Posts Tagged ‘Reading Challenge’

#LGBTQIARead…You Know Me Well

Nina LaCour and David Levithan
Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?
Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.
That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.
When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.
Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

You Know Me Well was the perfect start to this week long LGBTQIA read-a-thon. Not only does it contain a diverse cast of characters from across the LGBTQIA community, all of the action in this zippy little read takes place over Pride week. While the book alludes to some serious themes and introduces the characters at povital moments in their young adult lives, overall the book felt fresh and light and I was happy to be sweep up within its pages. I loved the premise that someone on the outskirts of your social circle, essentially a stranger, can at the right moment in time be exactly the person you need in your life.

There were some elements of this book that under different circumstances I would find frustrating (and possibly even eye rolling)- “insta” love, rapidly resolved dilemmas and heartbreak recovery- however, as supporting elements to what was Kate and Mark’s falling in to friendship story, they simply added to the intensity created by the bubble of Pride week and the rapidly dissolving school year.

Despite me starting this review stating that it was essentially a light summer read, there were some moments that really resonated with me and made me pause. As an adult who reads YA I could really relate to the sentiments expressed about why the adults in the story were so fascinated by the protagonists life experiences. The limitless possibilities of youth and their wrestling with the huge decisions which focus and reduce those choices further is one of the reasons I gravitate toward young adult fiction- the absence of the daily grind, bill paying and the cynicism are some of the other reasons. Twenty years down the road, I still remember those feelings of pressure, excitement and fear, of being on the precipice and having to make what felt like irrevocable, life defining choices.

I loved the inclusion of expression and art in many forms from music, clothing, painting and photography, through to a poetry slam which was simultaneously the most educational, eye opening and moving part of the entire book.

I will definitely be checking out the authors other works.

Verdict: Fast paced platonic love story.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: June 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 248
Genre: LGBTQIA, Friendship
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: LGBTQIAReads

Personal Read-a-thon aim: Two books
Number of books read: One
Currently reading: Pantomime by Laura Lam

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#LGBTQIARead

After a bit of a hiatus I have been trying be become a bit more active in the blogging community. One of the things that I have always enjoyed is taking part in read-a-thons, we have even co-hosted one (#FinishItFeb) here on Big Book Little Book.

Read-a-thons are a great way of tackling the TBR from a new perspective, hi-lighting those books you were keen to read and purchased, but somehow got buried under the next shiny thing. They are a fantastic way of interacting with other members of the book blogging community and readers who wouldn’t ordinarily share their reads as everyone who signs up reads books from a particular genre or around a particular theme. It helps to spotlight the theme/genre and produces many wonderful recommendations. My TBR might shrink following a read-a-thon, but my wish list inevitable ends up longer!

This week I will be taking part in the #LGBTQIARead read-a-thon. Co- hosted by our very own Faye, on her personal lifestyle and book blog (here), and blogger extraordinaire George Lester (visit George’s blog here) the read-a-thon encourages people to read and share books with LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Queer, Intersex and Asexual) characters/themes.

As this is only a week long challenge, and I acknowledge that my reading powers are not what they were, I am aiming to read two books.

As I like to read by mood I have collected together a selection of LGBTQIA books from my TBR pile from which to pick from.
I haven’t even decided which book to start with!
I may add to this list as I receive recommendations and once I’ve had a proper look through my shelves and kindle.
Please feel free to tell me which of the books you think I should read and pass on your recommendations in the comments below.

If you want to sign up to join the challenge yourself everything you need to know and the sign up sheet can be found here

#LGBQTIAReads TBR
Paper
Release by Partrick Ness
Girl Hearts Girl by Lucy Sutcliffe
You Know Me well David Levithan and Nina Lacour

Ebooks
Pantomime by Laura Lam
Carry On Rainbow Rowell
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Posted by Caroline

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#FinishItFeb 2016 Challenge Round Up

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Personal Target: Finish two series

Books read this week: 1/4

Total books read: One and 1/2

Series completed for challenge: None (up to date with one series)

Faye’s Challenge Update: You can read about how the third week of the challenge went for Faye over on her personal blog (here).While her challenge wrap up can be found here.

