Rummanah Aasi

4/4 books

  For my last challenge of 2013, I will partake in the Classics Double Challenge hosted by One's Librarian Book Reviews. The object of this challenge is to read a classic (the term is used loosely to include fairy tales, mythologies, classics, any kind of original story) and couple it with a retelling (the original and the newer book have to relate in some way that you can define; it doesn't have to be a straight-forward retelling).


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein series by Kenneth Oppel.
The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein is a prequel series to Frankenstein.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane by April Lindner.
Jane is a retelling of Jane Eyre, set in a modern day.

 If you need some inspiration for retellings, the hostess has compiled a rather extensive list of retellings.  and for fairy tale retellings.  Also, during the Retell Me a Story celebration next month the hostess will be highlighting some newer retellings that have been released or are coming out soon.

Levels of Participation:

Small: You read 2 related books.
Medium: You read 4 books (2 sets of related books).
Large: You read 6 books (3 sets of related books).
Super Size: You read 8 books (4 sets of related books).

This reading challenge is hosted by One Librarian's Book Reviews. For more information and to sign-up, please see this post.

My Participation: Medium- 4 books (2 sets of related books). I may up it if I have time. 

Books Read for the Classics Double Challenge

  1. Persuasion by Jane Austen/ For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diane Peterfreund
  2. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Sheperd/ The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
Rummanah Aasi

224/270 books


  1. The goal is to read 150 or more books. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. Posting on GoodReads or wherever you post your reviews is good enough.
  2. Allowed are: Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Manga, Graphic Novels, Library books, Novellas, Young Reader, Nonfiction – as long as the book has an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such, the book counts. What doesn't count: Individual short stories or individual books in the Bible and comic books.
  3. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.
  4. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.
  5. Challenge begins January 1st, 2013 thru December 31, 2013. Books started before the 1st do not count. You can join at anytime. 
  6. When you sign up under Linky, put the direct link to your post where your books will be listed. Include the URL to this post so that other viewers can find this fun challenge. If you’d prefer to put your list in the sidebar of your blog, please leave your viewers the link to the sign up page. For more information and to sign-up, please see this post.

