Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday 56: Hush, Hush

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Storytime with Tonya and Friends.


Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post on Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

This week's 56 comes from Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush.

"A fine crack bisected the windshield. Vee saw it at the same time. 'Are you sure it wasn't a squirrel?' My mind flashed back to the lethal eyes behind the ski mask." 

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)

Book Blogger Hop (#7)

Each week Crazy for Books hosts a Book Blogger Hop, where all those interested in book blogging can find other blogs out there that they might like.  Using this Hop I have found some really great book blogs. It is a great place to locate new blogs that interest you or find old blogs you didn't know were out there.  It is also a great place to make new blogger friends.  So go check it out and find some new great blogs to follow!  Last week I found several great new blogs and met some new people!


Here are a few of the great blogs and bloggers I met last week!


Erin. at Bookish in a Box
Jan from Eating Y.A. Books
Felicia at Geeky Blogger's Book Blog
The Wonderful Bloggers and Reviewers at Bewitched Bookworms
Rachel (Lady V) from In the Library of Lady Violet
Jennifer at Reading With Tequila 
Beverly at The Wormhole




And many others!  Check out the Hop!



Book Blogger Hop

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Review: Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien





Title: Birthmarked
Author: Caragh O'Brien
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Publication Date:  March 30, 2010
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
ISBN-13: 9781596435698

Source: Checked out from local public library.

Birthmarked Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Gaia’s mother served the Enclave as a midwife, advancing three babies per month into the Enclave, forever separating them from their biological parents. Until one evening when she and Gaia’s father were arrested by guards of the Enclave. Gaia comes home that night after serving as a midwife and delivering her first baby to the Enclave, to discover her parents gone and an Enclave soldier waiting in her house. After questioning her about her mother and records her mother supposedly kept, he leaves, but her parents don’t return. Gaia has always served the Enclave well, but now she must risk everything to set her parents free. Little does she know...the Enclave is waiting.

I will admit to some difficulty writing about this book because my feelings are mixed. On a quality level this book is exceptional, but on a personal level I found this book a bit hard for me to get into. For some reason, it just wasn’t holding my interest. It reminded me of the many times I have had to read a piece of classic literature for a class.

I have always had difficulty getting into and reading the classics. Despite their toted quality, or perhaps because of it, I have always had a hard time reading them—they don’t hold my interest long. This book, like so many classics demonstrates a quality of writing and idea that remind me of reading those classic novels. I am not saying that this book will endure or that it will become a piece of classic literature; statistically speaking I know it most likely won’t. What I am saying, in a rather longwinded manner, is that like the classics, I found it difficult to force myself to read this book.

I have always been at odds with the classics. I understand their value and ultimately appreciate their moral and story. Still that doesn’t make them any easier for me to read. Likewise, for Birthmarked, I appreciated the writing and the value of the story, but had a next to impossible time attempting to read it. I kept putting it down. It wasn’t until near the end when the urge to set this book aside passed.

That said I am glad that I endured, and finally finished Birthmarked because it is worth every effort. This book is dystopian fiction at its best. Gaia lives in a world where the poor live outside the wall and are subject to the laws and governance of the rich inside. Outside there a people who struggle to survive, and parents who must give up their newborns. Inside there are wealthy who want for nothing and raise children not their own. The poor don’t rebel because their own children live inside the Enclave, and some of their children serve in the Enclave guard.

O’Brien’s characterizations were excellent. Gaia is a well developed and likable character and you want to cry with her, when things go wrong. Gaia, who is scarred, is considered a “freak” both inside and outside the walls of the Enclave. According to them she is a girl who should be pitied because she is not perfect, but Gaia’s strength is that she is determined not to let her deformity hinder her. The other character who features heavily in this novel is Leon, who you don’t know quite as well and have doubt as to whether you can trust him. He too is an intriguing character. In Gaia’s world people aren’t always what they appear to be, and you don’t know who you can really trust.

On a side note I did find O’Brien’s penchant for obscure vocabulary to be a bit distracting at times. For example here are four words (out of many) that I found that were a bit unusual:
confabulate (pg. 22)
redolent (pg. 232)
inured (pg. 233)
troglodyte (pg. 287)
These aren’t words that you normally find in modern text or even in everyday conversation. I don’t think I have come across the word troglodyte since studying for the SAT in high school. In fact, if you Google these four words together don’t be surprised when your first results are vocabulary lists for the SAT and GRE. If I hadn’t known O’Brien was a high school English teacher before, after reading the unusual vocabulary she used I could have guessed. In a way, O’Brien seems to have found a new way to “teach for the test.” However awkward these vocabulary lessons may be, they somehow fit with the text.

