Tuesday, March 29, 2011

review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

pub date: April 26, 2011
publisher: Balzer + Bray
pages: 336
source: NetGalley
appeals: future, dystopia
content: a lot of talk about sex, some swearing including the f-bomb

I'm not really sure what to write about this book. I'm not sure what I think.

First of all, I should research books better before I read them. There is A LOT of talk about sex in this book. It's practically all about teens having sex (though the actual act isn't ever described). Yes, I am rather naive. I did expect some, just not so much. If I had done research about the book and knew this before picking it up, I would never have picked it up.

However, I did pick it up. And I got rather interested in this really, EXTREMELY disturbing story McCafferty writes. There were a few times I almost put it down because of content, but I was so intrigued by the story that I didn't, I couldn't. I kept reading. I read it on my nook and for some reason it wouldn't tell me what page I was on, so I didn't know I was at the end until the acknowledgement page popped up. And then I was UPSET! It's such an abrupt ending, like stopping in the middle of the story. And I really wanted to know what happened next.

Like I said, not sure what to think about this book!

McCafferty wrote a future, dystopic novel that is amazing. One that is extremely disturbing, but utterly believable.  I mean, the propaganda geared towards teens about having babies--ack! The young age of these teen mothers and would be mothers. The emotional and physical and social effects of teens having babies so young, just to give them away...so very upsetting. But I really believed it.

For example--parent's selling their children's bodies for 9 months at a time to make babies for the highest bidder. I watched 5 minutes of Toddlers and Tiaras the night I finished this book(had never seen it before) and I totally saw how this could happen. Another example--the glamour of being a sperm donor. Think Justine Bieber. How many teen girls would want him to be the father of their baby? How many parents would want his DNA in their babies? Imagine the paparazzi attacks!!! I can see it.

Everything was meant to be disturbing and make the reader think, so that was good. But the religion bothered me differently. The two religious viewpoints were very extreme. It bothered me in a more personal sense. Where's the more rational religious look at infertility and rampant teen pregnancy?

So, yeah. Read at your own risk. But very interesting. And rather addictive.

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common

Monday, March 28, 2011


I like to write YA fantasy. The last few years I've wanted to participate in the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, but it's never worked out for me to attend. Until this year. All the stars have aligned. The only hurtle has been Fear. For months I've been debating the pros and cons. The major con has been that I Am Terrified.

But I've signed up and am committed on going, fear or no fear. The past few weeks I've been revising a novel that I've worked on for a long while. By turns I hate or love it or think it's the worse thing ever written. I've found that fear is rather paralyzing. I sit in front of my computer and stare because what keeps going through my mind is, "people are going to read this!" Well, at least part of it.

So this is my explanation for minimal blog posting the past few weeks and for the next few months (in addition to plain old laziness. Sometimes I just don't wanna).

I thought I'd end with this wonderful poem. I feel such affinity.  

WRITER WAITING by Shel Silverstein
Oh this shiny new computer--
There just isn't nothin' cuter.
It knows everything the world ever knew.
And with this great computer
I don't need no writin tutor,
'Cause there ain't a single thing that it can't do.
It can sort and it can spell,
It can punctuate as well.
It can find and file and underline and type.
It can edit and select,
It can copy and correct,
So I'll have a whole book written by tonight
(Just as soon as it can think of what to write).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

snapshot saturday: sunset at coronado

snapshot saturday is a meme hosted by alyce over at at home with books.

today's photos is from my trip to san diego in january. we spent a day at coronado and i got this as the sun was setting. in utah the sun sets behind mountains, so it was fun to watch it set behind the horizon. and i love sunset pictures. i usually take about fifty and then a couple turn out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

pub date: February 8, 2011
publisher: Viking Adult
pages: 595
audience: adult
source: ALA Midwinter
appeals: history, science, romance, paranormal,  
content:  swearing, blasphemy, and some sexual content

Wow, I loved this book. The thing is, I NEVER would have picked it up if I hadn't been given a copy and if I wasn't in a reading slump right now. It's HUGE. And ADULT. But I needed something different and it was just sitting there on my book shelf and my sister really liked it. The author was at the ALA Midwinter Conference in January signing ARC copies and as I was passing I was asked if I wanted one. I am not the kind of person to say no to a free book (even when it's 700 pages of adultness). And I'm so glad I didn't, because it's a really good book!

I loved the different characters. The daemons, vampires, and witches had their own distinct traits and talents. And though for the most part they don't like each other and do not work well together, it's amazing what a little yoga can do to make differences diminish. I loved Diana's aunts and their house, which was a character in and of itself. The different locations and the history was all so great.

I LOVED Matthew. He wasn't perfect, but he was a really good guy. I liked Diana. She was a strong heroine AND she wasn't stupid. YAY. Sometimes strong female characters behave stupidly and then bad things happen. But bad things happened to Diana and she wasn't stupid. I liked that. Does that make me weird? (don't answer).

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the science and history of the book. It didn't bog down the story, though I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning reading and sometimes it was a little too deep for my sleep deprived brain.

Did I mention how long this book was? Well, it's LONG. Yet for all the story in it's pages, I want MORE. It wasn't enough. I CANNOT wait until the next book comes out. Whenever that is. I have no idea. Anyone else know?

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

snapshop Saturday: snowshoeing!

Saturday Snapshot is a meme hosted by Alyce on her blog At Home With Books.

Last Saturday I went up the mountains to go snowshoeing! I'd never been before. It was awesome fun. It snowed practically the whole time, softly at first and harder on later in the afternoon. Not too cold, though.

I thought it was cool how much snow we were tramping on. At one point we went past a stop sign that was covered by snow but for the top two inches. And if you need to use the lady's room, good luck!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Where She Went WINNER #2!!

So I now have another ARC of Where She Went. Instead of another contest, I picked from the group from my last contest. and the winner this time is...

Savannah Harrington!

yay! Your email address didn't work--it bounced back to me. So email me in the next few days resugoo[at]gmail[dot]com to claim your prize!

library cameo: chime

I haven't done one of these in a while. It's just me sharing mentions of a library or librarian that I find in books. They're mentioned quite often in books, and only since working in a library the past few years have I begun to notice.

Today's cameo is from Franny Billingsley's novel Chime which came out yesterday. My review is here. I enjoyed it. The language was just beautiful. As shown in this paragraph from page 41 (of the ARC).
 "I fixed my gaze on the bookshelves. Before the flood, they'd been filled with a rainbow of fairy tale books and dog-eared Latin histories and all the novels of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters (except that sniveling Anne). Now they were empty, begging hands. The flood had turned the books into bloated corpses that had to be shoveled up and hauled away in barrows."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

review: playing hurt by Holly Schindler

pub date: March 8, 2011
publisher: Flux
pages: 312
source: ALA Midwinter
appeals: romance, sports, contemporary, realistic
content: swearing, heavy make out scenes, sex

my thoughts:
I liked the book. I liked Chelsea and Clint and bought into their emotional trauma. I thought their development and growth as characters was realistic. Schindler is a fantastic writer. I was sucked into the book and didn't want to put it down.

However, I had issues. Chelsea and Clint's relationship is very physical from the get-go. The very first time they go out on a date they have a heavy make out session, and then practically every time they're alone after that they start to undress each other. I bought into their hurts and how knowing each other helped them both heal. I really believed that they cared for each other, and more than just sexually. But for me, their relationship was too physical, too fast, with too much description. And Chelsea's attitude going into their relationship bothered me--it was just a summer fling and once she went home she'd go back to her boyfriend. Everyone had summer flings, right? NO!

Overall a good, well-written book with realistic characters. But too sexy for me.

Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.

That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?

review: The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

pub date: March 22, 2011
publisher: Bantam
pages: 288
source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer
appeals: magical realism, contemporary, friendship, romance
audience: adult

I love, Love, LOVE Sarah Addison Allen's books. I was SO excited to get this book through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer. I must admit that Allen's first two books are my favorite, Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen. But The Peach Keeper is still really good. And though I love YA, sometimes it's nice to read a book with characters that are my age.

 The main stories are about Paxton and Willa, now thirty, who went to high school together but had never been friends. But they are brought together now because of something that happened to their grandmothers when they were young girls. Both generations come together through the mystery of the Blue Ridge Madam.

There are many things I love about Allen's books. I love the romance. Willa and Paxton both have their own love interests, both of which were fun, but it was Paxton and Sebastian's story I really loved. Willa's romance wasn't as wonderful, though still fun. I just didn't see the development so much. There is also Allen's magical realism. It is fantastic! The dynamics of family and friend relationships. The characters. Seriously, I love them all. Even Paxton's mean and crabby grandma.