Books Read in 2013 

italics = Reviewed
  1. What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang (Hybrid Trilogy #1) (YA)
  2. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (Children)
  3. While He Was Away by Katie Schreck (YA)
  4. Every Day by David Levithan (YA)
  5. The Cove by Ron Rash (Adult)
  6. The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger (Adult)
  7. UnWholly (Unwind #2) by Neal Shusterman (YA)
  8. The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress (YA)
  9. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Adult)
  10. Stray (Werecats #1) by Rachel Vincent (Adult)
  11. Curses! Foiled Again! by Jane Yolen (YA/Graphic Novel)
  12. One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo (Children/Picture Book)
  13. Sleep like a tiger by Mary Logue (Children/Picture Book)
  14. This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (Children/Picture Book)
  15. Extra Yarn by Marc Burnett (Children/Picture Book)
  16. Hansel and Gretel by Anthony Browne (Children/Picture Book)
  17. Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon (Adult)
  18. Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff (YA)
  19. Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton (YA)
  20. Storm Front (Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher (Adult)
  21. Boundless (Unearthly #3) by Cynthia Hand (YA)
  22. Six Days Earlier by David Levithan (YA)
  23. Shadowlands (Shadowlands #1) by Kate Brian (YA)
  24. Biting Cold (Chicagoland Vampires #6) by Chloe Neill (Adult) 
  25. The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna (YA)
  26. Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand (Adult)
  27. Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor (YA)
  28. Vampire Knight Vol. 16 by Matsuri Hino (Manga)
  29. Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt (YA)
  30. Fool Moon (Dreseden Files #2) by Jim Butcher (Adult)
  31. Scent of Magic (Avry #2) by Maria V. Snyder (Adult)
  32. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (Adult)
  33. Sapphire Blue (Red Ruby Trilogy #2) by Kerstin Gier (YA)
  34. The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeymay (YA)
  35. Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally (Hundred Oaks #3) (YA)
  36. Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane (Downside #1) (Adult)
  37. Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter (Heist Society #3) (YA)
  38. Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo *Review coming soon
  39. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #2) (YA)
  40. Theodosia and the Serpent of Chaos by R. L. Lafevers (Childrens)
  41. Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger (Finishing School #1) (YA)
  42. Snowy White World to Save by Stephanie Lisa Tara (Childrens)
  43. I'll Follow the Moon by Stephanie Lisa Tara (Childrens)
  44. Gwynee fair and shining by Stephanie Lisa Tara (Childrens)
  45. The Library Mouse by Stephanie Lisa Tara (Childrens)
  46. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (Infernal Devices #3) (YA)
  47. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (Adult)
  48. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale (Adult)
  49. Amelia Rules! When the Past is the Present by Jim Gownley Childrens/GN)
  50. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters (YA)
  51. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson (YA)
  52. Amelia Rules! True Things (Adults Don't Want Kids to Know) by Jim Gownley (Childrens/Graphic Novel)
  53. Crash by Lisa McMann (Visions #1) (YA)
  54. The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin (Adult)
  55. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Grishna #1) (YA)
  56. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Grishna #2) (YA)
  57. Orleans by Sherri Smith (YA)
  58. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (Adult)
  59. The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter (Childrens)
  60. Amelia Rules! The Meaning of Life and Other Stuff by Jim Gownley (Childrens/Graphic Novel)
  61. Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke (Adult)
  62. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Theresa Fowler (Adult)
  63. Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #7) (Adult)
  64. Wonder Show by Hanah Barnaby (Childrens/YA)
  65. Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff (YA)
  66. Persuasion by Jane Austen (Adult)
  67. The Rules of Disappearing by Ashley Eston (YA)
  68. Tenderness by Robert Cormier (YA)
  69. Magicalamity by Kate Saunders (Childrens)
  70. Catherine by April Lindner (YA)
  71. Afterschool Charisma Vol. 7 by Kumiko Suekane (Manga)
  72. The Loop by Shandy Lawson (Childrens/YA)
  73. The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells (Adult)
  74. Will and Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge (YA/Graphic Novel)
  75. Breathless by Brigid Kemmerer (Elementals 2.5) (YA)
  76. Afterschool Charisma Vol. 7 by Kumiko Suekane (Manga)
  77. Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer (Elementals #3) (YA)
  78. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (Adult)
  79. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diane Peterfreund (YA)
  80. The Perfect Square by Michael Hall (Children/Picture Book)
  81. Black Butler Vol. 9 by Yana Toboso (Manga)
  82. Mind Games by Kiersten White *Review coming soon
  83. Black Butler Vol. 10 by Yana Toboso (Manga)
  84. Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming (Childrens/Picture Books)
  85. Say Hello to Zorro! by Carter Goodrich (Childrens/Picture Books)
  86. The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen  Johnson (YA)
  87. The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman (Adult)
  88. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #2) *Review coming soon
  89. Black Butler Vol 11 by Yana Toboso (Manga)
  90. Biblioburro by Jeanette Winter
  91. Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw (Childrens/Picture Book)
  92. Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet (Childrens/Picture Book)
  93. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher (YA)
  94. The Lighthouse by Alison Moore (Adult)
  95. Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair (Adult)
  96. Swirl by Swirl by Joyce Sidman (Childrens/Picture Books)
  97. One by Kathryn Otoshi (Childrens/Picture Books)
  98. Brothers at Bat by Audrey Vernick (Childrens/Picture Books)
  99. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Adult)
  100. Pivot Point by Kasie West *Review coming soon
