Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: The Selection

The Selection
The Selection by Kiera Cass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not as bad as I thought it would be, but not as good as it should have been.

I am going to make this fairly simple and separate this into things I liked and things I did not like about The Selection.

Things I Liked:
1) The background on the History of Illea. I found the background to be believable and explanatory of the society in which they live. It was interesting that the members of society were separated into castes based on what service they could provide for society.

2) Maxon and America seemed to have good chemistry. It started out as a sort of friendship and then of course things got complicated. But they seem to need each other in a way. Maxon doesn't have to put on a show when he is around America and she can be herself as well. I was glad she opened up to him from the beginning and didn't distance herself just because of her past relationship.

3) Maxon seems like a pretty decent man. I'm sure he has his flaws, one probably being that he has been way to sheltered but that is to be expected, but beyond that Maxon seems like the kind of Prince who really cares for his subjects. Which leads me to my 4th thing I liked.

4) Maxon listens to America's insight about problems in society. He listens to her when she tells him about starvation, children being punished harshly for law breaking, and even cuts back the payments made to the girls family so that he can improve things in society such as education and help end starvation. If you have ever seen the movie Ever After you will see a similarity between this in The Selection and how Henry reacts to Danielle's insights into society. Henry was originally sort of your typical spoiled Prince. After meeting Danielle he decides he wants to build a University where anyone can study. (And he wants to invite the gypsies to the ball. LOL.) I kept picturing Maxon as Prince Henry and imagining him busting into his parents bedroom ranting about how there are people starving and how could this be happening. He seems to want to do a good job as leader.

5) There are rebels attacking the palace....and America is not the one leading them. I know it sounds sort of weird for me to stay but I think this adds an important element to the story. It contrasts the wealth and leisure the royal family enjoy. Here they have this wonderful palace and fancy clothes, but they also have to worry about rebels attacking the palace and which set of rebels it might be.

6) America stands up for her maids. I liked that she cared about them and did not ask them to do things for her which she could do herself. She was rather independent. (Or as independent as you can be when you are a potential princess.)

Things I Did Not Like:

1) Most of the background history came in one big info dump in Chapter 17. I felt it would have been better to sprinkle it throughout the book or at least have this sort of scene in the beginning of the book. Instead of the girls in The Selection reviewing history of Illea, I think it would have been better if America's mother was quizzing the girls (May and America) on the history of the country. Then again it might have been better absorbed in the 17th chapter than if it was in the 2nd or 3rd chapter. Who knows.

2) Aspen and America have so much of a "physical connection" Lust and Hormones that they do not think about the gravity of the consequences to their actions. I mean I get it...I really do but HELLO....bad things can happen guys. Really bad. These are deadly games to play.

3) Celeste, way to stereotypical villan. I expected the girl to come strolling around the corner and grab America, tie her to some train tracks, and then stand there twirling a fake mustache while rubbing her hands together. GIRL WAS SERIOUSLY OFF KILTER! She was too over the top. Nothing she did was shocking because I pegged her as the underhanded and dramatic one from the beginning. So predictable.

4) I could just about predict EVERYTHING that would happen. The happiness America radiated while having her picture taken, got her chosen as a contestant. Maxon was going to start to like her as more than a friend. Aspen would show up at the palace and what she thought was a relationship with another girl would not be a relationship with another girl. Crazy Witch Celeste would totally douse Kriss with whatever was in the wine glass. Which she did..and of course Kriss ran away. Spoiling the party. I even knew Maxon was going to not believe America when she told him Celeste was a bad egg. While this is great and all when it turns out I am right, I wanted some twists, some turns, I wanted to be surprised!

5) America makes unwise choices. She does not consider the consequences of her actions. She does not straight up tell Maxon from the beginning that Celeste is cray cray. She does not form an alliance with the other girls to get Celeste booted. Her first interaction with the Prince begins with her getting a sudden case of claustrophobia and trying like some mad animal to escape from the palace into the garden. Then she yells at him. She DOES NOT tell Maxon that Aspen is the guy she was trying to avoid by not going home. (True Maxon might have taken it a little too far and found some sort of heartbreaking punishment or sent Aspen to war.) And I really wish she would have told Aspen from the start to stay away from her. Or at least kept her maids in the room...

So because of these reasons I had to give this just three stars. I plan to read the next book in the series because I hope to see some changes and growth for America and Maxon as well. Plus I really want to see Celeste fall flat on her face....but I predict that might be a long time coming. I am pretty sure Celeste will be the only other contestant in the running besides America. It will come down to these two and I want to see who Maxon chooses.