In the end I would have to say that I liked this book. It was unpredictable both in vocabulary and in plotting events. You never knew where it was going to take you. Even at the end when I thought I knew the characters and could predict what they would do next, it never failed to take me by surprise.

Overall I would recommend this book to those who like dystopian fiction as a possible must read. If you aren’t a dystopian fiction fan, I would consider checking it out from the library before you purchase it.

View all my reviews

Discussion Questions:

1. When reading dystopian, the scary aspect is thinking, "Could this happen one day?" Did you ask yourself this while reading Birthmarked ? Do you think a future like this is possible?

  • It is always a question you ask when reading dystopian lit. You really want to know what happened to make their world become like it is. What choices did they make to get from where we are here today, to where they are? Anything is possible, but I hope that we will have the presence of mind to avoid this type of catastrophe. I hope that people wouldn't let their freedoms be taking away in such a manner.



2. How did the puzzle aspect of the story work for you? Did you figure out the code or was the explanation a surprise? Does this element work for you in a story or is there one you like/appreciate more?
  • I did figure out pieces of the code. I knew the letters could be seen between the lines--I have always liked those kinds of puzzles. I don't know for sure how I feel about the puzzle aspect. It was the puzzle that saved Gaia's life--they would have killed her if they didn't need her to solve it for them. Sometimes in stories I like puzzles, sometimes they are distracting. In this book it was a necessary element of her plot, but I didn't have any feelings for it either way.



3. Gaia follows in the steps of her mother as a midwife. For Gaia in the beginning its service and only later does she realize what taking the babies signifies. Can you put yourself in the mother’s role, what would you do if Gaia tried to take your newborn?
  • This was the hardest part of reading this story for me. On page 22 Gaia refers to a mother wanting to keep her child as "Mother Greed." Almost like it is some sort of horrible disease. That first delivery almost had me in tears, I was so angry that they would take a child away from its mother. I would fight with every ounce of my being to keep my child with me. I would be a greedy mother, because there is no way while I am still living and capable of caring for my baby that I would let someone take him/her from me.



4. Gaia feels ugly because of her scar and unable to fit in within the wall (enclave) because she wasn't perfect. Do you think finding out that her parents lied to her [about how she got the scar] was able to move the story along??
  •  I had that part of the story figured out from the beginning, and thought as smart as Gaia is, it was only denial that kept her from realizing what her scar meant too. It didn't come as a surprise to me, that they wanted to keep their daughter and did the only thing they could think of to keep her from being taken away. In a way, it was a revelation that Gaia needed to come to terms with. As a reader I had it figured out long ago, but if Gaia hadn't received that knowledge and faced it, I think we would have found her to be a bit too naive'.

Thursday Thoughts: Literary Escapism and Paranormal Fiction

I read an article Tuesday from Publisher's Weekly's website called P is for Paranormal about why paranormal is so hot.  The article lists several reasons for this high interest in this particular genre.  Some of these reasons include:
  • Humans have their limits--age, weight, etc... the stories in the genre are about perfection and we like to dream about our dreamy heroes/heroines of the paranormal genre.
  • The challenges they have to overcome for love.
  • Illustrative of the various struggles we face as a society, or as part of the human race.
  • Wonderful writing and creativity of the authors.
Personally I choose to read paranormal fiction or even fantasy fiction because it is a way for me to escape into another world.  Our world is so screwed up, think oil spill, terrorism, just about every negative thing you hear on the news each day, and you will know what I mean.  There is so much negativity in the real world, that escaping into one of these books is a relief.  I am not saying these books are not without their issues, but in most of them the hero or heroine overcome the obsticles they face to achieve a happy ending.

I like my literary escapism.  It is where I can go to escape from my day to day work, and my own problems.  I can sink into a book and immerse myself into the problems of the book.  As you can probably guess, I am not a big non-fiction fan. Perhaps I like my paranormal and fantasy for all the reasons listed above, but I read them mostly to escape.

(So why do I like dystopian fiction?  Because when you see a dystopian world that screwed up, you can think, "hey at least we don't have it that bad." At least for for a little while!)

What do you think?  Why do you like paranormal fiction?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

50 Follower Giveaway!!

It hasn't escaped my notice that I just recently passed the 50 follower mark.  To be honest I wasn't sure that it would ever happen, but to thank all of my followers I am going to host a contest.  Admittedly, I don't do a lot of contests, simply because I lack funds, but 50 followers deserves something so here it is:

One lucky winner will win your choice of one the following books (which were just released yesterday) from The Book Depository:

Perchance to Dream (Théâtre Illuminata, #2)Infinity (Chronicles of Nick, #1)The Tension of Opposites

This contest is open Internationally anywhere The Book Depository ships.

