Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer

Title:  Why Shoot a Butler?
Author:  Georgette Heyer
Genre:  Mystery
Pages:  329

Rating:  A-

Synopsis (from  Every family has secrets, but the Fountains' are turning deadly... On a dark night, along a lonely country road, barrister Frank Amberley stops to help a young lady in distress and discovers a sports car with a corpse behind the wheel. The girl protests her innocence, and Amberley believes her--at least until he gets drawn into the mystery and the clues incriminating Shirley Brown begin to add up...
In an English country-house murder mystery with a twist, it's the butler who's the victim, every clue complicates the puzzle, and the bumbling police are well-meaning but completely baffled. Fortunately, in ferreting out a desperate killer, amateur sleuth Amberley is as brilliant as he is arrogant, but this time he's not sure he wants to know the truth...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Why Shoot a Butler? was my first Georgette Heyer mystery, so I really didn't know what to expect when I started it.  Having only read Heyer's regency romances, I thought there was a good chance the story would have witty dialogue, lots of descriptions of people and places, and an interesting heroine.  I missed two out of three.  First, there's no heroine, but a "hero."  The main character of this story is Frank Amberley, a barrister/amateur sleuth with a smirking haughtiness that hides his intelligence and passion.  He actually reminds me of Sir Percy Blakeney, aka the Scarlet Pimpernel, except that Sir Percy uses humor and goofiness as a cover the way Amberley uses arrogance.

Secondly, the long descriptive passages that Heyer normally has in her romances are nonexistent here.  In this book, Heyer's main focus is not on the landscapes or what people are wearing, but on the mystery itself.  Her story is non-stop movement from beginning to end; there's no time to spend on descriptions.  The story may seem a little bare at times because of the lack of any involved details on the characters and their surroundings, but since the plot never really slows down, there isn't a lot of time to notice it. 

The one thing I did guess correctly was the dialogue.  It wouldn't be a Heyer book without amazing conversations and sarcasm.  Amberley's dialogue is sharp, witty, and biting.  His conversations with his uncle are hilarious, as his uncle doesn't always understand sarcasm.  But the best conversations are between Amberley and Shirley Brown, the possible "femme fatale."  She's not impressed with Amberley's wit, and has no problem telling him off.

As for the mystery itself, it was exciting and had the appropriate number of twists and turns, with a somewhat unexpected ending.  I admit that after reading a lot of mysteries (and watching a lot of crime shows), I've realized that it's never the obvious person you suspect, and therefore I'm not always surprised at the endings.  With this book, as I said, I was somewhat surprised because I had two guesses as to who the villain was, and one of them was right.  But I never guessed the motive or how the solution would unfold.  A-

Friday, December 28, 2012

Book Review: A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer

Title:  A Civil Contract
Author:  Georgette Heyer
Genre:  Regency romance
Pages:  422

Rating:  A-

Synopsis (from  Adam Deveril, Viscount Lynton, returns home from war to find his family in financial ruin. To help his family, he sacrifices his love for the beautiful Julia and marries plain Jenny Chawleigh, whose father is a wealthy businessman determined to marry his daughter into a title.
Adam chafes under Mr. Chawleigh's generosity, and Julia's behavior upon hearing of the betrothal nearly brings them all into a scandal. But Jenny's practicality and quiet love for Adam bring him comfort and eventually happiness. And over time, their arranged marriage blossoms into love and acceptance across the class divide.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For Christmas this year, I asked for a bunch of books by Georgette Heyer, and I got them!  Of the Heyer books I got, A Civil Contract was the first one I read.  Unlike most of Heyer's other books, this book is much more serious in tone, and its love story isn't a whirlwind, swoon-worthy romance.  Adam Deveril and Jenny Chawleigh marry for convenience, and they face their ups and downs together, eventually realizing that they do love one another.  It's not the typical passionate, breathtaking love that comes and goes, but a deep, steady love that's grown out of mutual respect and companionship.

