Friday, December 31, 2010

The Best of 2010 in Books


I am completing The Perpetual Page-Turner's End of 2010 Survey when I really should be getting ready to go out. My festivities don't start for about another hour, so I am trying to make this happen before the end of the year. (thank goodness I keep a list of all of the books I read)

1. Best book of 2010?
Because I can't limit it just 1, here are my top 5:
Freefall by Mindi Scott
Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Love Is the Higher Law by David Levithan

2. Worst book of 2010? *
The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer - *I have a disclaimer for this one. I didn't actually finish the book, I just couldn't get into it - so this isn't the worst book I read this year, but the book I gave up on this year.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010?
An Underachiever's Diary by Benjamin Anastas - I was hoping that it would be filled with snarky witticisms, but not so much. 

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010? 


Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry - I loved this book. What is so surprising is that this was the first book where the author contacted me about providing a review. I was hesitant at first because it was about zombies but I love zombie movies, so I gave it a shot. And it is a book about zombies, but so much more! Everyone should read it. (see below)





5. Books you recommended to people most in 2010?

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

6. Best series you discovered in 2010? The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010?
Definitely Melina Marchetta, Cath Crowley and Mindi Scott

8. Most hilarious read of 2010?
Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler - This book had me in stitches page after page. 


9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010?


Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols - I got so caught up in the love triangle of Lori, Sean and Adam. It was a fun summer romance filled with hilarious hi jinx, and I felt like a teenage again. It also made me want to try wakeboarding (which I did, unsuccessfully I might add)




10. Book you most anticipated in 2010?
Fallout by Ellen Hopkins - I am still anticipating this one. It was published in 2010, I purchased it in 2010, but I didn't read it in 2010. I do not know what I am waiting for, wait yes I do, Hopkins's next published book, Perfect. I like to have her newest book on the bookshelf waiting for me before I read the previously published one. With her books, I am weird that way.

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010?
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler - I love the blue sea glass and the worn out wood of the boardwalk












12. Most memorable characters in 2010?
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark of The Hunger Games Trilogy, together or separate these characters had me captivated.

13. Most beautifully written book in 2010?

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010?
Freefall by Mindi Scott

15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read?
 The Hunger Games - All of the hype surrounding the book kept me away, and the main character's name, Katniss just didn't seem like something I would want to read over and over again. I'm so glad I got over that because The Hunger Games Trilogy was awesome.

Who knows, maybe in 2011, I will give Harry Potter a try! I cannot wait to start reading for 2011.
You can check out a complete list of all of the books I read in 2010 here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

100 and 150+ Followers Giveaway

I can't believe how wonderful my blogging experience has been so far. In just five months, I have a readership larger than I ever imagined. So to thank my readers for stopping by, reading, commenting and telling others about my blog, I am having a giveaway! This year I have read some amazing books and I want to give away one of my favorite reads of 2010. It was difficult to narrow it down to just one title. But I have, and it is:


Freefall by Mindi Scott. Wondering why you are seeing double? That is because I will be giving away 2 copies! Since I didn't have a 100 follower giveaway and now that I have over 150 followers, I think that 2 of you deserve Mindi's breathtaking debut novel. If you missed it, you can read my review of Freefall here.

I don't require readers to follow my blog to enter my giveaways, but if you do, you will receive an extra entry. I just ask that you complete the form below and tell me what was your favorite book of 2010. Again, thank you for stopping by Actin' Up with books.

Giveaway is now CLOSED.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Blogger Holiday Swap!

I went out of town for a few days for Christmas and when I arrived home yesterday I had this lovely little package waiting for me! It was my gift from the Book Blogger Holiday Swap.


I knew that it was coming a few days late because my Secret Santa, Melissa of The Feminist Texican [Reads] sent me an email earlier in the week letting me know that my package was on the way. Apparently, it traveled from Texas to the east coast to the west coast and then back to the east coast again until it finally made it to my mailbox. I couldn't wait to tear into it and see what Melissa had sent.


