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Archive for December, 2014

5th Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2014 Edition!

Posted by Caitie F on December 31, 2014

Thanks to Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner for this amazing survey. I added and subtracted a little.

Number Of Books You Read: 104
Pages: 36,881
Books by Female Authors: 81
Books by Male Authors: 23
Diverse Authors: 11
Adult Books: 34
YA Books: 53
MG Books: 16
Books in Series: 57
Standalone Books: 47

 

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

Backlist:The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Frontlist: Blind by Rachel DeWoskin

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

I can’t remember – I don’t finish/log books I don’t like!

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

Wonder by R J Palacio – I didn’t think it could live up to the hype but it did.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

Between Heaven and Texas by Marie Bostwick

 5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

Best series I started: The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
Sequel: Cress by Marissa Meyer
Series Ender: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Lauren Groff

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Arcadia by Lauren Groff

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Abhorsen by Garth Nix

 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

My True Love Gave to Me Edited By Stephanie Perkins

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

14061957

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Celaena Sardothien

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg really made me think about everything differently!

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

I don’t know!

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest: One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia at 215 pages
Longest: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare at 725 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Under the Never Sky by Veronixa Rossi – I was shocked at how great it was!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Since spoilers, I will just say the book: Everything Leads to You!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The siblings in I’ll Give You the Sun

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

11/22/63

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

I can’t think of any that would be new fictional crushes this year!

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The world of the Abhorsen Trilogy

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

Blind by Rachel Dewoskin

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Blind by Rachel Dewoskin

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

None that i can think of!

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Ignite Me, because it meant the series was over.

 

 

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2014 recap

Posted by Caitie F on December 30, 2014

So 2014 was a very good year. i got a new job. I spent a lot of time with family. I went to LeakyCon and Disney World with my husband (even though parts of that were awful_But overall, a really good year.

At the beginning of the year, I made some goals, so i want to reflect on how I did before I make new goals for next year.

If I stay in my current job, read 140 books.
OR
If I change jobs, read 100 books.

I changed jobs, so it was the second goal and I have read 104 books this year wit htwo days left!

Read 5 books from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list

I read zero. SO…fail on this one.

Read 10 non-fiction books

I read seven, so I was close! I consider this as close enough

Finish all the challenges I signed up for!

Ha! I deleted one because it just wasn’t happening. I got as close as I ever have one the TBR Challenge: 10 out of 12! I had two DNF and refuse to read more Grisham, so I knew it wouldn’t happen. I wish I had been able to find that last book at the library.

Health:

Get down to 150 pounds

Ha, not even close. Need to try this one again

Get a couple of specialist doctors

Nope. Failed again

Cancel our gym we dislike and find something new

We cancelled the gym! The something new is our UP bands.

Join a Masters swim team

Nope – found one but can’t get to it/afford it.

Other:

Spend more time with family

I saw a lot of my family this year and spent more time with our nieces! 

Get into the next step in my career

This was the biggest goal and it happened. 

Find 5 fun new activities to do with Jason

I think this is a win. We joined a bowling league. We started going to trivia. We have guitars now. We cook together more. He went to a nerdy convention. We did a lot of new things in 2014!

Overall, I am very happy with how I did on my goals! 

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End of year mini-reviews

Posted by Caitie F on December 27, 2014

I get a LOT of reading done at the end of the year, I have finished three books in three days, and seeing that they have been days with a lot of activity, that is a lot! I am just going to do mini-reviews (in the order I read the books), since I have a busy next few days!

Title: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories20309175
Edited by Stephanie Perkins
Hardcover: 320 pages
Pub Date: Oct 9, 2014
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES

Review

This is a pretty straight forward book – some of the best YA authors write holiday stories. If you like the authors, you will really like this book. The stories are very different, but are all wonderful. No surprise, my favorite stories were by Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, and Gayle Forman three of my favorite authors. That said, all the stories were great and everyone should read this!

Title: Hercule Poirot’s Christmas16349
Author: Agatha Christie
Paperback: 335 pages
Pub Date: 1938
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads

Motives for Murder:
A fortune in uncut diamonds, hidden by an eccentric old man
A woman’s love, too freely given
A business empire built on ruthlessness

Each of them may have been a motive for the brutal slaying of wealthy old Simeon Lee. Coupled with Lee’s family, each member of which hated him and wished to see him dead, they presented Hercule Poirot with a baffling challenge–one which the astute detective solved only through his uncanny ability to see “the little things.”

Review

If you really like Agatha Christie, you will love this book. It is classic Christie, with quirky characters, a lot of confusion, and as always, some lying and deceit that isn’t about murder. Even though it says Christmas, it isn’t overly Christmas-y, so you can read it anytime of year!

