May 31, 2009

"How I Live Now" Raised Some Questions

"How I Live Now"
by Meg Rosoff


After being sent to live with her aunt and cousins in England, Daisy finds herself on a farm in a foreign country that is fighting a war. She feels an immediate connections with her cousins, especially Edmond who seems to have the ability to read her thoughts. Daisy's feelings for Edmond start to grow into something that she knows is inappropriate. One day her Aunt goes out of the country for work and ends up stranded when the war reaches a boiling point. Daisy and her cousins are left in solitude away from all the drama unfolding around the country. They start to act like their own little family and Daisy's relationship with Edmond becomes intimate. Right when Daisy thinks everything is perfect, their house is taken over by the army and the cousins are separated into two groups. Will their family ever reconnect? Will Daisy be able to find her way back to Edmond?

I was really surprised that this book won 3 awards, including the Printz Award. I thought the book was good, but I found it to be a little dry. The story sounded really interesting, but I just wasn't drawn into the story. I think the major problem for me was Rosoff's style of writing. Everything was told through Daisy's perspective, but there were no quotations for what individuals were actually saying. Everything was forced through the lens of Daisy, so I didn't really feel connected to any of the other characters. Everyone felt pretty flat to me because of this way of writing. I guess this would be a more reliable interpretation of how a teenager would tell a story and it would bring up questions as to the accuracy of Daisy's perceptions of other characters. Although, I'm not necessarily sure this was what Rosoff was trying to do. I guess I spent a lot of time focusing on Daisy and I wasn't sure how to feel about the rest of the characters. I also wasn't sure how I felt about Daisy and Edmond's relationship. Rosoff dealt with the topic in a professional manner but the relationship between the characters still irked me.

The only part of the book I really liked was the end. I thought it wrapped up in a way that was appropriate and made me feel refreshed after everything that was going on throughout the book. I feel like this is a book that would be good for discussing in a book club, but i am left unsatisfied. Even though the ending was good, I just wish I understood more clearly the choices the author made.

There are a lot of great reviews of this online; however, I really wish I had a teen perspective on the book. If anyone is interested in reading this book, please let me know. I'm trying to clear out my bookshelves, so I'm going to try to give away books that I really liked that aren't my absolute favorites. If anyone wants to read "How I Live Now", then please let me know. Either post here, or e-mail me. If a get multiple responses (more than 2 or 3) I may post a contest, but I don't think that is likely. If I don't throw a contest then it will just be first come first serve.

Contest: "Catching Fire"

Yes you heard me correctly! Review X is giving away one copy of "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins! This contest will only be open for a short period (no specific day is listed on the blog currently) so hurry up and enter! I have a friend reading this ARC and so far she says it's FANTASTIC. "The Hunger Games" is one of my favorite books ever, so I'm really excited about this contest. Click here to learn more or enter!

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.

"A Brief Chapter In My Impossible Life"
by Dana ReinardtSynopsis:
Simone’s starting her junior year in high school. Her mom’s a lawyer for the ACLU, her dad’s a political cartoonist, so she’s grown up standing outside the organic food coop asking people to sign petitions for worthy causes. She’s got a terrific younger brother and amazing friends. And she’s got a secret crush on a really smart and funny guy–who spends all of his time with another girl.

Then her birth mother contacts her. Simone’s always known she was adopted, but she never wanted to know anything about it. She’s happy with her family just as it is, thank you.

She learns who her birth mother was–a 16-year-old girl named Rivka. Who is Rivka? Why has she contacted Simone? Why now? The answers lead Simone to deeper feelings of anguish and love than she has ever known, and to question everything she once took for granted about faith, life, the afterlife, and what it means to be a daughter.

"What the Dickens"
by Gregory Maguire
It's the story of What-the-Dickens, a newly hatched orphan creature who finds he has an attraction to teeth, a crush on a cat named McCavity, and a penchant for getting into trouble. One day he happens upon a feisty girl skibberee who is working as an Agent of Change--trading coins for teeth--and learns that there is a dutiful tribe of skibbereen (call them tooth fairies) to which he hopes to belong. As his tale of discovery unfolds, however, both What-the-Dickens and Dinah come to see that the world is both richer and less sure than they ever imagined.

"Are We There Yet"
by David Levithan
Sixteen-year-old Elijah is completely mellow and his 23-year-old brother Danny is completely not, so it's no wonder they can barely tolerate one another. So what better way to repair their broken relationship than to trick them into taking a trip to Italy together? Soon, though, their parents' perfect solution has become Danny and Elijah's nightmare as they're forced to spend countless hours together. But then Elijah meets Julia, and soon the brothers aren't together nearly as much. And when Julia suddenly decides that maybe it's Danny she's really interested in, Danny has a decision to make: does he honor his relationship with the brother he thinks hates him, or does he follow his heart, which sorely needs some repairing of its own?

This meme (In My Mailbox) is brought to you by Kristi's (The Story Siren)
Synopses taken from Barnes and Noble (

May 27, 2009

Contest: "Got Zombie?"

