2014 – December

This month I managed to read 29 novels. I made a concentrated effort to read as much as possible once again – before work as soon as I woke up, often early. During lunch breaks. Even during work sometimes (shush!) because there was just no work some days when too many people had the day off so it was just a whole lot of sitting around, waiting for emails or phone calls to come in, or things to go wrong!

And thanks to working a bit of overtime a few weeks ago, nothing really did.

I also get a bit OCD about finishing as much as I can before the end of the year, so I can start the new year afresh. This meant clearing out as many reviews as possible, and as many books from reading lists as possible.

Below I’ll list the novels read for my part in judging the fantasy novel category in the Aurealis Awards which I’m not able to discuss, then below shall carry on as normal for books I’ve read for enjoyment or review.

  • Bound (Alex Caine #1) by Alan Baxter
  • Blood of Innocents (Sorcery Ascendant Sequence #2) by Mitchell Hogan
  • Inside Out by Will Elliott
  • The Caller (Shadowfell #3) by Juliet Marillier
  • Obsidian (Alex Caine #2) by Alan Baxter
  • The Unfortunate Deaths of Jonathan Wild (The Memoirs of Pascal Bonenfant) by Stephen Hart
  • Altaica (The Chronicles of Altaica, #1) by Tracy M. Joyce
  • Bespelled by Dani Kristoff
  • The Other Tree by D.K. Mok
  • North Star Guide Me Home (Children of the Black Sun #3) by Jo Spurrier
  • Abduction (Alex Caine #3) by Alan Baxter
  • The Godless (Children, #1) by Ben Peek
  • Immagica by K.A. Last
  • Clariel (Abhorsen #4) by Garth Nix

And now, onto the novels read in December!

Vision in Silver (The Others, #3)

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop was a book I got to review really quite early – I don’t think it’s out until next year. I really love this series – it’s constantly excellent and expanding (some series the second book suffers a little, but not in this case!) this is the third book in the series and it’s still left me hungry for more. I’m not allowed to review this one until the actual release date so unfortunately no link for this one – all I can say is that it’s incredible.

Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories

Kaleidoscope anthology, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios is a book I should have read months ago – I feel really guilty that I didn’t. It was a mixture of being busy with books that had a deadline, and that greedy feeling I get when I have a book I KNOW is going to be good – so I want to store it away for later, like a chipmunk and nuts for winter. Which is silly, I’m weird. This anthology is AMAZING and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s going to win all the awards, so get in early and read it now so you can be ahead of the crowd. You can read my review of it here.

To Love a Sunburnt Country (The Matilda Saga, #4)

To Love a Sunburnt Country by Jackie French is a book I really shouldn’t have read because during December I had far too much reading I had to do like Aurealis judging and reviewing… but I adore Jackie’s work, and one weekend I just needed to have a little ‘me’ time to de-stress. (Even if it added more stress by not working, go figure.) From the rest of the books in this post, they’ll all say something along the lines of how I should have read them ages ago.

This book was incredibly lovely and sad at the same time, set in Australia and Malay at the time of the war, showing members of a very large, sprawling family that we’ve seen through the generations in previous books in this series, and how the war has affected (effected? I never know which to use!) them in particular. I love the remote places Jackie mentions through this novel. She was so excellent when she came to our little town to give workshops and book talks, and has only cemented the fact she is one of my favourite authors of all time. She gave me great joy as a kid with ‘Somewhere Around the Corner’, and still does the same as I get increasingly closer to my 30s. Jackie’s books are special.

Yesterday's Kin

Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress is a book I should have read months and months ago (see above). When I finally picked it up I devoured it in one sitting. I really enjoy any and all books or shorts I’ve read so far by Nancy Kress so next time I’m pretty sure I’ll be hanging out for whatever book comes out next! You can read my review of it here.

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor was read for the December challenge, and was quite a fun, lovely and vivid book. Some parts felt it dragged a little, but overall this was a three and a half star read (out of five, going on the goodreads rating scheme), with excellent characters and a really fascinating magic system.