General Feedback
Week three, half term week, when as well as I expected. I’m sure that you can surmises from the tardiness of this post that the forth and final week didn’t go much better. Over the last two weeks I have only managed to read about one half of This Shattered World. This has absolutely no refection on the book itself, which I am enjoying as much as I loved the first, this is due entirely to my current reading habits.

I have little opportunity to read paper books. Unlike ebooks, which set to dim are unobtrusive to baby nap/bed times, I am only really able to read paper books in the evenings. Unfortunately my evenings at present are currently filled with work and studying, a situation I don’t see improving in the near future.

While I can’t really say that this years #FinishItFeb has been a success in regards to my physical TBR pile, every year I am amazed at how the act of taking part in this challenge sheds light on my reading habits. This years challenge has confirmed to me that at this time and place in my life, I really need to embrace ebooks and the extra reading opportunities they afford me. Alas, the Starborn trilogy is not yet available for my Kindle ( I had planed to re buy on Kindle to enable me to finish the series sooner) and as such completing this series is going to be a slow but steady affair. Meanwhile I am going to develop the skills I gained during last years challenge of multi book reading over different formats.

How did you find the challenge? Will you be joining us next year?

Posted by Caroline

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#FinishItFeb 2016 Week 2 Round Up

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Personal Target: Finish two series

Books read this week: One (kind of)

Total books read: One

Series completed for challenge: None (up to date with one series)

Faye’s Challenge Update: You can read about Faye’s week here

General feedback: While I had every intention of reading the books I had designated for the challenge. I got distracted by the very shiny, recently released, gorgousness of The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury (you can read Pruedence’s glowing review and check out the gorgeous cover here).

Return to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater’s Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified . . . and desperate for more.
Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.
When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won’t reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.

I confess I am unrepentant. Firstly, the book is the second in a series, so really reading it was in keeping with the spirit of #FinishitFeb. Secondly, it was so good that I could never be sorry for spending time in Melinda’s dark and twisty world!

I do love being able to get my teeth in to a meaty series, absorbed in familiar world and spending time with beloved characters but I have to admit that I sometimes suffer from series, or rather trilogy fatigue. While there is something undeniably comforting about the familiarity of the trilogy formula, watching your favourite characters be pitted against increasingly complicated and horizon expanding situations, your favourite ships develop and then get pulled apart only to be reunited for the final push. Comforting isn’t always challenging or edge of your seat exciting.

I can’t tell you how totally refreshing it was to pick up and devour Melinda’s rule breaking, second instalment. I love how she so unceremoniously tosses in opinion changing, gasp out loud, head spinning plot points with nothing more than an casual unapologetic shrug. Oh so you though it was going to go differently? I guess you’d better hold on tight and enjoy the unpredictable ride!

Very often book two is a bridge between the world building of book one and the world conquering and redefining of book two. The Sleeping Prince, while a fantastic edition to the Sin Eaters series, leaving me itching for the next instalment, stands on its own merits and could be read and enjoyed without knowledge of it predecessor*

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: February 2016
Format: ebook
Pages: 336
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book

This week is half term which traditionally has had a negative impact on my #FinishItFeb efforts. I’m hoping that I will get at least part way through one of my challenge (paper) books.

How have you found week two of the challenge? Will half term be a help or hindrance for your personal targets?

Its not to late to join the challenge. Check out this post(here) for more details.
Posted by Caroline

*Not that I’d want to deny anyone the pleasure of reading Melinda’s debut novel

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#FinishItFeb Caroline’s Week 1 Round Up

FinishItFeb1
Personal Target: Finish two series

Books read this week: None

Total books read: None

Series completed for challenge: None

General feedback:
This week hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped! Unfortunately between illness, my own and my baby’s, work and other commitments I haven’t had the opportunity to even start the challenge.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet. The baby is sleeping so I’m going to take the opportunity to crack open one of those gorgeous hardbacks!
How has your week been?

