Monday, 31 October 2011

31102011: 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012 is hosted by The Book Vixen


  • Runs January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012 (books read prior to 1/1/12 do not count towards the challenge). You can join at anytime. Sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog.
  • The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more books in 2012 than you did in 2011. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. Nothing is set in stone; you can change levels at any time during the challenge.
  • Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio).
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • Grab the reading challenge button and post this reading challenge on your blog to track your progress. Please include a link back to this sign-up post so others can join the reading challenge too. You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you could track your progress on Goodreads or LibraryThing.

  • Levels:
    Getting my heart rate up – Read 1–5 more books
    Out of breath – Read 6–10 more books
    Breaking a sweat – Read 11–15 more books
    I’m on fire! – Read 16+ more books
I am going to enter for the "Breaking a sweat" level and attempt to read 11-15 more books than I have this year, so in total I want to read 36 books during 2012. The books I have read during 2012 are as follows:
1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Catching Fire  by Suzanne Collins
3. Mockingjay  by Suzanne Collins
4. Death of a Murderer
5. Harry Potter: The Prequel
6. This Brilliant Darkness
7. Waters for Elephants
8. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
10. Uglies  by Scott Westerfeld
11. Before I go to Sleep
12. 1Q84 Book 1
13.  Pretties  by Scott Westerfeld
14. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Marten
15. A Good Man by Vanessa Morgan
16. The Secret by Mike Richardson
17. Numbers by Rachel Ward
18. Specials by Scott Westerfeld
19. Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
20. Chanel Zero by Brian Wood
21. Intuition by J. Meyers
22. Intangible by J. Meyers
23. Pandora Hearts Volume 1 by Jun Mochizuiki
24. A Blood Seduction by Pamela PAlmer
25. Dragon Age: The Silent Grove by David Gaider
26. House of Night by P.C. & Kirsten Cast
27. Divergent by Veronica Roth
28. Free Four by Veronica Roth
29. Orchid by Tom Morello
30. Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen
31. Tallis by M.C. Rae
33. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
34. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
35. Zelah Green by Vanessa Curtis
36. Enthralled by Melissa Marr
37. Paper Towns by John Green
38. Troll or Derby by Red Tash
39. Switched by Amanda Hocking
40. Section 132 by Helga Zeiner
41. Hannah Hoch: Picture Book by Hannah Hoch
42. Evidence by Candy Jernigan
43. Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar children by Ransom Riggs
44. Pledged by Gwynneth White
45. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
46. Backstage Pass by Oliva Cunning
47. End of Faith by Ren Willemin
48. Rock Hard by Oliva Cunning

Saturday, 29 October 2011

29102011: The Stand

I really want to get this blog to be much more book related so over the next few days expect a fair bit of book "spam".

Title: The Stand
Author: Stephen King
Page Count: 1344
Summary: When a man escapes from a biological testing facility, he sets in motion a deadly domino effect, spreading a mutated strain of the flu that will wipe out 99 percent of humanity within a few weeks. The survivors who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious "Dark Man," who delights in chaos and violence.
My Review: I completed this book on August 18th whilst in Rome, which meant I couldn't give it a proper review until I got home. The following is what I wrote on my other book blog: The reason I started reading this book is because my Dad is a very big Stephen King fan, in the sense that he owns every single book. I initially borrowed my Dad’s copy but didn’t really get in to but I had enjoyed the few chapters I did read, eventually I returned it to him and went and bought my own copy - which just so happened to be the “extended” version. Earlier this year I sat down and started reading and automatically fell in love and had no idea why or what held me back first time round. I love the way King gives you the chance to get to know all the characters fully, and by the second part of book you’re waiting anxiously to meet you favourite characters again and again (as he alternates which characters are in which chapters sometimes you find yourself waiting a while). It’s also really great how a character at the beginning you find yourself annoyed at and not wanting to read about them any more but by the end your their right beside him as he struggles with survival and wanting nothing for him but to live, or how another character can initially seem interesting and full of hope, yet how fate changes all this and you can see even though he had a chance to possibly become a good character, he actually had no choice to do this as he needed to survive. Yes I have a soft spot for Lloyd Henreid. To conclude I highly recommend that everyone should read this book at least once in their life, even if you have never read anything by King before and you’re unsure whether you’ll enjoy his writing style, it’s fairly easy to get into and has an interesting and gripping story line that will keep you hooked until the very last page.
Recommend: Yes
Rating: 5/5

Also, I guess I should give thanks to Rachel Skye cause I used her book reviews to help with my layout.

29102011: On My Wishlist (1)

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City.
Initially I couldn't decide which books to select but I then hopped over to my goodreads account and chose three books from my wishlist there that I really want to read at the moment: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Abraham Lincoln: Vampure Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. All three I have wanted to read and own for a ridiculously long time.

The Picture of Dorian Gray: Oscar Wilde's story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is one of his most popular works. Written in Wilde's characteristically dazzling manner, full of stinging epigrams and shrewd observations, the tale of Dorian Gray's moral disintegration caused something of a scandal when it first appeared in 1890. Wilde was attacked for his decadence and corrupting influence, and a few years later the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde's homosexual liaisons, trials that resulted in his imprisonment. Of the book's value as autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, "Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps."

The Perks of Being a Wallflower:
What is most notable about this funny, touching, memorable first novel from Stephen Chbosky is the resounding accuracy with which the author captures the voice of a boy teetering on the brink of adulthood. Charlie is a freshman. And while's he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. He's a wallflower--shy and introspective, and intelligent beyond his years, if not very savvy in the social arts. We learn about Charlie through the letters he writes to someone of undisclosed name, age and gender; a stylistic technique that adds to the heart-wrenching earnestness saturating this teen's story. Charlie encounters the same struggles many face in high school--how to make friends, the intensity of a crush, family tensions, a first relationship, exploring sexuality, experimenting with drugs--but he must also deal with the devastating fact of his best friend's recent suicide. Charlie's letters take on the intimate feel of a journal as he shares his day-to-day thoughts and feelings: "I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they're here. If they like their jobs. Or us. And I wonder how smart they were when they were fifteen. Not in a mean way. In a curious way. It's like looking at all the students and wondering who's had their heart broken that day, and how they are able to cope with having three quizzes and a book report due on top of that. Or wondering who did the heart breaking. And wondering why." With the help of a teacher who recognises his wisdom and intuition, and his two friends, seniors Samantha and Patrick, Charlie mostly manages to avoid the depression he feels creeping up like ivy. When it all becomes too much, after a shocking realisation about his beloved late Aunt Helen, Charlie checks out for awhile. But he makes it back to reality in due time, ready to face his sophomore year and all that it may bring. Charlie, sincerely searching for that feeling of "being infinite" is a kindred spirit to the generation that's been slapped with the label X.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: When Abraham Lincoln was nine years old, his mother died from an ailment called the "milk sickness." Only later did he learn that his mother's deadly affliction was actually the work of a local vampire, seeking to collect on Abe's father's unfortunate debts. When the truth became known to the young Abraham Lincoln, he wrote in his journal: henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become learned in all things—a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose." While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for reuniting the North with the South and abolishing slavery from our country, no one has ever understood his valiant fight for what it really was. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years. Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time—all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War, and uncovering the massive role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

26102011: Icons

So I recently got Photoshop CS5 and have joined a forum community based on graphic tutorials and help. I've been making my way through some icon tutorials with them being small, and fairly easy to alter and create. Not too time consuming either. Once I'm able to make some without referring to the tutorials I'll move on to something else. I'll share what I have so far:

Adam Baldwin / John Casey / Jayne Cobb:


Ellie Goulding (requested):

Vampire Diaries: