Wednesday, July 27, 2011

review: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

pub date: June 21, 2011
publisher: Hyperion
pages: 304
source: publisher
series: Heist Society #2
appeals: Robin Hood-ish, adventure, friendship, world traveler, family
content: clean

I really enjoyed this book. It was a lot of fun to read, with an engaging plot and great characters. There was a lot of adventure, humor, a teeny-tiny romantic interlude, and fun.

I love reading books about characters who learn and change and grow wiser through the novel's adventures, and that was Kat. She rather irritated me in the beginning because she insisted on isolating herself from friends and family. But she learned and by the end of the book, she didn't irritate me anymore. And it wasn't just Kat I liked reading, it was all her crew, too. They are fun and funny. If Kat ditches them again...erg. Then I will have something to say that isn't flattering.

The plot was great. I love how the beginning is simple and straight forward. But by a fourth the way through, it suddenly isn't anymore. A lot of twists and turns that kept me reading and guessing on what was going to happen next and how Kat would handle the situation. 

It's been a year since I read the first in the series, Heist Society, so my recollection of that novel was a little hazy. I felt that Carter did a fantastic job at putting reminders in of previous events, without huge chunks of info dump. Which I appreciated a lot.

I wanted a little more romance. At least another kiss. A good one. But then I remember that Kat is 15, and I get why there isn't. But still...

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. There are only three problems.

First, the gem is owned by the most secure auction house in the world. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed. Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her intrepid crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the world, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

Critics and fans alike have fallen for Heist Society (no conning necessary). With more mystery, non-stop action, romance and humor, this second novel in the hit series is just as irresistible.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This just in: NEAL SHUSTERMAN is coming to UTAH!

Okay, so there are a lot of authors coming to Utah in the next few months, but the author visit I am most looking forward to is Neal Shusterman in October. YAY!!!

So write it on your calendar: Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7:00 p.m at the Sandy Library (10100 South 1450 East). It will be awesome!

fyi: I've updated my sidebar with the author events I am aware of happening here in SLC/Provo UT area. Be aware that for the Provo library events you'll need a ticket. It's all so Very Exciting.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door ARC TOUR

Hey all!

I just finished reading Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. So good! So good, in fact, that I want others to read it, too!

So I decided to try hosting a blog tour for Lola and the Boy Next Door. I've never done this before, so I'm hoping that it works out. If anyone has some advice, I'd love to hear it.

Anyway, if you'd like to participate and you live in the USA, please:
COMMENT on this post with your NAME 
then EMAIL me your NAME and ADDRESS (resugoo[at]gmail[dot]com)
The first 5 people will get to be on the blog tour roster and read Lola and the boy Next Door. yay! You'll have a week to read the book before passing it on, and you'll be responsible for sending it to the next participant. This will be fun.

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Monday, July 18, 2011

review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

pub date: August 2, 2011
publisher: Hyperion
pages: 288
source: publisher for review
appeals: witches, mystery, paranormal-ish, romance
content: clean

It took me two weeks to get through the first 80 pages. Nothing really happened and I was bored. So I made myself sit down and get it read so I could move on to a new book. And happily, it got better. Around page 100 the plot picked up and it just kept picking up. I thought the ending was really exciting and I read the last 50 pages in one sitting, speeding through.

The uncle, and most of Lexi's town were so frustrating! I always respect authors who write annoying and closed minded characters. Because I hate them and they frustrate me and I want to reach into the book and knock their head against a tree. But...such a strong emotional response is because the character, however annoying, is written in a believable way. I don't know that I'd be able to do that myself. So yes, annoying, close-minded uncle, but remarkably written character.

The writing was BEAUTIFUL. Even at the beginning when I was bored with the slowness of the story, I thought the descriptions were amazing. I loved the way Schwab used language. It was stunning.

The romance was fun, but at the same time really quick. Lexi and the boy are suddenly kissing a lot and I wasn't sure where those lovey feelings came from. Though sudden, still fun.

Probably my favorite aspect of the novel was the history of the near witch and how she played into the present time with Lexi. I loved the world building as pertaining to the witches, and that was when the novel really got interesting to me.

I'm not sure what to rate this book. There was a lot I enjoyed about the novel and the ending was strong and exciting. But the beginning so wasn't. I'll go with 3.5 apples. 

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Top Grossing Movies Based on Books

Happy Saturday, everyone!

