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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: reading challenges, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Fusenews: “The Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes”

Screen shot 2013 12 18 at 10.21.45 PM 300x143 Fusenews: The Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes

  • It’s been a good week and it’s only Thursday!  I’ve cooed and oohed and aahed over NYPL’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2013 list before.  Nothing new to say  . . . or is there?  I don’t suppose you happened to see NPR’s interactive booklist consisting of their Best Books of 2013 (in a rare moment of bliss, I like all their children’s book choices though some diversity wouldn’t have been out of place).  Well, NYPL took one look at that list and thought, “Heck. We can do that.”  And so they did!  Meet the Interactive Books List of NYPL.  It’s gorgeous.  It’s user friendly.  It’s the only place you can find animated Melissa Sweet.  Overall, I rather love it.  Hope you do too.
  • In other best book news, Colby Sharp and Donalyn Miller teamed up at BuzzFeed and produced a list of 20 of the Best Children’s Books 2013.  And AGAIN I like all the choices.  Do you know how rare this is?  Extra points for including Donner Dinner Party.  Love that thing.  Love anyone who includes it on a list.
  • Having trouble keeping track of all the Best Of lists out there?  Mr. Schu’s your man.  Thanks to him, we now have a nicely compiled 2013 Best Books Lists posting.  It’s very attractive.  Of course, if you want the most complete listing out there, there’s no better place to go than Chicken Spaghetti.  The information is AMAZING over there.
  • A lot has been said lately about how big Best lists of children’s books this year have neglected to include any Latino characters (NPR and The New York Times most notably).  Perfect timing then for the 2014 Reading Challenge suggested by Latin@s in Kid Lit.  Take a look at the guidelines and join, but seriously?  One book a month?  I think you can handle that.  They even have some suggestions to start you off (yay, Nino!).
  • And, of course, if you read only one Best list, read the 100 Scope Notes highly hilarious Year in Miscellanea.  Plus he mentions my superfluous little cupcake.  Quoth he it’s, “the Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes.”  You’re just going to have to read his piece to understand what that means.

 FaultStarsMovie Fusenews: The Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes

  • Tempted to see Saving Mr. Banks in the theater this holiday season?  Feel free but be aware that the film may be throwing P.L. Travers under the bus in the process.  A great piece from Jerry Griswold, former Director of the National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature.
  • Anyone who has ever attended one of James Kennedy’s 90-Second Newbery Film Festivals will attest that they are a bundle of fun.  Just the most delightful little films, created by kids, turning Newbery winners into concise 90-second films.  Some are, understandably, better than others but there’s nothing cooler than sitting in a theater next to a kid who gets to see their film projected on a big screen for the first time in their young lives.  Want to join in?  The deadline for the next 90-second films is January 20th.  So get cracking, young geniuses!  For lots more information about the events and the showings, go here.
  • Awww.  This is so sweet.  Over at Mocking It Up, Rebecca did me a solid and created this simply gorgeous infographic on the books that are topping the Mock Newbery lists around the country (she compiled results from 19 different Mocks).  That’s a ton of work but the results are simply gorgeous.  Wowzah!  Well done, madam.
  • Daily Image:

Why, yes.  That IS a bookshelf in the shape of a robot.

RobotBookshelf 500x444 Fusenews: The Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes

Now you all know what you’re getting for your birthday.  Surprise!

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5 Comments on Fusenews: “The Axl Rose Hair Metal hair of picture book cover cupcakes”, last added: 12/22/2013
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2. Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution by Avi

Avi has always been a favorite in our house and his latest book, Sophia's War, is another addition to his oeuvre of historical fiction that doesn't fail to satisfy.  This time Avi takes the reader back to the American Revolution.

For 12 year old Sophia Calderwood, the revolutionary war is personal.  Forced to flee with her mother and father when the British attack and seize lower Manhattan, on her return, Sophia and her mother witness, first, the hanging of Nathan Hale by the British for being a spy and second, the burnt remains of part of their lower New York settlement.  Fortunately, the Calderwood house, though ransacked, is still standing.

Sophia's father had thought it wise to remain at a friend's house in northern Manhattan, but he soon shows up at home with a gunshot in him arm.  It is decided that he will remain sequestered at home for now, since he is a known patriot and needs to recover.  As for Sophia's brother William, a soldier fighting under General Washington, there has been no news of him for a while.

On top of all this, with the British now in charge, the Calderwoods are forced to billet a soldier.  Lieutenant John André, handsome, cultured and kind, arrives at their door and Sophia is immediately taken in by his attention and many charms.
"In short, having never met so well bred and civilized a man as John André, I was greatly flattered by the attention.  Indeed, I was nothing less than enthralled." (pg 56)
When Sophia lets slip to John André the her brother is a patriot, he lets her know that he will keep the information to himself, and that he will do whatever he can to help her family.  So naturally, when Sophia discovers her brother seriously ill and starving in one of the British prisons known for their deplorable conditions,  she is sure John André will help him.

