Friday, January 30, 2009

Guess what? I've been "Tink Approved" !

I feel honored!! Lady Tink has been spreading the "fairy dust" again....and I am one of the lucky bloggers to receive her stamp of approval. Now, I'm blushing!! Of course, I'm a huge Disney fan (and I HEART Tinkerbell), so this is especially nice.

Over the past month or so, I have received a couple of "Blogging Awards". I hope you don't feel slighted that I haven't mentioned them. Honestly, I am so very appreciative of all of them. I just keep forgetting to mention them!!

Kathrin from Cozy Murders (It's All About Books) along with Iliana from Bookgirl's Nightstand, and Melody from Melody's Reading Corner awarded me the Premio Dardus Award. Author Kaza Kingsley at The Memory Mogul awarded me the Butterfly Award (and so did Iliana!!). And Carrie at Books and Movies awarded me a Kreativ Blogger Award. So....THANK YOU!! It means alot to me just that you read my blog. But throwing me an award makes it even better!! I'm just sorry I haven't posted sooner. I'm doing the lazy thing and not passing them on. Sorry. I figure I'm a little late in the game for it.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Fantasy Tale Full of Magic and Faeries!

After reading many wonderful reviews of the Fablehaven series, I decided it was time for me to give it a go. So I picked up Book 1, Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (368 pgs, Aladdin, 2007). It is my first selection for the 2009 YA Reading Challenge.

Kendra stared out the side window of the SUV, watching foliage blur past. When the flurry of motion became too much, she looked up ahead and fixed her gaze on a particular tree, following it as it slowly approached, streaked past, and then gradually receded behind her. Was life like that? You could look ahead to the future or back to the past, but the present moved too quickly to absorb.

Because an accident occurred in their family, Kendra and Seth's parents were forced to go on a cruise with relatives. This didn't leave a lot of options for the kids. They were going to have to spend 2 weeks with their Grandpa and Grandma Sorenson at their estate in Connecticut. The kids have never been very close to their grandparents because they were rather reclusive. In fact, they had never even been to their estate before. And neither of the children were looking forward to the visit.

But when they arrived, the estate was beautiful and a huge bedroom/playroom in the attic had been designated just for the kids. Grandma Sorenson was out of town visiting a sick relative, but Grandpa Sorenson was there to watch them. He gave them some specific rules to follow, and forbade them to go into the woods.

Apparently Seth was not one for following the rules, though, and at the first opportunity snuck out into the woods to see if he could find an adventure. What he found was a little more than he bargained for.

The Soreneson's were caretakers for a Magical preserve called Fablehaven. It was inhabited by mythical and magical creatures, both light and dark. Ancient laws kept order among the residents, including faeries, imps, satyrs, trolls and even a witch that was held captive under a spell. But Seth's impulsiveness got the better of him, and on Midsummer Night's Eve he caused the forces of evil to be unleashed and his Grandfather was taken captive. Can the children make things right, and bring back their Grandfather??

I'm not sure what I expected from this book. The storyline is very unique, and I loved the descriptions of all the magical creatures, especially the faeries. But I really think my expectations were too high, because I just didn't love this book. Maybe it's the mother in me, but I was extremely annoyed with Seth's lack of respect for the rules. I realize that he is at that age -- 11 -- and boys will be boys. I HAVE a boy that age, so I know. But he just kept getting into crisis after crisis. And didn't learn until too late that his actions would have deadly consequences.

The writing was a bit stilted, but by the end Mull had pulled it off. He did create a wonderful world in Fablehaven. He also left the reader with the knowledge that more is coming. A secret society is bent of destroying the preserve, and I'm sure that is where the series is going to go. All things considered, I think I will definitely read on and see what lies in store for Kendra and Seth in future books. I'm hoping that I will enjoy the next book just a little more. I do think the younger fantasy reader will really like this series. I'm going to pass it on to my boy and see what he thinks!! 3.75/5

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Sunday Salon - Life for the Challenged.....

