December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates the holiday! I find myself very blessed this year for having a family that is able to support me when I need them. My car just died (transmission troubles) and my family is helping me get a replacement until I am a situation where I can afford the payments myself. My goal today is just to relax and take it easy with my family. I am expecting to get a lot of books *crosses fingers* that I'll be able to review soon, but I'll just have to wait and see! I hope everyone has a fantastic day.

December 19, 2009

100+ Reading Challenge

Yup, I am going to do my best to read 100 books in 2010!

Rules of the challenge:
1) Try to read 100 or more books
2) They can be books of any format (graphic novels, novellas, Manga, eBooks...)
3) You don't need to make a list, but you can write one if you would like and can change it at any time.
4) You can count books that you are reading for other challenges.
5) You have to read the books between January 1st and December 31st of 2010.
6) Sign up by going to J. Kaye's Book Blog and signing Mr. Linky. There is more information on the rules at the blog itself, so check it out.

I am really excited to try to complete this challenge! It sounds kind of scary, but there are so many fantastic books that I need to read that I'm sure I'll enjoy it even if I don't read 100 books! I think I'll take some time to come up with my list of books I want to read.

December 18, 2009

Review of "China: Land of Dragons and Emperors"

"China: Land of Dragons and Emperors"
Adeline Yen Mah


ynopsis: The history of China spans thousands of years. Journey through China in this fascinating and absorbing book: discover the land of dragons and emperors, and learn about the significance of its ancient dynasties. Countless tools and materials that people have used every day for centuries—paper, gunpowder, cast iron, matches, and silk, to name just a few—were first made in China. Chinese society has progressed through major changes, but lucky numbers, festivals, beliefs about colors, the practice of footbinding, the building of the Great Wall, and the larger-than-life people of China are all integral parts of this ancient civilization and still have an impact on life today. Bestselling author Adeline Yen Mah explores an extraordinary view of the great story of China over the last two millennia in this nonfiction work, which also includes black-and-white photographs.

I first heard about this book reviewed on Kristy's (The Story Siren) blog and I had to read it. I am not a huge fan of reading non-fiction, but I took a class on Asian American literature in college and LOVED it. I have been interested in learning more about Asian cultures since. I was hoping that I would love the book as much as I loved the class, but I have to say that I was a little disappointed. Overall the book was informative and interesting, but it did get a little tedious. It basically went through each emperor of China describing the highlights of the different dynasty and some of the most important inventions of the time period. I had no idea so many things were invented in China and I learned a lot about the culture, but it just got a little dull about halfway through. Maybe it is just that I get bored with lots of date and I am don't usually read non-fiction. I really liked how Mah broke up the dynasty chapters by giving tidbits about different topics and photography for a visual of some of the different landmarks discussed. The book also has images, maps, a timeline, and a list of further reading suggestions.

I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys history or wants to learn about China. This book does give a lot of insight into both the culture and politics of the country, making it a valuable source even if it is a bit slow at times.

December 17, 2009

"Pirates!" Rekindles My Addiction to Everything Pirates

"Pirates! "
Celia Rees


Synopsis: Nancy Kington, daughter of a rich merchant, suddenly orphaned when her father dies, is sent to live on her family's plantation in Jamaica. Disgusted by the treatment of the slaves and her brother's willingness to marry her off, she and one of the slaves, Minerva, run away and join a band of pirates. For both girls the pirate life is their only chance for freedom in a society where both are treated like property, rather than individuals. Together they go in search of adventure, love, and a new life that breaks all restrictions of gender, race, and position. Told through Nancy's writings, their adventures will appeal to readers across the spectrum and around the world.

Before I write my review for this book, I must say that I am bias because I LOVE pirates. With that said, I loved this book! I was really excited when I found this book at the library on audio and it made my commuting fly by. The story was great and Nancy was a fantastic character to follow. Her life takes all these twists and turns that throw her into terrifying situations, but Nancy takes them each in stride with help from the people closest to her. I also loved Minerva and how brave she was no matter what the situation. I also liked how Rees was able to show the role that women played in society at that time. I find women's history very interesting and Rees was able to intertwine these issues into the story without bogging down the plot.

I loved the book so much I ended up buying Louis .A. Meyer's "Bloody Jack" because I wanted more books about pirates. If you like books with strong female characters, adventure, or pirates then this the book for you. I haven't read any other of Rees's books, but I would like to read more of her work.

December 14, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

I am so excited to have received my second award for my blog! Thank you Sherry (Flipping Pages for All Ages) for finding my blog worthy of such an award.

The easy peasy rules:
1) List 10 honest things about yourself
2) Pass it on to 10 other honest bloggers

Here is the list of my 10 honest things. I hope they are not too shocking!