  101. Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassins #2) by Robin LaFevers *Review coming soon
  102. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (Adult)
  103. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (YA)
  104. City of Veils by Zoe Ferraris (Adult)
  105. Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga (YA)
  106. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (Childrens)
  107. Ruby in the Smoke (Sally Lockhart #1) by Philip Pullman *Review coming soon
  108. Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #5) (Adult)
  109. How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr *Review coming soon
  110. Dare You To by Katie McGarry (YA)
  111. Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff  (Adult)
  112. Gated by Amy Christine Parker (YA)
  113. Agent Gates and the Secrets Adventures of Devonton Abbey by Camaren Subhiyah (Graphic Novel)
  114. Namesake by Sue Macleod (YA, Childrens)
  115. Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (Graphic Novel)
  116. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (YA)
  117. The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle (YA)
  118.  First Frost (Mythos Academy prequel) by Jennifer Estep *Review coming soon
  119. Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth (YA)
  120. Black Butler Vol. 12 by Yana Toboso (Manga)
  121. All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry (YA)
  122. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (YA)
  123. Snatchabook by Helen Docherty (Childrens/Picture Books)
  124. One More Candle by Merry Susiarjo (Childrens/Picture Books)
  125. The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford (YA)
  126.  I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (Childrens/Picure Books)
  127. 11 Experiments that Failed by Jenny Offill (Childrens/Picture Books)
  128. I Wanna New Room by Karen Kaufman Orloff (Childrens/Picture Books)
  129. Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting (Body Finder #4) *Review coming soon
  130. This is W.A.R. by Laura and Lisa Roecker *Review coming soon
  131. The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker *Review coming soon
  132. Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jared Krosoczka (Lunch Lady #1) (Graphic Novel)
  133. The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood (Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1) (Childrens)
  134. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (Madman's Daughter #1) (YA)
  135. The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (Heroes of Olympus #4) (YA)
  136. Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep (Mythos Academy #1) *Review coming soon
  137. Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians by Jared Krosoczka (Lunch Lady #2) (Graphic Novel)
  138. Lunch Lady and the Author's Vendetta by Jared Krosoczka (Lunch Lady #3) (Graphic Novel)
  139. And There Were None by Agatha Christie *Review coming soon
  140. The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood (The Inccorigible Children of Ashton Place #2) (Childrens)
  141. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent #3) (YA)
  142. Bunny Drop Vol. 1 by Yumi Unita (Manga)
  143. Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #6) *Review coming soon
  144. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman *Review coming soon
  145. Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne (YA)
  146. Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur (Childrens)
  147. Boys Over Flowers Vol. 8 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  148. Siri and Me: A Love Story by David Milgrim (Graphic Novel)
  149. Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jared Krosoczka (Lunch Lady #4) *Review coming soon
  150. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Adult)
  151. Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles (YA)
  152. Boys Over Flowers Vol. 9 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  153. Boys Over Flowers Vol. 10 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  154. Chicken Big by Kevin Graves (Picture Book)
  155. The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray (Picture Book)
  156. The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #3) (Childrens)
  157. Boys Over Flowers Vol. 11 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  158. Tales of a Very Picky Eater by Josh Schneider (Childrens)
  159. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai *Review coming soon
  160. Dodge Ball Chronicles (Knights of the Lunch Table) #1 by Frank Cammuso (Childrens)
  161. Love Disguised by Lisa Klein (YA)
  162. Vampire Knight Vol. 17 by Matsuri Hino (Manga)
  163. The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen *Review coming soon
  164. Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (Adult)
  165. The Scandal in Bohemia by Murray Shaw (On the Case with Holmes and Watson #1) *Review coming soon
  166. Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Dancing Men (On the Case with Holmes and Watson #4) *Review coming soon
  167. Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Sussex Vampire (On the Case with Holmes and Watson #6)
  168. Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure at the Copper Beeches (On the Case with Holmes and Watson #8) *Review coming soon
  169. Tandem by Anna Jarzab (Many Worlds #1) (YA)
  170. Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally (Hundred Oaks #4) (YA)
  171. Help for the Haunted by John Searles (Adult)
  172. Boys Over Flowers Vol 12 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  173. Boys Over Flowers Vol 13 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  174. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead (Children's Picture Book)
  175. Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell (Children's Picture Book)
  176. Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (Children's Picture Book)
  177. Black Dog by Levi Pinfold (Children's Picture Book)
  178. More by I.C. Springman (Children's Picture Book)
  179. Little Bird by Germano Zullo (Children's Picture Book)
  180. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghes *Review coming soon
  181. Someday's Dreamers by Norie Yamada and Kumichi Yoshizuki (Manga)
  182. Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin (YA)
  183. Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy (Adult)
  184. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (YA)
  185. The Camping Trip That Changed America by Barbara Rosenstock (Picture Book)