The news that John André has been ordered to go to Staten Island immediately, prompts the Calderwoods to ask if he will help William.  When Sophia confronts him about this, he tells her he cannot do anything, that his honor as a British officer is the most important thing in the world to him.  But when Sophia reminds him that he had promised that, if needed, he would anything he could for her, he responds that a promise to a 12 year old is not like a pledge to a lady, and that she is not yet a lady.

Shaken to her core by this, Sophia vows to save William.

Fast forward to 1780, the war is still being fought.  Sophia is now 15, working in a print shop to help her family out.  There, because she can read, she is recruited as a spy for the Americans.  Placed in the home of British General Clinton as a housemaid, she is asked to report any information she finds.  But just as she discovers a plot of treasonous proportions involving an American general and her old friends John André, the person she reports to has disappeared for safety reasons.

What to do with all this information?  Here is Sophia's opportunity to get revenge on John André for failing to help William by exposing the plot she has uncovered.  Can a young 15 year old succeed against all odds and possibly change the tide of the war?

Sophia's War was an exciting book to read.  Avi has taken a real event of the American Revolution that has many aspects to it that have never been explained and offers a cogent explanation.  And why not?  This is what historical fiction is all about.  All the places and events, as well as most of the characters in Sophia's War are real and you will probably recognize them from history lessons.  It is told in the voice of  self-conscious narrator Sophia, who directly addresses her readers in several places, making it sound plausible, while at the same time reminding us she is a fiction.

I thought this was one of Avi's best novels and I have loved all of them.  My one reservation about Sophia's War was the revenge aspect of her motivation.  But, of course, in the end, there is much to learn from Sophia's motivations.  Do read this novel is you enjoy good historical fiction.

This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was borrowed from Webster Branch of the NYPL

Simon & Schuster offer a reading guide for Sophia's War including Common Core Standards here.

This is book 1 of my 2013 American Revolution Reading Challenge hosted by War Through the Generations.
This is book 3 of my 2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by Historical Tapestry

24 Comments on Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution by Avi, last added: 1/31/2013
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3. Happy New Year


I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Well, it is that time of the year again - time to sign up for reading challenges.  There doesn't seem to be as many challenges as there have been in the past, but luckily for me, I had already decided which I wanted to participate in.  This year, I am returning to three old favorites and two new challenges.


The War through the Generations 2013 American Revolution Reading Challenge sounds very interesting.  My goal is to read 4-10 books in any genre with the American Revolution as a primary or secondary theme.  I even have some books picked out about the American Revolution.


And I will be returning to the 2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted each year by Historical Tapestry. And since the Medieval period was always a secondary interest of mine, I thought I would go for the Medieval level of 15 books.  I know, almost everything I read for The Children's War is historical fiction, but not everything I post qualifies.


The third reading challenge I am returning to is Rose City Reader's European Reading Challenge.  I am going for the Five Star (Deluxe Entourage) level of reading at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.

The two new Reading Challenges I have decided on are:


The 2013 Cruisin' thru the Cozies hosted by Socrates' Book Reviews.  I am going for level 1, Snoop,  and reading at least 6 books.  There are still a few mystery books I want to read that take place in WW2 and that would have lots of appeal to YA or N/A (New Adult) readers.


And last, but not least, I am participating in 2013 Pre-1960 Classic Children's Books Reading Challenge.  This is a good challenge for me since I have not been very good about my From the Archives book reviews.

I am looking forward to a very interesting reading year in 2013.

11 Comments on Happy New Year, last added: 1/13/2013
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4. Reading Challenges

Well, it's that time of the year again, time to wrap up my 2012 reading challenges.  This year I tried not to get too enthusiastic about reading challenges, and there were some mighty tempting ones, too, but I did mange to keep it to a mostly do-able number.  And it turns out to have been a year full of some very good books.

I participated in the Cozy Mystery Reading Challenge hosted by Debbie's Book Blog, but sometime during the summer, Debbie decided to stop blogging.  Of the 4-6 Cozies I said I would read, I completed the following:
1- The Girl is Trouble by Kathryn Haines Miller
2- Mr. Churchill's Secretary  by Susan Elia MacNeal
3- Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal

I also participated in the European Reading Challenge hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader.  I signed up to read 5 or more books and these are the six I completed:
1- My Brother's Shadow by Monika Schröder (Germany)
2- Night by Elie Wiesel (Romania)
3- Far from My Home, Never to Return by Nadia Seluga (Poland)
4- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Britain and France)
5- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Denmark)
6- Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus (Norway)

The third reading challenge I read books for was the Historical Fiction Challenge hosted by Historical Tapestry.  I read 15 of the 15 books I committed to, which are:
1- My Brother's Shadow by Monika Schröder
2- Private Peaceful by Michael Mopurgo
3- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
4- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
5- The Girl is Trouble by Kathryn Haines Miller
6- The Other Half of Life by Kim Ablon Whitney
7- Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
8- Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus
9- Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
10- Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley
11- Rowan Farm by Margot Benary-Isbert
12- Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer
13- Becoming Clementine by Jennifer Niven
14- The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper
15- Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal

And Anna and Serena at War Through the Generations hosted the World War I Reading Challenge this year and I read 4 books for that:
1- My Brother's Shadow by Monika Schröder
2- Private Peaceful by Michael Mopurgo
3- The Poppy Lady by Barbara Elizabeth Walsh
4- Truce: the Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting by Jim Murphy

The Sir Terry Pratchett Reading Challenge was hosted by Once Upon a Time and I read:
1- Dodger by Terry Pratchett

I managed to meet at least the minimum amount on all these reading challenges with one exception (and I am highly embarrassed about it) but luckily, it is a perpetual challenge:
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Reading Challenge hosted by Zohar at Man of la Book

And for 2013...
I am still thinking about that, although I am going to definitely repeat some of this year's challenges.  Those are at the moment to be announced.


4 Comments on Reading Challenges, last added: 1/21/2013
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5. 366 Books February Update

Two months into the National Year of Reading, means two months down in my attempt to read 366 books this year. That means it must also be time for an update. So 31 days in January, 29 days in February means, by now, I should have read 60 books. And guess what – that’s exactly where I’m at! On target to get to 366 books. These are the books I read in February: 34 Come Down, Cat Sonya

1 Comments on 366 Books February Update, last added: 3/3/2012
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6. 366 Books January Update

It’s a new month, which means one month of my National Year of Reading challenge has passed. If you haven’t been reading my posts, or following my updates on Twitter or Facebook, I’ll explain. This year is the National year of Reading here in Australia. Hooray! A whole year of focus on one of life’s great treasures. All around the country there are events,promotions and challenges

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7. Hour 13

Hours Spent Reading: 13
Books Read: 4
Pages Read: 1144
Money Raised: $629
What I'm listening to: Another Man's Done Gone

Please remember that I'm reading to raise money for Room to Read, which builds libraries, stocks them with books, and trains people to become their librarians.

So Punk Rock: And Other Ways to Disappoint Your MotherSo Punk Rock: And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother Micol Ostow, art by David Ostow

My second Micol Ostow book of the day, but much different than the other stuff of her's that I've read (which have all been SASS novels.)

Ari Abramson is a junior at a Jewish Day School in New Jersey. In an effort to up his coolness, he starts a band. As the school paper says, The Tribe consists of three Gittleman juniors: founder and self-professed Joe Schmoe Ari Abramson on guitar, quiet dark horse Yossi Gluck on drums-- (seriously-- did any of us see him coming?), and the irrepressible Jonas Fein on base and lead vocals. Rounding out the quartet is backup singer Reena Gluck, whose inimitable vocals have been described as a cross between Amy Winehouse and a sane person. p112

Initially, it's a pretty motely crew, but for some reason, they seriously rock.

Of course, there are tensions as Jonas's ego gets the better of him, Ari still can't catch the eye of hot girl Sari (of course ignoring that Reena is much more awesome and not nearly as annoying.) And Ari's parents are gung-ho about honors classes, the SATs and Ari going to Brandeis (even though it's just the beginning of junior year.)

Friendship, self-exploration, and a book about Jewish kids that doesn't try to explain anything for non-Jews in the text (there is, however, a glossary in the back.) So you get such hilarious exchanges as "Are f^&*ing you serious?" "Serious as Yom Kippur, man" p 37 (And yes, while they swear just as much as you'd expect rocker high school boys to swear, it's all @$#$^^$%#$^@%# out.) Just thinking about that line makes me laugh. Warning world-- I'm going to start using it. The rest of the book is also super-funny.

Parts of the story are told comic-book style, which works well. I wished there was more of it.

A super-awesome book that I loved loved loved loved.

BUT, I was hoping that Ostow was kidding when she referenced a t.A.T.u. cover of How Soon Is Now? Sadly, she wasn't. It really exists. I have a dark, secret, horribly embarassing soft space for t.A.T.u. but... that's just wrong. I've listened to it. It's wrong. I may have downloaded it.

I blame the coffee.

Also, I do love the Murakami references. Because he's awesome.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through

1 Comments on Hour 13, last added: 6/4/2010
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8. Hour 10

Hours Spent Reading: 10
Books Read: 3
Pages Read: 890
Money Raised: $623
What I'm listening to: Black Hole Sun

Please remember that I'm reading to raise money for Room to Read, which builds libraries, stocks them with books, and trains people to become their librarians.

The Ghosts Of Ashbury HighThe Ghosts Of Ashbury High Jaclyn Moriarty

According to the introductory note, gothic fiction is often full of "mad people locked in attics, secret passageways, monsters, murderers, ghosts, and family curses."

Although this book takes place at a modern high school outside Sydney and is, for the most part, realistic fiction (with just a touch of magical realism) this does have everything that a good gothic novel needs.