I was so excited to see that I get Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn which I had included on my wishlist. I have wanted this book since it came out, but since it was only available in hardcover I have been holding off on buying it and now I have it! Woo-Hoo!! I also received After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread my Wings, and Flew Away by Joyce Carol Oates. Melissa chose this book for me because: 1. She is a fan of .Joyce Carol Oates (I have not yet read any of her books) and 2. I am a fan of YA Lit and this is one Oates's YA titles. I also received 2 mix CDs. I love mix CDs. I haven't had a chance to listen to them yet but plan to as soon as I finish writing this post!

Thank you Melissa for my gift and thank you to the coordinators of the Book Blogger Holiday Swap for making all of this happen.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fall Into Reading Challenge - Wrap Up!

If there were any expectations for the Fall Into Reading 2010 Challenge, then it would have been a partial fail. But since, it was a no-pressure/low-pressure challenge then I say that it was a partial success. I signed up for the challenge hosted by Callapidder Days back in October with the plan to read some books that have been on my shelves for a while.

Here are the books I planned to read and did:

Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
Freefall by Mindi Scott
Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian
Perfect World by Brian James




Here are the books I planned to read but didn't:

We Were Here by Matt de la Pena (finish)
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (finish)
How It Ends by Laura Weiss
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson

Even though I didn't stick to my list, I did do a lot of reading. Some books were for review which is why I read them instead of the ones on my list.

Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde
You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz
The Frenzy by Francesca Lia Block
Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales
Far from You by Lisa Schroeder
Crash Test Love by Ted Michael

Some of my favorite books that I read during the challenge were Freefall, Rot & Ruin, and Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. One book that I regret not reading is Pride and Prejudice. It has been on my bookshelf a long time and I mean L-O-N-G time. But I will read it, eventually. During the challenge, I also did a read-a-ton from December 2 through the 5th and I read 4 books in 4 days, but I think it may have been a bit of an overkill because I didn't finish a book for 3 weeks after that.

Now I am back on the reading train and gearing up for my next challenge, 2011 Debut Author Challenge.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Secret Santa: The Broke and the Bookish

Santa arrived a day early at my house, Secret Santa that is. Wendy from A Page Turner 4 U was my Secret Santa this year. This is what I received:

Killer Dreams by Iris Johansen
Word Search Book
Chocolate M&M's (my favorite)
My Life. My Story. bookmark
Holiday card

Thanks Wendy for my gift and thank you to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting Secret Santa 2010.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

And the Winner Is . . .

The Winner Is . . . 

Benita

For my Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop, 
Benita has won a copy of Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian

There were a total 58 original entries and using random.org, number 33 was selected. Thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations Benita! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists. I am too so that is why I am participating this week.

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings


The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel
Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala
Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick
The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst
The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
Matched by Ally Condie
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
The Hole We're In by Gabrielle Zevin

Santa arrives in many forms at my house. I hope that he's been making his list and checking it twice - finding that I've been a little bit naughty but a lot more nice!

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop


I have a copy of Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian to giveaway. Same Difference is Siobhan's second published novel which was recently reviewed on Actin' Up with books. And I was lucky enough to interview Siobhan on my blog. If you missed it, you can read it here.





Contest Rules:
  • You do not have to follow my blog to enter (but if you do, I would be so, so happy) 
  • To enter, just leave a comment in the comments section, including an email address (if you do not want to include your email address in the comments section, leave a link to your blog where you can be notified) 
  • Only one entry per email address/comment (multiple comments are appreciated, but will not result in multiple entries)
  • You must be at least 13 years or older to enter 
  • Giveaway is open US only
  • Giveaway is open December 21, 2010 until December 22, 2010, 11:59PM EST
  • One winner will be chosen and contacted by email. Once the winner has been confirmed, it will be announced on the blog.
  • Good Luck!
Look at all of these other awesome blogs that are participating in the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop. Please note that each blog will have their own contest rules. So check them out and enter away!


