Friday, December 31, 2010

visiting old friends

I didn't mean to take a vacation from blogging this past week. It just sort of happened. I have a large project for my church, as well as three books for work that I need to read but really am not wanting to. So I don't. And since I'm not working on my project or reading the books I need to read, I feel guilty if I read a different book. Or watch a movie. Or blog. So instead, I deep clean. It's my way of procrastinating without feeling guilty about it. I call it Productive Procrastination. My apartment hasn't been this clean in months.

While I was dusting my bookshelves earlier this week (I really hate dusting, which just shows how much I really don't want to do what I really need to do), I started picking up books and flipping through them, reading my favorite parts. It was like visiting old friends. What should've been a 20 minute job took a couple of hours. Who knew that dusting could be so fun? Not me!

I visited Valancy from The Blue Castle and Rilla from Rilla of Ingleside, both are my favorite books by L.M. Montgomery. Then there was Tisha. I'd actually forgotten I owned the book. I had to visit Louise and Caroline and Call and the Captain out on Rass Island in Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. Harry Crewe and Corlath in The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Gabriella in Dark Horse by Mary Herbert. And then Julie from Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt.

These were some of my favorite books growing up. I read them over and over and over again. I'm going to have to go dipping into my bookshelve again. It was really fun to visit (and not feel obligated to stay).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

review: The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

pub date: August 10, 2010
publisher: Razerbill
pages: 416
source: for review at kiss the book (blog for school librarians)
genre: paranormal YA
content: a couple swear words (like maybe 15), sex off the page, murder off the page

blurb from goodreads:
Haven Moore can't control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother's house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.


In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves¸ before all is lost and the cycle begins again.

me:
I didn't expect to like this book because it was about characters who had been reincarnated. Not a story element I'm a big fan of. However, I was intrigued after reading some blogger reviews so I picked it up anyway. I was surprised that I actually liked the reincarnation in The Eternal Ones. I liked it a lot. It made sense in the context of the story. I bought into it. I thought it was cool.

I also really liked Miller's writing. It was smooth, not clunky at all. Which I loved. This is a long book, but it didn't feel like a long book.

That is until the last third. Where things just got too ridiculous for my tastes. Because though I liked the reincarnation stuff in the book, there were two other things that bothered me: 1) Haven 2) Iain.

*****SLIGHT SPOILERS FOLLOW*****

Haven was cool to begin with. I liked her--until she got annoying. One moment she loves and trusts Iain. The next moment she loves and distrusts Iain. Sure, go back and forth three times (at the most!) but beyond that and it is annoying. Especially since whenever she doubted Iain it was because she was trusting someone she knew even less. Annoying. 

Though even more annoying is when she walks into Devil's clutches. Stupid girl.

As for Iain, how many lives has he known Haven for? Did he really believe that she'd be okay with half truths and lies? Did Iain expect she'd wait meekly at home because he said to trust that he knew best? Why is he surprised when Haven goes out to try to find the truth? This is the same woman he's always known for thousands of years and yet he obviously doesn't know her well.

Iain's reasoning for not telling Haven the truth didn't make sense to me. He would've avoided half of the problems they ran into if he'd explained what was going on. Having Haven bumble along in ignorance was a whole lot more dangerous than telling her about the OC.

*****SLIGHT SPOILERS OVER*****

I was also disappointed that Iain and Haven weren't together more. I would've loved it if instead of working apart (and against) each other for most of the book, after an initial hesitation on Haven's part, they would've worked together to figure out what was going on. They have an epic love story that spans through generations, yet I didn't really see any of that love myself. I'm just relying on past lives to believe in it and I felt cheated.

So because of the lack of communication between these two (supposedly in-love) protags, the ending fell apart for me. Which makes me sad because I really enjoyed the first part of the book.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

waiting on wednesday (6)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Visit her site to hook up.

I am so excited for Sarah Addison Allen's new book, The Peach Keeper. It comes out March 22. Yay!

When Willa Jackson's marriage to her college sweatheart crumbles, she returns to Walls of Water, the town where she grew up and where her family still lives. While struggling to find her place in a town that's no longer her true home, Willa uncovers a family feud that runs so deep it has caused two sisters not to speak for six decades, and finds a strangely secretive man who may be exactly what she needs.
Though Allen isn't a YA author, don't hold that against her. Her books are wonderful--I LOVE them. They're romantic and magical and amazing. I highly recommend her previous books. I can't make up my mind on which I like best, The Sugar Queen (though I don't like the paperback cover) or Garden Spells. It's usually the one I've read most recently. And I really enjoyed The Girl Who Chased the Moon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

review: I, Emma Freke by Elizabeth Atkinson

pub date: August 1, 2010
publisher: Carolrhoda Books
pgs: 240
source: netgalley
audience: middle grade book, ten and up
genre: comtemporary realistic fiction


blurb from goodreads:
"I, Emma Freke, am not a freak. Or maybe I am. I just don't know."


