Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Blogger Hop: 9/30-10/3

Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:

“In honor of Banned Books Week, what is your favorite “banned or frequently challenged book”?”

Click here for 2010-11 list in PDF format. You can also click HERE to view past years and choose from any of those titles!

Off the 2010-2011 list:
The Absolutley True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
I read this one for the first time this year and it is one powerful book. Alexie poured so much of himself into that book and the struggles that a young Native American goes through. It is so relateable and packs an emotional punch. I hope this book is never taken off the shelf!
Hunger Games comes in a close second!

Off the 2001 list:
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
This is a great werewolf book! Do not judge it by the movie that came out! This was a very powerful book for me because of the tension and raw power that Vivian has as a werewolf. It is what made me fall in love with paranormal books in high school. Highly recommend! 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reading List: YA Classic Retellings

YA Classic Retellings

Abandon by Meg Cabot- Persephone

At Face Value by Emily Franklin- Cyrano de Bergerac

Avalon High by Meg Cabot- Camalot

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding- Pride and Prejudice

Catherine by April Lindner -Wuthering Heights

Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman- Much Ado About Nothing

Cupid: a tale of love and desire by Julius Lester- Cupid and Psyche

The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love by Rosie Rushton- Sense and Sensibility

Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman- Pride and Prejudice

Falling For Hamlet by Michelle Ray--Hamlet

Flawless by Lara Chapman- Cyrano de Bergerac

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter- Peresphone

Going Bovine by Libba Bray- Don Quixote

iDrakula by Bekka Black--Dracula

Illyria by Elizabeth Hand--Twelfth Night

Ithaca by Adele Geras- The Odessy

Jake, Reinvented by Gordon Korman- The Great Gatsby

Jane by April Lindner- Jane Eyre

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay- Romeo and Juliet

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor- Alice in Wonderland

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones- Great Expectations

Ophelia by Lisa Klein- Hamlet

Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard- Pride and Prejudice

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg- Pride and Prejudice

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman-Persephone

Romiette and Julio by Sharon Draper- Romeo and Juliet

Sass and Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler- Sense and Sensibility

Saving Juliet by Suzanna Selfors- Romeo and Juliet

Something Rotten: A Horatio Wilkies Mystery by Alan Gratz- Hamlet

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel- Frankenstein

Worst Impressions: a Romantic Comedy by K.L. Brady -Pride and Prejudice

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy Banned Book Week!

Why yes, it is a holiday!

Top Ten Challenged Books of 2010
from the ALA website

 1) And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

2) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

3) Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

4) Crank, by Ellen Hopkins

5) The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

6) Lush, by Natasha Friend

7) What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones

8) Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich

9) Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie

10) Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

Cannot wait for next years list! Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Horton Halfpott: Or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset by Tom Angleberger

This is a perfect book for relunctant boy readers. It is funy, silly, and strange. There are shipless pirates bumbling detectives, disguises, and a stolen diamond known as The Lump. It would be a great starting novel for those who enjoy graphic novels because it is a descriptive but fast paced.
It sets up a household that is filled disgruntled workers and a spoiled noble family that is oblivious to anything other than their own needs. Horton is the kitchen boy with a good heart but bad things keep happening to him. He works for the Luggertuck's in Smugwick Manor. His only friends are the stable boys Blight, Bump, and Blemish but he might be falling in love with the visiting Lady Celia but don't worry! This is not a kissing book.
Wackiness ensues throughout the book! As I said earlier, this book will delight boys with it's irreverant humor and looniness. A lot of fun is packed into this book! Plus the cover glows in the dark.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Supernatually by Kiersten White

by Kiersten White
Personal Copy
336 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.
But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.
So much for normal.

My Thoughts
This is the long awaited sequel to Paranormalcy!! Oh Evie, I have missed your quirkiness and love of lockers! I do have to say that I was a little let down with Supernaturally but that could be because I LOVED the first one so much. Overall it was good because Evie was still funny and full of win.

My biggest complaint is that Land was not in it as much as I hoped but this is Evie's journey and Land is away at college. Evie was also thinking about him just a little too much- she kinda needed to have a life outside of him. I'm glad she went back to working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency because it gave her something to do besides wait around for Lend to get home. I also was not liking Jack, usually I like the mischievous pranksters but he always seemed slimy.

