Friday, December 30, 2011

Favorites of 2011 and End of Year Book Survey

My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2011: (in no particular order, except for #1 which was my favorite)

1. Right Package, Wrong Baggage-Wanda B. Campbell
2. Promises in Death-JD Robb
3. The Twilight Series-Stephenie Meyer
4. Be Careful What You Pray For-Kimberla Lawson Roby
5. Torn Between Two Lovers-Carl Weber
6. Summer at Willow Lake-Susan Wiggs
7. The Hot Box-Zane
8. Drop Shot-Harlan Coben
9. So Much Closer-Susane Colasanti
10. The Liar's Club-Layla Jordan

Here are my responses to The Perpetual Page Turner's End of Year Survey.

1. Best Book You Read In 2011?
Right Package, Wrong Baggage. Loved the characters and the story line, I definitely recommend it.

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?
It's a toss up between Sweet Valley Confidential and Sizzling Sixteen. I probably shouldn't have expected too much from the Sweet Valley book, but it could've been much better than it was. And I really wish the Stephanie Plum series wasn't going downhill, I miss the witty writing from the first few books.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
Twilight. Seriously, I thought I would hate it and not even be able to finish it, but I'm glad I actually enjoyed the series.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?
Right Package, Wrong Baggage

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?
Twilight Series followed by the Myron Bolitar series

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?
Layla Jordan (although technically I read the book in 2010, but oh well.)
Harlan Coben
Wanda B. Campbell

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Twilight again

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
Torn Between Two Lovers

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?
Looking through all of the covers, none of them are really a favorite.

11. Most memorable character in 2011?
Jacob Black!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?
All We Know of Heaven-Jacquelyn Mitchard

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?
I don't know if this is my favorite, but it's the main one I remember right now:
"You were very deeply asleep; I didn't miss anything." His eyes gleamed. "The talking came earlier."
I groaned. "What did you hear?"
His gold eyes grew very soft. "You said you loved me."
"You knew that already," I reminded him, ducking my head.
"It was nice to hear, just the same."
I hid my face against his shoulder.
"I love you," I whispered.
"You are my life now," he answered simply.

I think it's really sweet once I look past the creepy/stalkerishness of Edward.

16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?
Breaking Dawn, only so I could reread it before the second movie comes out.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
Right Package, Wrong Baggage (Micah's secret finally being revealed) and Torn Between Two Lovers when we find out who Big Poppa is.

And as a bonus, my favorite songs of 2011, in no particular order, except for #1: (and these are all songs that were released as singles, otherwise the list would just be the tracklisting from Beyonce's 4 album):

2. Run the World (Girls)-Beyonce
3. Best Thing I Never Had-Beyonce
4. Someone Like You-Adele
5. Look At Me Now-Chris Brown
6. Ni**as in Paris-Jay-Z and Kanye West

And my favorite song of 2011:

Beyonce "Countdown"

Have a happy new year! See you next year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wrapping Up 2011 Readathon Update #4

I finished reading RL Stine's Silent Night 2. I was planning to read Silent Night, but couldn't find it, but SN2 is just as good. I love Reva Dalby, she's so snarky and mean.

So that's three books down, one and a half left to go!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review-'Twas the Spy Before Christmas

'Twas the Spy Before Christmas'Twas the Spy Before Christmas by Connie Keenan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a cute little holiday novella. I really enjoyed the characters of Dan and Beth and their growing romance. I actually wouldn't have minded if it had been a full-blown novel, just to see how their relationship progresses.

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Source: Freebie from B&N (still free!)
Challenges: 100 Books in a Year, Show Me the Free, E-Book Challenge, Contemporary Romance Challenge

Monday, December 26, 2011

Wrapping Up 2011 Readathon Update #3

Indulgence in Death: read pgs. 136-169 (33 pages)
Twas the Spy Before Christmas: read pgs. 10-43 (33 pages)

2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

The Book Vixen is hosting the 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge.


Runs January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012 (books read prior to 1/1/12 do not count towards the challenge). You can join at anytime. Sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more books in 2012 than you did in 2011. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. Nothing is set in stone; you can change levels at any time during the challenge.
Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).
Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
Grab the reading challenge button and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you could track your progress on Goodreads or LibraryThing.