What's in a name? I, Emma Freke is a charming search-for-identity story about Emma―the only "normal" member of her quirky family. Her flighty, New Age mom seems to barely have time for a daughter, especially one who annoyingly spoils her mom's youthful fa├žade. Emma's well-meaning grandpa is clueless. And her only friends are the local librarian and a precocious 10-year old adopted by the two old ladies next door.


Smart, shy, and nearly six feet tall, Emma struggles to fit in at school, so she jumps at the opportunity to "home school" until that too turns into another of mom's half-baked ideas. The real crisis comes when she gets an invitation to The Freke Family Reunion, and her fellow Frekes aren't at all what she expects. While Emma desperately tries to find her niche, she discovers that perhaps it's better to be her own "freak" than someone else's Freke.


me:
I don't read middle grade books often, they just don't appeal to me. I get bored. When I requested this from netgalley I didn't catch that Emma was only 12. But once I had the book, I felt an obligation to read it. Wow, am I glad I did.

I really enjoyed I, Emma Freke and wasn't bored at all. Mostly because of the wonderful characters Elizabeth Atkinson wrote. They were fun. Emma was a gem. I liked seeing her world through her voice. Emma grows a lot through the book, from being shy and insecure, to finding that she's great the way she is. She finds her voice and speaks up for what she believes to be right. And because of the change in herself, Emma's able to change the people around her.



Emma's best friend, Penelope, is quite a character. As are Emma's Freke family members, all the aunts and uncles and cousins. They were all great, especially Fred Freke. I liked him.

As a librarian, I found it interesting that a librarian volunteered to homeschool Emma for three weeks at the library, while working at the reference desk. It seemed she was the only librarian that worked at the time, too. Which is unrealistic in my opinion, but maybe not. Maybe other librarians would find it possible to do? It didn't destract from the story. Just a little observation.  

This is a really fun book.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

review: The Karma Club by Jessica Brody

pub date: April 27, 2010
publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
pgs: 272
source: for review on Kiss the Book (a blog for school librarians)
genre: contemporary

blurb from goodreads:
Madison Kasparkova always thought she understood how Karma works. Do good things and you'll be rewarded, do something bad and Karma will make sure you get what you deserve. But when Maddy’s boyfriend cheats on her, nothing bad comes his way. That’s why Maddy starts the Karma Club, to clean up the messes that the universe has left behind. Sometimes, though, it isn’t wise to meddle with the universe. It turns out Karma often has plans of its own.

me:
I liked Maddie. She was a very engaging and entertaining character to read. I also liked her friends, though they were similar to each other so I got confused on who was who.

The plot was fun and had a nice pace. Though I couldn't help but feel bad for the boys on the receiving end of her inventive payback. They had all done scummy things, but I still felt bad to read about scummy things happening to them. Maddy does learn, though. About the worth of popularity and real friendship.  About how appearances are deceiving and gossip isn't always true. People change, sometimes even for the better. And without being preachy, but cushioned in a nice, fun, breezy story.

It reminded me of The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg, which I also enjoyed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

review: Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

pub date: 2004
publisher: HarperCollins
pgs: 544 (paperback--I listened to the audio)
audience: teen
source: library
genre: steampunk, adventure

blurb from goodreads:
Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, ferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt's always wanted; convinced he's lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist's granddaughter that he realizes that the man's ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.

me:
I liked Matt as the protagonist. He was an intelligent and passionate young man who loved what he did. There is a lot of adventure in this book, especially at the end where it got especially exciting. Loved the creature that Kate's grandfather discovered and the mysterious island the Aurora lands on. Very cool world building.

However, I found Kate extremely annoying. In the beginning I thought she was mildly irritating but by the middle she was pushing obnoxious. I appreciate persistence, but she couldn't see anything else but what she wanted and totally took advantage of Matt without ever recognizing what she was asking of him. She was so selfish and pigheaded! By the eighth disk, I can honestly say I hated her. Everything bad that happened in the last fourth of the book was caused by her. Without Matt and his ingenuity, the whole ship would have died. There was no apology from Kate. She got what she wanted in the end, so all is well. Hooray for her (not).

I listened to the book in my car--I wonder if I would've had such a violent reaction to her if I had been reading it instead?--and found myself yelling at Kate because she was being so STUPID. I told Matt repeatedly to just leave her behind, Kate deserved whatever she got. I finally picked up the book and read the last few chapters because I could not listen to her any longer but the story was all so exciting I needed to know how Matt would fix Kate's dumbness.

So yeah, Kate completely ruined the book for me. I realize I'm missing a very beautiful forest because of a tree, but she was a large tree who's branches kept whacking me in the face. And yes, sometimes I do get overly passionate about characters and so hopefully this review isn't too obnoxious, in and of itself.

I am interested in Matt and his later adventures, but since Kate is going to be in the books too (and the romantic lead, I'm assuming), I wont be picking them up. Sorry Matt, but I just can't handle more of Kate. I'm surprised you can.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Pub date: October 26, 2010
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pgs: 260 pgs
Source: library
Setting: Contemporary New York


Blurb from goodreads:
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”


So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?