The Sunday Salon.comSince this is a Sunday Salon post, I'm going to fore go what I was actually going to post about's challenges....and just stick with reading challenges. It's less depressing, you know?? I mean....when did life get so hard?? I can remember being little and wanting to be grown up so badly. I couldn't wait to be an adult. Now....all I can think about is why?? Life was so much easier when all I had to worry about was homework, friends, and boys. I know it was dramatic at the time, but it pales in comparison to jobs, kids, mortgages and layoffs!!

Enough with the depressing stuff. Let's talk about books!! I have a couple more challenges that I am going to sign up for.

I didn't join this challenge last year, but I just couldn't help myself this year. Some things are just too good to pass up. The 2009 Orbis Terrarum Challenge hosted by Bethany at B & b Libris is set to start on March 1. It runs until the end of the year (10 months), and this year has it's own blog. Besides the main challenge, there are going to be a few mini-challenges and even a bookswap of favorite reads!! The rules are:

1. Each reader chooses 10 books (for the ten months).
2. Each book must be from a different country (country of author)
3. You don't have to have a list.

Basically, 10 books from 10 different authors from 10 different countries.

I have a tentative list (but I always reserve the right to change my mind!)

  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
  • A Dry White Season by Andre Brink (South Africa)
  • War Trash by Ha Jin (China)
  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami OR Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (Japan)
  • The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar (India)
  • The Secret River by Kate Grenville (Australia)
  • The Bone People by Keri Hulme (New Zealand)
  • The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara (Argentina)
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)
  • Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (Norway)
  • Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko (Russia)
  • Snow by Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)

Some challenges are just too easy. I read a lot of Young Adult Fiction. And there are a lot of books I'd like to read this year. So, I joined the 2009 YA challenge last month. I just never created a list. Hosted by J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog , this challenge runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of 2009. Basically, it's a book a month. 12 books will complete the challenge.

My (tentative) List:

  • Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
  • Hunted: A House of Night Novel (Book 5) by PC Cast and Kristin Cast
  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle by L. J. Smith
  • Midnight Alley: Morganville Vampires (Book 3) by Rachel Caine
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Paper Towns by John Green
  • The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Finally, I love lists. I love to read lists. I love to make lists. (I don't always FINISH my lists, but so be it!) For that reason, I'm joining the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels perpetual Challenge. Every time I see the Modern Library "Lists", I always say, "I have to read all those books someday". So I thought I'd join in the challenge. It's perpetual. No time limit. The Challenge is hosted by Sharon from Ex Libris.


In reading news, I am just finishing up Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. Not sure I liked it as well as some other reviews I've read....but I'm not done yet!! I also just started an ARC of Lisa Jackson's newest book, Wicked Game. Who knows where I will go after that!

Happy Sunday (a little late) and Happy Reading!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Weekly Geeks....The Classics Edition

Somehow, I missed Weekly Geeks last week. Dang. Oh, well. I'm here this week, and I'm a big fan of the Classics.

In the third Weekly Geeks of 2009, let's have fun with the classics. For our purposes, I'm defining a classic as anything written over 100 years ago and still in print.
How do you feel about classic literature? Are you intimidated by it? Love it? Not sure because you never actually tried it? Don't get why anyone reads anything else? Which classics, if any, have you truly loved? Which would you recommend for someone who has very little experience reading older books?

I used to be intimidated by The Classics. I don't know why either. I guess maybe it was all so unfamiliar. The language, the customs, the times. Just not anything I thought I could get used to....but I was wrong.

One day (before I joined a "Classics" Book Club), I decided I was reading too much garbage. So I went on a Classics Kick. The first book I picked up was the Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. What a fantastic book!! Witty and fun...full of adventure. Everything a book should be.

My favorite classics are all tales of adventure: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo to name just two. Both are huge tomes, but such wonderful stories!!

I've never been a big Romance reader, but I did love Jane Erye by Charlotte Bronte and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. And I thought Persuasion by Jane Austin was fantastic as well.

One final Classic.....another one that I consider a favorite....The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Timeless tale, full of wit and adventure. Creepy to boot. Can't go wrong!

A few I've hated.....anything by Henry James and Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence....YUK! But those are all personal opinions. To each his own, right?

Happy Weekly Geeking!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Amazing Novel About Guilt and Grief.....