I know I owe you reviews of the previous Ashbury High books (although you do not really need to read them to read this one.)

It's Year 12 for Cass, Lydia, and Em. (Liz makes a brief appearance as well and Bindy keeps popping up, never fear.) As with Moriarty's other books, this is told in "stuff" mainly personal essays for the HSC, committee meeting notes, emails, and blog entries.

Of course, due to the nature of most of the narrative-- an exam question to "Write a personal memoir which explores the dynamics of first impressions. In your response, draw on your knowledge of gothic fiction" and an assignment to "Write the story of Term 2 as a ghost story" we're never entirely sure of the reliability of our narrators, even when we know our narrators from previous books and how they're usually unreliable.

Ashbury has two new scholarship students-- Amelia and Riley. The school is obsessed with them, their aloofness, their secret history, their insane talent at everything they touch. Mostly though, their past. They came from Brookfield, but no one's Brookfield connections know them, except Seb, who warns Lydia to steer clear.

The reader sees different parts of the story, different sides, and has to guess what's happening. And there are important elements of gothic fiction that you forget and then, BAM! There they are!

It's not a comedic book, but parts are very, very funny (I mean, everything Em touches is comedic gold.) But it's also a very interesting look at second chances, perception, history and present, and, of course, ghosts and haunting-- real, metaphorical, and imaginary.

More people need to discover the genius that is Moriarty. Seriously.

Book provided by... my wallet.

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

9. Hour 34.5

Just an update to say I'm back from work and reading again. I managed to get another 3 hours in since my last update-- I woke up early and read before work, then listened to part of an audio book on the way to work, read at lunch and on break, and then listened to part of an audio book on the way home.

Now, I'm part way through The Red Pyramid and 1/3 listened through a Nancy Drew. I'm going to finish reading the Nancy Drew (but only counting the pages actually read) and then finish up the The Red Pyramid.

Except maybe the other way around, because The Red Pyramid is long, so I think I'll read that while I can concentrate on a 500 page book. ;)

1 Comments on Hour 34.5, last added: 6/5/2010
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10. Hour 42

Hours Spent Reading: 27
Books Read: 8
Pages Read: 2330
Money Raised: $715.54
What I'm listening to: Life Begins At The Hop

Please remember that I'm reading to raise money for Room to Read, which builds libraries, stocks them with books, and trains people to become their librarians.

Alibi Junior HighAlibi Junior High Greg Logsted

Ok, so here's a problem with working at a library and read-a-thons. I'm always thinking "Great! This can be when I read all the books that are due back and I haven't gotten to yet, plus all those books that I bought and haven't read yet because my book buying eyes are bigger than my reading eyes..." But then I start checking out all these extra books for the read-a-thon. Because I didn't have enough already?

Then, when you spend a day at the library in the middle of a read-a-thon?

I think it shows admirable restraint that I only walked away with 1 extra book today.

Somehow, I had never heard of this one before, when it caught my eye on the book cart this afternoon.

Cody has grown up with his dad, helping him with CIA stuff, his entire life in deep undercover. He changes identities every week. He speaks 5 languages and knows many, may ways to kill you. After a cafe bombing in Santiago, Cody's facing his biggest challenge-- junior high.

It sounds like it should be a comedic romp, but it's not. Cody has some serious PTSD issues from the bombing. He's completely unprepared for junior high-- how to dress and talk like a normal kid, to not be smarter than your teachers, all the unwritten codes he's never had to deal with before-- it's not easy to adjust. Plus, his dad is still out there, somewhere, fighting the bad guys.

To make matters worse, it looks like the guys who were after his dad in Santiago are now after Cody. Luckily, his neighbor is an Army Ranger who's just returned from Iraq missing an arm. The guys bond (without talking about it) over their mental recovery and physical training.

Not to say that there aren't funny bits. It is darkly comedic. And good. I'm surprised it didn't get more buzz last summer when it came out. It should have.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

2 Comments on Hour 42, last added: 6/6/2010
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11. Hour 40.5

Hours Spent Reading: 25.5
Books Read: 7
Pages Read: 2086
Money Raised: $707
What I'm listening to: Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)

Please remember that I'm reading to raise money for Room to Read, which builds libraries, stocks them with books, and trains people to become their librarians.

The Clue in the Diary (Nancy Drew, Book 7)The Clue in the Diary Carolyn Keene

Oh Nancy, you're so funny. There are two mysteries-- a poor (but clean!) mother and daughter that Nancy and her friends meet at a carnival. The father is off looking for work and supposed to send money, but they haven't heard from him.

On the way home, they see a house burn down. The house belongs to a very rich, but not well-liked character. OF COURSE THE MYSTERIES ARE RELATED!

But! This is the book where Nancy meets Ned! And how! He's moving her car away from the spreading house fire and she thinks he's trying to steal it.