Me:
This was a really fun book. I loved both Dash and Lily and their evolving relationship. Both very realistic teens who are rather unique. Their family and friends were so quirky and fun. So much humor, I was laughing through the whole thing. Like when Dash writes about the new Pixar movie, which was so ridiculously funny, and then references to the movie kept popping through the rest of the book, which made it that much more funny.

What made me like it even more was when I read the author blurbs after finishing the book. It said Cohn and Levithan emailed the story back and forth without planning any of it out beforehand. How totally awesome is that. Especially when it's a book about two characters writing notes back and forth to each other. Dash begins the book with how much he hates Christmas, then we meet Lily and find out how much she loves Christmas. It just made it that much more fun to know they made it up as they went.

I was worried that it would be like the movie Sleepless in Seattle, where Tom and Meg didn't meet until the last three minutes. But, luckily, Dash and Lily meet a lot sooner than the last three minutes and had some fun interactions before the last scene.

Great book for anytime of the year, but especially Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

review: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Pub date: November 11, 2010
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 192
Source: Library
audience: middle grade book, probably 5-7 grade

This tale is pretty dark and grimm, but also humorous with lots of adventure.

Hansel and Gretel are twins who run away from home when their father cuts off their heads to save a loyal servant. Hansel and Gretel get their heads back, or course, but it makes them leary of their parents so they go in search of new ones. For several years they wander through different fairy tales, looking for decent parents or at least a home. Some of the Grimms' fairy tales in the story are Faithful Johannes, The seven ravens, Brother and sister, The robber bridegroom, and The devil and his three golden hairs. Like the orginal Grimm, Gidwitz doesn't dumb it down.

There is violence and horrible things happen, but it isn't described. A wicked man steals souls and cuts up the bodies to cook them in a pot, but the reader doesn't read about how it smelled or looked or felt, we're just told it happened. Which makes it not so horrible. You know? And the wonderful author that Gidwitz is, he gives plenty of interruptions in the narrative to warn us off from continuing. And his interjections add a lot of the humor that I enjoyed so much about this book.

I think kids, especially boys, will love this book.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2 contests!

Hey all,
So Ashley over at Ashley's Bookshelf always posts about the coolest contests. That is how I found out about the following. Thanks Ashley!


Beth Revis, author of the upcoming Across the Universe, is having an Epic Contest of Epic. And it really is. 100 winners. Wow. If you win, she wont be announcing it. You'll just get a suprise in your mailbox. How cool is that? Prizes are:


67 Mini Swag Packs Including:
Signed AtU Bookmark
Signed AtU Bookplate
Postcard


15 Button Swag Packs Including:
Pin-button featuring AtU
Signed AtU Bookmark
Signed AtU Bookplate
Postcard


15 ARC Packs Including:
Signed ARC
Set of three pin-buttons (1 large, 2 mini)
Set of Bookmarks featuring fellow debut 2011 authors (many signed)
Signed AtU Bookmark
Signed AtU Bookplate
Postcard


2 ARC & Watch Packs Including:
Signed ARC
A super-rare AtU Watch
Set of six pin-buttons (one of each design & size)
Set of Bookmarks featuring
fellow debut 2011 authors (many signed)
Signed AtU Bookmark
Signed AtU Bookplate
Postcard


The Big-Huge-Amazing Grand Prize Including:
Signed Hard Cover, First Edition of AtU
A super-rare AtU Watch
Set of six pin-buttons (three designs, two sizes)
Set of Bookmarks featuring fellow debut 2011 authors (many signed)
Giftbag of swag I'm planning on giving out at my launch party in January
Signed AtU Bookmark
Signed AtU Bookplate
Postcard


The info is all on her website, here.

The second contest is at The League of Extraordinary Writers. It's a blog of 5 2011 debutantes who all write dystopic YA. 

Julia Karr, author of XVI
Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe
Angie Smibert, author of Memento Nora
Elana Johnson, author of Possession
Jeff Hirsch, author of The Eleventh Plague 

I love Dystopias! So anyway, head on over to their blog and enter to win five cool prize packs, as well as enter to win their grand prize, a pre-order for all five of their books.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

favorite romances of the year

Over at Not Enough Bookshelves, Alexa is having her Second Year of the Couples Christmas Countdown. I stumbled upon her blog the other day and thought, "what fun is this!"

Alexa is also having a giveaway on her blog to win three of her top ten YA romance books. Check it out!




Anyway, I have to throw in my own thoughts, so here are my most memorable romantic YA couples of the year:

8 Violet and Jay from The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting. The build up to that first kiss...wow. Just, wow. There was a lot of great kissing in that book. I enjoyed it a lot.  

7 Evie and Lend in Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. LOVE them. Their relationship develops so naturally and is so sweet! And I loved that first kiss.

6 and 5 April and Julian, as well as May and Henry, from The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June. It's rather refreshing having the girl go for a boy who is awkward and normal and maybe even a little looserish. Definitely not on any sports team and isn't even close to being popular, let alone the Most Beautiful Boy EVER. And both boys are just so sweet in their own way. Though the book definitely needed more kissing.

