Is 218 Books A Bit Much?

Because I don’t really want to end this year end stuff, and because I have a few things I still want to talk about, I’ve decided to do one last post recapping random bookish thoughts that I’ve somehow managed to not talk about the last few weeks.  I didn’t think of doing something regarding my non-bookish favorite stuff, but I may have to do that at the end of year.

I’ve talked about my favorite authors from the last year, my favorite books (be sure to check out part one and part two), and an end of the year book survey.  But…I haven’t talked about blowing my original goal of 115 books out of the water!

Seriously, I only meant to read 115 books this year, and read an astounding 218 books!  Of which 106 were from the library and 112 were books I own…9 audiobooks, 119 e-books and 90 “traditional” books.  And an average of 18 books a month and an average rating of 3.46.

As for how many books I want to read this year, I really have no idea.  I’ve settled on 150 books, but that’ll probably change as the year goes on.  I think there’s a lot that I’ve learned about my reading habits over the last year.

And changes!  Let’s talk about that.  A few days ago, I added a master list of reviews.  In addition to the yearly bookshelf, of course.  And I added my rating scale over to your right…currently above the Goodreads challenge.

Remember how I decided to do the post-a-day challenge last year?  Well, it was certainly a challenge.  Coming up with 365 posts can be really challenging sometimes.  But it’s a lot to keep up with…so I will not be posting everyday, but I am aiming for most days.  For now, I’m leaning towards posting around 5 days a week.

I’ve learned a lot, though.  Like, scheduling posts and having a bunch of drafts?  Totally amazing.  I mean, it’s great for those days when I have no clue what to write about.  And especially for those days when I’ve realized that I never posted anything.  Which only happened once, when I couldn’t remember if I posted or not.  But still important.  I’ve learned to pay attention to the date and time for posts that I’m scheduling…because accidentally publishing a post I’m not finished with is not fun, especially if it’s because I’m not paying attention.  But whatever, it happens to the best of us, right?

I really think that wraps up my end-of-2012 stuff, so onwards with 2013!

2012 End Of Year Book Survey

I still have a couple ideas for end-year-bookish stuff, but I figured I’d start with this end of the year book survey hosted by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner.

2012 Year End Survey

Best In Books

1- Best Book You Read In 2012 (You Can Break It Down By Genre If You Want)

I am so glad I can break this one down by genre!  I don’t know how I’d pick otherwise.

Best YA Paranormal- Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine, The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Best YA Dystopic- Divergent by Veronica Roth, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Best Adult Fiction- When She Woke by Hilary Jordan, The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Best Overall- The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Reason To Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

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

This is a hard one because I liked most of what I read.  I think I’m going to have to go with A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.  It totally seemed up my alley, but I just couldn’t get into it.

3- Most Surprising (In A Good Way!) Book Of 2012

Reason To Breathe by Rebecca Donovan had me all over the place.  It’s also one of the books that I WILL NOT allow myself to read at work, because I don’t want anyone to freak out if they see me crying.

4- Book You Recommended Most To People In 2012?

If you’re talking about books I mention a lot, then check out question #1.  But I’d also recommend Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Unwind by Neal Shusterman and My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.

5- Best New Series You Discovered In 2012?

The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Wings by Aprilynne Pike and Need by Carrie Jones top the list of series I read and loved this year.

6- Favorite New Authors You Discovered In 2012?

I’m not going to recap my favorite new authors here, because I’ve already covered some of my favorite new authors in this post.

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

This is a hard one, mostly because I mostly stick to YA and history.  But I loved Still Alice by Lisa Genova and really liked Good Fairies, Bad Fairies by Brian Froud.

8- Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

There are so many choices, and part of me wants to go with something I haven’t said already…but I really have to go with Morganville Vampires.  It’s a very addicting series!

9- Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read In 2013?

Hmmm…probably The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.

10- Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012

One of my favorite things about reading is seeing all the really pretty covers!  This one is my favorite:

Unearthly Cover

11- Most Memorable character in 2012?

A from Every Day by David Levithan.  I didn’t care for it, but A is pretty memorable.  Lennie from The Sky Is Everywhere is also my top choice.

12- Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

My choice for this one is The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.  It’s so beautiful, and I LOVED LOVED LOVED the random memories on the scraps of paper found around town.

13- Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

It’s a toss-up between And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts and A Mighty Long Way by Carlotta Walls LaNier.  And The Band Played On is a great look at the few first years of AIDS and it’s strange seeing how it was back then, especially knowing what AIDS is like now.  As for A Mighty Long Way, it’s still mind boggling that schools were desegregated not that long ago.

14- Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

It’s a tie between Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and Looking For Alaska by John Green.  I just can’t believe it took me so long to read them!

15- Favorite Quote/Passage From A Book You Read In 2012?

From The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: “My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.”

16- Shortest and Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Shortest: I have a ton of books that are around 200 pages, so I’m not even going to bother listing all of them.

Longest: 11/23/63 by Stephen King- it’s an astounding 863 pages.

17- Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Reason To Breathe by Rebecca Donovan.  It had quite the ending- to the point that I immediately bought Barely Breathing (the sequel) and starting reading it.

18- Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc)

Joe and Lenny from The Sky Is Everywhere and Anna and St. Clair from Anna And The French Kiss.  Both couples are so adorable, and I couldn’t help but fangirl over Joe and St. Clair.

19- Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

I’m going to go with The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling…because I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while.  I really liked it, and it was great to see a new book from her.

20- Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else

Looking For Alaska by John Green.  I saw this one on so many Top 10 Tuesday lists that I requested from the library immediately.

Book Blogging/Reading Life In 2012 (Optional)

1- New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012? 

There are so many, but The Broke And The Bookish and The Grown-Up YA are just two I read.  I really could go on and on about some of my favorite book blogs.

2- Favorite review that you wrote in 2012?

I think my favorite review that I wrote is the one for Anna And The French Kiss.  Mostly because I kind of acted like a fan-girl.

3- Best discussion you had on your blog?

I don’t really do a lot of discussion-type posts on my blog.  The only one that really jumps to mind is the post where I talked about why I love (but sometimes hate) my e-reader.  Maybe I should have some more discussion-y posts.

4- Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?

I really like the Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down posts that Jamie (from The Perpetual Page Turner) does.  Tara, from The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say “Shhh,” has some great posts on her journey to her Ph.D.

5- Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Honestly, I LOVE Top 10 Tuesday.  It’s so much fun coming up with a different list every week.  Some weeks are easier than others, but either way, it’s fun to write my list and see what other people come up with.

6- Best moment of book blogging in 2012?

I think my best moment was when I realized that book blogging is something I love to do and where I want to focus my attention, in terms of blogging.  Although getting an audible account and getting my Nook are great too, because I have a ton of ways to feed my reading habit.

7- Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Endure by Carrie Jones got 119 views.  Top 10 Tuesday posts are always popular too.

8- Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Besides the obvious answer of all of them, I really have no clue.  Nothing is really coming to mind, even after looking through a bunch of old posts.

9- Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Being able to download e-books and audiobooks from the library!

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

My original goal was to read 115 books, but I ended up changing that to 200…and I’ve currently read 215 books!  So, yes, I have completed my only goal in terms of reading.

Looking Ahead

1- One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

Where do I even start with this one?  I could go with all of the books I wanted to read and didn’t get to, but I think The Daughter Of Smoke And Bone is at the top of the list.

2- Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

If you want to know which books I’m listening forward to, be sure to check out my list of my most anticipated reads of 2013.

3- One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

The one thing I really want to do next year is read outside of YA more.  As much as I love YA, I really want to expand my horizons a little more.

And that wraps up this year-end book survey!  Have a lovely day!

NaNo And Other Thoughts

So, NaNo has been interesting.

I got bored with my original idea, so I started over with a new one.  I have remembered the importance of backing up…because Sunday morning, when I started writing, the file I had wouldn’t open, because the file was corrupt.  Thankfully, I didn’t lose everything, because I had saved a copy to dropbox, but unfortunately, everything I had written Saturday (which was few thousand words) all disappeared.

This is why you back up, and why I will have multiple copies from now until the end of the month, which is coming up soon.  That was a setback, but I am determined to get to 50,000 words.  Catching up is fun, and I’m still sure I can catch up.  Partly because I am word padding, but also because I don’t want this to be the first year I don’t complete 50,000 words.  50k or bust!

I’m currently at 31,879 words, and I’m hoping to be around 40,000 by the end of today.  That’s a little bit less than where I really need to be, but that’s close enough that I’ll be able to catch up if I write like I maniac the rest of the week.

