January 31, 2012

January 2012 Wrap-up

My new favorite coffee mug - This has nothing to do with the post, but I had to show it off!  :)
It was a good reading month for me. I finished 9 books: 

1. Renegade Magic by Stephanie Burgis (ARC - reviewed for VOYA)
2. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
3. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake 
4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
5. Wide Awake by David Levithan
6. Beastly by Alex Flinn
7. The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman
8. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
9. Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby (ARC - reviewed for NetGalley)

Formats: Three of those were eBooks, four were audiobooks, and two were print books. 

Source: Five were library books, two were from my collection, and two were review copies. 

Challenges: I reviewed one book for the Debut Author Challenge and one book for the TBR Pile Reading Challenge. I'm on track to meet my 2012 goal of 100 books read. Hopefully I can keep up the pace! 

Book Clubs: Our staff book club read The Postmistress, and the FYA Book Club read The Ruby in the Smoke. Both books were just okay for me. I liked them but probably wouldn't read them again. 

Favorite book of the month: I'm sure this will not come as a surprise to you...The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I was literally hugging this book when I finished it. I want to read it over and over and over! I was going to write a review, but I don't think I can say it any better than they did over at Forever Young Adult

Currently reading: I'm listening to Room by Emma Donoghue (a staff book club pick for February). I'm also reading Fallout by Ellen Hopkins (print) and Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons (eBook). I can't just read one book at a time - I have one going in every format right now!

Work: The highlight of the month for me was our third annual Life-size Lock in event at the library. Our Teen Advisory Board members help run the after-hours event. We play life-sized versions of popular games such as Monopoly, Clue, Sorry, and Candyland. We also had a station set up to play Memory (using teens' pictures as the game cards). It was a lot of fun, and everything went smoothly! I even convinced my husband to help chaperone. :) 

Another thing I'm excited about at work is that we now have moved a reference desk and computer in the teen room. My supervisor and I take turns staffing the desk in the afternoons. It helps us keep an eye on the teens and help regulate their noise level (our teen room is not enclosed so noise travels!). It's also nice to be back there more often and get to know some of the teens a bit better. 

How was your January? 

Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby


"Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment."

This book is a really fun read. After reading the plot summary, you may think you can predict the ending, but I can guarantee that there are some interesting plot twists you won't see coming! The romantic elements were sweet, and I couldn't help but smile during a few scenes. I also enjoyed getting a glimpse into the secret lives of paparazzi and celebrities. 

Jo is a likable main character who is easy to relate to. She's driven and goal-oriented.  She knows that taking an unpleasant job is necessary in order for her to achieve her goals, but at the same time, she also knows that there are certain lines that shouldn't be crossed. Jo shows growth over the course of the story as she learns to stay true to herself and stand up for what she wants out of life. 

Pick up this book  if you're looking for a fun, light read with a hint of romance. Shooting Stars releases February 28th. 

P.S. How adorable is that cover?

I recieved an e-galley of this book thanks to NetGalley and Walker Children's Books.  

January 29, 2012

In My Mailbox (60)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story SirenIt'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, downloaded to my Nook/iPad, or picked up from the library.

It's been awhile since I participated in IMM. In January I didn't buy a ton of books. I got my pre-ordered copy of The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (won in a contest - thanks Jennie!). I also found some Hanklerfished copies in a local grocery store. Of course, I had to snatch one up for myself (and another copy to giveaway soon!). Hubby doesn't understand why I needed to get multiple copies and what the significance of the fish drawing is. But I know my fellow Nerdfighers will get it! :) 

What's in your mailbox this week? 

January 27, 2012

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

The second installment of Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet features Emma, a wedding florist and one of the founders of Vows—Connecticut’s premiere wedding company. Emma loves being surrounded by flowers and her three best friends on the job. Though she gets a lot of attention from men, she hasn’t found the right guy just yet. She’s a big romance junkie and wants to be swept off her feet. When her longtime friend Jack starts to hint that he wants to be more than friends, Emma admits that she has feelings for him, too. As their romance develops, she worries that he will not be able to commit to the lifelong love she yearns for. 

This was a light, fun read, but the plot was a little predictable. I think the ending was a bit too rushed and some of Emma’s actions seemed out of character. Overall, though, I would recommend this book to fans of romance and chick flicks for an entertaining read. I plan to finish the series – I enjoy the glimpses into the wedding planning business and the emphasis on strong female friendships.

January 26, 2012

Library Love (17)

I noticed that when I talk about libraries with friends and family members, they often say, "I didn't know libraries offered that!" Library Love is a feature in which I share many different reasons for people to use and love their local library. Some things I mention may be obvious to those of you who routinely use your public library, but others may be new to you. Either way I hope that this feature inspires you to visit and support your local library! 

17. Catch up on your favorite TV shows or discover new-to-you shows on DVD. 

Money is tight for a lot of us nowadays, and  many people are cancelling their cable. Libraries offer free (or cheap) DVDs of  popular TV shows for you to check out. Need to catch up on your favorite show by watching past seasons? Want to discover a new show to get hooked on? Try TV on DVDs at the library! 

January 25, 2012

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Kyle Kingsbury used to have it all – money, good looks, and popularity at his elite Manhattan private school. Now, all that is gone thanks to a spell cast on him by a witch he encountered at school. Kyle has always been spoiled and vain. In the past, he relied on his attractiveness to get what he wants in life, so he finds it extremely difficult to adapt to his new beast-like appearance. He leaves school and goes into hiding. For a long time, the only human contact he has is with his housekeeper and his tutor. His own father doesn’t even want anything to do with him. In order to break the spell and return to his human form, Kyle must find his true love within the next two years.  

