Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Meme: My Life as a Book

Here's a fun, little Meme I found at One A Day Y.A. However, she discovered it through Kittling: Books who discovered it through Pop Culture Nerd. So, pretty much, it's getting passed around.

The idea is to fill in the blanks with the name of a book you've read this year (Goodreads comes in handy!). You can add a few words in so the sentence makes sense. Make sure to include the author's name so people can look it up.

My Life As A Book

One time at band/summer camp, (I learned) How Not To Be Popular (Jennifer Ziegler).

Weekends at my house are Between Shades of Grey (when I have homework) (Ruta Sepetys).

My neighbor is Stepping on Roses (Rinko Ueda).

My boss is Bossypants (Tina Fey).

My ex was Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Maggie Stiefvater).

My super hero secret identity is The Girl Who Was On Fire (Leah Wilson).

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry because (I'm so) Dramacon (Svetlana Chmakova).

I'd win a gold medal in Love Untamed (JoAnn Chartier and Chris Enss).

I'd pay good money for All The Tea In China (Jane Orcutt).

If I were president, I would Bless Your Heart, Tramp (Celia Rivenbark).

When I don't have good books, (I feel) Lost At Sea (Bryan Lee O'Malley).

Loud talkers at the movies should be Hush, Hush (Becca Fitzpatrick).

Please leave a link if you do this! I'd love to see what you create :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trisha's Book Blog Giveaway

Hey guys, take a moment and check out Trisha's Blog Book. She's giving away 12 books in a huge giveaway! Here's the direct link: http://trishasbookshelf.blogspot.com/2011/10/huge-giveaway.html

Review: Re-Gifters

Re-GiftersRe-Gifters by Mike Carey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've read nearly all the MINX comics, and I've gotta say that the Re-Gifters and The P.L.A.I.N. Janes are my favorites from this imprint of DC comics (it had a lot of potential...wish it was still around).

Basically, the Re-Gifters is the story of a young Korean girl, "Dixie", her hapkido tournament, and the love triangle she gets caught up with, involving the boy she likes, the girl he likes, and the guy she never considered before. I really liked Dixie's character, because I felt like she was the right mix of sensitive teenage girl and tough hapkido student. I was actually surprised to learn the story was written by a guy, because he did a really good job at creating a realistic teenage girl. The romance wasn't overly gushy and, overall, the book had a classic teenage story feel, something like "The Karate Kid" meets "Pretty In Pink."

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Banned Book Poll Results

Someone requested for me to share the results of the optional poll/discussion question I asked on the Banned Book giveaway form. I hadn't planned on sharing, but I decided to after their suggestion, because I had some interesting responses.

Against Banned Books (Please Spread This Pic & The Text)

I had about 100 people enter the giveaway with 234 entries total with the bonus entries.

Most of the people who entered the giveaway had never been restricted from reading a book. I was glad to read that most of them were encouraged to read whatever they wanted.

Out of those people, however, I counted 16 who said a parent, guardian, or teacher had restricted them or currently restricts them from certain books. One person even wrote that a bookstore clerk had tried to stop them from buying a book and that their parent had to buy the book for them.

Yet, majority of the people who were restricted, also mentioned that their parents or guardians were right to withhold a certain book from them because it was too adult or sensual for them at the time that they wanted to read it. In other words, in hindsight, they now agree with their parents or guardians decision. I'm guessing that means most of them are old enough now to read whatever they want, and have, possibly, read or re-looked at the book they were restricted from.

Most of the people who responded didn't name the title of the book they were restricted from, but out of those who did, Harry Potter was the most listed. This makes me very sad :(. One person made a very good argument, an argument that I've wrote about before, that a parent or guardian shouldn't restrict their kid from reading a book based on hearsay. If they sit down and read through the book themselves and find it has something too adult or violent, or that their kid is too young to understand reality vs. fantasy, then that's different in my opinion. But, sadly, it seems that most parents don't want to take the time judge books for themselves. Since books don't have a standard rating system like movies and television, it's easier for a lot of people to go by what others tell them.

To those of you out there whose parents, guardians, or teachers are currently restricting you from a certain book, I'm sorry. If the book is truly interesting to you, I hope it will still be worth your while to go back and read it when you're older. If it's a good book, it'll still be awesome to you when your older. One person wrote that their parent didn't want them to read vampire books, but now they're able to read all the vampire books that they want. I can really identify with that, because my mom didn't like vampire books either. She didn't restrict me, but she complained about it a lot. However, now that I'm grown, she doesn't have the right to nag me anymore. Hang in there kids, it does get better!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Banned Book Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Karli who won our Banned Book Giveaway!

And thank you to everyone that entered. I wish I had enough copies to give you each one! I hope you'll check out The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian when you have a chance. It's a very unique and eye-opening book about the issues and hardships that Native American teenagers face. My family struggled after my dad died, so in some ways I could identify with the main character, Junior, and throughout the book I wanted to help his character out so badly. I thought the next best thing would be to raise awareness for the book and the real issues it explores.

