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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Last Day for Giveaway!!

Tomorrow is the last day for my 200 Follower/Stamped Mockingjay Giveaway!

To participate, fill out the FORM HERE.
Here is also the original blog entry about the contest if you want/need more information!

Good luck to you all! I will draw the name Thursday, Sept 2 (as it closes tomorrow night at midnight EST).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Title: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
ISBN: 9781595143372
Publisher: Razorbill
Page #: 343
Source: ARC from BEA

"Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement - left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice his bass or spend time with an oddly intriguing girl called Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs."
First Lines:

"I don't remember any of the true, important parts, but there's this dream I have. Everything is cold and branches scrape the window screen. Giant trees, rattling, clattering with leaves. White rain gutter, the curtains flapping."
Page 3
(Refer to the official publication for exact text.)

I have been drooling over this book since I first laid eyes on the cover. I mean, how much better does it get, right?!? It's got that perfect level of intrigue and creepiness. That alone got me really excite for this book. Who says we don't judge books by the covers?? I also got pumped for this one when one of my coworkers finished it and said it was fantastic.

All of that hype? Totally worth it. This book was wonderful! I think it was a little different from what I was expecting - I think I was thinking high fantasy with very little real life stuck in there. It's a story about a guy who has been raised as human, but in fact he is a creature of an underworld that replaces human babies with their castoffs. How creepy is that?!? And you meet this main character smack in the middle of high school. So, a little different from my expectation, but really good nonetheless.

One of the things I really loved about this story was that the town itself was almost a character in the book. There was so much going on with the location and where things were and how they looked, smelled, tasted, etc... it was just really well done. Of course, that could just be the wonderful skills of the author in description. Every single thing was given life or described so spot-on that it was very easy to get sucked into the story.

I cannot wait to give this to some of my teens at work! I just know they are going to love it. This is a story that's great for both guys and girls - and almost any age. I'd say starting in 9th grade or so, but it's really only because of the relationship stuff. Otherwise it's a great creepy story that I know a lot of people will love.

I'm very excited that this is the first book from this author - hopefully that means lots more books on the horizon! Well, at least a girl can hope. Check out her website and the link to her blog. I can't wait for this one to be published (less than a month now) so I can put it in the hands of teens who I know will love it. In other words, if you like creepy/urban fantasy - you have to read this one!
Other Blog Reviews:

Reading Angel
YA Highway
Fat Girl Reading
Reading Teen
Squeaky Books (this one is a really negative review)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Fill-In (23)

Friday Fill-Ins is a fun meme that's hosted by Janet at the Friday Fill-In blog. Just fill in your answers!

1. You do your thing; I do mine and sometimes our paths will cross.

2. Unfortunately, weeding books is what's been on my mind on and off all day. (This is a natural state of a Librarian at times. It's sad.)

3. Remember when I was bored during the summers. Seriously, can you remember that?! It's like a million years ago - I shoulda done something productive.

4. Scrapbooking, football, and reading are three of my favorite obsessions :-)

5. During the last year I've had a few life-changing events. Most of which I'm happy for.

6. My fiance puts a smile on my face. (It's almost ridiculous how much I love him.)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching the Spiderwick Chronicles that I got from Netflix, tomorrow my plans include working and watching some football and Sunday, I want to relax and probably do a whole lotta nothin!

Following on Friday

Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to another hop-tastic Friday.
The awesome Jennifer from Crazy-for-Books hosts this one. And she's got another question for us this week:
Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?

I don't use a rating system. I've honestly thought about giving it a try though. Perhaps I'll use ninja throwing stars or something to be my stars :). But I go back and forth on the use of a rating system. Sometimes I worry that if someone scans a review and all they see are the three stars I gave a book, then they may write it off all together. And this could easily happen with a book that they would have loved otherwise.

And, of course, there is the issue of boiling the whole book down into a teeny tiny category. I think I'd just be really bad at the whole rating system. Maybe I'll give it a go sometime soon and see how it goes. I used to rate things on Amazon or wherever, but that seemed so easy, ya know? What are your thoughts on the issue?

To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
  2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - http://bookge3k.blogspot.com/
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
  5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If your new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

    I hope you all have a wonderful Friday!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Title: The Education of Bet
Author: Lauren Baratz-Logsted
ISBN: 9780547223087
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Page #: 186
Source: From My Library

"When Will and Bet were four, tragic circumstances brought them to the same house, to be raised by a wealthy gentleman as brother and sister. Now sixteen, they appear content with the life fate has bestowed upon them.

But appearances can be deceiving. Bet can experience only what society allows for a girl. Will is afforded much more freedom, but still only as society dictates. Neither is happy.

So Bet comes up with a plan and persuades Will to give it a try: She'll go to school as Will. Will can live as he chooses.

But when she arrives at school, the reality doesn't match what Bet imagined. Boys act very differently when they don't think there's a girl in their midst. In fact, they can be rather brutish. But brutish Bet can deal with. It's the stirrings of attraction for her roommate that get Bet into real trouble.

This is not the education Bet expected."
First Lines:

"'William, I am so disappointed in you!'
Paul Gardener always addressed his great-nephew as William when he was displeased with something he had done."
Page 1

There are times that I really love historical fiction. But usually it's not the easiest thing for me to read on the block, ya know? I mean, it's usually well written and wonderful, but it's never a quick thing for me. But this one? Easy peasy. I have to say that this one was sort of written for the "reluctant historical fiction reader."

