A little bit of reading…

Or at least I would like this week to involve a little bit of reading. It’s July 2nd, which means the Summer Lovin’ Read-A-Thon officially kicked off yesterday. I found myself on the busy side of things, so I accomplished little reading. Today, I hope, will not be a repeat of yesterday! Either way, I took a trip downtown for a scheduled library raid to pick up several books. Although most of the books I plan to read are from the library, I won’t make an official Library Loot post. I don’t have an exact “reading schedule,” either, but here is what’s set for Summer Lovin’ week!

reading 1

CURRENTLY READING:

I thought I would have finished Neftzger’s book by now, and I easily could have. I enjoy her writing and the story immensely, told in fairy tale-like fashion, and the book proves highly readable. What stands between me and finishing The Orphanage of Miracles are other books! You might say I started Summer Lovin’s Read-A-Thon a few days early, as I took the weekend to read up through the third book in Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series. (What can I say? The series is addicting. Thank you, Tamora Pierce.)

As you can see, I also started Battle Royale. This is for Underrated Bookers, a group run by Rebecca (thebooker) on Goodreads. From the Underrated Book Project, books are chosen each month. For this month, the group picked books from the dystopian genre: Battle Royale, Ready Player One, and The Darkest Minds, so if you’d like to take part feel free to join the group! (You do not have to read all three books.)

Moving on to library books, now…

LL 1

I’m starting the library loot list off with leftovers. Yes: these are the very same books from two weeks ago. You can bet I’ll finish Lioness Rampant, if not this week then certainly by the following week.

LL 2

I am terribly excited to read this stack! I’ve said recently that I am itching for fantasy and steampunk, and, well… steampunk took over. My one and only worry is that I won’t enjoy these books as much as I’d like to. I can’t say I’m new to steampunk, as I do love the fashion and steampunk concepts that are used in films, but I am new to steampunk in literature. I’ve read so-so and mixed reviews for The Pearl Wars and Boneshaker–though I must say that my eagerness to read them doesn’t waver. I think the most promising out of these three might be Westerfeld’s Leviathan. His Uglies series isn’t for me, but Leviathan sure does have an appeal.

LL 3

Again: another great stack I look forward to. The Darkest Minds has sat on my to-read shelf since before its publication, and I am hoping to use Underrated Bookers as an excuse to finally read it. The sequel is due out soon enough, so I really do hope to make room for it at some point during July.

Of course, I believe I mentioned The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Wildwood Dancing in a Top Ten Tuesday post, which I still hope to read before summer turns into fall. I admit that I’m most antsy to start Jemisin’s book, as the summary and cover have a fancy, wondrous appeal that I have trouble denying.

LL 4

Sky Castle is a quick children’s picture book, which I discovered in the library’s catalog as I hunted down steampunk titles. Just to clarify: Sky Castle is NOT a children’s steampunk picture book, but I don’t deny the allure of one. I also have Melina Marchetta’s The Piper’s Son here, and I’m awfully excited to read it. I loved Saving Francesca, so I am eager to start the companion novel, like, right now.

Naturally, as an ATLA fanatic, I need to read The Search, where Zuko teams up with Azula to discover the truth of what happened to their mother. I weep tears of joy. Really, I do–and for a couple of reasons. The first being: Azula. She alone is one of the best villains I love to love, and I love her character all-around. (As I do Zuko. How can you not like him?) Secondly: we may finally learn the truth! ATLA’s finale slapped me across the face when the creators left this cliff hanger dangling on all of our faces.

Last up…

book 2Yes, we all know I picked up Battle Royale to read and finish, but the one book–above all other books–I am dying to read is Airman by Eoin Colfer!

Eee! What is that sound? Squeals of excitement and bliss.

Once I finish The Orphanage of Miracles and Battle Royale, which books am I picking up next? Who knows. As much as I want to read Airman, I am known for neglecting my own books so that I can plow through towers of library loot. I’m also a mood-ish reader, and I will waste a day trying to figure out which book out the many I should read.

Problem solved:

reading mug

I point out: the creepy-faced reading mug, for it has an actual face, and I refuse to drink from it.

