Saturday, December 31, 2011

OMWtYiO&IHRMG Read-a-thon Check-in #3

Today my family has been preparing for a big New Years party. I have been forced into participating in the preparations, instead of reading. Luckily, Kat, Incorrigible has been a rather fast and pleasant. In merely an hour I read 100 pages. Maybe this is because the formatting was different (I'm OCD about formatting, so I read slowly if things are formatted badly), or because I actually found it enjoyable. Anyway, I'm proud of my progress!

  • Total Books Read: 1
  • Total Pages Read: 200
  • Books Read Since Last Update: 0
  • Pages Read since last update: 100
  • Total time read: 4 hours
  • How I'm currently feeling: Wishing I could be reading! My books have been confiscated until party prep is done. Why do we need to eat 5000 calories on the last day of the year?!?!?

Friday, December 30, 2011

OMWtYiO&IHRMG Read-a-thon Check-in #2

Today just wasn't a good day for reading. It kept dropping surprise after surprise onto the schedule. I had a last minute babysitting job, then a family friend dropped by unexpectedly, then I had to make dinner for my family, then everyone decided to play Apples to Apples until midnight! The point is I haven't had a whole lot of reading time. Luckily, I finished The Smile, which I certainly didn't enjoy. I started Kat, Incorrigible, but I've only read about 5 pages. Hopefully, I'll get some more reading in before I fall asleep, then I'll be up nice and early to start reading tomorrow. Saturday's are the days that I stay in bed until noon reading. Hopefully this will result in some progress. 
  • Total Books Read: 1
  • Total Pages Read: 100
  • Books Read Since Last Update: 1
  • Pages Read since last update:50
  • Total time read: 2.5 hours
  • How I'm currently feeling: Exhausted! But ready to read a ton tomorrow!

OMWtYiO&IHRMG Read-a-thon Check-in #1

 I haven't made as much progress as I was hoping for, because The Smile is very slow. I read for almost 2 hours, and it turns out I'd only read 50 pages! Then I had to take a break from reading and return to real life. Hopefully the rest of the day will prove to be empty enough to include some more reading time!
  • Total Books Read: 0
  • Total Pages Read: 50
  • Books Read Since Last Update: 0
  • Pages Read since last update:50
  • Total time read:100 minutes
  • How I'm currently feeling: I can't wait to be finished with The Smile so I can start reading an exciting book!

OMWtYiO&IHRMG Read-a-thon Starting Line!

Time for the read-a-thon. I guess it started at midnight mountain time, but that's kind of...late. Especially considering I live somewhat east to the mountain time zone. I woke up nice and early(ish), ready to start reading and blogging, but then I fell asleep for 2 more hours. 
Now I am ready!
These are the books I'm planning on reading: 
  • The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli (I have 100 pages left)
  • Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore (I'll at least get started on this)
Here is my beautiful little check-in list:
  • Total Books Read: 0
  • Total Pages Read: 0
  • Books Read Since Last Update: 0
  • Pages Read since last update:0
  • Total time read:0 minutes
  • How I'm currently feeling: Ready to start reading!
Now it's time to start reading! I'll be back in between 12 and 3.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Challenges Galore!

It seems that everyone is signing up for reading challenges for the new year. I've decided to be ambitious and sign up for a couple. Here they are!

2012 Picture Book Reading Challenge
I'm aiming for level three--24 books. This shouldn't be too tough considering I have THOUSANDS (I'm not exaggerating--well, maybe a little) of picture books floating around my house, and my family goes to the library very frequently. 
As far as reviews go, I'm just planning on doing a mini review post at the end of each month including any and all picture books I've read in the past month. These will probably also include comments from my little sister who is just learning to read, adores picture books, and has very smart comments to make about almost anything. 

button12012 Award Winning Reads Challenge  

This past summer I enjoyed participating in the Award Winning Reads Challenge a lot. I got a chance to read some amazing books I otherwise would've turned my nose up at. I was so happy when I saw that Ashley and Jacinda were making it a year-long challenge. 

