Thursday, December 31, 2009

Please post the links to your manga challenge reviews using Mister Linky below. If you do not have a blog please feel free to email me and I can post it for you. Alternatively please add it to the comments section on this post. Also please add a link to your wrap up posts to be eligable for a prize for completing.

Once again please feel free to read more than 6 if you have the time and money. I know I will be!

2009 was a good year for reading challenges. I have wrapped up a few already but am doing one post for all the others I finished. I have linked to the reviews that I have done, but I am still very behind. In 2010 I will get back into good habits and will write all the ones I am missing from 2009.

The challenge was to read 6 books from the following 6 categories throughout 2009. Books may overlap into more than one category.

1. Sunshine - Robin McKinley
2. Grave Peril - Jim Butcher
3. Claimed by Shadow - Karen Chance
4. Embrace the Night - Karen Chance
5. Curse the Dawn - Karen Chance
6. Summer Knight - Jim Butcher

1. Fool Moon - Jim Butcher
2. Summer Knight - Jim Butcher
3. Witchling - Yasmine Galenorn
4. Changeling - Yasmine Galenorn
5. Scream Street: Fang of the Vampire - Tommy Donbavand
6. Scream Street: Blood of the Witch - Tommy Donbavand

1. The Shadow Queen - Anne Bishop
2. Embrace the Night - Karen Chance
3. Curse the Dawn - Karen Chance
4. Witchling - Yasmine Galenorn
5. Changeling - Yasmine Galenorn
6. Scream Street: Fang of the Vampire - Tommy Donbavand

Humans with Special Powers
1. Grave Peril - Jim Butcher
2. Fool Moon - Jim Butcher
3. Claimed by Shadow - Karen Chance
4. Embrace the Night - Karen Chance
5. Curse the Dawn - Karen Chance
6. Summer Knight - Jim Butcher

Paranormal Creatures/Events
1. Grave Peril - Jim Butcher
2. Claimed by Shadow - Karen Chance
3. Embrace the Night - Karen Chance
4. Curse the Dawn - Karen Chance
5. Summer Knight - Jim Butcher
6. Witchling - Yasmine Galenorn

1. Fool Moon - Jim Butcher
2. Grave Peril - Jim Butcher
3. Claimed by Shadow - Karen Chance
4. Embrace the Night - Karen Chance
5. Curse the Dawn - Karen Chance
6. Summer Knight - Jim Butcher

I don't think there was a book I didn't enjoy for this series. I started a couple of new series (Yasmine Galenorn, Tommy Donbavand) and used the opportunity to continue with some others I have been enjoying (Jim Butcher, Karen Chance, Anne Bishop). The only stand alone book was Sunshine as it turned out. I will definitely be reading more of each series in 2010.

This challenge involved reading 6 books that are GLBT (either written by a gay author or featureing a gay character) between 1/7/09 - 31/12/09.

1. Hotel World - Ali Smith
2. The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters
3. Incubus v1 - Yayoi Neko
4. Incubus v2 - Yayoi Neko
5. Incubus v3 - Yayoi Neko
6. The Hours - Michael Cunningham

My favourite was either Hotel World or The Hours, but I really enjoyed them all. It was my first time reading gay themed manga which was definitely interesting...

There were 4 levels of participation for this one: Minor Read 6, Major Read 12, Masters Read 18, Doctorate Read 24 throughout 2009. I aimed to at least reach Major level and made it to Masters in the end. I will be signing up again in 2010 and hopefully running a manga themed mini challenge.

1. The Tale of One Bad Rat - Bryan Talbot
2. Emo Boy v1 - Steve Emond
3. Fables v5: The Mean Seasons - Bill Willingham
4. Fables v6: Homelands - Bill Willingham
5. Fables v7: Arabian Nights (and Days) - Bill Willingham
6. Fables v8: Wolves - Bill Willingham
7. Fables v9: Sons of Empire - Bill Willingham
8. Nemi - Lise Myhre
9. Nemi II - Lise Myhre
10. Nemi III - Lise Myhre
11. Kith - Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
12. Season of Mists - Neil Gaiman
13. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home - Joss Whedon
14. Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall - Bill Willingham
15. Hatter M v2: Mad with Wonder - Frank Beddor
16. Little Vampire v1 - Joann Sfar
17. Outlook Grim - Black Olive
18. Muzz v1 - FSc

I loved the Fables Series as well as the Nemi books. Once again there weren't any I didn't enjoy so another fun challenge :)

Aim to read at least 6 manga in 2009 and this time I ran the challenge which was my first time.

I loved each and every one, especially The Tarot Cafe series which I will finish in 2010. Hopefully Queenie Chan will write a new series as well. The challenge runs again in 2010 so go sign up!

Hosted by Becky. Aim is to read 2 Scott Westerfeld books between 1/1/09 - 31/12/09 and I wanted to read 3 to finish the Uglies series.

1. Pretties
2. Specials
3. Extras

Of the 3 Extras stands out from the others just because it is so different from the others in a different part of the new world and about some new characters. I loved how the story wrapped up in Specials and hope to read more of his books in 2010.