When I was contacted by author Diana Spechler to review her book Who By Fire (368 pgs, Harper Perennial, 2008), I was flattered. I was also a little hesitant. I always feel a certain amount of pressure to like a book, knowing it was sent by the author, herself. But there was no need to worry when reading this book. Diana Spechler's debut novel is fantastic! I can only hope she keeps writing!

from the Prologue:
After Alena disappeared, my mother was brimming with blame. She blamed the state police for not making enough of an effort. She blamed other families for not understanding. If my father sat down to watch TV, she would say, "You think your daughter has the luxury of watching television?" She started grinding her teeth so hard, she had to wear a mouth guard. For a year, she dragged Ash and me all over New Jersey, making us tape up fliers to telephone poles, as if we had lost her favorite cat. She never directly blamed us, her two remaining children, but she ofter began a thought with, "If it had been you instead of Alena...." Of course, she always followed that up with "Don't give me that look. I never said I wished it had been you. God forbid. What do you take me for?" But we have always understood: Alena was the baby. Alena was the favorite. Six-year-old Alena, with the paint-brush black hair and the chin dimple and the jeans rolled halfway up her calves, Alena imitating our eighty-four-year-old neighbor's smoker voice, Alena whizzing through the kitchen on roller skates with pink wheels -- Alena was the irreplaceable one.

Thirteen years after six-year-old Alena was kidnapped, the Kellerman family is still feeling the affects. Bits, the older sister, uses sex and men to try to fill the void in her soul caused by her sister's disappearance. Ash, the older brother, left college his freshman year to travel to Israel. His void is filled with religion. He has moved to a yeshiva to become an Orthodox Jew. And Ellie, the mother, spends her days trying to rescue her remaining children.

Ash has cut himself off from the rest of his family. Feeling more guilt than the others, he thinks the only way he can atone for his past "sins" is to live the Orthodox lifestyle. Ellie and Bits thinks he's gone and joined a cult. But when Alena's body is recovered after all these years, it's up to Bits to try and bring Ash home. Bits, the girl that can't even take care of herself.

This novel is about love and loss; grief and guilt. It is about broken people and their need to try to "fix" the other. Each person has handled this horrible tragedy in his own way and each to an extreme. Diana Spechler has created some intensely flawed characters and brought them to life. With each mistake made, the reader draws closer to the characters. They are extremely human and very well written.

Hard to read at times, Who by Fire is an excellent debut from a very talented writer. Although I spent a lot of time wanting to shake these people, I fell in love with the Kellermans. Especially Bits. Having lost a sibling myself, I could so totally relate to her that at times it was scary. This is a highly recommended read for everyone that loves a book with an intensely character-driven plot. This book deserves to be read. 4.5/5

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Wow. This is my first ever Mailbox Monday. These "lean" economic times have forced me to I've barely purchased any books in the last year. But in December I won a couple of books, which I received in the last couple of weeks that I want to make note of. First was Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs!! Yeah, I won it from Zeke at The Way I See It. I'm totally psyched about this! It is Book 3 in the Mercedes Thompson series and I have been dying to read it! The other book is Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst. I won it from Nicole at A Blog of Books. Thanks Zeke and Nicole!!

This week I also received a couple of ARC's in the mail. I'm really looking forward to both of them. The first is Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum. Baum was a reporter for The New Yorker. He is writing about nine characters in New Orleans and how the city has changed from the years between Hurricane Betsy in the 60's and Katrina. It looks really good and I can't wait to read it!

The second ARC is called Starfinder by John Marco. John contacted me late last year and asked if I would be interested in reviewing his new YA fantasy book called Starfinder. It's release date isn't until May, and I feel really honored to have a chance to read it first!!

Lastly, I went to a book sale yesterday. It is to benefit the Lakeview Museum. I came away with 6 books and about 12 books for the kids for only $12!! I got 4 hardback books: Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell, Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde, Charmed Thirds by Megan McCaffrey and Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen. I also got two really nice paperback copies of the first 2 books in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time Series: The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt.

Hopefully, I will get a chance to start reading some of these great books soon!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Genocide for the Sake of Oil...

