Saturday, December 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (29)

Alright, so here is the last In My Mailbox for the year, and it is sort of another return of IMM for me as well.
As always, credit for IMM goes to Kristi at The Story Siren.



Books Mentioned:
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie
Horns by Joe Hill
M is for Monster by Michael Kelahan
Cell by Stephen King
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

If you're a horror fan, be sure to check out the blog Spooky Reads!
And if you're a fan of Stephen King, be sure to sign up for The Dark Tower Reading Challenge that I'm hosting this year!

2011 Wrap Up!

So I did my post about the challenges that I wrapped up for the year, now here's the post about the year in general.
2011 was a pretty big year for me.  I blogged pretty consistently throughout the year (up until the end anyway!)  I set goals and broke them, several time, and I'm pretty proud of that.  I gained a lot of new followers through the year and met some awesome bloggers and read a lot of great books.  I also managed to graduate college which is my greatest accomplishment to date so overall, I would say that it was a pretty fantastic year.

Now, let's focus on the reading part of the year.
Originally I had set my goal for books to read at 40.  I thought that with school I wasn't going to be able to finish that many.  I broke that goal, upped it to 50, broke that, upped it to 60, broke that, upped it to 65 and kept it there, but I still broke it.
Total books read for 2011 = 68 books
Pages read = 20,865 pages
Compared to the 17 books that I read in 2010, I would say this is a vast improvement!

Best of the Best
I read so many good books this year.  In fact, there wasn't a single book that I deemed unfinishable, which is good compared to the 2 from last year.  So many of the books that I read were so good, but here's a few of them that I thought were just phenomenal.  Click the links to be take to my reviews!
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - I was scared to read this one at first, because of some of the reviews that I had previously read, but I'm so glad that I picked it up.  I loved this book SO MUCH.  I completely fell in love with the characters and the time period and the writing and everything.  I had planned to read the rest in the series, but I got overly ambitious with all of the things I wanted to read, and never got around to it.
Anything Kurt Vonnegut - I discovered my mom's old copies of some of his books and read them and I'm so glad that I did.  I love Vonnegut, his characters and his writing style.  He managed to steal a place in my list of favorite writers.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - Okay so I'm one of those people that saw the movies way before I read the books, but I did read the books, which counts for something, right?  And I LOVED the books.  I have e-book copies of them, but this is a collection that I plan of getting in print as well.  They were by far some of my favorites from the year.
book cover of The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates
The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates - I got this as an ARC from NetGalley and thought that it would be a good one to read for October.  I was SO RIGHT.  It was so fantastic.  It was a lot like watching a horror movie, but reading the subtitles.  Full of action and suspense and some moments that will scare the pants off of you.  I highly recommend it.
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - I've always been told that this is a must read, but I have struggled through a lot of the classics and I was wary of picking this one up.  Ohmygosh I'm so glad that I actually did.  I fell in love with this story and the characters and the time period and the historical value of it and basically, everything.  I loved this and I still can't believe that I waited so long to read it!
Other fantastic reads for the year:  Everything by Joshua Grover-David Patterson, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet, That Day in September by Artie Van Why, Blackstone: Drawing the Circle by Jason Bieneke, The Synarchy Series by DCS, The Undertaker by William Brown, Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland

The NotSoFavorites of the Year
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - Everyone is constantly telling me what a great book this is and what a classic it is and blahblahblah.  Okay, I read it and I could see what he was trying to do, but I REALLY didn't like it.  I just didn't.  Click the link to read my review as to why.
book cover of Mile 81 by Stephen KingTreasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson - Another classic that so many people loved that I really did not.  I can't really tell you why.  I think the writing was one of the things that I disliked the most but either way, I really was not a fan of this one.
The Siege of Trencher's Farm by Gordon Williams - Another one that I didn't like.  Its a psychological thriller, okay I get it, I've never seen the movie and I really have no desire to.  The characters really annoyed me, and the book is as much about the relationships of the characters as the crazy things that are happening and I hated the characters, so, I didn't like this book.
Mile 81 by Stephen King - By far one of the biggest disappointments of the year.  I pretty much wanted to throw my Nook when I got to the end of it.  It was just a bad story, read my review to find out exactly why.

