roundup

Roundup: September 2013

It’s time for a look back at the past month on the Oaken Bookcase.

Can you believe it’s October already? It’s been a very busy month and seems to have flown by.

I’ve read a fair bit more this month but the towering to-read pile still doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller. It’s a neverending struggle for the summit, isn’t it!

The Secret Blogging Project is still in the works and should be ready to roll quite soon.

The Tea in the Treetops podcast is still on hiatus for a short while until Philippa and I get our busy lives under control, but we hope to have a new episode for you very soon.

Time to talk books! It’s been another month of sequels and series.

Reviews for September:

  • Kinslayer, Jay Kristoff (Lotus War #2) – Steampunkish fantasy. Extremely awesome.
  • Red Seas Under Red Skies, Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastards #2) – heists and adventure on the high seas, more from Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen
  • Happy Hour in Hell, Tad Williams (Bobby Dollar #2) – A nightmarish trip to Hell for the advocate angel Bobby Dollar
  • City of Ashes, Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments #2) –  After seeing the City of Bones film, I had to read on to find out what happens next!
  • Crystal Venom, Steve Wheeler (A Fury of Aces #2) – High-tech science fiction space opera

Books I read but didn’t review yet:

  • The Scroll, KB Hoyle (The Gateway Chronicles #5)

 

Goal Update

  • Goodreads challenge – I’m currently sitting at 69 books read, 5 books behind schedule. I seem to be getting further behind for some reason – must need some shorter books to read! 

 

Coming up in October

To be honest I’m not really sure what’s coming in October because I’ve barely had a chance to plan anything! Hang around though, I’m sure there will be more great books to read about 🙂

Have a lovely October!

Roundup: August 2013

It’s time for a look back at the past month on the Oaken Bookcase.

I realise it’s already the 5th and I completely missed the end of August. No excuses, it’s just that things have been so frantic around here that I totally forgot.

Several things have been going on that have disrupted both my reading time and my blogging mojo. Firstly, not sure if I mentioned this already, but I’m due to have another bub at Christmas time (seriously, my due date is Christmas Day). That’s not much of an excuse but it is making me more tired and less likely to want to do anything in the evenings!

We also had my sister’s wedding during August (congrats!) involving a trip to Sydney, plus random preparations for my brother’s wedding in a few weeks (yes I know, my poor parents).

Lastly, there’s the Secret Blogging Project which I’m not allowed to talk about just yet, but you should see some news regarding that very soon so keep an eye out!

Tea in the Treetops is still on hiatus for a short while until Philippa and I get our busy lives under control, but we hope to have a new episode for you very soon.

To the books! This month was all about sequels – I seemed to read more sequels than anything else. It’s always nice to return to a world and characters that you already know and (most of the time) love!

Reviews for August:

  • Shudder, Samantha Durante (Stitch #2) – Dystopian adventure. Part of a massive blog tour. Incidentally, there’s a tour wrap-up post at Colorimetry with a big giveaway, check it out!
  • Black Sun Light My Way, Jo Spurrier (Children of the Black Sun #2) – Adult high fantasy. Quite a brutal story but wow, cannot wait for the next!
  • Crown of Midnight, Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass #2) – YA Fantasy. Love, love, love. Have re-read most of it already.
  • The Bone Season, Samantha Shannon – The first in a new series, elements of fantasy, the paranormal, sci-fi and awesome.
  • Siege and Storm, Leigh Bardugo (Grisha #2) – Enjoyable YA Fantasy.
  • Kinslayer, Jay Kristoff (Lotus War #2) – Steampunkish fantasy. Actually this one was in Sept but I’m including it because it’s so very awesome.

Books I read but didn’t review yet:

  • The Throne of Glass novellas 3 and 4, The Assassin and the Underworld and The Assassin and the Empire. I’m not really sure why Sarah J Maas didn’t just combine the four pre-quel novellas and release them as one book, but I suppose they are separate enough stories.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (#7), JK Rowling. I finally finished my re-read of the series and I think number 7 remains my favourite. It’s a very epic ending, and I’ll get around to writing a review of this and number 6 at some stage I hope.

 

Goal Update

  • Goodreads challenge – I’m currently sitting at 64 books read, 3 books behind schedule. I have been reading some rather large books lately, but that’s only part of my excuse… I may have to drop my goal to 90 books for this year I think. No harm in that, I’ve been reading some awesome epic fantasy lately!
  • My list of books that I wanted to get to this year is looking woefully neglected! If I didn’t keep getting such awesome review books to read, I’d make a dent in that. There’s just not enough hours in the day, I tell you!