In other news, I finished my goal of 200 books.  It’s weird that it started out as 115, which I kept changing until I finally left it at 200.  That review will be coming this week.  It’s so weird that I’ve read so much.  Like, do I want to do something more next year?  Keep it the same?  Or do I want to make it low, and see what happens?  I’m not sure, so I’ll have to think about it over the next few weeks.  Maybe I should see where I end up at before deciding anything.  It was definitely a fun year reading, but it won’t stop just because I reached the goal that would not stop changing.

I think that’s it for now, because I really to start writing!  Those words aren’t going to write themselves.

Let’s Talk About Pottermore!

So, Chamber Of Secrets is officially open on Pottermore.  Kind of.  Technically, only the first 4 chapters are available, and according to the Pottermore blog, Chamber of Secrets is coming out in 3 installments.  I actually like that they’re releasing the book in sections.  I’m not sure why they are- it is possible remaining chapters are not ready to go- but I’m glad they are.  It’ll be a lot easier to go through it slowly, and maybe I’ll even have Chamber of Secrets in front of me while I’m going through Pottermore.

I was super-excited about Pottermore when I became a beta last summer.  I was really into it, and then got really bored, and pretty much forgot about it until I got the emails talking about the House Cup.  Honestly, once you got through Sorcerer’s Stone and made a few potions, there wasn’t anything to do.  Especially because duelling wasn’t up yet.  And because they kept extending the beta period.

They did add sound, which is a big improvement.  I think that was one of the biggest complaints from, well, everyone.  The artwork is still completely amazing.  The potions still take too long- anywhere from 30 minutes, up to 75 minutes (I think), depending on the potion.  But at least they shortened the times a little.  I hate that I can’t sell potions for galleons or something.  I don’t want to gift them, and if I’m going to spend an hour here and there brewing them, I’d like something besides house points.  I’m surprised they haven’t added more potions, but that could come later.

They added a noticeboard to all the common rooms, which is kinda cool, because it does have very general updates on what’s going on.  Like Chamber of Secrets being partially available, or when the house cup is ending.

Chamber Of Secrets, in 4 chapters, is a lot more interactive than (most of) Sorcerer’s Stone.  You get to de-gnome the garden, you get to use floo powder, and several other things, which is cool.  There is a fair amount of point-and-clicking, which is to be expected.  It’s very old-school J.K.R., but there does seem to be a better balance.

They did have an incentive for the House that won the House Cup- Slytherin got to see Chamber Of Secrets a full day before everyone else.  I like that they’re doing that, because it actually gives people a reason to participate and try to earn house points.

So far, the only new material is about the Malfoys.  I liked getting their backstory, and I’m sure we’ll get more as the series progresses.  I’m not going to spoil it for anyone, but it is pretty interesting.

There is something I’m wondering.  Like, the House Cup is cool and all, but what happens when all 7 books are out?  How are they going to keep it going when people have done everything they’ve wanted to?  More importantly, how are they going to keep people coming back?  As it is, there’s no reason for people to keep going back once they’ve gone through the books, and you can only brew so many potions and duel so many people.  I know I’m getting way ahead of myself here, but still.  What plans do they have for when Deathly Hallows is released?

Anyway, I hope we get to brew polyjuice potion, because that would be awesome.  And I’m sure they have something up their sleeve for the end of the book, when Harry goes into the Chamber Of Secrets.  I bet the Cornish pixies will be interactive.  They have to be, right?

That’s all for Pottermore…at least until the next section is released.

Why I Love (And Sometimes Hate) My E-Reader

Today, I am sharing what I like and dislike about my Nook.  Here we go!

What I Love:

  • Storage: I don’t have a lot of room for physical books, so my Nook is really handy.  I don’t have to worry about finding room for everything I read.  And with all the series I seem to be liking lately, I don’t have stacks of series everywhere.
  • Instant Gratification: In a matter of seconds, I can have all the books I need/want.  Plus, it’s great when I know what I want to get, as opposed to just browsing.
  •  Convenience: It’s a lot easier to carry around than, say, Order Of The Phoenix.  As far as reading several books at a time, I’d say it’s slightly easier to have several books going.  But there isn’t much difference on reading 3 or 4 e-books and reading 3 or 4 “real books.”
  • It’s not obvious what I’m reading.  Generally, I don’t care what people think about the things I read.  And people asking me what I’m reading doesn’t come up.  I just like the idea that what I’m reading isn’t obvious, which means people actually have to ask about what I’m reading, instead of making their decision based on the cover.
  • Prices: I buy all of my books new, so it’s nice to buy something that’s cheaper than a lot of the new, shiny hardcovers.
  • The Daily: I like that they have different things to read almost every single day.  They have different articles on books and every once in a while, they have something about apps.  I’ve found a few (free or really cheap) books that way.