Finally!!! A Book Review!! Can you tell it's been a slow reading month for me? The month is half over and I'm just now getting to my first review. Of course, I could have/should have posted this last week. Eclipse by Richard North Patterson (384 pgs, Henry Holt & Co, 2009) is a book I selected through the Amazon Vine program. I choose this book because I've read a lot of Patterson's thrillers and have always liked them. This one is no exception. I am using this as a selection for the 2009 ARC Reading Challenge and The Pub '09 Challenge.

In a West African village, Marissa Brand Okari watched her husband prepare to risk his life for the act of speaking out.

Damon Pierce knew Marissa Brand in college. Although their time together was brief, he fell hopelessly in love with her. But Marissa wanted other things in life. Most importantly, she wanted to make a difference in the world. And that is why she left the country to marry Bobby Okari, a novelist and activist from the (fictional) country of Luandia, located in Western Africa.

Through the years, Damon and Marissa kept in touch, and on the night his divorce was final, Damon emailed her to vent a little about his life. But when he received a reply, he had no idea what was in store for him. "Seven nights ago, Marisa began, "I saw the corpses of three oil workers hanging from a tree."

Because rallies and gatherings had been outlawed during the nighttime hours in Luandia, Bobby Okari made the decision to hold a massive protest rally at the moment of the solar eclipse. The peaceful Asari tribe, under the leadership of Okari, was to protest the country's involvement with PetroGlobal oil, a US firm that drilled in the petroleum-rich country. The riches that oil brings to a country had not reached the Asari's. They were poor, and things were getting worse. The oil drilling had destroyed many of the natural resources the Asari's needed to survive. And Bobby Okari was a very vocal activist.

But General Savior Karama, the country's dictator, was none to happy with Okari. And as the protest began, the military came storming into the village and slaughtered every man, woman and child except for the Okari's. Bobby was arrested for the murder of the three oil men, and Marissa was left alone.

Because Damon was an international litigator who had successfully convicted war criminals during Kosavo, he was in the position to help the Okaris. Because he was still in love with Marissa, he vowed to do what he could to help defend Bobby, even though it would put his own life in jeopardy.

Patterson has created a very realistic and depressing scenario with Luandia and PetroGlobal Oil. He is a very gifted storyteller, although far from unbiased on the topic. There is a very intricately weaved plot that includes not only a dictator, a rogue military colonel, a US firm that has turned a blind eye on a rapidly escalating problem in Luandia, but also American investors in oil futures.

In today's world, the characters are very believable. Okari sees himself as the next Nelson Mandela, but he is risking not only his life, but that of his wife's and friends in the process. One of the many questions that come up is it worth risking your life for something you believe in? And is it worth risking your loved ones as well?

Pierce is smart. And he works to unravel the mystery of what really happened to the three oil men. Some of the best parts of the book are Damon's cross-examinations of witnesses. You can see the sheer unfairness of the allegations, and the hand of a cruel dictator. But because Karama controls the oil, he is given a free hand to rule as he wishes, regardless of the human rights violations that are being perpetrated on a daily basis.

At times cynical and depressing, Eclipse is a well-written indictment of the US involvement in oil-bearing countries. The farther you read, you can tell there is no way a happy ending will be in store for the Okari's. But heartbreaking as it may be, Eclipse is a suburb thriller. Fast-paced and a real page-turner, you want to read faster just to know the fate of Bobby Okari. The only negative I see is that a few of the underlying causes go unresolved. But I think that is Patterson's way of saying this is what happens in real life. Nothing is cut and dried. And life isn't fair. Get used to it. Do I recommend the book? Yes, definitely, but be prepared for a lot of politics and some scenes that are really hard to take. Eclipse is the type of book that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned. 4.5/5

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blogger Love.....

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my fellow bloggers?? I know I have...but today I have a well-deserved shout out. I was going to post a book review, but I thought this was more important.

I posted after Christmas that I was a little disappointed that I didn't get any books. That was just me being a little whiny after reading about all the wonderful books everyone had received. Bygones. But today, I'm leaving my house, and there is an Amazon package by my front door. Well, I knew I didn't order anything, so I thought maybe they delivered something for my in-laws by mistake. They live on the same street and it's happened before. But no....this addressed to me.

