Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What I'm Reading - End of October 2013

With the move this month, I didn't know if I would be able to get in any more reads before November came. But, I made a rather uncharacteristic choice try and help me out there. Instead of trying to cram in a few books that were close to expiring from the library, I skipped ahead and went to read the book that had the longest time to expire. This totally worked out as I wasn't pressed for time in reading the book of choice, and as it happens two HUGE titles came up available in my hold queue. That totally made it feel like I made the right decision.  Go me!

Finished Reading

Curse of the Bane
by Joseph Delaney
Book Two in The Last Apprentice / The Wardstone Chronicles

Although I finished Curse of the Bane this week, I was surpized to realize well into the book that I had...already read it.  Yep.  And I totally forgot that I had, and I have a comprehensive tracking system but  somehow this one slipped through the cracks.  The good news is, I still really enjoyed it and I especially enjoyed the one part I remembered!  I fell for the series hard and fast, and am continuing to enjoy it (save forgetting I already read this book).  The Wardstone Chronicles follow Thomas, a the seventh son of a seventh son who is in training to be a Spook, a person not terribly accepted by society but one who deals with dark entities, spirits, ghasts, etc.  This second book in the series furthers the apprenticing and keeps a nice mystery going as well as lots of dangerous adventuring and challenging decisions, especially around Tom's precarious friendship with the young witch Alice. I definitely will keep reading the series.

by Veronica Roth
Book Two in the Divergent Series

This is the second book in the Divengent series which is set in a dystopic society where people live in separate factions based on different philosophies, and the idea of having leanings to more than one faction is dangerous. I loved the idea of Divergent and I enjoyed a fair amount of the book, but I will admit that I'm pressing on this series mostly because it's being adapted into a film rather than strictly liking it. And seeing as I've been half-way through Insurgent for months doesn't bode too well, I finally decided to push through and finish it as the third book in the series, Allegiant, came out last week.

My main struggle with the series so far is not being able to understand the motivations of the main character Tris, which does become clearer in Insurgent but still couldn't quite connect to her.  I also find that even though it appears that Tris is the protagonist, she isn't particularly driven or action oriented for a lot of the book.  Things seem to just happen around Tris, and I wished she would be more engaged.  Although this inaction is explained, but I just wasn't digging it.  By the end of the book though, I did start to come around but I also had that weird experience where I started to now 'see' the characters by who they are being portrayed by in the film Divergent. Ack! Ah, well. I will keep reading as I already have Allegiant out of the library, and hope they this one pulls me back in to enjoying the series.

Harlequin Exploration Continues

Falcon's Run
by Aimée Thurlo
Copper Canyon Miniseries

I'm continuing my exploration of the different types of Harlequins and this time I dove into the Harlequin Intrigue world where the stories are of suspense and fight for survival. That's not a super-Shannon kind of vibe, but I want to try them all and picked Falcon's Run which had a bit of a on-a-ranch feel which I can dig. The story opens with a murder, and I knew it would be an uphill battle on the enjoyment train for me. I will give it props for good main characters, and that the protagonists here were very different than the other Harlequins I've read but still are accessible and interesting. The focus of the book is strongly driven around solving the mysteries of the murder, and therefore I felt it was less emotional. Or, at least I connected to it less emotionally that I'd like to for a romance. I suspect that the Intrigue books aren't quite for me, although I may try them again after dipping in the other sets. I might keep it light and try some of the novellas next.

Side note: Harlequin recently revamped their website and I'm loving the changes. It's so much easier to find specific titles and see more by specific authors.

On the Horizon

by Veronica Roth
Book Three in the Divergent Series

I'm very excited that by requesting Allegiant before it was even released, I ended up being able to get this out of the library very quickly. Here is hoping that I'll enjoy it more than Insurgent (see review above). I think it's just going to be a trilogy, but with YA these days it feels like everything keeps going on and on and on. Since I'm digging completion these days, I'm hoping we'll get a great trilogy that sums up by the end of this book.

by Lauren Oliver
Book One of the Delirium Series

I have been on the wait list for Delirium for what feels like forever! I hope it is worth the wait. It's been so long since I requested it, but I think it's in the YA / Paranormal Romance realm. And it is a series, one of at least 3. Hopefully I'm in for a happy surprize!