  186. The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt *Review coming soon
  187. The Dragon Duel (Knights of the Lunch Table #2) by Frank Cammuso (Childrens/Graphic Novel)
  188. Battle of the Bands (Knights of the Lunch Table #3) by Frank Cammuso (Childrens/Graphic Novel)
  189. Doll Bones by Holly Black (Childrens)
  190. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes (Adult)
  191. Boys Over Flowers Vol 14 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  192. Boys Over Flowers Vol 15 by Yoko Kamio (Manga)
  193. The One and Only Stuey Lewis by Jane Schoenberg (Childrens)
  194. Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit by Jared Krosoczka (Lunch Lady #5) *Review coming soon
  195. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (Childrens)
  196. Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough (Childrens)
  197. That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems (Childrens)
  198. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (Childrens)
  199.  Bluebird by Rob Staake (Childrens)
  200. The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis *Review coming soon
  201. Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant's Tale by Duncan Tonathiuh (Childrens)
  202. The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman *Review coming soon
  203. Journey by Aaron Becker (Childrens)
  204. Cover Her Face by P.D. James *Review coming soon
  205. Whirligig by Paul Fleischman *Review coming soon
  206. The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman (YA)
  207. Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker *Review coming soon
  208. Saints by Gene Luen Yang *Review coming soon
  209. Youtsaba! by Kiyohiko Azuma *Review coming soon
  210. Jane, the Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt  *Review coming soon
  211. Bluffton by Matt Phelan *Review coming soon
  212. The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin (Childrens)
  213. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher *Review coming soon
  214. The Secret Language of Girls by Frances O'Roark Dowell *Review coming soon
  215. Secret by Brigid Kemmerer (Elementals #4) (YA)
  216. Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco by Jared Krosoczka (Lunch Lady #6) *Review coming soon
  217. Lunch Lady and the Mutant Mathathletes by Jared Krosoczka (Lunch Lady #7) *Review coming soon
  218. Tess, the Terrorists, and the Tiara by Terry Baldwin *Review coming soon
  219. House Rules by Chloe Neil (Chicagoland Vampires #7) *Review coming soon
  220. Jellaby: Monster in the City by Kevin Soo (Reread)
  221. Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian (YA)
  222. Flora and Ulysses by Katie DiCamillo (Childrens)
  223. Anyone But You by Amy Helmes and Kay Askew (YA)
  224. Extremities by David Lubar (Review on Shelfari)
Rummanah Aasi