I listened to the first part of this and that was awesome, because all the over-drama was underscored with crazy sound effects and lots of dramatic music. I think I'm going to have to listen to more Nancy Drews for the Nancy Drew challenge. Also, it was narrated by Laura Linney and how can you NOT love Laura Linney?!

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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12. Hour 39

Hours Spent Reading: 24
Books Read: 6
Pages Read: 1970
Money Raised: $684
What I'm listening to: the dishwasher. Exciting stuff, I know.

Please remember that I'm reading to raise money for Room to Read, which builds libraries, stocks them with books, and trains people to become their librarians.

The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1)The Red Pyramid Rick Riordan

Ok there are A LOT of similarities between this and the Percy Jackson. Couple of kids discover that they're part of an ancient belief system that's still alive and kicking in the modern world and have just a few days to get across the country and save the world, all the while battling mythical forces of badness.

Only instead of Greek gods, it's Egyptian ones.

Carter and Sadie are brother and sister, even though they didn't grow up together. They are descended from Pharoahs and they should be a part of the organization of Egyptian court magicians that's still alive and kicking... but the organization wants them dead, because they also have the spirits of Horus and Isis hanging out in their bodies with them.

But that's all secondary, because Set has kidnapped their father and is about to destroy the world, so he's their bigger worry.

Like I said, there are a lot of similarities with Percy, but I think I like this one better. I like that Carter and Sadie take turns narrating the story, but they're also bantering back and forth in their narration, like brother and sister. It's hilarious and works really well. I also really like how Riordan writes Bast.

There was some controversy about race when The Last Olympian came out. It's worth noting that Carter and Sadie are bi-racial. Carter is darker skinned, while Sadie is lighter skinned. And race is discussed-- Sadie resents that strangers don't think she's related to her dad and brother. Carter dresses like a dork (according to Sadie) because his dad has made sure that he always looks impeccable because people will judge him on appearance. Cops like to follow him around. Riordan is white. I'm white. I love that the blogosphere has been tackling issues of race in books and I would love to hear other opinions on this. I feel like I should say more, but I'm in the middle of a readathon and don't really have time to mull this issues and have only mulled them to this point because I was thinking about them while at work. But, I wanted to mention it so others could talk about it.

Overall though, I liked this better than Percy Jackson and am excited to re

2 Comments on Hour 39, last added: 6/6/2010
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13. Hour 47

Hours Spent Reading: 32
Books Read: 10
Pages Read: 2756
Money Raised: $ 723.54
What I'm listening to: Maria

Please remember that I'm reading to raise money for Room to Read, which builds libraries, stocks them with books, and trains people to become their librarians.

The Last Apprentice: A Coven of WitchesThe Last Apprentice: A Coven of Witches Joseph Delaney

Much like The Spook's Tale: And Other Horrors, this is a book of background material, to hold us over until the next book in the series, Rise of the Huntress comes out in September.

In this volume, we have the Spook's story of how he met and fell in love with Meg Skelton, and how it went wrong. It sheds further light on why he distrusts witches, especially relationships with witches. We have Alice's story of her first days with Bony Lizzie, we have remembrances of one of the dead witches buried in Witch Dell, and we have a story told by Tom of when he and Bill Arkwright found a Celtic Witch Assassin (rather different than the English witches.) AND! We get the first two chapters of Rise of the Huntress-- upon their return from Greece, Tom, Alice, and the Spook discover that the War has finally come to the County. The Spook's house, and more importantly, his library, have been burned and destroyed. Bony Lizzie has escaped and the Fiend is still loose... CAN NOT WAIT!

If you're a fan of the series, this is a fun book to hold you over until we get to find out what happens next. I like that it's actual stories with characters we know well and characters that are only on our periphery instead of something like an encyclopedia of facts...

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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14. Hour 45

Hours Spent Reading: 30
Books Read: 9
Pages Read: 2532
Money Raised: $719.54
What I'm listening to: 2 Become 1

Please remember that I'm reading to raise money for Room to Read, which builds libraries, stocks them with books, and trains people to become their librarians.

Intrigue (Lady Grace Mysteries)Intrigue Grace Cavendish

Ok. We've reached the point of the night where I have to read the same page multiple times.

When the Queen finds out about a new play where the audience has to solve a murder mystery, she can't wait for the troupe to be summoned to court and instead has everyone go to the Inn to see it right away. But, when the play's murder victim is actually murdered, things change.

It seems pretty straight-forward, so the Queen doesn't think there's any further investigation needed, but something doesn't seem right to Grace, so she's on the case!

I especially loved the description of what London Bridge looked like.

I do love love love this series so much. I'm sad they didn't gain enough popularity in the States to keep publishing them here.

Book Provided by... my wallet

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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15. Guardian Challenge: August Reviews


Leave your links to Guardian Challenge reviews for August below!

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16. China Challenge: August Reviews


It's the last month of the China Challenge! Add in your links for China Challenge reviews below and your wrap-up posts (if you haven't left a link yet)! Good luck. I hope y'all had fun. I know I did.