The book starts with Evie realizing that high school may not be exactly like the TV shows she watches. Her life is mundane and she longs for just a little bit of excitement or more time with her college bound boyfriend. I would have thought that Evie would have more friends by this time but she only has one close friend that she cannot share her past with. I think that White should have placed another paranormal in the school so she would have someone to confide in but this would break the isolation that Evie feels and we would not have a plot. The book centers around Evie finding out secrets about her past and trying to tell Lend that he is immortal. I really hope the third one picks up the pace with plot!

Now with all this critiquing you might think that I did not like this book. Well, you would be wrong. I did like the book but I did not love it like I did Paranormalcy. There were some flaws but it was still enjoyable because Evie was her quirky loveable self. She is facing dilemmas that she has not come across while living in seclusion for so many years. Real life is not as glamorous as she thought but she is dealing with that and trying to save her loved ones. It is still fun and engaging. I am looking forward to more books about Evie and Co.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Crafty Coworkers

Here is to crafty coworkers!

Look at what my wonderful colleague made for me!

She always makes me such wonderful knitted items but a Hunger Games pillow just blows my mind! Check out her blog Composistions of Wool. Who knows? Maybe she will inspire you to make an army of bunnies to guard your desk.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

Falling Under
by Gwen Hayes
336 pages
Personal Copy

Book Jacket Summary
Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

My Thoughts
I have to be honest and say that I could not finish this book. I did not want to read a book where the main character was falling in love with an abusive jerk. I do not care if he is redeemed in the end or whatever Hayes had in store for the couple. Haden did several things where I was yelling at Theia to stay away!! He is not dark and mysterious, he is abusive and dangerous. He made glass rain down and cut you up because you danced with another boy!!! Stop!!! He made an alarm bell so loud it busted your ear drum!!! Stay away!!!

I was about halfway done but I could not read another line. I will not pick this one back up either. I was getting to mad and reading is a pleasure to me. I cannot recommend this one to anyone because perpetuates the abusive boyfriend trend that has been floating around the YA books recently. I hate to think of all the teenage girls out there thinking that a guy stalking you is romantic or that he will change through the power of your love. It does not work that way.
I need to read something else... Please tell me there is a new Meg Cabot book coming out soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Relic Master

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

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • Be careful not to include spoilers!
  • Share the title and author so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like the teaser!


Galen laughed sourly. A sudden spark lit his face, twisted with pain. "I used to know when people lied to me, Raffi. If only they knew!" He glanced across. "We both go. Someone has to deal with this relic."
p.17, The Relic Master: Book One The Dark City


Monday, September 19, 2011

Crossing Stones by Helen Frost

Crossing Stones
By Helen Frost
Public Library
184 pages
Novel in Verse

Book Jacket Summary
Maybe you won’t rock a cradle, Muriel. Some women seem to prefer to rock the boat.
Eighteen-year-old Muriel Jorgensen lives on one side of Crabapple Creek. Her family’s closest friends, the Normans, live on the other. For as long as Muriel can remember, the families’ lives have been intertwined, connected by the crossing stones that span the water. But now that Frank Norman—who Muriel is just beginning to think might be more than a friend—has enlisted to fight in World War I and her brother, Ollie, has lied about his age to join him, the future is uncertain. As Muriel tends to things at home with the help of Frank’s sister, Emma, she becomes more and more fascinated by the women’s suffrage movement, but she is surrounded by people who advise her to keep her opinions to herself. How can she find a way to care for those she loves while still remaining true to who she is?
Written in beautifully structured verse, Crossing Stones captures nine months in the lives of two resilient families struggling to stay together and cross carefully, stone by stone, into a changing world.

My Thoughts
This novel in verse is a deeply moving look at two families who are affected by World War I and the changing times of 1917. It is a clear look into war, women’s suffrage, family, death, love, and being true to oneself. The story unfolds from the point of view of Muriel, Ollie, and Emma. They have very different voices and see the world as individuals.
The two families live next door and the parents hope that their children will marry. They have always paired Muriel with Frank and Ollie and Emma. Frank goes off to join the War over seas and starts to write Muriel. However, Muriel is interested in more than just making house and dreams of continuing her education past the small school house in their town. She wants to be like her aunt and support herself. I really connected with Muriel and her ambitions to be more but I also thought that Emma’s dream of marrying Ollie was equally important. Each woman knew what she wanted and each was true to themselves. Ollie wants to join the war like his friend Frank but is still too young. He slips out into the night and lies about his age. His war experience is harrowing and there are severe consequences to running off to war.  
I would recommend this one to those who love novels in verse and to those interested in World War I. This shows how the two families react to different events and relationships that shift. The poetry is beautiful and you really get to see into the way Muriel, ollie, and Emma think. There are some strong characters in this one but also a strong setting in the past.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

