Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I want to wish all of you a safe and happy new year!

I am having a quiet New Year's Eve and I plan to just read, relax, and maybe watch a movie. Tomorrow I will be posting my reading and blogging resolutions for 2011. I am also working on my "best of 2010" lists and planning my blogoversary giveaway. It is hard to believe that I've been blogging for nearly a year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 Historical Fiction Challenge

This year the Historical Fiction Challenge is being hosted by Historical Tapestry.

The challenge will run from January 1-December 31, 2011. Each month there will be a different post to link your reviews.

There are five levels to choose from:

1. Severe Bookaholism: 20 books

2. Undoubtedly Obsessed: 15 books

3. Struggling the Addiction: 10 books

4. Daring and Curious: 5 books

5. Out of My Comfort Zone: 2 books

I am going to aim for level 2 and try to read 15 historical fiction books. Last year I read more than 20 historical fiction books so this will hopefully be a goal I can reach! To find out more and sign up, visit Historical Tapestry.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review: Girl in Translation

Girl in Translation
By Jean Kwok
Publication date: April 2010

My review:

When Kimberly Chang and her mother immigrate to New York to live with her aunt Paula, they are certain that their lives are about to get better. What they find instead is a harsh life working and living in miserable conditions and a bewildering culture where they don't fit in. Aunt Paula although she is well off, does not feel that she owes her younger sister anything. It is up to Kim to save her mom and herself. 

Kimberly is an admirable character. She shows a lot of inner strength, even though it takes some time for her to develop the courage to stand up to her aunt. Her journey from frightened young girl to a brave young woman is inspirational. Kimberly's mother's determination to provide for her daughter is also touching even though she lets her older sister Paula walk all over them. The descriptions of their life in the squalid apartment and work in the sweatshop are hard to read about and it is sad that Kimberly has to live two lives.

There were times when I found it a little unbelievable that no one else did anything about their horrific living situation. While Kimberly is a well developed character I thought Aunt Paula was rather one dimensional as the "villain" of the novel. I also thought the story lost some of its poignancy as Kimberly became a teenager and the pacing suffers towards the end. Overall however I found Girl in Translation to be a moving and uplifting story and it is one of my favorite reads of 2010. It would appeal to fans of Lisa See and it would make a good book club pick.

Readalikes: Lisa See, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 Page to Screen Reading Challenge

After all the fun I had with participating in reading challenges, I have decided to host my own for 2011! I love watching movies that are based on books and I've even decided to read books after seeing movie trailers that looked promising like The Lord of the Rings and Atonement.

I decided to hold The Page to Screen Reading Challenge to encourage people to read books and watch movies that are based on books.  


  • One participant will win their choice of book worth up to $15 from or The Book Depository (for international participants in countries that Book Depository ships to). 
  • Participants must reach reading level one (5 books) by December 31, 2011  to be entered in the drawing.
  • Reviews are not required but each review you post will give you an extra entry. So be sure to link your reviews!


  • Read books that were made into movies or T.V. shows
  • Books must be read between January 1-December 31, 2011
  • Rereads count!
  • You can also watch the movies/T.V. shows as part of the challenge but it is not a requirement
  • If you watch T.V. shows, you should watch 2 hours of the show to be equal to one movie
  • Books that are currently being made into movies also count as long as the movie will be released sometime in 2011
  • Make a post about the challenge using my challenge logo and link your post below to sign up 
  • As stated above, reviews of the books/movies you watch/read are not required but they count as extra prize entries!
  • Make a wrap up post at the end of the challenge and link it to my wrap up post 

Reading Levels:

  • Level one-Read 5 books that were made into movies/T.V. shows
  • Level two-Read 10 books that were made into movies/T.V. shows 
  • Level three-Read 15 books that were made into movies/T.V. shows
  • Level four-Read 20 books that were made into movies/T.V. shows 

Reading and Watching Levels:

  • Level one-Read 5 books made into movies/T.V. shows and watch the movies/shows
  • Level two-Read 10 books made into movies/T.V. shows and watch the movies/shows
  • Level three-Read 15 books made into movies/T.V. shows and watch the movies/shows
  • Level four-Read 20 books made into movies/T.V. shows and watch the movies/shows

To sign up, create a post about the reading challenge and enter your post link in Mr. Linky

2011 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge

Jennifer at Reading With Tequila is hosting the fun and creative Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge. The challenge runs from January 1-December 31, 2011 and the purpose is to read books recommended by book bloggers. There is a master list of over 400 books to choose from and 5 different reading levels.