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17. I digress again..Weekly Geeks - Reading Challenges

This week the Weekly Geeks question is

Do you plan on participating in any reading challenges in 2011? Are you planning on hosting any reading challenges? Perhaps you'd like to share an idea for a reading challenge--to see if there is any interest! Share with us which challenges look tempting to you! (You don't have to "officially" join any of the challenges for this weekly geek. Just let us know which ones you'd be most interested in.) You might want to spend some time browsing A Novel Challenge. Are there any challenges you are looking forward to that haven't been announced yet? Regardless of your challenge plans, are you starting to plan ahead for next year? Do you make lists or goals? Are you a person who enjoys reading more if it is structured? Or are you all about being free to read what you want, when you want?

To which I respond

I started blogging too late last year to be able to participate in any reading challenges. This year is different and as the challenges are posted online, I want to do them all. But that is impossible. Nevertheless, some of the challenges I am seriously considering are YA of the 80s and 90s, YA Historical Fiction, , and perhaps the East and Southeast Asia Challenge. All of these can be tied into the subject of my blog – World War II. And for something completely different – War through the Generations reading challenge on the US Civil War.

I can’t say I have done much about planning for these challenges, except to read the requirements. Yet I am a person who likes structure and I am a list maker, one of the compensatory measures I learned for dealing with severe dyslexia. When I was doing my qualifying exams in graduate school, I loved making my reading lists. My problem was limiting myself to what was really manageable, but challenges are good in that one can do crossovers. Still, I think I am postponing making any reading lists until the initial feeling of overzealousness passes and I can make a realistic list. And as soon as I get them together, I will post my reading lists here.

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18. My Reading Challenges for 2011

These are the ones I’m participating in:

graphicnovelsreadingchallenge My Reading Challenges for 2011* Graphic Novel Reading Challenge

- I read some great graphic novels last year with Yummy: Tales of a Southside Shorty being one of the highlights. I’m hoping to read even more in 2011.

- The challenge starts January 1, 2011 and ends December 31, 2011. You can start anytime you want to especially if you want to start early. I could choose from 3 levels of participation: Beginner (3 comics or graphic novels), Intermediate (3-10 books), or Expert (10+). I’ve decided to shoot for the Expert level with at least 10 books including:

Spaceheadz 2 by Jon Scieszka and Shane Prigmore
Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 by Tim Hamilton
A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld
Tyranny by Lesley Fairfield
The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert
Pride of Baghdad by by Brian K. Vaughan and Todd Klein and Niko Henrichon
Foiled by Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro
Trickster: Native American Tales (A Graphic Collection) by Matt Dembicki
Resistance: Book 1 by Carla Jablonski and Leland Purvis
The Lunch Lady series by Jarrett Krosoczka

picturebookchallenge2 My Reading Challenges for 2011* Read To Me Picture Book Reading Challenge

This challenge has been organized by one of my favorite book bloggers, @the1stdaughter at There’s A Book. It’s geared toward families who love picture books.

Here are the levels of cha

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19. Sunday Salon

Well, I joined The Sunday Salon. Kinda, I mean, I signed up with my info. It's something I've been meaning to do for awhile. Even though I'm not officially a member yet, I thought I'd do a post anyway, because I have several blog-related things that I'm thinking about and wanted to share, and it is Sunday, so I might as well, right? Right.


First off, in a non-blog related vein, I hope you had an excellent Thanksgiving, for my American friends who celebrate such things. I had oral surgery last Friday to fix a blocked saliva gland that resulted in 8 stitches, several of which are on the underside of my tongue. While it's not nearly as painful as it sounds like it should be (and the full description of events sounds rather painful) it does mean that I started eating solid food again... today. So my Thanksgiving involved Butternut Squash Soup with Cider Cream. And pumpkin pie filling. The rest of my week has involved me surviving on pudding, ice cream, jello, and apple sauce. Who knew that was a diet I would grow tired of really quickly? What is wrong with me?! But, given that today's breakfast involved toast (TOAST!) Dan's ordering me pizza for dinner. I think I could live off pizza. I've seriously considered making a pizza smoothie this week, because I missed it sooooooooooooooo much.

In the annals of geekdom: One thing I love about my neighborhood is that we can walk to a second-run movie theater that serves food! While you watch the movie! It's located by the local branch of our library, so last night, while walking to a late show, I made Dan and our friend Curtis detour so I could return a bunch of library books. Why yes, I do return my books at 10pm on a Saturday night!

In blogging news, this week will be Cybils week! Instead of only posting my Cybils reviews on Nonfiction Monday, I thought I'd post at least one a day this week. And probably the week after that, too, but I don't want to promise anything I won't be able to deliver on.