Read at least two books with 2 or more vampires in them in 2009. Reviews here

1. The Reformed Vampire Support Group - Catherine Jinks
2. Twilight: Directors Notebook - Catherine Hardwicke

The Reformed Vampire Support Group was my favourite of the two, but the Twilight Directors Notebook was interesting too and filled with lots of great pictures from the making of the film. Both are recommended.

The Challenge ran throughout 2009 and you had to read a book for each category laid out below.

1. Shakespeare's Landlord - Charlaine Harris (A book with a "profession" in its title.)
2. Rises the Night - Colleen Gleason (A book with a "time of day" in its title.)
3. Sons and Lovers - DH Lawrence (A book with a "relative" in its title)
4. Kingdom Hearts v1 - Shiro Amano (A book with a "body part" in its title.)
5. The Castle - Franz Kafka (A book with a "building" in its title.)
6. Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (A book with a "medical condition" in its title

I loved Shakespeare's Landlord and will for definite keep reading the series. The same with Rises the Night. The Castle was probably my least favourite, but I did enjoy it. It was just quite different from a lot of other books I have read this year, but that is probably a good thing :)

I didn't get done the 100 miles, but I consider my 76 a definite win as I started at pretty much 0! I will definitely be doing this each quarter even if it isn't officially running.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

So the Manga Challenge will be returning in 2010. I have made it's own dedicated blog this year and full details can be found there : It has the mister linky sign up as well.

Thanks again to Nymeth and her boyfriend for the lovely buttons. Hope to see you in the challenge!

Monday, November 23, 2009

So I have prefaced this apology with a cute picture of Eris sleeping on my face! It's a distracation from how rubbish I have been. For the last few months I haven't been keeping up to date with my reviews. I also haven't been commenting much on other blogs. I am so sorry, I am still here reading your blogs but mostly form my phone where I can't leave comments. I have been feeling really low lately with not a lot of energy, but I feel really guilty for not being around more. My aim is to get up to date on my book reviews at the end of the year and that in the New Year I will clear my reader and start again getting to all of your blogs again. It is one of my New Years Resolutions!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 370
Series : #2 Uglies
Format : Teenage Fiction, Science Fiction
Reason for Reading : Scott Westerfeld Mini Challenge, to continue with the series

Tally Youngblood is back after the events of Uglies, but now she is a Pretty. The Pretty operation is what happens to everyone when they reach 16. They have their face and body changed to conform to Pretty standards. She lives with the other Pretties who form cliques/clans. They party all the time, have access to as many clothes and amusements as they want and generally have no responsibilities.

Tally is part of the Crim clique and their thing is pulling tricks like they did in their younger Ugly days. It gives them a buzz and helps them wake up from the Pretty haze that they otherwise live in. Tally is drawn to fellow Crim Zane and the two of them quickly start spending more and more time together. Events from Tally's past though don't stay buried for long and people form the Smoke start appearing to her with a series of clues and tests for her to follow. Trouble is, will she like what she finds at the end and where will it take her next.

This was a lot of fun. I like Tally and it was good to meet some new characters like Zane and Andrew Simpson Smith. The story moved on nicely and I am looking forward to the next in the series.

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 372
Series : #3 Uglies
Format : Teenage Fiction, Science Fiction
Reason for Reading : Scott Westerfeld Mini Challenge, to continue with the series

The third and final in the main Uglies series. Tally and co return again this time as Specials. There is still tension between Tally and Shay, but it is surpressed now that Shay is the leader. They are still trying to stamp out the New Smoke and Tally is keen to get Zane to join their team to make him better after the events in Pretties. The Specials are fighting machines, they are Cruel Pretties designed to instil fear into others and were created by Dr Cable just in their city.

Shay leads the Crim group in a chase of the Uglies, but they capture Fausto leaving Tally alone to save Shay. They take Shay too and Tally decides to follow them and ends up meeting up with Andre Simpson Smith again to get coordinates. It takes her on a journey to the New Smoke and another city. She learns the truth finally and gets involved in a war.

A great conclusion to the story. I was glad it didn't have a completely happy ending, it was quite a realistic series despite the sci-fi elements and this made it more so. I am interested to see how Extras fits in as the story closes quite nicely.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 417
Series : #4
Format : Teenage Fiction, Science Fiction
Reason for Reading : Scott Westerfeld Mini Challenge, to continue with the series

Aya lives in what must have once been Tokyo, Japan. Their city works on a system of face ranks. Everyone has their own feed and those that are the most popular have a higher face rank and are more recognised and watched. Aya's rank is 451,369 and she dreams of being in the top 1000 so she can be invited to the thousands ball. She is a kicker, someone who writes about stories and uncovers hidden things bringing them into the open. Her brother if one of the most famous kickers in the city and she has a lot to live up to.

She stumbles across a group of girls one night who ride the mag-lev trains which is illegal and very dangerous. If she can get enough information and footage on her flying camera Moggle she can kick the story and really increase her face rank. The question is, is she comfortable lying and betraying her new friends? She has also started hanging out with Frizz, someone with a much higher face rank than her who had surgery making him unable to lie. He wouldn't take kindly to her lying to others either.

