Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 Reads of 2010

Looking back it is easy to see that 2010 wasn't my best reading year numbers wise. I've read 64 books this year which is down considerably compared to the past two years. I can't say I'm surprised...having 3 active youngsters keeps me pretty darn busy and it is easy to shove reading to the side at times. But I'm happy that I'm still reading and that the majority of the books I read this year I enjoyed. I don't use ratings anymore but if I would guess I would say most of the books I read were at least 3.5 stars or higher. Not bad if I do say so myself! I've always meant to do a top ten reads post but I've never taken the time to do it until now. In no order whatsoever, here are my favorite reads of 2010:

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde- This is only the 2nd book that I've read by Fforde but I am hooked. Dystopian society that is completely color based...all I have to say is thank goodness there are more books to come in this series!

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder- This book has been all over the blogsphere and I finally read it. Thanks goodness that I finally did because I loved it and cannot wait to read the next book. This was a wonderful fantasy read that I couldn't get enough of...highly recommened!

The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells- 2nd book in a trilogy and my favorite urban fantasy read of the year. Sabina is a kick-ass heroine and I loved that this book showed a different side of her character. Green-Eyed Demon is one of my most anticipated reads of 2011 and I cannot wait!

Hunted by the Others by Jess Haines- Urban fantasy is one of my favorite genres and this debut was one of my favorites. Strong world building combined with some awesome characters made for a great read. I can't wait for the next book to come out and this is another series I am anticipating in 2011.

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane- Absolutely best thriller I read this year. This book made me an instant fan of Lehane and I cannot wait to read more of this author. And the movie...oh I have nothing but good things to say about this book.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell- I feel like I keep saying this but after reading this book I felt like I have to read everything that this author ever writes. Deeply engrossing novel with a hint of mystery to it...I loved everything about this book.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton- This was the first book that I read in 2010 and it was a wonderful read! I loved the way the two stories came together and the historical feel of the novel pulled me in instantly. I have another book by this author on my shelves and am looking forward to reading it in 2011.

Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman- This was my first read by this author but definitely not my last. The gothic feel of this novel was captivating and I found myself immersed until the last page. I can't wait to read more by her and already have another of her books checked out from the library.

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest- I heart this novel. Seriously, with zombies, air pirates, and a deadly blight gas, can you really ask for more? This book was an awesome read...I can't wait to read the next two books and now I plan to read absolutely everything that the author has written as well.

Changeless by Gail Carriger- This is my new favorite series. If I wanted to cheat then I would choose all three of the books in this series but out of the 3 this is the winner. Love, love, love these books and I can't say enough good things. In fact, I am now a huge fangirl of Gail Carriger (that is how much I love this series)!

Okay folks, all of these books are reads that I would most definitely recommend. Hopefully 2011 will be an even better reading year and we'll see if I can't up that reading number a bit. I've joined a bunch of challenges again that will hopefully keep my reading diverse and interesting. Here is to hoping that everyone else has a wonderful 2011 as well!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Sunday Salon- 2011 Goals and Changes

I just realized that I haven't posted a single book review in December. Where did the time go....this year has literally flown by! I already posted (in my completely overboard challenge post) that I was participating in Bloggiesta this year for the first time. And I am so excited as I feel that my blog needs some change. To be revamped, a fresh outlook, or something along those lines. I've got ideas floating around in my head but I'm not exactly sure which direction I'll go in. I do think that I'll start my Bloggiesta participation a bit early as the likelihood that I'll get everything I want to accomplished in 3 days decreases when you have little ones. I'm guessing that the entire month of January/the rest of this year will be blog renovation. Please be patient with me as I try to find something that works while matching it to me and my personality :)

I love reading everyone's goals for 2011 and top ten lists from 2010. Or most anticipated reads for 2011. Heck, I just like reading lists. I thought I would wait to do my top reads from this year but here are some of my goals for this blog in 2011. Or maybe I should say here are some changes that will be occurring.