I did make the mistake of reading a review of this book before I read it (not always a mistake, mind you), but it put an image in my head that I couldn't shake. I'm not even going to say it here just in case. But basically it compared this book to a movie I've seen and everything just fit straight in. Fun movie, but I'd prefer to see this book in a different light. There were different lessons to be learned from this one.

Speaking of the lessons, that was one of the things that I really enjoyed about this book. I mean, it's all about education for girls in a time when that was completely unheard of. I mean, I think it's a little unrealistic, but it brings to light that today's view of education is not the way it's always been. I - for one - am glad things have changed. But this book was a nice glimpse into the life of a girl who wanted education, but it was denied her.

Beyond the lessons, this book was a really cute romance. I mean, it's a pretty safe romance, but I had a lot of fun watching it play out. I was hoping for a little more from it - I'm not gonna give away what happens - but if it had a little something added on the end, I would have been much happier.

As I said before, I think this would be a great book for someone just dipping their toes into historical fiction. It has all the elements and the history weaved in, but you feel more of the romance, the characters, the lessons than you do anything else. I had a few "lol" moments through it as well, and those really helped the story along.

So, give this one a shot. It won't take you long to read - I can pretty much promise you that. I haven't read anything else by this author, but it looks like she's got several things going. Check out her website. I see she has another book coming out at the end of this month (August), so I hope to give that one a go as well.
Other Blog Reviews:

Katie's Book Blog
YA Book Nerd
The Compulsive Reader
The Book Cellar
Mundie Moms

Booking Through Thursday (2)

Welcome to another weekly meme! Check out the website and answer the questions yourself!
If you’re not enjoying a book, will you stop mid-way? Or do you push through to the end? What makes you decide to stop?
I cannot honestly think of a time where I've completely stopped a book. I have been angry at a book and put it down for a while, but I've never not finished it. I think one reason for this is that I only allow myself to read one book at a time. If the book I'm reading at the moment isn't good, I'll plow through it to get to the next book.

I think I also have high hopes for endings. I always end up thinking that maybe there's going to be some big ending that's going to make me understand/like more the book. And sometimes that is the case.

So, all that being said, I always push through to the end. :)

What do you do?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Title: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3)
Author: Suzanne Collins
ISBN: 9780439023511
Publisher: Scholastic
Page #: 390
Source: My own copy

This review contains only minor spoilers! I really tried...

"Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans - except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay - no matter what the personal cost."
First Lines:

"I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather. This is where the bed I shared with my sister, Prim, stood. Over there was the kitchen table."
Page 3

I am going to attempt to review this book without giving away any major spoilers. If you haven't read the first two books, though, I'd stop now. You can't read a review about this book without there being some info about the previous books.

I was lucky enough to be in NYC on the night of the release of this book. The store Books of Wonder had the official release party and Suzanne Collins was there to read from the first chapter. She also read a bit from Catching Fire to give a little background. There's something so amazing about hearing an author read from their creation. I don't know how many other things can compare.

Now, when I first started this book, I realized that there were things I didn't remember from the last book. Of course, I remembered the whole of what happened and what it was about, but there were hints in the beginning of things that were important from Catching Fire that I hadn't paid enough attention to. This could be because I was reading it so fast - which is what I tend to do with all of Collin's books. But if you're picking up Mockingjay, you may want to review a little bit of Catching Fire before you get started.

The writing in this entire series has been amazing. That continues in this story and I completely devoured this story with no problem at all. I am a bit sad to realize that this story is over. I'm sure there's enough story to have some sort of continuation, but something tells me this is going to be like HP - where there could be more, but the author is bowing out.

(Possibility of minor spoilers...)
I want to talk about the ending, but I'm going to try and do it without spoiling anything. Through the whole book, you have Katniss on a mission. She has things to get done and it's all about her journey to get there. Now, the ending was shocking. As in, I had a few, "oh no. oh NO! OH NO!" moments. And a couple of, "no way." moments as well. I honestly never saw it coming. I know some people are not quite happy with how it ended, but it definitely got me thinking. Honestly, I shed a few tears as well - it's super emotional.
(end minor spoilers)

If you haven't read any of the Hunger Games books, you need to do so immediately. I've only met a few people who weren't really fans. And I know a LOT of people who have read it. Please give it a shot - I don't think you'll be sorry. I wish I could put Mockingjay in the hands of every teen who asks me for it at work, but we never have enough copies. Maybe we'll get more soon. :)
Other Blog Reviews:

Paperback Dolls
Book Buzz (*SPOILERS*)
The Compulsive Reader
Reviewer X
Please watch your comments on this one - I don't want any spoilers for those who haven't read it yet! Thanks, all!

Waiting on Wednesday (23)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:
by Chris Wooding
Released: October 1, 2010

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"A follow-up to
Malice intersperses suspenseful text with comic-strip panels in a fast-paced tale in which three kids trapped inside the world of a deadly comic book continue their efforts to escape while outmaneuvering dangerous adversaries."

