The Alphabet on My Shelf [TSS]

AZ TBR PileYou know when you see a post on someone’s blog and think “I’ve got to do that”? Well, that’s what happened to me last week, when I spotted C.B.’s A-Z post of books. His idea? Go through the alphabet only using books from your TBR pile. It was inspiration for the Double Dog Dare “challenge” to read only TBR books until 1 April – and it worked, at least for me.

I had an absolute ball putting this list together. As I went through my shelves I remembered a bunch of books that I had genuinely forgotten about… I had been so excited to buy some of them, but promptly forgot about them as soon as I got home! For example, my copy of Heist Society? It’s signed. How could I have forgotten that?

Anyhow, I’m rather proud of my list – I only had to cheat a wee bit!

  • Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh
  • Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre
  • Chime by Franny Billingsley
  • Die for Me by Amy Plum
  • Entice by Carrie Jones
  • Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr
  • Gone by Lisa McMann
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter
  • Impossible by Nancy Werlin
  • The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Isle Witch by Terry Brooks
  • Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
  • Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint
  • North Child by Edith Pattou
  • Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Radin
  • Pegasus by Robin McKinley
  • Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead
  • Rampant by Diane Peterfund
  • Split by Stefan Petrucha
  • Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon
  • Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
  • Vampire Empire: The Rift Walker by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith
  • Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready
  • HeX Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  • The Seven RaYs by JessicaBendinger
  • Zombies Don’t Cry by Rusty Fischer

Do you think you can do this with books from your TBR pile? Give it a go and find out!

2013 Resolutions: The year of cunning plans

I’ve got quite a few, rather specific, reading/blogging resolutions for 2013. I’ve read that specificity and planning are the keys to successful resolutions, so this year I’ve got some concrete plans.

1. Read My Favourites

It isn’t “normal” to hoard your favourite authors and then not read them: but then, I’ve never been accused of being normal!

Some of my favourite authors and series are sitting on my TBR pile – guaranteed good reads that I haven’t got to yet. This might seem mad to you, but I like to hoard books that I know I am going to like… problem is, sometimes I get to them and the magic has worn off (or I’ve forgotten the name of the main character). This year I won’t let that happen! Here’s a few that I will definitely be reading:

  • Endgame by Ann Aguirre
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore
  • Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
  • Blue-Blooded Vamp by Jaye Wells
  • Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

2. Finish the sequels

2012 saw quite a few books started and then left unfinished, many of them sequels to series I’ve genuinely enjoyed in the past. The three below I put down for very good reasons at the time, but they are still haunting me… and I really want to move on and read their sequels:
  • Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
  • A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
  • The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien

3. Relax and enjoy whatever it is I’m reading… but remember the books!

I felt a wee-bit guilty about all the fanfic I read last year… but it was all so good. This year I am going to try not to feel guilty… while also picking up more books. I know the two can coexist – I’ve done it before!

4. Remember my challenges

I always go a bit challenge-mad at the end of the year… and then never complete them. While I am self-aware enough to know that probably won’t change, I want to try this year! Even if I don’t complete them, I would like to make some solid attempts. This year I’ve signed up to:
  • NewAuthors Challenge
  • The TBR Double Dog Dare (1 Jan. to 1 Apr.)
  • The Feminist Reads Challenge
  • Book to Movie Challenge
  • YA Contemporary Challenge
and am keeping track of them all here.

5. Schedule posts

I am a chronic sufferer of bloggers block – it’s official. My plan for 2013: schedule posts when I am having a blogging-high so that I don’t feel too guilty during my blogger-slumps!

6. Make the move to WordPress

I’ve gotten rather fed up with blogger, especially since Google took it over. My experience with wordpress has, on the other hand, been nothing but brilliant. However, making the move will take time that I don’t currently have. Maybe this summer? Let’s hope!And… that’s all! I don’t think I’ve set the bar too high – most of these are things I’d like to do anyways. ♥

2013 Challenges

Another year, another bout of challenges… and I loooove challenges. This year I’ve chosen a bunch of new-to-me challenges, and I am super excited about them all.

Year-long Challenges

New Authors Challenge at Literary Escapism (sign up page)

The aim of this challenge is to read books by new-to-us authors. I’ve taken part in Literary Escapism’s mini-challenges for this New Authors Challenge before, and found loads of great books from it. This year, I’m going all the way and will read 15 books  hopefully most from my TBR pile.