Getting my heart rate up – Read 1–5 more books
Out of breath – Read 6–10 more books
Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books
I’m on fire! – Read 16+ more books

I will have read about 60 books by the time 2011 is over, so next year I am setting my goal for 65 books, so I am signing up for the Getting My Heart Rate Up level.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Review-The Bite Before Christmas

The Bite Before ChristmasThe Bite Before Christmas by Heidi Betts

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This Christmas story is actually 3 novellas in one. The first one is about millionaire vampire Connor Drake who is desperate to get his home in the holiday spirit. His vampire friend, matchmaker Angelina, sets him up with event planner Jillian. The second story is about Angelina's fried Vivian, who is madly in love with her coworker and is devastated when he tells her he is dying. And the third story is about Angelina herself, who has an "It's a Wonderful Life" style intervention regarding her own boyfriend Ian.

I really enjoyed the first two stories, the third one not so much, although I did like Angelina as a character. The author has an easy to follow writing style, very humorous and snarky. I would read more by this author.

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Source: Freebie from B&N (no longer free, though)
Challenges: 100 Books in a Year, Show Me the Free Challenge, E-Book Challenge

Wrapping Up 2011 Readathon Update #2

Total time read: 2 hours and 7 minutes (again!)
Books read: The Bite Before Christmas (pgs. 170-238 FINISHED)
Indulgence in Death (pgs. 103-136)
Total pages read: 151 pages

Merry, merry Christmas to all!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wrapping Up 2011 Readathon Update #1

Between last night and this morning:

Time read: 2 hours and 7 minutes
Books Read: Indulgence in Death (46 pages read, now on pg. 103 of 384)
The Bite Before Christmas (87 pages read, now on pg. 170 of 238)
Total pages read: 133 pages

Happy Christmas Eve!

2012 Why Buy the Cow Reading Challenge

The Unread Reader hosted the Show Me the Free Reading Challenge in 2011 and this year's she's doing it again, this year called the Why Buy the Cow Reading Challenge.

Challenge Guidelines:
If you have a blog, create a post announcing your participation in the challenge. Please include a link back to this post.
Non bloggers: participate by linking up your profile URL from the site you plan to post your reviews on such as Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.
When you post your book review, you MUST reveal how you obtained the free & legal download. Please make your source clear.
You can list your books in advance or list them as you read them.
Crossovers to other reading challenges is acceptable, but ARCs/galley e-books DO NOT count. Again, this is a Reading Challenge to read as many of the FREE e-books legally offered for your e-reader. To get started, check out the Top 100 Free books on Amazon, or the Free e-books on Barnes & Noble.
Any linked reviews that do not meet the guidelines will not be entered into the monthly drawing for the prize of the month.

Coupon Clipper: 12 Books
Penny Pincher: 24 Books
Super Saver: 30+ Books

I am going for the Coupon Clipper level.

Books Read:

Friday, December 23, 2011

2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge

The Eclectic Bookshelf is hosting the 2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge.


Anyone can join.
You don't need a blog to participate. If you are a Non-blogger please leave a comment with a link (if you review elsewhere) to your review or with the book(s) you read.
Audio, ebooks (some libraries allow ebooks to be checked out), bound books are ok.
No re-reads
Create a sign up post and post the link in the linky below.
Challenge goes from January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012

Level 1 - Read 12 library books
Level 2 - Read 24 library books
Level 3 - Read 36 library books
Level 4 - Read 37+ library books

I am going for Level 2-24 library books.

Books Read:
1. Mama Dearest-E.Lynn Harris
2. Smokin' Seventeen-Janet Evanovich
3. Diary of Mistress-Miasha
4. Too Hot for TV-Cheris Hodges
5. What's His is Mine-Daaimiah S. Poole
6. Scandalicious-Allison Hobbs
7. Fade Away-Myron Bolitar
8. Say Amen, Again-Reshonda Tate Billingsley
9. Off the Chain-Candice Dow
10. Silenced-Kia Dupree
11. A Stolen Life-Jaycee Dugard
12. Treachery in Death-JD Robb
13. Tempted by Trouble-Eric Jerome Dickey
14. Money Never Sleeps-Tu-Shonda L. Whitaker
15. Deliver Me From Evil-Mary Monroe
16. Don't Even Go There
17. I'm Telling-Karen E. Quinones Miller
18. Sometimes it Happens-Lauren Barnholdt
19. Back Spin-Harlan Coben
20. White Lines-Tracy Brown
21. Explosive Eighteen-Janet Evanovich
22. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight-Jennifer Smith
23. Do You Take This Woman?-RM Johnson
24. The Available Wife-Carla Pennington
25. Mistress No More-Niobia Bryant
26. White Lines II: Sunny-Tracy Brown
EDIT on May 29, 2012: Now going for Level 4 (37+) books

2012 E-Book Challenge

I took part in The Ladybug Reads 2011 E-Book Challenge and I definitely want to do it again this year. This year it is hosted by Workaday Reads.