Rules:

  • Must be a follower to enter this contest.  A new follower is anyone who begins following me after 05/26/10.
  • Must be 13 years of age or older.
  • Extra entries:  Old Follower +2; New Follower +1
  • Post this contest on your blog +5 
  • Post to Your Sidebar +5
  • Tweet this contest +2 (Enter to win a free book at Mel's Books and Info 50 follower contest. http://bookgirl-mel.blogspot.com/2010/05/50-follower-contest.html)
  • Posted on Facebook +1
  • Grab My Button and Post on Sidebar +5
  • Add up your entries. +1
  • URLs must be included if asked or you will not get credit for the extra entries.  I will check.
  • Winner will be chosen by Random.org
  • Contest ends June 4, 2010 at 11:59 EST.
  • Must click link to fill out the form below.  Comments will not count as entries.  

Click here to fill out FORM.

Waiting on Wednesday (#4)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  WOW spotlights forthcoming titles that we absolutely can't wait to read.



Finally I am back into my comfort zone for this weeks "Waiting on" pick.  The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson, is firmly rooted in the fantasy genre, where I definitely feel more at home.  This book is intriguing and definitely gets you thinking.  What would you do if you only had 24 hours to live?


The Deathday Letter



The Deathday Letter
by Shaun David Hutchinson
Simon and Shuster
Release Date:  June 15, 2010
Trade Paperback, 256  pages
ISBN-9781416996088

From Simon and Shuster's Website:

"The clock is ticking…

Ollie can’t be bothered to care about anything but girls until he gets his Deathday Letter and learns he’s going to die in twenty-four hours. Bummer.

Ollie does what he does best: nothing. Then his best friend convinces him to live a little, and go after Ronnie, the girl who recently trampled his about-to-expire heart. Ollie turns to carloads of pudding and over-the-top declarations, but even playing the death card doesn’t work. All he wants is to set things right with the girl of his dreams. It’s now or never…."


For more information and to find out how Hutchinson came up with his idea for this book, visit The Deathday Letter at Simon and Shuster's website.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Great Giveaway at Candace's Book Blog

Candace at Candace's Book Blog is giving away a SIGNED copy of Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready!  Check out her review and head on over to fill out the form and get your entry in!


Shade

Sneak Peek at Lauren Kate's Torment

Loved Fallen and are anxiously awaiting the next book Torment?  Well Lauren Kate has arranged for readers to have a sneak peek at the new book in her post You Asked For It... on her website.

This book looks hot!  Check it out!

Torment Sneak Peek

Torment (Fallen, #2)

Teaser Tuesday 05/25/10

teasertuesdays31

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is my teaser for today:

Numbers (Numbers, #1)

"We sat there while the sounds of London in chaos played out half a mile away, sirens wailing, car horns going, helicopters circling. I felt stunned--still reeling from what had happened and shocked that I'd finally told someone." pg. 75 Numbers by Rachel Ward

Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (#6)

Each week Crazy for Books hosts a Book Blogger Hop, where all those interested in book blogging can find other blogs out there that they might like.  Using this Hop I have found some really great book blogs. It is a great place to locate new blogs that interest you or find old blogs you didn't know were out there.  It is also a great place to make new blogger friends.  So go check it out and find some new great blogs to follow!  Last week I found several great new blogs and met some new people!


Here are a few of the great blogs and bloggers I met last week!




And many others!  Check out the Hop!



Book Blogger Hop

Book Review: Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

Title: Reality Check
Author: Peter Abrahams
Genre: Teen Mystery
Publication Date:  April 28, 2009
Publisher: HarperTeen (print) / Recorded Books (audio CD)
ISBN-13 Book: 9780061227660
ISBN-13 Book on CD: 9781440746376
Source: Checked out audio CD from local public library. Received print copy from publisher for award committee work.


Reality Check Reality Check by Peter Abrahams


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Cody is almost 17. He is the quarterback on his high school football team, has a great girlfriend, and a wonderful summer job making more than minimum wage. For Cody, life is good, until his girlfriend Clea tells him she will be going to boarding school the following year, and at that point everything seems to fall apart. Cody breaks up with Clea, wreaks his knee and his football season, and then gives up on school. Just when things seem the worst, Cody finds out that Clea has disappeared from her New England boarding school, and no one can find her. Taking matters into his own hands, Cody travel across country and dives into the search for the one girl he loves.