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Review: Quidditch Through the Ages

Quidditch Through the Ages
Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You know, I don't know why being a Potterhead I never made an effort to read this before now. I guess I just didn't really care that much about the Quidditch portion of the books because while interesting I always considered them filler. After reading this, I might look at Quidditch in a whole new light. I felt the background of this wizard sport was interesting. As the "author" talks about the early broom sports in Europe you can see the bits and pieces that would later come together to form the game we all wish we could play. As with all of J.K. Rowling's books this one is detailed and comes together in such a way that readers forget they are reading about a fictional sport and begin to believe that Quidditch could be a reality. I liked the part about America having it's own broom sport based off an element of a European sport. Like that has never happened in the real world. ;)

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Behind on Reading

I need to read 13 more books to reach my 90 book goal on Goodreads. I have shamed my family. LOL.

AND I am one book behind. I was way ahead earlier this year, but a series of Did Not Finish books progressed into a I am slowly reading the books I have on my shelf. This is the danger of the internet. Procrastination. I need to get hopping and push through.

Oh and my husband stopped driving a semi-truck so we moved back to my home state and now I'm surrounded by family 24/7. But I'm so glad to be home. You have no idea. I am BACK IN CIVILIZATION! There are numerous book stores here! And a huge library.

Right now I'm reading Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce and on my brand new Nook Simple Touch (with Glowlight...I'm so happy. Kudos to husband's being out of town on your birthday and the guilty that follows.) I am reading The Selection by Kiera Cass. I've heard mixed reviews of The Selection but I hope I have a good experience.

I NEED to get hopping on the sequels and hot reads of 2011 and 2012:
  • The Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey Series) Finished
  • Outpost by Ann Aguirre (Sequel to Enclave) Finished
  • Thumped by Megan McCafferty (Sequel to Bumped which I really didn't like but I'm hoping book two might pull through.)
  • Timepiece by Myra McEntire (Hourglass Series)
  • Unearthly by Cynthia Hand 
  • Rebel Angels by Libba Bray (Sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty)
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (Heard GREAT things about this one but I have yet to read it.)
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Once again, heard great things but haven't gotten to it yet.)
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (I've yet to start this series)
  • Crossed by Ally Condie (Sequel to Matched)
  • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (I always hear good reviews of books but hesitate to read them cause I don't want to be disappointed. Ugh so many books)
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Sequel to Divergent which I liked)
  • Warm Bodies by Issac Marion (NOT YA - The author made that very clear. I kind of like the concept of this book and I'm willing to give it a shot. Plus there is supposed to be a movie made of it.....which actually looks entertaining.)
But I don't think I have enough time left in the year for some of these as they have a lot of pages. It is kind of a good thing that I now have internet. I can now talk to what few friends I actually have and keep up on book reviews from bloggers I follow. However, I waste so much time looking at funny pictures of cats or....heaven forbid if they put me back on Prednisone for my Lupus.....posting crazy stuff on the boards of Goodreads.

And here is a picture of my wonderful new NST with GLOWLIGHT!!! (No more lamp on making hubby angry.)

The pink strap is a bra strap I inserted so I could keep the cover closed. I think it contrasts with the lime green very well and does no damage to the cover when inserted.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Always Show Up Late to the Party

Alright I am about to sound like a complete idiot. I did not know Google Friend Connect was losing the majority of its features. Now if you try to send a newsletter to your followers you go in circles around the help page. Apparently, this took place in March. Talk about being late to the party. So unfortunately I have had to send out a copy pasted message to all 20 followers.

I noticed that you are a follower of my blog via Google Friend Connect (GFC). If you wish to remain a follower could you do me a really big favor and subscribe via email. If you wish to no longer follow the blog that is fine as well. Thank you for your time.


I apologize for this people but it had to be done. Anyways if everyone could please subscribe via email  at the top of the page should you wish to remain following this blog. Feedburner still works right? Anyone know? Apparently Feedburner is also going away? So I guess I will have to use Feedcat. This is some seriously confusing stuff.

Thanks and sorry for dropping the ball.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

DNF Books and One Awesome Giveaway @ Bookish

I haven't posted in a while and I've been having a hard time finishing books. Nothing seems to hold my interest. I mean every book I started reading was a chore to get through and I DNFed a LOT of books. I mean just look at this list:
All of these....I could not finish. Not that there was necessarily anything wrong with them...I just could not make it through them. Anyways on to happier things!

The blog Bookish is giving away FOUR boxes of books from cleaning out her bookshelves. All of the offerings look great and from each box I can count at least 3 or 4 that I have been drooling over on Goodreads. Especially the first box which includes City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass. I have been dancing around these books for the last month. I wanna buy them but I keep talking myself out of it. Anyone ever do that?

