The Starting Line: 48HBC 2014

Greetings, fellow lunatics!

My name is Alyisha. I’m a Millennial with a penchant for books, googly eyes, and bavarian creme donuts.

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Fortunately, I’m able to indulge at least two of these passions in a healthy, dare I say almost-adult-like way by working in the Children’s Room at a Public Library in New England. This is my second year participating in the 48 Hour Book Challenge, but it’s my first time using this blog to compete. Last year, I used my personal blog, The Pooka Picks, but this year I thought I’d use my Book Club’s group blog to help bring a little more attention to it. Normally, No Boys Allowed Reviews is used once-a-month by myself and four other lovely ladies to review our book club’s read for that month. We all review the same book, individually and communally, to show how one novel can affect each reader in a completely unique way. We focus on “chick lit,” and it’s our mission to prove that girly literature, like the audience to which it’s targeted, can be smart, witty, and fierce.

But enough about that. ONWARD, TO THE CHALLENGE!

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce my reading coach, Miss Moxie Crimefighter.

Moxie prefers bananas to donuts; I know, I don't get it either.

Moxie’s a 2-year old house rabbit who prefers bananas to donuts; I know, I don’t get it either.

Behind every great fighter, there’s a great trainer…

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Rocky & Mickey; Buffy & Giles

… and she is mine.

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If I seem to be projecting an illusion of toughness here, know that it’s exactly that: an illusion. I wear those pants to bed, not to exercise. That’s not even my kettle bell.

She’s been working me to the bone in preparation for this weekend, but I know it’ll be worth it. She was also assigned the very important task of narrowing down my reading selection from the towering piles you see here —

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— to a smaller, much more manageable stack.

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LOOK AT THAT TONGUE! As you can see, most of my reading choices are YA with a magical/fantastical slant.

She was a very discerning selector.

Sadly, I don’t have as much time to donate to the challenge this year as I’d like. I’m working 9-5 on Saturday and I’m one year older (but clearly no wiser), which means I’ll need even more beauty rest than I did last year. It’s hard for me to give up my precious sleep, but I’m going to try (to some extent). I’m hoping to read at least five books this year, in 20-some-odd hours. I may come in below that, at 4, or slightly above it at 6 or 7, but only time will tell: time which begins… NOW!

Happy reading!!!

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Blognapper on the Loose!

WARNING!:

Come this weekend, “No Boys Allowed Reviews” is going to be hijacked by one of our bloggers for the 48-Hour Reading Challenge, hosted over at Mother Reader.

No blogs were harmed in the making of this photo.

*No blogs were harmed in the making of this photo.

The rules of the challenge are simple. Basically, you take 48-straight hours (between June 6th – 8th) and you read as much as you possibly can. As many books as you can. As many pages as you can. AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. Many bloggers choose to sacrifice basic human needs, like cleanliness, sleep, and sustenance, all in pursuit of this goal. For her part, this blogger knows that she’s going to be eating a lot of microwavable meals, trying not to think about how greasy her bangs are getting, and daring to resist the sweet, siren’s call of her bed, reading ’til the wee hours of the morn’. Unfortunately, she’s also got to work on Saturday, so she’ll lose a huge chunk of competition time. Ah, well! Hail the almighty dollar! BUT HAIL MORE, THE ALMIGHTY BOOK! She’ll be waging this war, in part, for a chance to win some freebie tomes, but mostly she just wants to gain some more friends & followers for this blog. Aaaaand to indulge her absolute craziness and unhealthy reading obsession, of course.

So please, join her on her quest! If you’re not interested in competing yourself, she hopes you’ll stay tuned during the weekend for blog updates! How many books do you think she can read (in roughly 25-28 hours of competition time)? 3? 6? 8? 48? 5,048? Place your bets here!

Can you see through her thinly-veiled disguise? Any guesses as to which of our ladies might be competing?

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Book Review #9: “Brother of the More Famous Jack”

For the ladies of No Boys Allowed Reviews, a blog post without disagreement is like a tea party without cucumber sandwiches.

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A tea party essential. Absolutely no crusts, please.

Last month’s outpouring of affection for The Rosie Project was quite lovely, but could it possibly continue?

In the hope of extending the love-fest another month, we turned to the author of the only other book we all liked: Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?.