Heyer's heroine in this story is very different from her typical female leads.  In most of Heyer's books, the girl is beautiful but poor; Jenny Chawleigh is the opposite.  Neither poor nor beautiful, she does possess a good head on her shoulders and a dry sense of humor.  Her "hero," Adam Deveril, doesn't deserve the title.  He's often rude to Jenny, and sometimes fails to hide his feelings for his first love Julia whenever she's around.  Lucky for him, Jenny is a very understanding and patient woman.

I really enjoyed how Heyer looked at what might be the outcome of an an arranged marriage.  The disbelief and awkwardness at first, followed by the slow acclimation to one another's personalities, and finally the realization that what the two of them share is much more enduring than the feelings of being "in love."  Heyer never becomes unrealistic by having either of her characters suddenly wake up one day and say, "I can't believe I didn't see it before! I'm madly in love with him/her!"  I admit a little part of me was hoping for that breathtaking aha! moment, but in the end, I'm glad it didn't happen.  It would have seemed forced and unreal.  What Heyer portrays in A Civil Contract is a real love, which was a refreshing change from the typical romance.  A-

Book Review: The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

It seems that with every Pratchett movie-adaptation, I always see the movie before reading the book.  That's true in this case as well.  I watched The Color of Magic with my family a few years ago, and only now read the two books which it's based on.  I think part of the reason it took so long was because, of the three Pratchett adaptations I've seen -- The Color of Magic, Going Postal, and The Hogfather, -- it's my least favorite.  I love all three of them, but I just love this one a little less.  And no offense to Pratchett, but I think Rincewind is the probably the most annoying main character he's ever written.

That being said, I still really enjoyed both The Color of Magic and its sequel, The Light Fantastic.  They were the first two Discworld books that Pratchett ever wrote, so in the beginning, they do feel a little like they're a giant introduction to the Discworld universe.  But once you get to the actual main plot, the story's pace quickens and holds your attention.  The story tells of a failed wizard named Rincewind, living in Ankh-Morpork, who has the misfortune to meet a strange little man calling himself a "tourist."  Rincewind finds himself roped into being a tour guide to this little man, Twoflower, who unfortunately doesn't understand the meaning of fear or sarcasm or subtlety.  While nearly losing his life a thousand times taking Twoflower around, Rincewind must also save the world... no biggie.

As I said before, Rincewind is a very annoying main character, but he grows on you.  Twoflower is the real star of these books.  His simple and naive outlook on the world, as well as his inability to know when to keep his mouth shut, leads to some very interesting situations for both him and Rincewind.  The secondary characters also shine in these books.  Each one has their own unique personality, and each adds a fun twist to the storyline.

As with all of the Discworld books, Pratchett filled these books with sarcasm and satire, making fun of much of what we consider normal parts of life.  Government, fantasy stereotypes, insurance, and tourism are just some of the topics that Pratchett has fun with.

Perhaps my biggest disappointment with the books was how little they focused on the Unseen University and the wizards.  I thought their storyline was awesome, and I would've loved to have read more about them.  But despite that, I found The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic fun and entertaining, with plenty of adventure and comedy.  While they're certainly not my favorite Pratchett books, they were definitely worth reading.  B+

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday #6

I really meant to post this either Monday night or Wednesday but never got to it.  Christmas was a little more important than updating my blog.  So instead, I'm posting my belated Top Ten Tuesday on Thursday.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This week they let us have a freebie and choose whatever topic we wanted, and I really wanted to post my Top Ten (and then some) Fictional Crushes.