The Yellow Birds

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers is another read for the December challenge, going on pretty well from Jackie French’s ‘To Love a Sunburnt Country’ and the war theme. This was a quick, sad read where you see the terror of war in much more of a stark way – Jackie’s book is incredibly sad, but this book was written from a solider’s point of view so it was pretty depressing the whole way through.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater was another book for the December challenge – a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while, and that River made sure I read! And I’m so glad I did – this was devoured within a few hours and now I want to throw aside everything else and finish off the series. If nothing else, it’ll help me get a whole lot of other books done so I can feel justified reading a book not for judging, reviewing or the December challenge if I get everything else done/progressed sufficiently!

Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars, #2)

Mr Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas is the second in the new Veronica Mars book series, and continues on after the movie and first book so it should all be read in order – this is a series for the fans, even though it’s well written enough as a crime book by itself – it’s use of characters we know and love from the tv show but lack of explanation of who they are exactly could make it a little confusing, or make the reader wonder why they should care. You can read my review here.

Moriarty

Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz is kinda the second in his Sherlock Holmes series (that began with The House of Silk) but doesn’t really continue on from each other – both could be read independently quite easily. Both are beyond-excellent books, and this one had me screeching ‘WHAT!?’ at the end and wanting to throw the book at the wall (in a good way!) I won’t say why though – you’ll have to read it yourself to find out. You can also read my review of it here.

Temeraire (Temeraire, #1)

Temeraire by Naomi Novik was received from the very awesome Alex, and read for the December challenge under two challenges – award winner Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2007), Locus Award for Best First Novel (2007), Compton Crook Award (2007) and gifted by a friend. This was SUCH a fun book to read! I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series. This book is kinda in the same realm of thinking as Marie Brennan’s series, so I’m glad I have her second book listed in the December challenge, too. Here’s hoping I get there in time!

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski wasn’t as good as the first, unfortunately, and has quite awkward wording throughout that constantly pulled me from the narrative. It’s hard going from so many excellent books to something a little less-so, and I think it makes the judgement all that more harsh when compared. It is a bit of a relief to have one less series to keep an eye out for though!

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd was another book read for the December challenge, and was read in a few hours thanks to a slow day at work. (Shush!) Mixed thoughts on this one really – another that rather pales in comparison to other recent things. Such as…

Seven Days of Joyeux (Musketeer Space, #0.5)

Seven Days of Joyeux by Tansy Rayner Roberts is a Christmas gift to her readers – this is a prequel novella to her web-serial Musketeer Space which shows Athos (my sudden favourite!), Porthos and Aramis dealing with things going wrong every day of Joyeux which, as Musketeers, is up to them to fix. And get drunk. And up to other shenanigans.

This was so much fun, made all the better with cute artwork and festive feel. Living in Australia where it’s bloody hot makes feeling festive a bit hard some years, so reading about a space station where they too would be relying on artificial air temperatures made me feel right at home.

The Tropic of Serpents (Memoir by Lady Trent, #2)

The Tropic of Serpents (Memoir by Lady Trent #2) by Marie Brennan was a book I’ve meant to read all dang year, and I’m glad I listed it as part of the December challenge! This is easy reading and recommended for fans of Temeraire by Naomi Novik  because dragons and the style it’s written in. I read this on Christmas and Boxing day, and it was very relaxing indeed.

Havenstar

Havenstar by Glenda Larke was also read for the December challenge, another I’m so glad I got to! I adore Glenda’s work, and this was her debut novel, it’s interesting to go all the way back and see how it compares to her current work – though, she republished this up on smashwords in 2012 and edited it up a bit – I’d love to see how much was changed, because this was dang good. Very good in fact.

I love the characters, love the world-building, love the idea behind it all and aaah! I wish this was a trilogy! such a good way to end the year, too. Ending on a high for sure.

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2014 Reading Challenges Results!

Back at the end of June I posted my 2014 Midway Process Report – and now suddenly it’s the end of the year! So, how did I do all up with my many reading challenges?

