June 30, 2010

First Half of 2010 Wrap-up

Since we're now halfway through 2010, I thought I'd do an update on my progress so far. 
Books Read in 2010: My reading goal for 2010 is 75 books. As of the end of June, I've read 50! I'm on track, and I will probably surpass my goal. Click on the "Challenges" tab at the top of the screen to see the list of books I've read. I don't have a review for each book since I've only been blogging for two months, but you can see all my reviews by clicking on the "Reviews" tab up there.

Did you know that on Goodreads you can view statistics for your reading habits? I recently discovered this, and it's really cool! Goodreads tells me that this year I've read 13,764 pages in the last 6 months. Wow! This is compared to only 4,880 in all of 2009. 

On my statistics page, I can also see that I've given 5 stars to only 8 of the books I've read this year. Here's are my 5-star-worthy-reads:

  • Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • We Were Here by Matt de la Peña
  • Insatiable by Meg Cabot
  • Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families by Kevin M. Gilmartin, Ph. D. (Recommended by my police officer boyfriend) 

The longest book I've read so far this year is Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes (496 pages).

Summer Reading: I set my summer reading goal at 200 hours. So far I'm at 135 hours, which is 67% of my goal. I have one more month, and I think I'm on track to reaching my goal.

Grad school: After I finish this Young Adult Literature class, I'll be halfway done with grad school!

How are your goals for the year coming along? Leave me a comment, or post about it and leave the link in the comments! Happy reading, 

Wednesday Web Wanderings (9)

This is a collection of interesting book-related things I've come across online recently. Check 'em out!

Hope you enjoy the links!

June 29, 2010

Library Advocacy Day!

Today is Library Advocacy Day. If you love your library, be sure to take some time to visit the ALA's website on Library Advocacy Day and see what it's all about. You can also visit the Legislative Action Center. It's really easy to send an e-mail message to your representatives through this website - the body of the message is already written out for you! You can always add or change the message as well, if  you have a personal story to tell. Let the government know how important libraries are for you! Also, check out ilovelibraries.org if you have some time.  

June 28, 2010

Review - Princess in Love (The Princess Diaries Vol. III)

Princess Mia's story continues as the first semester of freshman year comes to a close and she gears up for her formal televised introduction to the Genovian people. Mia has finally landed a boyfriend - but it's not exactly the love story she had been hoping for. Mia likes her boyfriend Kenny (her Bio lab partner), but she's not sure she loves him. And the idea of kissing him kind of grosses her out. On the other hand, daydreaming about kissing her best friend's older brother, Michael, does NOT gross her out. Mia knows that she should really break up with Kenny, but that would mean she might fail Biology without his help, and she might have to be dateless to the winter dance! Mia isn't acting very princess-like by leading Kenny on. Should she follow her heart...even if it mean's breaking Kenny's heart? I enjoyed Princess in Love even more than the first and second books. Mia's confusion about the opposite sex was definitely easy to relate to, and it reminded me of my own awkward dating years! I had fun listening to the audiobook, and I look forward to finding out what happens to Mia and company in the next installment of The Princess Diaries.  

Rating: 4/5

This review is cross-posted on goodreads.

Review - Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman

I'm a big fan of Gary Chapman's writing, having already read The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts and The Five Love Languages for Singles. In his latest book, Chapman, an experienced counselor, shares his wisdom about the different stages of love and the common problems that all couples face. Using examples from his own marriage and stories of those he has counseled, Chapman provides expert advice on arguing, apologizing, and forgiving your partner. He also asks readers to consider their future spouse's attitudes and beliefs toward sex, money, housework, family, and spirituality.

Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married was a thought-provoking read. This book is for everyone - singles, dating couples, engaged couples, or married couples. No matter what your relationship status is, you can benefit from listening to Chapman's advice. I appreciated the real-life examples from Champan's own marriage and from the couples he has counseled. I also liked that each chapter finished with a "Talking It Over" section of discussion questions. The appendix includes a learning exercise, a list of resources, and a list of websites for further advice. 

There was a lot of talk about the five love languages, and I found myself only skimming those parts because I had already read a few of his other books. However, it was interesting to see how the love languages were incorporated into all of these lessons.

Rating: 4/5

This book releases 9-1-10. I received an ARC from NetGalley courtesy of Moody Publishers. 
This review is cross-posted on goodreads.

June 27, 2010

It's Monday: What Are You Reading? (9)

What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey where bloggers gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

I finished (reviews coming soon): 
I am currently reading: 
  • After by Amy Efaw (audiobook)
  • Up! A Pragmatic Look at the Direction of Life: 356 Ways Today Is the Best Time to Be Alive by David Niven (ARC)
Next up: 
What are you reading? 

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a time for everyone to share what books they acquired over the course of the week. I'll share what I received in the mail, bought at bookstores, or picked up from the library. 

In the mail: 
From the library: 

From the bookstore: 
  • Paper Towns by John Green (not pictured - My John Green collection is now complete! I need 2 more books signed and then I'll be happy)
eBooks for review (from NetGalley):
What do you think of my loot this week? What's in your mailbox? 