My Top Ten Fictional Crushes

  • Edward Rochester (Jane Eyre)  -  I love the dark, brooding anti-hero.  Mr. Rochester's such a passionate romantic, and you can't help but love him, even when you know he's in the wrong.
  • Mr. Darcy (Pride & Prejudice)  -  Honestly, who doesn't love Mr. Darcy?  Haughty and proud at first glance, but really a big softie underneath, especially where his sister's concerned.  And anyone who can hold his own in a conversation with Elizabeth Bennett is pretty amazing.
  • Severus Snape (Harry Potter series)  -  I loved him from the very beginning of the series.  Even when everyone else thought he was really a traitor, I just knew deep down that Severus wasn't evil.
  • Sir Percy Blakeny (The Scarlet Pimpernel)  -  So funny when he's pretending to be dimwitted, and so passionate in his feelings for his wife.  The description of him kissing the ground where she walked because his feelings are so intense just gives me shivers.
  • Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games trilogy)  -  Team Peeta all the way!  He's so sweet, strong, and dependable; he'd be there for you no matter what.
  • Lord Carlyon (The Reluctant Widow)  -  I love someone who's witty and sarcastic, and Lord Carlyon is a perfect example.  His sarcastic banter is entertaining and quick; you'd never be bored.
  • Robert Beaumaris (Arabella)  -  Beaumaris is just the right mix of every Austen hero, and his dry sense of humor is so amusing.  Every time I read this book, I want so badly to be Arabella.
  • Barney Snaith (The Blue Castle)  -  I love him because he's kind and considerate, but he has a mysterious side.  I'd love to live on his little island in Canada, just the two of us.
  • Faramir (The Lord of the Rings)  -  He's kind and gentle without being timid or weak.  He's brave and strong without being proud.  He's noble and wise; he's the quintessential knight in shining armor.
  • Raistlin (The Dragonlance Chronicles)  -  I fully admit to having a thing for the "bad guy".  Raistlin is definitely dangerous, mysterious, and power-hungry, but he's not past all redemption or hope.  He often seems ruthless, but he's got a soft side that he hides from his companions.
And the honorable mentions are:  Boromir (The Lord of the Rings), Colonel Brandon (Sense & Sensibility), Professor Bhaer (Little Women), Howl (Howl's Moving Castle), Michael Pardue (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), Calvin Featherbone (The Gentleman Outlaw and Me ~ Eli), Dustfinger (The Inkworld trilogy), Dodge Anders (The Looking Glass Wars), The Beast (Beauty), and John Thornton (North & South).

There are many more fictional characters that I love, but these are the current top twenty.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Worth Losing Sleep For

Have you ever read a book that is so good that you just cannot put it down?  Even if it's after midnight, and you know you have to get up for work at 5:30am?  I love that kind of book, which is evidenced by the times I've gone into work exhausted from needing to finish a book.  So far this month, two books have been worthy of keeping me up late.

 Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier was an awesome read.  The story centers around Neryn, a sixteen-year-old girl with a special gift that puts her life in danger, thanks to the king's desire to slaughter anyone with these gifts.  When left to fend for herself, she decides to journey to Shadowfell, the location of the resistance, and on the way has many adventures with members of the faerie folk.  She also meets a mysterious stranger named Flint, who rescues her but is hiding something.

I could not put this book down.  It was exciting and full of adventure; it never seemed to drag at all.  Because the story was about a journey, the "action" was continuous, and it kept me on the edge of my seat.  Besides a good plot, the book also had great characters and character development.  Neryn and Flint were the main characters, but the faerie folk stole the show.  They each had a distinct personality and voice.  I just kept wishing they had bigger roles.  Maybe in the next book?  I also liked the characters that had very brief, small roles in the book; they were well-written and developed and not just glossed over.  This was my first Marillier book, and if her other books are anything like this one, then I will definitely be reading them.

The sequel for Shadowfell is coming out in 2013, and I cannot wait to see what happens next!  A

This next review's gonna be a bit longer, since I read the book only two days ago so it's fresh on my mind.  

I love Rick Riordan and his Greek/Roman mythology series, and The Mark of Athena is the best book of the series yet!  Lots of adventure, plenty of action, romance, friendship, mythology - pretty much everything I love in a book.  I started this Wednesday morning and absolutely could not put it down until I finished it that night.  And now I have to wait until October to find out what happens next!

