Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I'm sure you will not be surprised when I say:

"I need to take a break from book blogging."

My blog is getting more and more boring and sporatic. My heart just isn't into it right now. I may come back to it in the future, but for right now this will be my last post.

I am on goodreads and am going to keep up reviews there. If you'd like to be my friend or follow, here I am.

Thanks to everyone who has read my blog! It's been a pleasure. I'll be hovering around, reading and commenting on blogs here and there. So I won't completely disappear.

And as for the winners for my giveaways from a few weeks ago, Romeo Redeemed went to Lexie@bookbug, and The FitzOsbornes at War goes to Stephanie. Thanks everyone for entering!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

ALA recap and GIVEAWAYS!

I went to ALA last weekend. It was wonderful. I got a lot of books signed by cool authors and spent a lot of money buying books and picked up a lot of really exciting ARCs. Probably the highlight was stumbling across Maggie Stiefvator and the two readers for her book, The Scorpio Races. The Scorpio Races is one of my all time favorite audiobooks, and there, on the stage, were the voices of Puck and Sean! They WERE Puck and Sean (or also known as Steve West and Fiona Hardingham). It was surreal. And completely awesome. I am so sad I didn't get a picture taken with them! Really, so sad. Why didn't I? I don't know!

This is the best I did:

Sean is so handsome. Especially with that voice. Sigh...

I picked out the books I was most excited to read, and here they are:

They taunt me. Since ALA I've only read three books. I need more time in a day!

That brings us to my giveaways. Two of them. How awesome am I?

GIVEAWAY #1: The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper
This is the third and final book in the Montmaray Journals, historical fiction that takes place during WW2. I have really enjoyed this series and was so excited to get this book the very first day of ALA. I started it that night when I got back to the hotel. It was so meticulously researched and Sophie is so witty and the story was engrossing. I laughed a lot. I was disappointed in the character's attitudes towards sexuality, sex, and physical relationships. It did not ring true to the 1940s, it felt more like a soap opera from 2010.

There is a stipulation on winning this book: You have to have read at least the first book of the series. This is the third and I really like the series and I want to give it to someone who will actually read it, and won't leave it on a shelf to rot. Especially if I'm paying to ship it.

US only. Ends Sunday July 15

ENTER HERE for the FitzOsbornes at War

GIVEAWAY #2 Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay
I'm not sure why I picked this one up before all the others. I didn't like Juliet Immortal, but I got this one at ALA because I was interested to know what happened to Romeo. Where his story leaves off in JI was much more interesting than Juliet's story. So I read it. Liked it better than the first, but now it's time to pass it on to someone who cares.

Anyone can enter. As long as you live in the US. Ends Sunday July 16.

ENTER HERE for Romeo Redeemed 

Stay tuned! If I ever get the time to read the books I brought back from ALA, I'll probably have more giveaways. Unless I love them and want to keep them forever and reread them till they fall apart. Then not.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

review: The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

pub date: May 1, 2012
publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
pages: 295
source: ARC from publisher (with my job, not this blog FYI)
appeals: dystopic, future, royal family, romance, adventure, family
content: some violence and death

Three main things disappointed me about this book.

First, the writing. I felt like it was a travel log, a brief overview of events. Eliza went here, then there, then somewhere else. There was no depth or growth or excitement.

Second, the story. It was a weak plot. There wasn't much to it and by the end it was just a big let down. The characters just Were the way they Were. I didn't understand motivations behind actions beyond the simple fact that they needed to do something to keep the story moving forward.

Third, the romance. The love was instantaneous and unrealistic and boring.

That is all I've got. There isn't much more to say. I had to skim the last 100 pages just to get through it.

On the positive--the cover is cool. I just wish that what was inside matched.

A series of natural disasters has decimated the earth. Cut off from the rest of the world, England is a dark place. The sun rarely shines, food is scarce, and groups of criminals roam the woods, searching for prey. The people are growing restless.

When a ruthless revolutionary sets out to overthrow the crown, he makes the royal family his first target. Blood is shed in Buckingham Palace, and only sixteen-year-old Princess Eliza manages to escape.

Determined to kill the man who destroyed her family, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. She has nothing left to live for but revenge, until she meets someone who helps her remember how to hope—and to love—once more. Now she must risk everything to ensure that she not become... The Last Princess.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

review: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

pub date: June 8, 2010
publisher: EgmontUSA
pages: 418
source: Library
format: audio
appeals: wolves, romance, paranormal
content: some violence

Some books should not be listened to. This is one of them.

The first two discs NOTHING HAPPENED. Or at least very little happened, besides setting up this world of wolves through the eyes of Bryn, a human girl adoped by the pack as a four-year-old. Boring. And rather tedious. I'm not sure I would feel that the beginning was so tedious if I wasn't listening to EVERY WORD. While reading, I can skim.

Then there was also the repetition. Three different kinds of repetition.

1) Information. Repeated over and over and over and over. Again and again and again and again. Yes, I know you have a mark on your hip, under the waistband of your pants, Bryn. You've told me fifty times already! Yes, I know Callum is your alpha and you must obey. I GET IT.

2) Words. The same words. Blood. Blood, blood, blood, blood. BLOOD! I got the point. There is blood. Survive, survive, survive. SURVIVE! Are you saying you want to survive? That's what I assumed.

