Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Read Your Own Books August: Final Update

Wow has it already been a month?  Time flies when you have too many books to read before a specific date!  Today marks the end of my Read Your Own Books August Challenge and I want to congratulate everyone who participated.  I admit I was tempted this month--there were so many great books coming out that I wanted to buy, but you know what--I didn't, so maybe I can have some fun in September (actually, I am considering extending this until I finish the books for my committee!).

What I have read this month that I already owned or had checked out has included:  
  • The Replacement(ARC)--sent to me prior to August 1st.
  • Under My Skin--owned
  • Insatiable--owned
  • Dark Life--owned
  • Linger--checked out from library before August 1st
  • Sapphique(ARC)--ARC Tour that I signed up for before August 1st
  • Hush Hush--checked out from the library prior to August 1st.
  • Mockingjay--pre-ordered prior to August 1st
  • The Gardener--checked out from library prior to August 1st
  • My Fair Godmother--owned before August 1st (review pending)
  • Demon King--audiobook checked out from library before August first--still reading
Books purchased during August:
  • Trout, Trout, Trout: A Fish Chant by April Pulley Sayre (I purchased this picture book for my son at the CYPD conference because the author was their signing books.  It is his very first signed book and he loved the chant.)
  • Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos (Jack Gantos was also at CYPD and I purchased this book so I could have it signed.)
I admit I didn't make it the whole month without buying books, but I don't think I did too bad.  I don't get to go to author signings very often so I think making exceptions for the authors signing is acceptable.

Winner will be chosen tomorrow for the Read Your Own Books August Challenge--so don't forget to check back!

I am anxious to hear how the rest of you did!  Congratulations to everyone who participated.  I know this wasn't easy, but I hope you met your expectations!

Either leave a comment below or share your post by adding it to Mr. Linky. 

Book Review: The Gardener by S. A. Bodeen

If you like dystopian fiction or just want to know more about this great genre, check out Dystopian August at Presenting Lenore! You could even win a great prize package of books for reading and reviewing dystopian fiction in August. Check it out!


Title: The Gardener
Author: S. A. Bodeen
Genre: Teen Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, SF, Action Adventure
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Publisher Book: Feiwel and Friends
ISBN Book: 9780312370169
Publisher CD:  Brilliance Audio
ISBN-13 CD Book: 9781423384809
Source: Checked out both book and CD from my public library.


GardenerGardener by S.A. Bodeen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Mason has a hero complex and when a video of his father reading The Runaway Bunny wakes a beautiful girl from her coma who has been institutionalized in the nursing home where his mother works, Mason feels that he has to help the girl escape this place she fears so much. Now he finds himself in a whole host of trouble being chased by those who want the girl back so badly, and from a man the girl only knows as “The Gardener.”




This novel is fast paced and exciting, but unfortunately it falls a little flat. I found myself wishing for better character development and overall, just more details. The pacing makes up for that to some degree, and the action and pacing would make it interesting for reluctant readers.



We are told Mason has a bit of a hero complex. He is always wanting to save somebody, perhaps because of his experience as a child. I felt that most of the characters, with the exception of Mason however, are stock characters and not terribly developed. I was always wanting to know more throughout this novel. So many of the adults have secret lives with the company in the novel and you really don’t understand their motivations. Mason’s love for the girl was also a sticking point with me, because he doesn’t even really know her or who she is, just as she isn’t completely aware of who she is. I did like Mason as a character, but overall the characters just don’t connect with the audience. The dialogue between the characters was okay, but sometimes it felt rushed like the momentum of the story was forcing out the big revelations at such a fast pace that you only got a page or two dedicated the the mysteries that surround the girl and the story.



The audio version produced by Brilliance Audio and performed by Luke Daniels was well done, but there were moments when I felt that the narrator was too old to be narrating the voice of a 15 year old. Otherwise the production is well done, and a good way to read this book. It is only 5 CDs long which makes it a relatively quick book to listen to.



Overall, this book is entertaining, but like so many action packed movies out there it lacked depth. You are grabbed from the beginning and pulled through the novel at a relentless pace, but below the surface you won’t find much detail. I wish there was more back story, and found myself wanting to know more about TroDyn and especially the parents, but alas it just wasn’t there. Because of the action, this book will appeal to boys and your reluctant readers and it is, despite its flaws, a fun story.



Cautions for sensitive readers: Mild sci fi horror, and some violence.