Box 2 has a hardcover of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. I have the ARC of this book and I highly recommend it. I rarely read Adult books but this one was spectacular. Also this box contains The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory. I have to say she is one of my favorite Historical Fiction authors. I loved her books about the Tudors, especially The Other Boleyn Girl. (The movie, not so much.)

Box 3 has a few ARCs I have heard of and the rest I haven't heard of but they sound interesting.

Box 4 has some of the most beautiful covers I have seen in a while. Look at that cover of Kissing Shakespeare. Tell me that is not down right breath taking.

This is definitely a do not miss opportunity. Currently there are over 10,000 entries. (But there are a possible 49 entries you can earn.)

The Giveaway ends October 31st and is International.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aurora (Rory) is funny, witty, and fills the first few chapters with plenty of character. She is also Southern, which I love cause I am as well a Southerner and can relate to the fish out of water feeling.

"I once met a girl in line at Walmart who told me she was going to be on America's Next Top Model. When I next saw that girl, she was crashing a shopping cart into an old lady's car out in the parking lot. Signs. You have to read them."

"Annoy a Southerner, and we will drain away the moments of your life with our slow, detailed replies until you are nothing but a husk of your former self and that much closer to death."

These sentences had me hooked. I would also like to take this time to express appreciation for the detail put into the non living characters.

I enjoyed Johnson's writing style. The mix of comedy and suspense was captivating.

However I feel we could have done without the beginnings of a love triangle.

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Review: Enclave

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I felt so unsatisfied at the end. I don't know if there will be a sequel or not but I would like to know what happens to Deuce, Fade, and their companions. Some things were left unresolved and I really wanted to know what happens next. It felt like there was no conclusion at all. Just a sudden jarring stop in the middle of the road.

I like that the author took the time to research what life would be like after the apocalypse. And it makes sense the way the surviors are grouped into small enclaves with no knowledge of each others survival.

I think the point of the book was to tell a story of how diffferent societal enclaves would react to the same situation, the end of the world, and build their group based on what traditions were necessary for survival in the environment surrounding them. I think it also demonstrated how important it is to allow growth and new ideas shaped by changing circumstances to influence the development of the group in order for the society to survive.

I like the characters somewhat and felt Deuce was portrayed as a strong character. But I hate how many young adult heroines allow themselves to become entangled in tricky situations and then hit a mental brickwall with the inability to reason their way out. Basically, I hate when love triangles happen in a perfectly good story. This one was unnecessary and soiled the plot.

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Review: Feed

Feed by M.T. Anderson

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I was turned off by the dialogue and I felt no draw toward the characters. This book gets zero stars because I did not read enough of it to give a rating.

The dialogue and language used by the characters made it dificult to understand what was really going on in the story. I could not take it anymore and after around 60/200 pages I decided to give it a rest.

The world is described with minimum detail. All I know is everyone speaks as if they are uneducated/unmotivated teenagers (not saying all teenagers were uneducated, I was referring to the teenagers who refuse to use proper language/grammar/punctuation when communicating.), even the adults , with a limited and skewed vocabulary. I kept expecting the characters to complain about how hard life is and how no one understands them or cares about their feelings. The typical kind of complaints you get from teenagers who lack depth and refuse to take avantage of the benefits provided to them.

I think a world based entirely on consumerism and technology implanted directly into the brain to feed mass advertisements and information could be one plausible future for our species. (And that is what scares the daylights out of me.) Do I want it to happen? No. Even without reading what few pages I have of this book, I still would not wish to see a future based on consumerism and 24/7 brain feeds.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: Shiver

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I tried..but did not succeed in reading this book. Pretty sure I lack the warmth to enjoy this book. The cover is very pretty, yet I did not like Grace or Sam. The premise seemed interesting, but I will never know how it ended as I gave up half way through and listed this as Did Not Finish.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: Empty

Empty by Suzanne Weyn

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When I read the summary of this novel I was very excited and could not wait to get started reading it. At first the characters were interesting and I liked how the setting was not vastly different from our current world. However, this story seemed to just keep strolling along. I felt no suspense or detectable plot. It was just....there. The characters just existed. It is kind of hard to describe but I will try.

You know how fresh baked bread has this wonderful taste and it is so delicious and you can taste the ingredients. It seems to just melt in your mouth and stimulate your taste buds. That is how a book with a great plot and suspense tastes. Before the first bite you can feel the excitement and can't wait to dive in and beginning cutting (or tearing if you are like me) piece after piece off to enjoy it.