I'm really excited because tonight I'm going to see Harry Potter. This is the first time that I haven't seen the midnight showing of an HP movie since they started doing midnight showings for HP movies. Which is sad, because the atmosphere and overall craziness of midnight showings is almost as good as actually seeing the movie.

Anyway, I was surfing and came across this list of Top Grossing Movies Based on Books. I found it highly interesting, and very surprising. Especially #1. Never would have guessed it. Enjoy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Help Movie

I didn't go see Harry Potter last night at midnight, but I did get to see an advanced screening of the movie, The Help. It was AWESOME! I loved it.

I read the book a year and a half ago and adored it. So I've been really looking forward to the movie. All the actors were fantastic in their rolls. They brought the characters alive. I laughed, I cried, I adored. I tried to think of who my favorite actress-to-character was, and I couldn't decide. They were all perfect.

of course, the writer had to change things or drop things to fit the book into two and a half hours, but they definitely kept the feel of the book. I was crying the last twenty minutes, and my cousin was bawling for the last 45 minutes.

I loved, loved, loved it.

The movie releases August 12 and I highly recommend that you go and see it.

Movie Synopsis:
Set in Mississippi during the 1960s, The Help stars Emma Stone (star of the breakout hit, Zombieland) as Skeeter, a southern society girl who returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends’ lives—and a small Mississippi town—upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families. Academy Award® nominee Viola Davis (Eat Pray Love) stars as Aibileen, Skeeter’s best friend’s housekeeper, who is the first to open up—to the dismay of her friends in the tight-knit black community. Despite Skeeter’s life-long friendships hanging in the balance, she and Aibileen continue their collaboration and soon more women come forward to tell their stories—and as it turns out, they have a lot to say. Along the way, unlikely friendships are forged and a new sisterhood emerges, but not before everyone in town has a thing or two to say themselves when they become unwittingly—and unwillingly—caught up in the changing times.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

review: I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

pub date: August 3, 2010
publisher: HarperCollins
pages: 440
appeals: aliens, adventure, romance, male protagonist,
content: some swearing

Will you hate me if I admit I liked the movie better? Because I did.

I saw the movie first and really enjoyed it. I thought it was fun and exciting and romantic. I'd been meaning to read the book since it came out, but watching the movie made me finally pick it up.

Truth be told, I was rather bored by the book. It was different from the movie, but similar enough that I already knew the main story arch and plot points and the writing was not compelling. It was very bland writing and I got bored with it.

I did enjoy the depth the book brought to the story. There was a lot more about Four's legacies and his home planet. Who Henri is to him and what they're doing on earth. There were so many cool things in the book, it was just written so bland!

I thought the ending dragged on and on. I wish I had read the book first. I know I would've liked it better. Even if the writing was bland, the plot would've kept me interested.

The romance in the book made me laugh. Only because it is such a boy romance. If a girl had written this book or if it was from a girl pov, there would've been a lot more senses involved. And his descriptions of what people were wearing cracked me up. If I hadn't already returned the book to the library I would give you an example, but it was mostly because there was no detail, just a, "she was wearing a nice dress," sort of description. It sounds like I'm bashing it, but I'm not. I enjoyed it and just thought the contrast between the boy/girl pov was interesting.

In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.

Monday, July 11, 2011

review: Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

pub date: August 1, 2011
publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
pgs: 288
source: NetGalley
appeals: contemporary, supernatural, witches, time travel  
content: some torture, most of which wasn't seen; 

Though I enjoyed Once a Witch a lot, I enjoyed this book more.
 I really liked the world of contemporary magic MacCullough created. The Talents that the Greene and Knight families possess were awesome. The way the magic worked and intereacted, also cool. Tamsin's abilities I especially liked.

The story had a good pace. An interesting plot. Great characters. I loved Tam and Gabriel's relationship. (Though I wouldn't have minded a few more kisses). And Tam's relationship with her family, though imperfect, was very relatable. The Greene's as a family, though a good family, are not The Good Family. They're concerned with themselves, not necessarily with people outside of their circle. Which I liked because they weren't painted as saints. I mean, who is?

Though I must say that it was serendipitous that Tamsin just happened to be where she needed to be to overhear important conversations. It didn't happen just once, but three times. And she never got caught easedropping. Which worked well for the plot and kept it moving. I just found it implausible, but it didn't really bother me, just made me smile.

I did guess the decision that Tam would have to make, though it happened in such a different way than I expected. It was rather cool. But also sad.