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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Snippets and Sharing

I thought this would be a fun activity for a Saturday so, I thought I would see if anyone is interested in participating.  We all know we read and share reviews, and whether we liked the book or not, there are sometimes those things that we don't share in our reviews--things that catch our attention.  So here are the instructions:
  1. Look at the book you are reading today.
  2. Either share a quote from it, or share something about it that struck you.  (For instance, was there a line that made you laugh, or was there something you just read that made you think.) Why did you pick it up, did the cover catch your eye, did a friend recommend it, are you thinking about putting it down, etc....  Anything goes.  Just share.
  3. It can be anything about the book you are reading today, just leave a comment or even create your own post (please leave a link) sharing something about your book.
  4. Make sure to include, titles and authors in case someone else wants to read the book.
  5. No spoilers please!
My Saturday Snippit is from Janette Rallison's book  My Fair Godmother. Rallison has a great sense of humor, and I love the way some of the lines make you laugh out loud. This isn't a book I would normally pick up on my own, but I can appreciate a book that makes me laugh.  I am reading it for a committee I am working on, and since it is my August You Choose, I Review title, I am desperately hoping I can finish it before the end of August.

My Fair Godmother
"That was the most pathetic princess display I've ever seen." She craned her neck to see past me into the village. "You attacked an old woman, then convinced a group of dwarfs you were insane." pg. 88 My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
So share anything about the book you are reading today!  Good or bad, I want to hear about it!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (NO SPOILERS)

If you like dystopian fiction or just want to know more about this great genre, check out Dystopian August at Presenting Lenore! You could even win a great prize package of books for reading and reviewing dystopian fiction in August. Check it out!

Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Teen Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, SF, Action Adventure
Publication Date: August 24, 2010
Publisher Book: Scholastic
ISBN Book: 9780439023511
Source: Purchased copy from Amazon.com.


Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I usually start my reviews of books by writing a brief summary of what it in the book, but in Mockingjay there is so much going on, and so much of it is relevant to the plot, I am afraid of saying too much and giving too much away.  So in one sentence, that hopefully doesn't disclose too much, here is my summary:

In this third installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss is back for another action packed thrill ride.


If you are looking for a longer summary, you can read the ones on goodreads.com or amazon.  They are equally vague, but a little bit longer. I never would have guessed where this novel would have gone, but I will tell you this.  You must read the others in the trilogy before starting this one.  Some series you can read out of order--this is not one of them.

Mockingjay is a book I had been longing to read for months.  Since the cliff hanger ending of Catching Fire, I have eagerly anticipated this final installment, longing to know what Katniss will do next.  All over the internet you could find people speculating what will happen in book 3 and rooting either for Team Peeta or Team Gale.  For the most part I didn't care to speculate because I honestly had no idea where Collins was going to take us.  Even in my wildest dreams I would not have imagined where this book would go or the roller coaster ride Collins would put us through to get us to the end. 

Collins characters are realistic and well drawn.  You believe them and believe in them.  She has a way of building a convincing world with convincing characters and keeping you on the edge of your seat through all of their exploits.

Now that I have finished I am suffering the letdown you get after all that anticipation.  You know the one I am talking about.  Remember--we all pretty much felt it at the end of the Harry Potter series.  We know where Harry ended, just as we now know where Katniss ended.  There will be no more adventures unless we go back and reread the books again, but we will never again share the anticipation of waiting for the final story. 

Overall this book surprised me, and it takes a lot for a book to surprise me these days.  It lived up to all of its hype and far exceeded my expectations.  I never could have guess that this is where we end. 



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Follow Friday!

Come and join the fun of the Friday Follow hosted by Parajunkee's View. You can find the instructions and rules on Parajunkee's Follow Friday post.   Happy Hopping! 




This week, Rachel at Parajunkee's View asks: What is the first book you remember reading?

The first book I remember reading was the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  We checked it out on one of the few library trips to the downtown library.  I remember playing games on these machines for a while, then sitting down and one of my parents (my Dad I think) read the book to me.  We then checked it out.  To this day, that is still one of my favorite books. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday Thoughts: CYPD and Read-a-thon Update and August Read Your Own Books Challenge

I must say that I am happy I remembered today is Thursday.  The last couple of weeks I have been too busy to post this on the right day!

CYPD Conference:
Well, I am gearing up for a busy weekend. I work all day Saturday and then I am off on Sunday and Monday to the annual CYPD Conference in Indianapolis. Any other Indiana librarians going? I can't wait to see what is in store for us this year. Jack Gantos is one of the guest speakers, along with April Pulley Sayre, and Beth Galloway (Game On: Gaming at Your Library).  I am hoping it will be a great conference and that I will gather new ideas to bring back to my library.

