Armchair BEA: Day 2 – The Favorites!

For the second day of Armchair BEA posts, we’ve been tasked with describing our favorite reads of this year.  Instead of just picking one book and talking about it myself, both Todd and I have picked two of our favorite reads of the year and will share them with you!  Hopefully this will inspire you to seek out new and exciting reads for the remainder of the year.  So, without further ado, here they are:

Todd:  I’d have to say that my favorite book this year is H10N1 by M. R. Cornelius.  Yes, you could say that it was a shoo in because it’s a post-apocalyptic thriller, but I think it’s more than just that.  One of the best parts of novels in this genre is that they are as much a reflection of the people around us as they are a description of the actual apocalyptic event.  Yes, I know the whole genre is pretty popular right now with the likes of The Walking Dead and Resident Evil on TV and the big screen, but I’ve always liked these kinds of books, as they showcase the good and the bad that comes out of a dire situation.  Cornelius definitely achieved that in her work, and it was a thrill ride from start to finish.  I’m definitely glad I gave this one a shot, it was a blast to read.  You can read my full review here!

In second place by a very, very slight margin is the second book in the Across the Universe trilogy, A Million Suns by Beth Revis.  Although I’ve just finished it recently, it’s definitely an amazing follow-up to Across the Universe.  In it, we follow Elder as he attempts to lead the ship through a new host of trials and tribulations following the death of its previous leader, Eldest.  Not only does Revis’ writing show amazing technical detail that is a staple of any good sci-fi novel, but the interpersonal connections she weaves between Elder and his main interest, Amy, are great.  It’s a great coming-of-age novel that explores the difficulties of leadership, and the obstacles one must overcome in being different than everyone else.  Hopefully I can finish my review quickly and post it up for everyone to read!

Kim:  Although it was quite a task to pick just two books that would take the top spot so far this year, I’ve finally managed to do so.  First up is the fifth book in the Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexander, Dangerous to Know.  Lady Emily’s character is fleshed out much more in this book, as she and Colin must deal with her miscarriage.  Although she was already a strong female character, this tragedy gave her some depth that made her all the more believable and relatable.  We all must get through difficult patches in our lives, so to see Lady Emily boldly carry on and eventually overcome this situation was inspiring.  Alexander did a great job in creating such a wonderful character, and along with the other characters in the novel presented an exciting story that I couldn’t put down!  You can read my full review here.

Seeing as Todd has ranked his two books after choosing them, I’d have to say that I’m saving the best of my two for last.  Orchid House by Lucinda Riley is a stunning tale of love and loss.  As I stated in my review, I was amazed that this is Riley’s debut novel, as her writing is as seamless and fluid as the most veteran writers out there.  The way in which she crosses time and geography in this work is astounding.  Covering three generations and three countries, Riley treats us to a rich world that drew me in from the very beginning.  I’m always a sucker for great character development, but this went above and beyond, teaching us that life is a precious gift that can be taken from us at any time.  Couple this with the amazing backdrop of Riley’s fantastic plot and you have a sure winner.  I don’t give out more than 5 stars often, but this definitely deserved it!  Read my full review here.

Well, that’s it for our favorite reviews of the year so far!  Check back tomorrow for the third day of Armchair BEA posting.

Until then, happy reading!

Armchair BEA: Day 1 – The Introductions!

Heyyoo fellow armchair BEAers! Unfortunately this is the 2nd year in a row I’ve been unable to attend the actual BEA convention in NYC and have decided instead to participate in Armchair BEA!  With this being the first day, it’s introduction day!  We’ve been asked to answer at least five questions from the list below as our way of introducing ourselves.  Without further ado:

  • Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
    • Kimberly Denny-Ryder, book addict at your service.  I got into blogging in the fall of 2010 as a way to meet other readers and discuss books.  When I graduated college I felt like my brain was melting and not being used.  I decided I’d challenge myself to read 100 books a year as a way to keep sharp.  Soon after, my friends and family were all telling me I was crazy to be doing it on top of planning my wedding, volunteering with local charities, etc.  As I inched along towards my goal people kept asking me where I was finding the time to do everything.  My response became my blog!  Almost two years and 200+ books later, here we are!
  • What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?
    • I’m currently reading/listening to several books.  My audio book of the moment is 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.  As far as paper is concerned, I’m reading The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris, and Everblossom by Larissa Hinton
  • Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?
    • My favorite post that I’ve written? AH – this is difficult.  I can’t decide between my sarcastic review of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy or my review of The Orchid House.  My Fifty Shades review is one of my funniest, while Orchid is my best written.  Y’all can decide which one you like better!
  • If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?
    • Eat dinner with any author? Hands down Jane Austen.  She is my favorite writer and one who is unmatched in talent and passion.  I would love to meet her in person and be able to discuss with her her thoughts on society and how the world has changed since the 1800’s.  I’d also love to discuss what she thinks of the book world, including her thoughts on the world of Jane Austen fan fiction.  Would she be excited about the popularity of her novels and all the spin off’s that have been created?  I think being able to discuss society and her novels would be pretty fascinating.
  • Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?
    • I would definitely say that my tastes have changed.  When I started blogging I read primarily historical fiction novels and Jane Austen fan-fiction.  Being a blogger I feel it’s important that I expand my tastes and share great books of all genres with fellow readers.  I’ve expanded my reading to the erotica, romance, memoir, science-fiction, and fantasy genres.  My blog has turned me into a well-rounded reader and has helped me find some great new authors/genres/books to share.  I’m forever grateful for my followers for sharing with me books and authors that they think I’d like.  They give great recommendations and continue to help shape me as a reader.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my answers and have gotten to know me a smidge more!  Check back in tomorrow, for more Armchair BEA activities!