You can read how well Faye has been getting on this week by clicking here You can also add your round up posts to the linky.

How have you found the first week of the challenge? Its not to late to join the challenge. Check out this post(here) for more details.

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Caroline’s #FinishItFeb 2016 Goals

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Wow! I can’t believe that this is the third year that Faye and I are hosting Finish It February, A month-long event dedicated to reading unfinished books and series.

In 2014 I managed to read four books and finish three series, making a small but satisfying dent in my personal TBR pile.

Last year, with my change in circumstances ( the birth of my third child), my aim was to match 2014’s results and I selected the four books, out of all my unfinished series, I was most desperate to read. Life with a newborn was hectic and I was happy to finish one and half books, completing two series. While this certainly didn’t rank as the most successful reading challenge result, personally it was very satisfying to know that I was still able to carve out a bit of time for myself despite a young family.

Following on from #FinishItFeb 2015 I have found that with a few adjustments, mainly developing a love affair with ebooks, I have been able to include at least an hour of reading in to most days ( who knew that juggling a newborn, two older kids, a husband, job, labrador and house renovations would be so time consuming?! πŸ˜‰ ). While this is nowhere near the amount a self confessed bookaholic like myself is used to consuming, I find that a little sniffle every day keeps me from going sir crazy.

Although I have managed to reincorporate reading in to my everyday life I haven’t found much time to attend to the blog. If it wasn’t for the contributions of my fellow BBLB team mates, this blog would have fallen in to disrepair over the last two years from neglect. While the focus of this challenge is to catch up on unfinished reads, I am setting myself the personal challenge of writing weekly updates for the duration #FinishItFeb in the hope that It will reignite my passion and help me find space in my life for blogging.

Caroline’s Goals

*Write a goal post– don’t you love an easy task you can quickly cross off of your to do list πŸ˜‰

*Write and post weekly updates

*Co-host/join at least one #FinishItFeb related Twitter chat

*Finish the Starbound series by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
I absolutely loved the first book in this series, so much so that I preordered the second and then the third book. Both books have sat, unread, gathering dust on my TBR since their bubble wrapped arrival on my door mat. I anticipate that this will be the hardest element of my challenge as they are both hardbacks and not as easy as ebooks to read while multitasking.

*Finish the audiobook of Rachel Hartman’s Shadow scale- Audiobooks the perfect multitasking reading tool ( then why haven’t I finished this book?!). I see some looooong dog walks in my future.

Wether your goals are large or small, your TBR mountainous or molehill like, we would love you to join us. You don’t even have to have a blog to participate. Feel free to add your twitter (#FinishItFeb) or Facebook updates to the link below.

If you wish to write a sign-up post, we would be incredibly grateful but it is not mandatory to join the event.
Posted by Caroline

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#FinishItFeb2016

FinishItFeb1

Hello All!

Today I am happy to share with you all that Caroline and I will be hosting #FinishItFeb again this year!

The idea of #FinishItFeb is to read either books that you’re halfway through and finish them OR to read books that you have left in a series to finish the series!

It will run throughout Feb and is a chance to finish those half-read books and part read series!

To sign up for this fun-filled event, all you need to do is add your link to the linky post below. If you wish to write a sign-up post, we would be incredibly grateful but it is not mandatory to join the event. You do not have to have a blog to participate, feel free to link to your twitter or facebook!

Throughout the event Caroline and I will be posting weekly updates to let you all know how we are doing with this challenge and add a linky to our posts so that you can all link to your own updates as well.

Lastly, if you need any help remembering what happened in the last few books in the series, we recommend you have a look at Recaptains, an incredible blog that sums up what happens in the previous books in a large proportion of series.

