Monday, December 16, 2013

the dark knight strikes again


the dark knight strikes again
frank miller, lynn varley & todd klein
graphic novels/crime
dc comics
published 2001

It's been three years since the events of The Dark Knight Returns, and everything is just fine.  At least on the surface.  What the world at large doesn't know is that it's a total sham.  A perfectly choreographed, pretty little world where everything that's ugly, or even potentially disturbing, is all nicely wrapped up with neat little ribbons and swept under the carpet.  Only he knows better.  He's watched it fester to near-breaking point, and it's time for the only free man left who can effect any real change to bring it all down around their ears once and for all.

The Dark Knight returns once again with a vitality unseen since the first years of his war on crime.  Together with his army of Bat-soldiers, including Carrie Kelley - formerly Robin, and now the new Catgirl - the Dark Knight wages a new war on a diseased world that's become completely lost.

Much more 'cartoony' than the other Frank Miller books, in my opinion.  And again, the jumbled television or whatever they were, spots were kind of annoying.

This was the first time I read this book, the other Frank Miller Batman stories were ones I read when I was much younger which may account for my meh feelings towards Superman.  Either way, I can't say that I felt all was wrapped up with this book.  There's a Facebook page that I kept thinking about called 'Justice League?  More Like Batman & His Bitches' and yep, that's what was happening here.  My other problem - which is, of course, just me - is that it doesn't feel like a Batman story so much without the Joker.  *sigh*

But still, badass Batman.

the dark knight returns


the dark knight returns
frank miller, klaus janson & lynn varley
graphic novels/crime
dc comics
published 1986

It is ten years after an aging Batman has retired and Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness.  Now as his city needs him most, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of glory.

Joined by Carrie Kelly, a teenage female Robin, Batman takes to the streets to end the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city.  And after facing off against his two greatest enemies, the Joker and Two-Face for the first final time, Batman finds himself in mortal combat with his former alley, Superman, in a battle that only one of them will survive.

If there were to be an ending to the story of Batman this would be the perfect one.  Or at least as close to perfect as it could be.

The only thing I didn't care for was the endless television commentary going on.  I know that was the vehicle that delivered the story that could be carried out another way, but it was tiresome.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

fangirl


fangirl
rainbow rowell
ya/romance
st. martin's
published 2013

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan....But for Cath, being a fan is her life - and she's really good at it.  She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading.  Rereading.  Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fanfiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can't let go.  She doesn't want to.

Now that they're going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be roommates.  Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone.  She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend; a fiction-writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world; a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words....and she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?  Can she make it without Wren holding her hand?  Is she ready to start living her own life?  And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Rainbow Rowell just has a way with words.  She's funny and sarcastic, but sweet and serious too.  She deals with mental illness and binge drinking, but they're not the focus of the story.  Fangirl was lighter even as it dealt with a few heavy issues.

I spent practically the entirety of the book smiling.  I would catch myself grinning just because I was reading the book.  Little lines like this one would get a giggle out of me:
Reagan rolled her eyes again.  Cath made a mental note to stop rolling her eyes at people.
And Reagan, I just loved her.  She was the best roommate Cath could have gotten.
But you're so helpless sometimes.  It's like watching a kitten with its head trapped in a Kleenex box.
Throughout the book, at the beginning of each chapter there would be a passage from either canon or the fanfiction that Cath was writing in the Simon Snow world.  I found myself entranced even by these.  When she would read her fanfiction out loud to Levi, or she and Wren discussed Carry On I ate it up just like I was the main story.  It reminded me (as it was supposed to I assume) of Harry Potter.  Loving a fictional world so much and being so incredibly sad when it's over.

Rainbow Rowell does not disappoint.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

little earthquakes


little earthquakes
jennifer weiner
contemporary fiction/chick lit
washington square press
published 2005

Becky is a plump, sexy chef who has a wonderful husband and a baby girl, a restaurant that's received citywide acclaim - and the mother-in-law from hell.  Kelly is an event planner who's struggling to balance work and motherhood while dealing with an unemployed husband who seems content to channel-surf for eight hours a day.  Ayinde's basketball superstar husband breaks her trust at her most vulnerable moment, putting their new family even more in the public eye.  Then there's Lia, a Philadelphia native who has left her Hollywood career behind, along with her husband, and a tragic secret to start her life all over again.

When I was younger I experienced times with my fellow females that instilled in me this idea that girls are evil.  In fact, as I grew up into adolescence and adulthood I would always say 'Men do awful things to you because they're stupid.  Women do awful things to you because they're evil.'  And a lot of times, that's true.  Men are just clueless sometimes and women can be more calculating.  Over-analyzing.

When we moved to our town I was surrounded by the mommies who always remembered to bring snacks to the park and wore makeup, dressed like models and hell, they looked like models too.  Volunteered for the PTA (though we call it something else here) and all their kids pulled $170 wheeled luggage to school.  And here I was, generally forgetting to bring the diaper bag much less snack while wearing my standard baggy-except-for-the-waistline jeans and the holey, faded grey sweatshirt I stole from Erin who stole it from Kathy who stole it from Diane back when we were 22.  And make up.  Ha.  It was a miracle if my hair was brushed.

So I would see these women and remember the mean spirited girls who made life not so fun and imagine they were the same.  Luckily for me some of them are much more friendly and look beyond the 'I Probably Hate You' t-shirt and start a conversation.  Also, Emma will talk to anyone and her myriad of friends forced me to talk to mothers to arrange play dates and what not.