This year I'm setting a goal of 6 books. These are the books I'm planning on reading, but I'm sure it's going to change:

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM by Robert C. O'Brien
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  • Goign Bovine by Libba Bray
  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


2012 YA Mythology Challenge

The challenge is to read 10 YA or Middle grade novels that incorporate any type of Mythology in the story line (Greek, Egyptian, Norse, etc.).

I like mythology, but the only problem is the majority of Middle Grade literature about mythology is by Rick Riordan, and there is something about his writing that irks me. I cannot put my finger on it. Anyway, I'm kind of tweaking this challenge a bit to fit my interests, so I'll be reading some books that are focused on a certain kind of mythology, but also reading books that incorporate elements of mythology, yet don't solely focus on a certain type of mythology. If that doesn't make sense, maybe taking a look at my list will give you a better idea. 

(I couldn't resist slipping in a couple of fairy tale retellings (although they kind of incorporate 'real' mythology))

  • Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
  • The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
  • The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
  • Nobody's Princess by Esther M. Friesner
  • Nobody's Prize by Esther M. Friesner
  • The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
  • Stork by Wendy Delsol
  • The Iron King by Jule Kawaga
  • Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson
  • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George (I can't resist re-reading it!)

Reading Shakespeare: A Play a Month in 2012
I've had a couple tastes of Shakespeare this year and I'm excited to have more next year! Based on the results of the polls, the plays we participants will be reading are:

A Midsummer Night's Dream (I just read this)
Much Ado About Nothing
Twelfth Night
As You Like It
Henry V
Richard III
Antony and Clepoatra
King Lear

I haven't heard what order they're going in, if there's any order, or if these are even the plays that were decided on for sure. I guess I'll find out later.

2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge
I love libraries! I'm a poor teenager who can't afford to buy many books, so I'm stuck going to the library for most of my reading material. 
Right now I'm aiming for level 2--24 books. I would love to aim higher, but my family doesn't go to the library as frequently as I would like, and I don't have the power to change that (yet). 

Read Dystopia Challenge 2012
This year I got the chance to read some amazing dystopian books. I really didn't think I'd enjoy dystopia because. honestly, it sounds creepy. Who wants to read about a messed future society? Apparently now I do! 

I'm aiming for 4-6 books, making me an Intermediate Post World Trainee. I'm looking forward to reading some more epic dystopian epicness!
These are some books I'm considering

  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  • Possession by Elana Johnson
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  • UNTITLED (Matched 3) by Ally Condie

The Classics Reading Challenge 2012
Those of you who have been following for a while know that I attempted (and failed) to host a Read the Classics month back in July. This time I refuse to fail! I'm aiming for 4-6 books, but hopefully will be able to fit some more in. 
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
And, of course, my own little concoction! The Fairy Tales Retold Challenge! If anyone has a chance to check it out and sign up, please do. It's going to be lots of fun. I'll be holding monthly discussions, and now I'm considering doing some giveaways and possibly a read-a-thon! 

I have no clue what books I'll be reading! I have some sitting on my shelves waiting to be read, and my library has some including the whole "Once Upon a Time" series and a bunch of other good stuff! I'll find a way to make this work out! 

UPDATE: I just realized that I said my family both goes to the library very frequently, and also that we rarely get to the library. The latter, sadly, is more true. We don't go to the library a whole lot, but when we do, we get tons of stuff, which makes it seem like we go frequently to the library. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

In My Mailbox: Christmas Edition

This week has been wonderful! I have thoroughly enjoyed this holiday weekend! 
Now I get to brag about all the cool stuff I got for Christmas!

In un-book related news, I got a calendar, nail polish, and some games. 