Title: The Marriage Plotmarriage
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
Hardcover: 406 pages
Pub Date: Oct 11, 2011
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads

It’s the early 1980s. In American colleges, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels. As Madeleine studies the age-old motivations of the human heart, real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead suddenly turns up in a seminar, and soon Madeleine finds herself in a highly charged erotic and intellectual relationship with him. At the same time, her old friend Mitchell Grammaticus resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.

Over the next year, as the members of the triangle graduate from college and enter the real world, events force them to reevaluate everything they have learned. Leonard and Madeleine move to a biology laboratory on Cape Cod, but can’t escape the secret responsible for Leonard’s seemingly inexhaustible energy and plunging moods. And Mitchell, traveling around the world to get Madeleine out of his mind, finds himself face-to-face with ultimate questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the true nature of love.

Review

This book is very well-written and for that is worth reading. The characters are a little annoying, but in a realistic and human way, which made them fascinating.The book is a little slow at times, but the writing made up for it. There were a couple of anti-feminist rants that made me really dislike the characters, so be warned that it is in there, yet seems ridiculous. Overall, it is a good book, but not up the amazingness of  Middlesex.

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Abhorsen series by Garth Nix

Posted by Caitie F on December 24, 2014

Title: Sabriel, Lireal, Abhorsendownload
Author: Garth Nix
Paperbacks: 364, 527, and 396 pages
Years Publisher: 1995, 2001, 2003
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: +++++

Summary of Sabriel from goodreads:

Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen trilogy, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.

Review:

If you have not read this series yet, I HIGHLY recommend you head to your library or bookstore and get it right now. It is one of the best fantasy series I have ever read. I will write this review without spoiling things, because I went in knowing very little and enjoyed it more because of it.

The world-building is amazing. From the Old Kingdom to Death, it is all fantastic. When reading it, I felt like I was there and it was amazing. This world is detailed and so creative. Anyone who wants to write fantasy, should read the series just for that.

The characterizations are all really fantastic too. They are all complex and have to make some really hard decisions that readers don’t always agree with, but it makes them better and more full characters. If you are an animal lover, there is something for you too.

I felt like I didn’t just read these books, I devoured them. I put everything down to read. I stayed up late. I ran to the library when my copy was in.

Now that i am done with the original series, I am going to wait a couple months to read the prequel.

This is a great series for both readers and writers if you like fantasy at all. It may be labeled as YA because of the ages of the characters, but it is one of those YA books that would appeal to everyone.

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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Posted by Caitie F on December 23, 2014

Title: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie6218281
Author: Alan Bradley
Hardcover: 374 pages
Pub Date: Apr 28, 2009
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Review: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

Review:

I have suddenly heard about this book from a couple of different places, so i thought i Would get it from the library. I have been in the mood for a historical mystery, and this sounded great.

It was a really fun book to read. I loved the setting of a small English town and all of its characters. Readers can see the town and all of its characters so clearly, in both the place and the time. All of the townspeople that are included in Flavia’s search were delightful and I really hope they show up in later books.

The mystery itself was also well-written. It was one of those the reader can start to figure out before the character, which is always enjoyable. Things came together well, and there was quite a bit of suspense at the end. Don’t read the last 100 pages unless you have the time to finish or whatever else you have to do will just be put off.

Flavia is a…precocious child, which is why I both liked her and why it took me so long to get into this book. I wasn’t totally invested until almost 70 pages into the book and am very glad i didn’t put it down. Her voice takes some getting used to. She loves chemistry, and that angle is what kept me hooked.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable book, even if it took me a little while to get into. I look forward to the other books in the series!

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2015 Reading Assignment Challenge Signup

Posted by Caitie F on December 17, 2014

Because I want to be ambitious next year, and I want to plan out my reading a little bit more! 2015HWLogo-300x300Here are the basic rules (and click on the image above to sign up!):

  • Commit to reading 1, 2, 3, or 4 books a month and MAKE A LIST of the SPECIFIC books you will read in 2015. This is the point of the challenge: You’re committing to reading a set list of books and a certain number of them each month. It’s your chance to finally hold yourself accountable for those books you keep promising yourself you’ll read!
  • You may read any genre or any format (i.e., eBook, Audiobook, Paperback, Hardcover). But they must be published before January 1, 2015 and they must be at least 100 pages

And I am going for Level 5. Yep. Four books a month. 48 books in 2015 that I am planning on reading. My TBR pile/list is out of control and this should help! Since I am doing a higher level there is a pass and extra credits I can do too. The first 14 are easy, they are on my TBR Challenge.The next 34 will be more difficult to pick! My list is part random.org of my TBR list, part books I really want to get to.