This is the second book to Malice. You can check out my review of that one here. I loved the first one and I can only imagine where the second book is going to go from there. It's a wonderful concept and I think it will hit big with lots of comic and novel lovers alike.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

200 Followers + Stamped Mockingjay Giveaway

I know you've all probably heard just about as much as you can handle about Mockingjay coming out today. I have just a little more to add to it, and I'll leave ya in peace.

As of this past weekend, I successfully have over 200 followers to my little blog here through Google Friend Connect. I figured that was cause for celebration, no?

Then I had a realization - I was going to the official Mockingjay release party in NYC, so I should get an extra copy to give away!! So, here's a few pictures from last night and I will put the giveaway form at the bottom of this post.

It was a crazy night of raffles, hundreds of people, and one wonderful book. I got there a bit late (around 10pm), so my number was really high. I had to wait around for a while at the end to get my copy of the book. But it was worth it because the crowd around Suzanne Collins wasn't as insane.

The first picture is of the stamp she put in every book. Pretty cool, huh? The second is of Suzanne Collins stamping the person's book in front of me.
Can I just say, too, that her reading of the first part of the book was almost magical?! I mean, it's a wonderfully written book as it is, but to hear the author read it is amazing. I couldn't get close enough to get a picture of her reading (I wasn't about to force myself to the front of the crowd. Yikes!) But it was a wonderful event all around. Kuddos to Books of Wonder for hosting it!

Okay, so here's the info about my giveaway:
I am giving away one stamped copy of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I will also include several of the tattoos and bookmarks - and even a few Hunger Games related puzzles (word search, crossword).

The giveaway will run for one week and one week only - I want the winner to get their hands on the copy asap. Perhaps if I have a huge turnout I will add a couple of things.

Here are a few rules:
1. Giveaway is open to residents of the USA only. I don't have the funds to send internationally. Sorry :(.
2. You must complete the form below (don't leave information in the comments - it will not count!)
3. Giveaway ends September 1, 2010 at 11:59 EST.
4. Once the winner is selected, they will have 48 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be selected (Check your spam filters!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel

Title: Ghostopolis
Author: Doug TenNapel
ISBN: 9780545210287
Publisher: Graphix
Page #: 267
Source: From My Library

"Garth Hale is as good as dead...
The only problem is he's still alive.

When Garth Hale is accidentally zapped into the ghost world by Frank Gallows, a washed-up ghost wrangler, he discovers that he has special powers. Soon he finds himself on the run from the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who wants to use Garth's newfound abilities to tighten his grip on the spirit world. After Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather's ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, nearly losing hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake."
First Lines:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we're having a little engine trouble. NEEOWW! If you are prone to motion sickness, please locate your barf bag in the seat pocket in front of you. Just pull out the bag, open it up, and place it entirely over your mouth. Then -"
Page 1-2

I've enjoyed getting into graphic novels more and more lately. This one was a lot of fun, for sure. I think this one was built specifically for the middle school boy :). It's a story about a boy who accidentally gets sent into the afterlife and has to fight his way out. He finds out a lot of things about himself while he is there - a really good story. But it's perfectly gross and disgusting with all of the boy-love references - bugs, poop, stinks, just gross stuff.

You know, I really enjoyed this look at the afterlife - or Ghostopolis. It was all separated out into different sections... Mummyville, The Bone Kindom, and so on. It's a clever way of looking at it all and having a kingdom dynamic that works well in the story. It's also cool that they have the bad guy bugs roaming around. There's just a cool

I thought the art in this book was fantastic. As I've said before, I'm not an artist or anything and my opinion of the matter may not be all that informed, but I thought this book had some gorgeous images. They are all done in color, which may have altered my opinion a little bit. But with the darkness of this book, it almost doesn't make sense to do it in black and white.

One aspect of this story that I loved was the emphasis on family. You get a little bit of that in the beginning of the story. But as it goes along, you realize how important the family connections are to the overall course of the story. I mean, it only makes sense if you're traveling in the afterlife that you will come across some of your relatives. It's just played really well and leaves you with a sense of satisfaction.

You know, with the number of books out right now that are parts of trilogies or series' or whatever, it's really great to come across a book that has every little thing wrapped up. You leave this story feeling like you know how everything turned out. There's nothing left unfinished and most everything feels right. I'd say the author did a bang up job and I would definitely read more of his books.

Speaking of which, check out the author's website. It looks like there are lots of other things to read, so I hope to get around to that. :) I'll be recommending this book to anyone looking for a great graphic novel. I think this will be enjoyed by many and it's one for the ages. Definitely give this one a try if you're wanting to get into graphics.
Other Blog Reviews:

Ink Splot 26
Graphic Novel Review
Sean Ingvard Ashby
Read About Comics
Kiss The Book

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blindsided by Priscilla Cummings

Title: Blindsided
Author: Priscilla Cummings
ISBN: 9780525421610
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Page #: 226
Source: From a Coworker

"In many ways, Natalie O'Reilly is a typical fourteen-year-old girl. An excellent student, she has many good friends and a family who loves her. But a routine visit to the eye doctor produces devastating news: Natalie will lose her sight within a short time.