Fantastic Book Review is holding a contest for the first two installments in the "Generation Dead" series. I haven't read either book, but I am looking for a good zombies series to read so I will definitely be entering. It does end at midnight Friday May 29th, so hurry up and enter! Click here to learn more or to enter the contest.

May 26, 2009

Perfect Conclusion to the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" Series

"Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian"
Rick Riordan


With Percy's 16th Birthday only days away, the final battle for Western Civilization draws near. Krono's army has gained strength due support from the demi-gods and half-bloods that were recruited into his cause. As if worrying about the fate of the world isn't enough, Percy has a prophecy looming over his shoulders coming into fulfillment. With the gods and goddesses spread across the United States battling the Titan's forces, Mount Olympus is left vulnerable to attacks. Will Percy and the other half-bloods be able to create a strong enough alliance to help save Mount Olympus? Or will petty arguments and egos lead to the destruction of the modern world?

As with all of Rick Riordan's books, "The Last Olympian" grabs you from start to finish. Riordan's final installment wraps the whole series up wonderfully and is very satisfying. You can really tell the detail that was put into the characters throughout the series when reading the final book. Even though characters may have done things that surprise you, they didn’t do anything completely out of left field and stayed true to themselves from start to finish. All the characters that you love in the series make appearances and some that may have eluded us a bit in other books have important roles in the final story. I honestly don’t think there could have been a better completion to the series. I loved Riordan’s writing from beginning to end and I’m excited to read more of his works.

Incase you didn’t catch my earlier post about the signing I went to, Riordan announced that he will be releasing a new series about Camp Half-Blood next year. Some of the characters from the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series might show their faces, but the series will focus on new characters. I really would like to say more about the series, but it would give some spoilers away from the final book. Let’s just say Riordan leaves us with some interesting twists that will be explored in the new series. I cannot wait to see where the new series takes us!

Also, don't forget to enter the contest I have going for the 1st and final books in the series. Both books are hardcover copies that I had signed especially to give out on this blog. I kind of feel like a broken record about this contest, but this series is definitely at the top of my list for favorite books of all time. I just want more people to fall in love with it as I have.

Teaser Tuesdays

"How I Live Now"
by Meg Rosoff
Excerpt from page 53:

Piper and Edmond and Isaac and I used to watch this lunatic fringe milling around everyday around sunset and then Edmond and I would slip away up to the tiny bedroom at the top of the house or the big storage closet under the eaves or the lambing barn or one of about a thousand places we'd found where we could try and try and try to get enough of each other but it was like some witch's curse where the more we tried to stop being hungry the more starving we got.

It was the first t the first time in as long as I could remember that hunger wasn't a punishment or a crime or a weapon or a mode of self-destruction.

It was simply a way of being in love.

I know that this teaser is longer than 2 sentences, but I had to add the last sentence! The excerpt seemed incomplete without it!

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.

May 25, 2009

Quiz: What Kind of Reader Are You?

I saw this quiz on Carrie's YA Bookshelf, but she actually found it on Addicted to Books. It was a fun and quick quiz. Here are my results:

Your Reading Personality: Involved Eclectic!

Your responses showed you fitting into two different groups - the involved reader and the eclectic reader.

You don't just love to read books, you love to read about books. For you, half the fun of reading is the thrill of the chase - discovering new books and authors, and discussing your finds with others.

You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or to a limited range of authors.

Yeah... that quiz pretty much summed me up lol. If you decide to take the quiz then let me know what your results were!

Disappointed in "The Dust of 100 Dogs"

“Dust of 100 Dogs”
A.S. King


After being murdered and cursed in a former life to live one hundred dog lives, Emer has finally made back into a human body. Emer was one of the most feared pirates in the Caribbean, now she is living an average teenage life as Saffron Adams. The only difference is that she still has the violent urges, obsession with treasure, and a vivid memory of a past life. Her only goal in life is to ditch her loving family and find the treasure she buried one hundred lifetimes ago. The story is told in three parts: Emer’s past story, Saffron’s story, and Emer’s brief insights into dogs. This book is about pirates, so there is violence, sex, and strong language in the book. None of this bothered me, but it is something that I feel people should be aware of when picking up this title.

Overall I thought the book was good. I really enjoyed Emer’s story and found it interesting to see how she was involved in Saffron’s life. I thought the parts where Emer described the lessons that can be learned from her experiences as a dog were a little tedious. I understand why they were in the book (she did live as a dog 100 times), but for me it really broke up the two other stories. I really found Emer’s character to be interesting, but Saffron didn’t seem to be flushed out until the end of the book. I loved how the book ended; I just wish I had been as satisfied with the rest of the book as I was with the end. I think this book is most suited for people who love both pirates and dogs. It was very unique and entertaining, but not a very satisfying read. This book could have been a little too hyped up for me. Pirates + stellar reviews= a let down.

May 24, 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.
Since I haven't posted in a while, I am going to be including a book that I received a few weeks ago.