My list of books still unread can be found below, here is the list of what I have read and when is right here:

Jan 15: House of Hades by Rick Riordan
Jan 23: The Cuckoo’s Calling by “Robert Galbraith”
Jan 24: Redshirts by John Scalzi 
Jan 24: Dreamcatcher by Stephen King – DNF
Feb 6: I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells
Feb 11: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas
Feb 16: Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas
Feb 21: The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Mar 1: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Mar 12: Fire by Kristin Cashore
Mar 26: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Mar 31: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Apr 6:  Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Apr 7: Love Story by Jennifer Echols
Apr 23: The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Apr 25: Clariel by Garth Nix
May 2: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
May 27: Fairytale of New York by Miranda Dickinson
May 29: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
May 31: Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
June 12: Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg (DNF)
June 22: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
June 26: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
June 27: Bass Ackwards and Belly Up Elizabeth Craft
July 5: The Magician King by Lev Grossman
July 5: Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
July 21: More Than This by Patrick Ness (DNF)
August 16: The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
August 30: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
September 6: In the Woods by Tana French
October 20: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
November 19: Wish by Alexandra Bullen
November 20: Dear American Airlines: A Novel by Jonathan Miles (DNF)
December 4: Dauntless by Jack Campbell
December 12: Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson
December 19: When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
December 20:  Unwind by Neal Shusterman
December 24: Demon Seed by Dean Koontz (DNF)
December 25: Stiff by Mary Roach
December 26: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

2. Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore
16. The Map of Time by Felix J Palma
22. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
28. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
32. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
38. 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement by Jane Ziegelman
44. The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James
48. Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Wow that is an eclectic list!So glad DNFs count because I might have a couple…

Posted in Challenges | 5 Comments »

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Posted by Caitie F on December 16, 2014

Title: The Mark of Athenamark of
Author: Rick Riordan
Paperback: 586 pages
Pub Date: Oct 2, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare….

Review:

Ha! Take THAT Top Ten Tuesday season reading lists. It tok me FOUR lists, but I finally read this book!

And it was SO good. I think this is one of the most fun series. The characters are funny and brave. The plots are getting better and better. The writing is accessible and fun. How many kids now love reading because of these books? If I knew any reluctant readers, I would give them the books by Rick Riordan, and I bet they would be hooked.

Did you read that summary from the publisher? It focused on my favorite character, Annabeth. It isn’t just her story (there is plenty of Percy and Jason being funny, heroic, and sometimes not so smart), but her story is a big part of this book and that is part of what made this particular book awesome. All of the demigods have interesting problems and struggles and really getting to see Annabeth’s side of things, especially some of her frustrations.

Watching Percy and Jason trying to interact with each other was….interesting. They are used to being in charge and being the alpha, but they have to try to actually work together and it doesn’t always go so well.

The whole book was so much fun and hard to put down. My only issue was that it wasn’t really a complete story, it was more of a to be continued…

If you are looking for great middle grade, you really should pick up Rick Riordan’s books. Let’s hope it doesn’t take me a year to read the next one.

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The Official 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Posted by Caitie F on December 15, 2014

This is my fourth time doing this challenge and I have never succeeded. I came close this year, but won’t be able to finish – def. a problem when i end up having several dnf books on the list. But I will try again because it is fun!

2015tbrbutton

Here are the rules

Specifics:

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 1/1/2014 or later. 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 – link to your list and add updated links to each book’s review. Books must be read and must be reviewed (doesn’t have to be too fancy) in order to count as completed.

3. The link you post  must be to your “master list”. 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. Your complete and final list must be posted by January 15th, 2015.

4. 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 before 2014!

*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.

Here is my list for the year!

1. When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
2. Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore
3. Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg DNF
4. Stiff by Mary Roach
5. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
6. Dreamcatcher by Stephen King DNF
7. More Than This by Patrick Ness DNF
8. I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells
9. The Fall Giants by Ken Follett
10. Dear American Airlines: A Novel by Jonathan Miles DNF
11. Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley – read June 2015
12. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Alternates
1. Bass Ackwards and Belly Up Elizabeth Craft – read June 2015
2. Demon Seed by Dean Koontz

I am super excited about this list!

Posted in Challenges | 8 Comments »

It’s Been Quiet Lately…Life Update

Posted by Caitie F on December 9, 2014

This blog has been a little quiet lately, mostly because I have been enjoying books by our agency’s authors so I can’t really review them. They are all fabulous and I am learning I actually like romance! So now the only things I don’t really read is westerns.

I have a bunch of fun end-of-the-year posts coming with my favorite books of the year, an awesome survey, a post on TV, and a couple challenge signups for next year. One is VERY ambitious, but I want to go for it because it could cut almost 50 books from my TBR list!

On the work front, it has been great. I love my colleagues and the other agencies that share our office space are all amazing. Our authors rock. I have completed my first round of interns and am picking my spring interns tomorrow. We have SO many partial manuscripts right now that it is taking up a lot of my time outside of work, but it is a god problem to have. Query letters have been REALLY strong lately.The rain today is my only complaint.

I hope you are all doing well and getting ready for the holiday season!

Posted in Misc | 1 Comment »