Cody is a well developed and likable character whose relationship with his father is tenuous at best. He loves Clea, a fact you can see from the first pages of this book. You want to cheer for Cody’s persistence and his desire to find Clea.

Although the story is engaging and keeps you on the edge of your seat, I did have moments when I was a little frustrated with Cody’s slowness. I know he is supposed to be a high school dropout, and barely passing his classes, but he is a sharp kid, and shouldn’t have been that clueless. There were moments when the novel went to slowly, or spent too much time revealing something the reader has probably already figured out. There were other times, the novel was just plain predictable.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the story, and was glad to see how it turned out, but I have to say, I had the mystery figured out from the beginning. Despite that fact, there was still something about Abraham’s writing that kept me going. I did enjoy some of the surprises he had for the reader, even if the mystery wasn’t all that mysterious.

Peter Abrahams is a master storyteller. Although a bit predictable at times, I did find this mystery to be gripping and engaging. You don’t want to put it down and are anxious to find out what happens. I think teens will like Cody and want to know what happens to him.

The audio version of this book, produced by Recorded Books and narrated by Jim Colby, was not one of my favorites.  While Colby was clear and easy to understand I had difficulty getting into the story, which for me is unusual especially in audio format.  I found myself eager to turn off the audio and switch to book format, mostly because I didn't think he was engaging enough as a reader.  I don't want to say he was a bad reader, just not one of my favorites.

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Thursday Thoughts: Parents in YA Lit

Okay, I don't normally post two Thursday Thoughts in one day, but in order to be timely, I thought that this one needed to be addressed.  

You hear a lot of complaints these days about the absentee parents in YA lit.  Not a new trend if you consider the theme of orphans in literature, but something that has good parents all riled up.  As a parent myself, I will do everything in my power to make sure my son stays out of the situations that so many teen characters in today's lit find themselves in, but would there still be a story if the parents were hovering over their children in the stories?  Would Grace in Shiver have been able to sneak Sam into her room if her parents did a bed check every night like my husband and I do (okay, my son is two so I am off the hook--for now)?

Sometimes it is the lack of parental supervision that lets the teens in these stories have the adventures they do.  Why am I bringing up this topic now?  Because Maggie Stiefvater in her blog The World According to Maggie shares her opinion of this trend in YA lit.  I found it interesting to see an author's point of view and it gives us something to think about.  (Believe me, I have complained about the trend too, but I always have to ask myself, would there be a story if the teen had good, dutiful, parents?)  Check it out!

Maggie's Inflammatory Blog Post About Parents in Books 

What is your opinion of parents in YA books?  How do you feel about what Maggie says in her posts.  Just something to think about.

Thursday Thoughts: Isn’t it Time Young Adult Lit was Recognized as Its Own Genre?

You go into any bookstore these days and there is a young adult section. You visit most libraries today, and again you find a separate young adult section. If libraries and booksellers can recognize teen fiction and young adult fiction as a category separate from children’s books, why can’t review journals like Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus?

What started me thinking about this unusual topic? When I was perusing PW’s website and saw the listings for the Top Five Children’s Fiction Books (Bestsellers):

1. The Carrie Diaries / Candace Bushnell
2. The Hunger Games / Suzanne Collins.
3. Catching Fire / Suzanne Collins.
4. The Book Thief / Zusak, Markus.
5. L.A. Candy / Lauren Conrad.

(For the complete list, click here for Bestsellers for 5/10/10.)

Of the top 15 listed there were only two on the list that I would classify as Children’s Fiction. If 13 out of the possible 15 titles on your Children’s Bestselling Fiction List are YA titles, shouldn’t you consider making a list that is specific to YA titles? This way, your real children’s titles would get the recognition they deserve instead of being drowned out by the teen market. Not to mention that your labeling might actually reflect the product you are describing.

Teen fiction is not children’s fiction. Anyone who reads teen fiction would agree that this is a misnomer. Teen fiction lacks the innocence of children’s fiction and is often on the very cutting edge of literature, tackling tough and edgy subjects such as sex, homosexuality, politics, and current events. In essence, what is appropriate for teens is not appropriate for children, so shouldn’t these casually slapped on labels reflect this? Isn’t it time for Teen/Young Adult literature to be recognized as a unit of publishing separate from children’s publishing? Many of the publishing houses have already done this. They have their own teen imprints (HarperTeen, Harlequin Teen, Simon Pulse, and the list goes on). Why can’t these prominent review journals recognize this distinction?