Goodreads

Over on Goodreads I aimed to read 150 novels and hit that target on December 23rd – so it seems like a good target, what with the restrictions I lay on that challenge. In the end I managed to read 155 books – but then, with comics, short stories and CBCA reading included (CBCA was 370 books alone!) the actual tally would be much, much higher. What a year!

GR2014challenge

Expanding Genres 2014

Each month I picked a novel from the listed genre as below – most were incredibly enjoyable so hooray for that!

January: Historical Fiction – The Golum and the Jinni by Helen Wecker

February: Fantasy – Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

March: Science Fiction – Debris by Jo Anderton

April: Fairytale or Fable retelling – Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy by Karen Foxlee

May: Classic – Flowers for Algeron by Daniel Keyes

June: Non-fiction – Night by Elie Wiesel

July: Steampunk/Cyberpunk – The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

August: Modern Retelling – Bridget Jones by Helen Fielding

September: Mystery/Crime – Dead Point by Peter Temple

October: Horror – The Strain by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

November: Contemporary – I Was Here by Gayle Forman

December: Dystopian – The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Anticipated Books of 2014

So far out of my list of Anticipated Books of 2014 I have read 18 books from an original list of 36 books. To be fair, nine didn’t end up being released in 2014 so it’s really 18 out of 27 books.

Really, other than kickstarter rewards, there’s only two books on this list that I didn’t manage to get to that I’m really dang excited for:

crash  Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)

To Read in 2014

Out of my list of books that I’m aiming to read in 2014, I have only read an appalling twelve books. Out of like, 74. What a joke! And six months ago I posted that I’d read seven books, so I was even more slack in the second half of the year. I really need to get onto these, even if I attempt them and throw them aside, as sad as that is to say. But one does tend to move on from books they once thought they wanted to read. I need to account for these and clear them off my list, one way or another – hopefully reading and loving them!

Some examples of books I need to read asap are:

Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris, #1) The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1) Throne of the Crescent Moon (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, #1)

Reading Bingo

ReadingBingoDecPurple

More than 500 pages: The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke
Forgotten Classic: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
Book that became a movie: Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding
Published this year: The Wizard’s Promise by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Number in the title: Eleven Doctors, Eleven Stories by various
Written by someone under 30: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
Book with non-human characters: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Funny Book: Liquid Gold by Tansy Rayner Roberts
Female Author: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
Book with a mystery: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
One-Word Title: Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner
Book of short stories: Magic City: Recent Spells edited by Paula Guran
FREE SQUARE: H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Set on a different continent: Oracle by Jackie French
Non-Fiction: Night by Elie Wiesel
First book by a favourite author: Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
Heard about online: This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl
Best-selling book: What a Croc! by NT News
Based on a true story: Yoko’s Diary by Pau Ham
Book at the bottom of TBR pile: Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Book my friend loves: Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy by Karen Foxlee
Book that scares me: The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
More than 10 years old: Walking the Boundaries by Jackie French
Second book in a series: The Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty
Blue cover: The Amazing Spencer Gray by Deb Fitzpatrick

ReadingBingoDecOrange

Book with female heroine: Guardian by Jo Anderton
Book set in a high school: The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Last of a trilogy: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Book with ‘colour’ in the title: Written in Red by Anne Bishop
First book in series: Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
Book set in the future: The Girl with all the Gifts by M. R. Carey
Book with a break-up: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Book without a love triangle: Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal
Book that became a movie: Battle Royale by Takami
Book set in Paris: Musketeer Space by Tansy Rayner Roberts
Book set in the past: Nanberry by Jackie French
Book with magic: Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan
FREE SQUARE: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Book set in summer: Wildlife by Fiona Wood
Book with a dragon: The Very Best of Tad Williams by Tad Williams
Book that made you cry: Abhorsen by Garth Nix
Graphic novel: Saga Volume Three by Brain K. Vaughan (Writer) and Fiona Staples (Artist)
Book based on a myth: The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
Classic YA: The F- It List by Julie Halpern
Book with a Lion, Witch or Wardrobe: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (with a wardrobe!)
Book with an incredible fight scene: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
Book heard about online: Landry Park Bethany Hagen
Book set in another world: Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
Book with epic love story: To Love a Sunburnt Country by Jackie French
Book with music: Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

 ~

December Reading Challenge

In December a few of us had a challenge to read books that fit against 20 different challenges. All up I managed to hit 17/20 – I tried to do a different book for each, so I’m pretty happy with that! All up I had 18 books for the 20 challenges.