3) Ideas. Bryn would say something once, then again using different words. THEN A THIRD TIME using more different words. I GET IT. I got it the first time.

The repetition drove me CRAZY. It might have in book form also, but not to this extent.

The story did pick up around the ending of the fourth disc. Which I was very grateful for. And then the ending was rather cool and intriguing and for a few moments I thought about picking up the next in the series. But honestly--even skimming I don't know if I can deal with the repitition if it's anything like this book.

Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

pub date: August 30, 2011
publisher: Tor Teen
pages: 316
appeals: horror, male protagonist, friendship, ghosts
content: swearing (including a few f-bombs), gruesome dead people, intense scenes

For a while now I've struggled getting onto books. And I don't think it's always the book. I think it's me. What is wrong with me? I don't know, but I suppose that is for a different post, not this one.

As I mentioned above, this is one of the books I struggled getting into. I think part of it was because I had so much going on and was also reading two other books at the same time. Whatever the reason, I don't really think it was the story itself, and once I got to about page 80, I was hooked. And once I reached the end, I was so bummed I had to wait until August to get the next installment of the story. I wanted more. Series books kill me sometimes.

This was a really well written book, populated by great, realistic, charismatic characters that I really liked. What I really enjoyed was the ghost lore. And Anna Dressed in Blood and her creepiness. And the surprises in the plot and the very cool and suspenseful ending. Especially the ending. The romance was a little blah, but I like romantic romance in my books and this didn't get all that romantic, so it's just me.

So, that was really vague. Kind of useless, too. But I read this book a few months ago and all I got left is vague. But since I wrote this review, I'm going to post it anyway. Enjoy!

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

Monday, June 11, 2012

review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

pub date: March 22, 2011
publisher: Philomel
pages: 346
source: library
appeals: WWII, family, survival, labor camps, Lithuania, based on a true story
content: harsh treatment

I read this book months ago, but I didn't know what to write. Based on Truth books always throw me for a loop when I try to write my ideas down. But I've been wanting to write a review for a while, especially because the author, Ruta Sepetys, came to Utah a few months ago and I heard her speak. And WOW. It was amazing.

I knew very little about Stalin and what he did during WWII to the Lithuanians. Which, after reading this book and listening to Sepetys, I know that very few people did know about Stalin's treatment of the Lithuanians. Fantastic book, but also a difficult read. This is real life, based on real experiences. And it's just horrible. All the lives that ended, all the pain and heartache and loss so many people suffered.

I love the message of the novel, though: that there is darkness in the world, but there is also hope.

Like I mentioned, listening to Sepetys speak was a remarkable experience. I got teary-eyed as she shared stories. This book is based on so many different people's experiences, including her family's.

It's been a few months, so I might have some of the details wrong, but her grandfather was in the Lithuanian army and Stalin was arresting military men so he fled. His family thought he was dead, while he and immediate family, including Sepetys' father who was a young boy, were living in a refuge camp for several years before making their way to America. The family left in Lithuania were deported to Siberia because Sepetys' grandfather fled. Sepetys' freedom came at the price of her extended family's enslavement. This is written into the story, because Lina's cousin escapes to America, causing Lina and her family to be arrested. So awful.

Sepetys said that as she collected stories from survivors of the deportation, they would say things like, "This is a wonderful thing you're doing, but no one cares. The world doesn't care about us." So the fact that Between Shades of Gray has been published in so many countries is amazing and awesome.

If you haven't watched this video on the official Between Shades of Gray website, you should. Be warned, it's heart wrenching.

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously - and at great risk - documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

pub date: April 17, 2012
publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
pages: 355
source: for review at Kiss the Book
appeals: Space!, horror, scifi, suspense, life and death, future-ish
content: some swearing

It's been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of NASA's unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space--and change their lives forever.

Mia, from Norway, hopes this will be her punk band's ticket to fame and fortune.

Midori believes it's her way out of her restrained life in Japan.

Antoine, from France, just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible.

It's the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space... no one is coming to save them.

In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true.
I do not read suspense often, but I'm assuming that suspense books normally focus on story, and not so much on character's development. The first half of this story focused on characters, mostly the three teens who are chosen to go to the moon. But I never felt attached to the characters and there didn't seem to be much to them and they weren't really developed. Since there wasn't much going on, it was a little slow. And boring. It took me a week to get through the first half of the book.

Once the five astronauts and three teens got to the moon...much more interesting. Things were happening, people were dying (was that a spoiler? sorry if you hadn't guessed that already), and the suspense was good. But I also felt like it was rushed. Like I said, I don't read suspense so maybe I don't know what I'm writing about, but I think the suspense would have been more suspenseful if it had built over days, instead of hours. They are supposed to be on the moon for 172 of them, not 20. If between horrific events, the characters stewed about it a while... But, whatever. There was suspense and my interest was held. My impression of the book went up quite a bit.

I read the last of it while I was house sitting...and it rather freaked me out. I was in a strange house with strange noises. It was cool.

As for the premise...sending random teens up into space? Really? I get the publicity aspect of sending the teens (sort of), but I also thought it was a stupid idea. Especially because the higher ups at NASA have top secret information and they have specific goals for going to the moon (I think) and teens would just get in the way. And it's dangerous.

The whole, "what else is on the moon," question...the answer is odd. But cool. And the ending was good.

Let me just say, these "possibilities" will never come true.