As the teen book selector for my library, every time I pick up one of these journals to select books for the teen section, I must wade through the dozens of children’s titles seeking titles of the appropriate age range—granted after you do this for a while it is not hard. Still teen publishing in the last several years has become big business. Most of the big bestsellers seem to originate from titles in this age group (remember Twilight). So why are these being referred to as children’s books? I think it is time to recognize YA publishing as being independent from the children’s market. Give them their own section in the journals whether you call it Teen or Young Adult, it should be set apart. (Sorry Booklist, Youth doesn’t cut it.)

Big THANK YOU  to VOYA who recognizes the distinction between literature for teens and literature for children and who devotes all of their reviews to teen lit.  School Library Journal does divide their reviews by grade level.  The teen reviews can be found in SLJ under the heading "Grades 5 & up."

Just a thought.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (#3)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  WOW spotlights forthcoming titles that we absolutely can't wait to read.



I can't believe, that for two weeks in a row, my Waiting on Wednesday will be a realistic fiction book, but this is one that I am very eager to get my hands on.  I have seen this book listed in a couple of places, and the premise just sounds like fun.  Hope I get to read it soon.

A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend


A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend
by Emily Horner
Dial
Release Date:  June 10, 2010
Hardcover, 272 pages
ISBN-13: 9780803734203

From Dial's Website:


"For months, Cass has heard her best friend, Julia, whisper about a secret project. When Julia dies in a car accident, her drama friends decide to bring the project—a musical called Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad—to fruition. But Cass isn't a drama person. She can’t take a summer of painting sets, and she won’t spend long hours with Heather, the girl who made her miserable all through middle school and has somehow landed the leading role. So Cass takes off. In alternating chapters, she spends the first part of summer on a cross-country bike trip and the rest swallowing her pride, making props, and—of all things—falling for Heather.

This is a story of the breadth of love. Of the depth of friendship. And of the most hilarious musical one quiet suburb has ever seen."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 05/18/10

teasertuesdays31

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is my teaser for today:

Hearts At Stake (The Drake Chronicles #1)

"'Don't make a sound, don't make a move until I'm gone.' I struggled and strained but it was like sticky chains held me tight." pg. 48 Hearts At Stake by Alyxandra Harvey.

Monday, May 17, 2010

AWESOME GIVEAWAY @ Bibliophilic Book Blog

This is a great giveaway and you need to check it out.  This is your chance to win an e-reader!  I just got my nook, so I am not looking for a new e-reader, but this is a great chance to get one if you are interested.  Head over to Bibliophilic Book Blog and enter for your chance to win!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Book Blogger Hop #5

Each week Crazy for Books hosts a Book Blogger Hop, where all those interested in book blogging can find other blogs out there that they might like.  Using this Hop I have found some really great book blogs. It is a great place to locate new blogs that interest you or find old blogs you didn't know were out there.  It is also a great place to make new blogger friends.  So go check it out and find some new great blogs to follow!  Last week I found several great new blogs and met some new people!


Here are a few of the great blogs and bloggers I met last week!




And many others!  Check out the Hop!



Book Blogger Hop

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday Thoughts #3: Comfort Reads

Any book lover has them.  Those books that you keep going back to, the ones where just the scent of the book sends you back to someplace happy.  The ones that you pick up and read, to tune out the chaos in your life.  You know the books I am talking about and you are probably even picturing one in your head as you read this.  It is your comfort read.  The book you turn to and rely on when you need something to soothe you.  These books are more than just a book, they are old friends.

For me, Tamora Pierce's books set in Tortall have been the ones I turn to.  Usually it is the Lioness series or the Wild Magic series, but those are the ones I love and return to when I need a comfort read.  This was the author and the series that started me reading.  These are the books that are my gold standards for judging other books. I am not saying they are all worthy of  a five star review, they may or may not be.  I am too close to them to judge them.  I just know that they made me like to read, and for years I have sought out other books just like them.  Books that make me feel good.  

So here is the thought for the week.  Which books make you feel good?  If you could only pick one, what would you say your comfort read would be?

I'll start.  My comfort read would be In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce

What's yours?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (#2): One Night that Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  WOW spotlights forthcoming titles that we absolutely can't wait to read.



I am not usually much of a realistic fiction fan, but when I saw this in the Simon Pulse section of my Simon & Shuster Children's Publishing Summer 2010 catalog, I thought that this one looked too good to miss.