Are you excited for my birthday party next weekend? I AM!!!! Seriously guys, awesome prizes await. Dan's already tried to steal the Starbucks gift cards, but I told him to put them down and back away very slowly. Plus, I have a ton of cool things from Tartx, piles of books that need to no longer be in my house, and some bookmarks. And maybe some other things. And Dreadlock Girl is hosting a 24-hour Read-a-Thon that weekend!!! Maybe I'll do both? You can definitely do both!

Now, some new reading challenges that I've signed up for!

Marg from Reading Adventures is hosting a Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge. I loved Nation and read my first Discworld novel this fall, which I also loved. I want to read many, many more and was thinking of hosting a Terry Pratchett challenge myself, so I was happy to see that Marg beat me to it! I've signed up for the Death's Apprentice Level, which has me reading 10-12 books.

The Marple Poirot Holmes Challenge. Pretty simply, read 2 Miss Marple Mysteries, 2 Poirot Mysteries, and to Sherlock Holmes Mysteries in 2010. I've never read any of them, so why not give it a try?

<

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20. Sunday Salon

Well, another year is over, and another has begun.

Here were my goals this year:

1. Blog at least 5 books a week for 260 total, or to keep up with reading habits, whichever is less. I did 254, which is close! Almost!
2. Read at least 20 nonfiction books 54, suckas
3. Read at least 50 books from this year's scary list. FAIL. I did 24, but last year, I only did 16, so I got a little better
4. Never have more than 5 pleasure reading materials checked out from the library at a time. FAIL. I am getting better at this though. Much better.
5. Finish read the rest of Silvey's top 100. (This is only 26 books, 7 of which are picture books. I can do this! Listening totally counts.) FAIL. I only did 5. I still have 21 to go.
6. Never be more than a year behind on reviewing. I will catch up with 2006 books by the end of January. FAIL. I still have books from April 2007 to review! Aiy yai yai.

And here's how we are on the left over reading challenges:

TBR Challenge: I only read 8 out of the 12. Ah well. I'll try again this year.

Buy Books: I was supposed to buy and read 12 books. I bought 48, I read 14, but only reviewed 7.

Fall into Reading: I read 27 out of my list of 90. When I made my list, I didn't take all that Cybils reading into account.

Here are this year's goals:

1. Review at least 5 books a week for 260 total, or enough to keep up with my reading habits, whichever is less.
2. Read any book I haven't read yet from 100 Best Books for Children by Anita Silvey.
3. No more than 5 pleasure reading books checked out at a time.

So, here are the new reading challenges (in addition to the ones I mentioned in November.)


I'm going to do the A-Z Challenge. Because I love a Challenge, I'm doing the one where I need a book AND an author for each letter. I'll be keeping track here.

I'm also doing Year of the Historical. 12 Historical Fiction books this year? Yes Please!

Once Upon a Time Challenge asks us to read 5 fairy tales that aren't Disney by the end of the year. Oh yes please!

War Through the Generations has me reading 11 books about the Vietnam War (I'm doing the swim level.)

The Colorful Reading Challenge wants me to read 9 books with a color in the title. Yay!

Coming up this week!

My best of 2009 list!

An interview with Melissa de la Cruz!

More book reviews!

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21. And Even More Challenges

As part of my Bloggiesta-ing, I've been catching up on my Google Reader, and, as such, have found even MORE challenges to join. Yay, challenges! So here's the latest bunch:

Classical Bookworm's Mexico Challenge. Read 3 books of Mexican literature, history, or art by the end of the year. Part of the reason I'm excited is I'm going to make my sister tell me which books to read. She's a high school Spanish teacher who's undergrad work focused on Latin American politics and culture, with an emphasis on Mexico (which is where she did her study abroad.) Also, my sister is just all-around awesome with great taste in books (she turned me onto The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 and Tales of the City, off the top of my head.)

In the Shadow of Mt. TBR is hosting a Welsh Reading Challenge. I'm signing up for the easiest level, Efydd bathodyn, which has me reading 1-3 Wales-related books this year. I must think about my list, beyond Jasper Fforde's new one, Shades of Grey.

The 2010 Pub Challenge. So, read 10 books that are/will be published for the first time in the US (or wherever you live) in 2010. The catch for me? They have to be adult books, at least half fiction... that makes it a little more difficult. But it's a challenge, right? Right.

Booklover Book Review's Aussie Author Challenge. I'm signing up for the tourist level, so I have to read and review 3 books by 3 different Australian authors.

Book Chick City's Typically British Reading Challenge. I'm signing up for the "cream crackered" level, which has me reading 8 British novels in 2010. Except I'm going to define it down a bit to English, because of the Welsh Reading Challenge.

The 2010 Global Reading Challenge. I'm signing up for the Medium Level, so I need to read 12 books, once from each continent (not including Antarctica.)

Graphic Novel Challenge. I'm signing up for the Expert Level, so I have to read 10 graphic novels by the end of the year.



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22. China Challenge: March Reviews



It's time to leave your March reviews below!