What I discovered was these perfect, gorgeous, together moms were some of the most genuine, caring and amazing women I would have the privilege of knowing.  They have become my closest friends, my emergency contacts and at times, my life lines.  They brought food when I was out of surgery, picked up my kid from school, cried when I found out all my cancer was gone and remind me that I'm a good mom.

I read a couple of reviews while in the midst of reading Little Earthquakes and was surprised by how many people were dubious of how a group of women could become so close in such a short time.  They said it lent to a suspension of reality for surely women do not make friends like this.  But I got it.  Nothing bonds you like motherhood.  Nothing humbles you, scares you, elates you like being a parent and unfortunately as annoying as it my sound no one else understands this except other parents.  And as you get older, friendships are different.  You don't bond over Trapper Keepers or Irish Car bombs and Washington Apples anymore.

So yeah, I got it.

Becky, Kelly, Ayinde & Lia met at the perfect moment when the opportunity for friendship was just right.  While women may be evil sometimes we are only that because we are emotional beings.  So seeing another woman in pain we want to help.  Especially, when at any time, we know we can and probably will become that woman.

Weiner's characters were not perfect.  They made mistakes.  They broke hearts, including their own sometimes.  They were there for each other when they could be even when it wasn't a good time.  They tried not to judge, but of course, that's impossible.  But when they did, they tried to catch themselves.  They helped heal each other, hold each other up and help each other move on.  Lucky.  If you could have one friend, just one, like these women find you are lucky.

I am the luckiest of all.

goodnight nobody


goodnight nobody
jennifer weiner
contemporary fiction/chick lit/mystery
atria
published 2005

For Kate Klein, a semi-accidental mother of three, suburbia has been full of unpleasant surprises.  Her once-loving husband is hardly ever home.  The supermommies on the playground routinely snub her.  Her days are spent carpooling and enduring endless games of Candy Land, and at night, most of her orgasms are of the do-it-yourself variety.

When a fellow mother is murdered, Kate finds that the unsolved mystery is the most exciting thing to happen in Upchurch, Connecticut, since her neighbors broke ground for a guesthouse and cracked their septic tank.  Even though the local police chief warns her that crime-fighting's a job best left to the professionals, Kate launches an unofficial investigation - from 8:45 to 11:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, when her kids are in nursery school.

As Kate is drawn deeper into the murdered woman's past, she begins to uncover the secrets and lies behind Upchurch's picket-fence facade - and considers the choices and compromises all modern women make as they navigate between obligation and independence, small towns and big cities, being a mother and having a life of one's own.

A murder mystery.  Quite a departure from her usual fare and it shows.  There's still the complicated mother/daughter relationship, feelings of inadequacies, the slightly overweight female character, the good looking and fearless best friend...but there was something missing.  The like-ability of the main character maybe?  Even now, having just finished the book 5 minutes ago I couldn't remember the name of the main character!

Kate.  She wasn't believable, she wasn't fully fleshed out.  She lost her mind over this man she never had a relationship with and married the first man who came along after.  Then she complains about being dissatisfied.  She goes off half cocked every time she gets just a tiny idea of something and it's wrong.  Every. Time.

But what more than that, I never felt like she loved her kids or her husband.  Or even Evan, the one that got away.  She just wanted to do whatever she wanted to do and damn all to everyone else.

Alone, it's not a horrible book, but compared to In Her Shoes or Good in Bed this was entirely lackluster.

the song of the quarkbeast


the song of the quarkbeast
the last dragonslayer #2
jasper fforde
mg/ya/fantasy/humor
harcourt
published 2013

Long ago, magic began to fade, and the underemployed magicians of Kazam Mystical Arts Management have been forced to take any work their sixteen-year-old acting manager, Jennifer Strange, can scare up.  But things are about to change.  Magical power is finally on the rise, and King Snood IV of the Ununited Kingdoms knows that he who controls magic controls everything.  Only one person stands between Snodd and his plans for a magic-grab - and that's Jennifer.

Yet even smart and sensible Jennifer would have trouble against these powers-that-be.  The king and his cronies will do anything to succeed - including ordering a just-might-be-rigged contest between Kazam and iMagic, Kazam's only competitor in the magic business.  With underhanded shenanigans afoot, how can Kazam possibly win?

Whatever happens, one thing is certain: Jennifer Strange will not relinquish the noble powers of magic without a fight.

I know, I know.  I said I wasn't all that interested enough to read the second book, yet here I am writing a review for it.  I was at the library the other day and I looked up from the shelf I was perusing and there it was right in front of my face, The Song of the Quarkbeast.

This one was so much more fun that the first book.  We got to see more of the wizards in action and the mystery was rife.  And there was a quarkbeast!  The best character in the first book has returned....maybe.

Either way it was fun, funny and kept me guessing.  Much better than The Last Dragonslayer.

ruined


ruined
ruined #1
paula morris
ya/horror
point
published 2009

Rebecca Brown couldn't feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to live while her dad is away on business.  She's staying in a creepy house with her aunt Claudia, who reads tarot cards for a living.  And at the snooty prep school, a pack of filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she's invisible.  Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he's got a hidden agenda.


Then one night, among the oak trees in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend.  Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to show Rebecca the nooks and crannies of New Orleans.  There's just one catch.