50/50 books

  I was thrilled to complete this challenge last year and it helped me organize my reads much more efficiently. I hope the 2013 Ebook Challenge hosted by Workaday Reads will give me the same results!

Challenge Guidelines:

  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013.
  2. Anyone can join, you don’t need to be a blogger. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to sign-up in the comments. You can post reviews to any book site (i.e. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc.).
  3. Any genre or length of book counts, as long as it is in ebook format.
  4. You can plan your books in advance or as you read them.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the E-Book Reading Challenge.
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2013, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  1. Floppy disk - 5 ebooks
  2. CD - 10 ebooks
  3. DVD - 25 ebooks
  4. Memory stick - 50 ebooks
  5. Hard drive - 75 ebooks
  6. Server - 100 ebooks
  7. Human brain - 150 ebooks
At the beginning of each month there will be a roundup post for you to add your reviews for that month. The linky will remain open for the remainder of the year, so if you forget, feel free go back and add them when you remember.
There will be a giveaway at the end of the year for everyone who achieves their goal level (or higher).

Goal for this challenge: 50 ebooks

Books Read for the 2013 Ebook Challenge

  1. The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
  2. Curses! Foiled Again! by Jane Yolen
  3. Paper Valentine by Brenna Yonavoff
  4. Shadowlands by Kate Brian
  5. Six Days Earlier by David Levithan
  6. Uses for Boys by
  7. Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder 
  8. The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman
  9. Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
  10. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
  11. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
  12. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  13. Orleans by Sherri Smith
  14. Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
  15. The Rules of Disappearing by Ashley Elston
  16. The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells
  17. The Loop by Shandy Lawson
  18. Breathless by Brigid Kemmerer
  19. Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer 
  20. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diane Peterfreund
  21. My Ex From Hell by Tellulah Darling
  22. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
  23. Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair 
  24. Dare You To by Katie McGarry 
  25. Gated by Amy Christine Parker
  26. The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle
  27. First Frost (Mythos Academy prequel) by Jennifer Estep
  28. All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry
  29. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
  30. The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford
  31. Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting 
  32. Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep (Mythos Academy #1)
  33. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent #3)
  34. Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne 
  35. Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles (Wild Cards #1)
  36. Tandem by Anna Jarzab (Many Worlds #1)
  37. Racing Savannah by Miranda Keneally
  38. Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin
  39. Shadows of Asphodel by Karen Kincy
  40. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
  41. The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis
  42. The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman
  43. Secret by Brigid Kemmerer
  44. Tess, the Terrorists, and the Tiara by Terry Baldwin
  45. House Rules by Chloe Neil
  46. Jellaby: Monster in the City by Kevin Soo (reread)
  47. Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian
  48. Flora and Ulysseus by Kate DiCamillo 
  49. Anyone But You by Amy Helmes and Kim Askew
  50. Extremities by David Lubar

Rummanah Aasi

I'm joining many other bloggers in taking Jamie of Perpetual Page Turner's survey. I've added some of my own questions and answered most of Jamie's questions. To participate in the survey, click here.
Total books read in 2012:  262 books. I exceeded my goal of reading 245 books this year. Yay!
Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?  
Well, I completed 6 out of my 8 reading challenges, which isn't too bad but I still feel a bit guilty for not completing all of them.

 Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want):
Adult Fiction: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Adult Nonfiction: Quiet by Susan Cain
YA Paranormal: Everneath by Brodi Ashton
YA Realistic Fiction: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
YA Fantasy:  Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore and very closely followed by Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
YA Dystopian: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
YA Retelling: Tiger Lilly by Jodi Lynn Anderson
MG/Children Realistic: Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
Picture Book: Silent Music by James Rumford
Manga Series: Nana by Ai Yawaza
Graphic Novel: Drama by Raina Telgemeier *Review coming soon
 Book(s) You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
  I started the year on a rocky start. I've had several books that left me wanting and really disappointed me. The most memorable are:
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead- My biggest disappointment of the year. It eventually lead me to a reading slump for a few months.
  • City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare- In my opinion, the worst book in the MI series thus far. I skimmed large chunks of it.
  • Fracture by Megan MirandaI was completely misled by the marketing of this book. 
  • Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern- I think it's one of those few books that would be better as a movie.  
  Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?  
  • Storm by Brigid Kemmerer- A great paranormal series that I think could easily be enjoyed by both girls and guys. 
  • Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry- I really thought this book would not be for me. It was filled with issues and a cliched romance, but the realistic characters won me over and I got sucked into the book. I finished it in a couple of days.
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer- I really wasn't sure how a science fiction fairy tale retelling would work, but this book went beyond my eexpectations. Really looking forward to reading its sequel.   
  Book you recommended to people most in 2012?  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  Best series you discovered in 2012?
Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones, Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs, Everneath series by Brodi Ashton, and Elementals series by Brigid Kemmerer, Agency series by Y.S. Lee, Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexander
Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I'm not a big horror fan or books that feature serial killers, but I was absolutely enthralled by I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga.
Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?  
I actually have two:
 Book that I wished had more spotlight in the YA realm: Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott- a very unique retelling of Cinderella featuring a very strong female protagonist.
Book(s) you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read: I have series not books that I can't believe I waited so long to read: The Lionness Quartet by Tamora Pierce and Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones.
Book(s) That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It?
I've had several moments that had me reeling while reading the manga series Nana by Ai Yawaza and I absolutely had to talk to someone about Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn when I finished it. Really excited to see what my bookclub thinks about the book.
 Books You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
I have lots of books that have appeared on other blogger's and best of lists from review journals that I read that I wish I had read, but unfortunately I ran out of time but these are my top priorities for 2013: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, Everyday by David Levithan, The Diviners by Libba Bray, and Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater are just a few that I can think of on the top of my head.
 Literary Crushes of 2012 (in no particular order): 
  • Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  • George Cooper from the Lionness Quartet series by Tamora Pierce
  • Jem Carstairs from Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
  • Lord Giddon from Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  • Michael Merrick from the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer
  • Mr. Colin Hargreaves from the Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexander 
  • James Easton from Agency series by Y.S. Lee
  • Lucian Kiggs from Seraphina by Rachel Hartmann
  • Jack Caputo from Everneath by Brodi Ashton
  • Perry from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  • Korbyn from Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
  • Gavrel Duval from Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers 
  •  Shadow from Graffiti Moon by Cathy Crowley
  • Charles Cornnick from Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs
  • Garret Swopes from the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones
Rummanah Aasi
 I recently read a slew of Middle Eastern books on a variety of topics. I like how this reading challenge pushes me to read about countries that are beyond the U.S. and Europe. I hope to continue to read from a broader spectrum next year. 