One Night That Changes Everything


One Night that Changes Everything
by Lauren Barnholdt
Simon Pulse
Release Date:  July 20, 2010
Hardcover, 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1416994793
ISBN-13: 9781416994794

From Simon Pulse's Website:



"Two years ago, when Eliza Sellman was in ninth grade, her dad found out he was being transfered and the family was going to move. Having always been shy and not so confident about her body, Eliza took that opportunity to start a list in her private notebook of all the things she planned on doing when she moved but had always been afraid to--like wearing a miniskirt and asking guys to dance; singing karaoke in front of strangers; posting a photo of herself on her Facebook wall in a bikini...you get the idea. New town, new Eliza, right? Well, she'll never know because the transfer fell through and they didn't move. But Eliza kept adding her goals and secret fears to the list in the notebook. Now it's two years later, and in that time Eliza has had and lost her first boyfriend. But this was more than your average breakup...turns out the sweet and cute Cooper was only dating her as a hazing stunt by a secret society. Eliza got her revenge by posting some pretty nasty (and only sort-of true) stuff about Cooper online. That posting has had major consequences and now Cooper and his buddies have stolen her private notebook and won't give it back until she performs all the things on her list in one night. It's torture...until Eliza steals something from the boys she knows they'll want to trade her notebook for. What starts out as a night of humiliation turns into a night of revelations as Eliza learns what Cooper was really thinking when they dated, the real reason he's stolen her notebook, and how freeing--and life-changing--it can be to do the things you fear the most."




 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 05/11/10

teasertuesdays31

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is my teaser for today:

Reality Check

"They screamed their heads off on the long fall, then hit the water, not too cold on the surface, icier and icier the deeper they plunged.  And darker and darker, too." pg. 8 Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

Monday, May 10, 2010

Delayed Reivews

Sorry I have been a little slow to review lately.  I know Fallen was long overdue, but I just haven't been finishing books that quickly lately.  The last couple of weeks have been a bit crazy for me, and my usual blogging time has been occupied by my trips to physical therapy to get my back spasms under control.  Let me just say "ouch!"

I also be taking a brief hiatus later in the week, so bear with me.  I am a judge for The YA Bloggers Debut Book Battle at The Shady Glade.  I will be judging bracket 14, but I don't know which books those will be yet.  Since I don't want to reveal the winner of the bracket too soon, I won't be posting reviews for those books until the day the winners are to be revealed.  I am still reading other things on the side and will review those normally.  In the meantime, I still plan to post on a couple of the weekly memes so hopefully it won't be too long between posts. 

Promise, this will only be a short hiatus.  I plan to have everything back to normal next week.

Book Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Title: Fallen
Author: Lauren Kate
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: December 8, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (print) / Books On Tape Listening Library (audio CD)
ISBN-13 Book:  9780385738934
ISBN-13 Book on CD: 9780307706454
Source:  Checked out both audio CD and book from local public library.


Fallen (Fallen, #1) Fallen by Lauren Kate


My rating: 4 of 5 stars






Lucinda Price has seen shadows her entire life, dark twisting blackness that leaves disaster in its wake. It is because of the shadows that she is forced to go to Sword & Cross reform school, because she can’t remember exactly what happened to Trevor the night the shadows came. Now she finds herself living at Sword & Cross, with other “troubled” teens. It is there, at Sword & Cross, where she first sees him, a boy her own age who looks so startlingly familiar, Daniel. As she tries to get closer to Daniel, to discover how she knows him, the shadows too are moving closer to Luce and the people she cares for.


Fallen, from the very beginning, is both intriguing and enticing. It grabs you from the first page and propels you into an ages old struggle between good and evil. At each haunting turn you never know where this story will take you. It keeps you on the edge of your seat as the story progresses. Fallen is both romantic and intriguing.

The characters are finely developed and leave you wanting to know more about their secrets. Luce, with her guilt, and an aching sense of familiarity with Daniel, draws the reader into her story. Penn, Luce’s truest friend, who misses her deceased father is the ward of the headmaster, is likeable and dependable in a school where you have no idea who you can really trust. Cam, with his charm, is both enticing and alluring. He attracts Luce, but at the same time confuses and repels her. Arianne, is the bad girl best friend. Looking out for Luce, but at the same time someone you are not sure you could trust. Daniel is probably the least developed. At one moment he is hostile toward Luce, and the next he is protective.

The audio book is read by Justine Eyre who does an excellent job narrating the story. Her narration is the picture of clarity and is spot on for Luce and her schoolmates. The running time for the audio is just short of 11 hours and consists of 9 compact discs if listening on CD. It was the audio that propelled me through the tough, slow spots, and is an excellent way to enjoy this book.