 

Coming up in September

At this stage I don’t think there are any big events happening during September, but I’m hoping for a big reveal of the Secret Blogging project before too long so stay tuned!

It’s a gorgeous time of year here in Brisbane, warming up towards summer. Have a lovely September!

Roundup: May 2013

It’s time for a look back at the past month on the Oaken Bookcase.

Yes, I’m still around. May has been a fairly quiet month around here – I haven’t had a lot of time for reading, even though I took part in Bout of Books. I’ve also hit something that I haven’t had in quite a while – a reading slump. Sucks!

I also joined in with the Clean Sweep ARC Challenge and although I had grand plans, I only managed to cross three and a half books off my goal list. Dreadful effort! Well, I’ll be keeping that list and continuing to cross books off it, I hope.

Philippa and I managed to get one episode of Tea in the Treetops in before her little bubba arrived – yep, her little girl is here and all is well 🙂 Don’t forget, you can now subscribe to the podcast in a few different ways, including iTunes, Stitcher radio and email. Check out the podcast page for more information, and as always, let us know if you’re enjoying it or if you have any questions we can answer on the show for you.

Reviews for May:

  • The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker – 5 stars for this tale of two creatures in early 20th-Century New York City.
  • In The End, Alexandra Rowland – 4 stars for a funny and quirky story of the end of days.
  • The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey – 4 stars for a fast-paced story of survival during an alien invasion.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, JK Rowling – 5 stars of course! Children’s fantasy for all ages.
  • The River of No Return, Bee Ridgway – 5 stars, very enjoyable story of time travellers, set both in the present and in Regency London.
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch – 4.5 stars, swashbuckling adventure with the Gentleman Bastards. Fantasy adventure at its finest.

Books I read but didn’t review yet:

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling – the re-read continues. The last light-hearted adventures before the start of the darker parts of the story.
  • Shadow of Night, Deborah Harkness – This is the sequel to A Discovery of Witches, which I quite enjoyed during last year. I’m currently over half-way through this one and struggling a little. It’s not that the story isn’t enjoyable, it’s just… meandering all over the place. It doesn’t help that I’m in a bit of a reading slump at the moment. Hopefully will finish this in the next few days.

 

Goal Update

  • Goodreads challenge – I’m currently sitting at 41 books read. My reading slump and some larger books read this month means that I’m back on schedule rather than being ahead. 

 

Coming up in May

The Wicked Wildfire read-a-thon starts next Friday, June 7. It rather helpfully lies on a long weekend here in Queensland, and I’ll have a few extra days off around that time as well, so here’s hoping for some extra reading time!

You may remember last year I held the Discover Australian Fantasy event in July, where I featured a load of books by Aussie authors. Well, I’m planning another one for this July. If you’re interested in guest posting or if you have a suggestion for a book to include in the line-up, please get in touch with me as soon as possible! The help of the community made things so much easier last year.

Keep your ears open for another Tea in the Treetops episode, coming very soon, and have a fantastic June 🙂

Roundup: April 2013

It’s time for a look back at the past month on the Oaken Bookcase.

April has flown by – how can it be May already?! It’s getting closer to winter here and it’s starting to be a bit harder to get out of bed in the mornings… or perhaps that’s just me not being a morning person!

Philippa and I have been super busy this month and have only managed to record one episode of Tea in the Treetops, but we are hoping to get another one out very soon – there’s lots to talk about! The great news is that you can now subscribe to the podcast in a few different ways, including iTunes, Stitcher radio and email. Check out the podcast page for more information, and as always, let us know if you’re enjoying it or if you have any questions we can answer on the show for you. Go ahead, pimp your blog!

Tad Willams at Supanova

This month I also went along to some fun events! Supanova Expo was on at the Gold Coast and once I heard that Tad Williams was going to be there, I had to go along. I ended up also running into Jay Kristoff at the Dymocks stand as well, and it was lovely to meet both of them! I came away with a stack of signed books and complete amazement at the number of people in various costumes.