An interesting addition to the main series. It's a completely new story in a new city, but it does link back to Tally and her experiences as she is the most famous person and has a face rank of 1 despite never having been seen. There is more scope to add books to the series which I hope happens.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

October Summary

Check out the awesome set of cat nail polishes I got yesterday, each colour has a different kitty picture on it. How cool!

Not a bad month for reading although I read mostly manga and graphic novels. I am at that time of year when my reading is really lagging and I still have so many challenges I want to complete. I did finish the RIP IV, What's in a Name II and Scott Westerfeld Challenges this month though so I can cross some off. I am still very behind with reviews, now a whopping 18 which is the highest so far. I just seem to have so many things pulling me in different directions at the moment. I am going to the gym more and am really into playing Disgaea on the PSP which have both caused my reading slump. I really want to finish the 666 and Vampire Challenges this year as well as the ones with Mariel and Nymeth so I will be prioritising these.

Books Read = 17, Total = 159
Pages Read = 4,156, Total = 35,955

Manga Challenge : 6/6 plus 14 alternatives
Scott Westerfeld Mini Challenge : 3/3 COMPLETED
Arthurian Challenge II : 1/6 (read 6-8 books)
What's in a Name Challenge II : 6/6 COMPLETED
Challenge with Nymeth : 1/5
Challenge with Mariel : 0/5
Graphic Novel Challenge II : 15/18
Guardian Challenge : 42/50
Vampire Challenge : 1/2
666 Reading Challenge : 18/36
GLBT Challenge : 5/6
Sookie Stackhouse Challenge : 0/9
LJ Smith Challenge : 0/6
RIP Challenge : 4/4 COMPLETED

100 Mile Challenge : 35/100

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The annual RIP Challenge is now nearly over and I am all completed. Carl posed a series of Perils and I went for the First option which was to read 4 books from the following topics : Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror and Supernatural. The challenge ran from 1/9/09 until 31/10/09. I decided to mix up the types of books I read so I choose an urban fantasy, a manga, a graphic novel and an audiobook.

The four books I read with links to their reviews were :

1. The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters
4. Bizenghast v6 - M Alice LeGrow

I also read a few other books during the two months and am still putting up my reviews :
  • Good Omens - Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
  • Claimed by Shadow - Karen Chance
  • Embrace the Night - Karen Chance
  • Kith - Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
  • Season of Mists - Neil Gaiman

All of the reviews can be found at the dedicated reivew site here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 192
Series : #6 Bizenghast
Format : Manga
Reason for Reading : RIP IV Challenge, to continue with the series

Dinah is back releasing the ghosts in the masouleum. She is nearly at the final levels now and has gotten further in the job than any other human for the last 40 years. She is due to meet the third guardian, Eniri, to recieve a special gift that will help her with the final vaults. When she goes with Edaniel and Edrear to see her she is gone. It also seems that the seed of the mausaleum is missing too. It looks like Eniri has taken it which doesn't make any sense.

The three discover another shocking secret and when Dinah returns to the world above she finds the inhabitants of Bizenghast seem to have all gone mad. They need to figure out the dark secret of the town and fast. Edrear is still stuggling with his feelings for Dinah and she is really blossoming into a confident young woman.

Another gothic slice of beautifulness. The artwork is stunning as always and I am really intrigued to see how the final installment wraps everything up. I feel that there are so many loose ends at the moment and am not sure if they will all end in the final novel. Depending on how Alice leaves it, there could be spin off stories or follow ups.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 347
Series : #1 The Gardella Vampire Chronicles
Format : Urban Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : RIP IV Challenge

Meet Victoria Gardella, the latest in a long line of vampire hunters. In each generation a Gardella is born with the innate gifts allowing them to hunt and kill vampires. It is up to them is they accept the call. If they do they must first pass a test and kill a vampire. If they succeed they are given a piece of blessed jewellry, a vis bulla, that gives them extra strength, power and healing.

Set in Jane Austen times when girls have coming out debutant parties. Victoria has to balance her vampire staking duties with balls, picking out new gowns and falling in love. Some of the other vampire hunters (Venator's) believe that you can either be a Venator or settle down, marry and have children. Victoria particularly butts head with Max who is a Venator by choice rather than family calling. He lost family members to vampires and has devoted his life to killing them ever since. Victoria has other ideas though and her Aunt thinks the best thing is to let her take her own path.

Think Pride and Prejudice meets Buffy. The setting made it stand out from the many other vampire series out there although it does take a lot of inspiration from Buffy (I love Buffy though so that's not a bad thing!). There is a twist near the end which was not unexpected, but the final ending was. It ends on a sad note and I am glad that the story is not completely romanticised. It made it seem more realistic somehow.