Also, I haven't done any prizes yet for this challenge. I haven't been to China in awhile, so I will be giving away books that would count for the challenge. Every review you've linked to so far in the challenge, including March's reviews, will get you one entry in a drawing. Winners will be posted in the April review post.

ALSO-- for those of you doing the Silk Road Trek, be sure to tell me about any of the supplemental stuff you did-- that will also get you an entry!

Sound good? Start reading!

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23. Guardian Challenge 2.0


Even though I didn't finish it, I had a lot of fun with my Guardian Challenge last year, so I'm doing it again. I hope you'll join me! There are also a few changes...

So, for those who didn't play along last year, the British newspaper, The Guardian, came up with a list of 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read Before They Die. (In case they take that link down, I've also posted the list here.)



There are 3 levels:

1. (This is the same as last year's challenge)

Read 10 books. You must read one book from each of the 7 categories. If possible, at least 1 title should be a book you hadn't heard of before seeing it on the list.



2.

Read 7 books, one from each category.


3.

Read any 5 books from the list.

Every month I'll have a round-up post for you to leave your links. There will probably be prizes of some sort, but I don't have any trips scheduled to England this year (I don't go for 6 years and then went back twice in a year! It was crazy. CRAZY AWESOME.) So they might not be British.

ALSO I STILL OWE PEOPLE PRIZES FROM LAST YEAR'S CHALLENGE. I haven't forgotten, I'm just still thinking.

Anyway, grab a button if you want, spread the word, sign up below and have fun!





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24. Hour 2.5

Hours Spent Reading: 2.5
Books Read: 1
Pages Read: 296
Money Raised: $591
What I'm listening to: I Fall In Love Too Easily

Please remember that I'm reading to raise money for Room to Read, which builds libraries, stocks them with books, and trains people to become their librarians.

Up Over Down Under: Special Double-Length Edition (S.A.S.S.)Up Over Down Under Micol Ostow and Noah Harlan

It wouldn't be a 48 Hour Book Challenge without a Students Across the Seven Seas book! And a super-special to boot!

As a super-special, we get 2 stories. Billie is an Australian studying in DC and interning at the EPA. Eliza is an American studying in Melbourne and doing fieldwork in Melbourne bay. They're living with each other's families.

The chapters tend to alternate between the two girls. Billie's a super-hard core environmentalist (and occasionally annoyingly sanctimonious about it.) Eliza, the daughter of a high ranking politico at the EPA, is used to growing up in the spotlight and is looking to cut loose when she's on the other side of the world. It was a bit painful to watch Eliza make a ton of decisions that even she knew were bad.

BUT! Overall, super fun, even though it's a bit odd to read a SASS book about my own city. The map of the city is comical. Also, I must chafe when Eliza claims the DC doesn't function very will because of it's design-- traffic is confusing? The streets are a grid and go in numeric or alphabetic order! Traffic is confusing if you aren't used to it, yes. I found it very confusing for awhile, but I doubt that a born-and-breed DCer would claim it was confusing...

Also, if they're driving from Dulles to DC, why are they going through Maryland? If you work for EPA, your office would be on the Mall, not the Hill, and the Washington Monument is in the middle of the mall, not the end of it, no building in DC proper has 17 floors, and while Billie's disappointed that she doesn't get to do much as an intern, she's doing MUCH MORE than any real intern, especially a high school one would get to do...

Ok, I stopped cataloging the little details after awhile (never watch a DC-based movie with me. The highway signs are always a mess and I will tell you all about it!!!!)

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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25. Hour 3.5/Poetry Friday

Hours Spent Reading: 3.5
Books Read: 2
Pages Read: 410
Money Raised: $594
What I'm listening to: Judas's Death (although, given the book, it would be much more appropriate if I had been listening to Mercy House. Sadly, my life is soundtracked by iTunes shuffle right now, not a well-thought out playlist.)

Please remember that I'm reading to raise money for Room to Read, which builds libraries, stocks them with books, and trains people to become their librarians.

Keesha's HouseKeesha's House Helen Frost

Keesha's house is set off the street
s if you don't know what you're looking for
you might not even see the wide blue door
half hidden by a weeping willow tree.


Using sestinas and sonnets (and even a crown of sonnets) several kids tell how they became lost, and sometimes, found. They tell of the safe place they found at Keesha's house, where people just let them live and be. Where they're allowed to exist. We also hear from the adults in their lives, the ones that care, the ones that see what's happening, the ones that don't.

There is tragedy here, and hope. Like the other books written by Frost, I'm always struck by the absolute poetic craft she puts into her work, but her words and story shine through so much that you don't notice it while reading. (Ok, so, I knew it was Frost, so after reading a first poem, I analyzed it and quickly recognized the sestina, then looked at rhyme schemes for the sonnets. BECAUSE I AM A DORK.)

Powerful wonderful stuff.

Round up is over at The Crazy Files.

Book Provided by... a giveaway at a work meeting! score!

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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