Reading Challenges

Books (c/o sxc.hu)When the year 2007 ended, I made a big realization: I hardly read books for that entire year. It sank in during National Novel Writing Month of 2007, where I had a hard time writing my story because I had a hard time finding the words, and the only thing different for that year was I hardly made a dent on any of my to-be-read pile.

I think the main reason why I didn’t read as much then was because of work…oh, and maybe laziness. So, I figured, as 2008 came, that I will set a reading goal to motivate myself.

I set out to read 50 books in 2008. I also added a reviewing resolution, to review half of the books I’ve read. I didn’t reach my goal to read 50 books, mainly because I got lazy again by the middle of the year. I managed to review a lot of them, though.

In 2009, I set out to reach the 50 book challenge again, and this time I was determined to meet my goal. And I did — I think I managed to reach the 50 goal by mid-2009, but I didn’t stop reading then. I read up to 70 books last year, the highest number of books I’ve read in a year.

In 2010, I thought of bringing it up a notch. So, my 2010 reading challenge is:

Read 100 books within the year.

I managed to reach 70 last year, why not add 30 more? :) I think it’s pretty doable, and I don’t think I’ll be having my nose buried inside a book for the entire year.

I also had to add a bit of specification on this challenge, to prepare myself for National Novel Writing Month 2010:

Read 20 fantasy books.

Believe me, I don’t read fantasy books as much as I should. I’m more of a chicklit book lover…but let’s put that in another post.

And another specification:

Read 10 classic books.

I hardly read classic books too, and again…that will be for another post. :P

So one more time, my reading goal for 2010:

Read 100 books, 20 of which should be fantasy, and 10 should be classics.

So what about you? What are your reading goals for 2010?

Wait, one more page!

I’ll sleep now…but wait, just one more page…

Okay I’ll start doing ______, but after I finish reading one more page…

I can’t possibly stop reading this now…maybe one more page…

Yep, it’s always been my excuse, which is probably why I end up procrastinating most of the time, or sleep late, or be late at some things. I always just have to read one more page before I close the book…before I know it, I have read one more and more…and I totally forgot the thing I was supposed to do after reading that page.

Oh wait, let me introduce myself.

Hi, I’m Tina. :) I’m 23 years old as of this post, and I work at a multinational company as a web specialist. I also own a couple more websites/blogs, with my personal blog, Refine Me, being the oldest among all. I like cats, stars, nice pens and notebooks, going on trips with friends…and what else? Oh, yeah, of course, I like to read.

My love affair with books started when I first saw a Sweet Valley Kids book from my Grade 3 classmate and got curious about it. After finishing my first Sweet Valley book, I started acquiring more…and more…and before I knew it, the bookstore became my type of candy store.

Suffice to say, I love books. I’ve been meaning to start a book blog for a while, but I never started it because I put whatever blogging about books I have on my main blog. However, after much thinking, I realized that sometimes my main blog gets occupied by more book reviews than normal posts. In 2010, I wanted to have some sort of division for my personal blog and the books…so here, a book blog. :)

What to expect here? Other than my book reviews (looking for cleanse smart reviews? No, not here), I’ll talk about book sales, book releases, reading tips and anything and everything related to reading. :) I’m hoping I won’t abandon this blog anytime soon (haha I tend to do that), and I hope I’ll be able to entertain you, visitors, with my reading antics.

Here we go, are you ready? Wait, let me just finish one more page…

Green (Ted Dekker)

Green by Ted Dekker

Green by Ted Dekker
The Circle # 0
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Number of pages:  392
My copy: hardbound, review copy from BookSneeze

AS FORETOLD BY ANCIENT PROPHETS, an apocalypse destroyed Earth during the twenty-first century. But two thousand years later Elyon set upon the earth a new Adam. This time, however, He gave humanity an advantage. What was once unseen became seen. It was good and it was called…Green.

But the evil Teeleh bided his time in a Black Forest.

Then, when least expected, a twenty-four year old named Thomas Hunter fell asleep in our world and woke up in that future Black Forest. A gateway was opened for Teeleh to ravage the land. Devastated by the ruin, Thomas Hunter and his Circle swore to fight the dark scourge until their dying breath.

But now The Circle has lost hope. Samuel, Thomas Hunter’s cherished son, has turned his back on his father. He gathers the dark forces to wage a final war. Thomas is crushed and desperately seeks a way back to our reality to find the one elusive hope that could save them all.

Enter an apocalyptic story like none you have read. A story with links to our own history so shocking that you will forget you are in another world at all. Welcome to GREEN. Book Zero.

FOUR NOVELS. TWO WORLDS. ONE STORY.

The last time I read the Black, Red and White by Ted Dekker was almost three years ago, and it’s been a while since I picked them up. I was planning to reread it, but because of time and all the other things life threw my way, I couldn’t get to read it. When I heard about the release of Green, I was excited because it’s Ted Dekker, and I loved the Circle Trilogy.