Lisette is a ghost.


A ghost with a deep, dark secret, and a serious score to settle.


As Rebecca learns more from her ghost friend - and as she begins to trust Anton Grey - she also uncovers startling truths about her own history.  Will Rebecca be able to right the wrongs of the past, or has everything been ruined beyond repair?


There was something about this book that held me back from completely enjoying it.  It could be that Morris spent 4 pages describing the Mardi Gras parade route.  Or the walk that Lisette and Rebecca take to Tremé that is a four mile walk and we read about every. single. mile.


It was parts like that.  Unnecessarily long passages that added very little, if anything, to the story.  I found myself not caring, a lot.  And,

*****SPOILER*****

It bothered me a little that it was supposed to be okay for the other girl to die just because she 'looked down' on Rebecca.  I mean sure, she was a snob but she didn't go out of her way to make Rebecca's life miserable she just most pretending like Rebecca didn't exist.  So for that, we're relieved that she's the one who is going to die?  I don't know.  The closest person to an antagonist is Toby and nothing happens to him.

It was interesting enough that I'll read the next book - mostly because the next book is a different 'ghost' story altogether.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

doll bones


doll bones
holly black
mg/horror/adventure
simon & schuster
published 2013

Zach, Poppy & Alice have been friends forever.  And for almost as long, they've been playing one continuous, ever-changing game - a game that takes place in a world populated with pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors.  Ruling over them all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll imprisoned in a cabinet, cursing those who displease her.

But the three friends are in middle school now, and Zach's father is pushing him to give up make-believe for basketball/  When his father gives him no choice, Zach quits the game and lies about the reason.  It seems like their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she's been having dreams about the Queen - and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave.

And so Zach and Alice and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen's ghost to rest.  But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen.  Is the doll just a doll, or is there something more sinister at work?  Has Poppy been telling the truth, or is she tricking them into playing a new game?  And if there really is a ghost, will it let them go now that it has them in its clutches?

This is very squarely a middle grades book.  It is creepy without being too creepy, grisly without being too grisly and it had heart and hope and friendship too.  Hurrah!

Never does Black confirm anything.  Nothing is ever overtly 'magic' or proven.  It could be overactive imaginations of three 11 year old kids or it could be that the doll harbored a honest to goodness ghost.  But what the story does do is offer that little slice of hope.  Imagination is the greatest gift we have to give and the richest we are with this gift is when we are children.  Then as we begin to grow older having an imagination and using it becomes something we outgrow.  But here while they may be growing up and outgrowing toys, they are not giving up their imaginations.

I think this is just on the borderline of too-scary-for-my-7-year-old.  She's read the first 5 Harry Potter books and done great, but this book has just enough creepy in it to possibly get her freaked out.  Maybe a couple more years and we'll be ready for some Holly Black.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

tbr pile from bookish


I've got a ton of books on my physical and ebook shelves that I just haven't gotten to.  I participated in the Off the Shelf challenge and got 30 books off those shelves.  Pretty successful!  This year I've found a couple of different To Be Read Pile challenges so I'm going to do them and try to do different books for each challenge.

Bookish has some extra goodies in their rules so you can read them along with sign up all here.

The levels for this challenge are:

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - First Kiss
31-40 - Sweet Summer Fling
41-50 - Could This Be Love?
50+ - Married with Children

I'm going to start with A Friendly Hug and I'm going to use this challenge primarily for the loads of ebooks I have sitting on my Kindle not being read!
  1. A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny
  2. Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman
  3. Never Go Back - Lee Child
  4. Cross My Heart by James Patterson
  5. Still Life by Louise Penny
  6. The Hangman - Louise Penny
  7. Always Watching - Chevy Stevens
  8. The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny
  9. Night Film - Marisha Pessl
  10. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
  11. The Spectacular Now - Tim Tharp
  12. Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson


rewind challenge


The Rewind challenge works a little like the TBR challenges, but from what I can tell you don't actually have to own the books.  This is for books that you were excited to read when they came out, but then just didn't get to them for some reason or another.  As long as the book was published before January 1, 2014 you're good to go.  If you have an ARC that was given to you before 2014, but isn't being published for public consumption until 2014 it doesn't count!

Other rules are the same as everything else.  You don't have to have a blog, but you do need to state your intentions and post reviews somewhere like Goodreads or Amazon or something like that.  Books of any format count too!  You can check out our host at Coffee Bean Bookshelf and sign up here.  There's some information on prizes too.

*****My goal for this challenge is 24 books*****
  1. The Serpent's Tale - Ariana Franklin
  2. Dust to Dust - Tami Hoag
  3. The Darkest Evening of the Year - Dean Koontz
  4. Cocktails for Three - Madeleine Wickham
  5. Because I'm Worth It - Cecily von Ziegesar
  6. All I Want Is Everything - Cecily von Ziegesar
  7. I Like It Like That - Cecily von Ziegesar
  8. God-Shaped Hole - Tiffanie DeBartolo
  9. Farm Fatale by Wendy Holden
  10. Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag
  11. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me - Mindy Kaling
  12. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  13. A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny
  14. Every Secret Thing - Laura Lippman
  15. Never Go Back - Lee Child
  16. Cross My Heart - James Patterson
  17. Still Life by Louise Penny
  18. The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny
  19. Always Watching - Chevy Stevens
  20. The Hangman - Louise Penny
  21. Night Film - Marisha Pessl
  22. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
  23. The Spectacular Now - Tim Tharp
  24. Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson

reading challenge addict


Too many challenges and barely enough time!

