Monthly Archives: January 2011

2011 Reading Goals

My goal for 2010 was to read 78 books. The plan was to average one and a half books a week. Some months–like April–it was easy to meet this goal; other months–such as June–it was tough to get through the pages. In the end the good and bad months evened out enough that I met my goal.

Last week I had to decide what my goal would be for 2011. I would normally aim to meet or surpass my previous target, but I don’t think that is possible this time. This year my usual distractions–and family–will welcome a new addition. I have no doubt that a new baby will reduce the time I want to spend reading. It’s hard to choose a book over a new baby! As a result I decided to drop down my target from 78 books to 52. I feel this is a realistic goal that I will be able to meet.

This year I have extra help as I aim to reach my target. The 2011 Reading Challenge on Goodreads.com is a neat tool to help me track my progress toward my goal. To start I inputted in how many books I was aiming to read this year. As I update the site when I finish a book, the tracker will automatically update my total. The Challenge page also allows you to see how your friends are doing as they aim to meet their goals. Another reason to sign up for Goodreads.com!

So I have set my reading goal for the year. I am interested to see how I do! If you want to see my progress, check out either Goodreads.com or here on the blog. Good luck to all as you try to meet your reading goals!

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2010 Year in Review

I completed Ready or Not by Meg Cabot on December 28, 2010. This marked the 78th book I read that year, and I met my goal of reading 78 books! In celebration I will be highlighting some of my favorite–and one least favorite–of 2010.

Favorite Pregnancy Read

Nominees: Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-be by Rebecca Eckler and Baby Bargains, 8th Edition: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on Baby Furniture, Gear, Clothes, Toys, Maternity Wear and Much, Much More! by Denise Fields, Alan Fields
Winner: Baby Bargains, 8th Edition by Denise Fields, Alan Fields
Book Cover for Baby Bargains, 8th Edition by Denise Fields & Alan FieldsI judged this category based on which book I felt prepared me the best for my impending motherhood. These two books are very different from each other, which made it difficult to choose a favorite. Knocked Up was an entertaining and realistic tale about the journey of pregnancy; it is a great memoir. Baby Bargains wins the category, however. This book helped me prepare for the new baby the most. As a first time mom, I know nothing about the products available for a newborn. This book was invaluable in helping figure out which items I needed and which I didn’t. I loved how this information was all in one place for easy reference. This is such a great book that I recommend it for all new parents.

Favorite Series

Nominees: Airhead Series by Meg Cabot, Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter, The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins, and Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
Winner: Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
Cover of Shadowland (Mediator #1) by Meg CabotI didn’t realize how many great book series I read this year until I tried to pick a winner. All four series were full of five-star books. In order to pick my favorite, it came down to one fact: which series was the most consistent throughout. Two of these series–Airhead and Hunger Games–started off strong but the series’ finales left me disappointed. To some extent this also happened with the latest Gallagher Girls book. This was not the case in the Mediator books. Each book had a consistency that I enjoyed. I picked up the first and finished the last within forty-eight hours. The entire time I was interested and engaged in the plot. I enjoyed how Cabot was able to tell Suze’s story over six books while keeping the plot connected and entertaining. Note: While the Mediator series wins this category, all four series are “Must Reads” in my book.

Favorite Goodreads “First-Read”

Nominees: Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me by Bruce Feiler, Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling by Beth Raymer
Winner: Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling by Beth Raymer
Lay The Favorite book cover What I like most about Goodreads giveaways is that they give me a chance to read a book I wouldn’t normally pick up. This is true of all ten books I have won. I appreciated all but one of them, with Lay the Favorite being the one I enjoyed the most. The fact that I had nothing in common with the main character, yet still was still entertained by her story, made the book more interesting for me. The book was a real page-turner that had me interested throughout. I never would have purchased this book, but am really glad that Goodreads gave me the opportunity to read it.

Worst Book of 2010

Nominees: Rich Again by Anna Maxted, The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell, The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
Winner: Rich Again by Anna Maxted
Book Cover of Rich Again by Anna Maxted I previously mentioned that I picked up this book solely based on its cover. The bright colors and shopping bags made me believe the story was a typical Chick Lit plot with a bit more conflict. Instead I found a book with a confusing setup, unlikeable characters, and morbid plot. There was not one enjoyable aspect in this story. I have never before been unable to finish a book and was only able to complete this one because I heavily skimmed it. Such a bad book all around.

Favorite Memior

Nominees: Sliding Into Home by Kendra Wilkinson, My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict’s Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black; Or, A Culture-Up Manifesto by Jen Lancaster, Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday?: A Mother’s Guide to Sanity in Stilettos by Laura Bennett
Winner: Sliding Into Home by Kendra Wilkinson
Book Cover of Sliding Into Home by Kendra WilkinsonSo, I have a confession to make. I have a small obsession with all things related to the original Girls Next Door; Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson, and Bridget Marquardt. I was very excited when I heard that Wilkinson was going to be releasing a memoir. I figured this book would give me a little extra insight into what went on behind the scenes of the TV show. I was also interested in learning a bit more about what Wilkinson’s life was life before her time at the mansion and what brought her there. Apparently I wasn’t the only one interested, as it was impossible for me to get my hands on a copy of the book until a week after it had been released! Once I was able to start reading, I found myself enjoying the pace and flow of the story. Her truthful tale was the perfect mix of history and humor that defines her. This book may not be on the same level as some of the other five-star books I read this year, but it served as a needed escape. It was the perfect way to get some “guilty pleasure” time in and getaway from the insanity that can be real life.