Then there was the Penguin Teen Australia Live event. Philippa and I will be chatting about this when we get around to recording again, but we, along with thirty or so other bloggers and book lovers listened to the awesome Felicity of Penguin Aus talk about the young adult books to be released this year. It was great to be a part of it all and to add some great-sounding books to the list. Also, I’m assured that I really should read the Vampire Academy series, or revoke my YA reader card. One of these days…

Reviews for April:

Books I read but didn’t review yet:

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, JK Rowling – the re-read continues. I love this instalment!
  • The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker – a really lovely story of two mythical creatures living as immigrants in New York city in the very early 20th century. Review will be coming soon!
  • These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer – our book club read for this month. The description of “frothy Regency romance” applies here, but this is the funniest historical dramatic romance I think I’ve ever read! The review doesn’t really belong here, but I’m planning to write one on Goodreads at least.
  • Her Sweetest Downfall (The Forever Girl #0.5), Rebecca Hamilton – a novella telling the story of Ophelia and how she became Cruor. If you enjoyed The Forever Girl, you’ll love this.

I’ve been really lucky to read a lot of books lately that I loved, so it’s hard to name a favourite. I have to say that I really enjoyed The Immortal Rules and The Eternity Cure, but I also really loved The Golem and the Jinni.

 

Goal Update

  • Goodreads challenge – I’m currently sitting at 36 books read – 4 ahead of schedule. It’s nice to be ahead, but that total might get a bit higher after the Bout of Books! We’ll see.
  • I’m way behind on the Dark Tower read-along – I’ve just had so many other great books to read, I haven’t been able to fit the Stephen Kings in!
  • I’m still only 6/27 on my master to-read list. Really need to pick a few books from there to go into the BoB reading list.

 

Coming up in May

Bout of Books

Bout of Books v7.0 is coming up from May 13 to 19! The sign up post is already up, so get your reading list ready and prepare to read! I’ve loved being part of the past Bouts of Books so I’m really looking forward to getting into it again.

I know I’ve been saying this for the past few months but I really want to make this month my review copy cleanup month. I’ve made a good start with the last few books but there’s plenty more to come.

Keep your ears open for another Tea in the Treetops episode, coming very soon!

Have a happy May 🙂

Roundup: March 2013

It’s time for a look back at the past month on the Oaken Bookcase.

I do apologise – I totally dropped the ball at the end of February and missed a round up post, but here’s what I’ve been up to in March at least.

It’s been a month of exciting happenings on the blog – it was my official blogaversary and I gave away a book! Congratulations Lynn, I hope you enjoy it! Thanks to everyone who entered and retweeted or shared the giveaway post, I really appreciate it.

teatinthetreetops_logo2The other exciting thing to happen was the pilot episode of Tea in the Treetops, a new podcast I’ve created with Philippa of Tea, Daydreams and Fairytales. We had a lot of fun recording it and hope to record new episodes every couple of weeks! I’m still working on the subscription options but hopefully soon you’ll be able to subscribe in iTunes and other podcasty sites. If you enjoyed the first episode, please let us know!

Quite a bit of my month was spent reading A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin! At over a thousand pages it was quite a tome, but my favourite of the series so far. The HBO series based on the book is just about to start, so check out my review first (no spoilers!).

Reviews for March:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling – 4 stars – I start my re-read of the iconic series.
  • The Wild Girl, Kate Forsyth – 5 stars – a fantastic yet heartbreaking historical tale of the Brothers Grimm and the girls who lived next door.
  • A Storm of Swords, George RR Martin – 5 stars – the third in the epic A Song of Ice and Fire series: war, political intrigue, love, lust and loss.
  • Soul of Kandrith, Nicole Luiken – 4 stars – the second in the Kandrith duology, I didn’t love it as much as the first but it’s still an enjoyable romantic fantasy, if a little harrowing at times.

 

Books I read but didn’t review yet:

 

Coming up in April

I really would like to devote April to clearing up my review pile a bit. I’ve had a lot of books offered to me for review over the last couple of months, and I’ve had to refuse most of them because my backlog is just ridiculous. I want to keep reading books that I choose to read, but I also don’t want to let authors and publicists down when they give me something to review! It’s a hard road, this book blogging business (I know, I know, first world problem).

Keep your ears open for another Tea in the Treetops episode, coming very soon!

I hope you’ve had an enjoyable Easter break with lots of reading time!

Roundup: January 2013

It’s the end of January already – can you believe it?