4, 3, and 2 The Drake brothers and their love interests from Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles. Yes, all of them. Or at least the three read about so far--Nicholas and Lucy, Logan and Isabeau, and Quinn and Hunter. These boys know how to woe a girl. You know, with fighting and life threatening situations, and blood-lusting vampires, and lots of kissing. I mean, lots of kissing. And the girls are strong and kick butt. 

1 But my absolute favorite from this year was Andi and Virgil in Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution. I loved their midnight conversations, they way they bond over music, how he pulls her back from the edge and believes in her when she had stopped believing in herself long ago. Virgil is such a good guy, I was in love with him myself.

review: How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

pub date: September 2008
publisher: Bloomsbury USA
pgs: 307
source: library audiobook
reader: Kate Atkinson

 blurb from goodreads:
If you lived in a world where everyone had a personal fairy, what kind would you want?

# A clothes-shopping fairy (The perfect outfit will always be on sale!)
# A loose-change fairy (Pretty self-explanatory.)
# A never-getting-caught fairy (You can get away with anything....)
Unfortunately for Charlie, she's stuck with a parking fairy—if she's in the car, the driver will find the perfect parking spot. Tired of being treated like a personal parking pass, Charlie devises a plan to ditch her fairy for a more useful model. At first, teaming up with her archenemy (who has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy) seems like a good idea. But Charlie soon learns there are consequences for messing with fairies—and she will have to resort to extraordinary measures to set things right again.


me:
Charlie is a great character. I adored her. She is dedicated to her cause, funny, and has attitude. I loved watching (reading) her grow and change through the course of the book. Everything Charlie wanted at the beginning, by the end she has a new perspective of and appreciation for.

Ms. Larbalestier builds a cool, made-up country, as well as a cool, made-up school. (At least I think it's a made up school. I'd never heard of a sports school like Charlie attends, but maybe they exist?) Both are believable, as are the fairies. I love how the fairies are accepted as a fact of life by most, but that there are still skeptics who believe it's a bunch of phooey.

I did find the repetitive counting of events/demerits at the beginning of each chapter rather tedious, especially near the end.

I loved listening to the book. Kate Atkinson was fabulous. I believed I was listening to a fourteen-year-old. I especially loved listening to her Australian accent. And the accent is necessary with all the Australian slang. (At least I'm assuming it's Aussie slang, I wouldn't really know. I suppose Ms. Larbalestier could have made it up?)

And since you asked, I'd choose: 
# the sleep fairy (no matter how little sleep you get, you're never tired)
just think of all the books I could read!

What kind of fairy would you choose?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2011 e-book challenge


This challenge is being hosted by The Ladybug Reads.  Since I just bought a NookColor on Saturday night, and just finished my first book on it earlier this afternoon and highly enjoyed the experience, I am in. Starts Jan 1 and end Dec 31, 2011

Challenge Guidelines:
1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.
2. There are four levels:
-- Curious – Read 3 e-books.
-- Fascinated – Read 6 e-books.
-- Addicted – Read 12 e-books.
-- Obsessed – Read 20 e-books.
3. Any genre counts.

I'm going for the Obsessed level. I can totally do that--especially when NetGalley is involved. I'm not going to list books in this post I plan to read, instead I'll just add them to the list as I read them throughout the year under my challenges tab.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (9)

My teaser today is from Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark & Grimm.

"Before I go on, a word of warning: Grimm's stories--the ones that weren't changed for little kids--are violent and bloody. And what you're going to hear now, the one true tale in The Tales of Grimm, is as violent and bloody as you can imagine. Really. So if such things bother you, we should probably stop now"


blurb from goodreads:
Brooklyn schoolteacher Adam Gidwitz offers imaginative new slants on children's classics in this new collection inspired by nine Grimm Brothers fairy tales. Never before have Hansel and Gretel had an adventure like this!

blurb from me:
the above is a lame blurb. So let me try: the book follows twins, Hansel and Gretel, through years of wandering through different (fairy tales) countries, looking for decent parents. Interestingly enough, parents aren't usually good in Grimm. Though they do find good people who help them on their way. There is a lot of blood and violence, but the wonderful author that Gidwitz is, he gives plenty of interruptions in the narrative to warn us off from continuing.

Okay, that was a lame blurb, too. But the book is fun! (and gory and interesting and wonderful)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

review: Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst

pub date: October 12, 2010
publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
pgs: 320
source: library
content: about 5 swear words

blurb from goodreads:
What Lily Carter wants most in the world is to attend Princeton University just like her grandfather. When she finally visits the campus, Grandpa surprises her: She has been selected to take the top-secret Legacy Test. Passing means automatic acceptance to Princeton. Sweet! Lily's test is to find the Ivy Key. But what is she looking for? Where does she start? As she searches, Lily is joined by Tye, a cute college boy with orange and black hair who says he's her guard. That's weird. But things get seriously strange when a gargoyle talks to her. He tells her that there are two Princetons—the ordinary one and a magical one—and the Key opens the gate between them. But there are more secrets that surround Lily. Worse secrets.When Lily enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage—and a little magic—to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future.

me:
I loved Ms. Durst's previous novel, Ice, a great deal. It was one of my favorite books last year. So I was rather excited about this one.