When I got my copy of Green, I was excited to read it but hesitant to read it because I can hardly remember what happened to the three books. But then the book cover said that it can act as the last book or the first book, I plunged in and read.

And what a ride it was, because Green is just as awesome as the other three books. Even if my knowledge of the trilogy was rusty, the book reminded me enough of what happened in the three books. I liked how it sealed the trilogy into a complete circle. The story was solid, almost very believable. There was a time when I felt like I couldn’t read anymore because I did not want to see what will happen next. There was a time when I wanted to strangle some of the characters and tell them that they should not stop believing in Elyon, and what they were doing is silly and pointless and would make them die. Books that make readers react this way mean they actually reached their audience. :D

Reading Green makes me want to re-read the other three books again, to fully relive the story of Thomas Hunter and his romance with Elyon. Great work, Ted Dekker. :D

Rating:

Note: Review originally posted at Refine Me

When It Happens

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti
Publisher: Viking
Number of pages:  287
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

Sara and Tobey couldn’t be more different. She is focused on getting into her first-choice college; he wants to win Battle of the Bands. Sara’s other goal is to find true love, so when Dave, a popular jock, asks her out, she’s thrilled. But then there’s Tobey. His amazing blue eyes and quirky wit always creep into her thoughts. It just so happens that one of Tobey’s goals is also to make Sara fall in love with him. Told in alternating points of view, Sara and Tobey’s real connection will have everyone rooting for them from the minute they meet!

* * *

I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I spotted it as a recommended read in Amazon, and it took a while before I finally got myself a copy. When I saw it at the newly opened Fully Booked in Eastwood Mall, I grabbed it (in an impulse, I might say).

It’s an interesting read. I think the last he-said/she-said novel I read was Flipped, and I loved that novel. This one is just…well, interesting. I liked the two characters fair enough, and even the supporting characters were more interesting. I did find myself rooting for Tobey and Sara, and I’m actually quite interested to watch Say Anything, the movie mentioned in the novel.

However, there’s just something in the storytelling that felt a little off for me. I don’t know if it’s the present tense format, but I felt like the story lacked a bit of description, except when Sara starts painting or drawing or something. I felt like it lacked a bit of the smooth flow that other books have. I mean, for example, during one party that the characters attended, there was a part there that says: “Going Under is playing. Evanescence rocks.” I know it may be because it’s written to make it sound like how teens probably think nowadays, and maybe it just doesn’t gel with me quite much. Maybe because I’m not so good with descriptions that I like books with long and flowing descriptions?

But again, the overall story is good and a pretty much enjoyable, but it’s not really going to be in my favorites list. Maybe I was just too used to Sarah Dessen type novels, hence the conclusion. I’m still looking forward to reading Colasanti’s other novels, though. :)

Rating:

Note: Review originally posted at Refine Me

Deadly Intent (Camy Tang)

Deadly Intent by Camy TangSCENE OF THE CRIME

The Grant family’s exclusive Sonoma spa is a place for rest and relaxation—not murder! Then Naomi Grant finds her client Jessica Ortiz bleeding to death in her massage room, and everything falls apart. The salon’s reputation is at stake…and so is Naomi’s freedom when she discovers that she is one of the main suspects! Her only solace is found with the other suspect—Dr. Devon Knightley, the victim’s ex-husband. But Devon is hiding secrets of his own. When they come to light, where can Naomi turn…and whom can she trust?

Camy comes back with a new book, this time not with sushi but with a spa, a new spa owner, a handsome doctor and a murder! It’s no secret that I love Camy’s books (see the reviews here, here and here) and having a chance to read this book is really exciting. :D

In this book, Naomi is taking over their family spa, and is not expecting it to be an easy job, but she also never expected that she would have to deal with the murder of her client! Naomi wonders what God has in store for her and if he really wanted her to be where she was. Not only that, but there’s also handsome Dr. Devon Knightley who always seems to be around ever since the murder…and it’s making Naomi not so comfortable because of her crush on Devon. I think Naomi definitely wouldn’t mind giving away wedding invitations with their names on it, but not at this time, when they’re both accused of murder!

This is a fun and quick read — just the right amount of mystery, suspense and dead bodies and it kept me hanging until the end. I was actually quite surprised to find out who the culprit was, and kind of sad to know why she did all those things. Naomi is a strong protagonist though, and I found myself rooting for her all through out the novel. The faith aspect is nicely tied in as well, and it never felt like it was too preachy — everything felt natural.

Another great book by Camy! :D

Rating:

My copy: Paperback, free review copy from the author

Cover & blurb: From the author

→ Camy Tang’s website

Note: Review originally posted at Refine Me