The ones I failed to get were:

5) Read a book that you’ve had on your shelf for over two years.

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1) by Jasper Fforde.

18) Start a new series!

Dreamer’s Pool (Blackthorn and Grim #1) by Juliet Marillier.

19) Read a middle book in a trilogy.

This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.

Since two of them were for Aurealis reading (which I’d have to get to in January anyway) I put them aside in favour for other books I wanted to get through, using the challenge as the incentive. In the last few days when I was running out of time, it came down to choosing between The Eyre Affair and Havenstar – and Havenstar won!

I feel hitting 17/20 of the challenges was a pretty good attempt, but wish I could have finished it properly. If only family hadn’t come around for Christmas, I would have nailed it!

End of Year Bookish Survey!

2014 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read:
154

Number of Re-Reads:
4 – all so I could read sequels!

Genre You Read The Most From:
Speculative Fiction

Best In Book

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?
Argh it’s so hard to pick! H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding – never thought I’d like it as much as I did!

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?
Well, always The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, but also Pantomime and Shadowplay by Laura Lam.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?
Best series: Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
Best sequel: Drowned Vanilla by Livia Day
Best finale: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
So many to choose from, but Naomi Novik!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Night by Elie Wiesel

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Action Packed: Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2) by Brandon Sanderson
Unnputdownable: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

HisforHFullCover

11. Most memorable character of 2014?
It may have been just a sneak peak, but Holland in A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab calls to me, people.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
Yoko’s Diary by Paul Ham

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?
To Love a Sunburnt Country (The Matilda Saga #4) by Jackie French

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner #1) by Philip K. Dick

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
“We carry the lives we’ve imagined as we carry the lives we have, and sometimes a reckoning comes of all the lives we have lost.”
Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?
Longest: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson at 1088 pages
Shortest: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells at 104 pages.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
After a lot of thinking this one through, I think it would have to be Jade/Moon in Books of the Raksura by Martha Wells

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Sabriel and Moggat from the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix has stuck with me.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Fool’s Assassin (The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Athos from Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Musketeer Space

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Again, it was just a preview and I won’t get to read the novel until next year, but A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Drowned Vanilla (Café La Femme, #2) by Livia Day

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
Fool’s Assassin (The Fitz and The Fool Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Phantazein by Tehani Wessely – easily one of the best, magical anthologies I’ve ever read.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
The F- It List by Julie Halpern

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?
What a Croc! by NT News – a collection of their best headlines, such as WHY I STUCK A CRACKER UP MY CLACKER – such a classy newspaper.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Anthony Horowitz – oh that book made me want to throw it against a wall! I loved it!

Blogging/ Bookish life

1. New favourite book blog you discovered in 2014?
As awful as it sounds, I don’t really read book blogs – I have enough trouble keeping up with my to-read pile as it is!

2. Favourite review that you wrote in 2014?
None, really.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Nominations Open for Hugo Awards 2014

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Jackie French writing workshop – though her book night the night before was also excellent. She said once I’ve written something, she wants to see it!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?
When a publisher said they’d look into an inappropriately acting author when I said I didn’t feel comfortable reviewing his work.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Laura Lam Giveaway

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
None, really? Me wishing they got love doesn’t really help matters, just means I need to have a better first sentence to grab people browsing, or be more interesting/cross post to other platforms in general!

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Nothing, really.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I finished the goodreads challenge, the genre challenge, the reading bingo cards (as was discussed above) and manged to get to all but two books on my ‘anticipated reads for 2014’, but failed on my December reading challenge, as well as my ‘books to read in 2014‘ list.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?
Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?
Currently Glenda Larke’s ‘The Dagger’s Path’ – you can read an excerpt of it here!

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

  • The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The first instalment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies – think Doctor Who with librarian spies!