That's how my October reading finished off! I'm really happy that even with the move I managed to get a pretty impressive amount of books read this month. I might even make my GoodReads goal of 37 books this year (I'm currently at 20).  I didn't get to any scary books for the creepy month of October (I didn't even realize people did that), but I did enjoy what I read. As much as I love meeting goals, I keep reminding myself that *enjoying* reading is the most important thing. So, happy reading!

As always, feel free to friend me on GoodReads!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Move Is Almost Here

I don't think I've ever started as early as I did for this move, and I tell you going at a turtle pace has been much less stressful. It's really paid off, so much so that I actually think I won't be up all night. I mean, when you are down to packing shoes and garbage pails, it's really getting down to it. I can't pack up the kitchen box though, I need to make at least 1 more tea. Although, how I'm sneaking in this blog post I have no idea.

Back at it I go. It will feel really real when I take apart the computer and TV stuff. But I can't do that quite just yet.

Fingers crossed the transition goes smoothly! Of course we all know the *very* last thing to pack:

Don't worry, I have an actual carrier for him :)

Monday, October 07, 2013

A to Z Book Survey ~ Meme Goodness

I can't remember the last time I did a meme!  I love memes, and since I've been feeling very bookish recently I thought why not do this awesome A to Z one that I found over at The Bluestocking Society.  Apparently it started over at Perpetual Page Turner (pretty awesome site! and totally new to me).

I actually wrote this one up a few days ago, but hanged back a bit with the feeling that my answers weren't "interesting" enough, but then I realized not posting it because of that was sillier than posting it.  Not that I have any problem being silly!  Anyhow, silly or not here are my answers....

A uthor you’ve read the most books from: Oh my. Starting with a stumper. Likely Jennifer Roberson for The Chronicles of the Cheysuli and Sword Dancer series. That's from my early days of reading, I don't think there is anyone recent who can top 14.

B est Sequel Ever: New Moon. It's still my favourite of the Twilight series.

C urrently Reading: The Sea by John Banville, Insurgent by Veronica Roth and Falcon's Run by Aimee Thurio.

D rink of Choice While Reading: Tea.

E -reader or Physical Book? I'm a newly avid Kobo reader, although I do love physical books as well.

F ictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School: Totally stumped by this question.

G lad You Gave This Book A Chance: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

H idden Gem Book: Sea Change by Aimee Friedman.

I mportant Moment in your Reading Life: Twilight got me back into reading after a 10-year hiatus, so that's huge. Creating the Book to Film Club was also an extremely powerful, enlightening and challenging experience.

J ust Finished: Copper Lake Encounter by Marilyn Pappano.

K inds of Books You Won’t Read: Crime. I'm not interested in the active act or harming other people. Ever.

L ongest Book You’ve Read: I'm not 100% sure, but I can't imagine anything could rival Stephen King's It which I read when I was a kid.

M ajor book hangover because of: I don't understand this one, if it's like needed recovery from binge-reading than ...uh, I haven't been affected by that.

N umber of Bookcases You Own: 5. Two of the large ones are for movies, and the other three are books and journals.  All of them are currently disassembled for the move.

O ne Book You Have Read Multiple Times: Sword Dancer by Jennifer Roberson.

P referred Place To Read: It doesn't exist anymore, but the pink chair was definitely the best place.

Q uote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: I don't collect quotes from books, except maybe non-fiction ones as source of inspiration but I don't have anything handy. Do people really remember stuff like that?

R eading Regret: Listening to Animal Farm by George Orwell in audio book form. Oh wow. I will never do that again. I want to envision the characters, not hear one possible version of them. Especially if they are animals.

S eries You Started and Need to Finish (all books are out in series): Too many! According to my spreadsheet (yes, I have a spreadsheet) I have 20 series I'm currently in the middle of. The ones I actually intend on finishing are Lorien Legacies, The Selection, Darkness Rising, The Mortal Instruments, The Wardstone Chronicles and the Sleepless Trilogy.