So, I open it up and there is John Green's Paper Towns....a book I have been coveting for a while now. And a note from Debi. "Hi Stephanie. Just couldn't stand the thought that you got no books for Christmas, so I just had to get you this. Hope you enjoy it! A very belated Merry Christmas, Debi."

I have to tell you, it made me cry. AND to top it all off, it arrived on my birthday!! Really, there aren't enough words to describe how much I appreciate this gesture. So Debi, THANK YOU!! You are truly one of the most special people I have met.

I love you guys!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's Back!!! Weekly Geeks - Feel the Love

Yeah!! Weekly Geeks is back, and with a dedicated blog! I think this is a wonderful way to honor Dewey....continuing on with something she started.

In the spirit of the amazing community building that Dewey was so good at, tell us about your favorite blogs, the ones you have bookmarked or subscribe to in your Google Reader, that you visit on a regular basis. Tell us what it is about these blogs that you love, that inspire or educate you or make you laugh. Be sure to link to them so we can find them too.

Sounds easy, doesn't it?? Of course, there are over 90 blogs in my sidebar that I read on a regular basis. And I know there are more that I need to add. It makes it excruciatingly difficult to actually pick a few blogs to single out. But I'll try:

Kailana from The Written World - I've probably said this before, but Kailana is the reason I started my blog! Out of all the book bloggers out there, she is one of the few that I have known the longest. Her blog is beautiful and is chocked full of great book reviews.

Marg from Reading Adventures - Another blogger that I knew before I started my blog. Marg has a wonderful site full of awesome book reviews. Lots of great Historical Fiction and Romance. A must read blog!

Debi from Nothing of Importance - I think Debi and I were separated at birth, we are that much alike. Debi is a mom to three beautiful kids, and is a complete Challenge Addict!! She has lots of wonderful posts about family, books and reading. Another Must Read Blog!

Tammy from Tammy's Book Nook - Tammy and I met when we were members of The Classics Club. She is smart as a whip, funny as hell...and even though she's a Florida fan, I still love her!! Check out her wonderful book reviews!

Chris from Stuff as Dreams are Made On - Chris is one of the first book bloggers that I "met" when I started this blog. He's like a little brother to me. We share of love of all things fantasy. His blog is full of great book reviews. And to top it all off, he's a really great guy!

Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings - Any book blogger who's been around awhile will know Carl. He is by far the best challenge host I've seen. From the RIP challenge to the Once Upon a Time Challenge, Carl knows how to do things up right. Not only does he post about books....but also art and music. Carl's a one-of-a-kind guy, and if you don't know.....take the time to meet him!!

Nymeth from Things Mean Alot - Nymeth has probably single-handedly increased my TBR pile tenfold. She has a knack for picking out books I've never heard of, and making them sound irresistible!! A prolific reader, Nymeth has one of the best review sites out there!! A Must Read for anyone!

Andi from Tripping Toward Lucidity - Andi is just downright cool. She's a soon-to-be librarian, a writer, a teacher. She interested in a greener planet, politics, books and education. To top it all off, she's smart as hell. One of my favorite bloggers!! more. How about Suey at It's All About Books - Suey has a great blog with lots of super book reviews. And always the American Idol updates!! A Must Read Blog!!

Glad to have Weekly Geeks back!! Later!

Friday, January 9, 2009

On a Completely Unrelated Note......

As a huge football fan, I was anxiously watching the Championship Bowl tonight to see what happened. I hate the BCS. I think it's a crock that the team that SHOULD be considered "the National Champion" is sitting at No. 2. The Utah Utes finished their season with a perfect 12-0 record. This article by John Feinstein of the Washington Post is phenomenal. He breaks it down why Utah should be number one.

"All of us know that in competition anyone -- whether an individual or a team -- who does not lose once is the champion. It's really pretty simple: If no one beats you, then you are the winner. You are No. 1. You go home with the first-place trophy.