Aside from all of that, let’s have some fun!

Posted by Faye

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#scyTBR: Caroline’s Goals and Challenge TBR

springcleantbrHello! Firstly I’d like to apologise for my tardiness. You know that you are having a busy week when you are two days late posting your goals for the reading challenge that you are co hosting! The combination of new baby, The Bigs off of school for Easter and some serious home renovations have really screwed with my reading and blogging schedule.

A spring cleaning challenge couldn’t have come at a more apt time as there is literally an inch of dust over every surface of my home. The eagle eyed Bookish Brits subscribers among you might notice that the first picture, of my soon to be en suite, is the prior home of my beautiful alphabetised (thanks Faye) bookcase. Fear not dear reader, my books are safely hibernating in waterproof, dust proof (I hope) tough plastic boxes in preparation for their new home in the “study” *cough*Library*cough*.

As a result of the restricted access to my physical TBR and in anticipation of many hours of painting ahead of me I shall be focusing on my neglected ebooks and audiobooks.

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Goals
With everything that is going on in my life at the moment my main aim for the challenge is just to carve out some time and try to establish a reading routine, even if that is simply a couple of chapters before bed or a paragraph or two between Mum’s Taxi pick up and drop offs.
During the Spring Clean Your TBR Challenge I would really like to:

* Finish my current audiobook – Ensnared by a G Howard (Currently 11hrs 13mins to go)
* Finish my Current paperback- A Darker Shade Of Magic by V E Schwab (Currently on page 37)
* Finish at least one other E/audiobook
* Finish at least one half written review from 2014 (and remove open folder from my tool bar!)
* Take part in the Twitter Chat (Scheduled for the 17th of April)
* Write at least one challenge update post

Challenge TBR
While my first two “reads” are in progress I would love your input choosing my subsequent read(s). Simply let me know in the comments below or on twitter which books I should prioritise for this challenge.

shadow scalethis shattered worlsdays of blood and starlightstardustgraceling a court of thorns and roses
the girl with all the giftsSA_REVISED.inddpantomimeshadows on the moon

Audiobook Short List
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman Narrated by Mandy Williams and W Morgan Sheppard Ok, I realise that this book was only published in March but It feels as though I have been waiting to read this sequel to Seraphina for FOREVER. I have been looking forward to this book for so long I even mistakenly included it in my most anticipated read of 2014 Bookish Brits Video!

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner Narrated by Callard Harris, Donnabella Mortel and Lincoln Hoppe. Although this book was only published in January of this year I have actually owned a copy (ARC) since BEA14! I loved The first book in this trilogy and I can’t wait to find out what twists and turns Kaufman and Spooner have in store for me this time.

Days Of Blood and starlight by Laini Taylor Narrated by Khristine Hvam Daughter of Smoke and Bone was one of my favourite non 2015 books I read in 2015. I really think that it is about time I got on and finished this trilogy.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman Narrated by Neil Gaiman Despite the movie being one of my favourite films I am ashamed to say that I have never read the book! Not only that but I have never read a book by Neil Gaiman. Ever! *revives reader with smelling salts*

Graceling by Kirstin Cashore Narraeted by Emma Powell I am sure that this confession is also going to cause gasps, particularly when I call myself a fantasy fan, but I have never read a single book by Kirstin Cashore, despite many, many recommendations. I have all three Graceling Realm audiobooks waiting to be explored.

eBook Short list
A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sara J Maas
Ok, Ok. Look I know that this book hasn’t been released yet but I really, really want to read it soon. What’s more Faye and I plan to buddy read and review it. It’s been such a long time since we last film together that I’d love to do it ASAP.

The Girl With All The Gifts by Carey M. R I have read nothing but good things about this book. One of the reviews was by my favourite author which for me is the ultimate recommendation.

