Barefoot: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand
12. Bergendorf Blondes by Plum Skyes

Alternates

1. 1776 by David McCullough
2. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Posted in Challenges | 1 Comment »

TwentyEleven Challenge Completed

Posted by Caitie F on December 29, 2011

Well I waited until almost the last minute, but I completed the challenge! I ended up only reading one novella and one re-read, which wasn’t a surprise at all. I am in the middle of a novella and am very happy that I am reading it!

I found some AMAZING books through this challenge and am sad that I haven’t seen anything about there being one for next year.

Here is a reminder of the categories, and the books I read (with links to reviews)

  1. To YA or not YA…
    Tend to read more Young Adult than Adult Fiction books then read one or two adult fiction titles
  2. …With a Twist.
    This one focuses on sub-genres, read a lot of chick-lit, then try a paranormal romance!
  3. Hot off the Presses.
    Read a book published in 2011.
  4. It Wasn’t Me! (aka Bad Bloggers*)
    Books in this category, should be ones you’ve picked up purely on the recommendation of another blogger count for this category (any reviews you post should also link to the post that convinced you give the book ago
  5. Show it Who is Boss!
    Tackle that overflowing T.B.R. pile! Books for this category must be already residents of your bookshelves as of 1/12/10.
  6. Bablefish.
    Read books that are translated from a language that is not your own.
  7. Will-Power? What Will-Power? (aka: The Henry Ward Beecher Memorial.)
    Bought a book NEW during 2011? Then it counts for this category. Second-hand books do not count for this one, but, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts or won in a giveaway also count.
  8. Mind the Gap.
    Need just one more book to compete that duology/trilogy/series then read it for this one!
    Because not everyone reads a series in order, this is for the last book you need to read, not necessarily the last book in the series…
  9. Back in the Day.
    Re-read an old favourite or two for this category.
  10. Way Back When.
    Read books that were published before you were born for this one, whether that be the day before or 100 years prior!
  11. Slim-Pickings
    Got a novella you want to read? Then this one is the one for you! Any books between 90-150 pages count.

 

My Books

1. The Song of Susannah by Stephen King
1. Little Green Men by Christopher Buckley
2. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
2. Velva Jean Learns to Drive by Jennifer Niven
3. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
3. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
4. If You Follow Me by Malena Watrous 
4. Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
5. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld 
5. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
6. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
6. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
7. Bossypants by Tina Fey
7. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
8. Forever Princess by Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries Series)
8. Extras by Scott Westerfeld
9. Boys and Girls Together by William Goldman
9.
10. Peril at End House by Agatha Christie
10. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
11. We the Animals by Justin Torres
11.

Posted in Challenges | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Challenge Sign Up: 2012 Edition

Posted by Caitie F on December 29, 2011

This challenge was such a success last year (well, for a lot of people, I only read two…but still success!) that i am running it again and it will be new and improved!

Here is a run down of the origins of the challenge:

I got this book for Christmas a couple years ago and am slowly making my way through the list. I have discovered some amazing books and writers. I don’t expect to ever read all of the books – but I do want to make a dent in the list and want to open it up for other to join me! The list is so great because it has a huge variety! There are classics that you may have read in school, but there are also some great books we have all missed and some fantastic world literature.

The challenge is simple – read some books from the list! If you don’t own the actual book, you can find a simple list online. For the most basic, check out the Listology list. There are spreadsheets outs there that you can look at too that are more complex.

Sine this year is an Olympics year, I thought the structure would change…so here are the levels this year!

Levels:

Got to trials:  5 books from the list
Made the Olympic team: 6-10 books from the list
Bronze medal: 11-15 books from the list
Silver Medal: 16-20  books from the list:
Gold Medal: 21+ books from the list

Rules:

Challenge runs January 1 2012 – December 31 2012.

You don’t have to make a list beforehand. 

You DO need to choose your level at the beginning so you have a chance to win the prize!

You can use any version of the list, not just the current, since they update it every couple years. I figure, once a book is on the list, it is always on the list!

Books that cover other challenges are not only permitted, but encouraged!

**ADDED*** Non bloggers are welcome to participate! Just sign up and leave a comment on this post letting me know what you are going for. At the end, provide a list of what you read this year via shelfari, LibraryThing, goodreads, or just a list of books! But if you review anything on those sites, link to the review post so we can see what you thought!

You do NOT have to review every book you read for this challenge – it is an etra so that the rest of us can see what you thought!

You can link to your here on this post! 

Sign up in Mr Linky!

But wait, there is more! I will be posting a review post with another Mr Linky link, so if you want to link to any reviews of 1001 books you have read! And please do, I love seeing which books you all loved and I am sure I am not the only one.

And this year there will be a prize. One lucky person who reaches their goal will win a gift card to either Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, or The Book Depository. So now there is an incentive to finish!

Can’t wait to see what you are reading!