  1. During the winter I will go weeks without shaving my legs... yes it is gross but I am lazy. Although now that I wear dresses at work at least once a week I won't be able to get away with that.
  2. Sometimes I will get halfway through a book and then just never finish it.
  3. I don't do textbook reading for a huge majority of my courses.
  4. Whenever people give me smelly soaps or lotion as a gift, I have to give it to my mom because I am allergic. She has saved hundreds of dollars on soap.
  5. I love Hello Kitty so much that my bathroom is decorated in Hello Kitty everything.
  6. My biggest weaknesses are fried food and frosting.
  7. I have very large hands that tend to be the same size as my guy friends. Even those who are 6 to 7 inches taller than me.
  8. I like to listen to music that I call "ridiculously bad" because the corny lyrics and beat make me laugh.
  9. When I was little I pretended to have my own radio show when I was in the shower. I don't know why, but I have always found showering to be a boring part of everyday life.
  10. I have a growing pirate addiction. I worry that one day I will wake up and think I am one.
Here are the honest bloggers I would like to bring to the spotlight:
Carrie (Carrie's YA Bookshelf)
Lili (ChicaReader)
Katie (My Life In Books)

Yan (Books By Their Covers)
Taschima (Bloody Bookaholic)
Tina (Fantastic Book Review)
Hope (Hope's Bookshelf)
Liyana (LiyanaLand!)
Kristy (The Story Siren)
Lizzie (The Book Obsession)

December 13, 2009

Rave Review for "Rooftops of Tehran"

"Rooftops of Tehran"
by Mahbod Seraji


Synopsis: In a middle-class neighborhood of Iran's sprawling capital city, 17-year-old Pasha Shahed spends the summer of 1973 on his rooftop with his best friend Ahmed, joking around one minute and asking burning questions about life the next. He also hides a secret love for his beautiful neighbor Zari, who has been betrothed since birth to another man. But the bliss of Pasha and Zari's stolen time together is shattered when Pasha unwittingly acts as a beacon for the Shah's secret police. The violent consequences awaken him to the reality of living under a powerful despot, and lead Zari to make a shocking choice...

This was my favorite book out of everything I read this year! I felt like this book was written for me, it was just that perfect. I tend to get really impatient with books, but I didn't have that problem with "Rooftops of Tehran". I know this book technically isn't a teen book; however, the characters are teenagers and they go through problems that many teens can relate to. The characters have problems from the everyday disagreements with teachers to more intense issues such as political disobedience and death of loved ones. Something I really liked about the book was the vivid description of the alley that the characters lived in. Seraji made the community come to life in a way that took the book to a whole new level for me. Even though there was a lot of tragedy in the book, I still felt that the alley was a vibrant atmosphere that had hope through the darkest of times.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction, love stories, coming of age stories, and for anyone who enjoyed "Kite Runner". I think this is a great book for book clubs and even has discussion questions at the end of the book. I am going to be recommending this book to everyone I work with because it was just that fantastic.
I wish I had a special rating for books that are this wonderful, it is something that I will be thinking about.

December 4, 2009

Release date for the Final Book in The Hunger Games Trilogy!

In case you haven't heard, the third book in "The Hunger Games" trilogy is coming out August 24th of next year! I am so excited, the last book just left me at the edge of my seat! The paperback version of the first book will be available July 6th, so I am glad to see a release date for that finally as well.
I would love to post more, but I am trying to figure out this 10-20 page final that was assigned yesterday that is due in a week... so I am sorry to say that I am out of time. At least this is my last assignment and I will be back posting more frequently before you know it!

December 1, 2009

Christmas List

Dear Santa,

This year I have been extra nice and have worked very hard, so I hope you will be generous enough to put some of these amazing books under my Christmas Tree:

"Ballads of Suburbia"- by Stephanie Kuehnert
"Rampant"- by Diana Peterfreund

"The Looking Glass Wars"- by Frank Beddor

"Tricks"- Ellen Hopkins
"The Mysterious Benedict Society"- by Trenton Lee Stewart

"The Fairy Tale Detectives (Sisters Grimm Series #1)-by Michael Buckley

"Leviathan"- Scott Westerfield

"Fallen"-Lauren Kate
"Ice"- Sarah Beth Durst

I tried to for as little as possible, but it was hard because of all the great books that came out this year. I hope you and Mrs. Claus are doing well. Happy Holidays!


November 29, 2009

Hooked on "Hush, Hush"

"Hush, Hush"
Becca Fitzpatrick


Synopsis: For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

"Hush, Hush" had me hooked from start to finish. I listened to the audio of the book in the car and soon found myself blaring my computer speakers in order to hear it over my washing of dishes. I never listen to audio in my apartments because my TV and movies are there, but I ignored my TV to listen to "Hush, Hush". There was a lot of mystery in this book and I'm not just talking about Patch's history. Fitzpatrick kept me at the edge of my seat trying to figure out who was harassing Nora and whether or not Patch could be trusted. Beyond the mystery I found the fallen angel plot to be very interesting. I have to say I've never really been one of those people who found angels to be interesting in the least, well besides Angel as in the character David Boreanaz played, but Fitzpatrick has me wanting more! Luckily I hear there is a sequel coming out next fall called "Crescendo", that is definitely going on my list. If a plot full of twists and turns isn't enough for you, then there is always the crush worthy Patch who is the perfect mysterious bad boy.

If you like romance, paranormal, mystery, and dark handsome men then this is DEFINITELY the book for you. If you are a fan of at least two of the previously described themes then you will should check out the book. Simon & Schuster have an audio clip of an excerpt of the book as well as a couple of the first few chapters. Preview those by clicking here. If you are still unsure about reading the book, then maybe this amazing trailer will convince you.