Level One: Read 5 books from the list
Level Two: Read 10 books
Level Three: Read 15 books
Level Four: Read 20 books
Level Five: Read 20+ books

My goal is to reach at least Level Two but I may read more. There are so many amazing books on the list that I've been meaning to read! To read the complete rules and sign up, visit Reading With Tequila!

Monday, December 27, 2010

2011 YA Romance Reading Challenge

Jamie at For the Love of YA is hosting the 2011 YA Romance Reading Challenge. The challenge runs from January 1-December 31, 2011. The purpose of the challenge is to read at least 12 YA romance novels.

Since I love YA romance novels, this challenge should be a breeze for me! To sign up, visit For the Love of YA.

2011 100+ Reading Challenge

Amy at My Overstuffed Bookshelf is hosting the 100+ Reading Challenge.  


  • The goal is to read 100 or more books.
  • Anyone can join.
  • You don't need a blog to participate. Posting on GoodReads or wherever you post your reviews is good enough.
  • Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Manga, Graphic Novels, Library books, Novellas, Young Reader, Nonfiction – as long as the book has an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such, the book counts.
  • What doesn't count: Individual short stories or individual books in the Bible.
  • No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.
  • Crossovers from other reading challenges count.
  • Books started before the January 1st do not count.
  • You can join at anytime.
In 2010, I read well over 100 books because I had a lot of time on my hands! This year I will be happy to read 100 books, which is my goal.  Learn more and sign up at My Overstuffed Bookshelf.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I was fortunate enough to be able to leave a day early for the Christmas holidays and I surprised my parents when I showed up at their house Wednesday night instead of Thursday afternoon!

Today will be spent doing a little holiday baking, making our favorite scalloped corn casserole to take to my sister's house for Christmas dinner, wrapping up last minute presents, and I may even get to play Scrabble with my mom for the first time in months. I really look forward to spending time with my family this weekend.

Merry Christmas! I wish all of you a safe and happy holiday!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2011 Fantasy Reading Challenge

This year the Fantasy Reading Challenge is being hosted by Darlyn and Books. I really enjoyed this challenge last year.

The challenge runs from January 1-December 31, 2011

There are four levels to the challenge:

Curious (Read 3 fantasy books)
Fascinated (Read 6 fantasy books)
Addicted (Read 12 fantasy books)
Obsessed (Read 20 fantasy books)

I will aim for the Obsessed level since I had no problem reaching it last year. You are also allowed to reread fantasy books. To find out more and sign up, visit Darlyn and Books.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2011 YA Reading Challenge

The 2011 YA Reading Challenge is being hosted by Jami at For The Love of YA. This is such a fun challenge for me since I love YA fiction. 

There are four levels to the challenge:

The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels
The "Fun Size" YA Reading Challenge – Read 20 Young Adult novels
The Jumbo Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 40 Young Adult novels
The Mega size YA Reading Challenge – Read 50+ Young Adult novels

I am aiming for the Mega size because I read so many YA books. Hopefully although I will have less time to read next year I will still make my goal!

If you'd like to participate, sign up at For The Love of YA!

Waiting on Wednesday (35)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme to discuss upcoming books we can't wait to get our hands on. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I am waiting on:

Betrayal by Lee Nichols
Publication date: March 1, 2011

Betrayal is the second book in the Haunting Emma series about a young woman who has the ability to see ghosts, call and dispel them. I really enjoyed Deception, the first book in the series and I am hopeful that Betrayal will be just as good.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review: Linger

By Maggie Stiefvater
Publication date: July 13, 2010

My review:

In this riveting sequel to Shiver, Sam is exploring what the changes in his life mean for his future, Grace is dealing with unexpected headaches, Isobel is dealing with the fallout from events in Shiver, and Cole, a new wolf, is introduced. Grace and Sam's relationship deepens even as it experiences roadblocks in the form of Grace's parents. Just when it looks like Grace and Sam have found their storybook ending, events are set in motion that could drive them apart forever. The story is told in the alternating viewpoints of Grace, Sam, Isobel, and Cole.