Suddenly her world is turned upside down. Natalie is sent to a school for the blind to learn skills such as Braille and how to use a cane. Outwardly, she does as she's told; inwardly, she hopes for the miracle that will free her from a dreaded life of blindness. But the miracle does not come, and Natalie ultimately must confront every blind person's dilemma. Will she go home to live scared? Or will she embrace the skills she needs to make it in a world without sight? Her decision does not come easily."
First Lines:

"Like so many of Natalie's early memories, this one is full of color: the fresh yellow straw, the red blood that was pooling way too fast, the silver bucket kicked aside, the damp, quivering brown fur."
Page 3

This book held a lot of emotion for me. There is something so emotional about disability - and especially blindness for me. No, I don't know anyone who is blind, but my own eyesight is pretty horrendous. Well, contacts can correct mine and hopefully I won't have any deterioration in my vision. But I've always had fears of going blind. bad dreams, thoughts about, etc. I guess it's because I don't do well without my contacts. I can't imagine not having sight... it's just a really scary idea for me.

All that being said, this book was very enlightening for me. And wonderfully written. I don't want to talk too much about the concept of blindness without commending the author on this book. It's written very well and I loved all the characters and their different views toward this blindness thing. There is something refreshing about having characters who are real when dealing with an issue as serious as a disability. This book does a great job showing all those various sides to the issue.

As I was starting to say before, I learned a lot from reading this book. I guess there were a lot of things that didn't occur to me before - or perhaps I had just never thought about. Things like, how much training it takes to use a cane... or learning a whole new language with braille... all of the restrictions in travel, jobs, and life. It just all was discussed so easily and interestingly that I will never forget the lessons I learned in this book.

You know, there are a few ways this book could have gone. I always wonder with this type of book if the author sets out to write a book about a blind girl, or if they set out to write a book about a girl's life who just so happens to be going blind. You know what I mean? Because this book seemed more like the later. That her family and her life are affected very centrally by this disability, but she's still just a girl dealing with drama. I don't know if any of this makes sense, but I really appreciated the way this book was written.

I do hope to read more by this author - once I figure out what those things may be. I enjoy knowing that she did so much research for this book. It really shines through. This is an inspirational book and definitely makes me very thankful for my crappy eyesight... because someone always has it worse. What a great book!

I will be recommending this book to anyone looking for inspirational realistic fiction. It completely fits the bill. And I think it would be really good for teens to read this book in order to get an understanding of a fairly common disability. Sometimes it seems like blindness would be easier to handle than other disabilities, but this story shines light on every aspect of it. I'm highly recommending it.

Check out the author's website for more information and more books that she's written. I know I'll be looking for them.
Other Blog Reviews:

Kids Lit
As I Turn the Pages
Well, in my search for reviews, I realize that a lot of people were waiting on this one, but not many have gotten their hands on it. I look forward to reading more reviews of it in the future. Have you read it yet?

Iiiit's Friday!

It's that time again! Hello to all the Book Blogger Hoppers! As usual, we have our two wonderful following dealies... Here's the first one:The awesome Jennifer from Crazy-for-Books hosts this one. And she's got another question for us this week:
How many blogs do you follow?
Oh dear. The answer to this one is just... too many. Google reader tells me that I follow 774 blogs. Yeesh. No wonder I can never catch up!! Keep in mind, though, that not all of these are book bloggers. I follow a few people I know, some comics, and other just kinda "fun stuff." Goodness, now I wanna know how many other people follow... is mine a lot?

So, go check out the hop and sign up! It's easy and fun :). Obviously.
And our second wonderful hop we have today is...

To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
  2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - http://edgyinspirational.blogspot.com/
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
  5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If your new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Booking Through Thursday (1)

I didn't actually know this meme existed until today. I'm pretty excited about finding a new one. Check out the website and answer these questions yourself! (It's long, so make sure you have time to finish it.)

1. Favorite childhood book?
I'm pretty sure I wore out a copy of The Mare on the Hill by Thomas Locker. I loved the pretty pictures.

2. What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading Blindsided by Priscilla Cummings

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
Actually, nothing. Since I work here, I can always get my hands on the books I want :).

4. Bad book habit?
I only dog-ear pages when my bookmarks are missing... so... none?

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Several things:
* Three volumes of the Cirque du Freak graphic novel
* The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
* Maximum Ride volume 2 graphic novel
* Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (a book of short stories)
* Model: a Memoir by Cheryl Diamond
* Pretty Tough by Liz Tigelaar
* X Isle by Steve Augard
* Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel
* A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
* Clover (omnibus) by CLAMP

6. Do you have an e-reader?
Nope. I don't think my reading habits are cut out for that.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
One at a time. I need to be one track minded.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
I don't think so. I've got more reading goals, but not so much my actual reading habits.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
The Pack by LM Preston

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
I have to pick just one?! Uhm... The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. But I loved many of them!

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
I like to try - though my "to be read" pile is mostly stuff in my zone. And the ones outside of it just sit there for quite a while.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
All young adult (which I'm not willing to leave), but fiction... and even more specifically, urban fantasy and chick lit.

13. Can you read on the bus?
Uhm, no. But I can read on the train - which is reason #576 that I take the train. :)

14. Favorite place to read?
Do I have a favorite place?? I'm not sure. In bed? Wherever is the most comfortable? I dunno.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I like to do it. Usually it's to family and people I really trust (because I want them to come back to me). And, of course, as a librarian I technically lend books ALL the time :).

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Not really... unless I have to.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
I only ever did that with text books.