After being separated for so long, the whole gang has been reunited - Percy with Annabeth & the Camp Half-Blood demigods and Jason with the New Rome demigods.  Despite the fact that the Greeks & Romans have avoided contact before, they now must work together to save the world.  Just a normal day in the life for these guys.

One of my favorite things about this book is that we get to see things from Annabeth's point of view.  In the original Percy Jackson series, everything was from Percy's POV (makes sense).  In the first two books of the new series, everyone's had a chance to have their POV heard, except Annabeth.  So it was really cool to finally get inside her head, and see how she deals with everything happening around her and to her.  It was also awesome to have Percy & Annabeth back together again.  It just felt so wrong when they were separated.

The other characters were great too.  Their interactions with one another as they adjusted to being a team was a source of both tension and humor, especially between Frank, Leo, and Hazel.  The two guys hamming it up and getting on each other's nerves to impress Hazel was just the right amount of humor needed to keep the book from being too tense and serious.  Besides the Frank-Hazel-Leo situation, there was plenty of other romance too.  Of course Percy & Annabeth being reunited provided some of the romance, but Piper & Jason were dealing with their own relationship as well.

But the part of the book that really got me was the ending.  I still cannot believe how the book ended; it was totally unexpected.  Usually Riordan tends to end his books a specific way.  It's not that there's always a happy ending, but usually by the end of the book, the main bad guy of that particular book has been vanquished, and the characters have a little bit of peace before their next adventure.  Riordan rarely does the huge OMG cliffhangers (I laughed when I wrote cliffhanger, and if you've read the book, then you get it), but he really went all out in The Mark of Athena.  I just can't believe that he stopped where he did; that he did what he did to those two characters (trying to avoid spoilers is hard).  It's killing me that I have to wait almost a year for the next book!   A+

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

It's so hard to write reviews of movies that just came out without giving anything away, but I shall try.

I really liked The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  It's fun and exciting.  It's definitely not on the same level as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it's still very good.  And it's definitely not for children.  The book may have been written for kids, but this movie is rated PG-13 for action violence (lots of action violence) and scary images, aka really creepy orcs and gross goblins (totally unintentional alliteration).

In adapting the book to the movie, there were changes of course, but I was expecting them so they didn't bother me too much.  Also, I didn't mind the extra material that Peter Jackson said he'd be adding from The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings appendices.  It was interesting, and it definitely helps explain things, such as where Gandalf was whenever he left Bilbo & the dwarves in the book.

The dwarves are amazing.  Each one has a unique look and personality; it's not just a homogenous group of white-bearded short guys.  Certain dwarves got some more screen time than others, especially Fili & Kili (being the youngest "hot" dwarves).  The movie also just further proved that my favorite actor, Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), is incredibly talented and worthy of being my favorite.  I love him so much, and his portrayal of Thorin is brilliant.

Bilbo's character is a bit different.  In the books, Bilbo would never have run off gleefully to join an adventure or willingly jumped into a fight with orcs, but in this movie adaptation, he's become a bit braver.  Martin Freeman was definitely the right choice to play Bilbo, as he's a great actor and really brings Bilbo to life.  Gandalf is the same abrupt, pipe-smoking, Hobbit-loving wizard.  McKellen has made that role entirely his; anyone else would just have been wrong.

My biggest complaint (and there aren't many) is the CGI.  In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, there was an army of extras dressed in full costume to play the orcs, but in The Hobbit, they took what is probably the most current and possibly cheapest route.  The orcs, the goblins, the elf army, and the dwarf army were all CGI.  Of course there were CGI characters in the original trilogy, but there weren't as many.  And the problem with using so much CGI is that it makes the movie look so much less real.  I remember so many people loved Avatar because they said the CGI looked so real.  But when I watched it, it just looked like very good computer graphics.  In The Hobbit, I feel like the CGI wasn't always that good.  There were moments when it was so fake that it was distracting.  I can't even imagine how it looks in 48fps.