November 28, 2009

Review: "Witch and Wizard"

"Witch and Wizard"
James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet


Synopsis: The world is changing: the government has seized control of every aspect of society, and now, kids are disappearing. For 15-year-old Wisty and her older brother Whit, life turns upside down when they are torn from their parents one night and slammed into a secret prison for no reason they can comprehend. The New Order, as it is known, is clearly trying to suppress Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Being a Normal Teenager. But while trapped in this totalitarian nightmare, Wisty and Whit discover they have incredible powers they'd never dreamed of. Can this newly minted witch and wizard master their skills in time to save themselves, their parents--and maybe the world?

This was the first book by James Patterson that I've ever read and even though I was impressed by the plot, I was not a huge fan of the writing style. The book was fast paced, but the super short chapters and the multiple point of view was kind of annoying. It took me a while to get used to the switches. Luckily, I really enjoyed the plot about witches and wizards not being aware of their powers and how this new government took over and started imprisoning all of them. It almost seemed like WWII with witches and wizards being the target of genocide instead of the Jews, gypsies, Communists, and homosexuals.

The major thing that I think Patterson and Charbonnet did right in the book was how they portrayed The New Order. The organization is terrifying already and I have a feeling this is just the beginning. For a group that is so fervently anti-witchcraft, it appears that they use magic when it serves their desires. It seems as though there are many layers to The New Order and that we are just getting a glimpse into their true purpose. I really want to read the next book because I want to know what will happen with The New Order and the prophecy.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action, fantasy, sci-fi, alternative realities, paranormal, or is just looking for a quick read. You can also download a free e-book version from Barnes and Noble by clicking here. This is a limited time offer, so I don't know how long it will last.

November 27, 2009

2010 Debut Author Challenge

Now that I'm finishing up school I will have time to do a lot more reading. One great way to make sure I stay on task is to sign up for challenges, so I am signing up for the 2010 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren.
  • Kristy is challenging us to read at least 12 debut YA (Young Adult) or MG (Middle Grade) novels.
  • The challenges runs between January 1st 2010 to December 31st, 2010.
  • You don't have to be a blogger to participate.
  • The books need to be released in 2010.
Click here for more information about the challenge. Kristy has listed some websites to go to when choosing your books for the challenge. These books can change throughout the year so don't worry if you feel like reading books that aren't on your original list.

Books I plan on reading:

Bleeding Violet- Dia Reeves (January 5th)
The Secret Year- Jennifer Hubbard (January 7th)
The Iron King- Julie Kagawa (February 1st)
Dirty Little Secrets- C.J. Omololu (February 2nd)
Forget-Her-Nots- Amy Brecount White (March 2nd)
The Body Finder- Kimberly Derting (March 16th)
Three Rivers Rising- James Richards (April 13th)
The Red Umbrella- Christina Gonzalez (May 11th)
Sea- Heidi R. Kling (June 10th)
A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend- Emily Horner (June 10th)
Tell Me a Secret- Holly Cupala (June 22nd)
Other- Karen Kincy (July 1st)
Paranormalcy- Kiersten White (Fall)
Freefall- Mindi Scott (Fall)

November 26, 2009

Bitten by "The Forest of Hands and Teeth"

"The Forest of Hands and Teeth"
Carrie Ryan


Synopsis: In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

I picked up this book because I heard that it had zombies that would scare the pants off me and I was not disappointed. This alternate reality where zombies have taken over the world was pretty terrifying. It kind of reminded me of a cross between the movies "The Village" and "28 Days Later". I expected zombies to be tearing apart people, but I did not expect the chill I felt when reading about "The Sisterhood" making it more than just a book about monsters. Ryan has created a story with depth through her portrayal of human emotion and survival instincts. Mary is a wonderful main character for this book because she has unfaltering faith in a seemingly hopeless situation. Her hope pulled me through situations where I would have given up.

This book is great for anyone who likes books about alternative realities, horror, paranormal, love, or just someone who likes to read survival stories. The next book "The Dead-Tossed Waves" is coming out in March and I can't wait! Learn more about this book on Carrie Ryan's website.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! If you don't celebrate Thanksgiving... then have a happy day! This year my parents, my brother, and I are just bumming around the house and eating lots of great food. My dad always cooks a great breakfast and my mom follows up with the insane amount of classic Thanksgiving food. I try to help out where I can, but I don't know how to cook and I like to watch the parade.
This year I have a lot to be Thankful for:
I am finishing up my MLIS in 2 weeks
I have a fantastic boyfriend
My family who has been immensely supportive this year. I couldn't have gotten through this year without them.
All you guys following my blog, which is great especially since I haven't been able to post as much as I would like to. Just stick with me for a couple of more weeks!
All my friends for their understanding and patience.
My cozy apartment that has become my escape from the craziness of it all.
My car for still running after 10 years.
And of course all the authors out there who are writing all those fantastic books!

Feel free to share your Thanksgiving traditions and what you are Thankful for this year.