In book related news, I got 11 books! 
(Pay no attention to the messy sheets surrounding the tree of books)
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
A True Princess by Diane Zahler
Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Possession by Elana Johnson
Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson

I also got tons of books for my family!
My older sister who is approximately 2 years older than I am loves Sci-fi and dark fantasy. Think Orson Scott Card and J. R. R. Tolkien. (Although her favorite books are Enna Burning and Matched, both of which I introduced her to). I decided to get her books I wanted that seemed to fit her interests.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Then I have my younger sister who is somewhere in between 9 and 12. She likes light contemporary stuff.
She got: 
Philippa Fisher's Fairy Godsister by Liz Kessler
Trading Faces by Julia DeVillers and Jennifer Roy

Next is my brother who is in between 7 and 10. He is into mystical fantasy stuff, especially anything by Rick Riordan. 
Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye 
Harry Potter Schoolbooks Box Set by JK Rowling

Then there's my little sister who is in between 3 and 6. 
Peter Pan Pop Up Book by Robert Sabuda (completely epic)
Berenstain Bears 5 story collection

Now I'm planning on spending the rest of the year reading!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The oh-my-word-the-year-is-over-and-I-haven't-reached-my-goal read-a-thon!

Enna Isilee over at Squeaky Books, one of my favorite blogs, is hosting a last minute read-a-thon for all those who are behind in their reading (like me). I guess I'm not super behind, but I would love to go above and beyond my goal of 70. I'm really looking forward to this read-a-thon because I, being one of Santa's helpers, know that I will most likely be receiving many books I've been wanting for Christmas! 

Anyway, this read-a-thon goes the last 2 days of the year.
I'm spending New Year's Eve babysitting, but all that means is read the kids a bedtime story, then read one to myself until I either fall asleep, or the parents come home. Seems like a perfect opportunity for some last minute reading!

Go sign up so we can be sleep deprived book worms on New Year's Eve together!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fairy Tales Retold Challenge Part 2

I wanted to let everyone know that I've decided that along with this challenge, I want to do monthly discussion posts about fairy tales. Each month I'll pick a topic that has to do with fairy tales, and then I'll ask people to contribute their thoughts on it and the roles it plays in fairy tales. Anyone interested can contribute, whether or not they're participating in the challenge. At the beginning of January, I'll decide on a topic and ket everyone know. In the mean time, please sign up!

Now, here’s a list of fairy tale retelllings that I’ve compiled. It’s pretty thorough, but by no means complete. If there’s anything you would like to add, let me know and I’ll add to it as soon as possible!

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
My Fairy Godmother by Janette Rallison
Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley
The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy
Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon
Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer
Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey
Cinderellis and the Glass Hill by Gail Carson Levine (The Glass Hill)

Sleeping Beauty
Spindle's End by Robin McKinley
The Wide-Awake Princess by E. D. Baker
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
Enchantment by Orson Scott Card
The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
Thornspell by Helen Lowe
A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn
Beauty Sleep by Cameron Dokey
Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep by Gail Carson Levine

12 Dancing Princesses
The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler
The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell
The Phoenix Dance by Dia Calhoun
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Spinners by Donna Jo Napoli
My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison
The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn
Straw Into Gold by Gary D. Schmidt
The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde
A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Beauty and the Beast
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Spirited by Nancy Holder
Belle by Cameron Dokey
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Beast by Donna Jo Napoli
Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

Snow White
My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
Mira, Mirror by Mette Ivie Harrison
White as Snow by Tanith Lee
Snow by Tracy Lynn
Snow in Summer by Jane Yolen

Zel by Donna Jo Napoli
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale
Golden by Cameron Dokey
Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst
For Biddle's Sake by Gail Carson Levine (Puddocky)

Toads and Diamonds
Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson
The Fairy's Mistake by Gail Carson Levine
Once Upon a Toad by Heather Vogel Frederick

Princess and the Pea
A True Princess by Diane Zahler
Violet Eyes by Debbie Viguie
The Princess Test by Gail Carson Levine