by Jennifer Donnelly
472 pages
Public Library

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

My Thoughts
I actually read this book several months ago but was unable to review it at the time because I was in the middle of Capstone. I needed a mental break and instead of skimming an old favorite I delved into this door stopper. But I must confess it did help and I felt renewed after reading it.
Andi is a teen on the verge of destruction and does not want any help. All she wants to do is sink into her music and strum away at her guitar. The musical element reminded me of If I Stay because of how much Andi loves her music. The pain is lessened and she is not herself for a while. Andi is a well written character because every time I felt like smacking her she pulled me back in with the pain of her little brother death and the blame she carries. This pain is amplified when her mother withdraws from reality and her father leaves. Andi has hit rock bottom and the only control she has is to be out of control.
Her father finally notices what is happening and takes her away to Paris, to reset her priorities. There she finds a diary that will change her life and connect her to another girl in revolutionary France.
This book really had me heartbroken over Andi and her family. She was already losing her workaholic father when her brother was murdered in front of her. Her family disintegrated and she had nothing to turn to except music. Her peers are no better and they all turn to drugs to get them through the day. They are the bored disenfranchised youth I keep seeing on show like Gossip Girl- don’t really get the appeal myself. I guess being middle class is better? I don’t know…
I really liked both main characters, Andi and Alex, and how Donnelly paralleled their circumstances but yet made them so completely different. I would recommend this book to those who like historical fiction but also to those who like realistic fiction. There is one part that does not fit into the “realistic mold” but you can draw your own conclusions on if it really happened or if it was all in Andi’s head. I like the sense of hope that the book ends on because this book tugs at your heart strings.    


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WoW: Breadcrumbs

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

by Anne Ursu
Release Date: Sept. 27, 2011

Goodreads Summary

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn't help it - Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn't fit anywhere else.
And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it's never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack's heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it's up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she's read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn't the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Breadcrumbs is a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.

A fairy tale based story? Sign me up! Especially when it is the less known (not overused) Snow Queen. I have read a few retellings but it is still a more obscure fairy tale that feels fresh! I have been hearing good advanced reviews about this one.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Doggirl by Robin Brande

By Robin Brande
Nook Book
269 pages

Book Jacket Summary
Riley Case has always been an expert with dogs--it's people she doesn't understand. But when the chance comes to use her talents as a dog trainer to help her high school drama department compete in a national contest, Riley has to set aside her shyness and fears, and finally let the world see what she can do. It's THE DOG WHISPERER meets GLEE as Riley and her dogs help put on a show no one will forget.

My Thoughts
Robin Brande is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors! I am going through her collection and feel that she is a very talented writer that can deal with heavy issues with surprising ease. In her book Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature she dealt with being a Christian and believing in evolution and now in Doggirl she handles a character who does not know how to fit in but it is so much more than that. Her books strive to entertain (and succeed) but there is an underlying smartness and I feel as though I have come away with more than just a story.
Doggirl shows how Riley trains her dogs through a pack mentality and how she cannot seem to understand human behavior as she would a dogs. She starts to break out of her shell when she volunteers to bring in her dog to audition for the annual student production play. Riley is painfully shy because of a mass bullying at her old middle school. Her parents decided to move and have fresh start but Riley just wants to be left alone with her three dogs- Fig, Heidi, and Jack. Each dog has a special place in Riley’s heart but Fig is her best friend. Fig also saved her life but you should read the book to find out how. I must admit that I want those dogs or the patience to train my own. Riley just wants to graduate and become an animal trainer for Hollywood without any entanglements. This plan is thwarted when she joins the close knit theater group and starts learning about human behavior.
She starts to open up to the people in the drama group- Beverly, the costume designer and first girl friend she has made in a long time and Nate, the groups filmmaker and possible love interest (if Riley can open up her heart). These characters show Riley that she can make human friends. She just has to learn how to trust people again and find herself.
I think this book really spoke to me because I was in the drama program in my high school. It was such fun and it took me back to the days of my crazy group of friends. I knew each of these people or people so like them that it was kinda scary. The characters are so realistic and fun. This book is perfect for many subject matters- friendship, shyness, dog lovers, drama geeks, and anyone who wants a good story. I really cannot gush enough about this one! There is so much more I want to say but I do not want to spoil key points. Lets just say that Nate is awesome and that I wish I knew him in high school ;)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Free Nook Book: Once a Princess: Sashaia en Garde!