November 10, 2009

Moved by "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"

"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"
John Boyne



Berlin 1942

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" is a book that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Even though I knew that it would be a heartbreaking story from the very beginning of the book, it was still a wonderful book to read. Bruno is such an innocent boy who is experiencing the horrible circumstances of the Holocaust and relaying it to the reader. He doesn't always understand what he is seeing, but his descriptions were not lost on me. Even though some of the facts about Auschwitz were changed in the book, I still found it to be a useful book for starting a conversation about the Holocaust. Since it is not a historically accurate account, Boyne describes it as a historical fairy tale instead of historical fiction.

My only complaint about this book was that I found the music in the audio to be annoying. If you read the book you will not have this problem, and maybe I am just being picky about the whole music thing. I just find it to be distracting and unnecessary. It is read beautifully and I don't need ominous music to set the tone of the book.

The story is not just about the Holocaust, it is also about friendship, family, and growing up. I don't think you have to be a fan of history to enjoy "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas", this book is for anyone who loves a good fairy tale. In true fairy tale form, there are things to be learned and there are aspects of the story that are twisted. It may be a little more disturbing because instead of fantastical monsters, it is based on horrible events that happened to real people.

R.I.P. IV Challenge Wrap Up

My first book challenge is over and I am overall pretty happy with my results. I did complete "Peril the First", which was finishing 4 books, but I did not complete the "Short Story Peril". I only got through 3 Sundays of Short Story reviews. Out of my original list I completed:
"Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater
"From Dead to Worse" by Charlaine Harris
"Forest of Hands and Teeth" by Carrie Ryan

I also finished:
"The Monstrumologist" by Rick Yancey

"Dead and Gone" by Charlaine Harris
"Betrayed" by P.C. and Kristen Cast
"My Soul to Take" by Rachel Vincent
"City of Glass" by Cassandra Clare
"A Dirty Job" by Christopher Moore

Here is a list of short stories that I read:
"Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark":
"A New Horse, Alligators", "Room for One More", and "The Girl Stood On a Grave"
"Harry" by Rosemary Timperley
"W.S." by L.P. Hartley

I really enjoyed doing this challenge and I hope to participate in more once this semester is over. I will be looking forward to doing this challenge next year and I won't have school as an excuse if I fail again!

Secret Santa

It is that time of the year again, time to begin making holiday plans. I came across this really neat Secret Santa book swap on a couple other book blogs and thought I'd let everyone know about it. The Neverending Shelf is hosting this Secret Santa, so check out her blog for more information. Sign ups end the 15th of this month, so be sure to hurry over.

October 23, 2009

Family Reunion

Just wanted to let everyone know that I will probably be MIA for a few days. I am in California at a family reunion and the hotel that was supposed to have wireless Internet does not. I am also in the middle of midterms so any chance I get to spend on the Internet will need to be used for research.

In book related news, I got my hands on an ARC "Witch and Wizard" by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet and am enjoying it so far. Very interesting plot and is turning out to be a quick read.

In case I don't get to post again, have a good weekend! Hopefully I'll be up and running more frequently Wednesday of next week.

October 15, 2009

Thursday Update

Today was such a yucky day! It was the first really cold day and of course it had to rain. My winter coat and boots are out for the season I think... :/
On this yucky day I finally managed to get all the boxes and trash out of my apartment from when I moved in (that was 5 months ago to the day). But everything is finally done! I also spent some time to do a bit of cleaning and put out some Halloween decorations!

Yes it is a little late, but I'll probably leave them up until I put up my Christmas Tree.
I thought I had a lot more decorations... they may have gotten left behind at my old apartment.

"The Monstrumologist" is Menacing

"The Monstrumologist"
Rick Yancey


These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed.

But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets.

The one who saved me...and the one who cursed me.

So begins the journal of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

Critically acclaimed author Rick Yancey has written a gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does a man become the very thing he hunts?

This book was awesome. It was both scary and full of gore. Sometimes gore is unnecessary, but when it comes to a book about monsters and the scientists who study them, it was very fitting. There were so may scary parts in the book, scenes in cemeteries and a psychiatric hospital are some of the highlights. Yancey did a wonderful job describing the monsters in a truly terrifying way. From the very beginning of the book when the corps of one of the Anthropophagi is described it is clear that these creatures will be brutal killers and I was not disappointed. Even the inside cover of the book is creepy! Even if you aren't planning on buying the book, it is worth just picking it up at the book store to look at.

"The Monstrumologist" has more than just terror and adventure. All the characters in the book were well developed. Even though I didn't like Warthrop, he was a great character to see unfold. It was hard to watch Will Henry follow him so devotedly after the way Warthrop treats him. Each new character introduced had a story and personal demons. I can definitely see that there is room for this series to grow based off of the characters alone. That isn't even considering the many terrible creatures that Yancey can dream up in the next books. I am looking forward to more in the series, but I'm not really sure what can top the first book. What can be more terrifying than graveyards and mental institutions?

October 13, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

"The Forest of Hands and Teeth"
Carrie Ryan

Excerpt from page 7:
I know that in my life there have been breaches but I also know that I am very good at blocking out the memories that serve me no purpose. I can fear the Unconsecrated well enough without them.

I am 100 pages into this book and it is killing me that I need to stop reading to do homework. I was sitting in a small diner eating lunch and I had no idea that over an hour went by. That says a lot!