The reason to vote for Utah is simple: This is the one and only way you can stand up to the BCS bullies -- the university presidents, commissioners, athletic directors and the TV networks who enable them -- and, to renew a catch phrase, just say no. Say no to this horrible, hypocritical, feed-the-big-boys system. Say no to the idea that fair competition doesn't matter. Say no to all the hype surrounding the power conferences and power teams. To co-opt yet another catch phrase, say yes to change."

The BCS needs to be stopped. Even Division-II football has a 16 team playoff for championship. That's why football is all about. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. And yet, there was NO defeat for Utah. And they are still number 2. The final AP poll was released a few hours ago.....Florida had 48 first place votes; Utah had 16.

So...I'm exercising my right to free speech. GO UTES!! In the hearts of America, you are truly No. 1!!

Now....back to the books!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Sunday Salon - My Year in Reading 2008

The Sunday Hello Sunday Saloners!! I'm hoping that 2009 has started off with a bang for all of you!! Today, I'm doing my "end-of-the-year" wrap-up post. I warn's not as detailed as a lot that you will see. I didn't really take the time to break things down in minute detail, like men authors or new-to-me authors. Maybe I will try that next year. For now, it will just be the basics:

Books Read in 2008: 51

Pages Read in 2008: 18,259

ARC's Read: 7

Fantasy Read: 25 (yep...Half were Fantasy!)

I readily admit I don't read as much as a lot of bloggers out there. There just isn't time. I work 2 jobs and have 3 kids. That being said, I read 2 more books this year than I did last year...and I can honestly say I probably worked twice as many hours as I did last year. All things considered, I think I did pretty good!

My Top 5 Books for 2008:

Honorable Mention:

For me....this was a great year in reading!! I actually finished 4 challenges: Once Upon a Time II, RIP Challenge III, The Pub '08, and the YA Reading Challenge. I still owe a couple of wrap-ups with those...especially before I move on to the thousands of challenges I've going to sign up for this year!!

Reading Goals:

  • Don't push myself. Reading is my escape. I don't want to make it a burden.
  • Read more ARC's. I've been sent a lot already for the beginning of this year and I want to make sure to read them.
  • Read more non-fiction. I ended up reading NOT ONE non-fiction book this year. It's always a challenge for me to read non-fiction because I don't usually like it as well.
  • Read more short stories. The last year or so, I've had a lot of fun with them, and I want to keep it up!!
  • Blog a little more regularly! Again...this is fun for me and I don't want to make it seem like a chore.
  • Finally.....HAVE FUN!!


Right now, I'm reading an ARC of Eclipse by Richard North Patterson. It's about genocide for oil (uh,'s actually a FICTION book) and it's really good so far. Other than that....I'm just trying to ease into this new year. On the off-chance that someone actually buys me a book for my birthday, I'm already putting together a "wish list". It includes Looking for Alaska by John Green, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, and Just After Sunset by Stephen King. Cross your fingers for me!!

2008 is finally in the bag. Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful 2009!!! Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Challenges for the New Year

OK. I admit it. I'm addicted to challenges. Not so much the finishing, because I haven't really done that well in actually finishing the challenges. Nope. I'm addicted to signing up for them!! I told myself last year that I would be good and stop joining them. But one look at A Novel Challenge, and all that went straight out the window! I knew there were a few I would join...I just didn't realize the sheer amount of challenges out there right now!! So here is my official Challenge post. Don't let it fool you.....I'm sure there are a lot more challenges that will end up with my name in a Mr. Linky somewhere!

Dewey's Books Reading Challenge is one that I knew I would join. Hosted by my friend Chris at Stuff Dreams are Made On and Robin at A Fondness for Reading, this challenge seemed like a nice way to honor Dewey, whose loss was felt across the blogging world last month. This challenge has it's own blog, and runs from Jan. 1st through the end of the year. The main point in this challenge is to read books that Dewey read and reviewed. I think the official number is 5 from any year, so we'll run with that option. Here's my list. And just for the record, I reserve the right to change this list!!

  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichu
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
  • Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones
  • Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

There is an extra one on the list, but this is as far as I could make cuts in my original list!!

Since Annie announced this challenge so many months ago, I've been planning on joining. But work and life has kept me from posting a lot, and it just kind of slipped my mind...until now. This is Part II of the What's in a Name? Reading Challenge (I think for part one, I only read 1/2. I'm definitely going to try to finish this one in 2009!)