Maggie Stiefvater is an incredibly talented author and while the sophomore book in a trilogy is sometimes lacking in quality that was not the case with LingerFrom the first page, the story captures the reader's attention. The writing is lyrical and I enjoyed reading the snippets of poetry and Sam's lyrics. The chapters about Grace and Sam are excellent but the addition of Cole and Isobel changes the dynamic of the book from Shiver. There is a lack of that intimate portrayal of the story and Cole almost feels like an intruder at times. Still he provides a nice contrast to Sam and Cole's back story while not as poignant as Sam's is still intriguing. I look forward to reading more about him in the next book. Linger ends with a cliffhanger that will leave the reader anxiously awaiting the release of Forever in July 2011.

Readalikes: Nightshade by Andra Cremer, 13 to Life by Shannon Delany, Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Monday What Are You Reading (45)

It's Monday What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books. I always enjoy seeing what other people have read and reviewed over the past week. It is also a great way to find new books to add to that ever-growing TBR list!

Books finished:

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Books reviewed:

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Currently reading:

Blameless by Gail Carriger

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

What I plan to read next:

Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

The Dowry Bride by Shobhan Bantwal

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

This will be my last It's Monday post of the year as I will be busy celebrating the holidays with my family. I can't wait to go home! I wish all of you a happy and safe holiday season.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Review: Last Sacrifice

Last Sacrifice
By Richelle Mead
Publication date: December 7, 2010

My review:

Last Sacrifice is the final novel in the Vampire Academy series. The previous book, Spirit Bound, ended with a major cliffhanger so I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. For the most part, Last Sacrifice did not disappoint. There is plenty of action, romance, and a few plot twists thrown in but my favorite part of course was the interaction between Rose and Dimitri.

Rose has really grown as a character over the course of the series from someone I didn't think I'd like to one of my favorite paranormal fiction heroines. She still makes mistakes but she shows some maturity particularly in regards to Dimitri. Lissa also matures during this book as she faces some major challenges. I was happy to see the direction that the story took both main characters. 

Last Sacrifice also lays groundwork for the spinoff series and leaves some questions unanswered. I think that was the one minor weakness with the book. It suffered a little towards the end of the story as a result. Overall I was pleased with the conclusion of this series. I will miss reading about Rose and Dimitri but I am looking forward to Richelle Mead's new series which will hopefully arrive next year. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Off the Shelf Challenge

Off The Shelf!

Bookish Ardour is hosting the Off The Shelf! Reading Challenge from January 1-December 31, 2011. The purpose of the Off The Shelf! Reading Challenge is to read books you already own but haven't read yet. Usually I don't have unread books sitting on my shelf with a few rare exceptions like books I've received as gifts that weren't my cup of tea or books I couldn't get into at the time. This past year however I have purchased books that I still haven't read as well as receiving some for review so when I found out about this challenge I knew I'd better sign up to participate!

There are 5 regular challenge levels:

Tempted (read 5 books)
Trying (read 15 books)
Making a dint (read 30 books)
On a roll (read 50 books)
Flying off (read 75 books)

I don't have that many books to read so I am just going to go for the Tempted level and if I find I have 15 books to read I may up it to the Trying level. 