Besides the CGI, I can't really find much else to say about this movie that's negative.  Good acting, lots of adventure, and a classic story make this an awesome movie that I would absolutely see again.  And I'm looking forward to seeing what Jackson has done with the rest of the story.  A

Side note -  I know it seems silly to complain about this, but for the past few years, every time we go to the theater, every time, someone tall sits in front of me.  It doesn't matter if they're part of a group or by themselves; when choosing a seat, they always pick the one in front of me.  If they're part of a group, it doesn't really bother me too much, but it really irks me when it's just one person.  When we went to see The Hobbit, I was sitting towards the end of the row, the last of my friends, and there was a seat between me & the two people sitting at the very end of the row.  All the rows in front of us were empty, and a very tall guy walks down the whole row in front of us and picks the seat directly in front of me.  WHY???  It wasn't like I was right in the middle, and if he'd gone one more seat down, he wouldn't have been sitting in front of anyone.  Like I said, I know it's silly to make a big deal of it, but it would be nice to see a movie again without someone's head in the middle.  (And of course, when sharing this story at work, one coworker compared me to a hobbit, and two other coworkers couldn't help teasing and said I should bring a booster seat next time.  Pfft!)

Top Ten Tuesday #5

I'm still so shocked that we're at the end of 2012 already, and it's only one week til Christmas.  I hope everyone's finished their Christmas shopping so they don't have to brave the malls this week.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This week's topic is the Top Ten favorite reads of 2012.

Top Ten Favorite Reads of 2012
  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green  -  I'm so in love with this book.  It is by far the best read of the entire year.  Beautiful, touching, and real, TFiOS is both a book that makes you cry and a book that makes you think.  And Augustus & Hazel are one of the best literary couples ever.
  2. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins  -  I really loved this trilogy.  Gritty and edge-of-your-seat exciting, plus some romance, this was a great read.  I can't wait to read it again, but the story can be so real and so heartbreaking.  I'll definitely need tissues at the ready.
  3. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green  -  So lighthearted and fun, AAOK was such a breath of fresh air after reading all these intense dystopian novels.  I love the main character, Colin, but it was really his best friend who stole the book.  Hassan is the most awesome comedic relief/sidekick.
  4. Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien  -  So incredibly amazing.  The plot, the characters, and the settings all worked together to make this book so incredible.  After The Hunger Games, this is by far my favorite YA dystopian novel.  I cannot wait to see what happens next!
  5. Matched by Ally Condie  -  I discovered this year that I'm a sucker for dystopian romances, especially if it's a love triangle.  Lucky for me, the majority of what I read this year fits that exact description.  In this book, while I felt like the secondary characters and setting descriptions didn't get a lot of attention or development, I really liked the plot concept and the relationship between Cassia & Ky.
  6. Cinder by Marissa Meyer  -  I thought this was an awesome retelling of Cinderella, mixing just the right amount of the original concept with steampunk, dystopia, and science fiction.  I originally wasn't quite sure how I felt about the lunar people part, but it works really well with the story.
  7. The Selection by Kiera Cass  -  Besides having a great concept (Dystopian future meets beauty pageant), this book had one of my favorite heroines of the year.  America is smart, funny, and outspoken, not afraid to say what she thinks, even to royalty.  Cass also did a great job making the tension between the "contestants" so tangible, you can feel it.
  8. Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer  -  A great ending to one of my favorite series.  I was a little worried about how Colfer was going to wrap up Artemis Fowl's adventures.  But there was no need.  It was just the right amount of fantasy, science, and adventure.  And the ending was unexpected but satisfying.
  9. Soul Music by Terry Pratchett  -  I blame my brother for getting me hooked on Pratchett a few years ago, and now I try to read at least one Pratchett book a year.  I especially love the character Death, so any novels that have more of a focus on him are my favorites.  This book was fun not only because of its Death storyline, but also because it's an incredibly funny satire on the rise of rock-n-roll music.
  10. Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier  -  This is my first Marillier novel, and I'm so glad I picked it up.  I couldn't put this book down once I started it.  Fantasy is my favorite genre, so the book already had that in its favor.  But I really loved this book for its characters.  Neryn, Flint, and the fairy folk are all amazing, mostly due to Marillier's great character development throughout the novel.  Now I'm so excited to catch up on other series and novels by Marillier.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