Strange Angels by Lili St Crow has been sitting on my ereader for I don’t know how long! It was originally recommended to be by Cait of The Cait Files (visit her blog here) and ARYA book club fame. Cait hasn’t given me a duff recommendation yet! Whats more it is a nice neatly, completed series which I could really sink my teeth in to.

Pantomime by Laura Lam I don’t know a single person who has read this book and not loved it. Not only is it getting embarrassingly awkward that I haven’t read it when soooo many people have recommended it but a quick click through my Goodreads indicated that I need to be reading more diverse books like this.

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott I adore Zoe’s Name Of The Blade Trilogy it is witty, original (it has made me want to learn more about Japanese culture) and action packed with an effortlessly diverse cast of characters and so absorbing that I nearly missed my flight!( read my review of book one, The Night Itself, here). I am ashamed to admit that not only have I not read anything else by this fabulous author, but her book Shadows On the Moon, bought back in June 2011, is the oldest unread book on my e-reader

So there you have it, better late than never, my goals and TBR for the Spring Clean Your TBR challenge.

To learn more about the challenge and to sign up check out the announcement post (here).

Don’t forget to check out the Twitter hash tag #scyTBR for the latest challenge news, posts and of course chat on the 17th

While linking your goal and update posts is not compulsory Faye and I would love to check out how you are getting on.
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You can add a link to your goal posts here;

Posted by Caroline

#scyTBR: Faye’s Goals and Challenge TBR

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Hey Guys!
So the Spring Clean Your TBR starts on Wednesday! I’m excited to read some of the books I’ve been meaning to read for ages, are you?

This post is my goals and my mini-TBR. At the bottom of the post you can link to your own goals for the month!

And before I forget, there is now a Twitter Hashtag, this is #scyTBR


My Goals

April is looking like a bit of a busy month BUT I do have a lot of train journeys and some days off so I’m hoping that in that busy month, I’ll get a fair bit of reading done. Therefore I’m going to have my goal pretty high to begin with. If, halfway through the month I’m not halfway through my goal, I will definitely change it.

With that in mind, for this challenge I am aiming to read eight books that have been sitting on my shelf/on my kindle for over a year.

See, a high goal as I’ve not been reading as many books as normal recently but lets just see how it goes!


My Mini-TBR

Because I like choice I have actually chosen sixteen books to choose from. There are eight hardcopies and eight e-copies. We’ll see how well it goes – knowing me I’ll probably end up reading books not on my mini-TBR at all! (But that’s totally okay!)

E-Books
Doll Bones Renegade Parallel Visions Shadowplay

EVERSEA_4 me since you The Winner's Curse The Moment Before

Hardcopies

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So as you can see, I have a lot of good choices to pick from! I’ve decided to start with The Oathbreaker’s Curse by Amy McCullogh as this was also in my Finish It Feb list and I didn’t get to it – and still haven’t! But after that… who knows!

Would you recommend any of the books above?


You can add a link to your goal posts here;

Posted by Faye

Announcement!

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Hey All!
You know how at the end of Finish It February I said that I had another event to announce? This is the announcement!

Spring Clean Your TBR

Once again Caroline and I have teamed up to bring you a fun-filled event!

The aim of Spring Clean Your TBR is to read some of those books on your TBR piles that have been gathering “dust”. Figuratively speaking, of course – we wouldn’t allow our books to get dusty, would we?

It will happen in April and is a month-long event that will be full of exciting things!

As well as the event taking place, we’ll also be holding a Twitter Chat on Friday 17th April. More information on that will come later.

And on top of all of THAT, at the end of the event we are also organising a book swap. There will be one meet-up in London where books can be swapped and drinks can be had. And also the chance to put a list of the books you’re willing to swap up on your blog which you can either swap like for like or have those who want them pay postage. More information will come later for this too.

So… now you know what the event is. Here are some details about what will happen.

The Details

If, after ALL that information you still have questions, feel free to contact me in the comments or on twitter and I’ll answer them for you.

Aside from that…

Sign up below!

Posted by Faye