Enough gushing. Now go forth and read.

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

review: Chime by Franny Billingsley

pub date: March 17, 2011
publisher: Dial
pages: 320
source: ALA Midwinter
appeals: supernatural, witches,
content: a little swearing


First off, look! I'm actually writing a review!!!!

Second, I was really amazed by this book. I've never read anything quite like this before.

The thing about this book that makes it so original is Briony's voice. It's also sort of stream-of-conscience. We get Briony's thoughts as she things them, so it's forth between different ideas, or her interupting her own thoughts. Even changing her thoughts in midsentence when it's something she doesn't want to think about. Very cool. 

And the way she describes things, I can't even tell you what it's like. Billingsley's language is beautiful, her descriptions amazing. It's so...fluid. Her words just flow. Okay, that makes no sense, I'm just not sure how to describe it. Though after a while I did want some concrete descriptions, instead of the "flow." But it was really beautiful and amazing and original.
The world Billingsley created was also so very interesting. Witches and all these interesting, original, sort of creepy swamy creatures. And they aren't imaginary. The townspeople believe in them, have proof of them. There isn't a question in anyone's mind that they might be a myth.

I loved the beginning, I loved the ending (especially the last two pages), but the middle got a little muddy for me. I felt like Briony kept going in circles, around and around without hitting any mark for what felt like a long time. From the blurb (below) and the way the book was written, I had a pretty good idea what was going on and I got a little frustrated waiting for Briony to catch on. I also really wanted her to push past her guilt sooner.

Even though I got a little bored in the middle and at times I just wanted concrete details instead of Briony's flowery descriptions, this really is a remarkable book. Overall, I highly recommend.

Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Where She Went Winner!

The winner for Where She Went by Gayle Forman is...

Hailie Salazar!


Email me your address and I'll get it in the mail ASAP

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Snapshot: La Push Washington

Saturday Snapshot is a meme hosted by Alyce over at At Home With Books. I'm so excited to participate today, for the first time!

The picture I wanted to share if from a few years ago. In August 2008 my sister and I went to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. Mostly to visit Forks and La Push because of Twilight, but we did other things while we were there. It was one of the most fun vacations I have been on. It was awesome.

Anyway, this is a picture I took from the side of the road on our way to La Push to visit First Beach (where we crashed someone's bonfire and roasted marshmellows with them).  

Friday, March 11, 2011


Wow, what a lazy blogger I've been this past month! What's sad is I've read a lot of books in that amount of time, and many of them I had great plans to blog about. But I put it off, saying I'd do it later. Well, later has come and as I sat down to write out all these reviews, I didn't have much. All those ideas of what I wanted to write got buried in time with other books and other ideas. Aaah! I'm really sad. They're such lame reviews, so I think I'm going to have to start with where I'm at. I hope. At the rate I'm going at, it might be another month before I write those ones.

Anyway, I'm holding a giveaway for Where She Went by Gayle Foreman. If you'd like to enter, go here. The entry link is waaaaaay at the bottom, after the veeeeeeeeeery rambley review.  Ends Sunday March 13.

This song by Taylor Swift reminds me SO MUCH of Where She Went. Everytime I hear it I think of Adam and Mia. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

teaser tuesday: Chime by Franny Billingsley

I haven't done teaser in a while, but I love the first lines of Franny Billingsley's novel, Chime. So I had to join in.
Isn't that wonderful? I'm not very far into the book, but so far I'm loving it!
I've confessed to everything and I'd like to be hanged. 
Now, if you please.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Follow the link to join in.

(I have a contest right now to win an ARC of Where She Went by Gayle Forman. Check it out HERE. It's waaaaaay at the bottom, after the rambly review and apples.)

Chime blurb from goodreads:
Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.
 Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

Monday, March 7, 2011

review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman + GIVEAWAY

pub date: April 5, 2011
publisher: Dutton
pages: 258
source: ARC from ALA Midwinter
audience: older teens
appeals: music, romance, contemporary, realistic fiction
content: language (including the f-word), sex (though not descriptive)

blurb from goodreads:
It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

the preamble:
Have you ever had a book that just hit you so strong you couldn’t let it go? I’ve had a few throughout the years--The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (just to name a few). I would’ve loved the book anyway, but at that particular time in my life when I read it, it just spoke to me stronger than it would’ve other wise. That is Where She Went for me, right now. 