Description: Samir, a Palestinian boy, is sent for surgery to an Israeli hospital where he has two otherworldly experiences, making friends with an Israeli boy, Yonatan, and playing a computer game together about a trip to Mars, during which Samir finds peace about his brother's death in the war.

Review: Samir and Yonatan is a compelling read. It is written by an Israeli author who writes about the budding friendship between two boys, a Palestinian and an Israeli. There are no definite sides of right and wrong given to the Palestianian-Israeli conflict. In fact most of the plot takes place in a some what neutral territory of a hospital in Israel. The author strives and succeeds in showing how not all people from both sides of the border are evil and that tolerance can be achieved. Though not the best written book, I really enjoyed the message and recommend it for younger readers.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There are some war disturbing images as well as scenes where tweens are experimenting with cigarettes. Recommended for Grades 5 and up.

If you like this book try: A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by Valérie Zenatti, Enemy Territory by Sharon E. McKay

Description: Living in the midst of civil war in Beirut, Lebanon, Zeina and her brother face an evening of apprehension when their parents do not return from a visit to the other side of the city.

Review: Game for Swallows gives us a look into one ordinary day of war torn Lebanon in the 1980s. Zeina and her little brother are waiting in the foyer of their apartment for their parents to return from visiting their grandmother in West Beirut. Bombings and sniper fire intensify in their neighborhood, and their neighbors huddle with them in what is the safest location of their building. As the neighbors arrive, Zeina gives us back stories of her neighbors and how the war has touched their lives. As the shootings and bombings continue, many neighbors are planning contingency plans if their country's condition doesn't improve. While the drawings may remind some readers of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (which I highly recommend reading if you haven't already done so), I felt wanting more from the graphic novel. I would have liked more historical information in order to really feel all the emotions that the characters feel throughout the story. I also wanted to know more about these people too.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There are some war disturbing images. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Waltz with Bashir by

Description: Set in the aftermath of Iran's fraudulent elections of 2009, Zahra's Paradise is the fictional story of the search for Mehdi, a young protestor who has vanished into an extrajudicial twilight zone. What's keeping his memory from being obliterated is not the law. It is the grit and guts of his mother, who refuses to surrender her son to fate, and the tenacity of his brother, a blogger, who fuses tradition and technology to explore and explode the void in which Mehdi has vanished.

