Monday, September 9, 2013

2013 Banned Books Challenge Update

photo credit: Love Of Books by George Hodan

Just a quick reminder that the 2013 Banned Books Challenge is quickly coming to a close! Banned Books week begins two weeks from yesterday and runs from Sept. 22-Sept 28 which is the official end of the challenge. I will leave the review linky open through the end of the month in case there are any books you've read for the challenge you'd like to share. If anyone would like to write a wrap-up post, you can link those up there as well.

I hope you all are doing better than I am -- despite my best intentions, I am ashamed to admit I have still not read a single book for my own challenge. I am planning to host the challenge again for next year if you'd like to join -- I know I would certainly like the opportunity to try again! I will post more information at the end of the month, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mini Review: Icons

Icons by Margaret Stohl
Series: yes, Icons #1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Date: May 7, 2013
How did I get this book? free Advanced Reader's Copy from the publisher via Shelf Awareness for my honest review
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
GoodReads | Author | Publisher

I read this book while away on vacation and I must say I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's a chunkster, but the story and characters kept me flipping the pages. The greatest strength of this book was definitely the premise of the four "special" teenagers who each feel a certain emotion to an intense degree (rage, sorrow, love, fear). I thought this aspect of the book was unique and fascinating and I loved how they interacted with one another and how they could "bind" with each other. However, it was starting to grate on my nerves how little information is given about the enemy Lords who brought the Icons to earth. I know everything cannot be revealed in the first book of a series, but the Lords and the Icons are talked about too much for me to just take it at face value how evil and opressive they are -- I wanted more! That being said, I would like to continue with this series, if only to spend time with these characters again and to hopefully, finally get some more information about this particular dystopian world.

This book counts toward my reading goals for:
2013 ARC Reading Challenge
Chunkster Challenge 2013
2013 Series Catch-Up Challenge

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Post We've All Been Waiting For -- BOOKSHELVES!

I say "we" because I know many of you have been wanting to see photos of the rest of my bookcases, but I've just been dying to get my precious books out of boxes. The fact that I can finally write this post and share the end of this project with you is very exciting for me. Almost six months after moving in, I am finally, officially, fully unpacked. YAY! It's a good feeling I tell you, a very good feeling indeed.

I've already shared my kitchen cookbook bookshelves and my bedroom nightstand bookshelves, but let's be honest, this barely scratched the surface in terms of "reading" books (as opposed to cookbooks, which are clearly my other obsession). The remainder of my collection is now in the "living room" with a small number also residing in the den. They say a house is not a home without books, but clearly a room is not a room unless it has a bookshelf -- in my house, anyway!

Let's start off with the last two tiny shelves in the den. First, I have a small bookcase that fits mass-market paperbacks perfectly. Instead of taking up space on shelves that easily fit much larger books, I put a few authors I have a lot of books for in this format here:

A $5 yard sale find!

Then I have another small bookcase I'm using for reference books (home/gardening/crafting), Nick's Star Wars & Yankee books, and coffee table books. I use our coffee table as a work station, so no room for them there! The piles on top are library books, so those are not there permanently.

This one they were giving away at a yard sale --
the man couldn't hoist it into my car fast enough!

Now onto the really good stuff! Our living room has officially been dubbed the "reading room" by my aunt, and I can't say she's wrong. I didn't really want a formal living room because I know that even while entertaining, everyone will gravitate toward the couch in the den anyway since it's right off the kitchen. I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on living room furniture that wouldn't really get used, so I asked myself how I would really like to use this room and, of course, the answer was to have a quiet place to read. To facilitate that, I went all out and got this ridiculously over-sized reading chair and ottoman. Heaven. Pure heaven. If only I had more time to curl up in it!

Please ignore the "construstion corner" on the left
filled with supplies for our many homeowner projects!

Other than the big-ass reading chair, the only other furniture in this room is the bookcases (Hence, "reading room.") I do want some additional seating eventually -- maybe a pair of high-back chairs or a bench under the window, we'll see -- but I don't want to overcrowd this room because someday I may move my desk out here.

My dad wanted to build us bookshelves, but wood-working is a new hobby for him that he'd like to do more of when he retires, so we decided a giant bookcase was a bit too big of a project to start out with. So we went with these shelves from IKEA instead which were the perfect balance of quality and value for us. They are actually 3 separate units from the HEMNES line installed to look like a custom corner unit. They are made of solid wood and I challenge anyone to find solid wood bookcases for a better price. Granted, the back is not wood, but I'll take that compromise since it is pressboard which is much better quality than just cardboard which I've seen on other units. I had to put them together, but at this point I am a pro at that kind of thing!

No one was more surprised than I was to realize there actually would be a few free shelves -- room to grow!

They are obviously not built-ins, but they fit into the space we had perfectly -- next to the fireplace, but not too close; filling up most of the wall, but not so much that it looks too over-sized.

I love that little wine rack I found at the Christmas Tree Shoppe -- its latest addition is this adorable bottle my aunt brought as a house-warming gift:

How freakin' cute?!
As for organization, I decided to divide up by general categories and then go alphabetically by author. So on the left I have adult fiction:

In the middle, I have the end of the adult fiction, books-about-books, memoir/non-fiction/misc....

and classics.

And on the right, I have all the young adult/middle grade books.

Looks like the collection has already grown --
1 more shelf filled since I took the earlier photos!

And I couldn't resist creating a special Harry Potter shelf. My husband had the original hardcovers on his nightstand bookcase, but I wanted to display our collection all together. Also, we remembered he had lent out a few of "his" books that won't fit on his bookcase once they are returned if we didn't do some re-arranging.

So our official collection includes all 7 hardcovers, the (newly arrived!) 15th anniversay paperback set, a British paperback edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone I picked up while in Scotland, the 2-book set of school books (Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages), a regular edition and special collector's edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and the rather frightening looking thing on top is The Monster Book of Monsters which isn't an actual book, but a gift from Harry Potter World from Nick's parents, which certainly fits the theme!

This might sound really cheesy, but our house feels so much more homey to me now that I have the reading nook and bookshelves set up. What can I say, I'm a book-lover through and through!