I'd like to go further and say that I think it would make a great movie! And what better way to raise awareness than to tie a teen heart-throb to the role?

I hate to feel like I'm typecasting this guy, but I really think it would be a good role for him if he could pull it off. So far, he's played very macho types and I think playing a geeky character would be a good change for him.

Here's what I mean:
Well, maybe he'd look more geeky if it was for real.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Banned Book Week Giveaway

Banned...such an ugly, narrow-minded word when it comes to books, don't you think?

Reading over the frequently challenged book list at ala.org, I had to laugh at some of the challenges, cause they're my favorite books (The Hunger Games, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harry Potter).

Being completely honestly, I feel that if a parent or guardian doesn't want their child to read a certain book, that's their right, but they shouldn't force that restriction on other people and their children by completely banning the book. I'm not a parent, but I imagine that when I am, I'll make sure the books they read are age-appropriate until they become teenagers.

Anyhow, in honor of Banned Book Week I'm giving away a copy of The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-time Indian, which was challenged in 2010, to one lucky winner!

The Giveaway runs Sept. 24th to Oct. 1st. It's international.

Winner will be picked using random.org.

I'll email the winner Oct. 2nd and announce it as soon as he or she gets back to me.

You don't have to be a follower to enter, but having more followers makes me happy. :)

Check out all the other great banned giveaways!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

THG Teaser Trailer and Collins Comic

Can you believe there's only 197 days until The Hunger Games movie is released? While waiting for Mockingjay it felt like the movie was taking forever and now it's a reality in the near future.

This is probably old news, but as much as I love The Hunger Games, I cannot-not-post-this on my blog...please bare with me (my fangirl self) if this is the 1000th time you've seen this...

Wow. I think Jennifer Lawrence is going to be a fantastic Katniss. I also really liked the flaming mockingjay graphic. It gives me chills. But, honestly, I dunno if I like the music...I like a lot of music by the composers Danny Elfman and T Bone Burnett, but the song in this trailer didn't scream Katniss-is-in-the-woods to me. Maybe the song in the trailer isn't the movie's main theme. I guess I was hoping for something a little more Fleet Foxes-esque. We'll see.

And, there's also some Suzanne Collins comic news! No, there isn't a Hunger Games graphic novel in the works (I can still dream). But Sara Grundell is doing a Suzanne Collins biography-type comic called FAME: Suzanne Collins that's going to be released November 8th. You can read more about it here at movies.com and/or pre-order it here at amazon.com.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (8)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine to spotlight a blogger's eagerly anticipated new books.

For this Waiting on Wednesday, I picked Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver.

Release Date:March 6, 2012

Book Summary:"Lauren Oliver captivated readers with Delirium, the first book in a thrilling dystopian trilogy in which Lena Haloway dared to fall in love with Alex and escape the cure, the government-mandated procedure that renders a person immune to the disease of love. Lena and Alex staked their lives on leaving their oppressive society, but only Lena broke free.

Pandemonium continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.

Full of danger, forbidden romance, and exquisite writing, Lauren Oliver’s sequel to Delirium races forward at a breathtaking pace and is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes action of The Hunger Games and the bittersweet love story of Romeo & Juliet."

My Thoughts: Delirium was one of the best books that I read in 2010. I was lucky enough to be included in a Delirium ARC book tour via Good Golly Miss Holly, and ever since, I have been dying for a sequel. The ending was left too open, I still wanted to know if Lena was going to survive after her escape. If you enjoyed the dystopian romance element in The Hunger Games (and, boy, I know I did) I think you'll enjoy Delirium, which is mainly a romance. For me, Pandemonium is on my list of most anticipated books of 2012, even though I don't like the cover.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (7) and Twilightin' for a Good Cause

Been a long time, I finally saw HP Part 2 and I wanna see it again! But on to other things...

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine to spotlight a blogger's eagerly anticipated new books.

For this Waiting on Wednesday, I picked Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 2.

Release Date: October 11, 2011

Book Summary: (From Goodreads:) "Having uncovered the dark secret of her enigmatic classmate, Edward Cullen, Bella Swan embraces her feelings for him, trusting Edward to keep her safe despite the risks. When a rival clan of vampires makes its way into Forks, though, the danger to Bella has never been more real. Will she make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the people dearest to her?

The second volume of Twilight: The Graphic Novelcompletes the visual adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's worldwide bestselling debut novel and is a must-have for any collector's library."

My Thoughts: I'll admit it, I'm an art nerd and manga geek. I was skeptical of the first Twilight graphic novel, because other book-series-to-manga-series stories I'd read had confusing plots and were seemingly a waste of time and money. However, the first Twilight graphic novel was well done plot and art-wise, and I'm looking forward to the second volume. Young Kim's illustrations are closer to how I imagine Bella and Edward, more so than the movies. (Although, thanks to the movies, I can't imagine Jacob, Charlie, Mike, or Jessica any other way, the casting person really nailed them in my opinion). And, honestly, since the Twilight graphic novel was released, if done right, I'd really like to see a Harry Potter and a Hunger Games graphic novel series.