Well this book was more like your generic, grocery store sliced bread. It tastes bland and is just something to hold together your lunch meat, cheese and sandwich dressing. Eaten by itself it doesn't really excite you or make you crave slice after slice.

The writing was not atrocious. The characters were not cliched and predictable. They were just boring. It was like watching someone go about answering their mail.

It was ok. It just was not exciting. And this makes me sad. I hoped for so much adventure and heart pounding plot. There did not even seem to be a climax.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Feed

Feed by M.T. Anderson

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I was turned off by the dialogue and I felt no draw toward the characters. This book gets zero stars because I did not read enough of it to give a rating.

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Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Warning: Spoilers.

I think this just is not in my taste category. I tend to steer clear of mystery books and this book seems to be in that genre. I did decide to read it because of course it was getting plenty of attention a few years back. While the mystery of what happened to Harriet is appealing, I did not enjoy the characters. Lisabeth did not strike a "you go girl" feeling. (Basically I did not find myself rooting for her.) Then recently I watched the movie and did not find myself enjoying that, but the ending and mystery of what happened is pretty much ruined. I do know that Harriet is still alive and from looking it up on Wikipedia. I do know that she is supposed to be living in Australia. So I have rated this book based on what I did read of it. I rated it 2 stars because the book was OK, I did not LIKE it so therefore I cannot rate it a 3 star book. I basically put a rating up here because I felt that way about the book. Even having looked up the ending then skimming the last few pages I felt no draw toward the novel.

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Review: Carrier of the Mark

Carrier of the Mark
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Based on what I read of the book it seemed like an ok plot. Yet I couldn't find myself to care for the characters and want to finish the book so I stopped reading it. Perhaps I will go back and read it at some other point in time but at this time I have shelved it on the did not finish shelf and have given it no stars. (Anyone know if zero stars counts against a book?)

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: Speak

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read one other Laurie Halse Anderson novel, [b:Wintergirls|5152478|Wintergirls|Laurie Halse Anderson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1275799515s/5152478.jpg|5219477], both Wintergirls and Speak have a way of grabbing me by the heart strings and making me believe I am in the story. There is something about the way Anderson writes that makes me believe I am Melinda (actually my name IS Malinda...) or in the case of Wintergirls, makes me believe I have an eating disorder because I am that dang wrapped up in the story. (True story, I had to eat a 10 piece Chicken Nugget from Mickey D's to convince myself otherwise.)

While reading Speak I found myself...not speaking. Seriously, I was that into the mindset of Melinda that I stopped really saying much to my family. I had to keep taking breaks in order to come back to reality. Sort of like when you play Sims for too many hours. (Once I played Sims 2 for so long that I kept trying thinking I needed to give my husband commands to make him do stuff...and Sims 3 is so much worse HaHa...I keep wanting to use the "motherlode" cheat when I need to buy something. Anyways back to the review.)

I checked this out from the library because I figured it was high time I experienced what most high school English classes are examining as part of their assigned reading. I went to high school in a small town and we didn't read things like Speak...we stuck to the older classics and Animal Farm. I wish I was a high school student again just so I could have someone to discuss this book with...indepth and for many hours.

You know how people say there is a difference between showing and telling in a novel? Well this definitely showed more than told. Definitely well worth the time spent reading. The characters were appealing, the subject matter was touching, and the voice or lack there of in the heroine's case was moving.

Melinda came across as a very troubled and emotionally shattered young woman. She found herself lost, and no one seemed to care. Now I know some would say that there is no way a girl could exhibit these signs of distress without someone noticing and trying to get to the root of the problem. That is not always true. Young adults slip through the cracks everyday because people can't tell who is just a moody teenager and who is showing signs of depression, mental illness, or any other emotional/physical trauma. It happens every single day....every single minute....every single second. And the heartbreaking thing is that it doesn't just happen with children and young adults...it happens with mature adults, senior citizens....even our animals.

That is what makes this book so mind-blowing....because we all could end up like Melinda. (Maybe not experiencing exactly what she did but experiencing some sort of trauma.)

All I can say is I am very happy I read this book. And it will be one of the first books I recommend to anyone who asks.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Review: Nightlight: A Parody

Nightlight: A Parody
Nightlight: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There were a few laughs and a few witty moments. I get that it isn't really making fun of Twilight, more like it is making fun of the way sometimes fans get too obsessive. It just didn't grab me the way I hoped it would.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: The Summer Before

The Summer Before
The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think this was a pretty good prequel for setting up the characters in the BSC. The characters were consistent with the series.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later

Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later
Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

There are so many reasons I did not enjoy this book. The first reason being that perhaps I did not connect with it the way readers who grew up with the various Sweet Valley series would when presented with an "all grown up" Elizabeth and Jessica novel. Growing up I read The Babysitters Club, which many feel is like the "gateway drug" to SVH and it's spin-offs. But I never got into SVH. I remember seeing them in the school library and I remember hearing other girls talk about them. But for some reason or other I never picked them up. So recently I read the first in the SVH series [b:Double Love|529252|Double Love (Sweet Valley High, #1)|Francine Pascal|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1264841703s/529252.jpg|3257147]to get a general idea of the content of the early books. (I know the later ones became much more....serious)So I kinda had an idea of Elizabeth and Jessica's character, the world building, and the plot setup.