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 112
Series : Prequel to Mercy Thompson Series
Format : Urban Fantasy Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : RIP IV Challenge, I love the Mercy Thompson books

Let's take a step back into the world of Mercy Thompson. This graphic novel sets the scene for the rest of the novels as it is a prequel and tells of Mercy first coming to Washington. Mercy is a walker, a magical being who can shapeshift into a coyote. She travels to Washington for a job interview to work in a school. The interview doesn't turn out quite as planned and she somehow manages to get involved in a gang war between two rival packs of werewolves.

Her mother is also posing a problem as she thinks Mercy is ruining her life and she is determined to sort Mercy out once and for all. We see how she meets Zee, Stefan and Adam for the first time. We also see how she first begins working at the garage which Zee later sells to her. There is also an interview with Briggs at the end which was really interesting as well as some character sketches.

I liked the style after I got used to it. There was quite a lot of nudity which Briggs felt apprioriate for Mercy changing shape. I have put in a couple of pictures of the strips to give you an idea of the artwork. The story was interesting and I hope Briggs decides to do some more graphic novels to expand on the existing novels.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 224
Series : #4 The Sandman
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge, to review with Darla D

This is the fourth installment in the massively successful Sandman series of graphic novels. After volume 3 which mostly consists of indivual short stories, this is more of a return to the main plot following Dream/Morpheus and his family of The Endless.

So this is my first buddy review. Me and Darla D both read this graphic novel around the same time and she asked if we could review it together. We thought up questions and both ansered them below. My answers are in purple, hers are in red.

What did you like about the graphic novel?
I liked the story, the main plot that linked the separate comics together. After the previous collection it was a nice to get back to the regular storyline.
I love the dark atmosphere of the stories, as well as the mythological elements. The main story features gods and goddesses from different pantheons (Egyptian, Norse, Japanese, Christian, etc.), all interacting together. It was fascinating and often funny to watch them scheme to get what they wanted, playing off each other's strengths and weaknesses.

What didn't you like about it?
I would have liked to have spent more time with the Endless, but I am sure they will pop up again in future collections.
I can't really think of anything I didn't like about it. My expectations are growing with each volume, as I find the books get better and better as they go along, and I was not disappointed.

There were a series of different artists who worked on the novel, did you have a favourite and least favourite?
To be honest I though that the artists all worked really well together keeping a consistent style throughout no matter who did the pencils, ink and colour. The covers by Dave McKean were stunning as always. One thing I did enjoy reading were the spoof blurbs about everyone involved in it's creation at the back of my edition.
One thing I have come to enjoy about these stories is that even though I like some of artists' depictions of the characters more than others, they all manage to convey the distinct feel of each character despite artistic and stylistic differences. The Sandman is always, clearly the Sandman, no matter who is drawing him. I think my favorite illustrator of this particular volume is Mike Dringenburg, but it is a close call. I really liked all of them, but I think Dringenburg's style is the most visually appealing to me.

There was more from the rest of the Endless, do you have a favourite and least favourite?
Well obviously I love Dream and Death. They are the two I have spent the most time with. I also find Delirium really interesting and hope to get to know her better in the future. There aren't any of the Endless that I dislike and I am curious to see who their other sibling is who was not present in this collection.
Death is still my favorite, although I enjoyed getting to know the others a little better. I'm intrigued by Delirium and hope we'll learn more about her in future volumes. Least favorite I suppose would be Desire because s/he is such a conniving troublemaker - but then her trouble-making is a lot of fun to read about!

What did you think of the ending?
I thought it ended well, the main storyline was closed with a happy resolution for me.
I liked the ending. I liked that many elements of the main story were set up in earlier volumes, and that things I'd been wondering about (such Dream's relationship with Nada). Several narrative arcs come to a close in this volume, and while some were bittersweet, the endings all felt right.

Lucifer has a spin off series, do you plan on reading any of them?
I am definitely interested although I think they have had mixed reviews. I loved his work decision and as always Lucifer is one of my favourite characters. There is just something interesting about him and versions where he is not the bad guy we are told he is.
I did not know about the spin-off series - but I imagine that once I'm finished with the Sandman books, I'll be interested to check out other stories from this fascinating world.

Which was your favorite story and why?
This collection really read like one cohesive story so I don't really want to separate out the different comics.
This collection has one main overarching story as its focus, and I liked that story a lot. But I did also enjoy the rather grim one set at a school, which was an interesting interlude. As far as each individual story in the collection goes, if I had to pick just one, it would be the opening one - Episode 0: "In which a family reunion occasions certain personal recriminations; assorted events are set in motion; and a relationship thought long done with proves to have much relevance today." I liked this one because it gives us a closer look at the Endless and it sets up all kind of intriguing questions. Plus I loved the artwork.

What do you think makes the Sandman stand apart from other graphic novels?
I think it really helped comics becomes more main stream. It was written at a time when it wasn't cool to read graphic novels. It's a very dark series which I really like, but I don't think I can read too many too close together as they would give me nightmares ironically enough!
I think there are many elements that make this graphic novel series stand apart. One thing is the way the tone and atmosphere are portrayed by the various artists very consistently across the volumes of the series. Another thing that I love about this series is all the allusions to mythology, religion. and literature. And, of course, the characters are fascinating and the plot is surprising, never predictable.