So those are the best and the worst of the year!  Check back tomorrow for a  rundown of the goals that I've made for 2012 and what you can expect in the year to come!  And come back later today for an edition of In My Mailbox!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Challenge Wrap-up Post.

I started blogging in December of 2010.  I started early in the month so I hopped on a bunch of challenge trains thinking that it would be awesome to challenge myself, and it was.  A lot of people don't participate in challenges because they feel like it is too much pressure, but I just see it as a way to decide what I need to read next!

This year I signed up for 4 different challenges.  I really enjoyed all of them and I actually finished only 2 out of the 4, but I ALMOST finished a third, which is still pretty good.


2011 Stephen King Challenge

FINISHED.
I read all 6 books that I challenged myself to read. If you want to see a list of them and be taken to my reviews, you can visit this link.



Outlander Challenge 2011

Not finished:[
I finished the first Outlander book at the beginning of the year and I loved it. I wanted to read all the other ones, but somehow I just got distracted and never picked the second one up. I love The Lit Bitch and I've been invited to participate in the challenege again for 2012, but I'm not sure if I'm going to do it yet. You can read my review of the first book here.



Forgotten Treasures Challenge 2011

Not finished :[
I did finish the vast majority of this one though. I started reading my mother's old copies of her Vonnegut books, which is mostly what this one consisted of. To see the list of what I read and the reviews for those books, click here to be taken to the page!



E-Book Challenge 2011

FINISHED! And then some.
My got my Nook for Christmas in 2010, so I knew it was going to be one of my favorite things for the year, which prompted me to join this challenge. A lot of the books I read this year were ebooks and all of the review requests that I took were ebooks as well, so I went WAY over the amount of books that I set out to read. To see the books that I read for this challenge and for links to their reviews, click here!

So that's the wrap up of the challenges that I finished for the year. Now I just have to decide which challenges I'm going to try and accomplish for 2012! Bring it on!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Dark Tower Reading Challenge!

I read The Dark Tower Series years ago and it has to be one of my favorite series of all time.  I think that because I read some of the books so spaced out from the others, and the fact that I was so young when I read them, I feel like I missed a lot of things that were in the series.  Plus, there are things that I just plain don't remember anymore.  Also, there's a new book coming out in April to add to the series and I want to re-read the series before I delve into that one.

So, from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012, I'm going to be hosting The Dark Tower Reading Challenge.  I'll be honest, this is more for myself than anything else, but its always fun to have other people participate and I think that this will be a great series to discuss.

The Dark Tower Challenge 2012 Leighanne's Lit





The books in the series are:
  1. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (1982)
  2. The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three (1987)
  3. The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands (1991)
  4. The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass (1997)
  5. The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla (2003)
  6. The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah (2004)
  7. The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower (2004)
  8. The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole (2012) - BONUS!
Sign-Up Details and Rules!
  • Timeline - January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012
  • When linking, please use your introductory post as the URL, not just your blog URL.
  • Please grab the button and post it if you have a blog so that other may find the sign up post!  Not a requirement, just a nice thing to do :]
  • This also isn't a requirement, but you should leave a comment and let us know if this is your first reading of the series, or if it is a re-read.
  • To complete the challenge you must read all seven (7) of the books between the dates listed above.  The latest book is slated to be released in Spring 2012, so that counts as a bonus!
  • Any medium is okay, print, e-books or audio - Whatever works for you!
  • This challenge can crossover into other challenges.
  • You DO NOT have to have a blog to participate!  Comment on the post and let me know if you want to join in or shoot me an email at leighannes.lit@gmail.com!  You may also put your name into the linky, a link is not required!
  • You don't have to post reviews, but I'll be posting a discussion post at the end of each month for those participating to discuss where there are, how their enjoying it and I'll be posting a linky with that for those that do post reviews.
The main thing is just to read and ENJOY it!  Of course discussion is highly encouraged because that makes it much more enjoyable!  If you're participating, spread the word!  Hit the tweet button, or let your friends know!  Discussion is more fun with more people!

Yay For Dropping the Ball!

AGAIN!

Yes, its clear that where I said I was going to be keeping up with posting, I failed this past week.  But its the holiday season guys and that means a lot of things to do with a lot of different parts of the family.  The shopping, the baking, the wrapping, cleaning, everything.  Not to mention work.
And I won't lie, there have been several nights that I could have been reading or blogging where I simply watched How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.