Challenge Guidelines:
This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
Anyone can join, you don't need to be a blogger. If you don't have a blog, feel free to sign-up in the comments. You can post reviews to any book site (i.e. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc).
Any genre or length of book counts, as long as it is in ebook format.
You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the E-Book Reading Challenge.
You can move up levels, but no moving down.
Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.

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

This year I only managed to read 9 e-books (hopefully at least 11 by the end of the year) so right now I'll put myself down for the CD level, but will hopefully be able to move up to DVD level.

Books Read:
1. One for the Money-Janet Evanovich

Wrapping Up 2011 Readathon

Since I am off work until after the new year, this will be the perfect chance to get some last minute reading done before the end of the year. Jessie at Remarkable Reads is hosting the Wrapping Up 2011 Readathon, which started yesterday and runs through midnight on New Year's Eve.

My plan is to spend at least two hours a day reading (an hour in the morning and an hour before bed). The books I plan to read are:

1. The Bite Before Christmas-Heidi Betts (currently on pg. 83 of 238)
2. Indulgence in Death-JD Robb (currently on pg. 57 of 384)
3. Dating Mr. December-Philipa Ashley
4. Twas the Spy Before Christmas-Connie Keenan

I haven't chosen a 5th book yet, although I would like to. That will take my 2011 Books Read number to 62.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fall Into Reading 2011 Challenge: Wrap Up Post

Callapidder Days' Fall Into Reading Challenge ended yesterday. I did not read all the books I had originally planned to but I was able to finish these from the list:

1. In Between Lies-Shawna Hill
2. I Loved You First-Reena Jacobs
3. Message from a Mistress-Niobia Bryant
4. The Million Dollar Divorce-RM Johnson
5. If You Walked In My Shoes-Gywnne Forster
6. The Hot Box-Zane
7. Breaking Dawn-Stephenie Meyer
8. Halloween Night-RL Stine
9. Halloween Party-RL Stine
(I am currently reading Indulgence in Death by JD Robb, which is also on that list.)

In addition, I also read these books:

10. Visions of Sugar Plums-Janet Evanovich
11. God's Gift to Women-Michael Baisen

I don't really have a favorite book from this bunch, although I really enjoyed Breaking Dawn, The Million Dollar Divorce, and The Hot Box.

I did enjoy the challenge and I hope to participate in it again next year.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Review-God's Gift to Women

God's Gift to Women: A NovelGod's Gift to Women: A Novel by Michael Baisden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

God's Gift to Women is a novel by radio personality Michael Baisden. I had read his book The Maintenance Man a few years ago, which I wasn't too impressed with, but I decided to give him another chance.

This novel is a typical fatal attraction story, where the main character Julian Payne (a radio host, just like Michael Baisden, what a coincidence!) has a one night stand with a woman named Olivia. Julian lets Olivia know that this is only a one night stand because he and his daughter will be moving to a new city the very next day. Olivia won't take no for an answer and follows them there.

I didn't really like Julian and I thought he was kind of a punk about the whole thing and the story had a few plot points that just seemed dumb and implausible (like Olivia becoming a longterm substitute at Julian's daughter's it that easy just to become a sub?) but it did leave me on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. A quick, enjoyable read.

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Source: Library
Challenges: 100 Books in a Year

Mystery and Suspense Challenge 2012

I am again signing up for Book Chick City's Mystery and Suspense Challenge for 2012.

I will be doing the first level, to read 12 mystery and suspense books in 2012. I will keep track of my progress here.

Books Read:
1. Smokin' Seventeen-Janet Evanovich
2. One for the Money-Janet Evanovich
3. Fade Away-Harlan Coben
4. Treachery in Death-JD Robb
5. Back Spin-Harlan Coben

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review-Visions of Sugar Plums

Visions of Sugar Plums (A Stephanie Plum Between the Numbers/Holiday Novel, #1)Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This Plum holiday novella has been on my bookshelf for a few years now and I've never gotten around to reading it. I've been pretty much over the Stephanie Plum series for awhile now, and I'm only reading the rest for completion, but I figured since this book came out awhile ago that it might have some of the same magic of the earlier Plum books.