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?
Series ending: Masquerade (Micah Grey #3) by Laura Lam

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?
Clear more books from my shelves and ‘to read’ pile.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

~

So that’s it! I’m not sure whether I’ll utilise the same challenges for 2015. Maybe I just need more will-power to get to the books I feel I need to read.

December 2014 Reading Challenge – Updates and Results

As posted originally over on Cherry Blossoms & Maple Syrup we’re having a December Reading Challenge because why not – most people have a few days off in December (if not more) and a lot of people travel. I had none of these things, but I did need to get a whole chunk of reading done, so off I went. Most of these have to be read for Aurealis judging so don’t be surprised if they’re mentioned almost 20 times.

This entry shall be updated throughout the month as I choose or change my mind on what I’m aiming to read. Bold means I’ve chosen what I hope to read – normal text means I need your help deciding! Or at least it did when I was still deciding. As of the 14th December, I have 18 different books locked in for the 20 different challenges.

✓ 1) Read a book that exceeds 450-500 pages. 

To Love a Sunburnt Country by Jackie French. One of the few books read on my list for no other reason than pure enjoyment!

✓ 2) Read a book with winter in the title, as a theme, or as a main setting. ✓

Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop. Also read for reviewing from the publisher on edelweiss.

✓ 3) Read a book that has been signed by an author. 

The Godless (#1 Children) by Ben Peek. Also read for Aurealis judging – it arrived signed from the publisher rather than hunted down devoutly at a con or author event at a bookstore, but it still counts, right?

✓ 4) Read a book that has been gifted to you by a friend. ✓ 

Temeraire (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik, gifted to me from Alex who is far too kind! And whom I gifted The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch because that’s what I do.

5) Read a book that you’ve had on your shelf for over two years.

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1) by Jasper Fforde. Another book read for no other reason than pure enjoyment!

✓ 6) Read a book-to-film adaptation. ✓ 

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers because Benedict Cumberbatch, and of course it’s a book I’ve had since it came out, waiting to be read.

✓ 7) Read a book that has animals in it, either as a protagonist, side kick, or as a huge focal point. ✓ 

Clariel (Abhorsen #4) by Garth Nix – depends whether animals feature in this one as much as they do in the previous three books. Also read for Aurealis judging.

✓ 8) Read a middle grade novel. ✓ 

Akata Witch (Akata Witch #1) by Nnedi Okorafor.

✓ 9) Read a book that has travelling. 

Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress, also read for review from NetGalley.

✓ 10) Read a novel with a green cover or has green in the cover. ✓ 

Clariel (Abhorsen #4) by Garth Nix. Also read for Aurealis judging.

✓ 11) Read a book featuring cultural diversity. 

Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios.  

✓ 12) Read a graphic novel or a book with pictures. ✓ 

The Tropic of Serpents (Memoir by Lady Trent #2) by Marie Brennan. Read for enjoyment! Also, have you seen the illustrations in this series? It’s so dang superb that it requires you to buy the whole series in stunning hardcover.

✓ 13) Read a book a friend has always nagged you to read. 

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater as ordered by River!

✓ 14) Read an award winner. ✓ 

It seems amusing to think of what book I could have chosen for this considering so many of the books I read were for judging purposes. Imagine if I wrote here the book I was sure was going to win the fantasy category for the Aurealis Awards :D

That would be wrong though. I’ll be sure to pick a book for this one that’s not even remotely eligible. Such as, Temeraire (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik which won the Locus Award for Best First Novel (2007).

✓ 15) Read a self-published book or a book from an independent publisher. ✓ 

Havenstar by Glenda Noramly (also known as Glenda Larke. Cheating a bit for this one – this is an older book of hers, that Fablecroft Publishing (who I intern for) are re-releasing this for kindle.

✓ 16) Read a book inspired by fandom OR read a book of non-fiction. ✓ 

Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz. Also read as a review book from the publisher.

✓ 17) Read a retelling of some kind. ✓ 

The Madman’s Daughter (The Madman’s Daughter #1) by Megan Shepherd – inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau.

18) Start a new series!

Dreamer’s Pool (Blackthorn and Grim #1) by Juliet Marillier. Also read for Aurealis judging.