Once a Princess: Sashaia en Garde! by Sherwood Smith is free for those of you who have a nook! 
I love Sherwood Smith's books and cannot wait to get started! She wrote the Wren Series and the Crown Duel Series. They were two of my favorites as a teen!

This is not a paid promotion... Just trying to find those few really good free books! :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Blogger Hop: 9/9-9/12

Book Blogger Hop

As Crazy For Books says:
Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:

“Many of us primarily read one genre of books, with others sprinkled in. If authors stopped writing that genre, what genre would you start reading? Or would you give up reading completely if you couldn’t read that genre anymore?”

Wow! I would feel sorry for all the children of the world because right now I mainly read picture books, tween fiction, and YA. I would probably start reading more historical fiction because I love other time periods and learning something new about the past. I might read more contemporary fiction , as long as it was humorous. I am so about the funny!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reading Lists: Girls Pretending to Be Boys

In my youth I loved books where girls had to struggle to be considered equals. Many times in order to get their foot in the door they had to disguise themselves as boys! I always waited in anticipation for the big reveal and to see if her friends would accept for who she truly is inside. Here is a quick reading list for books and series that follow that story line. Let me know if there is one that I missed!

Eon and Eona by Goodman

Alanna Series by Tamora Pierce

Leviathan and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Blody Jack Series by L.A. Meyer

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

Girl in Blue by Anne Rinaldi

Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan

The Girl-Son by Anne Neuberger

Crane by Jeff Stone

The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer

The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer

The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee

The Bone Dolls Twin by Lynn Flewelling

The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier

Pirates by Celia Rees

Sovay by Celia Rees

Falcon Law by Judith Tarr

Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman

Twelfth Night by Shakespeare

As You Like It by Shakespeare

A murder for her majesty by Beth Hilgartner

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve


Ouran High School Host Club


Princess Knight 

Kaze no Hikaru

Rose of Versailles


I'll Pass For Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War by Anita Silvey

Soldier's secret: the story of Deborah Sampson by Sheila Solomon Klass

No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women Dressed as Men for Love, Freedom and Adventure by Susan Hughes and Willow Dawson

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WoW: Wisdom's Kiss

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Wisdom's Kiss
by Cathrine Gibert Murdock
Release Date: September 13, 2011

Magic, cunning, and one very special cat join forces in this hilarious, extraordinary tale by the author of the Dairy Queen trilogy and Princess Ben.
Princess Wisdom, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure beyond the staid old kingdom of Montagne.

Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true identity a secret.

Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips.

These three souls might possibly attain their dreams while preserving their empire from ruin — if only they can bear one another’s company long enough to come up with a plan.

Magic, cunning, and one very special cat join forces in this hilarious tale told in diaries, letters, encyclopedia entries, and even a play, all seamlessly stitched together by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of Dairy Queen and Princess Ben.

I love Catherine Gilbert Murdock's work and this one looks particularly funny. Plus there is a black cat on the cover!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays: Horton Halfpott

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

•Grab your current read

•Open to a random page

•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Suddenly Luther stopped and sniffed. He looked all around for the source of the smell.
Blemish, the source of the smell, slipped into M'Lady Luggertuck's Spare Corset Closet just in time.

p. 88, Horton Halfpott or the Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor or the Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset

Cupcake Diaries: Katie and the Cupcake Cure by Coco Simon

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens!

Cupcake Diaries: Katie and the Cupcake Cure
by Coco Simon
140 pages

Book Jacket Summary
This first book in The Cupcake Diaries is told through the perspective of Katie Brown. We find Katie miserable on the first day of middle school. Her best friend Callie came back from camp boy-crazy and part of a whole new group of friends. When it's made clear that Callie is in the PGC (Popular Girls Club) and Katie is not invited to join, Katie suddenly feels incredibly alone. Katie realizes if she’s going to survive middle school she needs to seriously regroup and find some new friends. But how? She bites into the cupcake her mother packed her for lunch and for a second closes her eyes. The sweet treat makes her happy—finally something goes right! Looking around her table, Katie notices the other students seeming a bit lost, as well. Which gives her an idea…With three new friends Katie forms a club as a way to spread the cupcake love and earn some cupcake cash.