I found the concept of the story, with the Ivy Key and the gate and the magical Princeton, really cool and original. As well as the mystery surrounding Lily's past and her parents. Awesome world building.

Yet while I found Ms. Durst's world fascinating, I was actually kinda bored while reading the book. I don't know if it was just my mood, but the plot didn't interest me much. I had a hard time caring. I wasn't invested in either of the boys Lily meets, especially since most of the story takes place in two days. Hard to develop a relationship that quickly. At least not a believable one. Tye's insistence that they were soul mates...mmm...not my thing.

The snarky interplay between Jake and Tye was pretty great. They were probably the more fun scenes to read. And Lily was a strong heroine with a good heart.

I enjoyed the book, I just wasn't captivated by it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

In My Mailbox (9)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

I did not get any actual books this week, but....

I bought a Nook!!!!!

I've been hesitant to invest in a digital reader, but at the same time, I really wanted one.

(I'm hoping I don't regret it)

Friday, December 3, 2010

review: Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

pub date: Jan 11, 2011
publisher: Splinter (Sterling Children's Books)
pgs: 448
source: ARC from publisher


blurb from goodreads:
Would you risk it all to change your destiny? The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that's exactly what happened.


Face-to-face with dark forces, spell-binding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever. Tiger's Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.


me:
This is a long book for me. Longer than I usually read. And though there was a lot that I didn't like so much, Houck really knows how to write a fun, tension filled, clean romance. I liked that. It was the romance that kept me reading.

I like action. I like pace that keeps me interested and involved with the story. I didn't get that from this book. A lot of slow parts. Especially when I felt things happened outside of the main plot just so our two main characters could have a romantic moment. Heck, I'm all for romance. But having Kelsey hurt herself just so she could be held by a shirtless Ren was kind of annoying since there was no reason for Kelsey to get hurt. And after a day, she's perfectly fine. (but wow...a shirtless Ren...yummy)

I didn't understand the curse. Or why Kelsey needed to be involved in breaking the curse.I did begin to skim about half way through, so maybe I just missed it?

The dialog was super cheesy. I just could not imagine anyone saying things like Kelsey said them. Ever.


Kelsey just wasn't an engaging character. She kind of bored me. And way too inquisitive. She'd ask Ren and his brother, Kishan, and Mr. Kadam about their lives before she met them and their past bogged down the present. It wasn't important to the story, and in a 450 page book I am not wanting to be bogged down in frivolous detail.

Ren, however, had some personality. As did Kishan. As did the relationship between the brothers. I like them. A lot. I liked Ren as a tiger and the development of the relationship between him and Kelsey was fun to read.

The writing was very wordy. Very detailed. I get that Kelsey needed to eat. And drink. But I don't want to know everything she ate. I don't want to know every time she got a water bottle from her backpack on this epic journey. Just get on with the story. 100 pages shorter and I would've liked it a lot more.

Did I mention the dialog?

But like I said, the romance was awesome. Great tension in this book. It's what kept me wanting to read when the plot wasn't doing it for me. When Kelsey got on my nerves, I just skimmed until Ren and her held hands or kissed or cuddled together. Sigh. It was that good.

I am seriously invested in the success of their relationship, which is why when I closed the book I was committed to reading the second in the series, Tiger's Quest. UNITL I saw it has over 600 pages. I don't know if I can handle that...especially when it's a planned trilogy. But I'm going to give it a try...I'm that invested in Ren.

Anyway, I recommend this book to anyone who likes a very nice romance with a hot tiger-boy, that doesn't go beyond kissing and cuddling.

ps...
though the release date for Tiger's Curse isn't until January, it was self published last year. My library already has this book and the second in the series. Yours might, too!  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

review: Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes

pub date: May 1, 2010
publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
pgs: 400
source: library

blurb from goodreads:
Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But being told you’re dying has a way of changing things. Years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter, Isabella, must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank–toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter. As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love and its ability to change everything—to heal old hurts, bring new beginnings . . . even overcome the impossible. A stunning debut about love and loss from a talented new voice.


A looooong intro to my review:
Definitely not a YA book. It's not totally unheard of for me to read outside of my favorite section of the library, but it doesn't happen often. Just when the mood hits.

Last night my mood was for an adult, realistic, tearjerker. I'm not sure why. I do not deal well with death in books. Mockingjay pushed me into a depression-coma for over a week. Things I know about Love and The Summer of Skinny Dipping were great books--until someone important died at the end. I was so sad and upset! And of course I cried, especially with Things I Know. (Sorry if I ruined that for you, but I kind of wish someone had ruined it for me--so then I would not have read them!). But at least with this book I knew that Jenny was going to die at the end. Somehow I thought that made it okay. Ha!