Teaser Tuesdays was started by MizB on her blog. On Teaser Tuesdays participants are asked to grab the book they are currently reading and open it to a random page. Then fist two "teaser" sentences on that page between lines 7 and 12. The key is to entice readers to pick up the book without giving away any spoilers.

October 11, 2009

On My Chair

This is where I post the books that I borrow from the library, buy, or I receive via mail in the last week.

"The Grand Tour" By Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

Dear Reader,
We are having the most wonderful time on our tour of Europe with our new husbands, Thomas and James. We've been shopping in Paris, sightseeing in the Alps, and riding gondolas in Venice-there's nothing like exploring the Continent!
However, there have been some troublesome moments. There was the midnight intruder who left behind a fashionable Turkish slipper. We also always seem to be running into the same peculiar people on our visits to ancient sites. An, oh yes, there was our discovery of the mysterious parcel that hints at a murderously magical plot of international importance!
Clearly, this isn't quite the calm and relaxing journey we were expecting, But this Grand Tour is turning out to be the best adventure of our lives!
Love, Cecy and Kate

I saw this book and fell in love with the cover. I also found out that it is considered "steampunk", which is a genre I haven't read much of. I am all about reading outside my comfort zone.

"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"
By John Boyne

Berlin 1942 When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

This book was at the library and I had to pick it up. I have heard great things and I have to read it before I see the movie. I'm 4 chapters in and enjoying it so far!

By Kristin Cashore

She is the last of her kind...

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don't need to have read Graceling to love Fire. But if you haven't, you'll be dying to read it next.

I've been waiting for this book to be released for MONTHS! I bought it the day it came out, I just wish I had more time to read. All the amazing reviews only make me more excited to read it!

"The Day the Falls Stood Still"
By Cathy Marie Buchanan

Steeped in the intriguing history of Niagara Falls, this epic love story is as rich, spellbinding, and majestic as the falls themselves. 1915. The dawn of the hydroelectric power era in Niagara Falls. Seventeen-year-old Bess Heath has led a sheltered existence as the youngest daughter of the director of the Niagara Power Company. After graduation day at her boarding school, she is impatient to return to her picturesque family home near Niagara Falls. But when she arrives, nothing is as she had left it. Her father has lost his job at the power company, her mother is reduced to taking in sewing from the society ladies she once entertained, and Isabel, her vivacious older sister, is a shadow of her former self. She has shut herself in her bedroom, barely eating-and harboring a secret. The night of her return, Bess meets Tom Cole by chance on a trolley platform. She finds herself inexplicably drawn to him-against her family's strong objections. He is not from their world. Rough-hewn and fearless, he lives off what the river provides and has an uncanny ability to predict the whims of the falls. His daring river rescues render him a local hero and cast him as a threat to the power companies that seek to harness the power of the falls for themselves. As their lives become more fully entwined, Bess is forced to make a painful choice between what she wants and what is best for her family and her future. Set against the tumultuous backdrop of Niagara Falls, at a time when daredevils shot the river rapids in barrels and great industrial fortunes were made and lost as quickly as lives disappeared, The Day the Falls Stood Still is an intoxicating debut novel.

This book was a fantastic price and it had wonderful reviews.... I couldn't pass it up! I may not get to it for a while, but it ended up being almost 75% off.

Feel free to share the books you received this week by leaving a link to your blog. This meme (In My Mailbox) is brought to you by Kristi's (The Story Siren)

October 10, 2009

"Dairy Queen" is Delicious

"Dairy Queen"
by Catherine Gilbert Murdock


Synopsis: When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.

Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D. J. can’t help admitting, maybe he’s right.

When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.

Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn’t so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won’t even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league.

When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.

Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D. J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.

I really loved this book! I randomly just grabbed the audio off the shelves at the library the other day and I could not stop listening to it. Not only was the story awesome, but also thought Natalie Moore did a beautiful job making D.J. come to life through her narration. I really felt a connection with D.J. as a character even though she is very different from me (I could definitely relate to the older brother football star thing though). Even though she works on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, her life is more complicated than anyone I know. Catherine Gilbert Murdock created a character that anyone can root for in "Dairy Queen". I also really enjoyed the characters Brian and Curtis. Curtis may say very littler, but I just like the interactions that he has with D.J. It is a very believable brother-sister relationship. Murdock's character Brian was also very interesting to me because he never quite did what I expected him to. He surprised me a lot of the times, which I found nice. Even though the book was quite charming, it definitely hit on some hard issues addressing homosexuality and less than perfect family life.

Whether you listen to it on audio, which I strongly recommend, or pick up a paper copy, I think almost anyone will enjoy this book. I think I would suggest it to people who enjoy Sarah Dessen's books. It seems to hit along those lines with the family issues, friends, romance, and what it means to find yourself. I will definitely be reading more of Murdock's books and hope to get my hands on both "The Off Season" and "Front and Center" soon!

October 3, 2009

Cybils Voting Is Open!

Voting is now open for the 2009 Cybils awards! Nominate your favorite books this year by going here and filling out the nomination form. There are multiple genres you can vote on, but please only vote once per category. Voting is only open through the 15h, so be sure to think about your top books and nominate them ASAP!