June 26, 2010

Review - Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

Ida Mae Jones is a young woman who lives with her family on a farm in 1940s Louisiana. Her father had taught her how to fly a plane before he died. Ida Mae dreams of becoming a pilot, but as a black woman, she is unable to get a license. When the United States joins World War II, Ida Mae's older brother is shipped overseas.When Ida Mae learns of the new Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), she immediately wants to join. However, she soon learns that black women are not allowed. Ida Mae's skin is very light for a black woman, so she makes the dangerous choice to try to "pass" as white. She also alters her father's old pilot license to make it look like it's her own. Ida Mae loves being a WASP, and she excels as a pilot. She even makes a few good friends during training. But deep down she feels ashamed of herself for hiding her true identity. What will happen if her secret is revealed? Will her family forgive her hiding her true heritage? What will she do when the war is over?  

Flygirl is an excellent piece of historical fiction. Ida Mae felt like very real character that was easy to connect to. The story is very well-written and engaging. It piqued my interest about the WASP program and made me want to learn more. The ending was a little vague for me, but I suppose that's just another element that made the story feel real. The ends aren't always tied up nicely in real life!

Rating: 4/5

This review is cross-posted on goodreads and my library's blog.

June 25, 2010

YA Lit Class - Session 7

This week, my YA Lit class met online because our professor was at the ALA Annual Conference. We held our discussion on online forums. I wasn't a big fan of the online discussion, but I better get used to it because in the fall I'll be taking all online classes...

Anyway, it was historical fiction week. We read and discussed Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith. I really enjoyed this book! I'll be sharing my review with you soon.

We also read and discussed Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes. This one was a whopping 500+ pages, which generated a lot of discussion! I'll post my review soon.

Have a happy Friday! 

June 24, 2010

Book Blogger Hop! June 25-28

If you're visiting from the Hop, welcome! 

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted over aCrazy-for-Books where "book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!" It lasts Friday-Monday each week, so if you don't have time to join today, you can still join later. It's easy to participate! All you have to do is go to the post I linked above and enter the following information: the name of your blog, how long you've been blogging, and what genres you primarily review. 

Then take some time to visit blogs listed on the Hop. 
If you start following someone through the Book Blogger Hop, leave them a comment and let them know! 

Review - Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (audiobook)

Mattie Cook is a young girl living with her widowed mother and grandfather above their family's coffeeshop. It is 1793, and Philadelphia was then the capital of the United States.

When the Yellow Fever breaks out, thousands of people die and the rest begin fleeing the city. When her own mother becomes feverish, Mattie is ushered out into the country with her grandfather. When they return, Mattie cannot find her mother, and Mattie's struggle to survive the epidemic is far from over. As Mattie puts it, "Though we had all healed of the fever, some of the wounds were in the heart and would mend slowly."

I listened to the unabridged audiobook version of this book. While I found the historical information interesting, I had trouble connecting to the characters. I think part of the problem was that the narrator didn't make any attempt to distinguish between characters' voices. At times I wasn't sure who was speaking. Also, I think I went into the book with too high of expectations, having loved all of Laurie Halse Anderson's other books.

I really liked the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. One that stuck with me was: "Doctors waving and disputing, death's pale army still recruiting..." which is a quote from Phillip Frenau's poem "Pestilence: Written During the Prevalence of a Yellow Fever." I also liked the appendix, which included a lot of historical information about the Yellow Fever. I think Fever 1793 is a nice piece of historical fiction, but I wish I had gotten to know the characters more.

Rating: 3/5

This review is cross-posted on goodreads and my library's blog.

June 23, 2010

Review - 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew by Garth Johnson

This book caught my eye because of the interesting cover. Also, I'm a big fan of browsing on sites like Etsy to see creative ways that people have reused everyday items.

I finished the book in one sitting! Besides the 2 page introduction, there weren't a lot of words in this book. The 1000 images are presented along with the name of the creator and where they are from. The images are organized into 6 chapters (though the author admits many of the items overlap categories):
-Paper, Collage, & Assemblage
-Couture & Soft Goods
-Jewelry & Adornments
-Geek Craft & Man Craft
-Housewares & Furnishings
-Art, Interiors, & Installations

Examples of some of the ideas I liked: Book covers made into purses, books made into bookshelves, postcards used as wallpaper, jewelry made out of typewriter keys or Scrabble letters (I have a necklace charm made out of a typewriter key from a local store!), a chair made entirely of wine corks, and a quilt made of squares cut out of old t-shirts (I have one of these, too - my mom's friend made it for me). 

1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse is filled with so many great ideas, but even if you're not inclined to attempt to make any of the items, it's still fun to look at them all. My only complaint is that I had to look in the image directory in the back of the book to figure out what materials went into the items - I wish it had simply been listed underneath the picture because I tired of flipping back and forth.

Rating: 4/5

This review is cross-posted on goodreads.


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