Last night I told myself I would only read for 30 minutes. Ha! Ha! Totally laughable last words. They always backfire on me and after all this time I think I should know better.

So as I'm reading it's of course an hour later, I'm still awake, and I think, just one more chapter. Then four chapters later I realize I didnt' stop...so why not another one? And a few more after that? It's getting later and later and then it hits midnight and by that time I'm already two-thirds through the book, I can't stop now! I must plow ahead to the end. Yeah, so it's 1:20 in the morn, I've finished the book, I'm bawling like a booby and I think, "why didn't I just go to bed at 10:30 like I'd planned? Then Jenny would still be alive!"

my actual review (which is surprisingly short after that long intro):
This is a wonderful novel. Beautiful, heart wrenching, heartwarming, sad, hopeful. Jenny is so full of life and love, her emotions and struggles are so real. All the characters in this book, especially Jenny's family, are great. I wish I knew them! They are definitely not perfect, very true to life with flaws and struggles and deep emotions (with scarring).

This is the kind of book that sucks me in and doesn't let me go. The kind of book that speeds time up, while I just want to slow it down. The kind of book that makes me feel deeply for the characters and reminds me to be grateful for what I have in my own life. I LOVED this book.

If you don't have a problem with the (adult) main character, who you will grow to love, dying at the end of a book, I highly recommend you read Crossing Oceans!

Delicious!

my blog by any other name would smell much sweeter (and giveaway)

Okay people,

I suck at naming things. Example: the name of this blog. resugo reads? What kind of lame name is that? (rhetorical question, please don't answer). When I first started this blog five months ago, I didn't know what to call it. Five months later, I still don't know what to call it.

I need a new blog name! Problem is, I can't think of one I like. Which is why I'm soliciting your help. Will you help? Please?!!!!

In return, I am holding a giveaway. One prize will go to the creative genius behind the new blog name I choose, a second prize will go to some random participant that will be chosen randomly.

So this might be the stupidest idea ever, but it's 2:30 am and I can't sleep and at the moment it seems like the brilliantest idea ever. So I'm going to post this baby before I change my mind. And I'm offering sufficiently cool prizes (I think) in a hope to bribe you. Though if no one participates in the next few days I'm going to take this down and pretend it never happened. Just fyi.

Rules:
suggest a new blog name by filling out the form below (you don't have to be a follower to enter)
ends Thursday December 16, 2010 (thats two weeks)
International ideas welcome
um...I think that's all.

Prizes:
Signed paperback of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Signed ARC of Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
if you're international, it'll be a book from The Book Depo instead of a book from above

Okay, let the ideas flow...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

review: Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey

pub date: December 21, 2010
publisher: Bloomsbury USA
pgs: 304
series: Drake Chronicles
source: ARC sent to me by publisher. Thank you, Bloomsbury USA!
content: swearing (sadly)


blurb from goodreads:
Hunter Wild is the youngest in a long line of elite vampire hunters, a legacy that is both a blessing and a curse at the secret Helios-Ra Academy, where she excels at just about everything. Thanks to her friendship with Kieran Black, Hunter receives a special invitation to attend the coronation of Helena Drake, and for the first time, she sees the difference between vampires that must be hunted and vampires that can become friends—or even more. When students at the academy fall victim to a mysterious illness, Hunter suspects they are under attack from within. She will need someone she can trust to help her save the future of Helios-Ra . . . help that shockingly comes in the form of Quinn Drake, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire. Who said senior year would be easy?
 me:
I love the Drake Chronicles. What isn't to love about seven overprotective, really hot, vampire brothers? If you ask the ladies who fall for them (like me), the answer is NOTHING!

The first three books of the series covers under a month and in that time the three younger Drake brothers all manage to snag a really cool girl who kicks butt--literally. Oh, and then their little sister (who they're protective of) also finds a boy. Wow, there is some hot blood in that family! And some hot kissing. Those older four brothers need to get a move on.

A favorite aspect of these books (besides all the wonderful kissing!) is the humor. So funny. I love books that make me laugh, and the Drake brothers do. They really, really do. And Quinn, oh Quinn, is so very laugh worthy. He has some great one liners. And he's really hot.

Another thing I like about these books: the world of the vampires--the different vampire families, the evil vampires, the super-duper evil vampires, the vampire hunters, the poor weak humans. There's a little something for everyone. The plots are great, with a nice complete story, but also longer story archs that flow from one book to the next. After this one, I'm wondering about Solange...

Great cameos in this one from previous books. Though Hunter did have most of the story, I would've liked to get inside Quinn's head more.

Fun books! If you haven't read these yet, I'm recommending you do.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The 2011 Debutante Event hosted by Badass Bookie

Hey everyone, here's the info on the The 2011 Debutante Event hosted by Badass Bookie:







 
From the 1st-25th of December, Badass Bookie is going to be your guide to next year's hottest debuts! My lovely Debs just simply can't wait to meet you all so they are debuting early! Everything you need to know about your Debs and their amazing book will be here! Oh! and did I mention Giveaways Galore? Not only do you guys get to know the Debs better, YOU also get to win their books!!!