Dusk Till Dawn Read-a-thon Update:
In the meantime, I started Mockingjay yesterday.  I borrowed a copy from my friend since my copy still has not arrived--I am a little peeved about that.  I should have just bought it at the store the day it came out instead of ordering it online.  That aside, I am enjoying the book, but finding it a bit different than I expected.  I won't spoil it for anyone, but let me just say I am curious to see how it really ends.  During last nights read-a-thon, I read 152 pages of Mockingjay and will be starting chapter 11 when I pick up the book again tonight.  Did I mention that I stayed up too late reading last night, and can barely keep my eyes open?

Read Your Own Books August Challenge:
We are winding up the last few days of this challenge and so far I have been really good about reading books I already own or have already checked out from the library.  How are you all doing?  I will be posting a final update on the 31st with a linky for everyone to link their final updates.  Whether we succeeded or failed at the challenge, at least we can say we tried.  The random winner will be drawn on September 1st. 

So what are you reading now?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book Review: Dark Life by Kat Falls

If you like dystopian fiction or just want to know more about this great genre, check out Dystopian August at Presenting Lenore!  You could even win a great prize package of books for reading and reviewing dystopian fiction in August.  Check it out!   


Title: Dark Life
Author: Kat Falls
Genre: Teen Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, SF, Action Adventure
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
Publisher Book: Scholastic
ISBN Book: 9780545178143
ISBN-13 CD Book: 9780545226134
Source: Won hardcover from publisher through Goodreads first reads. Checked out audio from my public library. This is my honest review of this book.

Dark LifeDark Life by Kat Falls

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



In a world where the seas have risen and dry land is scarce a few brave settlers have tried to make lives on the bottom of the oceans. Ty has lived his whole life undersea in Benthic Territory, a territory of the Commonwealth where a few pioneers are struggling to make a life and a living subsea. When exploring the ocean floor one day he finds a derelict sub and inside a Topsider girl, Gemma, who is looking for her prospector brother. Meanwhile the Commonwealth is threatening to withdraw support from the settlers of Benthic Territory unless they apprehend a dangerous gang of outlaws who have been attacking government shipments. Ty wants nothing more than to have his own stretch of land beneath the sea, but he won’t get that unless something is done to stop the Seablight Gang.


This was a fast paced, action packed story. At times it felt like a western taking place below the sea. It has many of the qualities of those pioneering and western novels, complete with cowardly rangers, settlers and pioneers, prospectors, and a local saloon. I can’t fully describe how much fun this book was to read.


Falls hooks you at the beginning and pulls you through the story at a breakneck pace. This is a book that once started is difficult to put down. You want to know what is going to happen next and where the story will go.


The main characters are likeable and well drawn, while some minor characters are a bit stereotypical, but for some reason, that fits in this novel—maybe because it seems like a version of a classic western. The bad guys are big and bad, and the good guys are very, very good. The characters actions are believable as is their dialogue.


I do wish the author had spent more time explaining about the Rising and what led to it, including how the society became what it did. I think this could have helped flesh out the story a little more, and it was something I really wanted to know. There was lots of exciting and interesting action, but the lack of these explanations kind of took away some of the depth of the novel.


The audio book is produced by Scholastic Audiobooks and features Keith Nobbs as the narrator. I love his narration of the story and he does a very convincing job of pulling you into the story.


Overall, this was a fun action packed read that was difficult to put down. I recommend it to anyone who likes lighter dystopian fare and novels with a lot of action. I can’t wait to see what Kat Falls writes next, and I desperately hope that she will visit this undersea world again. Despite its flaws, I loved this book.


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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dusk Till Dawn Read-a-thon: Count Me In

Silver_Wds-1


Yes, it is another read-a-thon and yes I am signing up. I can use all the encouragement I can get to get through my list of books for my committee, and the stacks of books I need to review. So with that in mind I am going to join the Dusk Till Dawn Read-a-thon hosted by Book Crazy and YA Addict. It runs from 8pm-8am August 25th through the 29th. Yes, I will still be focusing on books I own (hopefully Mockingjay will arrive soon so I can read that one) and books that I have to finish up for my committee.

Here are a few of the books I hope to read during the read-a-thon:


My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
My Fair Godmother

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
Generation Dead (Generation Dead, #1)

Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
Gardener

If you are interested in joining this Read-a-thon, please head on over to Book Crazy or YA Addict to sign up!

Out of the Box: Adult Book Review (Insatiable by Meg Cabot)

Title: Insatiable
Author: Meg Cabot
Genre: Adult Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: June 8, 2010
Publisher Book: William Morrow
ISBN-13 Book: 9780061735066
ISBN-13 CD Book: 9780061988516
Source: Purchased hardcover from Amazon.com and checked out CD from my public library.