Review: Zahra's Paradise was an eye opening reading experience. Part political criticism on the lack of citizen's rights to assemble and freedom of speech and part a harrowing struggle of a finding a loved one in the midst of chaos and riots of 2009. The artwork on these pages is stunning, showing the machinations of the corrupt government as well as traces of the beauty and poetry of Iranian life. An array of diverse and carefully drawn characters help and hinder the search for young Mehdi, everyone from a taxi driver to the daughter of a former disgraced general, a print shop owner to shady government officials. Small acts of heroism bring hope to this family, but they also bring consequences. I was really surprised to find out that this story is fictional and not nonfiction, which I had expected it to be.I would recommend this graphic novel to those interested in Iran and the Middle East.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is language, nudity, sex, and scenes of implied rape. Recommended for mature teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Students for a Democratic Society by Harvey Pekar
Rummanah Aasi
  Today I'm wrapping up my Death by Gaslight reading challenge. This challenge has allowed to discover new a sub-genre of historical mysteries that I haven't ventured before in my reads. Through this challenge I discovered some wonderful series and great authors. Today I have mini-reviews of the second and third book of the highly entertaining Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexander as well as Two Crafty Criminals, a middle grade book, by Philip Pullman. 

Description: London's social season is in full swing, and Victorian aristocracy is atwitter over a certain gentleman who claims to be the direct descendant of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Adding to their fascination with all things French, an audacious cat burglar is systematically stealing valuable items that once belonged to the ill--fated queen. But things take a dark turn. The owner of one of the pilfered treasures is found murdered after the theft is reported in the newspapers, and the mysterious thief develops a twisted obsession with Lady Emily Ashton. It takes all of Lady Emily's wit and perseverance to unmask her stalker and ferret out the murderer, while faced with a brewing scandal that threatens both her reputation and her romance with the dashing Colin Hargreaves.

Review:  Blending romance and historical mystery, the Lady Emily series is highly entertaining. Rich, young widow Lady Emily Ashton occasionally has tea with the queen, but she isn't your conventional Victorian lady. She may appear pretty and poised, but her preference for port and cigars, her devotion to both popular novels and classic Greek literature, her involvement in solving the mystery of her husband's death, and not to mention her flirtatious relationship with the debonaire Colin Hargreaves have made her the subject of plenty of gossip. Her forthright opinions stir up trouble and raises eyebrows once again when she becomes curious about the theft of several items once owned by Marie Antoinette and a new "gentleman" on the social scene, who claims to be an heir to the throne of France. Though Lady Emily is far from realistic, I adore her tenacity, wit, and charm. Alexander's witty treatment of the trivial pursuits of the aristocracy made me chuckle in several occasions. The mystery is engaging and had me guessing throughout the entire book. I also absolutely loved the banter and romance between Emily and handsome Colin Hargreaves. Readers looking for a light mystery with a good dose of romance should definitely try this series out.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: The book is relatively clean, however, there are mentions of the philandering Mr. Charles Berry. Recommended to teens and adults who enjoy historical mysteries.

If you like this book try: Fatal Waltz (Lady Emily #3) by Tasha Alexander, Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourne, Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson, Thomas Pitt series by Anne Perry

Description: When her friend's husband is wrongfully accused of murder, Lady Emily searches for answers from London's glittering ballrooms to Vienna's sordid alleys.

Review: Lady Emily Ashton is back in her third episode of romantic suspense set in the Victorian world of mannerly gentlemen, conniving mothers, and scandals behind closed doors. Out of the three books I've read from this series so far, I felt A Fatal Waltz was much stronger. The murder mystery is much more serious as it could lead to the death of two highly important characters, including Lady Emily's love interest. In the last two books, we have seen Lady Emily be very confident in her skills but she is now constantly tested in this book as she meets Colin's past love interest and skillful partner, the worldly Kristiana von Lange. It was nice to see Emily's vulnerabilities shine through as well as travel to Vienna for some excitement. This is a captivating addition to this fun series and I really can't wait to see if Lady Emily and Colin take the next step in their relationship.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: The book is relatively clean, however, there are mentions of the aristocrats who have an open marriage. Recommended to teens and adults who enjoy historical mysteries.

If you like this book try: Tears of Pearl (Lady Emily #4) by Tasha Alexander, Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourne, Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson, Thomas Pitt series by Anne Perry

Description: Eleven-year-old Benny Kaminsky leads a rag-tag gang of neighborhood children as they use improbable disguises and crazy ruses while investigating such crimes as counterfeiting and stolen silver in 1894 London.