What I Dislike:

  • Having two copies of some books.  One of the reasons why I got my Nook was so I could carry around my favorite books on one device.  But this means I need to buy select books again.  Not everything, mind you, but the things I know I’ll read over and over.
  • The classics: While I love B & N, I hate that a lot of the classics aren’t free.  They have their own version of the classics, with introductions and essays and timelines, and it’s clear they want you to get their version.  Maybe one of these days I’ll have to add them via Project Gutenberg.
  • Browsing: I don’t particularly care for browsing on my Nook.  If you know what you want, or if you like to look at the various lists they put together.
  • The reading experience: As much as I love my Nook, you do miss out on using random things as bookmarks, the smell of the book, and the turning of the page.

So, that’s my list.  I’m sure it’s been done to death, the pros and cons of e-readers, but I thought I’d throw in my 2 cents.  I feel like I’ve forgotten to add something, but looking it over, I don’t think I’ve forgotten anything.  Have a great weekend!

Guess What?

I got an e-reader!  It’s all very exciting, and it’s still in the shiny, new toy phase, since I got it Friday night.  I ended up going with the Nook- part of it is the fact that I love Barnes and Noble, but I also just really like how it looks.  Okay, the thing where it turns black for a second when you turn a page is slightly annoying.  I don’t particularly need something to simulate a turning page, but whatever.

I like that it’s a lot easier to carry it around than an actual book, and that I can carry multiple books on one device.  For the forseeable future, I probably won’t be downloading any new books on it.  Except for Insurgent, which I pre-ordered.  But I think I’m going to stick with books I’ve already read, and books from Project Gutenberg.  It’s definitely not going to replace traditional books, and there are some books that I don’t want an e-book for. But other books, like series, or stuff I want to read that I don’t want anyone else to know I read will eventually end up on it.

I really like it so far, and I’m definitely warming up to it a lot faster than I ever expected.  I’m sure I’ll be talking about more…especially as I use it more!

I also got the Joy The Baker Cookbook!  I was flipping through it the other day…and even made some cookies!  There’s a hundred recipes, and every single one of them has a picture!  I feel like that’s pretty rare for cookbooks, and it’s nice to see what everything is supposed to look like.  And a lot of it is baking, so it’s right up my alley!

That’s all for today, I think, so have a great Sunday!

Technology!

I’ve been thinking about technology lately.  I normally don’t think about it, but I’ve been looking at iPods lately.  I definitely need a new one, because half of the music I have on iTunes isn’t on my iPod.

But I started thinking about how much I use my iPod.  It started to snowball- iPods turned into the internet, and that led to t.v., which led to e-readers and cell phones.

Something that crossed my mind over the weekend was an e-reader.  I was in Barnes and Noble, and for the first time, I really considered getting an e-reader.  I figured I’d get one eventually, but it was low on my priority list.  Like bottom of the list low.  And for the longest time, I figured I wouldn’t use it very much, so there was no point in getting one.  But then again, that’s what I said about my iPod, and it’s something I use a lot.  For me, it would be a big purchase, so I’ll have to think about it carefully.  Maybe I should make a pro/con list or something.

I’ve never really thought about unplugging more.  But now, I’m kind of wondering if I need to.  Perhaps I should take note of how much I use technology, like over the span of a week or something, just to see.  It could be an interesting experiment.  I may have to try it sometime soon and share my findings.  If there are any, that is.

I really liked this article called The Joy Of Quiet.  It’s an interesting article, and quiet can be good.

So…

I think I’m done rambling.  At least for now.  But the rambling will continue on another day.  Possibly tomorrow.  But I don’t really know for sure.

Variant

Book: Variant by Robison Wells

Publishing Info: Published by HarperTeen; 373 pages; Hardcover

Goodreads Summary: Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape–his only real hope for survival–may be impossible.

This book was really creepy.  But also really good.

Everything is very mysterious, and just when you think you have it figured out, you realize you don’t.  The school?  Totally weird, because there are no adults, and around 70 kids, by themselves, trying to figure everything out.  It doesn’t seem like anyone knows what’s going on, but if they do, they’re really good at lying about it.

Trust no one is the perfect tagline for this book, because you really don’t know who to trust.  With people who are some combination of android and human (or a very human-like android), and others who are determined to follow orders at any cost, it’s no wonder Benson isn’t sure if he can trust anyone.  It’s very suspenseful, and I was on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen.