I first read Where She Went in January, and I’ve kind of been obsessed with it ever since. I reread it twice in three days. Even now I’ll just pick it up at random times and read chapters or paragraphs or even just a page. Especially the end. I love it that much.

On the other end of the spectrum, my friend Jaye read the book, and though she loved it too, she will never read again. In her words, it is sad and depressing.

Which, I must agree with.

But it just makes the end of the book that much more satisfying. Reading Adam and Mia’s experiences over the past three years, the struggles for both characters, and then seeing them come out at the end successful and strong makes the rest of the book worth reading again. At least for me.

I have rewritten this review over and over again, and each time it just sounds lamer. It just doesn’t translate my feelings for how much I love this book.

But I attempt it once again…

actual review:
Gayle Forman has a powerful way with words. Where She Went is beautiful. The characters are drawn so well, so real. Their struggles and growth are written so vividly. I got sucked in and did not want it to end after the end. I cried and laughed and loved right along with the Adam.

I loved being in Adam’s head, of seeing things through his point of view. It wouldn’t have worked if it had been Mia. A lot of her struggles we already know, of healing and lose. But to have it filtered through Adam? Awesome.

There is so much that is left unsaid in If I Stay. I hadn’t even realized how much until this book. I just filled in the unexplained with my own happy ending. But my happy ending was totally different from Foreman’s happy ending. And hers is so much better.

Like If I Stay, the present action takes place is just two days while a good portion of the story is in flashback. Which means memories of Mia’s family. How I love them. There are scenes from If I Stay told from Adam's point of view—super cool. I loved reading about when Adam met Mia and why he first fell for her. Then there are the three years of loneliness and heartache when Adam doesn’t have Mia or even understand why she left.

Love, love, LOVE Where She Went.

It is perfection.

now to the CONTEST!
Since you've stuck with me this long, I'm giving away my ARC of Where She Went. I've preordered the hardcover and though it is really difficult for me to giveaway my ARC (I am attached to it), I don't need two copies of the same book. I can only read one at a time and I really want a finished copy. So anyway...

This will be a short, very easy, giveaway.

It will close Sunday, March 13 at midnight.
Must have a US or Canadian mailing address.

I want to give the book away to someone who really, really wants it. If you fit that description, please enter! If it will just sit on your bookshelf for months unread, this contest is not for you.

Friday, March 4, 2011

review: Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore

pub date: February 8, 2011
publisher: Hyperion
pages: 336
source: publisher
appeals: werewolf, vampire, politics, racism, male protag, great book for boys,

The world Moore created was very interesting. A world where wulves, vampires and humans coexist. Sort of. Moore changed our history to fit their history--the Nazis weren't after Jews, they were after wulves. The civil right activists were fighting for equality between species (is that the right word?) instead of race. Famous people in our world are famous in his world, their names changed slightly and they may or may not be human. So I thought all of that was really interesting.

I liked Danny. I respected him as a character and respected his choices. I can see boys really liking this book. There's vampires and werewolves and fighting and a bully, but without the romance. Well, there is romance, but it is not girly romance.

I felt like the book ended very abruptly. None of the big issues were resolved. Because of this I am assuming it's a series. It could end here, but there are so many more questions, and no easy answers. This isn't a fluffy book.

Being only half-vamp in a high school like Carpathia Night makes you a whole loser. But Danny Gray manages to escape the worst of the specists at his school. Thanks to genetic treatments he had as an infant, most people assume Danny's other half is human. Which is a good thing.

Ever since the development of synthetic blood – SynHeme – vamps have become society’s elite, while wulves like his father work menial jobs and live in bad neighborhoods. Wulves are less than second class citizens; once a month they become inmates, forced to undergo their Change in dangerous government compounds.

For Danny, living with his vamp mother and going to a school with a nearly all-vamp student body, it’s best to pretend his wulf half doesn’t even exist. But lately Danny's been having some weird symptoms — fantastic night vision; a keener-than-usual sense of smell; and headaches, right around the full moon.

Even though it's easy to be in denial, it's hard to ignore evidence. There's only a month until the next few moon, and Danny's time is running out.

Peter Moore speaks to adolescents in a voice that will have them laughing, set in a world that will get them thinking.