I truly enjoyed Fallen though there were moments when the story felt bogged down in detail and history. There were parts of the story that dragged, making the reader wish that the author would get back to the story, but despite those moments the storyline had enough interest to keep me going. The ending left the reader wanting more, which leaves the door open for sequels. Torment the next installment is due out September 28, 2010 in the US. I will probably pick up the sequel since I enjoyed Fallen so much.

While I would classify this as paranormal romance, I think fans of the genre may find it a little lacking on the romance side. You feel the attraction between the characters, like you do in Twilight and maybe even Linger but unlike those, sometimes the relationship between the characters leaves you cold. You don’t see it you don’t really feel it. If you are looking for the hot attraction you see in those books, you might what to try something else, because it just isn’t here in Fallen




View all my reviews

Friday, May 7, 2010

Book Blogger Hop #4!

Each week Crazy for Books hosts a Book Blogger Hop, where all those interested in book blogging can find other blogs out there that they might like.  Using this Hop I have found some really great book blogs. It is a great place to locate new blogs that interest you or find old blogs you didn't know were out there.  It is also a great place to make new blogger friends.  So go check it out and find some new great blogs to follow!  Last week I found several great new blogs and met some new people!


Here are a few of the great blogs I found last week!


Katie at Book Love


And many others!  Check out the Hop!



Book Blogger Hop

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday Thoughts #2: E-Books, E-Readers, Bloggers, and Galleys

Okay, I think the title says it all--this post is about the E-Book.  It seems like lately you can't escape the conclusion that publishers are hoping e-readers will be the next big thing.  You see Kindles being advertised on TV as well as Barnes and Noble's nooks and don't forget the iPad, yet most bloggers, don't accept e-book versions of galleys.

I read my first e-book galley several weeks ago, and because I don't have an e-reader, it took me a little longer than it would if it had been in traditional print format.  I could only read it when I was sitting at a computer, which meant, I could only read it, before or after work, or on my lunches.  It also meant taking a few minutes in the evening to sneak upstairs, devour a chapter, and return downstairs to my family.

What I learned, was that for the most part I didn't mind reading the books in that format.  Yes, I did miss the tactile sensations of the pages, the crisp smell of the new book, the sound of the pages turning, and most of all the ability to accurately track my progress through the book.  (I am one of those that closes the books and marvels at how far my book mark has moved.  Most of all, I hated the time it took me away from my family, but all in all, it wasn't a bad experience.  Granted the book I read was one I was extremely excited to read,  Julie Kagawa's Iron Daughter, but the format didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. 

Since that first experience, I have found myself wanting an e-reader.  I have looked all over the web for reviews, comparisons, and any information that would point me to the one I want.  My only problem was finding credible information--this is one instance where I really wished Consumer Reports had reviewed these things.  After much searching, I think I have a good idea which one I might buy, if nothing changes between now and then.  I will tell you it won't be the iPad, because that is just too far out of my price range.

But before I lay out the money for one, I have to ask one question.  How often will I use it? Is this only going to an occasional use for an occasional galley, or e-book from the library, or will I get hooked and use it all the time.  Electronic galley's are cheaper for publishers to produce, so I know that may have some appeal, and with publishers like Harlequin Teen and Harcourt Mifflin, using NetGalley.com, maybe this could be a new trend.  And while the e-readers do have some weight to them, they are not nearly as heavy as carrying multiple books with you.  When I travel, I usually pack 3-4 books, my husband would be overjoyed that I am finally packing light!

Enough of my rambling, time for you to share your thoughts!
  • What are your thoughts on e-books, e-readers, and e-galleys?  
  • Do you think more publishers will go for the e-galleys? 
  • If you were to choose an e-reader which one would you want and why?  
  • If you own one, why did you choose the one you purchase?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (#1)

This is my first Waiting On Wednesday.  Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  WOW spotlights forthcoming titles that we absolutely can't wait to read.

Since I have been reading Fallen by Lauren Kate, and find myself completely hooked, I thought it was appropriate that my first WOW be the sequel, Torment.
Torment (Fallen, #2)

by Lauren Kate
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 28, 2010 

From Goodreads.com:

How many lives do you need to live before you find someone worth dying for? In the aftermath of what happened at Sword & Cross, Luce has been hidden away by her cursed angelic boyfriend, Daniel, in a new school filled with Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. Daniel promises she will be safe here, protected from those who would kill her. At the school Luce discovers what the Shadows that have followed her all her life mean - and how to manipulate them to see into her other lives. Yet the more Luce learns about herself, the more she realizes that the past is her only key to unlocking her future...and that Daniel hasn't told her everything. What if his version of the past isn't actually the way things happened...what if Luce was really meant to be with someone else? 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays 05/04/10

teasertuesdays31 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Since I am currently reading two books here are my teasers:
     Fallen (Fallen, #1)
    "As she watched the slight movement of his body as he sketched, Luce's insides felt like they were burning, like she'd swallowed something hot.  She couldn't figure out why, against all reason, she ahd this wild premonition that Daniel was drawing her."  pg. 77 Fallen  by Lauren Kate.