    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Spotlight on No Hope for Gomez: A Gomessy Xmas

    A Gomessy Xmas




    It's the age-old tale:
         Boy meets girl.
         Boy stalks girl.
         Girl already has a stalker.
         Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.”

    “No Hope for Gomez!” is the award winning comedy novel that has already wrecked thousands of reasonably useful minds. To end the year with a twist, you get the Geeky eNovel “A Gomessy Xmas: Random acts of senseless kindness” with your copy of No Hope. Simply send your Amazon receipt to nohopeforgomez@gmail.com before January 15th.

    As a bonus, and for a limited time only, reading “No Hope for Gomez!” will also make you more attractive to the opposite sex, and it will increase your random luck by about 9.5%
    (These statements have not been evaluated by anyone of consequence.)

    Read a free chapter here and get more details on this offer here.


    "Extremely witty and clever writing that contains keen insights into human nature." California Chronicles

    "The antics in this book will leave the reader laughing. Graham Parke is a genius." Readers Favorite

    "A quick and unputdownable read that flies in the face of reason and smashes against the wall of detective novels. It's a Coens Brothers' film formatted in book form." BookReview.com

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    About Me: All-Time Favorite Books

    What are your all-time favorite books? What are some new books you have come to love because of starting your blog? (Another post from the blogger feature at Page by Page

    I love so many books for very different reasons so selecting my all-time favorite books is somewhat daunting. This is the short list, but there could certainly be more:

     Cousin Matilda and the Foolish Wolf by Joanna Cole
    This is the first book that I remember my grandma reading to me and my sister. We would have her read it to us over and over again. My grandma doesn't know it yet, but I am going to ask her to let me record her reading it, so that I will always have her voice telling me the story of Cousin Matilda and that foolish, foolish wolf.


     

    She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
    Growing up, I read in phases - dozens of books at a time and some years, I read only what was assigned to me by my high school teachers and college professors.I had just finished at the local junior college and was getting ready to start at four-year university. I didn't know exactly what I would major in and coming in as a junior, I needed to figure it out and quick. I don't remember what made me pick up and read this book when I did, but it was life-changing for me. It renewed a love for reading that I had forgotten I had and ultimately led me to studying literature in college.

    You Remind Me of You by Eireann Corrigan
    There are some books that create such deep emotions in me that I almost feel like I am betraying the book if I speak about it too much. I feel this way about You Remind Me of You. I love it, you should read it.
    Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
    Megan McCafferty is one of my all-time favorite writers. Her Jessica Darling series is just too funny and has one of the most swoon-worthy characters of all-time, Marcus Flutie. I was lucky to find this series when Sloppy Firsts was originally published and having to wait a year or two for each book to be published and the anticipation that created, only added to my love for her books. Of the five books of the series, Second Helpings is my favorite.
    Since starting my blog, I have come across a lot of terrific books. My Wish List and To Be Read lists are getting out of control! Some of my new favorites are:


    A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
    Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian
    Love Is the Higher Law by David Levithan
    Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - I actually read this one when I was considering starting my blog, but I did discover it on a blog.


    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    And the Winner Is . . .

    The Winner Is . . . 

    Ashley from Ashley's Bookshelf

    She has won the Book Bloggers Holiday Bash Prize Pack



    There were a total 99 entries and using random.org, number 36 was selected. Thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations Ashley! Happy Holidays!

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    About Me: Starting Actin' Up with books

    After almost five months of blogging, I still don't have an About Me section. I think it is about time I let you know a bit more about the gal behind the blog. To lessen the embarrassment level of talking about myself, I'm including my response to a series feature I participated in at Page by Page a few months ago. I shared about my blog, my favorite books and authors.  

    Why did you start your blog in the first place? What is one of the biggest things that has happened to you since you started it?

