Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop

I am very happy to be participating in the Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop.
Because summer is awesome and so is getting a free book.

I have two books to giveaway:

A signed ARC of What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

and an ARC of Withering Tights by Louise Rennison

You can enter for one or both.
No hoops you need to leap through.
Just fill out the form by clicking on this link.

Now hop along!
(and good luck!)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

in my mailbox...the Finally! edition (14)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at the story siren.

I have not done an In My Mailbox post in months. 3 months to be exact. So here we go:

The Summoning by Kelly Armstrong
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Where She Went by Gayle Foreman
Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
Suite Scarlett by Johnson
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

nook books
Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith
My Blood Approves by Amanda Hocking
Switched by Amanda Hocking
The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
The Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher
simon and schuster galley grab (thanks A.J. for telling me about this program!)The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder 

Shine by Lauren Myracle
Bumped by Megan McCafferty

And that is it. What's in your mailbox?

snapshot saturday--dunedin!

snapshot saturday is hosted by Alyce at at home with books. Go there for more info on how to participate.

A year and a half ago I went to New Zealand with my friend Jaye. It was beautiful. One of the best holidays ever. This is a pic of my favorite place, Dunedin. I lived there for six months ten years ago. Loved it!

Friday, May 20, 2011

reading slump

The last week or two I've been in a reading slump. I'll pick up a book that looks great, and three chapters in I'm not caring one bit what is happening. I'm bored. I could have finished three complete novels with all the beginning chapters I've read. I'm just not feeling the book love. I can't figure out what I'm in the mood for. Actually, I think what I'm in the mood for is nothing.

Since I haven't been reading books, I don't really have books to review. I have a few books I read a while ago but haven't reviewed yet and I might go back and do that, but nothing recent. So a new review might be a while in coming...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

review: The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper

pub date: April 5, 2011
publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
pages: 464
format: audio
appeals: historical fiction, realistic fiction, WWII, family, humor
content: a few scattered swear words, some interesting topics of conversation that aren't horrible, but that make me not classify this book as 'clean'

I listened to this book in my car, right on the heels of listening to the first of the Montmaray Journals, A Brief History of Montmaray. So for over a month I listened to Sophie's diary and lived in her world. And then it was over and I was so very SAD. I loved both books, but now have to wait for the third in the series, however long that takes. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Toby and Simon and Veronica, and especially Sophie.

And I must say that the audio version was FANTASTIC. The reader added so much to the story.

What I loved about the book:

1--I loved the humor in these books. Obviously the author was making it funny, but Sophie wasn't trying to be funny. She just wrotes what she saw in her diary and it came across as so humorous because she was so serious. I laughed so much while listening to this book.

2--I loved the characters, especially the four main characters, Veronica, Sophie, Simon, and Toby. Their aunt was pretty great, too.

3--I loved the history in these books. This one ended just as WW2 is beginning. So there has been 4 years of build up to this point. There were a lot of 1930s politics in this novel, which I was surprised I didn't get bored with. But I didn't. Now the war had come, and I'm am so worried for these characters that I love! What will happen to them!?!? 

Fantastic books. And I'm saying that when there isn't any romance in the book. That says a lot about how wonderful these books are.

Michelle Cooper combines the drama of pre-War Europe with the romance of debutante balls and gives us another compelling historical page turner.Sophia FitzOsborne and the royal family of Montmaray escaped their remote island home when the Germans attacked, and now find themselves in the lap of luxury. Sophie's journal fills us in on the social whirl of London's 1937 season, but even a princess in lovely new gowns finds it hard to fit in. Is there no other debutante who reads?!And while the balls and house parties go on, newspaper headlines scream of war in Spain and threats from Germany. No one wants a second world war. Especially not the Montmaravians—with all Europe under attack, who will care about the fate of their tiny island kingdom? Will the FitzOsbornes ever be able to go home again? Could Montmaray be lost forever?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

successful readers advisory

I love my job as a librarian. I can't think of any other job I'd rather be doing.

Mmmm...nope, not one.

One of the things I love about being a librarian is doing readers advisory. If you don't know, readers advisory is advising others on what books they might like based upon their interests and what other books they've enjoyed. Sometimes a library customer will come up later and tell me they liked the book(s) I suggest (which I love), but most of the time I never know what happens to those readers or those books.

Which is why I love suggesting books to my friends and family. I always get feedback, and positive or negative, I love knowing what they thought about the book(s) and talking to them about it.

So I have a friend who isn't a big reader. It takes her anywhere from 6 to 12 months (sometimes longer) to finish one book. Most of what she reads are classics, I think because that is a lot of what her mom reads.

(In all honesty, it would take me that long to read a classic, too, because I'd get bored and pick up something more interesting every chapter or so. Or just not finish it).

Anyway, she loved Drakula by Bram Stoker and she is a huge Buffy fan and thinks vampires that sparkle are rather wimpy and somewhat dumb. So last month I suggested she read the book Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey. I let her borrow my copy to read since I knew it would take her a while and the library only checks items out for three weeks.

Within a month she text me to say that she had picked up the book, and was loving it. Within  two weeks she'd finished it. Wow. She then went and bought herself a copy, as well as the next two in the series. She read all three books in less than a month. 

Her last text on the subject was, "I am really not happy with you at the moment! For the 1st time in my LIFE I am waiting for a book to come out! I so need a Drake brother."