And, speaking of Twilight, this Saturday, Oshie and I are attending The Twilight Moms of Middle GA's Breaking Dawn Gala to raise donations for the Ronald McDonald House in Central GA. The Twilight Moms of Middle GA are a fantastic group of ladies who do a lot of charity events in the Macon, GA area.

If you live in the Macon, GA area or can travel and would like more information about attending the gala please visit www.twilightmomsofmiddlega.com to buy tickets. If I remember correctly, the DJ will be playing tunes till 11pm, Michael Welch will be signing autographs, and they'll be heavy hors d'oeuvers.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Farewell Harry Potter

First off, let me apologize for the lack of reviews, I've finished several books, but haven't had time to review them due to some family events and health issues that my grandmother is facing.

Can you believe that the last Harry Potter movie is finally here? For my family, going to see the newest Harry Potter movie has become a tradition of sorts. I was 15 when the first Harry Potter movie was released and I'm 25 now...feels like the end of an era for me.

My Harry Potter story: Unfortunately, I didn't start reading the Harry Potter series until 2004. I had taken my younger brother to see The Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets, and enjoyed the movies, but never really considered reading them. That changed when the third movie, Prisoner of Azkaban, came out about a month after I graduated high school. I loved the time-travel element of the movie and the plot seemed more complex than the first two. Intrigued, and finally having a free summer to read to my own content, I bought the first novel from the Science Fiction Book Club. At first, I was amazed at how a kid's book held my then-teenage attention, and, then I was hooked. I caught up to reading Order of the Phoenix, and then, luckily, was able to get in on the excitement of the Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows releases.

Being from the deep South, I know a lot of people who look down on the Harry Potter novels. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. However, a lot of time I get the feeling that people have judged these books based on what someone else told them, and not because they checked the books out for themselves and found something lacking. Everyone has their own reading tastes, so if you've read one of the books and didn't like it, more power to you for being honest. But for people who've judged books whose covers they've never opened, I urge them to look into those books for themselves. Harry Potter is not a perfect character, he gets into a lot of trouble at school, but in the end he is a loyal friend and a savior archetype, and there's lessons to be learned from that.

I know a lot of you will be going to see the last movie today or this weekend. Traditions being traditions, I have decided to wait until next week when I can see it with my family.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine to spotlight a blogger's eagerly anticipated new books.

For this Waiting on Wednesday, I picked Supernaturally by Kiersten White.

Release Date: July 26th 2011

Book 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: I'm currently reading Kiersten White's first book Paranormalcy and loving it. I'm glad there's going to be two more books to continue Evie's story, which I've found refreshing and unique, she's kinda like a female ghostbuster. So far, the covers of the books in this series give the wrong impression of the story in my opinion. The covers look so serious, but the first book has such a witty and easy-going tone. Paranormalcy hasn't disappointed me, so I'm eagerly waiting for the sequel to arrive!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine to spotlight a blogger's eagerly anticipated new books.

For this Waiting on Wednesday, I picked Bloodlines by Richelle Mead.

Release Date: August 23rd 2011

Book Summary: "Sydney is an alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of human and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding.

To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the last place anyone would think to look for vampire royalty - a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. But instead of finding safety at Amberwood Prep, Sydney discovers the drama is only just beginning."

My Thoughts: While I haven't finished all the Vampire Academy books yet, I have enjoyed what I've read from Richelle Mead. Bloodlines sounds like a great start to a new, exciting series!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine to spotlight a blogger's eagerly anticipated new books.

For this Waiting on Wednesday, I picked Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore.

Release Date: October 25th 2011

Book Summary: "For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren—the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood—a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air."

My Thoughts:Well, the storyline reminds me slightly of The Little Mermaid and the Tom Hanks movie "Splash", but in a good way. I think Alandare's character sounds very unique for a mermaid story. Between the Sea and Sky has the makings of an interesting story indeed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine to spotlight a blogger's eagerly anticipated new books.

For this Waiting on Wednesday, I picked Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu.

Release Date:September 27th 2011

Book Summary:"Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. But that was before he stopped talking to her and disappeared into a forest wth a mysterious woman made of ice. Now it's up to Hazel to go after him. 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."

My Thoughts: I love the story of The Snow Queen! This inspired version sounds very intriguing to me. Here in the hot summer, in the hot city, I wish I was the girl on cover. Some snow would feel good about right now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine to spotlight a blogger's eagerly anticipated new books.

For this Waiting on Wednesday, I picked Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins.

Release Date: Sept. 29, 2011

Book Summary:"For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.

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

My Thoughts:Ah, I wish this book was out already! It seems like it'd be a great summer poolside read, fun and sweet. The couple on the cover are too cute. I love the chick's (Lola's) purple hair. I wish I was brave enough to try that.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Vampire Academy (#1)

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first, I was honestly afraid I wasn't going to like this book. But I kept reading and the plot thickened, and I found that the world of Vampire Academy is interesting and easy to get hooked on.