    For years I had read blogs by Sarah Dessen, Megan McCafferty and Sara Zarr because I am such a huge fan of their books. I hadn't really considered starting a blog myself because I am not a published writer and thought that I should be because honestly, who would want to read what I have to say. One day I read an author's post, not sure which one, commenting how their book was featured on a reviewer's blog. I'm pretty sure it was The Compulsive Reader, (maybe Persnickety Snark). And it was from there, that I was introduced to this huge blogging community. I was in heaven. Honestly, I had no idea there was such a great community for sharing a love for books, especially for adult readers of young adult books. It took me a while to convince myself to start the blog because I wondered if I really do have something to say and would anyone want to read about it. I mean in person, I can go on for on for hours talking (to anyone who will listen) about why I love a book and why they should read it. But can I convey it in a blog that will be interesting? Finally, I kicked my self-doubt to the curb, and just decided to have some fun with it because that really is what it should be about. So, to make this very long story short, I started my blog to have a place to share my love (obsession) of books and introduce some of my favorite books to readers of my blog. I also wanted to have a place to openly discuss books with readers with similar interests. I'm still trying to find my voice as a blogger (I'm sure I've found it), but I am having a lot of fun with it.

    One big thing that has happened to me since I have started this blog is some amazing writers have agreed to participate in an upcoming feature on my blog. I don't want to give too much away as it is still in the works, but it will include author interviews, book reviews and some giveaways. I'm so excited! I have since interviewed PUSH authors Brian James, Siobhan Vivian, and Samantha Schutz. You can find my interviews on the Interview page of the blog. I have also reviewed Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian and featured Perfect World by Brian James.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    In My Mailbox (17)

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme run by The Story Siren which explores the books that have been delivered to our mailbox or doorstep or directly into our hot little hands.


     For Review:
    Memento Nora by Angie Smibert

    Purchased:
    Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce

    Gifted:
    Signed Sing Me to Sleep bookmarks from author Angela Morrison

    Swapped:
    The Dating Diaries by Kristen Kemp
    Paperback Swap

    Won:
    Great Gals: Inspired Ideas for Living a Kick-Ass Life by Summer Pierce
    Thanks Jessica at Cover to Cover!

    Signed Nevermore bookmark 

    The Fortune of Carmen Navarro by Jen Bryant
    Thank you Random House!

    This week was filled with a lot of fun surprises. I'm just hoping for a big snow so I won't have anywhere to go and all the time in world to just read and read and then read some more!

    Can't wait to see what you got in your mailbox!

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Santa's Helper


    My heart is overflowing and I am on a holiday high. That is the only way I can describe it. Last weekend I participated in the Holiday Readathon hosted by WhoWUBlog. I pledged to donate a penny per page read and asked some friends to sponsor me. I was overwhelmed by their generosity. In 4 days, I read 4 books and a total of 1297 pages. Today I took the money to my local Barnes and Noble and purchased all of these fabulous books which will be donated to my local Christmas Store. Some of these titles are my favorites that I read this year, and I tried to include books for girls and boys of all ages.

    My heart is just overflowing from the support of my friends who helped me make this happen! I hope that this will be a tradition I can continue in the years to come. 

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Off the Shelf Reading Challenge

    A couple of weeks ago, I was contemplating if I should sign up for another challenge. So many bloggers were announcing the challenges they are participating in the new year. Of course I didn't want to be left out, so I started looking for which one will be the best for me. Almost immediately I had my answer  . . .

    Off The Shelf!
    hosted by Bookish Ardour

    I get to read my own books! I say that I have at least 200 books in my TBR, but if I am being honest with myself (or took the time to actually count), I would say that the real number is around 450 (and that's on the low end). I can't help it. So, YES, this is the challenge for me.  

    My Challenge Goal is  
    Making a Dent
    (read at least 30 of my own books)

    If you think Off the Shelf is the challenge for you, sign up HERE!

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    Book Bloggers Holiday Bash 2010 Giveaway

    To get into the holiday spirit of giving, I am giving away a Holiday Prize Pack for the 2010 Book Bloggers Holiday Bash hosted by Soap Box in My Mind. Enter my contest then jump over to other participating blogs (see below) to enter to win their fabulous prizes.

