All I Want for Christmas 2011 Is… (Book Edition)

Ohai?

November is halfway done, which means that December is just around the corner, which also means that Christmas is just around the corner! And in the spirit of gift-giving and all that (and to help my friends in picking out presents for me, y’know, in case they want to :P) here’s my wish list for 2011! :)

BOOK-RELATED STUFF (also known as possibly expensive book-related gifts):

  • Still waiting for that book seal. My brother was supposed to give me one, but I have to confirm. :P
  • Kindle Touch. I mean, come on, you know you want one too (also, I can dream. haha).

BOOKS:

  1. Pysch Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
  2. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
  3. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen  Thanks, Monique!
  4. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen Thanks Angus!
  5. Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
  6. Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
  7. What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  8. Heist Society by Ally Carter
  9. Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park (I don’t mind the ebook version!)
  10. Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver (UK edition, please?)
  11. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
  12. The Boy Book (Ruby Oliver # 2) by E. Lockhart (and the rest of the Ruby Oliver books) Thanks, Tricia! :)
  13. Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick
  14. The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway
  15. Nightspell by Leah Cypess
  16. Amplified by Tara Kelly
  17. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  18. Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

I don’t really have much of a preference between books and ebooks but for books with illustrations (particularly #2, 9 and 10), I would want them in print. Because that’s really one of the things you’d pay for in print. :)

I’m also all for recommendations — if you think I’ll like the book, then I would gladly accept. it. :D

But if you’d rather be different, and decide to give me something non-book related…well:

  • Anything with sunflowers and/or stars
  • Gift certificates — not just bookstores, but other places too: Starbucks, Dashing Diva, CBTL, etc.
  • Pretty pens and notebooks :)

I’m pretty easy to please, so even a Christmas card would do, actually. Snail mail makes me happy too. :D

I’m also posting this because I joined this year’s Book Blogger Holiday Swap again. :) It’s so fun sending and receiving packages during the holiday season that even if I am a little tight on the budget this year, I didn’t mind signing up. Unfortunately, sign ups for this swap is already closed, but there are other book swaps, too, like the Book Geeks Book Exchange. :) Come join the book exchanging holiday fun!

Mistwood

Mistwood by Leah CypessMistwood by Leah Cypess
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Number of pages:  304
My copy: hardbound, Book Blogger Holiday Swap gift from Tarie

The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwood. But when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty—because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can’t help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.

* * *

I’ve had my eye on Mistwood for a long time now, but a part of me has always dismissed it as a paranormal romance novel that I never had that much interest in it. It popped up in my radar last year again, and when I read the reviews, I had to admit my mistake on labeling it as paranormal romance because it’s not. Of course, the cheapskate in me then didn’t want to buy the hardbound version, so I had it in my wish list hoping someone would get it for me. Thanks to the Book Blogger Holiday Swap, though, I got a copy of this book from Tarie. :)

Mistwood is where the Shifter hails, a creature of legend that is bound by an ancient spell to protect the king of Samorna. When Samorna is peaceful, she goes back to Mistwood, but when she always comes when she is needed. Isabel remembers nothing, not until before Prince Rokan fetches her from Mistwood. She can’t remember what happened, what her powers were and she gets glimpses of memories that doesn’t make sense. All she knows is she has to protect Rokan, even if she feels that she can’t trust him. As Isabel tries to uncover the threats to her prince, she tries to piece together her memories and weave through all sorts of court intrigue. She can’t trust anyone, and when she finds out the truth, she wonders if she can trust the person she’s sworn to protect.

Mistwood is beautiful, in writing and in the characters. It was easy to slip into the kingdom of Samorna, which made it easier to focus on the characters which really made the story move forward. Like other readers, I was never sure who to trust — not even Isabel. I wasn’t sure who to root for, and I wasn’t sure who is telling the truth. I liked how the story tends to defy expectations — just when you thought you’ve had it all figured out, the author takes a different turn, keeping you guessing. I have to admit that there was a time when I just wanted to figure everything out once and for all and skip a few pages, but I’m glad I kept on reading.