Any updates or links will be added to this post

If you are done, please head over to the completion post!

Posted in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Challenges | 52 Comments »

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Posted by Caitie F on December 29, 2011

Title: Norwegian Wood
Author: Haruki Murakami
Paperback:  389 pages
Year Published: 1987
Rating; +++++

Summary from goodreads

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before.  Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable.  As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman

Review:

One thing I love about slowly reading Murakami’s works is that every one is different from the rest (well, at least so far). Norwegian Wood is a coming-of-age book that is beautifully written, impossible to put down, and a very emotional read.

I have heard that in Japan, this is the Murakami book that everyone has read, which I see. It doesn’t go quite as deep as some of his others, but on the other hand, it goes incredibly deep into a subject that almost everyone is connected to in some way – depression. He explores it in a very open and honest way. Not only showing the pain of struggle of being depressed, but also the effect it has on the people who love those that are depressed. It especially focuses on how difficult it can be to deal with that as a young person trying to find their place in the world.

That aspect is what makes this more than a love story, but it is a love story in addition to being a coming-of-age. It shows all aspects of a first love – the phase where all you see is the great, the hard times, and the eventually drifting apart and finding new love that actually has a chance to last.

If you are interested in Murakami, but are not sure, this is a great starting point…as long as you are okay with language and sex in your books. I really loved reading this book and hope you do too!

Posted in Review | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

Posted by Caitie F on December 27, 2011

Title: The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Author: Agatha Christie
Paperback: 294 pages
Pub Year: 1920
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

The famous case that launched the career of Hercule Poirot. When a wealthy heiress is murdered, Poirot steps out of retirement to find the killer. As the master detective makes his way through the list of suspects, he finds the solution in an elaborately planned scheme almost impossible to believe.

Review:

This is the first book that Christie had published. Since it was so early, I figured i might actually be able to figure out who did it. Yeah…not so much. I was convinced I had it to find out that I was completely wrong.

But, like always, I COULD have figured it out. Poirot didn’t keep something hidden until the end or keep out important information, he just looked and listened to see and hear what I did not. It is all in the details and it makes it so much fun to read.

I can see why this launched this character are her career. She is a brilliant writer and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. If you ave not yet read a Christie book, but love a mystery, try her first!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

Posted by Caitie F on December 26, 2011

Title: Around the World in 80 Days
Author: Jules Verne
Hardcover: 288 pages
Pub Year: 1872
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

On a wager, the eccentric English gentleman Phileas Fogg accepts a challenge to circle the globe in eighty days. Follow Phileas and his faithful valet, Passepartout, in this fantastic adventure.

Review:

I am finally reading a book that is on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list (and is on the Children’s list too)! It just took me all year to do it…

I have never read a Jules Verne book before, so when I was looking for books to bring to Ohio and saw this one that Jason got me a couple years back, I figured it would be a good read. It really was.

It was a perfectly enjoyable book, especially when you think of when it was written. I always have to remember to put that into context with books from the 19th century or earlier. The genre of adventure novels was much different than now. Now you need epic battle scenes and always grave danger to make people really seem to care most of the time. This was a softer adventure, but an adventure nonetheless!

I loved reading about the incredible Fogg, his sometimes bumbling valet , and the detective that is sure that Fogg is the robber. I, like Passepartout, cannot imagine traveling the entire globe and never seeing anything but modes of transportation…but I also ge tthe thrill of beating the clock to get back home and proving something!

I don’t want you to think that this adventure story is boring…it isn’t. There is a battle with Native Americans, saving of a damsel in distress, and many other adventures along the way.

If you have not read anything by Jules Verne, take a chance on this one. It is a short and fun read!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Happy Holidays…and end of the year book plans!

Posted by Caitie F on December 25, 2011

If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas!  If you celebrate Hanukkah, Happy Hanukkah! If you don’t celebrate anything, then Happy Sunday! No matter what you are doing, I hope you are having a safe and fun end of the year.

Right now I am in Ohio with my family and hopefully having a lot of fun (no, I am not blogging on Christmas, writing this up before I leave for Ohio).

Now, here is one of my favorite “Christmas” songs

Isn’t that song just beautiful? He is a comedy singer, but this song is just so gorgeous and says exactly what I feel about Christmas (other than I am not drinking white wine in the sun, since I am not in Australia).

I have some reading plans for the rest of the year, so I won’t be doing one of those surveys or telling you what the best books of the year were until at least January 1st.

I will be failing most of the challenges I joined – but I can finish the TwentyEleven one if I just read three more books nad I just got them from the library! So I will be reading those and I am excited about it!

I also have to read some books for an award my work gives and I can’t wait to read them! All six look great. I hope to read three of them while on my week break! I know, lots of reading, but isn’t that what breaks are for? 🙂

Happy Holidays everyone!

Posted in holidays, Misc | 1 Comment »