     My Prize Pack Includes:
    Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
    $10.00 i-Tunes Card
    Reusable Tote from Bath & Body Works
    Holiday Sweet Treats

    Complete the form to enter. CONTEST IS CLOSED


    Check out these other giveaways for the 2010 Book Bloggers Holiday Bash


    In My Mailbox (16)

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme run by The Story Siren which explores the books that have been delivered to our mailbox or doorstep or directly into our hot little hands.
    For Review:
    The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins
    London Deep by Robin Price and Paul McGrory
    The Last Hunter - Descent by Jeremy Robinson (e-book)
    Purchased:
    Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
    Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart
    (Random Buzzers Buzz Bucks)

    Gifted:
    Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs

    Secret Santa Purchases! and they're on the way!

    This week was a stellar week for books! I happened upon a gift certificate (ok, my husband spoils me) and I finally got a copy of Psych Major Syndrome. It was been on my wishlist for months! I also received Just Breathe from my mom. She had no idea that I have been eyeing the book for a while now (I love the cover), and she showed up to my house with it, just out of the blue!  And I also received some books for review that I can't wait to dive into! As for the Secret Santa gifts, well, I may have gone a bit overboard (it was my first time participating). My husband thinks so, but I was excited to buy books for someone that I know will love them!

    So, what did you get in your mailbox this week?

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Holiday #Readathon Mini-Challenge #2

    My second Holiday #Readathon mini-challenge hosted by:

    Young Adult Books Reviewed

    For my challenge I would like to know what your favorite Christmas movie/book/song is. Can be any one of those, or all three!

    My favorite Christmas movie is Love, Actually (tied with The Family Stone) and my favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night (sung by Jewel).

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    PUSH Spotlight: Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian

    Emily is ready for a change. She's been in the same town with the same friends for a long time...and none of them really understand her art. But when she goes to Philadelphia for a summer art institute, she suddenly finds like-minded people. One in particular, Fiona, intrigues and challenges her. But there are some things Emily is going to have to find out for herself -- like what the balance is between life and art, and which is more important when push comes to shove. 


    I just finished Siobhan Vivian's second novel Same Difference, and I loved it. She has created a likable character in Emily who is beginning to realize a new sense of self during her summer art program and discovers just how intoxicating new friendships can be.

    I could see many similarities between Emily and myself when I was a teenager - how unsure I was of myself and my talents and a bit nervous when making new friends. Like Emily, I had the same best friend since childhood and would sometimes be cautious when making new friends. It felt like a bit of a betrayal, but not for any specific reason - just that our friendship was so rooted in history and I'd question how much of myself I'd want this new friend to know about me. 

    Vivian's details are captivating - making me feel like I could actually see the art created Emily, Fiona and Yates and wishing that I could. There isn't a lot of action that pulls the story along, but the authentic characters and their experiences in Same Difference reminds me why I'm drawn to YA lit time and time again. 
         
      

    Holiday #Readathon Mini-Challenge #1

    My first Holiday #Readathon mini-challenge hosted by:

    Courtney Reads

    Question:  If you could go anywhere for the holidays, where would you go? Why?

    I would go to San Diego for Christmas. I know that it isn't really exotic and I go there every few years in the summer, but my husband's family lives there and we never see them for Christmas. I know that it would mean a lot to them to be there for the holidays. Plus is it would be a nice retreat from the bitter cold!

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    100 Followers! Thank you!

    You are the Best! I honestly can't believe I have a hundred followers! 101 to be exact. Thank you all so much for joining Actin' Up with books. This has been so much fun sharing my love of books with everyone. I plan to host a giveaway in the coming weeks to celebrate our collective love of reading and blogging. I will be giving away one of my favorite books of the year (wonder if you can guess which one) and I am taking suggestions for an additional book to be given away. So let me know!

    Waiting on Wednesday - The Lover's Dictionary: A Novel

    "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

    This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
     



    The Lover's Dictionary: A Novel
    by David Levithan
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    January 4, 2011










    A sweet and touching modern love story, told through dictionary entries

    basis, n.

    There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

    If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment
    does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.
    How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time. (from Amazon)

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