But it is the end of the year, I'm going to be doing some wrap up posts and trying really hard to finish at least 2 more books that I've been trying to get finished.  The new year is going to bring a lot of challenges for me in my personal life, like finding my first big girl job, but I think I'm ready for it.  I can't wait to see where the new year takes me.
And for those of you that still read my posts, I thank you for sticking around.  I know that I've lost a few followers over the past few weeks, but its nice to see that some of you are still around!  Thanks for that!

<3

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Release Tuesday (28)

New Release Tuesday is a weekly feature where I share what I'm excited about in both books and music. Sometimes its release day is close, other times it can be several weeks or months in advance. I only feature one for each category, but there a LOADS of new and upcoming releases and you can find them by visiting B&N.com or FYE.com!
Title:  The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel
Author:  Stephen King
Release Date:  April 24, 2012
Summary:  For those discovering the epic bestselling Dark Tower series for the first time—and for its legions of dedicated fans—an immensely satisfying stand-alone novel and perfect introduction to the series.Beginning in 1974, gaining momentum in the 1980s and coming to a thrilling conclusion when the last three novels were published in 2003-2004, the Dark Tower epic fantasy saga stands as Stephen King’s most beguiling achievement. It has been the basis for a long-running Marvel comic series.
Now, with The Wind Through the Keyhole, King has returned to the rich landscape of Mid-World. This story within a story within a story finds Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger, in his early days during the guilt-ridden year following his mother’s death. Sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape-shifter, a “skin-man,” Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, a brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter. Roland, himself only a teenager, calms the boy by reciting a story from the Book of Eld that his mother used to read to him at bedtime. “A person’s never too old for stories,” he says to Bill. “Man and boy, girl and woman, we live for them.”
Sure to captivate the avid fans of the Dark Tower epic, this is an enchanting introduction to Roland’s world and the power of Stephen King’s storytelling magic.
Why I'm Excited:  Ohmygosh.  I can not express my love for the Dark Tower series.  I found a copy of The Gunslinger on my mother's bookshelf and that was the only one she had and after I was finished with it, I immediately went out and got the rest of them.  I LOVE this series, and I had heard about this being released, but had completely forgotten about it.  Apparently, this is not the cover, but this is the cover that BN.com is showing so it will do for now.  Anyone else as excited as I am?!
So I searched and searched and search and I couldn't find a single thing worth featuring here for today.  It makes me sad.  What a sad state music is in right now. :[

Monday, December 19, 2011

Manic Monday: Week of December 19

We all know that Mondays are typically pretty manic for us all.  Honestly, who in the world likes Mondays?!  So here's an attempt for me to organize my thoughts for the week.  Here you'll find what I'm reading, what I will picking up next, different posts that you can expect in the upcoming week, and a recap of the posts from last week!  And anything else I see fit, of course :]

You guys will have to excuse me as I get back into the swing of things!  I still haven't had too much time to get reading finished, because it seems that I'm always somewhere, doing something, and since this is the holiday season, my work and everything else has been pretty crazy.  I do have some posts lined up this week, so take a look underneath!

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What can you expect this week?
++  Tuesday:  I WILL post a NRT this week!
++  Wednesday:  A review of The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie.
++  Friday: TGIF!
++  Saturday: Maybe an IMM, maybe nothing.
++ Sunday: Sunday Salon.

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In case you missed it....
++  Review of Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie.  3 of 5 stars.
++  TGIF!  Which of your posts have been the most popular this year?

Friday, December 16, 2011

TGIF: Most Popular

TGIF!  Everyone loves Friday right?  This is a feature hosted by Ginger at Greadsbooks.com.  Ginger posts a discussion question every Friday and provides a post where bloggers link their posts.  It's a fantastic way to get to know other bloggers!   Interested in participating?  Hop on over to Greads! feature page and learn more and see upcoming questions!

This Friday's Question:
Most Popular: What blog post has gotten the most comments/activity on your blog this year?


So according to my blogger stats, My review of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island actually has the most page views.  However, I think this is only because I have the image of the book cover on the post, and I think a lot of people looking for the image when they Google search get pointed in the direction of the page, so really, that's just a big fail. 
I think the same thing goes for my review with the second most views, The Regulators by Stephen King.