What is a Deb? Well, my lovely poppets, a Deb is short for a Debutante which is a New Author to the YA genre. Basically, their first book is coming out next year!


Secondly, the schedule for the event! Each debutante will have a two day feature, the first day will be a get to know your debs post and the second day will be more about the books AND Giveaways galore!!! *hint hint* most of the giveaways ARE international!



1st-2nd of Dec. - Julia Karr ( XVI)
3rd-4th of Dec - Amy Holder ( Lipstick Laws)
5th-6th of Dec - Carrie Harris ( Bad Taste In Boys)
7th-8th of Dec - Elana Johnson ( Possession)
9th-10th of Dec - Lia Habel ( Dearly, Departed)
11th-12th of Dec - Sara Bennett Wealer ( Rival)
13th-14th of Dec - Beth Revis ( Across the Universe)
15th-16th of Dec - Lisa and Lauren Roecker ( The Liar Society)
17th -18th of Dec - Kristi Cook ( Haven)
19th -20th of Dec - Cynthia Hand ( Unearthly)
21st-22nd of Dec - Kiki Hamilton ( The Faerie Ring)
23rd-24th of Dec - Lauren DeStefano ( Wither)
25th of Dec - Wrap up post"

However, the Debs and I, and Lisa, need your help! We want to make this event bigger and better, we want EVERYONE to know about this event! SO we are giving away a PRIZE   for anyone who spreads the word about it!!! So spread the word and WIN! (the deadline has been extended to December fifth! there are some super cool prizes up for grabs)
I'm so excited to learn about these books and authors! I'm looking forward to more books to add to my virtual TBR pile. And of course, the giveaways.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nanowrimo Day 29 :>{)

Well, the 50,000 words have been written (50,122 to be exact). Sadly, the story isn't finished. It is endless. And it might stay that way--FOREVER!

The first two weeks of November were definitely the honeymoon stage. I was very happy and in love.

The third week was when I became disenchanted with my characters and their rather lame plot.

The forth week was filled with bitterness.

Over the past few days, the decision was made to separate. Though it has not yet been decided if it will become permanent. There is a small possibility of us getting back together. I want to believe that once I cut through the mounds of crap, there will be something to salvage. 

But for now, it will be exiled to my external hard drive. Its future as yet undetermined.

IT IS OVER! YIPPY!!!

*Now back to my regularly scheduled life*

Gratitude Giveaway WINNERS!

Thank you everyone for following!

The winner of a signed copy of The Dark Divine is
Flippin Fabulous

International winner of a book from The Book Depo is
Ana Luisa

Congratulations!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

350 page books challenge

So, here's another book challenge that I'm going to attempt for next year. It's to read books 350 pages or longer. Which will be a challenge for me. I tend to steer towards shorter books. When I get sucked into a story I have a hard time doing anything else and when the book is long, it's that much longer I'm staying up late at night to read.

So, from January to December 2011, my goal is to read FIVE books over 350 pages long. Good luck, future resugo!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

In My Mailbox (9)

I have written 11250 words in the past three days on my nano novel. My mind is jelly, which is a definite indicator that it's time for bed.

But first, a post! A post? Yes, a post! An In My Mailbox post! I haven't posted a IMM in weeks and weeks!!! Okay, so only five weeks, but that is still a long time! Which means it is now time to share every book I've gotten for the past little while! yay! (see--jelly. I totally warned you! You should see my nano words...they're getting stupider the longer this month lasts) (and what's with all the exclamations?)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

WON! Whoo Hoo!!!
I get emails from publishers at work that let me know new books that are coming out. Sometimes they have ARCs they give away to the first so many people who sent an email back to them. That is how I won:
Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey (which I loved! Review forthcoming...just as soon as I get it written)
Tiger's Curse by Collen Houck (fun. review also forthcoming...I just have to write it) (and isn't it an awesome cover? really like it)


 I also got a package at work a few weeks ago which was a total surprise. I have no idea why or how I got it, but inside was:
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (it was like they had extras so they just threw it in. Which I am okay with. Thank you Simon and Schuster!)


Bought
I went to my local second-hand store and bought (for a grand total of $1.50):

that's it for me.
What's in your mailbox?

As I was writing this post I had the distinct thought, "I need to remember to count up all these words." CRAZY! I'm glad November is almost over.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

review: Matched by Ally Condie

pub date: November 30, 2010
publisher: Dutton Juvenile
pgs: 384 pgs
source: ARC from ALA

Doesn't it seem like this book should be out all ready? I think I first started hearing about it sometime around April/May, which was forever ago. Finally, it's release is almost here! Just one week away! It was the one book I really, really, REALLY wanted at ALA and I was so glad I was able to get a copy and to meet Ally in person and get her signature. I was a little worried I wouldn't like the book after all the hype I'd heard, but I did. A LOT. One of my favorite books of the year.