John Green = Love

I cannot believe it took me over a year to read a new John Green book, after reading Paper Towns in December 2010 (read my review or my brother's).  But it did.  I didn't read another of his books until March (or was it April?) 2012, after my brother finished reading his copy of The Fault in Our Stars.  And I read my third John Green novel, An Abundance of Katherines, in October while our power was out, thanks to Hurricane Sandy.  I don't know why I left such big gaps between his novels, especially considering how they are amongst the few contemporary YA books I enjoy.  I tend to avoid contemporary fiction for the most part, for many reasons.  But I really love John Green's novels; they are exceptionally well-written, and they also make you think.

The Fault in Our Stars is probably the best of Green's novels I've read so far.  Centered around the lives of two teenage cancer patients, Hazel and Augustus, this love story not only focuses on the relationship between the two teenagers, but it also delves deeper to make you think about how you view life, death, love, and what you leave behind.  The one thing it doesn't focus on is the cancer itself.  It's always there obviously, but your attention isn't on the disease; it's on the people.  Hazel and Augustus are amazing main characters; they're so real.  They're just two kids trying to live the most normal lives they can.

The writing is also fantastic.  I never felt like the story lagged, nor did it ever get overly dramatic.  It was just so beautifully written.

I'm pretty sure I've seen this book on almost every blogger's Best-of-the-year list, or if they haven't read it, it's on the top of their TBR list.  I was warned ahead of time that this is a crying book, so I'm warning everyone who hasn't read it - Have tissues ready!  A+

While the power was out during Sandy, I was looking for something to read to kill the time, and suddenly remembered that I'd bought another John Green book months before and still hadn't read it.  An Abundance of Katherines was just the right kind of book for a blah day with no heat or power.  It's a cute story about a prodigy, Colin, who only ever dates girls named Katherine, and always gets dumped by girls named Katherine.  So after the nineteenth Katherine dumps him, Colin and his best friend Hassan decide to go on a road trip to distract Colin from his break-up.  While on the road trip, Colin decides to come up with a formula that will apply to all of his previous relationships and will also predict how any future relationships will work out.

Colin and Hasan are great main characters, but Hassan is definitely my favorite.  Colin's desire to avenge dumpees everywhere through his formula, as well as his Katherine backstories, are amusing and fun, but Hassan is just so funny.  He's the ultimate sidekick: always there when you need him, but also never afraid to push his friend's buttons.  The dialogue between these two is what makes this story so enjoyable.

Compared to The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, this book is definitely the most lighthearted of Green's coming-of-age stories.  It's fun and kind of nerdy, and it never even gets close to really being a serious book.  And I think that's what makes it stand out from the other books.  When you consider that TFiOs and PT are both so much more serious in their tone and subject matter, the cheeriness and fun of AAOK is a refreshing change.  A-

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday #4

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & Bookish.  This week's topic is New To Me Authors I Read in 2012.