18. Not even with text books?
Same answer - yes, I wrote in the margins of my text books.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
Uhm, English. That's because I don't know any other languages!

20. What makes you love a book?
It's a combination of things. It has to be something that is written really well and has an easy feel to it - even if the story is heavy. I like when it's an original idea... or has a strong stance on something. I love books that are just effortless. Ones that make me wish I were reading it when I'm doing something else.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
That's a hard question. I recommend books all day long. I recommend based on what customers want. If I'm recommending it to someone just because I love it, it's based more on the reasons I listed for loving a book. There have only been a few books that I've pushed into someone's hands who didn't know what was coming :).

22. Favorite genre?
YA - fantasy, chick lit, retold fairy tales, some historical fiction, contemporary lit... need I go on? YA covers it.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Well, I'd say YA nonfiction. Or more specifically, biographies.

24. Favorite biography?
Speaking of biographies... I've only read a few, but I loved iraqigirl that was based on a blog. Very insightful.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Not that I can recall.

26. Favorite cookbook?
I don't have one, because I don't read them.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto - a beautiful book written by a teen... very inspiring!

28. Favorite reading snack?
I am, admittedly, a candy-holic. So set me down with a good book and some twizzlers, and I'll be happy for a few hours.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Twilight. Hands down. Absolutely ruined and I'm sick of hearing about it.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Well, I read lots of reviews and stuff on books. There have only been a few times where I really disagreed with those reviews. Usually it's when I have a strong opinion one way or the other on the book.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I don't like doing it, but I will. I like to think that I can find something I liked about a book - and not have a completely negative review. But I don't want to sugar coat it either.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
I have no idea. Uhm... French? That's just a shot in the dark.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
I don't know that I find books intimidating. but if I did, it would be a classic. Something like Little Women or something.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Erm. I'm going to say none.

35. Favorite Poet?
I actually don't read poetry. Perhaps I should, but I've never really gotten into it.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Around 10 or so. Unfortunately I could have up to 50... but I'll never get that many!

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
I think I've only done that a couple of times. Ever. But I've got one or two right now that I'm thinking about returning.

38. Favorite fictional character?
I recently finished reading Halo by Alexandra Adornetto - and I loved Bethany. She was a wonderful character.

39. Favorite fictional villain?
I'm going to agree with someone I read who did this earlier and say Voldemort. I mean, how much better of a villian can you get?!

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Mostly chick lit or not heavy books :). Things that are not so thick.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
well, during college I didn't really read anything that was outside of school work. So... years?! :)

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
I try not to leave any books unfinished once I've started them. So... none?

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Not much. Especially when the book is good. I guess loud talkers around me... maybe that.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
This is going to sound lame, but I love the latest Pride and Prejudice adaptation. It's the one with Keira Knightly in it (that could be why I loved it).

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Eragon. Hands down. I was really excited about it because I loved the books so much, but the film is no where NEAR the book. It doesn't even feel like the same story in some parts.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
I try not to buy books. I mean, I work in a library, so I shouldn't have to, right?! I'd say I've probably spent $100 before.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Not too often. I may read the first page or so. And definitely the summary in the back. But I try not to skim too much.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Nothing, really. I guess maybe a release of a huge exciting book (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, etc). But I would never stop altogether.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
I like to, yes. I don't have the room to do that, though. It's more of a pile situation at home. Of course, I organize books for a living... so... yeah.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Depends on the book. There are a few things that I want to hang on to. Lots of the arcs I get will be given to kids as soon as I finish. We have a big thing at the end of the summer where we give away tons of books to the teens. It's kinda rewarding.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Sure. Yeah. I don't know that avoiding is the right word... but ones I'm not planning on reading.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
Sigh. I recently read Things I Know About Love by Kate Le Vann and got really angry at the ending. It just... threw me off and I wasn't a fan. But I know others are. :)

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner. It was recommended to me by a coworker and I really wasn't sure if it was quite in my wheelhouse. But I'm glad I did!

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
I don't think I've had any of those. I mean, I can usually find something to like about a story. So it's not exactly something I expect of any book.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Chick lit. Period. So fun :).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

Title: The Agency: A Spy in the House
Author: Y.S. Lee
ISBN: 9780763640675
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Page #: 335
Source: From My Library


"Orphan Mary Quinn lives on the edge. Sentenced as a thief at the age of twelve, she's rescued from the gallows by a woman posing as a prison warden. In her new home, Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. Mary acquires a singular education, fine manners, and a surprising opportunity. The school is cover for the Agency - an elite, top secret corps of female investigators with a reputation for results - and at seventeen, Mary's about to join their ranks.

With London all but paralyzed by a noxious heat wave, Mary must work fast in the guise of a lady's companion to infiltrate a rich merchant's home with hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the Thorold household is full of dangerous secrets, and people are not what they seem - least of all Mary.

Packed with action and suspense, and evoking a gritty world of Victorian London, this first book of the Agency series debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits."
First Lines:

"She should have been listening to the judge. Instead, Mary's attention was focused on the flies swarming around her ankles in the prisoner's dock and their primary interest: the pool of stale urine at her feet. It wasn't hers."
Page 1

You know, I picked up this book purely because of its cover. I thought it was beautiful and looked very interesting. One of my coworkers said she wasn't able to finish it (apparently, it wasn't what she was expecting), but I decided to give it a try anyway. I'm so glad I didn't listen to my coworker this time! They were completely wrong about it - at least, for not finishing.