The school itself seems to be huge, and can hold a lot more than the 70 or so students living there.  Everyone knows a little, and yet they know nothing at the same time.  For a book that’s the first in the series- which I didn’t know until I got to the end of the book- things were pretty resolved.

As much I love female narrators, it was nice to see a male protagonist.  He was funny, and I could actually relate to him a little.  He’s one determined guy, and his quest to leave Maxfield after realizing that he made a mistake (and that there’s something hinky going on) was rather interesting.  He seems to be the only who cares and is willing to do something about it.  The other characters were interesting, and they all had their role to play.

The ending!  Oh.  My.  God.  What a cliffhanger!  I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.  October seems like so far away.

It gets a 4 out of 5.  I was kept guessing, and it was a hard book to put down.

The Silenced

Book: The Silenced by James DeVita

Publishing Info: Published by Laura Geringer Books; 504 pages; Hardcover

Goodreads Summary: In a world filled with sanctions and restrictions, Marena struggles to remember the past: a time before the Zero Tolerance Party murdered her mother and put her father under house arrest. A time before they installed listening devices in every home and forbade citizens to read or write. A time when she was free. In the spirit of her revolutionary mother, Marena forms her own resistance group–the White Rose.

This is a chilling dystopian novel that leads readers to question the very essence of their identities. “Who do you think you are?”

This book was a little scary.  Not in a horror kind of way, but in a that can totally happen again sort of way.  It’s horrifying, and while you don’t see any violence, it’s implied that it does happen.

It’s narrated by several different people, which works really well for this novel.  You get to see the different sides, and how different people react to what’s going on.  There’s an author’s note at the end, saying that the book was inspired by a resistance group in Nazi Germany called The White Rose.  I wondered if DeVita drew inspiration from the Holocaust, because there were quite a few parallels.  But at the same time, it’s something I could see happening today, so I guess some things don’t really change.  Plus, things like closing the border and imbedded data chips make it even more relevant than it already is.

It’s very thought-provoking, and you can’t help but wonder if you’d be able to fight such a government, or if you’d just go along with it so nothing would to you or your friends and family.  Everyone at Marena’s “school” wears the same uniform, and they all have short hair.  In essence, everything is done to ensure they don’t have an identity, and their sole purpose is to do their duty to the government.

I give it a 4 out of 5.  It wasn’t completely amazing, but still worth reading.

Extras

Book: Extras by Scott Westerfeld

Publishing Info: Published by Simon Pulse; 417 pages; hardcover

Goodreads Summary: Fame

It’s a few years after rebel Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specials regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. “Tech-heads” flaunt their latest gadgets, “kickers” spread gossip and trends, and “surge monkeys” are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. And it’s all monitored on a bazillion different cameras. The world is like a gigantic game of “American Idol.” Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes. Popularity rules.

As if being fifteen doesn’t suck enough, Aya Fuse’s rank of 451,369 is so low, she’s a total nobody. An extra. But Aya doesn’t care; she just wants to lie low with her drone, Moggle. And maybe kick a good story for herself.

Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are. But doing so would propel her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity…and extreme danger. A world she’s not prepared for.

This is the final book in the Uglies series, and while I liked it, I didn’t like it as much as the other three.

I think part of it is the fact that it felt tacked on.  Like an afterthought.  I had low expectations, because the series was originally a trilogy.  Perhaps that is why it feels like an afterthought.  It certainly doesn’t feel like a part of the series.

That being said, I liked that we got to see what life was like several years after Tally took down the old ways.  And it was interesting seeing life in a different city.  And using fame and reputation to decide who gets what?  It’s an interesting concept, especially with people trying to gain fame, and what they’ll do to get it.  I almost wished that Westerfeld had focused on that, instead ending up in Singapore trying to figure out what the metal cylinders are for.

Tally was interesting in this book, because she wasn’t a main character.  I liked seeing her through the eyes of someone else.  She came across a lot harsher, more violent, and more mentally unstable than she seemed in the first 3 books.  Given everything that’s happened to Tally, it wasn’t a surprise.

And what didn’t I like?  It didn’t draw me in the way the rest of the series did.  It was slightly more boring than I expected, and the new characters weren’t particularly interesting.  I just couldn’t care about about them.

Overall, it gets a 3 out of 5.  It was well-paced, and enjoyable, but missing that something special the other books had.