Favorite Chick Lit Novel

Nominees: Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick, The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes, Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
Winner: Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
The cover of Emily Giffin's now book "Heart of the Matter"Most of the Chick Lit stories I read in previous years were fun and flighty. They involved a single girl shopping her way around town while looking for the right guy. This year I discovered that authors were moving away from this type of story in favor of serious tales. Emilly Giffin was able to successfully tell the tale of the challenges of marriage after writing great “boy meets girl” stories. There was very little about this book that didn’t work. I highly recommend it to all of my Chick Lit blog readers.

Favorite YA Novel

Nominees: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green, David Levithan, Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, The Hunger Games & Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Winner: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Book Cover of Before I Fall by Lauren OliverIt was a great year for me in terms of YA books. A quick look at a summary of YA books I read least year shows that a high percentage of the them rated four or five stars. It was hard to narrow this list down to the nominees. It was even harder to pick a winner! After much deliberation I picked Before I Fall. I started reading the book with no expectations. Lauren Oliver was a new author who was not from the usual circle of authors I read. I finished the book with a changed attitude. The way in which Oliver discussed the life and death of the main character was inspiring. I find myself often recommending this book to friends and strangers. Such an amazing book.

So, those are some of my favorite books of 2010. What were some of your favorite reads?

2011 Books

My goal for 2011 was to read 100 books. These are the books I have read that helped me meet my goal.

December
Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World by David Koenig Review
My Favorite Mistake by Beth Kendrick
Entwined by Heather Dixon
The Future of Us by Jay Asher, Carolyn Mackler
Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell
Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare Review
The Magic Touch by Dara England Review
Single in the City by Michele Gorman
What’s Your Number? by Karyn Bosnak

November
Ordinary World (Andi Cutrone #2) by Elisa Lorello Review
Faking It (Andi Cutrone #1) by Elisa Lorello
Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park Review
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern Review
Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie Review
A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell Review
My Fair Godmother (My Fair Godmother #1) by Janette Rallison
Recalculating by Jennifer Weiner

October
Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist Review
Spying in High Heels (A High Heels Mystery #1) by Gemma Halliday Review
Campaign Promises by Laurel Osterkamp Review
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes #4) by Arthur Conan Doyle
Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver Review
Why I Love Singlehood by Elisa Lorello, Sarah Girrell
The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1) by Maureen Johnson (Goodreads Author) Review
Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie
Being Kendra by Kendra Wilkinson
Mousejunkies! by Bill Burke Review

September
Heat Rises (Nikki Heat #3) by Richard Castle
Goliath (Leviathan #3) by Scott Westerfeld Review
Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts by Claire LaZebnik
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes #3) by Arthur Conan Doyle
Behemoth (Leviathan #2) by Scott Westerfeld

August
Leviathan (Leviathan #1) by Scott Westerfeld
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Mousetrapped by Catherine Ryan Howard
London Is the Best City in America by Laura Dave
In Service to the Mouse: My Unexpected Journey to Becoming Disneyland’s First President by Jack Lindquist
The Baby Planner by Josie Brown
Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman
Bumped (Bumped #1) by Megan McCafferty
The First Husband by Laura Dave

July
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott
Will Work for Prom Dress by Aimee Ferris
Knuckler: My Life with Baseball’s Most Confounding Pitch by Tim Wakefield, Tony Massarotti
Always Something There to Remind Me by Beth Harbison
Four Decades of Magic: Celebrating the First Forty Years of Disney World by Chad Emerson
Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner
Overbite (Insatiable #2) by Meg Cabot
Spent: Memoirs of a Shopping Addict by Avis Cardella
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
A Match Made on Madison by Dee Davis

June
City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare
City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare
Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2) by Ally Carter
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare
The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials #3) by Philip Pullman
The Royal Treatment (Princess for Hire #2) by Lindsey Leavitt
Spoiled by Heather Cocks, Jessica Morgan
The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2) by Philip Pullman

May
The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman
Naked Heat (Nikki Heat #2) by Richard Castle
Heat Wave (Nikki Heat #1) by Richard Castle
The Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia: A guide to the flora, fauna, and fun of the world’s greatest theme park! by R.A. Pedersen
If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster
Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer
Princess for Hire (Princess for Hire #1) by Lindsey Leavitt
Working at the Ballpark: The Fascinating Lives of Baseball People–from Peanut Vendors and Broadcasters to Players and Managers by Tom Jones
Abandon (Abandon Trilogy #1) by Meg Cabot Review
The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope #2) by Maureen Johnson

April
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Love on a Dime (Ladies of Summerhill #1) by Cara Lynn James
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Hook Line and Sink Him by Jackie Pilossoph Review
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen Review
Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch Review
Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner Review
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Millennium #3) by Stieg Larsson
Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love by Matthew Logelin
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium #2) by Stieg Larsson

March
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) by Stieg Larsson
Thin, Rich, Pretty by Beth Harbison Review
The Bake-off by Beth Kendrick ARC Review
Loser/Queen by Jodi Lynn Anderson Review

February
Unbelievable (Pretty Little Liars #4) by Sara Shepard Review
Perfect (Pretty Little Liars #3) by Sara Shepard Review
Flawless (Pretty Little Liars #2) by Sara Shepard Review
Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars #1) by Sara Shepard Review
The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

January
Liar by Justine Larbalestier
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
There’s Cake in My Future by Kim Gruenenfelder
The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios by Alex Wright
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Review

* Please note that ARC stands for advance reading copy. For more information about what an ARC is or how to get your hands on one feel free to check out wikipedia.org