I really thought this was a wonderful historical mystery that does a great job of telling a story. The mystery in the book is very detailed and there are lots of aspects to it, but at no point did I feel lost about the issue at hand. I was worried I would get really confused, but the author did a great job keeping it clear and understandable.

The characters in this story were so beautifully described. I felt like I knew them well enough to become part of their lives. Honestly, I'd love to meet Mary - she sounds like an awesome woman ahead of her time. It's refreshing to read a story about a girl during the Victorian times who stands up for herself. It's kind of empowering, actually. I almost want to give this book to people who are into those kinds of books - even if historical fiction isn't their thing.

One aspect of this story that I loved was the Chinese seamen and their connection to the main characters. It's a section of people that I don't generally think of when I think of Victorian times and specifically London. But I know there's a lot of history there and it's nice to see that represented here. Now I kinda want to know more about that dynamic.

Luckily, I've already got my hands on the second book and I hope to get to it soon! I think this is a fantastic story and I'll be recommending it to anyone looking for mysteries or historical fiction. The author's website looks really cool too, so give that a look see :).
Other Blog Review:

Katie's Book Blog
Ticket to Anywhere

Waiting on Wednesday (22)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:
Bright Young Things
by Anna Godbersen
To be released: October 12, 2010

Summary from Baker and Taylor:
"The Jazz Age is brought to life through the eyes of three teenage girls--Cordelia Grey, Letty Larkspur and Astrid Donal--who find romance, intrigue and adventure amid the glamorous mansions of Long Island and the glaring lights of Broadway."

I loved Anna Godbersen's other books- the Luxe series. It was very well written and really brought to NY to life during the 1890s. I cannot wait to see what she does for the jazz age! This seems like it could be amazing - and does no one have a full arc?! I've only seen partials. I'm just hoping that means this book is going to be wonderful :).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Things I Know About Love by Kate Le Vann

Title: Things I Know About Love
Author: Kate Le Vann
ISBN: 9781606840788
Publisher: Egmont
Page #: 153
Source: From My Library

"Livia Stowe has never been lucky in love. While her friends were going to parties and dances and on dates, Livia was being shuffled in and out of hospitals, making her dating life difficult.

But this summer is going to be different. Cancer-free for over a year, Livia's boarding a plane to visit her brother as he studies abroad at Princeton University. She's determined to make the most of her trip, recording every moment of it in her private blog. Maybe she'll even have a fling with a cute college boy!

America is bright, exciting, and filled with romantic possibilities. And then she meets Adam, and her plans for summer fun become so much more. Entranced by the magical New York City that he shows her, Livia is smitten, but is she really ready to risk her heart again?"
First Lines:

"I think this is it: I think I'm going to die. There's this little loose bit on the wing that keeps flapping up and down - is it supposed to do that? The flight attendants are smiling and chatting away with each other... they wouldn't do that if the plane was going to crash-would they?"
Page 1

I should have really read some reviews of this book before I hopped willy-nilly into it. Silly me, I was expecting the story that was in the summer - a happy-go-lucky love story. I guess that's what I was hoping for. That's not quite what I got. I'm not sure how much I can review this book without giving away the ending. But I'll let ya know if I go into spoiler mode.

Now, I started out this review very harshly. Honestly, I was prepared to tell you all about how much I loved this book. How the characters were so lovable and sweet. I had tons of "aww" moments thinking about the love of these two crazy kids. How perfectly things worked out for them. It's just a really sweet and wonderful story.

I like surprise endings. I really do. But not this kind.

Okay, okay... I gotta do some spoiler stuff.... so skip this if you don't want serious hints.
So I realize that the main character's sickness is a main portion of the book. I understand how important it is to the character and all of that. Really, that's one of the reasons I loved her - because she was broken before we meet her and she's on the mend. So if you've read the book, you know why I dislike the ending so much. It's abrupt. And it's almost without feeling. Almost.

okay, semi-spoiler over. It's not that spoilery, so you can read it if you want. You know... if nothing else, this book elicited an emotion from me. Both sadness and irritation. Irritation that this book made me cry. I hate that, really. I'm one of the few, I know.

One of the things I really liked was the blogging format without it seeming bloggy. Because it was a private blog, it was almost like reading a diary instead. Except she could remember more than I ever could when writing in my journals (exact convos and all that) :). But it felt very real like that. I was very much a fan. I'm also a fan of all the British-isms. I've been known as an Anglophile in the past, so this book brings that right to the front.

This was a really, really fast book (as in, less than 24 hours by far) and light and happy until the ending. I think fans of Sarah Dessen or Nicolas Sparks will get into this one - even though it's no where near as long. I'll probably be handing this book to them in the near future. I couldn't find any websites for the author, so you'll just have to settle for other people's reviews:
Other Blog Reviews:

Dear Author
Steph the Bookworm
Book Blather
Chick Loves Lit
A Maze of Books
Write Away

Little Secrets: Playing with Fire by Emily Blake

Title: Little Secrets: Playing with Fire
Author: Emily Blake
ISBN: 9780545028240
Publisher: Point
Page #: 200
Source: From My Library

"Her mother's in jail. Her best friend betrayed her.
Who can Alison trust?
Backstabber Kelly has the world at her feet.
Who will she step on next?
Sweet, handsome Chad seems like the perfect boyfriend.
What is he hiding?
Tough-as-nails Zoey is out for revenge.
IS she more vulnerable than she thinks?
Loyal friend. Bitter rival.
Which is the real Tom?