I pooled together titles that interest me and wrote their names on paper scraps before placing them in my “reading mug.” If I ever have difficulty choosing what to read, I can blindly pick a title. Suddenly: choices becomes less problematic.

(Remember: sign-ups for the Summer Lovin’ read-a-thon are open through July 6th! Just before the 24-hour reading marathon starts.)

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday #13

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish. Click  here to read more and join!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to read more and join!

This week’s TTT concerns top 10 books I’ve read in 2013. I’ve read under my usual number of books this year, and I might normally have a difficult time choose just 10 books. 2013, however, has not been my best year for reading–it started off well enough, and then I ran smack into one- and two-star books back-to-back-to-back. It frustrated me and stole a bit of my love for reading. I have read more books that aren’t brilliant but I do like, yet those aren’t enough to make my top ten. It’s only recently that I’m regaining enjoyment through some wonderful books, and I have some enticing reads planned out for the next few weeks. For now, though, here are my favorites of 2013:

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I am the Messenger

1. I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
After reading the heart-wrenching tear-jerker, The Book Thief, I wasn’t too sure that Zusak could impress me as much as he did with his 2006 bestseller. Whether he did or didn’t is hardly the point, as I don’t believe the two novels can compare against each other. The two books are profoundly different, and the one similarity they share is the person who wrote them: the wonderfully talented Markus Zusak. I am the Messenger punched my emotions all around, and at the same time, the story of Ed’s journey and personal growth is both touching and inspiring. If you haven’t read The Book Thief, or if you  have and didn’t enjoy it, I highly recommend giving this a try.

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Teeth

2. Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
For nearly a month, I did a little dance around the bookstore with Teeth only to sit it back on the shelf. I wanted to buy it–not just read it, but physically own it–yet I had little knowledge of the plot. All for the best, I’d say. I did succumb to the strong urge to buy Hannah Moskowitz’s book, and once I had it I read it and didn’t stop until I hit the last page. It’s gritty, it’s beautiful, and it’s bleak. Some might call the end bittersweet… I think it’s just sad, and it still gets my emotions wound up months after finishing the book. Good on you, Moskowitz — I look forward to reading the rest of her novels!

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Siege and Storm

3. Siege & Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Us Grisha fans waited a year to see this book’s publication, but how I wanted it to come out sooner–and desperately. Shadow & Bone remains one of my top favorite reads from 2012, just as Siege & Storm will remains one of my favorites from this year. Leigh Bardugo surprised me senseless and silly with how much growth both the characters and storyline undergo, and my one regret in reading Siege & Storm is reading it too soon and too quickly. Why? Because now all I care for is third (and–sob–last) Grisha book, Ruin & Rising, which does not come out until 2014.

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Saving Francesca

4. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
I’m disappointed that it took me this long to read a Melina Marchetta book. I did attempt Finnikin of the Rock–and I admit that just might not be the book for me–but it is Saving Francesca that became my first Marchetta read. It’s  heart-warming and heart-wrenching all at once, and it was well worth the moments my eyes teared up–and it is certainly worth reading for all the moments it made me laugh.

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The Knife of Never Letting Go

5. The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness
If anyone is searching for a gripping novel, this is for you. It’s an addicting page-turner where there is no place to pause.  The Knife of Never Letting Go is one of the best, if not the best, young adult dystopian novel I have read. Danger and risks await at every page and lurk in the margins, but more than that, I love the writing and I love the characters. Anyone who’s read this will understand my restless upset over Manchee, but I also enjoy the path that Viola’s and Todd’s friendship take. The villains are nothing but insane (and insanely evil), and more than anything, they are indestructible. (What is up with that?) Yikes.

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Warm Bodies

6. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion
No, I still have not seen the movie–but at least I read the book! I’m not sure where Marion will take this in the sequel, whether it will contain the same characters or introduce an entirely set that live in the same universe. Either way, Warm Bodies surprised me with its lucid eloquence and its equally intelligent characters. For a zombie, R shows keen perception of his environment and complex thought, and I enjoyed reading his journey of self-exploration and finding love.