Anyway, Cassia lives in a future where Society determines the major decisions in everyone's lives: job, city, spouse. Even the not so major decisions: recreational activities, what to eat, the time to wake up. So Cassia is surprised to find that Society made a mistake: on her microcard instead of one match, she sees two. And suddenly Cassia doesn't want Society to decide who she'll marry, she wants to decide for herself.

The Society, in the beginning, reminded me a lot of Lois Lowry's The Giver. But not for long. Ms. Condie's dystopic society is new and original and so well constructed. I believed in the world she created. It was one of my favorite aspects of this book--the world building.

Cassia's world isn't revealed all at once. We're introduced to Cassia and her family and her nieghbors and her match. Gradually, our view as a reader broadens to include the larger community she resides in. As Cassia's veiw of her world broadens, so does the readers. We learn more about the Society and the world outside of of its boarders. I loved that!

I enjoyed the romance in the story, too. I do have issues with love triangles, some more than others. This triangle made me sad, but it didn't bother me to the point that it took me out of the story.

I love dystopic YA novels and this one is at the top of my list. I adored it. I'm excited for the next books in the trilogy, though it'll be a while. I am excited to find out where Ms. Condie will take Cassia and Xander and Ky.

Teaser Tuesday #8 -- Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by MizB at should be reading. Anyone can join in on the fun, just visit her blog to find out more.

My snippet today is from Colleen Houck's book Tiger's Curse.


"Mae West, a famous vaudeville actress, once said, 'A man's kiss is his signature.' I grinned to myself. If that was true, then Ren's signature was the John Hancock of kisses." pg 251


So I thought that was a pretty hilarious line. I can't stop laughing. 


Here's info on the book, to be published in January.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that's exactly what happened.


Face-to-face with dark forces, spell-binding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.


Tiger's Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.

Monday, November 22, 2010

nanowrimo day 22 *L*

The first two weeks of nanowrimo were awesome. I wrote every day. And each one of those days I averaged 2000 words. I was on fire!

Then I hit the third week (last week) and I only wrote 4 out of 6 days (I don't write on Sundays), with a total cumulative of 8613 words. That was with me writing 3000 words on Friday.

Now it's week four, I have 32128 words complete, leaving 17872 words for me to write in only 8 days, and I don't want to do it. Which is probably obvious since I'm blogging about writing instead of actually writing.

Yes, I have hit my slump and am wallowing in it.

Why did I want to do thing again? I've forgotten.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

debut author challenge 2011

I am officially committing myself to the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by the Story Siren. To find out more about this, click on the links above.

This isn't the first reading challenge I've taken on since I started blogging a few months ago, but it's going to be the first one I actually finish. (I say that now, but I guess time will tell...)

The debut books I am looking forward to reading (at the moment) are:

Julia Karr XVI
Beth Revis Across the Universe
Paige Harbison  Here Lies Bridget
Karen Mahoney  The Iron Witch
Kirsten Hubbard   Like Mandarin
Cameron Stracher  The Water Wars
Heather Dixon  Entertwined
Ann Aguirre  Enclave

Though I'm sure as I find out more info on the other 2011 debut releases, I'll add to my list

Thursday, November 18, 2010

review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

pub date: October 19, 2010
publisher: Philomel Books
pgs: 454
source: library
content: some swearing and heavy makeouts and violence


blurb from goodreads:
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?


me:
First off, the book is just beautiful. The cover, of course, but also the waxing and waining moons that open/close each chapter and the elemental marks throughout. The pages are tattered and torn on the edges. It's just beautiful.

And Wow. the story. This is a really remarkable and original world Ms. Cremer has created. The whole idea of werewolves having masters who happen to be sorcerers is just cool. I loved all the back story of the Guardians, how they came to be and their purpose. I'm very interested in finding out more about the history of the Keepers and Searchers. I'm glad Wolfsbane comes out this next summer and I don't have to wait a whole year to find out. Because between the cliff-hanger ending and all the open ended questions, there is still a lot of story I want to read!

I love a good kissing scene, and this book has many of them. Calla is a very physical girl and she really liked her guys. Which makes for some nice romantic tension, but also kind of bugged me after a while because...


...I have issues with love triangles. Some bother me more than others. This one actually really bothered me. In general, I have to main reasons. 

First, its two boys wanting one girl and only one boy can have her for keeps. Which means one of the boys is going to have a broken heart. And that just makes me sad. I don't want to grow to like a character just see them have their heart broken.

Second, how am I supposed to be invested (because as a reader I do become very invested) in the girl's relationship with Suitor A, when she's dangling Suitor B on the side? I can't. And Calla dangles, both boys, and though I can understand why she did, it still bothered me.

Between Shay and Ren, I liked Calla better with Ren. I could understand her relationship with him and even though he's a player to begin with, he really did want things to workout between the two of them.

Calla and Shay's attraction was immediate. As I was reading their first meeting, I did not find it believable. I thought it kind of silly. Shay is bleeding to death and Calla wants to touch him in a more personal way? Because of their beginning, I never felt their relationship moved beyond the physical to something deeper. Of course Calla is drawn to Shay as someone new and dangerous and he represents freedom for her. I just didn't get their relationship outside of the kissing.