Moving Again – On Hiatus (July and August)

I planned a hiatus for the month of August, but now I realize I should have included July! Busy busy squeezing in experiences and appreciating my life here, while also planning for my replacement’s arrival. I finish work on August 3. I’ll travel until the 17th, when I’ll return to Canada. I’ll spend a few days at home then take off on a two week road trip out to the Rockies with my parents. See you in September!

Sneak Peek: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Release date: 24 February 2015 (20 February Kindle edition)

The first I heard of this book was over at Lone Star on a Lark (Louise has read the whole book, so give her review a look if you want a broader perspective). I was happy to find the ‘sneak peek’ offered on Netgalley and decided to request it, just to see if the story was as good as it sounds. It seemed like a story I would love – but was it too good to be true? I’m happy to report – not at all! I devoured the preview one slow morning at work and nearly cried to know I couldn’t keep reading. Here are some of the reasons why I love this book already:

  • Alternate worlds focused on a Victorian London setting
    • Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London – but no one speaks of that now.” (GoodReads description)
  • Well-defined and different attitudes towards magic in each world (see above quote)
  • Prose that pulls you along but isn’t too fancy
  • Semi-royal ambassador main character (I’m not sure why, but I’m really into reading about nobility right now. Not Game of Thrones style nobility…just characters where that’s one part of who they are.)
  • Colourful supporting cast that isn’t too sprawling

This is the kind of story I desperately need right now (one comment I made – “Ooh just what I wanted but didn’t realize I needed!”), so I might be a tad over enthusiastic about it. Admittedly, some might find the beginning slow. But really, the setting is key here. I didn’t mind that there wasn’t a lot happening because I was just happy to be experiencing this new world. If it sounds remotely like your thing – definitely try this book!  I’ve just pre-ordered it and I’m waiting anxiously for release day, which is right near my birthday and a day when I don’t have any classes. 😀 I’ll post a full review once I’ve read the whole thing. For once, I’m already excited to know it’s part of a series. This is a world in which I’m ready to spend a lot of time.

Have you read the preview? What did you think? (Have you read the whole thing? Is my enthusiasm warranted?)

Book Blog?

Okay. I’ve decided to reinvent this blog as a proper book blog. I’ve spent the past few years on the sidelines watching how things are done and I think I’m finally ready to give it a shot! Since I’ll be graduating university in June, I think this will be a good activity to fill that void. I would like to start working on it now as a form of procrastination, but I’ve only got three weeks of classes left so I’m going to try to hold out until then =) Watch this space.

Wrapping Up 2011, Looking Forward 2012

Well, here we are again! When I wrote this post in 2010, I had only been using this blog for four months. This time I have an entire year to reflect on. Let’s consider how my book reading went…I took on a goal to read 100 books, as well as a handful of other book challenges which turned out to be a bit more than I could handle! The beginning of the year went well, but there were four months surrounding the Jasper disaster that greatly lacked in book reading followed by the most difficult semester of school I hope to experience. Excuses aside, I did read 76 books which I am satisfied with. Here’s a recap of the challenges I undertook:

  • 100+ Reading Challenge – As mentioned above, I finished 76 books, including just over a dozen rereads. Next year I am confident I will be able to reach 100. I won’t be participating in any official 100+ challenge in 2012 (especially as Amy, the host of the challenge I took on this year, is upping it to 150+ which I am confident I would not be able to achieve :P), but I do have a personal goal of reading more books in 2012 than I read in 2011, the ideal number of which would be 100 😉
  • 2011 Global Reading Challenge – I didn’t think I would come anywhere near completing this challenge, but I pulled it together in December and nearly reached the easy level (one book from each continent – I only made it part of the way in to my books from Africa and South America), even though I had initially signed up for medium. If only I hadn’t gotten carried away with Japanese authors ;P I liked this challenge because it made me expand my reading, so many of the authors I read are just American or British.
  • Memorable Memoirs Reading Challenge, 2011 Edition – Here’s a challenge I completely bombed! When I was browsing challenges back in December 2010, I liked the idea of reading more memoirs and selected some that I had heard of and sounded like must-reads, but I didn’t really have any desire to read the books I’d chosen and sort of ignored them for the entire year…I do plan on reading Girl, Interrupted early in 2012, though.
  • Foodie’s Reading Challenge 2011 – This was my favourite challenge that I participated in. I love reading about food; food plays such an incredibly significant role in our lives and it can be fascinating to read about. I easily completed this challenge, which was nice ;P
  • 2011 TBR Pile Challenge – I have only just noticed that this challenge is supposed to be 12 books, not 10. I managed eight out of ten, thinking ‘Not so bad’ but it’s really eight out of 12. Oops. This is the only official challenge I’ll be taking on again next year, so hopefully I will get it right this time!  This challenge helped me discover some new all-time favourites (1984, Kafka on the Shore, Catch-22) and I very much liked the other books I read as well. I enjoy reading Adam’s blog and look forward to tackling this challenge again.
  • Harry Potter 2011 Book Challenge – Last and, honestly, least, the Harry Potter challenge I took on  and completed in the first part of the year. I felt like it was my duty to reread the series before taking on my duty of watching the final movie. I’m glad I did because I’ve only read each book once, often just at the time of its release, and it was good to give the whole series another shot and reflect on the story.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve greatly lessened the number of challenges I’ll be taking on in the new year. I found myself thinking ‘Ahh, I need to finish this book so I can read all those other books!’ and focusing too much on just finishing books instead of enjoying them. Also, I felt obliged to read some books that I ended up not really being interested in, all for the sake of meeting a challenge. I set all those goals and just wanted to achievethem which sort of ended up defeating the point of reading so many books. I want to just focus on enjoying whatever I am reading at the moment and not worrying about rushing through a bunch of books. That being said, I will be taking on two TBR challenges because I really do want to work on my TBR list, books I actually do want to read, and I hope these challenges will me help guide me through this. In this spirit, I greatly overhauled my TBR list. I’ve also created a personal Tolkien challenge as a guide to all the Tolkien related books I’ve read bits of or always wanted to read, so I can finally get down to reading them all. The second official TBR challenge I’m taking on is the TBR Double Dare to read only books on my TBR list through January 1 to  March 31. I hope to read 20 books on my list that time, even if I don’t manage to stick strictly to the list.

That summarizes my 2011 and my goals for 2012. I’m looking forward to blogging in the New Year! 🙂