The main reason I did not like this book was because of the characters. I just could not connect with either of the twins. And I could not find myself relating to their issues even though I am the same age as the twins. And it was nothing to do with who they are, they are still the same characters from the first book. Elizabeth is still a good listener and considerate of others and Jessica is still rather..selfish. Yet they have changed so I give the author credit for that. They have become more mature. Elizabeth has taken on a more cynical view of the world. Yet she is filled with feelings of revenge (not the little revenges she did during the SVH series) and to a degree, self-loathing. Jessica has learned to be a little less selfish and a lot more loyal.

The plot also got to me. It got to me hard. The way it was set up was interesting. With flashbacks in relation to the current events. But I felt too much time was wasted on the build up. If the facts were laid bare and not so much time was spent beating around the bush, the novel would be cut in half. When the finale finally did happen, everything was wrapped up into too nice and neat of a bundle. It felt to gushy romance at the end and my black as night heart was choking on the lurve being put out from the couples. And too many plot twists and character personality changes. It's like someone decided to flip the script on every single person in Sweet Valley. Their motives have become question. Their lives have become fictionalized too far in the opposite direction. And the only thing that drove the plot was would she forgive or would she continue to harbor a deep hatred. It lacked complexity.

I hate giving low ratings and it made me sad to do this. I even looked at the book entire as a standalone with no relation to the SVH series. I just could not bring myself to enjoy it.

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review: Immortal Beloved

Immortal Beloved
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

HOLEY MOLEY...I did NOT expect to like this as much as I did. Need to go off for a few minutes and contemplate exactly how to tell you how fantastic this book was.


Ok I have returned. Ok. So listen. I am only going to say this once. (Maybe) This book was aaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwessssssssssssommmmmmmmmmmme. First let me set the scene. We have Nasty (short for Nastasya) who in her 450 plus years of immortality has gone by many names and changed her appearance many times. But the main constant in her life has been her almost reckless abandon of caring or even wanting to deal with the bad parts of her life or the lives of her fellow men/women. Then one day it hits her like a slap in the face when she sees her best friend commit an action of such unspeakable cruelty that..there are no words to describe it.

So Nasty takes a chance and runs away from everything and every immortal she has ever truly known. She seeks an immortal she met once, for a mere moment in the expansive life she has lived. Nasty finds herself in BFE, Massachusetts. Feeling out of place and woe is me, Nasty embarks on a journey of inner peace, goodness, and MAGIC!!!

This is book is totally worth dealing with the adolescent mindset of Nasty you will experience for a decent majority of the book. This book is totally worth dealing with the oh so overused "Oh Em Gee He is so HAWT! He is so GODLIKE! He is so *insert every adjective to describe an astoundingly sexy and attractive guy*!" There is the good guys, the bad guys(girl), and the shades of gray.

I loved the flashbacks. Usually when an author does a flashback, it goes awry somewhere and ends up being info dump in the worst kind of way. But this time the flashbacks were done in a manner that made sense, gave me some background on Nasty, and didn't make me wish I could skip them. (How many times do you find yourself skipping the flashbacks or at least skimming over them cause they are so dull and drawn out?)

Basically what I am saying is read this book. This book is definitely not your average immortality tripe. This gives to immortality the pizzazz that IMO My Name is Memory gave to reincarnation. Now I am off to tear through the second book. [b:Darkness Falls|7977037|Darkness Falls (Immortal Beloved, #2)|Cate Tiernan|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1316458499s/7977037.jpg|12307536]

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: Kill Me Softly

Kill Me Softly
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mira never knew her parents. They died in a fire when she was three months old. Her guardians took her away from her birthplace and raised her under their protection. They kept her safe. Now she is throwing it all away. She is running away to the town of her birth, to a town where fairy tales come true, and where secrets abound. Mira is running away to her destiny.

The setting of this book was interesting. Imagine a world where fairy tales are real and they take place in the present. What would it be like? I imagine it would be something like this story. I liked the idea of this book. I liked trying to find out which characters belonged with which fairy tale.