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Dr. Bird's Advice

7. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos
I took an instant liking toward Rosko’s protagonist, James Whitman. He’s endearing without trying, and he’s likable on an adorable level where I’d hug him if he were real. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets tells the story of sixteen year old James and his struggle against depression, anxiety, and life itself. (Oh, and his therapist is an imaginary pigeon.) Books of this nature are typically “gritty” and mood-dampeners, but Rosko’s novel takes after the humor found in Ned Vizinni’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story. The story is not without flaws, but I enjoyed reading it nonetheless–and I intend to give it another go this summer.

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Alanna

8. Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1) by Tamora Pierce
I finally did it: I read a Tamora Pierce novel! Alanna: The First Adventure makes the one and only Pierce novel I have read, but not for long. I have the rest of the series on hand, and–if I’m lucky–I can move onto Pierce’s next series within the next few weeks. Alanna is a strong and determined character who makes an excellent role model for young readers. I wasn’t blown away by the writing or world-building, but it did entertain me — I’m eager to see where Alanna’s journey leads (and I’m excited to read through more of Tamora Pierce’s series)!

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Alex Woods

9. The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
The Universe Versus Alex Woods is the most recent book I have finished, and my review is scheduled to post soon — it’s a wonderful coming-of-age story about the very peculiar Alex Woods and his friendship with war veteran Mr. Peterson. The writing sits on the slow but steady side of pacing, yet I find the novel smart like its narrator (even if he is young and naïve).

 

Which of your 2013 reads make the top of your list?

Library Loot # 13

  • Library LootLibrary Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post — feel free to steal the button — and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

It took a few minutes of self-lecturing/scolding to cancel some of the items that came in, and it took even longer not to request more books than what I’m currently waiting on. There was no chance of getting through the original 10+ items when I have yet to finish my two library books from last week. (Then again: I’m not feeling you, Contemporary.) In any case, I’m determined as well as excited to read the books I picked up, especially these first four…

LL 1

I have seen people’s jaw snap open and hang from shock when I say, I’ve never read a Tamora Pierce novel! Her work has been recommended to me before, but I never knew where to start — Tamora has so many books and series that it’s almost intimidating. Someone suggested I begin with the Song of the Lioness series, so that’s what I intend to do. I’ve been warned that the world-building is not as good as her later books, so I don’t expect to be mind-blown. At the same time, I’m sure the series is wonderfully entertaining and I hope to enjoy it!

LL 2

I did not expect The Rithmatist to become available so suddenly. My own copy of The Emperor’s Soul recently arrived, and I had planned on reading it first. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll get around to reading The Rithmatist before the due date creeps up anyway, as I already have a full ARC schedule–and, well… 378 pages feels more intimidating once the book shows up in all of its mighty weight and page-thickness.

LL 3

More books and their large page-counts! I’m not sure I will read Icons, because although I do want to read it and like the summary, I’m not in the proper reading mood for a YA dystopian. Firelight, however, still has my interest, and I admit to requesting it last-minute–it was too tempting not to! I learned of it recently through Carrie’s five-star review, and that coupled with Seraphina-like similarities* makes for an enticing book.

*Okay, so the only Firelight/Seraphina similarities I gather are
1. Dragons
2. Half-dragons
3. Complicated romance
4. Female protagonist

and

5. It’s fantasy

They’re not exactly twins, but can you blame my excitement given the overall quality of Rachel Hartman’s book? At this point, I will squeal at the mere mention of dragons.

Top Ten Tuesday #12

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish. Click  here to read more and join!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to read more and join!

This week’s TTT is: 10 books at the top of my Summer TBR list, and frankly, it’s a bit impossible for me to give anyone a straight answer. I have more books I want to read than books that are coming out this summer, and I often choose what I read on whim — I’m more of a mood-reader than anything else. This list is mostly comprised of older books with just a few ones set to release in these upcoming months. I look forward to all, however! Several weeks ago I wanted nothing but light chick-lit before moving on to “gritty” contemporaries, and now all I care about are fantasy and steampunk titles. I guarantee that this list will change–just give me another week or two and I’ll find a different genre to obsess over.

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Wildwood Dancing

1. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Marillier’s Wildwood Dancing was recently recommended to me, and I’ve wanted to read it ever since. Caught in a web of ARCs and other books to review, though, I am grudgingly holding off. In the mean time, I steal as many glances as I can at its beautiful cover and enticing summmary.