My Thoughts
Cute Middle school story about a girl named Katie and how the Cupcake Club began. This book would be a great help to those transitioning into Middle School. Katie has to deal with finding new friends after her best friend starts hanging out with a new crowd. She must juggle the old saying "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold". I really liked the cupcake angle, especially the recipe for Upside Down Pineapple Cupcakes. Yum! It is a good theme for girls who like to bake. Katie makes it look so easy and gives great advice for first time bakers.
The rest of the series focuses on a girl from the club, next on the list is Mia. She is the fashionista of the group but is down to earth, unlike Sydney from the PGC (Popular Girls Club). Emma and Alexis are not as focused on, so I am looking forward to their stories. Katie tries to keep an upbeat attitude as friendships change and best friends become just friends. Good thing for cupcakes and new friends!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Illyria by Elizabeth Hand

by Elizabeth Hand
Public Library
Adult Novella
135 pages
Book Jacket Summary
Madeleine and Rogan are first cousins, best friends, twinned souls, each other's first love. Even within their large, disorderly family - all descendants of a famous actress - their intensity and passion for theater sets them apart. It makes them a little dangerous. When they are cast in their school's production of Twelfth Night, they are forced to face their separate talents and futures, and their future together. This masterful short novel, winner of the World Fantasy Award, is magic on paper.
My Quick Thoughts
This is not something I would normally read but I am on a theater kick and this one had starred reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. I guess I should have really read the reviews instead of skimmed them because it was... different? I thought I was getting a YA coming of age story but instead I got an adult novella. While the prose was hauntingly beautiful, the actual story was a bit graphic in it's approach. Maddy and Rogan are first cousins, best friends, and lovers. This is probably where it lost me story wise but I continued on anyway. The story is well told and you really feel the tension between Maddy, Rogan, and the rest of the family. Maddy and Rogan feel some shame and hide their feelings but the love that they have for one another overrides their family's displeasure. But this story is more than that... It is about love, loss, magic, hope, and passion. I'm glad I branched out to read something new. This book will not be for everyone but it will speak to anyone who pick it up.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Glow Giveaway Winner

And the winner is...

Number 16


Thank you to everyone who entered! I will be doing another giveaway soon!

Book Blogger Hop: 9/2-9/5

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!

This week's question is:

“What are you most looking forward to this fall/autumn season – A particular book release? Halloween? The leaves changing color? Cooler temperatures? A vacation? (If your next season is other than fall/autumn, tell us about it and what you are most looking forward to in your part of the world!)”

I am most looking forward to the change of temperature! Living in Texas can get hot and with over 65 days of triple digit heat Fall is looking pretty nice! I will be visiting family over Thanksgiving! I haven't seen them since last Summer and I cannot wait to be with them!
Also, I have graduated with my Master's and now have all the time in the world to read. Well... in between job applications!

Be sure to check out my giveaway of the ARC of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan! I will be picking a winner tonight!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

by Lauren DeStefano
Nook Book
358 pages

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

My Thoughts
This is my definition of a good book! The characters, pacing, themes, and writing style are what I look for in a YA or any book. In my review I will probably stick to just the characters because they are what makes this book excel and break away from the standard dystopian. There is an ever present sense of danger in this book and it does not let up for a minute. You know that Rhine and the others only have a limited time left. They are racing against a clock that only their bodies can tell.
Rhine is our main character and wow, she can narrate a story. She is sought out in the line up because she has Heterochromia iridum, two different colored eyes. This seems to be a new trend in books but it does set a character apart. Rhine hates it because it make her unique in a world that is looking for a biological miracle.
Housemaster Vaughn is a creditable villain and you never quite know what he will do next. He mostly stays in the background but Rhine is constantly aware of his presence in the house. There is a simmering feeling of unease whenever he is mentioned or appears. Cecily and Jenna are Rhine's sister wives. Each has a very unique personality but do not tread into stereotypes. I thought that Cecily, the young spoiled brat, would fall into this but each time I thought she would fall into a cardboard brat she would have that spark of humanity. She is just oblivious and wants to stay that way. She wants to be that perfect bride for Linden and bear children to take their place. Poor Cecily. Jenna on the other hand... She is determined to just die and waste away in the mansion. She is Rhine's true confidant and friend in the house. Linden and Gabriel are so different, yet you can see why Rhine would love Gabriel and grow fond of Linden. The love story with Gabriel is sweet and I thought Rhine's relationship with Linden was tastefully done. I was unsure how their marriage was going to work but DeStefano had it planned out perfectly.  
Highly recommend this one to anyone who likes dystopian worlds. This one is one has an interesting take on how biological engineering can have adverse affect on the world and our future generations. Great characters, plot, and filled with suspense! Loved it!

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