How do you think this fourth collection compares to the first three?
I think I liked it the most so far. I felt the story held together the best to date and I really look forward to seeing what Dream and his family have planned for the next one.
This series just gets better and better with each volume. The last volume was composed of one-off stories, which I enjoyed, but this one was a bit more gripping because it had a longer, more complex storyline that was intriguing and very satisfying.

Darla's post is up here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Currently Reading : Rises the Night - Colleen Gleason
Books Completed :
Pages Read : 1184
Time Spent Reading : 12 hrs 45 mins
Time Spent on Computer etc : 3 hour 45 mins
Time spent on cat related distractions : 2 hour 10 mins
Time Spent Sleeping : 5 hours 20 mins

End of Event Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? - I went to bed from hours 14 - 18 and a bit as I was so tired and had a stomach upset.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? - I really enjoyed reading some more manga and the Gardella Vampire books were great. Fast paced and easy reads.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? - No it is great as it is.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? - Having even more participants was great, it meant more people stopping by and cheering you on.
5. How many books did you read? - 5 in total, I just managed to hit my target although I do feel I got a lot less reading done this time around.
6. What were the names of the books you read?
Rises the Night - Colleen Gleason
The Rest Falls Away - Colleen Gleason
Bizenghast v6 - M Alice LeGrow
The Tarot Cafe v1 - Sang-Sun Park
Kingdom Hears v1 - Shiro Amano
7. Which book did you enjoy most? - A toss up between Rises the Night and The Tarot Cafe.
8. Which did you enjoy least? - I enjoyed them all but possibly Kingdom Hearts just because I knew the story from playing the computer game.
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? - N/A
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? -Yes I am sure I will be participating in more. I would like to be a reader again and hopefully run a mini challenge next time.

Currently Reading : Rises the Night - Colleen Gleason
Books Completed : 4
Pages Read : 1137
Time Spent Reading : 12 hrs
Time Spent on Computer etc : 3 hour 35 mins
Time spent on cat related distractions : 2 hour 05 mins
Time Spent Sleeping : 5 hours 20 mins

Over the last 3 hours I have spent some time with the cats/kittens and done some laundry. I took a break from Rises the Night to read Kingdom Hearts v1, a manga based on the game of the same name. It made me really want to play the game again and I must finish Kingdom Hearts II and Chain of Memories so I can play the new one. Off to hopefully finish Rises the Night before the last hour ends.

Currently Reading : Rises the Night - Colleen Gleason
Books Completed : 3
Pages Read : 820
Time Spent Reading : 9 hrs
Time Spent on Computer etc : 3 hour 05 mins
Time spent on cat related distractions : 1 hour 35 mins
Time Spent Sleeping : 5 hours 20 mins

I'm back as promised! I still have an upset tummy which is very annoying, but at least I am up and reading again. I have just fed the cats which should keep them distracted for a little while at least and my husband is still in bed sleeping (it's now just after 7am here now that the clocks have gone back). I wanted to finish 5 books ideally, but it looks like I may just have time for 4 now :(

Currently Reading : Rises the Night - Colleen Gleason
Books Completed : 3
Pages Read : 801
Time Spent Reading : 8 hrs 40 mins
Time Spent on Computer etc : 2 hour 45 mins
Time spent on cat related distractions : 1 hour 35 mins

I finished another book and am back to reading Rises the Night. My husband came home from a day at the anime and manga expo in London with stories and a couple of awesome gifts for me which held up my reading. My tummy is still sort so I am going to go to bed. I am aiming to be up again in a few hours to continue reading and hopefully feeling better. Sorry guys, sleep beckons for now...

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now? - Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason
2. How many books have you read so far? - 3 compelted
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? - To finishing Rises the Night as I really enjoyed the first book in the series, The Rest Falls Away, that I read to kick off the read-a-thon.
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? - Yes I sent my husand out of the hose for most of it!
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? - Cat related and Alex getting home. I sent him to bed not too long after he got home! The cats are slightly more of a distraction, but they are so cute I don't mind one bit ^_^
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? - No this year and the past 2 have been great.
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? - Try not to get a tummy upset?
9. Are you getting tired yet? - Yes and am off to bed in a minute.
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? - I still think reading manga and graphic novels is great for breaking up longer novels and for when you start getting tired.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Currently Reading : Rises the Night - Colleen Gleason
Books Completed : 2
Pages Read : 583
Time Spent Reading : 7 hrs 20 mins
Time Spent on Computer etc : 2 hour 15 mins
Time spent on cat related distractions : 1 hour 25 mins

I haven't got too much reading done since the last update. I spent a while with the cats and I have a bit of a tummy upset. The hour will be spent reading The Tarot Cafe v1 in tandem with Jehara which should be interesting. We are going to put up a buddy review in a day or two hopefully. After that I may have to go to bed for a while if I am not feeling any better :(

Oh and I almost forgot, I did Nymeth's mini challenge and read some of No Rest for the Wicked, an online comic which I hadm't heard of before. I really liked it, it's fairy tale based and the artwork is gothic and really similar to Bizenghast which is a manga series (conincidentally I just finished volume 6 of it). I will definitely be going through Nymeth's other links if they are all as enjoyable as this one.