It’s been a busy month around here – I seem to have recovered from my reading/blogging slump by getting stuck into Bout of Books early in the month.

I also joined in with two giveaways which has helped to bring lots of new people to the site, so welcome! Congrats to Jaqueline who was the winner of the Australia Day giveaway! She chose a copy of Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff.

Reviews for January:

 

Books I read but didn’t review yet:
  • Beisieged, Rowena Cory Daniells – Awesome epic fantasy. So complex though – I have no idea how to review it…
  • The Water Witch, Carol Goodman (or Juliet Dark) – Second book in the Fairwick Chronicles. I liked it better than the first, Incubus/The Demon Lover.
  • Of Poseidon, Anna Banks – Mermaids (but don’t call them that)! Quite enjoyable, if rather shallow (ha ha).
  • The Making of the Empire Strikes Back, JW Rinzler – A brillant coffee table book with plenty of behind-the-scenes interviews, script revisions, photos and concept art from the production of one of my favourite films.

My favourite? That’s a tough one this month because I read so many great books, but I’d have to say I really enjoyed the Under the Never Sky books. I also really loved getting back into some epic fantasy with Besieged!

Coming up in February

Apart from catching up on all my reviews (I’m really behind!), I’ve got a few book tours coming up in Feb. To be honest it’s going to take me a while to get over Bout of Books!

Mr Ang is about to have surgery to mend a hernia (ouch) so there will be some home recovery time over the next couple of weeks. I’m not sure what impact being at home to look after him will have on my reading/blogging, but we’ll see.

I hope you have a great month!

Top Ten for 2012

Roundup

Here we are at the end of 2012, and what a year it’s been.

This year, I:

  • Started blogging about books!
  • Read 100 books according to Goodreads – some of which were novellas or short graphic novels.
  • Wrote 87 reviews, mostly young adult and mostly fantasy.
  • Took part in 13 giveaways, and won at least 10 different giveaways!
  • Organised and managed to pull off a major event in my Discover Australian Fantasy month – I enjoyed putting it together so much, I’m hoping to do it all again in 2013.
  • Had a fantastic time!

 

Here are my ten favourites for the year. It was hard putting them in order – there’s really not much separating any of them, I loved them all! The fact that all but one of these books is aimed at young adults shows what my reading tastes (and review pile) has been like this year.

A Corner of White

10. A Corner of White, Jaclyn Moriarty – A cracking read aimed at teens and young adults, this is a whimsical and fascinating tale of two young people living in parallel worlds, but with curiously similar events happening in their lives.

Memory's Wake

9. Memory’s Wake, Selina Fenech – This one is illustrated with the most gorgeous drawings and is a very enjoyable story of a young girl trapped in a world not her own, with no memory of how she got there.

Foundling

8. Foundling, DM Cornish – A middle-grade read that has the complexity of a high fantasy adult book, with the massive glossary to prove it! This is an amazingly complex world and the second book is definitely on my list for 2013.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor

7. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor – Quite an unusual story, with delightful characters and a slightly instant but delicious romance, this book charmed me when I read it early in the year. The second in the series (Days of Blood and Starlight) didn’t disappoint, either!

Destiny of the Light

6. Destiny of the Light, Louise Cusack – An adult romantic high-fantasy with plenty of action (in every sense). I loved the way this story was told. I have the second book waiting on my shelf – must make time for it!

5. Lumatere Chronicles, Melina MarchettaFinnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn – While I didn’t love Finnikin all that much, the other two books took the whole series to a new level with their epic storytelling, heart-break and joy. I loved every page of them and didn’t want them to end!

Stormdancer

4. Stormdancer, Jay Kristoff – A very enjoyable story of a young girl and a gryphon in a Japanese-ish society. I’ve recommended this to so many people now – I loved it! Bring on book 2!

seraphina

3. Seraphina, Rachel Hartman – A young musical director of the royal court and half-dragon, Seraphina can’t help but be drawn into court intrigues. The romance in this one is light but lovely.

cinder

2. Cinder, Marissa Meyer – A young cyborg finds love in an unlikely place in New Beijing, and helps to find a cure for a deadly plague. I enjoyed this book so much – I’m really looking forward to the release of Scarlet, due in February (will sell left arm for an ARC! Anyone?).

throneofglass

1. Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas – Celaena, also known as Ardalan’s Assassin, is brought from prison to the royal court to take part in a competition that will earn her freedom. This book is light hearted and action-packed, and I loved it! I’ll definitely be reading it again at some stage – perhaps before the second book comes out.