However, I think this book kind of fell into the “I shouldn’t have read this right after reading really awesome books that blew me away” category. I liked Mistwood, but I think I made a mistake of reading it right after I read the first three books of Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series. It was kind of hard to shift from Sounis/Eddis/Attolia to Samorna, and I can’t help but feel like Gen was going to pop up in a page in Mistwood. That was my mistake — learn from it!

Still, I liked Mistwood. It’s very good fantasy, and if you’re looking for a standalone book to get lost in, this is a very good choice. I’m looking forward to reading its companion novel, Nightspell. :)

Rating:

Other reviews:
Chachic’s Book Nook
Book Harbinger
The Book Smugglers
Angieville

Required Reading: June

May was a little forgiving compared to April when it came to work, so I was able to read faster than I usually do. That, and the books were, well, awesome, so it made for a very good reading month.

Of course, I still didn’t finish all on time, as I only finished the fourth book for my Required Reading challenge yesterday. Still, I think I made pretty good, and none of the books I chose to read last month were a drag.

So, Required Reading for May recap!

  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner – introduced me to the wonderful world of Sounis, Eddis and Attolia, and my new favorite lead character, Eugenides. :)
  • The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner – this further made me love The Queen’s Thief series. I can see here why the people who recommended this series to me love it so much. :)
  • The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner – this sealed the deal for me in the series. MWT = genius.
  • Mistwood by Leah Cypess – I finished this yesterday and it was pretty good, although all the conspiracies kind of bewildered me a bit. It may be not the best mood to read this after I’ve read the MWT novels I’ve had on hand — expectations are a bit higher. Still, it was pretty good. Review to come this week. :)

I think this may be my most successful month as far as this challenge is concerned. :)

On to June!

Required Reading - June

I will do a little variation this month, because when I first made my list for June books, I realized that all of them are a bit of a heavy reading, and I know for sure I won’t be able to finish all, So, instead of choosing four books, I’m only going for two.

Rules recap!

  • The books should be read within the specified month
  • These books should be in my TBR and not yet to be acquired
  • These books cannot be used for any other reading challenges I am participating in.

I’m also bending my third rule a bit because one of the books I chose this month passes for my local book challenge. I can afford to bend it, right? Right.

The theme for June is revolution, since we celebrate the Philippines’ Independence Day this month. :) See why I mean it’s a pretty heavy subject? The books:

  • Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal – For my non-Filipino readers, Jose Rizal is the national hero of the Philippines. Noli Me Tangere (or Noli) is required reading for us during high school, but we didn’t actually read the novel back then — we were reading a summarized version of the book (which we had to summarize further — go figure). I liked Noli’s story, so I want to read it in its full glory. :) June 2011 is his 150th birthday, so I figure it’s also just right.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – By revolution, I remember war. The Book Thiefis set in WW2, so this should fit the theme quite well. :)

I also have a back-up book, just in case I end up having more time, or I’m having a particularly good reading month, too.

  • Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly – French revolution. Enough said.

Pretty thick books up ahead. And I have some books I still have to finish reading. Let’s see how well June goes. :D

 

Required Reading: May

And just like that, April has come and gone. WHAT. Why are the 2011 months just flying by? :o

April was a busy month but it was busy for work! Gah, I am still buried in a ton of work right now, but of course I am procrastinating by blogging. :P I thought the reading for April was quite good, though, especially since I got a long break during the Holy Week, and I was also sick almost half the month so the lack of gym time became reading time. Not bad, I guess?

So what happened for Required Reading for April?

As expected, I only got to finish reading three books:

  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis – perfect Holy Week reading. Kind of creepy, but true to C.S. Lewis style, definitely thought-provoking.
  • BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker – not as good as the old Dekker ones I love.
  • Losing Faith by Denise Jaden – very quick read, entertaining, but it kind of lacked a bit of the tone that I was expecting it to have.

Like what I predicted, one of them will take a bit of time to finish Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light by Mother Teresa, edited by Brian Kolodiejchuk because it’s non-fiction and it’s not really for quick reading. It’s a very good read so far, and I think when I’m done with this, I’ll hunt around for other biographies because they’re fun. I think I’ll be taking my time with this one, though.

It’s not a bad month, as I’ve actually finished the three books early on, giving me room to read other books within the month. :)

And now, we go to Required Reading for May!