Currently Reading : Bizenghast v6 - M Alice LeGrow
Books Completed : 1
Pages Read : 347
Time Spent Reading : 5 hrs 20 mins
Time Spent on Computer etc : 1 hour 45 mins
Time spent on cat related distractions : 55 mins

I just finished my first book and it had a really sad (yet not unpredictable) ending. Keeping me company are Merlin, Loki and Eris. This is the fist time Merlin has curled up with the kittens who are now 4months old. He normally hisses and hits them or runs away despite being 4 times bigger than them! Scardey cat.

Currently Reading : The Rest Falls Away - Colleen Gleason
Books Completed : 0
Pages Read : 270
Time Spent Reading : 4 hrs 20 mins
Time Spent on Computer etc : 1 hour mins
Time spent on cat related distractions : 40mins

More cat disctrations as I now have 3 cats on my sofa (just Morgaine is mising). Below is a picture of me with Loki and Eris and still trying in vain to read... Loki is the one under my chin and Eris is at the bottom of the photo. Not in the shot is Merlin who was sleeping on my feet at the time.
I have nearly finished my first book now and am off to make dinner (it's just after 7pm here in the UK). After The Rest Falls Away I think I will switch to reading a manga before my next full length novel.

Currently Reading : The Rest Falls Away - Colleen Gleason
Books Completed : 0
Pages Read : 186
Time Spent Reading : 2 hrs 55 mins
Time Spent on Computer etc : 45 mins
Time spent on cat related distractions : 20mins

I am really enjoying The Rest Falls Away and hope to have less distractions for the enxt 2 hours. I have upped my cat quote to two as Merlin has joined me and Eris on the sofa. As he is jet black it is very hard to take a photo where you can make him out but I will keep trying.

Currently Reading : The Rest Falls Away - Colleen Gleason
Books Completed : 0
Pages Read : 110
Time Spent Reading : 1 hour 50 mins
Time spent on cat related distractions : 10mins

As you can see Eris is reading along with me this time. Apologies for the terrible shot of me, but isn't she adorable ^_^

Mini Challenge #1

Where are you reading from today? - My sofa! I live in South London, England
3 facts about me … - I just had a fringe cut and I love it, I am now the proud owner of 4 cats/kieens who outnumber me and my husband (he now ranks 5th in my affections), my favourite colour is purple and I have gone so far as to buy a car just because she is purple (yes she).
How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? - I have 5 planned plus some extras if I have time
Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? - Yes I want to finish the RIP challenge and I plan on doing a synchronised read with Jehara where we read the same book at the same time. We are starting to read at hour 12.
If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time? - Yes, read graphic novels and manga in the later hours when your concentration is not so good. They are easy to read and the pictures help you stay focused.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 186
Series : #1 Incubus
Format : GLBT, Paranormal Romance Manga
Reason for Reading : GLBT Challenge, alternative for the Manga Challenge

Judas is a mortal who has been having some very racey dreams. He is in love with his professor Mr Belgian, but it is completely unrequited. In his dreamworld though is another man, one he does not know. Things there are very steamy and although in life Judas is a virgin, in his dreams he is anything but as he tries to resist his dream lover.

His dreamworld spills into his reality though when the man from his dreams turns up in reality. He is an incubus who is attached in some way to Judas. He finds it really hard to resist his sexual urges which only frightens Judas more. Judas has a soul unlike the incubus, Lenniel, but Judas' soul is not sealed like other humans and other supernatural beings can steal it from him for their own purposes. This means further complications as Judas is attacked by an Ifrit demon.

This was a great introduction to the series. It focuses on the sexual aspects of the story with an introduction to the main plot. It is not for those who are easily offended as with it being manga the sex scenes are very visual and are quite explicit in places. It isn't porn, it is a sub type of manga called Yaoi manga which is Boy's Love manga aimed at girls. It is often written by women and is different from Man Love manga which is aimed at gay men. There is also a bonus story at the end of this, Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 264
Series : #2 Incubus
Format : GLBT, Paranormal Romance Manga
Reason for Reading : GLBT Challenge, alternative for the Manga Challenge

Judas and Lenniel are back. Lenniel is still trying to protect Judas from other supernatural beings who are after his soul. It isn't just others who threaten Judas, it seems he has a difficult past he is not over. As a young boy he was often ciritised by his mother for not making friends or being able to relate to others. He chose to close himself off to others, not bothering to make friends and denying himself love. It also explains his lack of trust in others.

Lenniel's sister turns up as well. She is secretly in love with Lenniel but lost him to Judas. She believes he should be honest with Judas and tell him why they are joined and his history as an incubus. An incubus is a half breed, one parent is an Ifrit and the other a mortal.