October 1, 2009

Legendary October Book Release

October 1st
"Ballad: The Gathering of Faerie"- Maggie Stiefvater
Maggie Stiefvater is a beautiful writer and I know a lot of people have been waiting for this sequel of "Lament: Faerie Queen's Deception" to appear on shelves! I loved "Shiver" and am looking forward to reading more of her works.

October 5th
"Fire"- Kristin Cashore

I read Graceling when it first came out and loved it. I have been dying for this book to come out for months. All the amazing reviews for the book have only heightened my anticipation!

October 6th
"Van Alen Legacy" (Blue Bloods Series #4)- Mellissa De La Cruz
I haven't read this series yet, but everyone I know has been trying to get me to read it. This book is definitely going on my to read list.

October 13th
"Hush, Hush"- Becca Fitzpatrick
I have been hearing wonderful reviews for this book. I can't wait to read it and see if it lives up to the hype!

October 15th
"ArchEnemy" (The Looking Glass Wars)- Frank Beddor

This is another series that I hear is a must read. I know a lot of people who will be excited to hear that this book is coming out.

"Gateway"- Sharon Shinn

I found this book simply by browsing the new releases on Amazon. The cover is beautiful and I have trouble resisting books that involve parallel worlds.

October 27th
"Tempted" (House of Night Series #6)- P.C. Cast

I have only read the first book in this series, but I thought it was awesome. I want to read the series together, so the House of Night series is going at the top of my Christmas list!

Thursday Update

I am so excited that I got myself back to running at the gym today! I should really say jogging because the treadmill was only at 5.0... but it just isn't as exciting when I put it that way. I need to find some good audio books to listen to at the gym. I just finished "Dead and Gone" and need something new and exciting. If anyone has suggestions I would be grateful!

I Watched Can’t Hardly Wait last night. I forgot how many celebrities are in it. I’m not just talking about Freddie Prinze Jr., Mattthew Lillard, and Paul Walker. Sarah Michelle Gellar appears for 5 seconds. Anna Paquin plays Zach’s sister. Lil’ Kim is one of Taylor Vaughan’s friends and we can’t forget Usher as the DJ. I love watching older movies because you realize all the random people who are in them. Even though the movie is really cheesy and my high school was NOTHING like it, I still have a special place in my heart for it.

I think that is it for this week. School is taking over my life again, so I don't have too much excitement going on. Luckily it is only for 2 more months!

September 30, 2009

"My Soul To Take" is Mysterious

"My Soul To Take"
Rachel Vincent


Synopsis: She doesn't see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next…

I thought this book was really original. I had heard a little bit about the myths that this story is based off of, but I honestly knew very little. I really enjoyed learning about Kaylee's "gift" and the supernatural world surrounding her. Even though I liked Nash's character, for some reason I was really drawn to Todd. I just found him a bit more interesting; it is probably because he is more mysterious. Vincent kept me guessing throughout the whole book, I honestly had no idea who or what was responsible for the deaths of the teenage girls until it was revealed at the end. I may have figured out some of the twists before they happened, but not the one that mattered most.

Vincent did a great job creating multiple layers to the plot leaving plenty of room for more books. I feel like "My Soul To Take" just skimmed the surface of a world that gets darker as it goes deeper. I hope we learn more about both Kaylee and Nash's families in future books. I am really excited for the next book in the series "My Soul To Save". I would post the synopsis on here, but it would give things away for people who haven't read "My Soul To Take". Learn more about the second book and read the prequel Novella to the series, "My Soul To Lose", here.

September 22, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Rick Yancey
Excerpt from page 14:

Upon the table lay a young girl, her body partially concealed by the naked form wrapped around her, one massive leg thrown over her torso, and arm draped across her chest. Her white burial gown was stained with the distinctive ochre of dried blood the source of which was immediately apparent: Half her face was missing, and below it I could see the exposed bones of her neck.

So far I am loving this book. It is definitely not for the faint of heart, but is perfect for someone looking to be scared and maybe even a little grossed out. It is perfect for the R.I.P. IV Book Challenge I am participating in and is making me want to put up my Halloween decorations!

Teaser Tuesdays was started by MizB on her blog. On Teaser Tuesdays participants are asked to grab the book they are currently reading and open it to a random page. Then fist two "teaser" sentences on that page between lines 7 and 12. The key is to entice readers to pick up the book without giving away any spoilers.

September 21, 2009

New Layout

I changed the layout of my blog and created a header. I like it a lot, but let me know what you think! If anything is hard to read please let me know, style does not supersede functionality!

"City of Glass" is a Fantastic Conclusion

"City of Glass"
By Cassandra Clare


To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters — never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and her best friend, Simon, has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City — whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling The Mortal Instruments.

After reading "City of Ashes" I didn't think the series could get any better, but I honestly loved "City of Glass" even more. Even though I was able to predict a lot of the outcomes in the book overall, I still enjoyed every second of reading. I loved the addition of Sebastian to the story and thought Clare pulled off the characters perfectly (this may sound weird if you haven't read the books, but if I say anymore it will give too much away). I really enjoyed how we got a better understanding of the Clave in this final book. I could see why Valentine had such hatred for them, even though I did not agree with his ideals. All the details that Clare added to this final book wrapped up all the details in the first two books in a seamless manner. I got the sense that Clare took her time when developing this series and took the time to connect all the dots.