In The New York Times‘s “By the Book” column, Semple calls South African writer Barbara Trapido one of her favorite women writers. She also expresses a particular fondness for Trapido’s coming-of-age novel Brother of the More Famous Jack, which she describes as a “refreshing” in that it is “written by a woman, about a woman, yet still manages to be an unabashed celebration of men.”

Yes, please! With that, we had our next book club pick.

brother-of-the-more-famous-jack“Stylish, suburban Katherine is eighteen when she is propelled into the centre of Professor Jacob Goldman’s rambling home and his large eccentric family. As his enchanting yet sharp-tongued wife Jane gives birth to her sixth child, Katherine meets the volatile, stroppy Jonathan and his older, more beautiful brother Roger, who wins her heart. First love quickly leads to heartbreak and sends her fleeing to Rome but, ten years on, she returns to find the Goldmans again. A little wiser and a lot more grown up, Katherine faces her future.”

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Book Review #8: The Rosie Project

And now for something completely different!

After two months of dark, drab, snowy books in a dark, drab, snowy winter, we decided to read The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion, for the month of February. We felt it was relevant, as the cover features a heart and Valentine’s Day, the holiday of love, is smack dab in the middle of February. It turned out to be quite a refreshing change.

rosieTHE ART OF LOVE IS NEVER A SCIENCE
 
MEET DON TILLMAN, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.
 
Rosie Jarman is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on the Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.
 

We finally sat down to discuss our thoughts exactly 32 minutes past the scheduled 6pm start time on February 24th. 7 of us were present, and after only 29 minutes of discussion, Victoria requested to leave to attend a rehearsal she had previously scheduled. At 7:09, Alyisha logically decided to leave to keep her dinner plans and, seeing as we had nothing else to say, the rest of us followed. Despite this obviously truncated and ill-planned meeting, we had a valuable exchange of ideas and decided, overall, that most of us liked The Rosie Project.

Read on to see what each of our bloggers thought!

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Book Review #7: “As Simple As Snow”

Last month, the girls of No Boys Allowed Reviews read As Simple As Snow, by Gregory Galloway.

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There’s a reason we haven’t posted any reviews yet.
It’s because we can’t.
We just can’t. 

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Book Review #6: “The Snow Child”

The girls of No Boys Allowed Reviews might just be insane.

Instead of choosing a nice, balmy, tropical read for the freezing cold month of December, we chose to read Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child.

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Title: The Snow Child
Author: Eowyn Ivey
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Pub Date: Feb 01, 2012
Hardcover: 400 pages.

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Book Review #5: “Mariana”

marianaThere’s this song, by the legendary alt-rock-country group Wilco, called “Box Full of Letters.” In it, lead singer Jeff Tweedy laments, “I just can’t find the time to write my mind the way I want it to read.”

The girls of No Boys Allowed Reviews know exactly what he’s singing about. Except in our case, we just couldn’t find the time to write our reviews the way we wanted them to read. (This shouldn’t surprise you anymore; at this point, in month 5 of our blog, you should know that like a lot of literary-types, we are not prompt people). So yet again, we are late. Late, late, late, for a not-so-important date.

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Instead of posting on December 1st, we’ve finally gotten around to it on December 14th.  It doesn’t seem possible that the weeks could have flown by so quickly, but fly they did. Time is a funny thing. And no one knows that better than Julia Beckett.

Julia is the protagonist of Mariana, our reading selection for this month. At various times in her life, Julia has found herself driving past a beautiful old home in the English countryside, without rhyme or reason for being in the area. She’s inexplicably drawn to the structure, and when she comes into some money in her early 30s by way of an unexpected inheritance (more than two decades after seeing the house for the first time), she learns that it’s on the market and buys it without a second thought. She moves into town and that’s when things start to go a little strange. Julia starts to see things. Things from centuries past. Things that seem to coincide exactly with the town’s factual history. She finds herself living two lives: one in the seventeenth century, and one in the present-day. She also finds herself embroiled in two romances, one in each era. She has two identities with two distinct names, and each lifetime comes with its particular set of allegiances and mysteries. One life is distinctly more alluring, but also distinctly more dangerous. Will Julia get trapped in the past? If she stays in the present, how will she let go of everything she’s become so attached to? The only constant is hot, hot romance – and the type of writing that you expect to go with it.

Tempted? Want to know more?
If you crave more knowledge, follow Victoria’s seductive eyes, green like the leaves of Eve’s apple, to page 2 for her review.

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