More plot focused that the first volume, but still plenty of explicit sex scenes. I am really interested to see what happens next and I am enjoying getting to know the boys.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 296
Series : #3 Incubus
Format : GLBT, Paranormal Romance Manga
Reason for Reading : GLBT Challenge, alternative for the Manga Challenge

The third volume in the series sees lots more plot and a lot less sex. There is much more from Kent, an Ifrit, and his Young Master (introduced in the first volume). We learn more about their relationship and the nature of the Young Master's accident and why he cannot regain consciousness. Lenniel gets involved and does his best to help the situation in the hope that Kent will team up with him to protect Judas.

There is a lot more talk about souls and why the different supernatural beings want Judas' unprotected soul so badly. It also discusses reincarnation which is pretty out there when compared to the sexy first volume! There is still some sex, but it is by far the most plot driven of the three.

This is my favourite of the series so far and really advanced the story.It also introduces some new characters and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next. At the end of the story is a little aside from the author which really touched me. I even emailed them afterwards to say I hope things are improving as depression is a horrible thing. It may be some time until the next in the series, but I hope it does get finished at some point.

Friday, October 16, 2009

So the Read-A-Thon starts next Saturay for me at 1pm as I am in the UK. My husband has been instructed to leave me alone (he is buying Brutal Legends, a new computer game he has been waiting to be released for months today so I am sure he will have plenty to do). The cats and kittens on the other hand may cause come problems with distractions and wanting attention but we shall see. I have some ideas for what I want to read (at least the categories anyway).

- 1 novel for RIP Challenge
- 1 manga for the RIP Challenge
- at least 1 graphic novel (probably Hatter M v2 : Mad with the World by Frank Beddor)
- 1 book for the What's in a Name Challenge (I need a time of day and a body part so possibly Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason)

This should keep me occupied for most of the time but if I run out I may just read some more manga or graphic novels as they are really good when you are tired. I don't think I will be posting updated every hour this time around as I would like to focus on my reading and I think there will be enough distractions here anyway.

Good luck to everyone participating, I hope you all have a great time and get lots of excellent reading done!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 337
Format : Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge, to continue with the series

The third trip back to Gregory Maguire's reinterpretation of Oz. The cowardly lion named Brrarrives at the Mauntary where Sister Yackle has been interred. He has been charged with finding out more about Elphaba, the Wicked Witch, and Yackle's name has come up in her story a number if times as an Oracle. Civil war is fast approaching and Brr is working for the city, trying to get Yackle's tale before the soldiers arrive. He is also trying to find out the wereabouts of Liir, Elphaba's possible son.

While learning more about Yackle, we also find out Brr's story. Yackle will only give him information in exchange for some back from him. We travel back to when Brr was a young lion growing up in the jungle. He learns to talk and tries to join the human world with mixed success. As described in Wicked there were anti Animal laws passed so the Lion in the city becomes someone of an oddity. Cast adrift, he doesn't really fit in with Animals or humans and lands himself in a whole heap of trouble.

I know many people aren't too keen on this series past the first book, but I think they are excellent. There were some great insights into some of the main characters as well as an unexpected one. I am also really interested in the time dragon clock and I really liked the parts were it was involved. The final moments with Yackle were worth it all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 308
Format : Fairy Tale, Teenage Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : 999 Challenge plus I loved her Goose Girl series

The beautiful Lady Saren has refused to marry the man her father has chosen for her, Lord Khasar of Thoughts of Under, and as punishment she is sent to live in a tower for 7 years unless she changes her mind. With her is her maid, a mucker girl called Dashti. The story evolves through a series of diary entries by Dashti as she looks after Lady Saren. Lady Saren is a timid lady and not like Dashti imagined, and she is particularly afraid of her intended husband. She is already promised to her childhood love Khan Tegus who visits them in the tower. Lady Saren is too afraid to speak to him (they have only conversed by letter and have never actually met), so she gets Dashti to pretend to be her.

Dashti keeps Saren amused by singing her the special healing songs. She is doing a good job of rationing their food for the two of them until Lord Khasar pays them a visit. It seems he has a secret that Lady Saren is privy to which is what has her so terrified. That night there are lots of strange sounds and the next morning all their guards are gone. Could it be that they are dead and the girls are left alone with no hope of release? Also Dashti is becoming quickly disheartened as they have a rat problem and Lady Saren is eating more of their food that she should so they will have no where near enough to last them 7 years, if there is anyone around to come and release them.

As I said I love her Goose Girl books and it is always a little worrying to read something different by an author you love in case it doesn't meet your expectations. Luckily this was an excellent read. I loved the dairy entry format and Dashti was a great narrator. Lady Saren was very wishy washy, but she was meant to be so that was ok. Definitely recommended to anyone who loves a good fairy tale or a good story.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 426
Series : #3 The Dresden Files
Format : Urban Fantasy, Mystery Novel
Reason for Reading : 666 Challenge, to continue with the series

Harry Dresden, wizard for hire is back in another adventure This time the city is being terrorized by ghosts. Not the kind that jump up and shout boo, the kind that are tormented and violent and can actually harm people. He gets a tip that one will appear in the hospital and try to kill the children on the maternity ward. He enlists the help of his friend Michael Carpenter (a carpenter by trade but a Knight of the Cross by calling dedicated to battling evil). They manage to defeat the ghost, but discover her body is wound with a piece of barbed wire meaning she was tormented into her actions. It looks like someone is somehow controlling the ghosts,someone pretty powerful.