My second year doing this one.  Since I did so good with the last one and added more challenges to my plate this year it seems like a good idea to just keep it going.  If you want to sign up you can do that here!

The rules are pretty similar to most of the challenges:

  • Challenge runs from January 1st through December 31st, 2014
  • Write a starting post stating what level and the challenges you're participating in
  • Track your progress
  • Join in on mini-challenges & giveaways 
  • Comment & offer support to other addicts
  • Choose a level
    • Easy as Pie: 1-5 Challenges
    • On the Roof: 6-10 Challenges
    • In Flight: 11-15 Challenges
    • Out of This World: 16+ Challenges
I'm doing the 'Out of This World' Level since I'll be working on these 20 challenges:

  1. 100 Books In a Year
  2. You Read How Many Books?
  3. TBR Pile - Bookish
  4. Full House
  5. Quick Fix
  6. eBook
  7. Cruisin' Thru the Cozies
  8. Finishing the Series
  9. I Love Libraries
  10. Mount TBR
  11. Graphic Novels & Manga
  12. Lucky No. 14
  13. Dystopia
  14. Rewind
  15. Meet the Protagonist
  16. First Reads
  17. Book Bingo
  18. Reading Challenge Addict


you read how many books?


Last year this was hosted by My Overstuffed Bookshelf and this year Book Dragon's Lair will be taking over.  It was termed the 150+ Challenge last year and my goal was 160.  This year it's been broken down into three different levels.  I'm going to start with Level 2 and see how I do the first few months of the year.  If I get close I'll probably move up to Level 3.

If you'd like to sign up you can do that here.

The rules:
  • Choose a level
    • Level 1: 100 minimum
    • Level 2: 150 at least
    • Level 3: 200 or more
  • You can move up a level, but not down (so choose wisely!)
  • You don't need a blog, but you do need to track your books somewhere and link it in with BDL
  • Anything book with an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such counts
  • Anthologies only count if you read the whole book.  You can't count a single short in an anthology as one book
  • Crossovers count
  • Challenge runs from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014
  • You can join at anytime and as long as you read your book in 2014 it counts no matter when you joined the challenge
So yea, I'm hoping to hit at least 150!
  1. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
  2. Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls - Scott Snyder
  3. Batman, Vol. 2: The City of Owls - Scott Snyder
  4. Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth - Adam Glass
  5. Suicide Squad, Vol. 2: Basilisk Rising - Adam Glass
  6. Suicide Squad, Vol. 3: Death is for Suckers - Adam Glass
  7. Batman, Vol. 3: Death of the Family - Scott Snyder
  8. Joker: Death of the Family - Scott Snyder
  9. Harley & Ivy - Paul Dini
  10. Still Life - Louise Penny
  11. Farm Fatale - Wendy Holden
  12. Reconstructing Amelia - Kimberly McCreight
  13. Wicked - Sara Shepard
  14. The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
  15. Ashes to Ashes - Tami Hoag
  16. The Spectacular Now - Tim Tharp
  17. Night Film - Marisha Pessl
  18. Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson
  19. Someday, Someday, Maybe - Lauren Graham
  20. God-Shaped Hole - Tiffanie DeBartolo
  21. All I Want Is Everything - Cecily von Ziegesar
  22. 7 Billion Needles, Vol. 1 - Nobuaki Tadano
  23. Ōoku: The Inner Chamber, Vol. 1 - Fumi Yoshinaga
  24. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 1 - Mohiro Kitoh
  25. Dark Water - Koji Suzuki
  26. Chew, Vol. 1: Taster's Choice - John Layman
  27. 12 Reasons Why I Love Her - Jamie S. Rich
  28. North World, Vol. 1: The Epic of Conrad - Lars Brown
  29. Murder Mysteries - Neil Gaiman
  30. 7 Billion Needles, Vol. 2 - Nobuaki Tadano
  31. The Borden Tragedy - Rick Geary**
  32. The Case of Madeleine Smith - Rick Geary**
  33. The Beast of Chicago - Rick Geary**
  34. The Saga of the Bloody Benders - Rick Geary**
  35. 7 Billion Needles, Vol. 3 - Nobuaki Tadano
  36. 7 Billion Needles, Vol. 4 - Nobuake Tadano
  37. Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 2 - Fumi Yoshinaga
  38. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 2 - Mohiro Kitoh
  39. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 3 - Mohiro Kitoh
  40. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 4 - Mohiro Kitoh
  41. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 5 - Mohiro Kitoh
  42. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 6 - Mohiro Kitoh
  43. The Hangman - Louise Penny
  44. Chew, Vol. 2: International Flavor - John Layman
  45. Chew, Vol. 3: Just Desserts - John Layman
  46. Chew, Vol. 4: Flambé - John Layman
  47. Chew, Vol. 5: Major League Chew - John Layman
  48. Chew, Vol. 6: Space Cakes - John Layman
  49. The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
  50. Where'd You Go Bernadette - Maria Semple
  51. Mockingbird - Kathryn Erskine
  52. Pure - Julianna Baggott
  53. A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny
  54. Killer - Sara Shepard
  55. Evernight - Claudia Gray
  56. A Catered Murder - Isis Crawford
  57. Batman: Hush, Vol. 1 - Jeph Loeb
  58. Batman: Hush, Vol. 2 - Jeph Loeb
  59. Saga, Vol. 1 - Brian K. Vaughn
  60. Saga, Vol. 2 - Brian K. Vaughn
  61. Batman: The Long Halloween - Jeph Loeb
  62. Batman: War Games, Act One: Outbreak - Ed Brubaker
  63. Batman: War Games, Act Two: Tides - Ed Brubaker
  64. Batman: War Games, Act Three: End Game - Ed Brubaker
  65. Batman: War Crimes - Andersen Gabrych
  66. Batman: Year One, Ra's al Ghul - Devin Grayson
  67. Red Hood: The Lost Days - Judd Winick
  68. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 7 - Mohiro Kitoh
  69. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 8 - Mohiro Kitoh
  70. North World: The Epic of Conrad, Book 2 - Lars Brown
  71. Winter's Passage - Julie Kagawa
  72. Storm Front - Jim Butcher
  73. Heartless - Sara Shepard
  74. The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa
  75. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
  76. The Serpent's Tale - Ariana Franklin
  77. Because I'm Worth It - Cecily von Ziegesar
  78. Dust to Dust - Tami Hoag
  79. Stupid Perfect World - Scott Westerfeld
  80. Attack on Titan, Vol. 1 - Hajime Isayama
  81. Monster, Vol. 1 - Naoki Urasawa
  82. The Darkest Evening of the Year - Dean Koontz
  83. Cocktails for Three - Madeleine Wickham
  84. Wanted - Sara Shepard
  85. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line - Rob Thomas
  86. I Like It Like That - Cecily von Ziegesar
  87. A Wanted Man - Lee Child
  88. The Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan
  89. Batwoman, Vol. 1: Hydrology - J. H. Williams III
  90. Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader - Neil Gaiman
  91. Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 1: Gifted - Joss Whedon
  92. Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 2: Dangerous - Joss Whedon
  93. Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 3: Torn - Joss Whedon
  94. Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 4: Unstoppable - Joss Whedon
  95. Dancing Barefoot - Wil Wheaton**
  96. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 1 - Kazuo Uzema
  97. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 2 - Kazuo Uzema
  98. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 3 - Kazuo Uzema
  99. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 4 - Kazuo Uzema
  100. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 5 - Kazuo Uzema
  101. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 6 - Kazuo Uzema
  102. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 7 - Kazuo Uzema
  103. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 8 - Kazuo Uzema
  104. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 9 - Kazuo Uzema
  105. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 10 - Kazuo Uzema
  106. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 11 - Kazuo Uzema
  107. Every Secret Thing - Laura Lippman
  108. Twisted - Sara Shepard
  109. The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny
  110. Batman: False Faces - Brian K. Vaughn
  111. Batman: Under the Red Hood - Judd Winick
  112. Batman: R.I.P. - Grant Morrison
  113. Batman: Life After Death - Tony S. Daniel
  114. Batman: The Black Mirror - Scott Snyder
  115. Batman: The Joker's Last Laugh - Chuck Dixon
  116. Batman: The Wrath - Mike Barr & Tony Bedard


quick fix challenge


Jessie's Book Place is hosting a challenge that's a little different.  Instead of a challenge reading giant 500 page books she's looking for books that are less than 300 pages.  I thought this would be great one for those times when I just want a quick read, or maybe I just want to slow down and not take in something so heavy.  Either way sounds like something I can handle!

You can sign up here.

And the rules are...

  • The challenge runs from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014
  • Sign ups will be open until mid December
  • You don't have to have a blog, just comment on JBP the level you're aiming for
  • If you do have a blog make sure to write up a post and state your level!
  • You don't have to review every book, but if you do you can link up your review on JBP's blog
  • Books have to have less than 300 pags to count
  • Books that count: MG/YA, graphic novels/manga, audio, rereads, anthologies & short stories
  • Crossovers count
The Levels or 'It Will Hold With'

  • String - 5 books
  • Paperclips - 15 books
  • Duct Tape - 25 books
  • Gorilla Glue - 30+ books
I'm going to go with Gorilla Glue.  If I can't read 30 books under 300 pages in a year I'm screwed.

ebook reading challenge


I love my ebook reading challenges.  I remember back in the day when ereaders first came out I said I didn't want one because I love my physical books.  And I do love my physical books, but dang is it not convenient to just grab my Kindle and switch through books without having to carry around 20 lbs. of literature.  Plus, when I'm walking and pushing a stroller it's much easier to do only having to use one hand....

So for yet another year I'll be working on the ebook challenge sponsored by Workaday Reads.  Sign up now!  Do it here!

Rules are just like other challenges:

  • Challenges runs through the entire year starting Jan 1, 2014 through Dec 31, 2014
  • You don't have to have a blog to join, sign up in WR's comment section and post reviews on any book site
  • And genre & length counts as long as it's in ebook format
  • You can plan out your books or not
  • Choose your level:
    • Floppy Disk: 5 ebooks
    • CD: 10 ebooks
    • DVD: 25 ebooks
    • Memory Stick: 50 ebooks
    • Hard Drive: 75 ebooks
    • Server: 100 ebooks
    • Human Brain: 150 ebooks
I'm going to work on Hard Drive this year.  I've got a lot of books on my tbr list so I think this 75 amount is possible.

  1. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
  2. Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth - Adam Glass
  3. Suicide Squad, Vol. 2: Basilisk Rising - Adam Glass
  4. Suicide Squad, Vol. 3: Death is for Suckers - Adam Glass
  5. Batman, Vol. 3: Death of the Family - Scott Snyder
  6. Joker: Death of the Family - Scott Snyder
  7. Still Life - Louise Penny
  8. Reconstructing Amelia - Kimberly McCreight
  9. Wicked - Sara Shepard
  10. The Spectacular Now - Tim Tharp
  11. Night Film - Marisha Pessl
  12. Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson
  13. Someday, Someday, Maybe - Lauren Graham
  14. The Hangman - Louise Penny
  15. The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
  16. Where'd You Go Bernadette - Maria Semple
  17. Mockingbird - Kathryn Erskine
  18. A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny
  19. Killer - Sara Shepard
  20. Evernight - Claudia Gray
  21. Winter's Passage - Julie Kagawa
  22. Storm Front - Jim Butcher
  23. Heartless - Sara Shepard
  24. The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa
  25. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
  26. Stupid Perfect World - Scott Westerfeld
  27. Wanted - Sara Shepard
  28. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line - Rob Thomas
  29. A Wanted Man - Lee Child
  30. The Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan
  31. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 3 - Kazuo Uzema
  32. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 4 - Kazuo Uzema
  33. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 5 - Kazuo Uzema
  34. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 6 - Kazuo Uzema
  35. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 7 - Kazuo Uzema
  36. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 8 - Kazuo Uzema
  37. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 9 - Kazuo Uzema
  38. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 10 - Kazuo Uzema
  39. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 11 - Kazuo Uzema
  40. Every Secret Thing - Laura Lippman
  41. Twisted - Sara Shepard
  42. The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny
  43. The Museum of Extraordinary Things - Alice Hoffman
  44. The Weight of Blood - Laura McHugh
  45. Cross My Heart - James Patterson
  46. Never Go Back - Lee Child
  47. Always Watching - Chevy Stevens
  48. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder - Joanne Fluke
  49. A Rule Against Murder - Louise Penny
  50. Saga, Volume 3 - Brian K. Vaughn

lucky no. 14 challenge


Here's another new one!  Lucky No. 14 sponsored by Books to Share.  You choose at least 14 different books from 14 different categories.  You can sign up here.

The 14 categories are:

  1. Visit the Country: Read a book that has the setting in the country that you really want to visit in real life.  Make sure the setting has a big role in the book and it can make you know a little bit more about your dream destination.
  2. Cover Lust: Pick a book from your shelf that you bought because you fell in love with the cover.  Is the content as good as the cover?
  3. Blame in on Bloggers: Read a book because you've read the sparkling reviews from other bloggers.  Don't forget to mention the blogger's names too!
  4. Bargain All the Way: Ever buy a book because it's so cheap you don't really care about the content?  Now it's time to open the book and find out whether it's really worth your cents.
  5. (Not So) Fresh From the Oven: Do you remember you bought/got a new released book last year but never had a chance to read it?  Dig it from your pile and bring back the 2013.
  6. First Letter's Rule: Read a book which title begins with the same letter as your name.  Remember: Articles like "a", "an" or "the" doesn't count.
  7. Once Upon a Time: Choose a book that's been published for the first time before you were born.
  8. Chunky Brick: Take a deep breath and read a book that has more than 500 pages.
  9. Favorite Author: You like their books, but there are too many titles. This is your chance, choose a book that's been written by your fave author but you haven't got time to read it before.
  10. It's Been There Forever: Pick up a book that has been there on your shelf for more than a year, clean up the dust and start to read it now.
  11. Movies vs Books: You've seen the movie adaptation (or planned to see it soon) but never had time to read the book.  It's time to read it now so you can compare the book vs the movie.
  12. Freebies Time: What's the last free book you've got?
  13. Not My Cup of Tea: Reach out to a genre that you've never tried (or probably just disliked) before.
  14. Walking Down the Memory Lane: Ever had a book that you loved so much as a kid? Or a book that you wish you could've read when you were just a child?  Grad it now and prepare for a wonderful journey to the past.
Now it's time for the rules.
  1. You must read at least one book for each category
  2. You don't have to read the books in any particular order
  3. You don't have to have a blog, but you do have to write a master post.  If you don't have a blog you can use a Goodreads, Shelfari, FB, whatever
  4. Submit your review for each category in their respective linkies
So here we go!
  1. Visit the Country: Ōoku: The Inner Chamber, Vol. 1 - Fumi Yoshinaga
  2. Cover Lust: The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny
  3. Blame in on Bloggers: Night Film - Marisha Pessl
  4. Bargain All the Way: 
  5. (Not So) Fresh From the Oven: Reconstructing Amelia - Kimberly McCreight
  6. First Letter's Rule: Killer - Sara Shepard
  7. Once Upon a Time: The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 1 - Kazuo Uzema (1974)
  8. Chunky Brick: The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss (722 pages)
  9. Favorite Author: The Darkest Evening of the Year - Dean Koontz
  10. It's Been There Forever: Farm Fatale - Wendy Holden
  11. Movies vs Books: The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
  12. Freebies Time: Every Secret Thing - Laura Lippman
  13. Not My Cup of Tea: The Serpent's Tale - Ariana Franklin
  14. Walking Down the Memory Lane: 

dystopia reading challenge


I haven't done any genre specific reading challenges before (except YA) so I thought this was a good one to start with since I've got quite a few of these on my tbr list.  Hosted by Blog of Erised and full of fun stuff including some very cool looking badges!  There's a badge for each level so I'm starting with the first level.  Off the top of my head I can think of about 5 dystopian books I have yet to read so that's a good starting point.