"The Mortal Instruments" books are a must read for anyone who enjoys the supernatural, adventures, vampires, werewolves, or is just looking for a new series. I have seen adults who enjoy these books just as much as teens, which I think this is a true compliment. If it crosses a generation gap then it is something that can be relatable and appreciated by a wide variety of people. The hardcover box set of the series is coming out October 27 and is definitely worth the price. I saved up to buy all three in hardcover and I am glad I spent the money!

Consumed by "City of Ashes"

"City of Ashes"
By Cassandra Clare


Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace.How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

Even though I thought the first book in this series was great, I enjoyed this book even more. I'm not sure if I found the first book a little slow, but I could not stop reading "City of Ashes". By the end of the book I was so invested in the Clary and Jace relationship that I had to take a break between the third book because I was so frustrated at them. This only happens with me when I am completely in love with the characters (if this happens to anyone else, please let me know because I feel pretty silly about it). I don't think there was a single character in the book that I could have done without, they were all so richly developed. I wasn't a huge fan of Simon in "City of Bones", I thought he was a bit obnoxious, but he even won me over. There was a lot of internal struggle in many of the characters in this book and Clare was able to bring them to the front of the story without slowing down the plot at all.

This is a book that should go in your must read pile. Check out the series at the website here. You can find an excerpt from "City of Ashes" here and more about upcoming books by the author. A prequel series is in the works!

September 20, 2009

Short Story Sundays

I decided to take a break from my usual ghost story collection and read some stories from "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark". I read The Girl Who Stood On a Grave, A New Horse, Alligators, and Room for One More.

The Girl Who Stood On a Grave is about a girl who is dared to stand on a grave. She completes her dare, but the story ends in a very surprising way. I think this was my favorite one of the four. I could totally see myself in that situation and having the same thing happen. I rate it a 4 because the ending was not at all what I expected and to me it was creepy.

Room for One More was my second favorite of the four stories. It is about a man's odd dream and how part of it plays out in real life. I know that isn't much to go on, but you must remember these stories are about a page long. This was another 4 for me.

A New Horse tells the story about a guy who claims that a witch is turning him into a horse at night and riding him around town. One night he manages to reverse the role and has his own fun with the witch. I found this story to just be completely goofy, not scary at all. I give it a 2.5 because it was okay, but I could have skipped reading it.

Alligators was another story I found to be kind of goofy. It divulges the tale of a woman who claimed that her husband was turning into an alligator. When they had children, she believed he was trying to turn them into alligators too. This one I felt had a little more scare appeal than A New Horse, so I grade it a 3.

These were some of my favorite stories growing up and I was not disappointed while rereading some of them. Even if some of the stories weren't scary, they were amusing enough to keep your attention for the short span that they lasted. Overall I rate "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" a 4 and it will be a book I keep in my collection forever.

*Sorry that this post is late! I've been having issues with my smoke detector for almost 24 hours and it just got fixed less than 4o minutes ago.

On My Chair

This is where I post the books that I borrow from the library, buy, or I receive via mail in the last week.

Rick Yancey

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed.

But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets.

The one who saved me...and the one who cursed me.

So begins the journal of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

Critically acclaimed author Rick Yancey has written a gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does a man become the very thing he hunts?

I saw this book at work and had to borrow it. It just sounds really cool and seems like the perfect book to get me in the mood for Halloween! It even fits perfect with the book challenge I am participating in. I am going to start it as soon as I finish all my blog postings! Enjoy the trailer as an extra tease!

This meme (In My Mailbox) is brought to you by Kristi's (The Story Siren)

September 17, 2009

Thursday Update

This is my big news of the week. The car that I've had for 8 years has finally driven over 100,000 miles! I really hope that it continues to be as reliable as it has been. The car is only a month or so shy of being 10... *crosses fingers*.
In other news, I finished "My Soul To Take", which I thought was awesome! I hope to post a review soon, but school is taking over my life. I have at least 300 pages of text book reading to do over the next week, so it may be a while before I get all caught up.
I thought there was something else I wanted to write about... but I am seriously dead tired and I can't think of it. I think I'll read some scary stories before I go to bed and hope they don't give me nightmares.

September 13, 2009

Short Story Sunday: Harry

This week I read "Harry" by Rosemary Timperley, which is the second story in "Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories".

"Harry " is a story about Mrs. James who becomes very concerned when daughter starts talking to her "brother" Harry. Mrs. James cannot see this Harry, but sometimes sees shadows by the rosebushes where her daughter, Christine, talks to him. Mr. James writes the daughters behavior off as her just being lonely and needing a friend to talk to, but Mrs. James isn't convinced even after a doctor agrees with her husband. Mrs. James only hope is that Christine will loses interest in Harry when she starts school and has children her own age to play with.