T hree of your All-Time Favorite Books: Daughter of the Lion by Jennifer Roberson, Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K.Rowling.

U napologetic Fangirl For: Twilight (specifically Twilight and New Moon).

V ery Excited for This Release More Than All the Others: I don't track upcoming releases that closely, so I'm pretty happy with enjoying things that are already available.

W orst Bookish Habit: Requesting more books than I can read from the library.

X Marks The Spot (start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book): I *just* finished backing my books! But the 27th title on my Kobo is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.

Y our latest book purchase: The Grandmothers by Doris Lessing.

Z ZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): To Sin with a Viking by Michelle Willingham.


Want to play along? Here is a blank sheet for you to copy/paste :)

A uthor you’ve read the most books from:

B est Sequel Ever:

C urrently Reading:

D rink of Choice While Reading:

E -reader or Physical Book?

F ictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School:

G lad You Gave This Book A Chance:

H idden Gem Book:

I mportant Moment in your Reading Life:

J ust Finished:

K inds of Books You Won’t Read:

L ongest Book You’ve Read:

M ajor book hangover because of:

N umber of Bookcases You Own:

O ne Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

P referred Place To Read:

Q uote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

R eading Regret:

S eries You Started and Need to Finish (all books are out in series):

T hree of your All-Time Favorite Books:

U napologetic Fangirl For:

V ery Excited for This Release More Than All the Others:

W orst Bookish Habit:

X Marks The Spot (start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book):

Y our latest book purchase:

Z ZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Thursday, October 03, 2013

What I'm Reading ~ October 2013

I've spent a fair amount of time recently, and decided to squeak out one reading update before the move. Although I keep romanticizing the idea that I'll take mini breaks from packing to read here and there, I'm doubtful that will actually happen. Especially as I'm more likely to chair-and-stair between boxes. So let's see what I've been reading recently and leave what will happen to the future.  I've been on quite the YA and Harlequin kick as of late, which lead to many hours of enjoyable reading.

Recently Released

Women in Bed: Nine Stories

Published The Story Plant on October 1, 2013

I knew instantly that I wanted to Women in Bed: Nine Stories, from the description of the book in the first email newsletter I received from Net Galley: "...nine stories that thematically address variations of love, love of self, family, and sexual relationships. From loneliness and isolation, desperation and rejection to need and passion, forgiveness and, finally, to love found." I was drawn to the book with my curiosity piqued on what the stories would be like. So I read it. And I loved it. I loved how each story had an unique character whose emotions were so real and raw. It featured women whose motivations weren't easy to pin down, who had layers of complexity to them and a refreshing realness. Reading the stories was an emotional roller coaster, with tales of love that swooped and swelled while others of loneliness and detachment held grace with the unforgiving and uncomfortable reality of emotional plateau. I appreciated this book on so many levels. It is very powerful and gutsy; sharing both the dark and the light of true emotions with equal honesty. I highly recommend checking it out. 5 of out 5 stars.

Finished Reading

The Power of Six
by Pittacus Lore
Book Two of the Lorien Legacies

I slid easily back into the world of the Lorien Legacies. For the uninitiated, it's a science fiction version or Earth where 9 alien children with protectors have been sent in secret to be the legacy of their world which is on the brink of destruction. The first book in the series, I Am Number Four, was adapted into a film in 2011. I really enjoy seeing what had happened to the characters from the first book, as well as being introduced to new characters on similar but different journeys. One of the reasons I really enjoy this series is that it's one of the few books where I see the action (fights,  confrontations, abilities) happening, and quite vividly in all their science fiction glory. This is such a treat! Often in books I just skim over action-centric scenes because I don't *see* them. But here I do. We get to see more perspectives from different people, and more of the conspiracy theory stuff which was really cool. Overall, it was very well rounded and I was thrilled to get back into the story, even though it had been a while since I read the first book.  I will definitely continue reading the series.