Rules are outlined in detail on BE's blog and you can see those as well as sign up here.

Level 1Recruit (1 to 6 books)
Level 2Rebel (7 to 12 books)
Level 3Revolutionist (13 to 18 books)
Level 4Leader (19+ books)

Levels are:
  • Recruit - 1 to 6 books
  • Rebel - 7 to 12 books
  • Revolutionist - 13 to 18 books
  • Leader - 19+ books
So I'm going to start with Recruit and work my way up the ranks.

***Update***
I got my first badge!

meet the protagonist challenge


Over at Litlequeen Rules there's an interesting challenge gearing up for 2014.  Meet the Protagonist gives us the type of protagonist we're looking for, in 8 different categories.  Rules are similar to other challenges.  The challenge runs from Jan 1, 2014 through Dec 31, 2014.  Everything except for anthologies and essay collections are allowed (self-published books are allowed too!) in any format.  Rereads count too!  You don't have to have a blog, but make sure to post your reviews somewhere.  You have to read at least one book from each category and each book can only be used in one category.  Crossovers from other challenges are okay.

Categories are:
  1. A woman who is a mother: Reconstructing Amelia - Kimberly McCreight
  2. A real life person who is written into a fictional story: The Serpent's Tale - Ariana Franklin (King Henry & Queen Eleanor & Rosamund)
  3. A person that changes forms: Pure - Julianna Baggott
  4. A person who is from a country different than the one you currently live in: Farm Fatale - Wendy Holden (takes place in England)
  5. A person who lived before WWI: Still Life - Louise Penny (Ruth & Jane were both born in the 1930's)
  6. A person who lives by a body of water: God-Shaped Hole - Tiffanie DeBartolo (Venice Beach)
  7. A person younger than 18: Wicked - Sara Shepard
  8. A character that is in a book series: The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfus (Kingkiller series)
I'm kicking myself for reading the Nicholas Flamel series this year.  I could have used that one for #2!  That one's going to take some research I think!  Sign up to join me here.

cruisin' thru the cozies


From what I gather, a cozy is a mystery book with the focus on the mystery and not so much the main character's love life or outside stuff.  There's a way better explanation at the Cozy Mystery site.  Charlaine Harris's Shakespeare and Aurora Teagarden series are good examples I think.  I think I'm going to use this challenge to tackle some Agatha Christie books I've always wanted to read, but never got around to.

This challenge is hosted by Socrates' Book Reviews and you can sign up here.  The rules are there are well.

There are 4 levels and I'm going to start with Investigator.

  1. Snoop - Read at least 6 books
  2. Investigator - Read 7-12 books
  3. Super Sleuth - Read 13-20 books
  4. Sleuth Extraordinaire - Read 21+
I think I can probably do Super Sleuth, but we'll see.  I really enjoyed the Harris's Shakespeare books, but I don't think I've really read too many other 'cozies'.  Maybe I'll work on finishing Sue Grafton's Alphabet series or just start with a new author altogether.  We'll see!
  1. Still Life - Louise Penny
  2. The Hangman - Louise Penny
  3. A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny
  4. A Catered Murder - Isis Crawford
  5. Every Secret Thing - Laura Lippman
  6. The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny
  7. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder - Joanne Fluke
  8. A Rule Against Murder - Louise Penny




finishing the series


Yay!  A returning challenge!  Socrates' Book Reviews is once again hosting the Finishing the Series challenge.  I have a couple of series that I'd like to finish so I'll tackle this one again.  Levels are simple.  Level 1, finish 1 series, level 2, 2 series and level 3, 3 series.  I'm going to work on level three.

Rules!
  • Any number of books you have left in the series count.  So if you have all the books you can include that, if you just have one left that's okay too
  • You don't have to name your series in the beginning, but it is encouraged
  • Books must be read between Jan 1 and Dec 31, 2014
  • You don't have to have a blog to join
  • Any format counts

Series One - Alex Cross series by James Patterson
  1. Cross My Heart
Series Two - Jack Reacher series by Lee Child
Series Three - Armand Gamache by Louise Penny
  1. The Hangman
  2. Still Life
  3. A Fatal Grace
  4. The Cruelest Month
  5. A Rule Against Murder
  6. The Brutal Telling
  7. Bury Your Dead
  8. A Trick of the Light
  9. The Beautiful Mystery
  10. How the Light Gets In

i love libraries challenge


The book challenge that enables my library addiction!

Dragon's Book Lair is hosting the I Love Libraries Challenge and you can sign up here!  Standard challenge rules apply and the levels are:

  1. Board Book - 3
  2. Picture Book - 6
  3. Early Reader - 9
  4. Chapter Book - 12
  5. Middle Grades - 18
  6. Young Adult - 24
  7. Adult - 36
  8. Just Insert IV - 50
Guess which level I'm signing up for?  You got it!  Just Insert IV and leave me at the library.