Let the drama begin."
First Lines:

"There were only two things Alison Rose knew she could count on: her best friend and cousin, Kelly, and the fact that everyone else in her family would stop at nothing to destroy one another."
Page 1

So... I'm going to be honest... I picked up this book because of the author's name. I know that's lame... but Emily is my name and Blake is one of my brother's names. How cool is that? It makes me wonder if that's her real name, but whatever. I also picked up this book because it seemed like another one of those fun, fast mysteries that there are so few of.

I was right that it was a mystery and that it was fast. I'm not sure if fun is the word I'd use to describe it. I mean, it was seriously drama filled... and you have lots of characters with crazy things going on with them... So you're never bored. Actually, I spent the first few chapters trying to figure out what kinda characters we were dealing with. I mean, you get the whole rich and privileged thing really quickly.

But then I realized that we were dealing with the mean girls. That made it kinda hard for me to feel sorry for any of them. I mean, their whole existence revolves around getting back at people or attempting to make someone's life horrible. Because of that, it took me a really long time to decide if I liked the main character, Alison, or not. I settled on neutral ground because of what happens throughout the story.

Perhaps it's because I didn't like many of the characters, but I'm not sure if I'm going to continue this series. I am, of course, completely curious about the next step in the story - as in, what in the world happens next. You're left on an absolute cliff hanger, so now I wanna know what happened. But it's going to be hard for me to pick this up because I've got so much other good stuff to read.

Now, if you're looking for a light, drama filled mystery... then this is the series for you. I think many people are going to like it and enjoy watching the drama of the elite class. I'm sorry this review is such a bummer, but I spent most of the book doing the "come on, come on" to find out what was going to happen - only to find out nothing. I dunno... maybe if I had nothing else to read, I would go for the second book. It's an older series, so there's a chance that it's fallen off the radar anyway.

I'm sure others will love it though - let's see...
Other Blog Reviews:

ohho-kay then. I didn't see any reviews. Only the typical goodreads and librarything entries. Well, if you've read and have an opinion on this one, feel free to let me know.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Schedule Posting Test

I am testing the post scheduling thingy here on blogger. I'm starting to see a really good use for it. Sometimes I'm just too darn busy to blog!

Friday Fill-In (22)

Friday Fill-Ins is a fun meme that's hosted by Janet at the Friday Fill-In blog. Just fill in your answers!

1. Music is the food of love.

2. Showering is what I like first thing in the morning. (Otherwise I'd never wake up!)

3. The first thing I said this morning was: "Oww!" (My fiance poked me in the eye).

4. Subway; it's what's for dinner tonight. (I have to work. So... yeah.)

5. It's all been a dream come true!

6. Having a lazy reading/writing day is what I feel like doing right now.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting off work late, tomorrow my plans include working and watching preseason football and Sunday, I want to do laundry and clean this place up! And maybe do some wedding planning!

Friday = Funday

It's that time again! Hello to all the Book Blogger Hoppers! As usual, we have our two wonderful following dealies... Here's the first one:

The awesome Jennifer from Crazy-for-Books hosts this one. And she's got another question for us this week:
How many books do you have on your 'to be read shelf’?

This answer is fairly depressing for me. I wish I had a shelf. Really, I do. But it's more like piles. Let me go count.... I'm gonna round it to 30. That's not including ones that are coming out soon and will take a higher place than some of the stuff sitting there. Oh, and some of those books are graphics - which are so much faster and less daunting to start. :)

So, go check out the hop and sign up! It's easy and fun :). Obviously.
And our second wonderful hop we have today is...

To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
  2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - http://nymfaux.blogspot.com/
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
  5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If your new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
Here's to a very wonderful Friday for you all!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Clique: the Manga by Lisi Harrison and Yishan Li

Title: The Clique: the Manga
Author(s): Lisi Harrison and Yishan Li

ISBN: 9780759530294

Publisher: Yen Press

Page #: 197
Source: From My Library


"Claire Lyons is the new girl at Octavian Country Day School, an exclusive private school in Westchester County, New York. But Claire is totally unprepared for the social (and fashion) demands of her new classmates. To make matters worse, Claire's family is living in the guesthouse of one Massie Block, the queen supreme of her new school! And Massie couldn't be less thrilled with the new squatter on her family's estate. Does Claire have what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the 'it' girl in her school?"
First Lines:

"'Massie, it's really simple - you're not going.'
'But I have plans and i would be rude if I broke them. Right? I mean, haven't you always told me to "honor my engagements"?'"
Pages 3 & 4

As a bit of a disclaimer: I haven't read the Clique novels. Not a one. I've read plenty (all, I think) of Harrison's other books, but there were way too many of this series for me to decide to pick it up now. So this made me really excited to see there was a graphic version of the books coming out. But I don't know how close the story line sticks with the original novels.

That being said, I really liked this book. Sometimes the catty girl-fights or behind-the-back secrets thing can get very disheartening and a little uncomfortable when it's a full novel of it. Having just the graphic where you can see it coming and be through the drama quickly is very refreshing.