The main character Rose Hathaway and her best friend, Lissa, are St. Vladimir's Academy runaways (secret school for vampire kids), who are caught and dragged back to school as the book begins. Rose and Lissa aren't your normal runaways. Lissa is a Moroi Vampire Princess and Rose is a Dhampir training to be Lissa's bodyguard. Why they ran away from a high school where they had all the freedom of college, remains a mystery until nearly the end of the book. Did they want a more human life? Did they hate something about St. Vladimir's? Is St. Vladimir's unsafe? The book kept me guessing all of those questions.

I initially didn't like Rose's character and that fact made me worried I wouldn't like the book. Rose seemed very overprotective of Lissa for no reason and their friendship appeared almost one-sided to me. I probably wouldn't have jumped to that conclusion if the book had shared more of Lissa's perspective to begin with. Anyhow, for me, this one was one of those books I had to stick with to get the whole picture. And I'm very glad I did! I look forward to catching up on the other novels in this series.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine to spotlight a blogger's eagerly anticipated new books.

For my first Waiting on Wednesday, I picked Emerald by Karen Wallace.

Release Date: July 7th 2011

Book Summary: "Emerald St. John is in trouble. She has been condemned to marry a man she hates. Her enemies are conspiring to have her pet bear Molly torn apart in the baiting pits, and the man she loves is far away on the high seas. And she has stumbled into a web of spies with a plot to poison Queen Elizabeth I. To save herself and the kingdom, she must beat the spies at their own game - which means transforming herself from a country girl into a Court lady. Can she do it in time? Set against a detailed and vivid recreation of a great Elizabethan manor house, EMERALD will bring to life a world where the most sophisticated rules of etiquette went hand in with brutality and superstition."

My Thoughts: Emerald sounds like a great adventure. And possibly a romance if her high seas love comes back. I know I shouldn't judge books by their covers, but honestly, I love this cover. Her green dress is to die for! I'd love to wear a dress like that for a Halloween/costume party. I've been on a big British and British history kick since the royal wedding, and a fictional plot to poison Queen Elizabeth sounds intriguing. I haven't seen any arc reviews on Goodreads for Emerald, so guess I'll have to wait until the book is released to know more.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: The Historian

The HistorianThe Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Read for a bookclub in May)

With so much vampire romance out there nowadays (even though I love it), reading a suspenseful, non-amour story like The Historian was very refreshing. Mystery and suspense readers, classic Dracula fans, and those in the camp that believe that vampires should be strictly horror figures, will enjoy this novel.

The story initially follows a mature teenage girl in the 1970s, as she slowly learns that her academically-rich, multicultural family has a long, complicated history with Dracula. Through stories, letters and flashbacks from her father, grandfather, and mother, a complex and eerie tale of their continuing struggle against the count unfolds.

The story is very tedious at times, with the narrator telling the story, then a character telling a story on top of that and then one of the character's characters telling a story, there's lots of layers. There were times that I completely forgot about the narrator and her present struggles, because the storyline focuses so much on the memories of other characters. I was eager for them to hurry up and face-down Dracula.

Overall, I enjoyed the mystery and suspense of this book. It would probably appeal to classic Sherlock Holmes fans as well.

View all my reviews

Friday, June 3, 2011

Heart of Eden Short Story Contest: Vote!

Powered by Immortylcafe.com

I recently entered a story into Immortality and Beyond's Heart of Eden short story contest. Mine's a quick fairy-tale style story that I finished right before the deadline.

Please check out all the entries and vote for your favorite at Immortality and Beyond.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Winner!

The winner of our Splash Into Summer Giveaway for either $10 in book money from amazon.com or bookdepository.co.uk is:

Karla Vollkopf

Congrats Karla!

And a huge thank you to everyone that entered our giveaway! I hope you'll stay with us for future giveaways!

Review: Between Shades of Grey

Between Shades of GrayBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: "Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart."

My thoughts: I learned a lot from Between Shades of Gray. Beforehand, I didn't know anything about Lithuania, muchless that some Lithuanians were taken into work camps in Siberia during WWII by the Soviets.

The story follows Lena, 16 years old at the time and a budding artist, along with her mother and younger brother, as they are forced from their home, loaded onto a train car, and made to work in one of the camps. Lena's character comes alive off the pages, she's very real and very strong.

I enjoyed the story, even though at times it was heartbreaking. I kept hoping it would end happier than the true life Diary of Anne Frank.

I feel that this story is a must read for historical fiction fans. I would have given it five stars, however, (and I hope this is not a spoiler for some) the actual story ends before anyone is liberated. I, personally, wanted to know how the people who did survive got home. So, other than the abrupt ending, Between Shades of Gray is a good read.

View all my reviews

Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: Twenty Boy Summer

Twenty Boy SummerTwenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twenty Boy Summer is a well-written, and very moving, coming-of-age YA about love, grief and how life goes on. If you can't get to the beach this summer, this book will take you there mentally.

I don't normally read YA contemporaries (unless they're romantic comedies), but prior to buying Twenty Boy Summer I read great reviews for it, and decided to see if it lived up to the fuss for myself. I wasn't disappointed in the least. I loved how mature and realistic this book was.