 

And with that, I’d like to wish you a very Happy New Year and a safe and Prosperous 2013!

Roundup: November

November’s all done and dusted – hello summer!

It’s been another busy month and I’ve been working on other projects, but I’ve still been reading plenty so there have been plenty of reviews. I started joining in with Cover Lover and I’ve got plenty of great looking covers to add to that soon!

I hope those of you who took part in NaNoWriMo were successful!

Reviews for November:

 

Books I read but didn’t review (yet):
  • The Light Between Oceans, ML Stedman – Our bookclub book for this month. I really didn’t enjoy it, although many of the other ladies in the group did. All I can say is, bring your tissues! I wrote a review on Goodreads but won’t post it here.
  • The Arrival, Shaun Tan – an awesome book filled with beautiful sketches and no words. I may write a review for this one eventually, but do yourself a favour and check it out.
  • Jack Templar: Monster Hunter, Jeff Gunhus – review coming soon!

My favourite? Well I really enjoyed Days of Blood and Starlight, sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but I think my highlight has to be re-reading The Hobbit. I’m so excited for the movie release!

Coming up in December

It’s December and that means holidays are coming! For me this actually means I’ll probably get less reading time rather than more, but here’s hoping, right? 😛

Book Soulmates To get into the Christmas spirit I’m going to take part in Random Acts of Kindness this month, to give away a few books. Just head over to Book Soulmates to sign up! Well actually, their December sign-up isn’t available juuust yet, but in a day or two it will be 😉

I hope you have a very happy and safe month!

Roundup: October

It’s the end of another month already – doesn’t the time just fly by towards the end of the year? So what happened around here during October?

This month I think I had my first real book blogging burn-out. I’ve been so, so busy over the last few months and getting around to writing reviews in the evening when I’d rather be chilling is getting a little bit like work. Once I actually sit down to write a review the words do usually flow, but it’s just the initial motivation, you know? So I haven’t given the blog much attention at all, and it makes me feel guilty. This week I’m shaking myself out of it and just getting the reviews posted that I can, and when I have time for the other stuff, I’ll get back into it.

That said, I did manage to post quite a few reviews and participate in three tours, so it hasn’t exactly been that quiet around here!

Reviews for October:

 

Books I read but didn’t review (yet):
  • Silver, Talia Vance – coming very soon!

My favourites were definitely Froi and Quintana! What a brilliant middle and end to this series – I was so sad when it was all over. Get yourself a copy of the Lumatere Chronicles as soon as you can!

Coming up in November

November is here and that means writers around the globe will be wearing their fingernails down on their keyboards for National (or International) Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. I was hoping to take part but the 50 thousand word goal is really intimidating! I’m going to try to write something, even if I don’t actually sign up as a participant. In the meantime I’ll be cheering others on!

How was your October? You know it’s only 55 sleeps until Christmas, right?

Roundup: September

Wow, September passed in a bit of a blur, didn’t it? Let’s see what went on around the Bookcase this month.

In real life I got super-busy at work, we had a few sicknesses at home and also a big game release, which all contributed to not a lot of blogging, but still a fair bit of reading. I’m a bit behind with reviews but I’m hanging in there, more or less.

This last weekend was given over to Bloggiesta, for which I’m pretty ashamed to say I achieved very little of the goals I set out to complete. I’m hoping to get them done during this week instead. We’ll see!

Reviews for September:

Books I read but didn’t review (yet):
  • Flight, Alyssa Rose Ivy – sadly I didn’t enjoy this book all that much. I’ll probably review it on Goodreads at least, after the tour is over.
  • Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford – a classic book for our book club this month. I sort of enjoyed it but it doesn’t really belong on a fantasy/sci-fi blog.
  • Froi of the Exiles, Melina Marchetta – review coming very soon!
  • Seeds of Discovery, Breeana Puttroff – review coming very soon!

I’d say my favourite this month would have to be A Corner of White – such a unique and eccentric story, I loved it!

Coming up in October

So far October is still looking very busy for me, so I’ll be aiming primarily to keep on top of reviews and try to read more than I accept! It’s the usual story of the battle against the review pile around here, my friends!

I hope you’ve had a productive and enjoyable September. Can you believe the year is almost three-quarters done?

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