Friday, December 30, 2011

Year in review and what's in store for 2012

When I started keeping track of my reading last January, I never thought I would make it this far!  I am so glad I did--looking back on my list keeps things fresh in my mind, and I can remember where and what I was doing when I was reading particular books.  

The year has flown by, and now it's almost 2012.  I achieved my goal of 100 books and topped it by another 25, and I can't believe it.  I've read some great books, and some not-so-great books, but I am a firm believer in books popping up in my life when they are supposed to, and reading them for a reason.  They are magic, after all.  

Friends have been asking me, "Are you going to challenge yourself again in 2012?"  The answer is, of course, yes.  The challenge for me wasn't whether I would be able to read, but how much I could read in one year--and keep track of it.  The keeping track part was tough.  I have great intentions, then just get lazy and forget to write things down.  Having it posted on my blog made me more attentive to it.  

I'm looking forward to 2012 and all the books I'll be reading and discovering.  I will continue my podcasts (on iTunes go to podcasts and search "bookaliciousbabe"), hope to build my blog audience, and maybe with a little hard work learn more about blogging and become more creative in it!  I have gotten so many wonderful book suggestions from Goodreads  and other blogs that my cup overfloweth with so many genres, titles, and authors.  

So will you join me in my 2012 Reading Challenge?  Set a goal, grab a notebook (or computer) and begin keeping track of what you read.  You will be amazed at how much you read, and how many different types of books you read.  You may find yourself a true sci-i/fantasy fan and never knew it.  You may realize historical fiction is what you love most, or perusing kid's fiction is the way to happiness.  

What did I discover in 2011 about my reading habits?  I know I can't read too many dark and "serious" novels in a row; they really do begin to depress me a bit.  After that, I have to read some fun stuff.  I do still love a good romance, but my favorite is historical fiction.  I need to read more non-fiction, as that was sorely lacking in 2011. I really, really really like diving into a good fantasy novel.  I need to read more kids fiction, and plan on doing just that this year.  Reading classics I missed in my youth is also something I'd like to do in 2012.  My plate is already full, as you can tell!  But it's full of all my favorite foods, so I just have to 'eat' slowly, and digest each mouthful.  

Spread the news, and ask your friends to join you on this new reading challenge.  Again, the only goal is what you set for yourself.  If you can manage 20 books in 2012, bravo you!  If you are more ambitious, go for it!  Let me know what you hope to accomplish this year.  

Happy New Year everyone!  

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Christmas Wish For You

get it here
My Christmas wish for you is this:

Books!  Lots and Lots of Books!  Hope you have a moment to sit under the tree, open a freshly gifted book, and forget your worries for awhile.  

Merry Christmas from Bookalicious Babe.  May 2012 be a year filled with lots of great stories, exciting ideas, and new discoveries.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Top Ten Books of 2011

Here it is!  After much dithering, these are my 10 favorite books that I've read for 2011.  Starting with #10....

10:  Bloodroot

9.:  The Wilder Life
8.  The Dead

7.  The Bride's House

6.  The Restorer
5.  Magyk

4.  The Winter Sea

3.  The Red Pyramid

2.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

1.  The Dovekeepers 

If you haven't had a chance to read The Dovekeepers, grab a copy.  It is such a wonderfully written historical novel that it will grab your heart and take you on a ride that will leave you breathless.  And take some tissues, too.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Top Ten Teen and Young Adult Picks for 2011: Podcast

Here's my first Top Ten list; this one is for my favorite teen and young adult/kid books for the year that I have read.  It's my podcast!  Next one up:  Top Ten Adult Reads of 2011.  Hope to have that one up within the week.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Book I Wish Existed When I Was A Kid: The Red Pyramid

What J.K. Rowling has done for the classic world of wizards and magic the English way, Rick Riordan has done for the world of mythology--both Greek and Egyptian.  

I think most people forget that every major culture has it's own set of Gods and Goddesses, and the myths to go with them.  I must admit to my Greek mythology phase during my early teens--found Edith Hamilton's book on mythology and was never the same since.  