I didn't like Mira for the most part. She seemed so intent on putting herself in danger. Even when it was not her fairy tale she was playing a part in, even when her destiny was entwined with someone else. Blue struck me as the real hero here. He was the voice of reason at times when Mira was trying her damnedest to face danger for no other reason than lust. Poor Freddie seemed like your typical nice guy, always in the friend-zone. I would have liked to know more about him. Alas that is not how the story goes.

The pace was surprisingly fast in my opinion. It seemed that things escalated in a rather quick manner. I blame it on the curse. Things happened to fast and too intensely for it to make real sense. I mean who buys sexy lingerie at sixteen less than 48 hours after meeting a guy...who is 21!!??

But I loved the ending. I loved that you can change your destiny, yet still fulfill your curse. You can risk it all to help someone else. I loved that there was a somewhat happy ending.

However it just didn't reach me like I hoped it would. I just couldn't bring myself to feel more strongly about this book. But I would not kick it to the curb. It's just one of those books I will read once and leave it be afterwards. But don't let that stop you from checking out Kill Me Softly. I will be looking for more from this author in the future.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: Sweetly

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this re-telling of Hansel and Gretel. The main characters Ansel and Gretchen are trying to carry on with their lives after being kicked out by their stepmother. Unfortunately, fate has a way of stepping in and re-routing destiny. For years after the disappearance of Gretchen's twin sister, they have feared the woods and the witches they believe live there.

I liked the detail of this story. I haven't read Sisters Red by the author yet. So some of the connections between this book and Sisters Red were lost to me. The plot flows along at a steady slow pace until the last few chapter. At this point the pace picks up and we find out the secret that the candy lady, Sophia, has been hiding.

I liked the characters but Ansel seemed a little secondary, Gretchen is the main star of the show. I feel she really grew as a character and found a strength that wasn't too far fetched to be believable.

Overall I enjoyed Sweetly and I can't wait to read what Jackson Pearce has lined up next. (After I read Sisters Red of course.)

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Finished This Season of Once Upon a Time? Check Out These Retellings!

So now we have all seen the spectacular season finale to ABC's Once Upon a Time.  Are you begging for more? Can't get enough twists and re-tellings of our favorite myths, legends, and fairy tales? Well never fear, I have a very short list compiled to help you scratch that itch until the beginning of next season. Some of these books might be considered Young Adult but don't let that deter you. They are good as Gold..... we all know deep down he's a good guy, his methods are just questionable.

So here is the list in no particular order:

  1. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier - A retelling of The Six Swans. This retelling is detailed and beautiful in the world building. Partially based on historical Ireland and Britain, Daughter of the Forest weaves a tale of magic, commitment, and the power of familial love. 
  2. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George - A retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. This retelling gives a back story as to WHY the princesses had to dance every night. I don't wanna give away the reason but lets just say the old Grimm lesson to never make a deal with a magical creature is reflected in this tale of Twelve princesses in the flower of their youth forced to dance until the spell is broken. 
  3. Bewitching by Alex Flinn - This is kinda of a mash up of a lot of tales in the form of a young witch who participated in each tale either as a participant or as the antagonist. Flinn is known for her book Beastly which was a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. (And made into a somewhat mediocre movie IMO.)
  4. Spindle's End by Robin McKinley - A retelling of Little Briar-Rose (Sleeping Beauty). McKinley is well known for her reimaginings of the tales we hold dear to our hearts. A long favorite of mine is Deerskin, a retelling of Charles Perrault's Donkeyskin. While Spindle's End is not as dark as Deerskin in content, there is some gender-bending and a great surprise at the end. 
  5. Troll's Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales by Ellen Datlow - This is a collection of short stories, written by many awesome authors, told from the VILLAIN'S side of the tale. All is not black and white in the world of Fairy Tales. Sometimes the bad guy is actually a good guy. 
  6. Cinder by Marissa Meyer - A futuristic retelling of Cinderella. This time the little cinder girl is a cyborg mechanic. You will notice other fairy tale characters cropping up if you look closely. I liked that the author gives the tales new life by re-imagining them and weaving them all into a brand new story line....sort of like OUAT.
  7. Ash by Malinda Lo - A retelling of Cinderella. I am not going to give anything away cause this was such a great book. Really I am not just saying that because the author and I have the same first name spelled in the same way....really. ;)
  8. Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire - A retelling of Snow White. What I loved about this story is that Maguire ALWAYS seems to surprise me with his re-imaginings of tales we all know. (This is the guy who wrote Wicked...I mean seriously the man is the best thing since....Neil Gaiman.) The setting and the reworked characters made the historical side of me squeal in excitement. While not a good as some of his works.....this did make me smile. 
Here are a few more that I haven't read myself but I plan to read or I am currently reading: (Sweetly and Kill Me Softly)
  1. Sweetly by Jackson Pearce - A Retelling of Hansel and Gretel . So far I am liking this. I choose to read it before Sisters Red because...well the cover is purple and I have it in hardcover. (Thanks to my awesome little brother.)
  2. Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross - A mash up of many fairy tales. Basically a girl runs away from home and goes to the town of her birth where Grimm's Fairy Tales are real life.
  3. My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison - "Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah's class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight. " <-----This summary from the Goodreads page says it all. I hope it lives up to my expectations. 
  4. Hatter by Daniel Coleman - OK so it's not a Grimm Tale...but it has THE MAD HATTER!!!! I will not feel ashamed imagining the hatter looking exactly like Jefferson. And just like on OUAT we get to see what causes his trip down the dark rabbit hole to madness. 
So these are just a few stories I have on my list of read and to read....what tales do you plan to consume waiting to find out what Mr. Gold is really up to?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review: Daughter of the Forest