Top Ten New to Me Authors of 2012
  1.  Suzanne Collins  -  I can't believe I didn't read the Hunger Games until this year.  Collins' writing is so good, and it definitely got me into more dystopian literature.
  2. Ally Condie  -  After finishing the Hunger Games, I was looking for another dystopian love triangle, and Matched came up as a recommendation.  I loved it, and I can't wait to see what happens in the next two books.
  3. Kiera Cass  -  Dystopian books, especially those with love triangles, seem to be one of my new favorites.  I loved Cass's The Selection, and America is such an amazing main character.
  4. Caragh M. O'Brien  -  O'Brien's Birthmarked might be my favorite dystopian novel, after the Hunger Games of course.  O'Brien made her characters and settings so gritty and real, and she really loves to throw in some great, unexpected plot twists.
  5. Marissa Meyer  -  I love fairy tale adaptations so incredibly much, and Meyer's adaptation of Cinderella, with its dystopian and steampunk elements, was amazing.  I'm super excited for the next book, Scarlet.
  6. Philip K. Dick  -  So this guy may be the weirdest new-to-me author of 2012.  His books, while genuinely interesting, are also just... weird.  I enjoyed his short stories - Minority Report, The Adjustment Team, Paycheck - much more.
  7. Juliet Marillier  -  (added 12/14)  I completely forgot that I just read one of Marillier's books for the first time this month.  My office has a "lending library", meaning you can bring books you don't want anymore and leave them next to the copy machine for other people to borrow or just take.  Someone left a brand new copy of Shadowfell, and I loved it!
Sadly, I can't think of any more authors who were new to me this year.  Most of what I read was by authors I've read in previous years.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The TBR List of Doom

After weeks of looking up books and hours of sorting and typing, my crazy To-Be-Read list is officially posted (it's one of the top tabs, right between About Me and Book Reviews).  As of right now there are over 330 books on the list.  And there are still so many more that aren't on the list yet, or that I just haven't discovered yet.  I have a feeling that I will be adding more books over the years than I will be subtracting.

My overall goal with this list is to read at least 75 books off this list each year.  Considering how my plan is to keep updating it with new books I want to read as I find them, I don't think my reading goal of 75 will ever make much of a dent in the list.  But since I didn't make the list to be a challenge, only as a way to keep track of the stories and plots that interest me, I won't be disappointed if the TBR list always looks as crazy as it does now.

P.S. (12/10)  I will also eventually link all of those books to their pages.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday #3

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This week's topic is "Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me".

Honestly, if Santa brought me nothing but books this Christmas, I'd be the happiest person in the world.  But I'll only include the top ten that I really, really want right now.

The Christmas Wish List

  1. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  2. Arranged: A Novel by Catherine Mackenzie
  3. A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones
  4. Georgette Heyer novels (Yes, I'm cheating here but I love everything she's written!)
  5. A Kiss in Time by Alex Finn
  6. Abandon by Meg Cabot
  7. Reckless by Cornelia Funke
  8. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  9. Promised by Caragh O'Brien
  10. The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel by Jasper Fforde


Monday, December 3, 2012

The Reading List

At the start of 2012, I made a reading list for myself that consisted of over 175 books, a list I planned on completing within two years on top off all the other books and series I already had in my TBR pile.  Needless to say, I didn't get very far at all.  As a matter of fact, I barely scratched the surface.  And now, thanks to lots of other blogs I've discovered through The Broke and Bookish, my list has grown even longer.  After reading some of my fellow book-bloggers' most-anticipated books for 2013, I realized that there were a lot of books and series out there that I've been missing out on, and so my book list has grown from over 175 books to over 275.

But looking back at my original reading list, I think I can see just why I never had the motivation to attack that reading list.  I fully admit that part of it had to do with us getting satellite TV, and I got hooked on lots of new shows.  But the other reason is the books themselves.  At least half of the books I'd included were books I really had no interest in, except that I thought they'd be good for a series of posts about books versus their movie adaptations.  Since there was no real desire, nothing drawing me to those books, I never bothered to try them.  So I've decided to organize and even weed out my original list, removing the books I know I will never read and organizing the rest by interest and priority.  Hopefully my TBR list will no longer look quite as daunting, but I doubt it.  Within the next couple of days, I plan to post my list here, labeled "Reading Goals: 2013".  Or perhaps it would be better to leave it open-ended and just add and subtract as I go.