Making life more complicated as usual, is Harry's fae godmother Leanansidhe. She is here to collect on a long ago promise made by Harry to serve her. Harry manages to lie his way out of things which is never a good idea with fae. Along the way vampires get involved as well as Michael's pregnant wife Charity and Harry's journalist girlfriend Susan. Unfortunately not everyone makes it out of the ensuing battle in the same state as they entered it and it will have greater consequences for Harry in future instalments.

This was great fun, it went a mile a minute with plenty of twists and turns without getting too complicated. I really like Harry and Michael was a good addition to the main characters. I also hope to see more from Tomas and Justine. This is such a fun series, highly recommended to all urban fantasy and mystery fans looking for something a little different.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I'm back from yet another week away with work and it's time to sign up for the Read-A-Thon on Saturday 24th October and Sunday 25th October. I will need to work out the time differences and I already have a stash of books set aside for it. If you haven't signed up yet as a Reader or Cheerleader go here. The dedicated blog is here.

I have also decided to get in shape and do some toning. I don't want to lose a lot of weight, just one dress size, but I am so unfit it's terrible. I saw this challenge today on various blogs now I am home and can finally catch up (sorry for repeated absences, I haven't forgotten you I promise). This is the perfect motication and excuse to get myself into good habbits. The full details of the challenge are here but basically you have to excerise the equivalent of 100 miles whether it be running, walking or other types of workout.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Number of Pages : 143, 144, 143
Series : 1, 2 & 3 Nemi
Format : Graphic Novel/Comic Strips
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge and my husband often brings me strips he has torn out of the Metro newspaper that particularly remind him of me!

The is a combined rating for all three collections so far published in the UK. LIse the creator of Nemi is Norwegian and her comics are in various newspapers and magazines in Norway, Sweden, the UK etc. Nemi is the little goth girl in all of us. She loves choclate above all things and Tori Amos and alcohol. She spends her days pondering the endless questions of the universe (she is mostly unemployed apart from some baby sittings jobs) and hanging out with her friend Cyan. The best way to get a feel for Nemi is to read her (click to enlarge the images).

She is published in The Metro which is one of the free London papers you see people reading on the tube all the time. My husband is a sweetheart and often brings home ones he has torn out which particuarly remind him of me (like Nemi looking at cars and falling in love with the purple one or having a happiness overdose eating chocoalte and listening to the new Tori Amos album). Metro keep a copy of Nemi in their online archive so if you enjoyed the strips above go here for lots more.

Tori Amos has written the forward to the second collection and I think it's true that a little Nemi lives in all of us. Anyone who doesn't see a part of themselves in her is not someone I want to know!

Quite a good month for compelting challenges. I finished the 999 Challenge in time for the early finish deadline of 9/9/09. I also wrapped up The Dream King Challenge by reading some Neil Gaiman and the Cozy Mysteries Challenge. I still have quite a few ongoing but I Haven't yet had to pull out of any although I do feel that I am still reading less due to cute things like Eris above with her tongue out! Hopefully I will stay on track until the end of the year. Oh and I signed up on librarything for the 1010 Challenge for next year. I will post about it nearer the end of this year.

Books Read = 14, Total = 142
Pages Read = 3,697, Total = 31,799

Manga Challenge : 3/6 plus 8 alternatives
Scott Westerfeld Mini Challenge : 1/3
Arthurian Challenge II : 1/6 (read 6-8 books)
What's in a Name Challenge II : 4/6
Challenge with Nymeth : 1/5
Challenge with Mariel : 0/5
The Dream King Challenge : 3/3 plus 1 film (Coraline) COMPLETED
999 Challenge : 81/81COMPLETED
Graphic Novel Challenge II : 10/12
Guardian Challenge : 42/50
Vampire Challenge : 1/2
666 Reading Challenge : 13/36
Cozy Murders Challenge : 6/6 COMPLETED
GLBT Challenge : 3/6
Sookie Stackhouse Challenge : 0/9
LJ Smith Challenge : 0/6
RIP Challenge : 2/4

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Please post the links to your manga challenge reviews using Mister Linky below. If you do not have a blog please feel free to email me and I can post it for you. Alternatively please add it to the comments section on this post.

Once again please feel free to read more than 6 if you have the time and money. I know I will be!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Dream King Challenge had different levels of participation and I choose to read 3 books by Gaiman throughout 2009 as well as watch one of his films or tv series. I decided to go for only 3 as I have read most of his books and graphic novels already. The challenge blog is here which has all the participants reviews. The books I read with links to reviews are below:

1. The Sandman v3: Dream Country - Graphic Novel
2. Blueberry Girl - Children's Book
3. Good Omens - Adult Fiction with Terry Pratchett
Movie = Coraline 3D

This was a really fun challenge and I think besides Fragile Things, Odd and the Frost Giants and a couple more Sandman graphic novels I am pretty much up to date with Neil Gaiman. He needs to write some more soon!