  1. Sarah Dessen (Last Chance)
  2. Ally Carter (Heist Society)
  3. Saci Lloyd (Quantum Drop)
  4. Jackson Pearce (Sweetly)
  5. John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
  6. Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere)
  7. Ruta Sepetys (Out of the Easy)
  8. Elizabeth George (The Edge of Nowhere)
  9. Amanda Sun (Ink)
  10. Katie McGarry (Dare You To)
  11. Susan Ee (Angelfall)
  12. Faith Erin Hicks (The Adventures of Superhero Girl)
  13. Eve Silver (Rush)
  14. Alice Hoffman (Survival Lessons)
  15. Rick Yancey (The 5th Wave)

The Feminist Reads Challenge at The Hiding Spot (sign up page)

This challenge encourages you to read books that can be considered “feminist” reads. How we define feminism is up to us, but Sara at The Hiding Spot gives us this great quote for inspiration:

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”– Rebecca West

I’m going for just 5 books, but I honestly think most of the books I read are feminist books so I will get more than that done.
  1. Heist Society by Ally Carter – Girl decides to save her father by pulling off the greatest art heist ever. Can’t get any more equal-opportunities than that!
  2. Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead – Some might not agree with me, but I have always thought Rose was the ultimate female character.
  3. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – Scarlet was the perfect YA feminist character. She doesn’t let any social barriers stand in her way!
  4. Angelfall by Susan Ee – Angelfall’s heroine easily meets my definition of a feminist role model. The fact that she was female was only secondary to her situation and she sorted out anyone who disagreed.
  5. The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks – This is the ultimate Feminist comic! Absolute must for… everyone.
  6. Outpost by Ann Aguirre – Deuce doesn’t let an entire horde of puritans tell her what she can and can’t do as a woman. She’s having none of it.

Book to Movie Challenge at Doing Dewey (sign up here)
This is a double challenge: to review books and their movies. Since I’ve got quite a few I’d like to read before their films come out, this is the perfect challenge for me! I’m going for 3 books, “Movie Fan” level, and plan to tackle:
  1. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  2. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  3. The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien – I’m half way through this and keep meaning to finish it. I plan to pair it up with a rewatch of the movie!

Mini Challenges and Dares!

COMPLETE: 1 January to 1 April

The TBR Double Dog Dare at Ready When You Are, CB (sign up here)

This challenge is super brilliant, and may just be my favourite of the year. It’s not a challenge, it’s a dare: to read books only from our TBR piles until the beginning of April. Seeing as how I really, really need to deal with my mounting TBR pile, this dare is exactly what I need!

  1. Last Chance by Sarah Dessen
  2. Heist Society by Ally Carter 
  3. Sweetly by Jackson Pearce 
  4. Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

ETA: OK, so I cracked and read a few new-to-my-shelves books. I’d apologize but… they were all really good!

Not Just For Stormtroopers: The 2012 Science Fiction Challenge

I love science fiction in any and every form. I am one of those people who used to schedule their lives around Star Trek’s airtime. I grew up on the Animorphs series and own all 55 books plus the extras. Give me aliens and give me glory.

That said, I don’t actually read that much sci-fi! And ya know what? That kinda sucks. So I’ve signed up for the 2012 Sci-Fi Challenge over at Curiosity Killed the Bookworm. The challenge only requires you to read one sci-fi novel a month, but I am going to try to read 20 Science Fiction novels this year.

Oh, I should also mention that the challenge includes an optional monthly book club. I’ll be taking part in these whenever I can!

So here’s what I’ve read so far (I will keep track as I go along):

  1. Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre
  2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  3. Killbox by Ann Aguirre
  4. Aftermath by Ann Aguirre
  5. Breathe by Sarah Crossan

The End is Year (The 2011 Challenge Wrap-up Post)

Another year, another bunch of not-so-completed challenges! 2011 will officially go down as the year that I didn’t quite make it.

For starters, I only managed to read 63 books. That’s eight less than last year! That just seems wrong… I feel like I should have either improved my “count” or at least stayed the same. While, yes, I know it is not about the numbers, I still feel like I missed out on a whole bunch of books this year because I just didn’t have the time. This year? I will have to find the time.

In terms of challenges, I signed up to only four last year… and successfully completed one. For the second year running, I signed up for the Debut YA Author Challenge. I managed to read 9/12 debut novels – not bad! Unfortunately, quite a few of the debut books I read were duds. Not bad, per say, but not great. But, of course, some were fantastic – like Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and Enclave by Ann Aguirre.

Then there was the A-Z Challenge, which I can’t say I really participated in. Even though I updated the list with the books I’d read, I didn’t go out of my way to read books that started with letters I hadn’t read. I thought that the challenge might get me to read books I wouldn’t have otherwise… but it didn’t.

I also signed up for the Off the Shelf Challenge, in which I had to read 50 books I already owned. I didn’t do too badly, reading 31 novels that had been on my shelves the year before. In fact, now that I think of that, I’m rather proud of my 31 books!

One challenge I did complete this year was the TBR Newbies Mini-Challenge. I have always enjoyed the New Author Mini Challenges held by Literary Escapism, and this one was no exception! The challenge got me to read books by Naomi Novik, Suzanne Collins and Alan Brennert – all of whom made my Top Ten list of the year. I think I might actually sign up for the New Authors challenge this year, seeing how well I’ve been doing with the mini-challenges…

And that’s all for 2011. I’ll be summing up my reading resolutions for 2012 sometime tomorrow… they should look something like this:

  1. Read books.
  2. Read good books.
  3. Read excellent books.
  4. DNF bad books.