Review: Originally published as two separate stories in Britain, Two Crafty Criminals gives us two stories featuring the New Cut Gang, a group of young mischief-makers, rules the streets of late-19th-century London and solves mysteries. In the first case, "Thunderbolt" Dobney and the rest of the gang investigate a coin counterfeiting resurgence. Things get more serious when Thunderbolt's father is arrested, and it is up to the kids to clear his name and find the real criminal. The second story has them finding the crook who stole the gas-fitter's silver. This case intersects at many points with some of the more impish members' attempts to win a bet by setting up two of their neighbors. These two stories reminded me a lot of the old Scooby Doo cartoons. They are charming, fun, light, and wholesome. The focus is more on plot rather than character development. This would be a good choice for a classroom read-aloud.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 3 and up.

If you like this book try: Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding, Horton Halfpott by Tom Angleberger
Rummanah Aasi
  Happy Holidays, readers! I hope you are enjoying the holidays with friends and family. In these last few days of December, I'm trying to wrap up some of my remaining reading challenges. I'm almost half way done! The Thirteenth Tale wraps up my Alex Award reading challenge this year.

Description: Margaret Lea works in her father's antiquarian bookshop where her fascination for the biographies of the long-dead has led her to write them herself. She gets a letter from one of the most famous authors of the day, the mysterious Vida Winter, whose popularity as a writer has been in no way diminished by her reclusiveness. Until now, Vida has toyed with journalists who interview her, creating outlandish life histories for herself - all of them invention. Now she is old and ailing, and at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to Margaret is a summons.Somewhat anxiously, the equally reclusive Margaret travels to Yorkshire to meet her subject - and Vida starts to tell her tale. It is one of Gothic strangeness featuring the March family; her mother, the beautiful and willful Isabelle, who had a powerful hold on her father and brother, and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline.Margaret, herself a twin, is doubly intrigued. But as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction, and she doesn't entirely trust Vida's account. She goes to check up on the family, visit their old home and piece together the story in her own way. What she discovers on her journey to the truth is for Margaret a chilling experience that will transform her life.

Review:  The Thirteenth Tale pays homage to the great Gothic writers, particularly Charlotte Bronte and Daphne Du Maurier, while weaving a wholly original story of its own. The story at first seems very familiar as a plain girl gets wrapped up in a dark, haunted ruin of a house, which guards family secrets that are not hers and that she must discover at her peril. Along this bleak journey, she also learns secrets about her own family.
  Margaret Lea is a London bookseller's daughter and a bibliophile. An introvert, she has lived vicariously through the written world. Her world revolves around what knows through her books. Books are her solace, friends, and adventures she can safely go on without any dangers. She enjoys books where the truth is written out in black and white terms and where the unjust are punished in the end. She also has an interest in siblings and has written an obscure biography that suggests deep understanding of siblings.
  It is Margaret's fascination with siblings that attracts the attention of the famous and now aging author Vida Winter, who finally wishes to tell her own, long-hidden, life story. Facing imminent death and feeling an unexplainable connection to Margaret, Miss Winter begins to spin a haunting, suspenseful tale of an old English estate, a devastating fire, twin girls, a governess, and a ghost. As Margaret carefully records Vida's tale, she ponders her own family secrets.
   The Thirteenth Tale immediately grabbed my attention right away. I felt a kinship with Margaret's love of books and I was swept away with the story that Ms. Winter spun. All throughout the story with a story, I wondered which bits were true. I  had no problems distinguishing between the two narrators as their voices were so different, but the transition from one to the other felt smooth. I loved the connections with some of my favorite books, but I was delightfully surprised that the connections were not a complete retelling of the story but showed how books can touch our lives in so many different ways. The book's pace was steady and there were plenty of twists and cliffhangers that kept me turning the pages. I was sad when the story concluded, but I think it could be enjoyed even more the second time you read it. The Thirteenth Tale is truly a book lover's book that celebrates reading and storytelling.

Rating: 5 stars

Words of Caution:  There are hints of sex and incest in the book, but nothing graphic or explicit. Recommended for teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt, Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
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