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Airman

2. Airman by Eoin Colfer
This is one book I recently stumbled across on my own, and its steampunk aspect is only half of the appeal. When Conor, the main character, attempts to intervene in a conspiracy against the king, he is branded a traitor and locked away. The only hope to escape imprisonment and off the island lies in flight, and Conor must put his designs in luck’s hands as he tests his designs. The Artemis Fowl series never grabbed my interest, but Airman certainly has my intrigue.

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Crown Duel

3. Crown Duel (Omnibus) by Sherwood Smith
I first discovered Crown Duel on one of my many book-hunts on Goodreads, and I fell for the summary. Not only that, but as a devout fan of Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina (watch out, because I will push and push this book on you, and then I will push some more even after you’ve read it), this book has come recommended to me by other readers of Seraphina. I attempted Crown Duel once before, but I was sidetracked into sitting it down. Hopefully that will no be the case the second time around.

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Image courtesy of Scholastic Canada

Image courtesy of Scholastic Canada

4. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING by Tamora Pierce
No one will gasp in horror and shock anymore. I will read Tamora Pierce. I will. I’m due to pick up her Song of the Lioness series at the library, even–and yes, that is the entire series I’m picking up.

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The Ghost Bride

5. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
I am particularly excited to read Yangsze Choo’s book, and for reasons that I can’t pin-point. Plots that handle the afterlife and incorporate folklore or fairy tales, and introduce creatures that spook you in the night–spirits, demons, and even dragons–are irresistible to me. Choo’s novel is not a purely unique story, as you can find several like it, but I’m curious to see Choo’s own twist on this tale.

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Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

6. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
The less I know about this series the more I will enjoy it–that’s what I gather from Jemisin’s trilogy. Sometimes, when I let the criticism and insight of other readers sink in, I feel like my curiosity and interest becomes clouded. From what I do know, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms sounds wonderfully different and fresh, and I look forward to getting lost in its pages.

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The Bone Season

7. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
For someone who’s been dubbed “the next J.K. Rowling,” I think Shannon’s The Bone Season has pressure bearing down on it. Although why Samantha Shannon and her work have been compared to Rowling, I can’t say, because the only similarity between these two writers seems to be a seven-part series. Some hype is rumbling, however, and I’m catching it. You can say I’m eager to read The Bone Season for myself, but the excitement bubbling in parts of the book blogging community hasn’t prevented my skepticism. I’m excited all right, but wary, although I do hope to enjoy Shannon’s book when it’s released.

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A Darkness Strange & Lovely

8. A Darkness Strange & Lovely by Susan Dennard
Us SS&D readers are still waiting on this! And I want it this instant. A Darkness Strange & Lovely is the sequel to Susan Dennard’s Something Strange & Deadly, and while it took several months for the first book to grow on me after completing it, I am eager to see where Eleanor Fitt’s journey to Paris takes her. (I will not deny that I am also hoping for a spectacular steampunk gadget-hand! Those who read the first book know what I’m talking about. Cue for all-knowing wink: wink.)

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Image courtesy of Brain Foggles

Image courtesy of Brain Foggles

9. Harry Potter Books # 2 – 4 by J.K. Rowling (re-reads)
I finally went through on my promise to at least re-start Harry Potter when I read and reviewed the first book. Back when Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows was first released, I made it through about half of the book. A friend spoiled me silly, school started, and horror of horrors: I couldn’t recall what a horcrux was. I didn’t think it was possible for to forget something so vital, but it is. In an effort to reach and finish the last book, I’m venturing through all the HP books again. Because I want to read hoards of books, I hope to read up to the fourth book this summer.

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The Orphanage of Miracles

10. The Orphanage of Miracles by Amy Neftzger
I won a free copy of Neftzger’s book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers’ May giveaway batch, and I was delighted to open my mailbox this week to find it. I was hoping The Orphanage of Miracles would arrive while I’m still on a fantasy-high, and it did — I can’t wait to start reading this!

>>Notable Mentions:

Which books do you want to read this summer?