Daughter of the Forest
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was awesome. I loved the slow pacing and it was full of detail. My only issue was that her brothers were a tad overprotective and over critical of Red. But to be realistic I suppose it was needed. Wish I had Internet here so I could gush more but hopefully this little review will do.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: Lost in the '90s

Lost in the '90s
Lost in the '90s by Frank Anthony Polito

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now this is the story all about how
Kurt's life got flipped-turned upside down
And I'd like to take minute
Just sit right there
I'll tell you how Kurt became proud
of his town called Hazel Park.

Ok, so it doesn't EXACTLY rhyme along with the Fresh Prince theme song, but hey I gave it a shot.

No lie, Kurt's life does get flipped upside down when he takes an adrenaline filled stage dive during Hillbilly High's "Lost in the '90s" dance. Soon after he meets two teens from different walks of life. But unknown to all involved this pair of teens will be the most important people in Kurt's life. They might even help him find his way and tackle a very important problem in his future.

Polito weaves an entertaining and nostalgic (to those of us lucky enough to experience the '90s in their full glory) tale of love. Not just romantic love, but love of friends and the importance of family. The tale brings back memories of just how much our society has changed yet remained true to our roots in these past 20 years. Lost in the '90s poses the question, if we could step back in time and experience the world as our parents saw it, how would it change our feelings about the world at current.

Lost in the '90s is full of trivia and nods to all the things that made the '90s so great. The fashion, the music, the language. All of these things explode in this treasure of a novel. No cell phones, no Internet, and music was just then available on Compact Disc. As the story is narrated through three distinct voices, we see that not everything is so cut and dry when it comes to our future. Sometimes we have to make tough choices before we believe we are ready. And these decisions will shape who we are as a whole.

It touches on the subjects of sexuality, abortion, and family interactions. How important is realizing your dreams when your actions have created a new life? Would you be willing to compromise those dreams in order to fulfill your obligations. Kurt grows as a character as he struggles through the decisions his parents made during the pre-Millennium. He learns that parents were once kids, just like us, and they made mistakes.

I found myself nodding and smiling as I ran across each reference to '90s pop culture. I almost lost my head when Spuds MacKenzie was mentioned. Being that I was only 9/10 during '94 I wasn't a Bud Light fan, but there is a long story as to why this invoked a deep feeling of nostalgia. I remember my mother, and sometimes myself, wearing the fashion listed. Shoot, I wore flannel even in high school.....lets just say I was always a bit.....behind. LOL. I still find myself exclaiming "Awesome" and "Dude" whenever I get excited. Cobain will always be a legend to me.

What does make me sad is that I grew up in the South, and the references to Hazel Park, Michigan leave me a little lost. But from as much detail as Polito puts into the book, I am sure it would be just as good as a GPS when traveling around HP. It makes me wish I knew the "friendly city" back then.

I think readers will find this book hilarious, informative, and touching. I know I did. I regret nothing after reading this gem. Polito does a masterful job of weaving together the information needed to fully understand the enigma that is the '90s and the voice of a generation now shaping our future. And most importantly he warns us of the dangers of Benadryl. *snickers* Throughout the first 3/4ths of the book I found myself highlighting the '90s references, writing little comments I WISH I could say to the characters, and keeping up with where the story was going. By the last quarter, I was so invested in the story that I could only highlight every little bit then dive right back into the action. It was good. It was thrilling. I left me feeling like I was a kid again.