My friend is 32, and she found a series that she loves. I love that. I love books that make someone want to read.

the end

Monday, May 16, 2011

a (very) short sarah dessen event recap

Over the weekend Sarah Dessen came to Salt Lake. It was really exciting for me. She is an author that I've been a fan of for six years, ever since I found The Truth About Forever while browsing the library YA section. It is still my favorite Dessen novel, and I've read them all.

I never thought I'd have the chance to meet Sarah Dessen. This is Utah. So it was fun to attend her event with a lot of other fans at The King's English. There were some really good questions asked and Sarah Dessen was very fun to listen to, and not only because of her accent. She is a funny lady. And extremely charismatic.

I love to go to author events, but even on a normal day I don't talk well with strangers. So to approach an author and hand them a book...I never know what to say in that space of time. And what I do say always sounds so inane. I will refrain from sharing the gorey details, but with the six books I brought to be signed, I was standing there for a while, all the while spewing nonsense.

Anyway, super fun. I am so glad I was able to attend.

And I now have a signed ARC of What Happened to Goodbye that I'll be giving away later this month. So stay tuned!

Friday, May 13, 2011

review: Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

pub date: June 7, 2011
publisher: Hyperion
pages: 288
source: ALA Midwinter
appeals: ghosts, humor, romance, contemporary, supernatural
content: some swearing

thoughts:I really enjoyed The Ghost and the Goth, the first in the series. My favorite aspect of the book was the interplay between Anola and Will. It was great. So I was really excited for this book because I wanted more!

I did really enjoyed Queen of the Dead, but not as much as the first, because Will and Alona had their own adventures, apart from each other, for at least half of the book. I love Will and Alona together, and I missed that.
But the adventures they did have, even though not together, were still interesting and exciting and surprising. A lot of depth was added to the story. It had great humor, great characters with great chemistry, and a super great plot. The ending...WOW. I cannot wait until the third in the series comes out (next year!). I love this story.

If you haven't read the Ghost and the Goth books yet, I highly encourage you to do so.

book blurb:
After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

review: The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

pub date: March 8, 2011 
publisher: Candlewick Press
pages: 336
appeals: family, contemporary fiction, realistic, frienship, romance
content: a lot of swearing, a lot of the f-bomb, sex,

I was really excited about this book because I loved Saving Francesca. Sadly for me, I didn't enjoy this book much.

First of all, it read more like an adult book with adult problems. Thomas tells his story half of the book, but his Aunt Georgie tells the other half. She's in her forties, is pregnant, and is having relationship issues. Their stories together show a whole picture of their family situation which is the point of the book. It was just too adultish. I wanted YA.

Second of all, there were A LOT of characters and it was difficult to keep track of who was who. Especially because we're told about all these people, but we don't meet most of them until later in the story, if at all. Very confusing. I didn't know who they were talking about half the time.

And third, the characters from Saving Francesca weren't the same. I guess it has been 5 years, but I missed the way they were. And overall, I didn't love the new characters. They didn't speak to me.

So, a disappointing book.

Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca - but five years have passed, and now it’s Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can’t forget. Shooting for oblivion, he’s hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom’s in no shape to mend what’s broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper’s Son redefines what it means to go home again.

Monday, May 9, 2011

review: Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

pub date: May 10, 2011
publisher: Little, Brown
pages: 368
source: ALA Midwinter 2011
appeal: realistic fiction, physical abuse, friendship, family,
content: swearing (including f-word), abuse, off the page sex

This was a tough book to read. A tough book to write a review about.

It took me a while to read because Alex and her relationship with Cole was disturbing and frustrating, as it was meant to be. So I didn't pick it up as often as I would have had it been a fantasy or a nice, happy book.

I thought Brown did a fantastic job of showing how the relationship between Alex and Cole developed. Alex is a smart girl, she knew that he was abusive and couldn't believe that she was still with him, but still stuck with him. Her reasoning was plausible, but frustrating for me to read about. I was upset at the people that were around her. Especially her father. Also frustrating. But very realistic and once again, plausible.
 This is a really well-written. Sad, but if that is the kind of book you like to read, then this is for you.

When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her, she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate-someone who truly understands her and loves her for who she really is.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose - between her "true love" and herself.

Monday, May 2, 2011

review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

pub date: May 24, 2011
publisher: EgmontUSA
pages: 397
challenges: Debut author, 350 page challenge
appeals: supernatural, science fiction, time-travel, romance,
content: swears once or twice, thats it

Fun, awesome, exciting, and surprising. I liked this book a lot.

So, it starts out pretty straight forward--Myra can see ghosts. Michael is going to help her deal. There's some romantic chemistry. But then...there's more to the story. A whole new level of plot and intrigue. Which is cool, so I think that the story is going to go in this new direction when a little later there's revealed another aspect of the story, which changes where it is actually going. And then another surprise and another. All the way up until the very end McEntire kept me guessing about what else she hadn't told me yet. Which is so COOL.

There were a lot of characters but they were all developed and interesting. Well, some of the others at the Hourglass are barely seen, so they aren't so well developed, but they are interesting! It's very well written. There weren't awkward places, or even slow parts, which I love, especially in long books. I loved it all.

This is the kind of book that should be discussed. There are a lot of unexplained aspects of the story (still!) that will (hopefully!) come out in later books. I want to talk to someone about them! I want to make guesses at what it all means! So my advice is to read this book with some friends.

Seriously, this is an awesome book.

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.