No such luck. It opens with a man named Diesel miraculously appearing in Stephanie's living room, and unfortunately he's there throughout the rest of the book as some sort of piss-poor Ranger replacement (who is nowhere to be seen in this one.) The rest of the book includes the usual Plum antics: Stephanie's car catches on fire, Lula attacks some midgets, Grandma Mazur loses her teeth, Joe kisses Stephanie on the forehead, same old same old

A very generous three stars. It had a few enjoyable moments, but they were few and far between and I have no intentions of reading any of the other Plum holiday novellas starring Diesel.

View all my reviews

Challenges: 100 Books in a Year

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Review-I Loved You First

I Loved You FirstI Loved You First by Reena Jacobs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I Loved You First is a young adult novella about a college student named Alex, who has a crush on her best friend Seth. Seth is the perfect guy and the perfect best friend, except for one being problem: he's gay.

I liked Alex as a character and could relate to her in some ways-hanging on to Seth because he was her only friend, and leading Dink on since he was the only guy to pay her some attention. I've always had trouble putting my own self out there and making friends, so I could understand how Alex felt in that regard. I didn't like Seth and it did annoy me that Alex was so hung up on him and I was waiting for her to get over that. The story dragged some but it did have me wanting to see what would happen next. A decent, coming of age novella that would be a quick, enjoyable read.

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Source: Received from author for an honest review
Challenges: 100 Books in a Year, Young Adult Challenge, E-Book Challenge

Review-Breaking Dawn (Spoilers!)

Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So I finally reached the end of the Twilight series. I had intended to finish reading this before the movie came out, but I was finished with the first part which was all the movie covered, so I was good.

The book starts with Bella preparing for her wedding to her vampire beau, Edward. I really like how fast-paced this part was and how it wasn't dragged out. I enjoyed reading about their wedding and got a bit teary-eyed as Bella said goodbye to her father before she and Edward left on their honeymoon. Of course the highlight is when good old Jacob, BFF, shows up because of course he wouldn't miss his best friend Bella get married. But when he finds out what she and Edward plan to do to consummate their marriage, he isn't too happy and has to be removed from the wedding.

Edward then whisks Bella off to Isle Esme, a private island for their honeymoon. Again, these were some of my favorite parts of the book (and the movie!) I feel that this is when Ms. Meyer does her best writing, when she's writing the romantic elements between Bella and Edward. This part ends with Bella realizing that she's pregnant and vowing not to let anyone do anything to her baby.

The next part is Part 2: Jacob. Despite the fact that Jacob is my favorite character, I disliked that he had a whole section told from his point of view. All of the other books had been solely from Bella's point of view, I figured this one should have been too, but whatever. Parts of this section really dragged. I don't like Jacob as much when he's in his wolf-form and when he's "sharing thoughts" with the rest of the pack, which is the majority of what happens. The best parts of course is when he's with the Cullens and his reactions and interactions with Bella's pregnancy. He's there for the whole thing and is able to figure out what the baby wants when none of the other supposedly super smart Cullens could do. At the end of this part, the baby is born, Bella dies, and Edward injects her with his venom.

The last part is back to Bella's point of view. She has to silently endure the pain of the venom spreading through her body and when she awakes, she's now a vampire. I was really excited to read about how Bella would be like as a vampire and while certain parts were interesting, I thought Ms. Meyer took the easy way out by having Bella adjust oh-so-very-well to vampire life. This section is mostly about their upcoming battle with the Volturi. As I wrote about in my New Moon review, anything dealing with the Volturi is not appealing to me. I feel that this is when the writing gets sloppy and drags on, and there were about a million vampires introduced here that I cared nothing about. I enjoyed the battle scenes with James and co. in Twilight, and Victoria and the newborns in Eclipse, but I can't stand these scenes with the Volturi. This one was even worse than the one in New Moon because in this one there is all this build up for NOTHING.

Once we finally got passed all that Volturi nonsense, we then say goodbye to Bella and Edward and their family. I am so glad that I finally gave the Twilight series a chance this year and got to know these characters. While they (with the exception of Jacob) are certainly not my favorite characters or the most well-written, I enjoyed reading about them and I will miss them. I liked the movie a lot more than the book and I look forward to the second part coming out next year.

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Challenges: 100 Books in a Year, Young Adult Reading Challenge
Source: purchased