Now Rick Riordan has taken one of my college interests--Egyptian history--and written a series for kids called The Kane Chronicles.  I've had this book on my shelf for over a year, and finally decided it was time to dig in and enjoy!

Loved it.  Just fantastic.  Rick Riordan is a rock star.  The Red Pyramid centers around Carter and Sadie Kane, two siblings who live apart.  Carter travels the world with his father, an archeologist, and Sadie lives in London with her grandparents.  She sees her father twice a year, and feels left out of his life.  What begins as a routine two day visit over Christmas quickly escalates into an action adventure novel pitting two young teens against the world of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, as they travel the world through magic portals trying to find a way to rescue their father from the evil God Set.  Set is determined to create a red pyramid in Phoenix that will absorb the power of all Gods and Goddesses and unleash Chaos across the world.  
Heady stuff for a couple of kids who are just realizing they have connections to Ancient Egypt that are going to change their lives forever.  

There is so much action in this novel, it keeps you glued to the pages.  I can see why kids are so obsessed with this book, and keep coming back for more.  It's a great story, chock full of history, myths, magic, and the dynamics of family.  It's like eating a delicious meal that blows your mind.

So I am a little late to the party, as the second book in the series is out:  The Throne of Fire.  I was a witness to eager kids gobbling up this book when it came out a few months ago.  If I had read this as a child, I can guarantee I would still remember it fondly as an adult.  It's definitely one of those books that will keep firm in your memory of all time favorite books!

If you are looking for good, quality storytelling for your kids, Rick Riordan has it.  He is the author of the Percy Jackson series, which behind Harry Potter is pretty much the most popular series for kids.  He may also spark a new interest in your kids for mythology and Egyptian history.  You may find yourself traveling to a history museum to check out the Egyptian exhibits.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

I loved Sarah's first novel, Violets of March so I've been eagerly awaiting her follow up novel The Bungalow.  Lucky for me, I managed to get an ARC from Netgalley.  

The Bungalow is about two friends, Anne and Kitty.  It's 1942, they've both just finished nursing school, and live in Seattle, waiting for life to happen.  Anne is engaged to Gerard, a wealthy young man that Anne's know all her life, and loves, but not in that all encompassing passionate way we all hope to find.  She's content to marry him, but feels like she's missing out on life.  Kitty decides to sign up for a nursing position on a military base in Bora Bora, and convinces Anne to come, too.  Anne postpones her wedding, and  soon both are on Bora Bora, surrounded by soldiers waiting for action in the Pacific to accelerate.  

Kitty's transformation once she gets off the plane was a bit startling to me.  She immediately becomes a "man hungry" party girl, only interested in having a good time when she's not on nursing duty.  Soon her behavior starts to alienate Anne, who's struggling to find her place on the island, and wondering if she made a mistake.  Enter Westry, a soldier stationed on the island.  Soon Anne and Westry form a friendship tinged with attraction, and find an abandoned bungalow in the jungle that the natives feel is cursed.  Anne and Westry's attraction builds, and the bungalow becomes their meeting place.  Meanwhile, someone on the island is causing trouble, and soon a murder takes place right in front of Anne.  Westry convinces Anne to keep it quiet but won't tell her why.  

This story is told from Anne's memories as a woman in her 80's.  A letter brings back those days on Bora Bora, and she tells her granddaughter about what happened.  But what did happen?  Where's Westry and Kitty after all this time?  

I enjoyed this novel.  The mystery wasn't much of a mystery--it's easy to figure out.  But I did like Anne, and her story about living on Bora Bora, and all the heartache that followed. It's a novel about living with regret, making choices, and friendship.  If you can't get away to a tropical island anytime soon, grab The Bungalow and imagine yourself on Bora Bora.  

It's available at the end of December in paperback and ebook format.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Titanic Podcast

This podcast is about the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, which is coming up in April 2012.  I talk about two titles I've read:  101 Things You Thought You Knew About The Titanic But Didn't and
Explore Titanic, which comes with a CD so you can take 360 degree tours of the Titanic.

If you are a fan of all things Titanic like I am, you may enjoy these books!