"Something To Blog About" by Shana NorrisSynopsis: Boys, bullies, and blogs! Libby Fawcett decides to start a secret blog so that she can have an outlet to vent her feelings and frustrations. When Seth Jacobs (her crush since eighth grade) witnesses her tragic (and comic) run-in with a Bunsen burner in chemistry class, or when she finds out that her mother is dating the father of her arch-nemesis, Angel Rodriguez, she’s able to keep a level head and make it through school each day with each blog posting. But when her entries get posted all over for the whole world to see, will Libby be able to walk the halls—or face Seth—ever again?

"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...

I am really excited about this book because I won it from a contest on Carrie's YA Bookshelf. Thanks Carrie for posting a contest for this title, I never would have about this book if it weren't for your posts about it!

I also borrowed "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson, but I believe most people are pretty familiar with this title so I won't be posting a picture or putting a synopsis. I have heard so many great things about Anderson's books, but I haven't read any. I figured it was time to crack one open!

I borrowed this idea from Kristi's (The Story Siren) posts entitled "In My Mailbox".

May 21, 2009

Thursday Update

I want to apologize again for disappearing for a few weeks. I serious was running around like crazy! One of the major reasons that I was so crazed was that I just moved to a new apartment. I am still moving some stuff in, but for the most part I am finally done. I just have 3 more boxes of stuff to put away. I really want to post pictures of my beautiful apartment, but I haven’t figured out where to get rid of all the boxes I used to move.
Another reason I was so busy was because I had my 24th birthday last weekend. I can't believe I'm 24... I know it isn't old or anything, but it just goes by so fast! The crazy thing is that I've been so busy that I haven't even had a chance to celebrate with anyone besides my parents and brother. I spent my birthday buying new furniture for my apartment and unpacking boxes. It was totally worth it though : )
I also had an event I was planning for work and I went to Rick Riordan's author signing. He spoke before the signing and told everyone about some of his new projects. He is going to be releasing a new series about Camp Half-Blood focusing on different characters. He is also working on a series of modern day Egyptian mythology. The Camp Half-Blood book and the first book of his new series will both be released next year! I am SOO excited. I just love his writing style!
Another project that I've been working on is finding a way to hook up my computer to my TV so that I can watch Netflix instant play movies offline on my TV. I FINALLY got it working last night and it is the coolest thing! The picture quality is amazing and I don't have to watch movies on my tiny computer screen. The sound quality isn't too great, but it would be the same as if I was watching it off my laptop speakers. Overall it was a great investment and was well worth the $30 dollars I spent on cables.
ALSO, I started an Internship at a library this week, so I'm basically working a 55-hour workweek from now until the end of July. That means no days off from work, unless I use vacation time. It is going to be a crazy few months, but I'll do my best to post regularly.

May 20, 2009

Contest: Two Signed Book From The Percy Jackson Series!!!

Contest for two signed hardcover books in the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series": "The Last Olympian" and "The Lightning Thief".

(This is a picture of the actual books you can win!)

Yes I am holding my first blog contest! I was lucky enough to go to a book signing that author Rick Riordan was having in Wesley Massachusetts last week and I put him to work signing books! I have to say I feel kind of guilty... but I thought people might be really excited about having two signed books by an amazing author! If you haven't read any of Rick's books, then here is a great chance to get the first and last books free! I wish I could have gotten the whole series for you guys, but I have no money.

Here are the contest rules:
The contest will end at midnight Wednesday June 17th Eastern Standard Time (so entries must be in by 11:59 on Tuesday June 16th). To enter just respond to this post with your e-mail address. You will get 1 entry for just letting me know you're interested in the contest, 2 entries for following my blog previous to this post, 1 entry for becoming a follower, and 2 entries for posting this contest on your blog. That means in grand total you could have up to 5 entries into the contest if you were already a follower of my blog and up to 4 entries if you were to add my blog after this post. This contest is limited to US residents (sorry to everyone this excludes). The winner will be selected totally randomly and I will contact them by e-mail.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if I left any important information out of this post. This is my first contest so I am really hoping it is a success. If anyone has any suggestions or feedback, feel free to contact me through e-mail. My e-mail is

P.S. Sorry I have been absent from the blogging world for so long... I have had an intense month so far! A lot of exciting things are going on and I have just been running around like crazy. I'll let everyone know what I've been up to on Thursday. I hope I haven't missed too much these past few weeks.

May 5, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays: "The Last Olympian"

"Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian"
by Rick Riordan
Excerpt from page 55:

The more nervous I am, the worse my reading gets. "A half-blood of the eldest gods... shall reach sixteen against all odds..."

I am sooo excited to read this book! I just came out today and I was freaking out because my store ran out of copies! Luckily I went to a different one that had plenty. If you haven't read this series, I seriously suggest that you go to the bookstore right now and buy all five books. This is one of my favorite series of all time. Rick Riordan's writing is both humorous and action packed. Even though these are technically geared towards a younger crowd, anyone will get sucked into this series. I already got a bunch of people at work hooked on it. : ) I really hope this final book lives up to the rest of the series.

Now that I'm on the topic of Rick Riordan, I am going to his signing next week and I am super excited! I am getting a bunch of books signed and I may even get a couple of extra signed for the first contest I will hold. If everything turns out the way I hope then I'll be posting more about this by the end of next week.

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.