19) Read a middle book in a trilogy.

This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. Also read for Aurealis Judging.

✓ 20) Read the ending of a series/latest instalment of a series. 

The Caller (Shadowfell #3) by Juliet Marillier. Also read for Aurealis Judging.

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Our hashtag on twitter is #HolidayReadingMadness. I really better get started on this one! It looks like I’m trying to read 20 individual books after all, and I haven’t got anything done for the first two days in December – eek!

There’s still time for you to join in with us if you like!

2014 – November

This month I managed to read 20 novels – wowsa! This is what happens when I have eight days off work that include plane travel! Below I’ll list the novels read for my part in judging the fantasy novel category in the Aurealis Awards which I’m not able to discuss, then below shall carry on as normal for books I’ve read for enjoyment or review.

Novels read for Aurealis Judging (thank goodness for travelling! It really helped me get through a stack!)

  • Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins
  • Raven Stone by A. K. Gallagher
  • The Scales of Time by Josephine Crnkovic
  • Uncle Adolf by Craig Cormick
  • Chosen by Shayla Morgansen
  • Shadow Sister by Carole Wilkinson
  • Nymph by Tonya Alexandra
  • Missing, Presumed Undead by Jeremy Davis
  • Troll Mountain by Matthew Reilly
  • Covens Rising by Adina West

And now, onto the novels read in November!

Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous!

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin is a book that’s a bit outdated, and written in a very blunt manner, all about how you should lose weight. And become vegan. And a whole lot of other things. Parts of it are quite good, parts are outdated, and parts are just so misguided that it’s a little worrying. It’s a good read if you’re prepared to put in your own effort of research and make your own decisions about the meat industry and the fear campaign out there about everything from milk products and sugars to preservatives.

My own opinion? Know what your body hates and needs in order to be healthy. Be mindful of what’s being said in the public about meat and free-range and all that and who’s saying it, for what reason and agenda. Money speaks volumes in these industries. If you want to really get into it, talk to people in the know such as actual farmers and those in-between them and markets and stores. The stories my uncle could tell you would curl your toes.

(And no, I’m not going to become vegan anytime soon.)

Lute's Tale (Lost Shimmaron, #5)

Lute’s Tale (Lost Shimmaron, #5) by Maxine McArthur is another book read for editing/publishing purposes. Not much else I can say about it currently!

I Was Here

I Was Here by Gayle Forman was one of those books you can’t put down and it leaves you exhausted from feeling so damn much while reading. My review of it can be found here. We see the rougher walks of life, where there’s dumpster diving just to eat, and the types of jobs one must take even if they come with sexual harassment – and there’s little support out there to make it go away, or for there to be consequences. This is a novel that will stay on my mind for months to come.

Galactic Suburbia Scrapbook #1

The Galactic Suburbia Scrapbook is from the podcast Galactic Suburbia (imagine that!) This scrapbook features some of the highlights of 4 years and 100 episodes of Alex, Alisa and Tansy along with some notes from loyal listeners, and how GS has made an impact on them. This is excellent for reminiscing!

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris is, as you may have guessed, an autobiography. What makes it awesome (other than it’s about the excellent NPH) is that it’s written in the style of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel – which sadly doesn’t work too well on eReaders. As such, I bought a print copy while I was away and promptly devoured it, first reading it through as you’re supposed to, flicking back and forth as directed or as you choose, but then I also read it from front to back in case I’d missed a story. And it’s a good thing I did, for reasons I won’t say! He’s had such an interesting life, and I highly recommend it.

What a Croc!

What a Croc! by NT News is a coffee-table book collection of front pages from the NT News, a newspaper in Australia known for its puns and it’s relaxed, humourous nature. You can read my review here. 

Mitosis (Reckoners, #1.5)

Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson is a very short book, more of a short story rather than a novella, set in the Reckoners series (that starts with Steelheart and shall continue with Firefight, which are listed as YA but I’d almost slant them as a higher ‘Middle Grade’ series, as they’re pretty tame. They’re pretty good fun and a light, easy read – especially this as a short story. You can read my review of it here.