As the book summary hints at, Anna always had a crush on her best friend's brother, and he returned her feelings just weeks before he died. He made her promise to keep their romance a secret because he wanted to tell his sister himself, in time, to make sure she approved and wasn't shocked. When he passes away, Anna decides to keep their secret forever. She's unsure how his family would react if she told them, unsure if she was just a fling to him or something more. However, a year later, when his family invites her on vacation and her best friend wants to hunt for boys on the beach, Anna is forced to deal with emotions she's locked up inside, and learn that you can move on without forgetting.

Books don't normally make me cry, but this one came very close, not because I was sad, but because I was so moved by situations the characters overcame.

Sarah Ockler is definitely an author to follow.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Giveaway: Everlasting Love

Hey guys, head over to A Cupcake and A Latte for the chance to win:
One(1) paperback copy of Evermore by Alyson Noel
One(1) paperback copy of Bluemoon by Alyson Noel
One(1) Bloodspell carry bag by Amalie Howard
Two(2) signed items by Jana Oliver
Two(2) signed Bloodspell bookmarks by Amalie Howard

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Giveaway: Splash Into Summer!

The weather is getting hotter where me and Oshie live! There's nothing better than chilling out with a good book that you've been waiting to read, ah, so relaxing. So, for the Splash Into Summer giveaway, we've got a $10 giftcard in book money from either amazon.com or bookdepository.co.uk (your choice) up for grabs.

Our contest is international and runs May 25th to May 31st. The winner will be announced June 1st.

Just fill out the form below and please spread the word about Vonze's Reader Blog to your friends. Be sure to check out all the great Splash Into Summer giveaways below!

Review: Red Riding Hood

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Poppy; Mti edition (March 16, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316190853

Vonze: 3 out of 5

Book description: "Valerie's sister was beautiful, kind, and sweet. Now she is dead. Henry, the handsome son of the blacksmith, tries to console Valerie, but her wild heart beats fast for another: the outcast woodcutter, Peter, who offers Valerie another life far from home.

After her sister's violent death, Valerie's world begins to spiral out of control. For generations, the Wolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But now no one is safe. When an expert Wolf hunter arrives, the villagers learn that the creature lives among them--it could be anyone in town.

It soon becomes clear that Valerie is the only one who can hear the voice of the creature. The Wolf says she must surrender herself before the blood moon wanes...or everyone she loves will die."

Well, first off, the cover is awesome. Judging by the cover, I just knew that the Red Riding Hood character in the story was fighting werewolves with that ax, being a kick-arse heroine.

However, now that I've read the story, I don't think the character ever held an ax. She turned out to be more like werewolf bait than a fighter.

But, my cover delusions aside, the story was just okay. Valerie's sister is killed by a werewolf, and then everyone in town is suspected of being the wolf. Is it Valerie's fiance? Is it her childhood sweetheart that's suddenly back in town? Is it her strange witch-like grandma? Is it one of her friends? The suspense of not knowing who the Wolf was kept me reading, but, honestly, I didn't care for Valerie as a heroine. I guess I wanted her to be apart of the action so badly, that when she was more focused on moping over her childhood sweetheart, than saving the town, I was disappointed.

I haven't seen the movie, but I guess I'm still interested enough to rent it. The previews looked nice, but much like my thoughts on the cover, I could be wrong.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Review: The Host

The Host (The Host, #1)The Host by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by The Host. I really didn't know what to expect, Twilight with aliens, maybe?

I listened to the audiobook, which was well done, even though it uses only one voice actor. The first couple of chapters are very confusing and slow. I'll admit, if I had been reading the book instead of listening to it, I probably would have sat the book down and tried it again later. But it you stick with it, it gets better.

Basically, in a nutshell, alien lifeforms have invaded Earth prior to the beginning of the book. The lifeforms, or Souls, as they call themselves, live many lifetimes by using "host" bodies. Humans are their newest "host" bodies. The story follows one Soul, called Wanderer, who has a problem. Normally, when a Soul takes over a host, the host's mind fades away. The mind of Wanderer's host is not fading away. It's like she has two personalities inside her brain. The host's mind is so strong, that Wanderer actually begins caring about her host's old family and decides to go look for them among a group of rebel humans hiding in the desert.

The story does have a very strange love triangle (or more like love square? I'm not sure what to call it) between the host and her old partner, Wanderer and the host's partner and Wanderer and a rebel human that she grows to care for. But, with that said, I wouldn't categorize The Host as a romance. The story mainly focuses on Wanderer's struggle with her host and the human struggle to survive without being caught by the Souls.

Although I'm a scifi movie fan, I haven't read that much scifi, so I don't know what to compare it to. The human resistance reminds me a little of Terminator, but the Souls are nothing like killing machines.

I really enjoyed the scifi world that Stephanie Meyer created in the story. The book really doesn't need a sequel, but needless to say, I still look forward to one.