  1. Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls - Scott Snyder
  2. Batman, Vol. 2: The City of Owls - Scott Snyder
  3. Harley & Ivy - Paul Dini
  4. 7 Billion Needles, Vol. 1 - Nobuaki Tadano
  5. Ōoku: The Inner Chamber, Vol. 1 - Fumi Yoshinaga
  6. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 1 - Mohiro Kitoh
  7. Dark Water - Koji Suzuki
  8. Chew, Vol. 1: Taster's Choice - John Layman
  9. 12 Reasons Why I Love Her - Jamie S. Rich
  10. North World, Vol. 1: The Epic of Conrad - Lars Brown
  11. Murder Mysteries - Neil Gaiman
  12. 7 Billion Needles, Vol. 2 - Nobuaki Tadano
  13. The Borden Tragedy - Rick Geary
  14. The Case of Madeleine Smith - Rick Geary
  15. The Beast of Chicago - Rick Geary
  16. The Saga of the Bloody Benders - Rick Geary
  17. 7 Billion Needles, Vol. 3 - Nobuaki Tadano
  18. 7 Billion Needles, Vol. 4 - Nobuaki Tadano
  19. Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 2 - Fumi Yoshinaga
  20. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 2 - Mohiro Kitoh
  21. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 3 - Mohiro Kitoh
  22. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 4 - Mohiro Kitoh
  23. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 5 - Mohiro Kitoh
  24. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 6 - Mohiro Kitoh
  25. Chew, Vol. 2: International Flavor - John Layman
  26. Chew, Vol. 3: Just Desserts - John Layman
  27. Chew, Vol. 4: Flambé - John Layman
  28. Chew, Vol. 5: Major League Chew - John Layman
  29. Chew, Vol. 6: Space Cakes - John Layman
  30. Pure - Julianna Baggott
  31. A Catered Murder - Isis Crawford
  32. Batman: Hush, Vol. 1 - Jeph Loeb
  33. Batman: Hush, Vol. 2 - Jeph Loeb
  34. Saga, Vol. 1 - Brian K. Vaughn
  35. Saga, Vol. 2 - Brian K. Vaughn
  36. Batman: The Long Halloween - Jeph Loeb
  37. Batman: War Games, Act One: Outbreak - Ed Brubaker
  38. Batman: War Games, Act Two: Tides - Ed Brubaker
  39. Batman: War Games, Act Three: End Game - Ed Brubaker
  40. Batman: War Crimes - Andersen Gabrych
  41. Batman: Year One, Ra's al Ghul - Devin Grayson
  42. Red Hood: The Lost Days - Judd Winick
  43. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 7 - Mohiro Kitoh
  44. Bokurano Ours, Vol. 8 - Mohiro Kitoh
  45. North World: The Epic of Conrad, Book 2 - Lars Brown
  46. Attack on Titan, Vol. 1 - Hajime Isayama
  47. Monster, Vol. 1 - Naoki Urasawa
  48. Batwoman, Vol. 1: Hydrology - J. H. Williams III
  49. Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader - Neil Gaiman
  50. Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 1: Gifted - Joss Whedon
  51. Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 2: Dangerous - Joss Whedon
  52. Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 3: Torn - Joss Whedon
  53. Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 4: Unstoppable - Joss Whedon
  54. Dancing Barefoot - Wil Wheaton**
  55. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 1 - Kazuo Uzema
  56. The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 2 - Kazuo Uzema
  57. Batman: False Faces - Brian K. Vaughn
  58. Batman: Under the Red Hood - Judd Winick
  59. Batman: R.I.P. - Grant Morrison
  60. Batman: Life After Death - Tony S. Daniel
  61. Batman: The Black Mirror - Scott Snyder
  62. Batman: The Joker's Last Laugh - Chuck Dixon
  63. Batman: The Wrath - Mike Barr & Tony Bedard

mount tbr


I have a TBR challenge for my ebooks, one for books that have been in my pile for over a year and one that is for books that are on my TBR list, but I might not actually own yet.

The Mount TBR Challenge is being hosted by My Readers Block and you can sign up by clicking here.

Books must be owned before January 1, 2014.  Any format is okay (although I will be using this challenge primarily for physical books) and you don't have to have a blog to sign up.  You can sign up until November 2014 and you'll need to pick a level to start with.  You can't go down, but you can keep climbing up.  You can list your books ahead of time, but you don't have to.

Here's the levels:
  • Pike's Peak - 12 books
  • Mount Blanc - 24 books
  • Mt. Vancouver - 36 books
  • Mt. Ararat - 48 books
  • Mt. Kilimanjaro - 60 books
  • El Toro - 75 books
  • Mt. Everest - 100 books
  • Mount Olympus - 150 +
I'm starting with Pike's Peak
  1. The Serpent's Tale - Ariana Franklin
  2. Dust to Dust - Tami Hoag
  3. The Darkest Evening of the Year - Dean Koontz
  4. Cocktails for Three - Madeleine Wickham
  5. Because I'm Worth It - Cecily von Ziegesar
  6. All I Want Is Everything - Cecily von Ziegesar
  7. I Like It Like That - Cecily von Ziegesar
  8. God-Shaped Hole - Tiffanie DeBartolo
  9. Farm Fatale by Wendy Holden
  10. Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag
  11. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me - Mindy Kaling
  12. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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