1. I'm changing my reviews to thoughts on books. Small change really but for me I think it will be a huge difference. Maybe it is just the idea of a "review"....I don't know but I sometimes struggles with writing down my thoughts on a book. Which is silly because really all I am sharing or should be sharing is my reading experience, my thoughts, my feelings on what I read. This may be a small change but I'm hoping for big things :)

2. This leads into a goal which is sharing my thoughts after I finish a book. Like right after and not 3 months down the road. I have so many books from 2010 and even 2009 that I never posted about.

3. I'm going to continue and try to read a variety of books. I love reading books that are from a variety of genres as it keeps reading interesting for me. I'm going to continue and try expand my reading even more across the genres. And my goal is to continue making sure that I read "older" books as well or in other words books that weren't published in 2010 and 2011. I like to read new releases but I want a mixture of older titles as well.

4. I want to post even more pictures and posts related to my kids. Obviously I love to read but my family plays an even more important part in my life. I should be sharing that with all of you more often. (Did I ever share this one with you?? It is from last year so expect a new updated one soon)

5. My final goal/plan (because 5 is definitely plenty) is to post more often. I have a tendency to post maybe once a week and sometimes even less. I would like to post at least twice a week but I'm not going to put pressure on myself either. Because pressure will end up with me posting even less. I blog for the enjoyment of it and don't want this to feel like work. Or like I have to read. Or I have to do anything that I don't really want to do. I really just want to share my love of reading and my thoughts on the books I read.

What I'm going to continue to do is share my love of books with all of you. I would like to continue and share my library loot (which is always out of control). I love posting about books that are on my wishlist even though this usually ends with me requesting even more books from the library. I would like to be even more active in the blogging community and I ideally read from my google reader once in awhile. And comment...I do love to comment so I would like to continue to find the time to do that. But mainly just have fun with both this blog and my reading.

The basic summary of this post is that I have a ton on my plate for 2011. But with 3 kids, a full-time job and everything else...when don't I??? I like to be busy! Here is to hoping that whatever changes around here, that it all changes for the best and that 2011 is a year filled with good books!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2011 Challenges - Overboard Edition

Every year I join a ton of challenges because I have no willpower and can't resist. We all know I have willpower issues just by looking at my library loot posts so it shouldn't come as a suprise that I am the same way with challenges. I don't usually finish half of the challenges I join but the fun for me is all in trying. And I feel like challenges help to expand my reading a least that is the plan of action. But 2011 may be the year that I overdo myself as I have a list of challenges that I want to participate in that is epic in proportion. Seriously, I didn't even know how to create a post for all of the challenges that I wanted to join. I ended up coming up with a list format/type thingy so I hope this works for all of you challenge hosts out there :) I am officially signing up for all of these challenges:

  • Graphic Novels Challenge- Last year I only read 1 so I definitely need to stretch a bit..going with Beginner level.

  • New Author Challenge- I've done this the past 2 years and always enjoy finding new authors..I'm hoping to find 25 new authors but I'll add to my list as I go.

  • Suspense/Thriller Challenge- I actually completed this one last year and can't wait to give it a go again. 12 suspense/thrillers minimum should be quite doable.

  • Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge- Umm...I'm pretty sure that this challenge is taylor made for me and the reading I have been doing this year. 24 books is the requirement and I'm not worried about meeting that goal :)

  • Gothic Reading Challenge- I love creepy gothic novels so I was SO excited to find this challenge. I'm going for The Darkness Within level which is 5 books with gothic elements.

  • Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge- Love the idea of this one and I'm going with the In a Murderous Mood level which is 4-6 books.

  • Memorable Memoirs Challenge- This challenge the number of books to read is up to us so

    I'm going with 3...I only read 1 this year so this will definitely push me a bit.
  • Cruisin' Thru the Cozies- Joining at the Snoop level which requires 1-6 books.
  • Complete Booker Challenge- I love to try and read from award lists although I'm not very good at it. Going with the Pick a Mix of 6 level...I think I can do that.
  • First in a Series Challenge- I'm great at starting new series so this is a challenge for me. Going with Series Expert level which is 12 new series....