Happy Reading!

Reflections of a Book Addict: ArmchairBEA Day 2 & 3

Unfortunately my day got a bit hectic yesterday, putting me a day behind on my ArmchairBEA posts.  The theme of yesterday’s post was supposed to be “The Best of 2011.”  Below are four of my favorite books that I’ve read so far this year!

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Classic book that I just had the pleasure of reading for the first time.  (Epic failure on my part)  This tops my best of 2011 list because of how much I loved the book.  Jane Eyre embodied everything that is wonderful about books. The writing was superb; the story was dramatic, emotional, passionate, etc.  There is a reason why people still fall in love with this book 100+ years later.
  2. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins – Amazing series of books!  Collins describes a post-apocalyptic world in which “tributes” are chosen to fight to the death for the honor of their home state.  Peeta and Katniss, two main tributes that hail from the same district, must fight for their own survival and deal with their feelings for each other.  It’s never a dull moment with this series: I was always on the edge of my seat! 
  3. Stardust by Neil Gaiman – Neil Gaiman writes the story of Tristran Thorn, an average young man living an average life until he goes on a quest to find a fallen star.  The writing of the narrative was very descriptive, allowing the reader to experience the world that Gaiman created.  It makes for an interesting way to read a fantasy novel.
  4. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris – What can I say about Sookie Stackhouse.  Full of humor, violence, sex, plot twists, and other extremes, Harris creates an amazing novel where we follow Sookie along on her quest to live a normal life among the supernatural world.  Her hilarious asides blend seamlessly with the action and make this series one of my favorites.  I am already eagerly counting down the days until book 12 is released next May!

2011 has so far been an awesome year for books!  I’m really looking forward to continuing along my journey to 100.  If you’re interested in seeing what other books I’ve read so far this year check out my 2011 book list.

Today (5/25)’s theme was a way to create a network amongst the ArmchairBEA participants.  Bloggers interviewed other bloggers and posted the interviews up on their own blogs.  I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Bethany of Subtle Melodrama!  Bethany posted the interview today, and you can find a link to it here.

Due to my finding out about ArmchairBEA super last-minute I myself wasn’t able to interview anyone for today’s posting.  Fear not readers, as I will be signing myself up nice and early next year so that I can take part in all the festivities!

For more information on ArmchairBEA click here.

Until tomorrow, happy reading!!

Reflections of a Book Addict’s ArmchairBEA Introduction

Hello readers!!  This week in NYC is the Book Expo of America. For us bloggers who cannot attend, we’re participating in something called ArmchairBEA.  ArmchairBEA is an opportunity for us to experience the Book Expo of America from our favorite armchair in the comfort of our homes.  Today’s themed posting is a way for me to introduce myself to the rest of the BEA world, so here goes!

My name is Kim and as you can tell from the name of this blog I’m a book addict.  My apartment is filled with piles of books everywhere, and they don’t seem to ever get any smaller.  Life hasn’t always been this way for me though.  I was an avid reader as a child but soon became focused on sports and dancing and other extracurricular activities that pulled me in directions that didn’t leave much time for pleasure reading.  My life remained as such for most of my years through school.  After graduating from Quinnipiac University in 2008, I began finding myself with spare time and my love for reading resurfaced. 

I began challenging myself to read 100 books a year to keep my brain from turning to mush.  I tried to fit this in with planning my wedding, co-chairing the 24hr Relay for Life event in my town, as well as becoming an active member of Quinnipiac’s alumni association.  I soon found GoodReads and started reviewing and keeping track of all the books I was reading.  Fellow blogger Laurel Ann, moderator of the Austenprose, started reading my reviews and asked if I’d like to be a guest reviewer for her blog.  I started doing reviews for Austenprose and found my husband and sister convincing me that I should start my own blog and expand the kinds of books I was reading/reviewing.

This brings us up to last October when I launched Reflections of a Book Addict.  Over the past 8 months I’ve begun growing my blog with giveaways, blog series, author interviews, and book reviews.  I’m still new to the world of blogging and find myself trying to learn all I can from those around me.  I’m always looking for fellow bloggers to learn from and befriend. 

This is my first ArmchairBEA and I’m exceedingly excited to take part in it!