Don't miss your chance to experience the '90s with Kurt.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

100 Follower Giveaway @ Incandescent Enchantments

Celise over at Incandescent Enchantments is having a giveaway to celebrate her 100 follower milestone!

Two winners will have the chance to choose one book from the list.

  1. The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
  2. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter 
  3. The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
  4. The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski
  5. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
  6. Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
  7. The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones
  8. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (The Books of Bayern #1)
  9. Matched by Ally Condie
  10. Enna Burning by Shannon Hale (The Books of Bayern #2)

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway so there will be plenty of chances and ways to enter.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Diner (Pine Grove, PA)

I love finding new places to eat. Usually our lunch/dinner consists of grabbing a pizza at Flying J or a subway $5 footlong or some other fast food option. But last night we experienced Pure Stomach Ecstasy.

At exit 100 off I 81 in Pine Grove, PA there is a very awesome 50s Diner called....Diner. you can't miss it, it is next to the Pilot Travel Center and is lit up like the 4th of July. I mean this food is awesome. I had the Blue Moon Burger, blue cheese and bacon ( I replaced the bacon with sauteed onions) with fries (.99 extra) and A PICKLE! Oh so fabulous! If you get a chance check it out!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hectic Week with More Crazy Life to Come

So we are coming toward the end of John Green Week and I still have not finished Looking For Alaska. The book is GREAT lemme tell ya, but I've had some pretty crazy life stuff going on.

My parents finally hauled their slow behinds to South Carolina around the 4th. LEFT my darling cat, Ella, in Tennessee. They claimed she hid somewhere in the house and they couldn't find her. *taps foot in a "I don't believe you" way*

I cried for two hours. Then I became sick. See thing is stress and Lupus don't mix. For some reason everytime I get stressed out, I get sick. All kinds of unmentionable things that I won't put into detail. Let's just say it is not good to eat then get stressed.

Anyways, so Ella was left, I cried, screamed, threatened violence on people in my head. But good news, she was found. How a 20lb cat gets into the attic I don't know. She is at a neighbor's house. I will rescue her tomorrow, or Mike will suffer dire consequences. Then I will take her home to SC. So happy.

We did stop through SC on our way to Florida with a load. My mother procrastinated for two days and wouldn't unpack ANYTHING! Instead she stayed around my uncle and his fiance's house.  My dad got sick, went into the hospital right as we were leaving to unpack things without her. (Hopefully this hospital will get him well again) And so my brothers, Mike, and I had to start unpacking the majority of the house belongings.

First thing we did was set up my parents room. (Well after making sure the bathroom was stocked with toliet paper and towels.) Then I unpacked the dry goods and kitchenware. So Parents room is good, kitchen is good. My brothers set up the televisons in each room, organized a temporary arrangement for seating in the living room, and set up the bed in my room. (This was so that at least one extra bed was ready to go)

We dropped our load in Florida then hightailed to Georgia...where we are now sitting for the moment so that Mike could get a nap in so we won't be too early for our load. Also I was not awoken earlier today when we arrived at the truck terminal which has free WiFi. Therefore, my chance for plentiful WiFi was wasted. *shaking fist at Mike* So this post looks like crapola.

And those are my excuses for why I haven't finished Looking For Alaska. Grief, Manual Labor, and No WiFi. Plus it is dark and I slept through the day cause I got NO rest at my Uncle's house in SC.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Giveaway at I Eat Words AND at Novel Thoughts!!

I Eat Words is kicking off John Green Week in style. They are having a giveaway for one lucky winner. The contest is open to those who live in a country The Book Depository ships to.

So go over to I Eat Words and join the fun. And don't forget to be awesome.

*Edit* Another giveaway!

Novel Thoughts is giving away a SIGNED AND PERSONALIZED copy of The Fault in Our Stars! But wait...there's more! They will be including a S/P copy of Looking for Alaska!! Oh my word. The excitement is toooo much.

Now I am going to tell Mike the Hubby it is time for some food cause I am starving! We are in Virginia right now waiting to deliver a load. Then it is off to Sunny Florida! Already have my sunscreen ready, can't forget that as a Lupie the sun is not my friend!

Day 1: John Green Week - Looking For Alaska

It is finally time to kick off John Green Week! In celebration of the January 10th release of The Fault in Our Stars, many of the book blogging community will be reading/re-reading John's books, dicussing the books, and just generally have a good ole time.
I will be celebrating by reading Looking For Alaska for the first time, this is also my first John Green book. I have been saving the books for this special week. I want to experience the magic for the first time during a celebration of all things Green!
So if you would like to particpate or want to see what everyone hosting is doing, please check out the list of blogs on my sidebar and let the joyous celbration begin!