  • Seconds Challenge- This is a challenge that pushes me to read authors more than once...I'm going with A Few More Bites level which is 6 books.

  • 100+ Reading Challenge- I have yet to meet this goal but I am trying...

  • Edgar Awards Challenge- Love this type of book so I am going with the Sergeant level whichis 4-6 books.
Oh boy. And this isn't necessarily it as I've hoping to find a good historical fiction challenge, there are a few other challenges that I am on the fence on, and of course new challenges will be popping up every day. I also wanted to mention my perpetual challenges that I've got going including the Printz award books, Orange Prize Projest, Notables list, and my personal goal to read everything Agatha Christie has written.

And last but certainly not least I am joining in on Bloggiesta this year which is on January 21, 22, and 23rd of 2011. Can't wait as my blog needs a fresh look and a bit of a jump start. Thanks to everyone that hosts all of these wonderful challenges and let me know in the comment section if there is another challenge that I need to check out.

Edited to Add:

I'm joining in on a few more challenges including the YA Challenge (Mini YA level-12 books), Support Your Local Library Challenge (Jumbo Size- 50 books) and the Paranormal Romance/Fantasy Reading Challenge (12 books). Aack...I need to stop!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Sunday Salon - Overwhelmed??

With the holidays fast approaching (and I do mean fast), I find myself a tad bit overwhelmed. I know I'm not alone when I say that I just want to do a bit of everything. Read, blog, comment, actually read my google reader, and more....I feel like I am continuously behind on all of these things. And challenges. This time of the year I get challenge fever and join a ton of fun challenges for the next year. So what's a girl to do when there isn't enough time in the day for all of these things plus regular life stuff???

Here is what I've decided so far. First, I cleared out my Google reader just this morning. Yikes! But it had to be done if I wanted a chance of ever reading any of your posts in the near future. And I'm guessing that this will allow me to comment more. I've decided to set aside the time and join in on Bloggiesta which is coming up at some point next month (might help if I knew the exact This will allow for me to work around the blog and do all of those things I've been meaning to do. I really should make a list. As for challenges, I'm going to do one long post in the near future joining a bunch. Feel free to ignore it :) I probably won't finish half of them as usual but I do love to try.

Reading wise, I'm currently about half way through Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. I feel like I've been reading this book forever but actually I just keep setting it aside for a Nora Robert's trilogy that I've been rereading. Seriously, it has been years since I read these and I flew through each book in about two days. The first book is titled Dance Upon the Air. Nora Roberts is definitely comfort reading for me! Now I'm back to Fforde's novel and quite liking what I've read so far and hopefully I'll finish it soon. I have a ton of books waiting for me but that is just what they are going to have to do. Wait. Maybe 2011 will be my best year of reading yet! And hopefully I'll be out visiting all of your blogs soon!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Library Loot - Winter Reading

I can't seem to stop requesting books from the library...I am on a library book splurge!!! How I am going to possibly read all of these before the end of the year is beyond me but I can't even describe how badly I want to. And here is something that I am going to say very quietly...this isn't all of my loot. LOL! I have even more but figured I didn't want to overwhelm you all since I'm kinda overwhelmed myself :) But I still just requested two more books from the library today. Oh my. Yeah. I told you I can't stop. I think it is all of this winter weather...I'm ready to curl up under blankets and cozy down with some good books. And hot chocolate of course! Here is what I checked out from top to bottom:
  • Night Shift by Lilith Saintcrow
  • The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell
  • The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna (Thanks to Andi!)
  • The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green (Thanks to Eva!)
  • Black and White by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge
  • The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
  • Dreadnought by Cherie Priest (Loved Boneshaker earlier this year)
  • Indigo Springs by A.M. Dellamonica
  • The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

I picked up Dreadnought from the library only to realize that there is a 2nd book in the Clockwork series. So I had to request Clementine as well and am just waiting for it to come in. (I'm nuts I tell you :) I feel like I say this for every season but I just love the winter! And I love winter reading!!