SNEAK PEEK: A Darker Shade of Magic SAMPLE

Sneak preview of ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’ by V. E. Schwab was the first 130 pages of the book due to come out February 2015 and oh my goodness this is THE novel I’m looking forward to next year! You can read my short review of it here. This is just so well written, so much fun, just going to be SO dang awesome. I can’t wait for February!

The Elementary Sherlock Holmes

The Elementary Sherlock Holmes is a book that collects information about Sherlock Holmes – the short stories of canon, the characters, misc information such as the aliases Sherlock goes by, disguises he used and so on. It’s quite cute but has a bit of personal speculation that’s not really based on any fact in a few parts, which is a bit disappointing – it’d be better if it were from a neutral point of view so you could rely on it if needed. Regardless, it’s quite good. You can read my review of it here.

Ayoade on Ayoade

Ayoade on Ayoade by Richard Ayoade is an autobiography by, well. Guess. This is written in the style of interviewing himself – with one of him in bold and the other not, literally just a back and forth over the page. While not my favourite autobiography this month, it’s still pretty fun – though he’s just far too intelligent for me, so I think a bit of it went completely over my head. You can read my review of it here.

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November’s monthly challenge is dystopian – any suggestions for what I should read?

December 2014 Reading Challenge

As posted originally over on Cherry Blossoms & Maple Syrup we would like to invite you all to join us for the December 2014 Reading Challenge!

We have 20 challenges to tick off – depending on how many people jump in, I may just throw a prize in there. I’ve also jokingly offered to give a prize to anyone who manages to find a book that ticks off every single challenge – or writes a novel in December that ticks them all off, either one! NaNo continues!

1) Read a book that exceeds 450-500 pages.
2) Read a book with winter in the title, as a theme, or as a main setting.
3) Read a book that has been signed by an author. (if you don’t have any, read a book by an author you’d love to meet in person)
4) Read a book that has been gifted to you by a friend.
5) Read a book that you’ve had on your shelf for over two years.
6) Read a book-to-film adaptation (no you do not need to watch the film for this to count, just needs to be a book that has been turned into a film).
7) Read a book that has animals in it, either as a protagonist, side kick, or as a huge focal point (examples: Black Beauty, Rain Reign).
8) Read a middle grade novel.
9) Read a book that has travelling.
10) Read a novel with a green cover or has green in the cover.
11) Read a book featuring cultural diversity (see We Need Diverse Books campaign for more information).
12) Read a graphic novel or a book with pictures.
13) Read a book a friend has always nagged you to read.
14) Read an award winner (any award winner, can be Goodreads Choice Award, Giller Prize, Printz, Mann Booker Prize, anything, but state the award the book is from!)
15) Read a self-published book or a book from an independent publisher.
16) Read a book inspired by fandom OR read a book of non-fiction.
17) Read a retelling of some kind (ex. Cruel Beauty is a retelling of Beauty & the Beast, Great is a retelling of the Great Gatsby).
18) Start a new series!
19) Read a middle book in a trilogy.
20) Read the ending of a series/latest instalment of a series.

Obviously, twenty challenges is a lot, but remember it’s a casual event, you can do as many or as little of the challenges as you want. Also note, you can have some overlap on these challenges. For example: I have to read ‘Blood of Innocents‘ by Mitchell Hogan for Aurealis judging – it exceeds 450-500 pages, it’s self-published AND it’s a middle book in a trilogy! Ding ding ding! This book if completed would knock out three challenges – and I have to read it for judging anyway. You can have as much overlap as you like for the challenges, because twenty is a lot and even though the goal is to read as much as you can, I want people to feel like they are succeeding at the challenges, even if they don’t get to read as much as they like.

To keep up with your progress, feel free to share it on your blog or by using the hashtag on twitter #HolidayReadingMadness. The goal is to read, read, read, whether it’s ebooks, audiobooks, physical books, library books, just enjoy reading and have fun. If you want to participate, head on over to Cherry Blossoms & Maple Syrup to let us know on the master post as we’d love to be able to see or read people’s progress!