Required Reading: MayAgain, the rules (note to self: create a separate page for this soon):

  • The books should be read within the specified month
  • These books should be in my TBR and not yet to be acquired
  • These books cannot be used for any other reading challenges I am participating in.

I am truly excited for the books I chose this month. They’ve been sitting pretty on my shelf since last year and I know people have been bugging me to read them. :D I realized it’s also just right, too, especially since I’ve been reading one contemporary novel after the other in the past weeks. This month’s theme is fantasy. The books!

I don’t really know why I’ve been putting these off, but I know people have been bugging me to read these, especially the first three books (ahem, Chachic! :) ). LOL, well now I am going to read them and I am excited because as much as I enjoy contemporary, I think I need a little bit of magic in my reading now. :)

What about you? What books are you lining up to read this May? If you’re planning to participate in the challenge, leave a comment so I can link you up. :)

In My Mailbox (12): Holiday Swap, Merch and Ebooks

I meant to do an IMM post last week but I can’t remember why I skipped it. Perhaps it was because I had too many posts lined up. That, or I just felt lazy doing one. It was kind of a good thing, though, because it turns out I don’t have my camera cable at home so I couldn’t transfer photos, anyway.

This week is a pretty good book week, with Christmas coming and all that. I haven’t been to many Christmas parties yet (not until next week, anyway), but this week I received a lot of packages. Not all of them were books, but they were still packages, and it’s always fun to receive stuff in your actual mailbox. :)

In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store. Here’s this week’s stash!

  1. The Giver by Lois Lowry (National Bookstore) – I got this because I was thinking of getting Matched, but I thought I’d read this one first since Matched has been compared to this a lot. I already posted my review here and suffice to say I really liked it. :) Will I get Matched now? Still not sure — what do you think?
  2. No Strings Attached by Mina V. Esguerra (National Bookstore) – I’ve been hounding the bookstores for her newest book after she told us about it in Twitter, but alas, it’s not in Eastwood. Then she tweeted that she saw it already, and since I can’t find it anywhere near I work, I took a special trip to the mall near our place and found lots and lots of copies. :D I finished reading this last week, will post a review next week.
  3. Mistwood by Leah Cypess and Blue Angel, White Shadow by Charlson Ong – After getting Mina’s new book, I got home and was welcomed by a package! It was from my Holiday Swap Santa, Tarie! She already sent me a message about it before I got it, telling me that the review copy of Blue Angel, White Shadow will be added in the package so I didn’t have to pick it up where she’s leaving the other copies for the other bloggers who will get it. :D I was really excited to see she got me Mistwood! I’ve been eying this one in the bookstore for a long time now. :D Thanks so much, Tarie! :)

I also braved the mall crowds yesterday to pick up the NaNoWriMo merch I ordered with some Wrimos from Johnny Air Cargo. The shipping fee kind of set me back a little, but I’m glad these things finally arrived. The jacket and the books aren’t mine, but I got my ML shirt, key chains and posters. :)

EBOOKS:

  1. Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck (Amazon Kindle store) – I still have that ebook itch, so after buying and reading Anna and the French Kiss, I browsed the store again and found Rachel Hauck’s latest novel. I liked the first two books in the Lowcountry Romance (Sweet Caroline, Love Starts with Elle), and this third companion novel seems very promising. :)
  2. Reaper by Rachel Vincent (Amazon Kindle store) – I found out this ebook is free from the store, and I can never resist free ebooks. :) I must finish reading the rest of the books in this series.
  3. Invasion (A C.H.A.O.S. Novel) by J.S. Lewis (Booksneeze) – Booksneeze recently received a lot of new titles lately, and I found this new young adult series. It seems pretty interesting, plus it has an ebook version so it saves on shipping time. :)
  4. Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harrison (NetGalley) – I know I still have a lot of NetGalley titles lined up in my TBR, but this book caught my eye. Looks very interesting. :D I don’t know when I’ll be able to read it, but I will. :)

Next week, it’s our Goodreads group’s Christmas party, and I’m sure there will be books to bring home there again. :) But that’s for next week. I still have to shop for presents for that!

Now I shall get ready for my godsister’s wedding. :) Have a great Sunday, everyone!