The book ended abruptly. Tamsin and Gabriel return home and all we get are two pages with just a glimpse of how things are, then it's over. I was disappointed, I wanted more of a conclusion. I wanted to see how things had changed.


The adventures of Tam and Gabriel continue with more time travel, Talents, spy work, and of course, the evil Knights.

Since the gripping conclusion of Once A Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother's prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

review: Hush by Eishes Chayil

pub date: September 14, 2010
publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
pages: 368
appeals: realistic fiction, contemporary, abuse, based on a true story
content: sexual abuse

I read this book almost two months ago now, and wish I'd written my review then instead of now. Since I waited so long, the details and specifics of the story are hazy and I don't have as much to write as I did at the beginning of May. Which sucks because I thought this was an amazing book.

Hush affected me for weeks after I finished. I talked about it to everyone because I was so horrified by what had happened to the protagonist's childhood friend and many other children in Borough Park. I appreciated the strength of the protag in writing this story and not hiding it or ignoring what was going on in her own community.

Hush wasn't written with beautiful descriptions or a fast-paced plot. Parts were too long and somewhat slow. At times the writing was child-like. But the story told was honest and heart-felt and scary. The story grabbed me and broke my heart. It is powerful. One that I think needs to be read.   

Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands of years before down to the last detail and abuse has never been a part of it. But when thirteen-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend has suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her community try to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe.

A richly detailed and nuanced book, one of both humor and depth, understanding and horror, this story explains a complex world that remains an echo of its past, and illuminates the conflict between yesterday's traditions and today's reality.

Friday, July 1, 2011

one year anniversary

So today is my one year anniversary. I thought about doing something epic to celebrate, but decided I just wasn't feeling up to it. A (lame) post is enough to commemorate the date.

Over the last year I have:
  • posted 228 posts
  • wrote 100 reviews (what did I write in the 128 other posts? no idea)
  • read 174 books (thats a lot of books I didn't review)
And I guess that's all I have to say about today.

review: The Twisted Thread by Charlotte Bacon

pub date: June 14, 2011
publisher: Voice
pages: 352
source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer

appeals: adult, mystery, boarding school, murder, contemporary, realistic fiction
content: swearing, off page sex, bullying,

This is not the kind of book I normally read. It wasn't particularly fast paced, it wasn't focused on just a few characters, and it wasn't told from a teen POV. It was an adult murder mystery. But for all of that, I enjoyed it anyway.  

This is a very dense book. Dense as in the paragraphs are long and packed with detailed information. There is also A LOT of info told about each character--present, past, and hinting into the future--that didn't necessary have anything to do with the murder. It was not a quick read for me.

I figured out who the murderer was a little over half way through. Maybe not the reason behind the murder, that was a surprise, but the who-done-it aspect of it. And the reveal wasn't dramatic at all. It was sort of just there, a bit of information tucked in with all the other bits of information. But that was okay. Sometimes drama at the end of a book is annoying, so it was refreshing when that wasn't the case, like in this book. And the wind down after the reveal went on for a while, tying up all the ends of lives of all the characters we .

But, really, I did enjoy the story. The dynamics of the boarding school, teachers and students, and the schools relations with the town, was fascinating. As each piece of the puzzle was revealed, I loved how the thread got more twisted. I thought the plot was very well thought out and laid down in the novel. And I liked the two main characters. I liked how the book ended.

A solid 3 apple book.
When beautiful but aloof Claire Harkness is found dead in her dorm room one spring morning, prestigious Armitage Academy is shaken to its core. Everyone connected to school, and to Claire, finds their lives upended, from the local police detective who has a personal history with the academy, to the various faculty and staff whose lives are immersed in the daily rituals associated with it.

Everyone wants to know how Claire died, at whose hands, and more importantly, where the baby that she recently gave birth to is a baby that almost no one, except her small innermost circle, knew she was carrying.

At the center of the investigation is Madeline Christopher, an intern in the English department who is forced to examine the nature of the relationship between the school s students and the adults meant to guide them. As the case unravels, the dark intricacies of adolescent privilege at a powerful institution are exposed, and both teachers and students emerge as suspects as the novel rushes to its thrilling conclusion.

box of book winner!

Thanks to, the winner of the box of books is:


She said, "My favorite things to do in the summer (other than not spending so much time in the sun because I can never manage to prevent getting sunburned) is going to Summerfest, the local music festival, and going to my state fair because...well...I love food way too much and they have some amazing food. lol."

Which sounds like a lot of fun.

Thanks everyone who stopped by and participated.