Here are the books I plan to read:

1. Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
2. Another Pan by Daniel and Dina Nayeri
3. My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
4. Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson
5. Jane by April Lindner

If this sounds like a fun or necessary reading challenge to you, you can find out more and sign up at Bookish Ardor.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (34)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme to discuss upcoming books we can't wait to get our hands on. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I am waiting on:

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Publication date: April 5, 2011

I really like the cover and just had to feature it as my WoW pick this week. I absolutely love the Mortal Instruments series. I was spoiled by not having to wait when reading the first three books since I started reading them so late. I was thrilled to find out about City of Fallen Angels but it has been a long wait (although it helped that Clockwork Angel was published this year). I don't know much about the plot of City of Fallen Angels but it is sure to be a fantastic book! It is one of my most anticipated books of 2011. You can read an excerpt here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review: Delirium

By Lauren Oliver
Publication date: February 1, 2011

My review:

In an alternative United States, modern science has declared love a deadly disease and the government has mandated the cure for all its citizens once they turn 18. People believe that they are better off after going through the operation and Lena Haloway who will be turning 18 at the end of the summer can't wait to be cured. Her mother contracted the disease known as amor delirium nervosa and it led her to commit suicide. Lena has always lived by the rules, afraid that she too could become like her mom. To her, the cure will let her be like everyone else. Then on the day of her evaluation, Lena meets Alex and her world is shaken. He represents everything Lena fears and he challenges her to question what she has always believed to be true about love and the rules she lives by. Soon Lena finds herself lying and breaking rules to be with Alex and she begins to exhibit symptoms of the disease. She no longer wants to be cured but what other option does she have?

Delirium is a thought provoking utopian novel along the same vein as Matched by Ally Condie or The Giver by Lois Lowry. The world that Lena lives in is a frightening place where adults have been lobotomized. Not only romantic love but also familial love is absent from those who are "cured". They no longer show affection for their parents, siblings, or friends. Their lives are passionless and uniform. In contrast, the young people who are "uncured" show compassion and have dreams. 

Lena is a sympathetic heroine. She is an orphan and she is somewhat ostracized by members of her community because of her mother's suicide. The caring that she shows to her young cousin Grace, also an orphan, is touching especially compared to the way the rest of the family treats Grace.  In some ways, Lena is reminiscent of Gabrielle from The Dead Tossed WavesAt times I was a little frustrated with Lena because she seemed so afraid to even listen to the "wrong kind" of music but after she meets Alex and begins to change, I liked her more and more. 

There is a similarity between Delirium and Matched by Ally Condie but Delirium raises the stakes. The characters in Matched signed over their decision making to the powers in charge but they are still capable of love and families care about each other. In Delirium the citizens don't get to make very many choices but in addition to that must submit to a procedure that alters who they are completely and leaves them incapable of love. This adds an intensity to the romance between Lena and Alex because time is running out for them. The world building was also superb and almost made me wish for a sequel. With this novel Lauren Oliver proves again that she is a talented author who can write spellbinding and emotional novels that stay with you long after the last page.

Readalikes: Matched by Ally Condie, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Note: I received an ARC of this book for review as part of an ARC tour from Around the World Tours

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's Monday What Are You Reading (44)

It's Monday What Are You Reading? is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books. I always enjoy seeing what other people have read and reviewed over the past week. It is also a great way to find new books to add to that ever-growing TBR list!

Books finished:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling (reread)

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Books reviewed:

None, although I'm currently working on my review of Delirium

Currently reading:

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

What I plan to read next:

Blameless by Gail Carriger

Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

What does your reading week look like?

Friday, December 10, 2010

In My Mailbox (41)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren to share what books you received for review, purchased, or checked out from the library during the past week.

I had a great book week this week! I got three books that I have been eagerly anticipating including the final book in the Vampire Academy series, Last Sacrifice, which is probably the book I have been looking forward to reading the most this year after Mockingjay

Purchased with gift card:

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

I have been waiting and waiting for this one but I'm making myself wait a little longer to read it until I finish some of my overdue library books. 

From the library:

Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite authors and I love the Sevenwaters series. I am sure this one will be just as good as the rest.

Blameless by Gail Carriger

This is such a fun and humorous series. Alexia Tarabotti is a fantastic character and I look forward to her dry wit.

Misguided Angel by Melissa De la Cruz

I am not sure I will like this after reading mixed reviews. I purchased the other books in the series but decided to wait till I could get this one from the library. It is like the neverending series so I may just borrow them from now on!

What did you get "in your mailbox" this week?