This modern retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” is told from the beast’s point of view. Kyle not only transforms in appearance, but also in his character. It is interesting to watch this transformation as he slowly becomes a more caring, thoughtful person. The romance was a little lacking in chemistry in my opinion, and I thought that aspect of the plot could have been more developed. I wasn’t a big fan of the chat room segments in each chapter, either, although they did provide a few humorous moments. While the ending is not a surprise to those familiar with “Beauty in the Beast,” Beastly is an enjoyable, quick read that adds to the original tale by providing the beast’s perspective. 

January 2, 2012

2011 Wrap-Up

Wow, 2011 was a great year! I finished grad school, started working full-time, and got married! My husband joined the military, and we bought our first house. Life has been pretty good! 

I signed up for a lot of blog challenges last year! Here's how I did: 

Harry Potter Challenge - completed 

YA Historical Fiction Challenge - 4/6 books read

2011 Debut Author Challenge - 3/12 books read 

Support Your Local Library Challenge - completed (51+ books read)

111 in 2011 Challenge - completed

Here's the full list of what I read this year! 
1. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (audiobook)
2. Glass by Ellen Hopkins
3. Winning by Losing: Drop the Weight, Change Your Life by Jillian Michaels
4. The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
5. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (audiobook)
6. Seeing Red by Susan Crandall
7. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (audiobook)
8. Vision in White by Susan Crandall
9. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (audiobook)
10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
11. A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane
12. Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson (audiobook)
13. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
14. Building Treehouses for Learning: Technology in Today's Classroom by Annette Lamb
15. The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction by Joyce G. Saricks
16. Impossible by Nancy Werlin (audiobook)
17. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
18. Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going (audiobook)
19. Night Hawk by Stephen Overholser
20. The Spark: The 28-Day Breakthrough Plan for Losing Weight, Getting Fit, and Transforming Your Life by Chris Downie
21. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (audiobook)
22. Making the Corps by Thomas E. Ricks
23. All-American Girl by Meg Cabot (audiobook)
24. What They Don't Teach You in Library School by Elisabeth Doucett
25. I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
26. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer (audiobook)
27. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
28. Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones
29. The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder 
30. The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen R. Covey
31. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
32. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson (audiobook)
33. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
34. Bossypants by Tina Fey
35. Matched by Ally Condie (audiobook)
36. Stitches by David Small
37. The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill (ARC)
38. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
39. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (audiobook)
40. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
41. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley
42. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
43. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley
44. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (audiobook)
45. Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness by Bryan Lee O'Malley
46. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (audiobook)
47. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
48. Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together by Bryan Lee O'Malley
49. Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe by Bryan Lee O'Malley
50. Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O'Malley
51. The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler (audiobook)
52. Harry Potter Film Wizardry by Brian Sibley
53. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (audiobook, re-read)
54. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (audiobook)
55. Nocturne by Christine Johnson (ARC)
56. Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me by Chelsea Handler (audiobook)
57. The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection by Neil Gaiman (audiobook)
58. Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska's WWI Invasion by Samantha Seiple (ARC)
59. Columbine by Dave Cullen
60. Delirium by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)
61. Workplace Learning and Leadership by Paul Signorelli and Lori Reed
62. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
63. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (audiobook)
64. Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
65. Valentine Princess by Meg Cabot
66. Sweet Sixteen Princess by Meg Cabot
67. Princess on the Brink by Meg Cabot
68. Princess Lessons by Meg Cabot
69. Perfect Princess by Meg Cabot
70. The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder
71. Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen (audiobook)
72. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
73. Overbite by Meg Cabot
74. Ready or Not by Meg Cabot (audiobook)
75. Princess Mia by Meg Cabot
76. Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent
77. Forever Princess by Meg Cabot
78. Virals by Kathy Reichs (audiobook)
79. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)
80. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
81. Holiday Princess by Meg Cabot
82. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning (audiobook, re-read)
83. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (audiobook)
84. Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller (audiobook, re-read)
85. Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
86. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
87. Somebody Please Tell Me Who I Am  by Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis (ARC)
88. UnChristian by David Kinnaman (audiobook)
89. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (audiobook)
90. Croak by Gina Damico (ARC)
91. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
92. Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres (audiobook)
93. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
94. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
95. Tales of Terror by Edgar Allan Poe (audiobook)
96. Something Blue by Emily Giffin
97. Stiff: The Curious Live of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (audiobook)
98. If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't) by Betty White (audiobook)
99. Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton (audiobook)
100. The Total Money Makeover (3rd edition) by Dave Ramsey
101. My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster (audiobook)
102. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (re-read)
103. The Alzheimer's Prevention Program: Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life by Gary Small, M.D. and Gigi Vorgan
104. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
105. Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix
106. Wicked by Gregory Maguire (audiobook)
107. Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie
108. Inconceivable: A Medical Mistake, the Baby We Couldn't Keep, and Our Choice to Deliver the Ultimate Gift by Carolyn and Sean Savage (audiobook)
109. Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgess
110. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
111. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (audiobook)

I also challenged myself to read more classics, local authors, and YA award winners in 2011. I read a handful of books in each category, but I would have liked to read more. How was your 2011? Did you meet your goals?  


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