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Giveaway: Dirty Blood

Are you the sort of person that's always dreamed of having a literary character named after you? If so, now's your chance! Check out NightlyReading's Dirty Blood giveaway, if you win the grand price, the author will name a character in the sequel after you!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review: Bossypants

BossypantsBossypants by Tina Fey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ok, I'll admit, I've never seen 30 Rock. However, I have been a fan of SNL since I was about eight years old. I had one of those cool moms that let me stay up every Saturday night and watch it with her (of course, if it got too raunchy or racy for a little kid she'd turn the channel and explain why certain jokes went too far). During high school, I loved Tina Fey on Weekend Update (one of the best parts of the show in my opinion), so naturally, I was interested when I learned she had a book out. I downloaded the audiobook and enjoyed it so much that I finished it in one day. I knew it was going to be funny and I wasn't disappointed at all. Listening to her memories is like sitting down with your favorite witty relative, her humor is so natural and engaging. She covers a wide range of topics from her childhood, romantic mishaps, her improv years, behind the scenes at SNL, 30 Rock, the Sarah Palin Impression, what it's like to be the boss and being a working mother. Whether you're a 30 Rock or SNL fan, curious what was going on in her mind during the Sarah Palin Impression, or just need a good laugh, Bossypants is a good read!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

The results of our first giveaway are in! Oshie used random.org to pick the winners. They are:

ezraquijano: Lament

Tanyaw1224: Immortal

Damla: The Iron King

Congratulations to the winners!! And a big thank you to everyone that entered!!

This has been so much fun for us. :) Mr. PoPo is especially happy, because the more books we give away the more shelf space he has to take a catnap on. That said, we're planning to take part in Inspired Kathy's and the Page Turners Blog's next giveaway "Splash Into Summer" 5/25 to 5/30 (not too far into the future!) and we hope you'll stick with us for that!

Review: What Would Emma Do?

What Would Emma Do?What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Thou Shalt Not Kiss Thy Best Friend’s Boyfriend...again...

There is no greater sin than kissing your best friend’s boyfriend. So when Emma breaks that golden rule, she knows she’s messed up big-time...especially since she lives in the smallest town ever, where everyone knows everything about everyone else...and especially since she maybe kinda wants to do it again. Now her best friend isn’t speaking to her, her best guy friend is making things totally weird, and Emma is running full speed toward certain social disaster. This is so not the way senior year was supposed to go.

Time to pray for a minor miracle. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time for Emma to stop trying to please everyone around her, and figure out what she wants for herself."

I can't believe I waited so long to read this! I've had the book for about a year, and honestly, the cover and description kinda kept me from reading it. I figured it was about some spiteful, evil girl who doesn't care if she steals her friend's boyfriend...but I was wrong, it's much deeper than that, thankfully. Emma's thoughts are laugh-out-loud funny. I'd say this book ties with "Nightlight" for funniest book I've read all year. To me, the plot was very original, and I wasn't quite sure how it was going to end. Emma's small town reminded me of my own hometown (that I still lived in up until about six months ago), so I might be a little bias, because I like stories about people trying to escape small towns to follow their dreams. However, I feel that “What Would Emma Do?” is a fresh take on the escape-small-town plot line. Fun read!

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review: The Boyfriend Bylaws

The Boyfriend BylawsThe Boyfriend Bylaws by Susan Hatler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Melanie is a young woman with lots of great things going for her. She teaches classes at the Totally Fit gym and has finally saved up enough money for her dream car. However, she hasn't been as lucky in the romance department. After dating one lame guy too many, her best friend decides to lay down “The Boyfriend Bylaws” or rules that will help Melanie find “The One”.

The Boyfriend Bylaws is a fun and witty read! I loved Melanie's character and the back-and-forth banter and antics between her and her Totally Fit co-workers. I wanna work out at their gym!

I only wish the story had been longer. I wanted to know more of Melanie's backstory and what happened to some of the minor characters. Otherwise, I enjoyed it and I will be checking out more of Susan Hatler's work in the future!

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The Story Siren: One Million Visitors Giveaway!

Speaking of Giveaways, check out The Story Siren!

The Story Siren: One Million Visitors Giveaway!: "Sometime early this morning, or late last night, The Story Siren received its MILLIONTH visitor!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway!

Just in time for Easter, we're one of the 200+ blogs that are taking part in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway! It's our first giveaway and we plan to have more in the near future.

Up for grabs here on Vonze's Reader Blog we have: Immortal by Gillian Shields, Lament by Maggie Stiefvater and The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, as Mr. PoPo is modeling for us (sorry, cat not included!).
Okay, here are the things you need to know:
1. We're giving away 3 books, so we will have 3 winners! Yay!

2. The contest runs Wednesday, April 20th to Monday, April 25th. The 3 winners will be announced and emailed Tuesday, April 26th.

3. The contest on this blog is international, but I will be shipping the books the cheapest way possible, so it might take a while for it to reach you.

4. You must sign up to follow Vonze's Reader Blog to win one of the books :)

To Enter the Giveaway Please fill out this form:

Lucky you, you can enter all of these great giveaways! Check out the links below.