The Selection
by Kiera Cass
Book One of The Selection

If I simply relay the plot that centres the story of The Selection, I bet I'll get a few raised eyebrows that I was even interested or read the book.  In the book we follow "The Selection", which is the search for a bride for the Prince of a class-sentric society.  That feels very backwards thinking to me, but I got pulled into the story rather quickly as it follows a lower-class girl who doesn't spare a second thought that she'd get picked to participate. To clarify, the book hit my radar early last year when it was announced during pilot season for TV and being and adaptation nut I thought I would give it a go even though the series isn't going ahead after 2 years of pilot attempts. Out of all of those surprizes, there is one more big surprize: I *loved* the book. Loved it. It's much more sensitive and nuanced than I expected, strongly focuses on the emotions of the characters and I eagerly raced through reading it. I'm trying not to think about the series as a whole too much, because I know I'll keep reading but I don't want to figure it out before it unfolds.  I'm thrilled that the second book is already available at the library, it's going to be fun to dive back into the world so soon.

Harlequin Exploration Continues

It's been fun to keep reading though even more Harlequins. The two I read recently were Dark Wolf Rising by Rhyannin Byrd from Harlequin Nocturne and Copper Lake Encounter by Marilyn Pappano from Harlequin Romantic Suspense.

 I've read a few of the Nocturnes already, and I'm definitely drawn to their paranormally-inclined stories, but the setting of Dark Wolf Rising ran a little too dark for my tastes. I enjoyed the main characters and the paranormal angle (which involved werewolves and therefore equals awesome), but the larger stories included rival werewolf groups and the 'other' group ran a strip club, and had various references to crime related and unsavory activity, which crept in throughout the story. That doesn't really work for me; crime stuff feels to real and pops the bubble of escapism I like in these books. I may still check out some of the other stories in this mini-verse though as I did like one of the the communities, but not sure hey won't have the 'bad' people as well.

On the flip side to things, I got back to reading Copper Lake Encounter which was my first foray into Harlequin Romantic Suspense and technically was the first Harlequin of this exploration as I started it back in August. This one has a cop as one of the protagonists, but oddly didn't have that crime feeling to it at all but rather a 'do the right thing' feel. Although I enjoyed the romance in this one, it was the personal story that really got me as it follows a woman who is drawn to a town by seeing it in dreams.  That's totally up my alley! I found her journey very powerful, and would totally love to read more books in this setting. I think I'm going to keep trying books from the different series, because so far I've had happy surprizes from going outside the normal bounds of what I'd try.

Currently Reading

by Veronica Roth
Book Two in the Divergent Series

I'm still reading Insurgent, but I'm having a hard time getting through it. I want to have it done by the time the third book in this series comes out later in October, but I have to admit I am not getting much from this story. I don't understand the motivations of the main character, plus everyone seems to be in love with the guy in the book and I don't get him at all. I mean... at all. Although I appreciate the unusually setting and the idea of the segregated by philosophies society, I don't believe people really are that so 1-dimensional. I felt differently about that when I thought this was set in another world, but now knowing it's like a post-apocalyptic Chicago and therefore everyone is human, I'm not buying it. I know I should probably just stop, but the completist in me won't let me stop reading!

On the Horizon

The Sea
by John Banville

After being absorbed in the worlds of YA and Harlequins, I think I'm ready to step into a straight-up fiction novel. There are so many to choose from, but I think I'll go with The Sea by John Banville as I was completely captivated by the trailer for the film adaptation that surfaced last month. It had a haunting feel of deep secrets and real human drama. Here's hoping it's a good one.

I also want to take a moment to celebrate as I've now officially read more books this year than I did in all of 2012! I'm so happy about this as I really love reading, and although I've have had a few stumbles with bringing myself back to habit I think I've got it now.  I have a good rhythm with my requesting titles at the library for eBooks and reading via my Kobo, it's all starting to gel again.

Of course I say that now, but who knows how much reading I will get to through the month of October as I'm moving.  Here is hoping it will be a nice reprieve between packing boxes. You never know!

Happy Reading!

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