    Birthmarked

    "Her instincts warned her to cooperate with him just enough that she wouldn't bring more trouble on her parents or on herself. At the same time, she feared him." pg. 15 Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien 

    So what are you reading?
     

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    MyTop Ten Favorite YA Books

    Recently, Adele at the PersnicketySnark asked book bloggers to list their 10 favorite YA books of all time.  She is using it to compile a list of the best YA books, similar to the on SLJ did for children's books.  This got me thinking about my favorite YA books.  Although this list may change everytime I think about it, and I know I might have left off a few, this is what I came up with. 

    1. In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness, #2)In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce. Okay, I know this book is the second book in the series, but this is the one that started it all for me. This is the book that turned me from a read occasionally type of girl to an avid reader. Alanna is a wonderful, strong, female character and she made me believe I could be anything I wanted to be as long as I worked hard and tried hard. When Tamora Pierce did a book signing at a library near me a couple of years ago, it was my beat up, taped together, copy of this book that I had her sign. This book is still one that I pick up when I need a comfort read. I think it will always be my favorite because it is the one that got me hooked on reading.
    2. The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1)Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Can't tell you how much I love this book. I love Katnis, she is a flawed but strong character who does what is necessary to survive. This book, and this series has me eagerly awaiting the conclusion. I love it.
    3. Fire (The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy, #2)Fire by Kristen Cashore.  I debated whether I wanted Fire on this list or Graceling. I know, I could have had both, but I just wanted one or the other. I chose Fire, because I felt the story was so much more developed and different from a lot of the stories that are coming out today. Both are extremely original, but Fire just called to me more. It was almost epic. 
    4. The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1)The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.  This is a very new book, but there was something about it that hooked me. I love Kagawa's vision of Nevernever, and it kept me wanting more. I have no idea how the rest of the series will turn out, but since this book gave me a taste of something I really enjoyed, I am eager to see what she does next.
    5. Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr (The Abhorsen Trilogy, #2)Lirael by Garth Nix.  Already, you can probably see that I am a fantasy fan. I really enjoyed this series, and this book in particular because the main character is a librarian. Call me crazy, but I thought it was a hoot that being a librarian was one of the most dangerous jobs. Talk about secrets hiding in books. I also like the adventure, and though Lirael lacks confidence, she grows throughout the novels.
    6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling.  This one has to be on the list just simply because of the impact it has had on the publishing industry. I loved this series, and loved that it made kids and adults excited to read. It brought hundreds of kids and teens into the library and that is important. It is still one of the most checked out books in my teen section, and it is a captivating story.
    7. Dead Girls Don't Write LettersDead Girls Don't Write Letters by Gail Giles.  I love to book talk this one to the teens. It always gets them riled up because they want me to tell them the story. At the end of the booktalk I usually have all of them scrambling for this tiny book, because they want to know what happens. Then they read it, and ask me how it ended, and they they go back to read it again to make a case for their ending. I know that sounds crazy, but these kids have debated about how this book ends--and I love getting kids talking about books. 
    8. The BreadwinnerBreadwinner by Deborah Ellis.  I enjoyed this book because it lets teens know what life was like for girls in Afghanistan.  It also features a strong female protagonist, Parvana, who will do anything necessary to get her family safely through difficult times. 
    9. The Truth about ForeverThe Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.  I love Sarah Dessen's realistic fiction. Her characters are unique, and engaging and leave you wanting more. I love this book.
    10. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants ( #1)Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares.  The ultimate summer, chick lit read.  I wish they hadn't made this book a movie, because the movie can never do it justice. This was a story of friendship and magic, and of life changing events.
    So those are currently on my top ten.  I am reading Fallen by Lauren Kate now, and it seems very intriguing...Perhaps it can unseat one of these ten.  In the meantime, I am anxious to see the list Adele comes up with, so keep an eye on her site so we can see the results of her survey at the Persnickety Snark.

    Let me know what you think!  What are your favorite YA books of all time? 

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