Graphic Novels I Wish Existed

So, if you look through this blog or my book list on Goodreads, you'll notice that I love graphic novels just as much as plain ole fashion novels. For the most part, I think it's cool when popular books also come out in graphic novel format (ex: Twilight, Maximum Ride, Pride and Prejudice). Here's a list of books I wish also had graphic novel versions:

1. Harry Potter series...I wish J.K. Rowling would give the greenlight on this! The proceeds would be a great way to raise money for her charities. I love the Harry Potter movies, but sometimes they fell short of my imagination, and I think it'd be great to give it another go with a graphic novel series.

2. The Hunger Games...ditto, with all the action and suspense in this book, it'd make for a great graphic novel.

3. Lord of the Rings...ditto again, I know they made The Hobbit graphic novel...not really a fan of The Hobbit though (Oshie knows I have my reasons).

4. All of Jane Austen's novels...I know Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility have already been turned into graphic novels (even Pride & Prejudice & Zombies), but I'd really like to see a graphic novel version of Emma or Northanger Abbey.

5. Little Women...I swear I had a Little Women anime Christmas special VHS when I was a kid, dunno what happened to it. I know it's really not action-packed, but if they created a graphic novel for P&P and S&S, they surely can turn Little Women into a good graphic novel too. Maybe make Professor Friedrich Bhaer really hot...there's too many "Team Teddy" fans out there.

6. Dealing With Dragons...A princess and a dragon, in the graphic novel world, what's not to love with that combo?

7. The Princess Bride...if it read more like the novel instead of the movie, it would be a fresh take for fans who've never read the original story.

8. The Giver....while not extremely action-packed either, if done right this could be a very moving graphic novel. *Spoiler* Maybe have it in black-and-white until Jonah starts to see bits of the real world.

9. Phantom of the Opera...I love everything to do with the Phantom of the Opera, the book, the music, the movie and the play. If a sexy, well-drawn graphic novel was created, it'd be #1 on my pre-order list!

10. Gone With The Wind...since it's the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, you'd think the Margaret Mitchell estate would have more new releases of the classic coming up and I think a graphic novel, if done right with great sensitivity, and more scenes from the book instead of the movie, would be an interesting take on the story.

11. 1001 Arabian Nights...My husband and I agree this could possibly be a truly great source for an entire series of graphic novels. The depth of imagination invested in these stories combined with the sear volume of old world mythological context would certainly be great to see fully realized in a graphic novel format.

Anyone else know of a great book that would make a good graphic novel? I tried to check and make sure none of the books mentioned are already graphic novels, but if I listed one that already exists, please let me know. Any thoughts or ideas?

Upcoming Book Release and Great Giveaway

Coming August 2011
A darkly delicious new fantasy world
of sizzling romance amid the pageantry
of Georgian England.

Check out her website for details on how to win a beautiful genuine blue topaz raindrop necklace! Giveaway ends June 30, 2011!

Review: The Iron King

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Harlequin; Original edition (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780373210084

Vonze: 4 out of 5

Book description: "Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart."

The Iron King was a cool and quick YA fantasy read for me. Meghan Chase is a nerdy girl who enjoys computers and hanging out with her best guy friend. Her mom and step-dad kinda ignore her cause they're so focused on her little brother. Then strange things start happening in her life, her little brother starts acting strangely and then disappears. Turns out her best guy friend wasn't who she thought he was...lots of things turn out not as they seem for Meghan.

The story is obviously inspired from "A Midsummer Night's Dream," however, it also reminded me of Labyrinth, in a good way. Mainly, the lost little brother in a magical world part, the comparisons pretty much end there.

One of the best aspects of the book is the love triangle between Meghan, her best guy friend and a rival prince. While the triangle wasn't as intense as Team Edward/Jacob or Team Peeta/Gale to me, it's fun (I'm totally Team Ash!).

Overall, it's a good read for fantasy/romance fans. If you like Labyrinth or books dealing with the Fey in general, you'll enjoy it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Day Beverly Cleary!

I just browsing through my blog list and saw GreenBeanTeenQueen's post about Beverly Cleary's birthday. Ms. Cleary is 95 years young today! That's quite an accomplishment!

I've been a fan of Beverly Cleary since I was about three years old, no joke, as a little kid I loved "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" (Ralph the mouse) movie.

And when I was old enough to read, I loved Beverly Cleary's "Ralph" books. Just thinking about them really takes me back. I highly recommend them if you have kids or little siblings!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Review: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography

Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic BiographyAnne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The facts and information in this graphic novel are great. I've read the Diary of Anne Frank three times (twice for myself and once for school) and from this biography I learned a lot of new details about Anne's life prior to when her family went into hiding. The book starts when Anne's parents marry and continues until her father's death in 1980.

However, I didn't care for the style of art in this graphic novel. I love graphic novels and I think they are a great way to teach kids and keep their attention. The art on the cover is nothing like the art in the book. And as another reviewer wrote, sometimes the dialog boxes seemed misplaced, and I'd read them out of order and have to go back over them. So, that's why this book gets four stars instead of five.

Overall, it'd make a good companion book to a class who's reading the Diary of Anne Frank.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

R.I.P. Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones, author of one of my favorite books, Howl's Moving Castle, and over 40 other stories, recently passed away at age 76. She was battling lung cancer.