Beginning January 1st and running through Dec. 31st of 2009, the challenge is to read one book from each of the 6 categories that Annie has chosen. There is a blog also dedicated for this challenge. Cool new categories for the New Year:

A book with a "profession" in its title: The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perotta or The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
A book with a "time of day" in its title: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
A book with a "relative" in its title: American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
A book with a "body part" in its title: Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood or Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
A book with a "building" in its title: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith or House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewsi
A book with a "medical condition" in its title: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (ok...that might be pushing a medical condition. This one was tough!!) or Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

Holy Cow. A NEIL GAIMAN Challenge??? Ok. I can NOT resist that one!! I mean, come on. My newest favorite author?? I've read most of his novels, but this will give me a chance to expand my Gaiman horizons. The Dream King Challenge is hosted by Jessi from Casual Dread. The challenge will run from January 1 to December 31st 2009. There is even a challenge blog! You can choose your level of participation:

Neophyte: Read one work and watch one movie
Acolyte: Read three works (from three different categories) and watch one movie
Devotee: Read six works (from six different categories) and watch one movie
Zealot: Read twelve works (from at least six different categories) and watch one movie

This will be ongoing for me. I'm not setting a reading list. I'd love to hit the Zealot level, but a lot will do with the availability of The Sandman books. I can't afford to buy them we'll see where this leads us.

Next, is the 2009 ARC Reading Challenge. Hosted by the lovely Teddy Rose from So Many Precious Books, So Little Time, this challenge is to read ARC's. And yes, I have a stack to finish right now! The challenge is to read 12, but you have to keep adding the ARC's you receive throughout the year. I have a feeling, I will have way more than 12 to get through before the year is up!!

Here is a partial list right now:

  • Eclipse by Richard North Patterson
  • Wicked Game by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush
  • North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Hedley
  • The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff

The World Citizen Challenge 2009 is hosted by Eva at A Striped Armchair.

"There are a ton of challenges focused on almost every aspect of fiction imaginable, but not very many on non-fiction. So, hopefully all of
those with ‘inner bookworms’ (as Bybee calls it)guilt-tripping you for not reading enough non-fiction will be interested. And, of course, all of you who
love non-fiction should be perking up too! I struggled with what to call this challenge, but I finally decided on World Citizen. That’s because, in this day and age, it’s important for all of us to know something about the world around us"

There are several levels of participation:

The Prospie Level - This is for those of you with no time to read another book, but who still want to do something. There will be a different mini-challenge each month of the challenge, and all you have to do to be a prospie is say you want to participate in at least one of them. There will be prizes!

The Auditor Level - For this level, you just need to declare your interest in the challenge. Anything else you might want to do: the mini-challenges, making a list of potential books, participating in the discussions, etc. is completely up to you. Maybe you want to commit to reading a newspaper or magazine instead of a book-go for it.

The World Citizenship 101 Level - For this level, you need to commit to one book.

The Minor Level - For this level, you need to commit to three books, from at least two different categories (listed on the post about the challenge).

The Major Level - For this level, you need to commit to five books, from at least three different categories.

The Postgraduate Level - For this level, you need to commit to seven books, including one book from each category.

Categories include politics, history, economics, culture or
anthropology/sociology, Worldwide issues, memoirs/autobiographies. My list for this will be sometime this weekend!!

Not so much a challenge as an experience, is Carl's Sci-Fi Experience 2009. It runs for January and February of 2009. No level of commitment or lists needed. Just a chance to enjoy a little science fiction. Personally, there are some short stories I really want to read for this one. Besides, the button is rather righteous, don't you think?? Lots of fun to be had whenever Carl hosts anything!!

That's it for now. There are still a few others I want to join....The Year of Reading Dangerously, The 2009 TBR Challenge, 2009 YA Challenge, The Diversity Rocks Challenge, Graphic Novels Challenge and the Orbis Terrarum 2009 Challenge. I'm just saving them for another post!!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

From Me to You.....I hope 2009 is a wonderful year!!