However, my Best of the Bunch post for September of this year has quite a bit of page views and several comments as well.  Some of the other posts that have a lot of activity are other TGIF posts and some IMM posts, which is to be expected.

Overall, since this is the first year that I've really blogged steadily, and being in school most of the time on top of it, I would say I've had pretty decent success on my blog.  People are reading my posts, I've gained a lot of new followers over the year and met some pretty amazing bloggers.  I think that's what is most important to me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

REVIEW: Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie

book cover of Appointment With Death by Agatha Christie
Title: Appointment with Death
Author: Agatha Christie
Date Published: First published in 1938
Genre: Mystery
Page Count: 256 pages
Challenge: None
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Poirot finds himself on another vacation, this time to Jordan, and finds himself in the midst of yet another suspicious death with another investigation. Only this one has been ruled to be of natural causes and he has given himself a mere 24 hours to solve this mystery.

The Boyntons are a family that is trapped under the tyrannical reign of their mother, who takes great joy in seeing her children suffer under her and having complete control. The majority of the book takes place before the actual death and really gives the reader and idea of who is who and what each of the characters are like and who could possibly have a motive. While in other books, like Murder on the Orient Express, there is a large focus on the actual investigation, there is more of an emphasis on the characters and the events leading up to the death.
Christie does a fantastic job I think with the lead up. There are so many different characters, each with motives and you have to sort through the facts in the brief investigation to come to the conclusion about the killer.
Overall I liked it. A fast read, but not one of my super favorites. I give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com  Appointment with Death

Monday, December 12, 2011

Manic Monday: Week of December 12

We all know that Mondays are typically pretty manic for us all.  Honestly, who in the world likes Mondays?!  So here's an attempt for me to organize my thoughts for the week.  Here you'll find what I'm reading, what I will picking up next, different posts that you can expect in the upcoming week, and a recap of the posts from last week!  And anything else I see fit, of course :]

So this is my attempt to return to blogging.  There's not a whole lot to talk about just yet, as I haven't read much and as you can see, the what you missed section I just went ahead and took out, but in the weeks to come there will be more to these posts again, promise!

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
I'm about a million miles behind in this readalong.  I'm really beginning to wonder if I'm going to make it through the whole thing before the end of the year, but I'm going to make a serious effort!

The Stream: Discovery by Bill Jones
This is starting to get interesting actually and I'm starting to like the characters more.  We're starting to get to the main action and things are starting to make more sense so I think I might like this one.  I'm hoping to finish it this week.

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What will I be picking up next?
I have that pile of review requests that I need to get through before I can really pick up anything else.  I don't think that it will take me too long to get through them once I get back in the groove of things.

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What can you expect this week?
++  Tuesday: New Release Tuesday!
++  Wednesday: A review of An Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie
++  Friday: TGIF!
++  Saturday: Maybe an IMM will make an appearance, we'll see.
++ Sunday: The Sunday Salon!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm a Graduate!

Alright guys, I told you that I would be back, and here I am!  My graduation was Thursday evening and I received my empty diploma cover, and it's all over!  So happy to be finished with undergrad!  Although its going to be weird, since I'm used to working through the holidays and then going back to school in January.  Now its on to the next step in my life, and I'm so happy to be moving on, though it is pretty scary at the same time.

Samantha Leighanne 2011 graduateI have missed blogging and reading so much!  I read one book throughout the entire month of November I'm miles and miles and miles behind in Anna Karenina and all of the review requests that I said I was going to finish to November.  I just didn't have the time, but I want to try and make up for lost time and get all of those review requests read in December and January and then I want to take some time and actually concentrate on all of the books I have on my shelves before I actually begin taking requests again.  I want to get myself back in the groove of things.
I was really bad at answering emails through this hiatus, so if you emailed me and never received a response, I'm so sorry, but other things were just holding my attention and I was trying really hard to keep my priorities in order and this was second priority to school!

Anyway, I'm back, you can expect posts again starting tomorrow, all the regulars and a few reviews of some things that I managed to read this past week.  I have missed reading, blogging, and reading all of your blogs, so I hope to get caught up in that department soon!  I have over 1,000 posts in my Google Reader, so it might take me a while to get caught up, but I thank you all for reading and sticking around until I got back to everything <3
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