She was a splendid writer and created beautiful, magical worlds and characters. She will be missed, but apart of her will live on through her creative work.

In her honor, Oshie and I will be rewatching the anime of Howl's Moving Castle, a great movie that introduced me to Diana's writing.

Review: Nightlight (Twilight Parody)

Nightlight: A ParodyNightlight: A Parody by Harvard Lampoon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):" About three things I was absolutely certain. First, Edwart was most likely my soul mate, maybe. Second, there was a vampire part of him–which I assumed was wildly out of his control–that wanted me dead. And third, I unconditionally, irrevocably, impenetrably, heterogeneously, gynecologically, and disreputably wished he had kissed me.

And thus Belle Goose falls in love with the mysterious and sparkly Edwart Mullen in the Harvard Lampoon’s hilarious send-up of Twilight. Pale and klutzy, Belle arrives in Switchblade, Oregon looking for adventure, or at least an undead classmate. She soon discovers Edwart, a super-hot computer nerd with zero interest in girls. After witnessing a number of strange events–Edwart leaves his tater tots untouched at lunch! Edwart saves her from a flying snowball!–Belle has a dramatic revelation: Edwart is a vampire. But how can she convince Edwart to bite her and transform her into his eternal bride, especially when he seems to find girls so repulsive?

Complete with romance, danger, insufficient parental guardianship, creepy stalker-like behavior, and a vampire prom, Nightlight is the uproarious tale of a vampire-obsessed girl, looking for love in all the wrong places."

My Thoughts: It's been a long time since I laughed so hard at a book...the can't-breathe-type-laughter that made my husband give me a look like "you are crazy, go to bed."

Nightlight is a very good SNL-type (maybe even as good as Monty Python) parody of Twilight. I feel that it's geared towards Twilight fans with a sense of humor about their fandom (much like the Star Wars Robot Chicken special...you have to be a fan or have a certain amount of knowledge about Star Wars to get the jokes). It's great vampire obsessed fun!

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (December 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0316042676
ISBN-13: 978-0316042673

Vonze: 4 out of 5

Book Description: "Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything."

Beautiful Creatures is a very cool YA book set in a small southern town, where busybodies like to run outsiders off. (Kinda reminds me of where I grew up, so that was a plus as I read this novel) As the description states, Lena Duchannes, is probably the biggest outsider ever to hit Gatlin. Ethan Wate believes that Lena is the same girl whose been haunting his dreams and he's determined to figure out the reason behind her mysterious ways.

I was surprised to learn that Beautiful Creatures was Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's first novel. They created a great cast of secondary characters, such as Lena's Uncle Macon and Ethan's housekeeper, Amma, that I adored. Their world really captured the small town, Southern feel.

Beautiful Creatures is narrated by Ethan's character. He's an intelligent, caring hero and I loved his backstory. However, even though I normally feel that a guy's pov can be refreshing in a novel (ex: Harry Potter), I felt like Ethan knew a little too much about the inner-workings of the female mind for a teenage guy. He knew exactly why the popular girls hated Lena, where they'd buy their prom dresses, etc. It was the only downside of his character.

I don't normally read novels about witches (unless Harry Potter counts...I'm more of a vampire chick), but I liked Beautiful Creatures. It's a solid YA debut, and good for fans of Twilight to read afterwards. I look forward to reading the sequel, Beautiful Darkness, in the future.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: On Writing Romance

On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That SellsOn Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells by Leigh Michaels

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On Writing Romance is great for beginners who've just dreamed up their romance novel ideas. This book covers all the bases, from research to love scenes, plot and the query letter and everything in-between.

I've read several "How-to-Write" books from Writer's Digest. In this book, Leigh Michaels includes examples from the novels of other romance writers (Nicola Cornick, Lyn Cote, Annette Blair, Julia Quinn, etc) which I found helpful. Leigh Michaels not only tells the reader what to do, she shows you good and bad examples.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Review: Love Untamed: Romances of the Old West

Love Untamed: Romances of the Old WestLove Untamed: Romances of the Old West by JoAnn Chartier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a collection of romantic tales from the old West. Some are sweet, while others are sad or doomed.

Although the tales in this book are true, the stories read like fiction, which took some getting used to at first because I expected the book to quote more sources within the stories themselves. It's clear the authors did a lot of research, I just wish more of their information was quoted. Maybe I was hoping for more of a textbook of true romance stories.

But, other than that nic-picky bit on my part, this book was great. If you love history, have an interest in the old West and like romance, you can learn a lot from this book. I don't normally read or watch many Westerns, but it was interesting to learn about the love stories of famous Western couples like Doc Holliday and "Big Nose" Kate or Frank Butler and Annie Oakley.

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And We're Back...

Well, after much waiting, I am now Mrs. Oshie :) We got married in December and the ole blog has been on hiatus since then (books and furniture to move, wedding pics to edit, clothes to wash, cats to feed...etc).

I hope to write more, review more, and maybe, even have some giveaways in 2011. Stay tuned.


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