Even though this story wasn't anymore creepy than the last one I read, I think I enjoyed it a bit more. It was interesting to learn about Harry and I didn't find the story quite as predictable as "W.S.". I could also empathize with Mrs. James's situation. She is trying to be a good mother, but her feelings towards her daughter's behavior take over her better judgment. It is really interesting to see how this plays out throughout the story. I think "Harry" could be pretty creepy if you were a mother with a child who talks to an imaginary friend. I am giving it a 3.5 because I really liked it, but I didn't love it.

September 10, 2009

Thursday Update

Today is a big day! It is my first day of classes for my last semester of my graduate degree! I have been in school for far too many years in a row. I am so excited to have only 3 more months left.
In book related news, I have already completed 3 books for the R.I.P IV Challenge (in the order I completed them): "Shiver", "City of Glass", and "From Dead to Worse". I will probably finish "My Soul to Take" by the end of the week, so I'll have met that goal of the challenge already. This does not mean I will stop reading books for the challenges, I want to read at least 2 more for me to review! I should probably start focusing on the short stories... that might be a good game plan!
I watched "28 Days Later" for the first time in years and I forgot how awesome it was. That movie has everything going for it. The plot is great, you root for the characters the whole movie, the music is wonderful, and the cinematography just adds to the horror of it all! I don't care if people think the idea of being infected with rage is stupid, because I think it sounds pretty scary to me.
I really wanted to write more, but I have so much to do before my classes start today. Happy Thursday everyone!

September 8, 2009

"Shiver" Warms My Heart

"Shiver" by
Maggie Stiefvater


Synopsis: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

I truly love this book! It has romance, mystery, and a new spin on werewolves. Add beautiful writing to the mix and you have a fantastic read! I could not put this book down and on multiple occasions I ended up working out for over 45 minutes without even realizing it. I even thought the setting of the book was wonderful. I could just imagine being in a small town surrounded by woods and little else. A place with cozy bookshops and candy stores... although I have to admit I really don't like the cold, but it was the perfect setting for this book. I honestly would have given this book a five, but I enjoy books that make my brain explore new ideas that they haven't before. Not that the new spin on werewolves wasn't great, but I just left the book content and found it easy to move on to another book.

If you want to hear Stiefvater read the first two chapters of the book just click here. Her website also has a link to an excerpt from the book, her bio, lists of her other works, and more. I posted one of the trailers she has posted on her website, it is courtesy of Expanded Books.

Teaser Tuesdays

"My Soul To Take"
Rachel Vincent
Excerpt from page 76:

Coach Tucker loomed on the edge of the green-and-white central throng, her sneakers spread wide for balance, pulling kids out of the way one at a time even as she shouted into a clunky, school-issue, handheld radio. Finally the crowd parted for her, revealing a motionless female form lying on the brown grass, one arm thrown out at her side.

Teaser Tuesdays was started by MizB on her blog. On Teaser Tuesdays participants are asked to grab the book they are currently reading and open it to a random page. Then fist two "teaser" sentences on that page between lines 7 and 12. The key is to entice readers to pick up the book without giving away any spoilers.

September 7, 2009

Oops on post for Short Story Sundays!

It was brought to my attention that the story I read that I thought was written by Roald Dahl was actually just part of a collection compiled by him. "W.S." was actually written by L.P. Hartley and the text that is in the book is a renewed version by Hamish Hamilton. Sorry that I passed along false information! I feel really silly for this confusion. This is a perfect example of why you shouldn't skip the introductions in books.

September 6, 2009

Short Story Sundays: W.S.

For my first Short Story Sunday post that is a part of the the R.I.P IV Challenge, I have chosen W.S. by L.P. Hartley. I've had "Roald Dahl's Ghost Stories" sitting on my bookshelf for over 4 years, and I am finally taking this opportunity to read some of the selections from this book of Roald Dahl's favorite ghost stories.

I chose to read the first story in the book "W.S.", which is about a writer named Walter Streeter who starts getting disconcerting post cards in the mail by an anonymous sender who simply signs them W.S. "W.S." is only 10 pages that tells how these postcards effect Walter Streeter and concludes with discovering the identity of W.S. I can't say more than that because it would give the story away.

I have to admit that "W.S.", was a little disappointing. It was a fine story, but just didn't have the creep factor that I was hoping for. On my rating scale it gets a 3 out of 5. It is definitely a story where the more you think about it the creepier it gets, but I was expecting it to be more sinister. I am going to continue to read more from this book and I'm sure I'll find something more to my liking. I will keep you updated on my findings!

*Incase you didn't see the post written after this one or the comments on this post, I originally said that this story was written by Roald Dahl instead of L.P. Hartley. I was totally confused and thought this collection was of Dahl's works and found myself being corrected by a fellow blogger (thanks again Carl!). Sorry for the incorrect information, I really wasn't paying attention and I totally messed up.

On My Chair

This is where I post the books that I borrow from the library, buy, or I receive via mail in the last week.

"Soul Screamers: My Soul to Take"
by Rachel Vincent


She doesn't see dead people, but...

She sense when someone near her is about to die. And when it happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoying having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next...

It has taken me weeks to get this book in my hands, but it finally came into the library this week! I just hope it is as good as everyone says. I am currently reading "City of Glass", but as soon as I'm finished with it then I'll jump into "My Soul To Take".

This meme (In My Mailbox) is brought to you by Kristi's (The Story Siren)