The Wild Swans
The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl
Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler

East O' the Sun, West O' the Moon
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
East by Edith Pattou
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Jack and the Beanstalk
The World Above by Cameron Dokey
Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale
Crazy Jack by Donna Jo Napoli

Little Red Riding Hood
Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde
Scarlet Moon by Debbie Viguie
Little Miss Red by Robin Palmer

The Frog Prince
Water Song by Suzanne Weyn
The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker

The Snow Queen
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Winter's Child by Cameron Dokey

The Little Mermaid
Midnight Pearls by Debbie Viguie
Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

Hansel and Gretel
The Magic Circle by Donna Jo Napoli
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Goose Girl
Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey

Snow White and Rose Red
Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede

The White Bride and the Black Bride
The Rose Bride by Nancy Holder

The Golden Goose
The Fairy's Return by Gail Carson Levine

Maid Maleen
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

The Swan Maidens
The Swan Maiden by Heather Tomlinson

Puss In Boots
A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

Tristan and Isolde
Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

The Arabian Nights
The Storyteller's Daughter by Cameron Dokey

Aurelie: A Faerie Tale by Heather Tomlinson
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Cloaked by Alex Flinn
Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal
The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski
Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The Two Princess of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Review: How to Take the Ex out of Ex-boyfriend

Giovanna has the hottest boyfriend at school. Not only is Jesse hot, he's nice too! But when her twin brother, Dante, decides to run against the mayor's son for class president, things can only go down hill. When Jesse doesn't agree to help Dante with his campaign, Giovanna takes it personally and ends up without a boyfriend. In an attempt to cheer her up, her friends start setting her up on blind dates, with each one turning out worse than the last one. On top of all that, now she's Dante's campaign manager and is determined for him to win only to for the sake of embarrassing Jesse, even though deep down all she really wants is to have him back.

Janette Rallison is like the clean queen of chick-lit! Her books leave you feeling refreshed. They're kind of like the icing on the chocolate cake that is your bookshelf. Most of your books can be dark and serious, and then to balance it out you have something light and sweet on top!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fairy Tales Retold Challenge

Anyone whose read my blog before knows how much I adore fairy tales. I grew up being surrounded by fairy tales, and I completely adore retellings. They expand upon details your heart has been aching to know about. They explain why characters act as they do, and they add unique twists that make you adore (or loathe) the stories even more.
I've been searching around the blogosphere for a fairy tale challenge, but I haven't found one, so I decided to take it into my own hands and come up with my own fairy tale challenge. The only real rule is to have fun with fairy tales, but here are some other things that would be nice to know:

It goes from January 1st 2012 to December 31st 2012
To sign up, use the form at the end of this post!
You can sign up any time from now until June-ish
I would love you forever if you would follow me, and if you're interested in fairy tales, then you'd probably find my blog interesting anyway!

What Counts
Any retelling at all, or original fairy tales. When I say original fairy tales, I mean books that include many elements of many fairy tales, but aren't actually based on any fairy tales. Some examples are The Princess Bride by William Goldman or Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (BEST BOOK EVER!) Basically a book that should have a fairy tale based on it, but it's too late for it to be the other way around.

All you need is a desire to read fairy tales, and preferably a way to post reviews. Whether it be a blog, Goodreads, or Amazon, it doesn't matter.

3 books - Peasant
6 books - Fairy
9 Books - Witch
12 books - Princess
15 books - Dragon
I'm going for Dragon level, and I'll probably end up reading way more than 15 anyway.

Posting Reviews
At the end of each month I'll have a link-up post for any reviews you've done that month. No one is required to post reviews, I just want to see what you think!
So go ahead and sign up! If you have any more questions, let me know!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Book Review: Dragon Spear

Creel is off on a final adventure to visit the dragons in their new home. All is going well until Velika, the queen of the dragons, is kidnapped by a foreign species of dragons that believe that they are the chosen dragons and that she must be only their queen, and no one else's. Creel and her friends embark on their biggest adventure of all to go save the queen, and still get back in time for Creel and Luka's wedding. 