I'm a big fan of the art in this book. I know that many of my graphics readers are completely into manga. But it was nice to have some art that was a little more... defined. I don't know if that's insulting to other drawing styles, but this one was just more my style. There was a little manga-ish drawing every once in a while, but that just helped the story along.

I know that for a graphic, this book is fairly long. I would have loved for it to be longer - I think there were a few more story elements that could have been fleshed out a little bit. But I do understand when you have to chop things down to make them fit better. I really do hope they continue and make more of these. Wouldn't it be great if they did the whole series?! I'd be all over that.

As always, here is the author's website. She always seems to have lots of new stuff going on, so keep your eyes peeled. :) Uhm, and maybe I'm just missing it, but I can't find the manga listed on her website! Weird. Of course, neither is the second book in the Alpha's series. Perhaps she's been busy... writing all of these great books. Aha! But I did find the website of the illustrator!
Other Blog Reviews:

Manga Maniac Cafe
The Manga Critic
Comics Village
These were the only actual reviews I could find. Have you read this one and I totally skipped you? Let me know so I can add ya :).

Library Chatter (3)

So, I think today's post is going to be in the more "advice needing" category. Here's why - I'm thinking about starting up a book club for my teens at work.

I know a lot of book clubs follow a pretty set format. Everyone reads the same book and discusses it at the meeting. My idea is to not have everyone read the same book - just let the teens talk about books they are currently reading or have loved in the past. That way it's more like booktalking instead of analyzing a book to death.

My reason for wanting to do a book club this way is because we don't always have a bunch of copies of the books I'd want to read with everyone. And I also have really bad memories of books be analyzed until I no longer liked them.

What do you think? Have any of you ever been in or started a book club? What was it like?

The teens at my library change drastically from summer to the school year. I had originally been thinking about this for next summer (because I'm tired of telling parents that no, we don't have actual book programming)... but I'm kinda excited to get it started. But our school year kids are the ones who are just looking for a place to hang out with their friends... and to get kicked out. Besides manga, I'm not sure any of them read much. But maybe I'm wrong!

So, I'm looking for advice. Anyone have teen book club experience?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June by Robin Benway

Title: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June
Author: Robin Benway
ISBN: 9781595142863
Publisher: Razorbill
Page #: 281
Source: From My Library

"When they move to a new town after their parents' separation, sisters April, May and June recover special powers from childhood - powers that come in handy when dealing with the living nightmare that is high school. The powers also help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could the magic have a greater purpose?

April, the oldest, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And the youngest, June, reads minds. But when April gets a vision of disaster, the girls must come together to save the day or risk falling apart forever."
First Lines:

"I hate being the oldest. I hate it because I'm the one who has to experience everything first. And even if I haven't, my sisters still think I know everything. Which I sort of do, but that's not the point. At least, not right now."
Page 1

This is another book that made me really wish for sisters. It doesn't get cuter than three sisters who all have a special power and are learning to deal with them together. I can't even imagine what it would be like to have three years in a row - My brother is one year younger than me and that always caused issues. But all three of you in high school at the same time? I think it was well played out in this book.

It's a story about the girls and their powers, for sure. But it's really a lot of personal growth and examining their sisterly relationship. I just realized that this sounds a whole lot like that tv show Charmed. It really isn't at all like that show - there's no magic spells or anything like that. It's more involuntarily going invisible... or accidentally reading someone's mind... or seeing someone's future by looking at them. That sorta stuff.

I thought this story was really very fun - lots of sarcastic characters to get into. I had a few "aww" moments with the girls looking out for each other. I kinda liked how their powers had faults. Things like, April's ability to see the future wasn't fail-proof. Sometimes she didn't see everything, just bits. And how June's ability to read minds went awry every once in a while. And that May started disappearing at random moments. It gave having powers a bit of a reality check :). Like, "haha! Invisibility isn't always that great!!"

One thing that did bother me (and this is my geek coming out) was that the invisibility thing wasn't explained all that well. I mean, she can move through a party without bumping into anyone... so, that means she's not solid? Or does that mean she was just really cautious? And the fact that her clothes disappeared with her... it just never solidified in my mind. hah. get it? solidified. my bad, moving on.

This story ties up neatly, but I'm hoping for more books about these sisters. There are lots of story lines that could be picked up and I would look forward to seeing what happens with the girls. I don't know that anything is in the works, but I'm sure hoping there will be!

I really did love this story and I'll be recommending it to all my readers who like a little fantasy mixed in with their realistic fiction. Spice it up a little bit. Girls mostly, because the guy characters are completely secondary. Of course, maybe guys with sisters could get into this one so they can have an insight to their siblings :). Maybe.

Anyway, I recommend this one, for sure. I also recommend Robin Benway's other book Audrey, Wait! I recall that one made me laugh the entire time. She's a very good author to watch. Here's her website/blog. Oh, and here's the website for the book - you can follow the characters on twitter!
Other Blog Reviews:

Bookalicious Ramblings
Just Your Typical Book Blog
The Bookologist
The Hiding Spot
Not Enough Bookshelves
First Novels Club
Debbie's World of Books
There are tons of other reviews out there - mostly seemed to love the book like I did! So, see? This one is totally worth checking out.

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