I went into this book not quite sure what to expect.  The first book had been wonderful by itself, and the second one also seemed like a solid finish to a series, but now another book? 
I wasn't disappointed at all. Her writing was lovely, as always. 
The new setting seemed kind of strange at first, but the feeling fit, since everyone was experiencing this new landscape for the first time. It felt kind of like a mix between Polynesia and South America, but with dragons. 
I like these books more than any other books about dragons because they aren't just about dragons. There is a wonderful balance of both dragon stuff and human stuff that makes them appealing to lots of people. 
This had lots of exciting plot twists that kept me reading! It was thoroughly enjoyable!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Book Review: Dragon Flight

Creel is growing bored of life as a seamstress, despite the popularity of her dress shop, and wishes to fly with the dragons again! Her wish is granted in an unexpected way when she learns that Citatie has taken control of the dragons and is breeding them in preparation for battle. She travels to Citatie along with her friends to warn Luka and save the dragons to restore peace once more! 

Jessica Day George never fails to please me! The best way I can describe her writing is that it's like watching a fantasy/action movie while snuggling under a warm blanket with a mug of cocoa. It just looks and sounds like fun! And that's what her books are: fun; especially her Dragon series. 
Her writing was simply perfect. The words just seemed to flow right off the page and into my head. I can never get enough Jessica Day George!
The plot was interesting. It was different than I was expecting, but in a good way. The characters were just as amazing as ever. It was fun watching them grow and develop even further. The romance was sweet and kind of mushy, but it was cute!

Language: 1
Violence: 2
Romance: 1
An all around clean read!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Review: Romeo and Juliet

So, a couple months ago I was encouraged (forced) to join a Shakespeare study group. The first play we studied was Romeo and Juliet. This is the play everyone knows the basic plot of. The story wasn't new to me. It's a classic tale that can be adapted to any audience (the first time I heard the story was 10 years ago watching PBS Kids). 
This play is similar to twilight in the fact that people either love it or hate it, and maybe three people stand to the side and neither like or dislike it. I'm one of those three. I think the play has different pros and cons about it. The characters acted irrationally, but if you think about it, in LOTS of books people act irrationally, but no one judges them!
I loved this play as an introduction to Shakespeare's language. Before this, I couldn't have cared less about plays and poetry, but now I love it! He weaves together his story so beautifully (no matter how pointless and confusing the story is). 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Review: Beastly

Kyle Kingsbury has always been perfect. He’s rich and popular; what more could he ask for?
When the girl who he picks on turns out to be a witch, he’s really in for it! Now he’s a beast, locked up in an apartment by his father who only cares about looking good, which his son does not. Being locked up with no one else but the old maid and the blind tutor is getting pretty dull, until he ends up getting a random girl from school stuck living with him.
He only has a year left to make Lindy fall in love with him, or else be cursed to be ugly for eternity. 

I heard about this right around when the movie came out. It sounded interesting, and decided to delve in further. Finally, my library had a copy, so I grabbed it. 
I think the whole idea of a modern fairy tale is interesting, and this is probably the best execution of one that I've read so far. The tale of Beauty and the Beast can be taken so many different ways, and I think this version worked out pretty well. It stayed true to the story, while adding it's own twists. The only thing I wish it had, but was glad it didn't, was a more fairy tale-ish feeling. I love having that magic in a story, which is why I read fantasy stuff most of the time. At the same time, I'm glad it didn't have that because it just wouldn't fit the setting of the story at all!
The characters were all very unique. Kyle/Adrian kind of grows on you after you see he's not such a bad guy after all! Lindy was also likeable, although I couldn't get the image of Vanessa Hudgens out of my head while reading this. 

Language: 3
Violence: 1
Romance: 3

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