Insatiable CDInsatiable CD by Meg Cabot

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Meena Harper wants nothing more than to be the head writer at Insatiable, the soap opera that she writes for. It turns out that they gave the job to Shoshona, her rival, and now they want to change the whole story line of the show to fit their new vampire theme. Meena wants nothing to do with vampires. She just wants to live her life and find some happiness away from the visions that foretell the deaths of everyone around her. Then she meets Lucien Antonescu and everything changes.


I hadn't read any of Meg Cabots adult novels before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I found it interesting that she too jumped on the vampire bandwagon and so I was curious what I would find.  Insatiable is a fun urban fantasy with wonderful likable characters. This is one of those book where there isn't a clear line between good and evil, because the good characters can be bad, and the supposedly evil characters can be really, really, good.


The story is fast paced and pulls you in from the first page. While some of the story seems--especially the men, seem like they stepped out of a romance novel, the rest of the story is more of a fight between good and evil. Except in this book, it is very difficult to tell good from evil.


Cabot tells the story from different points of view, which allow you to see inside the minds of the different characters, but she still manages to pull off a great mystery. You really never know what is going to happen next. Her dialogue between characters is realistic, and includes both wit and charm.

The vampire theme isn't wholly original due to the saturation of the market with all things vampire these days, but the story was fun and entertaining.  It wouldn't be a must read, but if you are looking for a fast read and enjoy a good vampire storyline, you might want to pick this one up.

The audiobook version was well done. It is read by Emily Bauer and produced by Harper Audio. Bauer does a superb job reading Meena and the other characters and makes listening to the book easy and entertaining. The narration is clear and precise.

Overall this book was a fun diversion from my reading list of late. I liked that it didn't take itself too seriously and that I could fly through the pages. A nice summer read.







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Teaser Tuesday: My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

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:


My Fair Godmother

Chrissy's wings fluttered, for a moment buzzing like a hummingbird. "Oh, excuse me, but you're the one who made yourself stupid. I was only working with what you gave me." My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison pg. 88
For more information on this book visit My Fair Godmother on Goodreads.com. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday Thoughts: On Friday Again and Read Your Own Books Challenge Update

I have to apologize for being a little sporadic on my posts of late.  In my defense, I have been really busy.

My library is getting ready to move back into our remodeled building (hopefully in September), so I have lots and lots of reading (not all of it review material) to get done before that happens, since during the move I won't have any time to do this at all.  So if I am a little quiet in the near future please understand and bear with me. 

In October, my committee meets (note I can't say what committee) to decide which books will end up our our booklist.  As you can imagine, there are a lot of books to read for the committee, and unfortunately I am down to the titles, I am not sure I want to read.  I have no choice but to plow though.  I can't wait until I have the freedom to read the books I really want to read again.

As for my August Read Your Own Books Challenge I am still on track.  I haven't bought any books this month or checked out any that weren't already on hold.  Right now I am focusing on my list of books for the committee, any books I have made commitments for, and those books that have spent time on my TBR shelf.  I just finished Insatiable by Meg Cabot and hope to post the review for it soon.  I am currently reading Under My Skin by Judith Graves and Dark Life by Kat Falls.

How are you all coming on the Read Your Own Books Challenge?   

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Read-a-thon Wrap Up



Sorry this is so late, but it has been a busy week.  Yes I did get some reading done for the Read Your Own Books Read-a-Thon at the Bibliophilic Book Blog over the weekend, unfortunately it wasn't as much as I had hoped to get done.  My in-laws were down to visit and help take care of the little guy so we didn't have to send him back to school until Monday and they stayed the whole weekend.  It was nice to have them down and we had a lot of fun, but I didn't get much reading done.  We did discover a really great park with a nice little kids playground where the little man can play without having to compete with the big kids and got to see the world's largest sycamore stump.  We also visited a local winery while they were here.  So all in all, a good weekend, even without getting the reading done I had planned.    

Here is what I accomplished:

Under My Skin  by Judith Graves (read to page 69)

Under My Skin (Skinned, #1)


The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (FINISHED and posted review)
The Replacement

Insatiable by Meg Cabot (read to page 174)
Insatiable

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Book Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Book Title: The Replacement
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Publisher Book: Razorbill
ISBN Book: 9781595143372
Publication Date: September 21, 2010
Pages: 352
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Horror
Source: Received ARC for review from publisher. This review reflects my honest opinions of this book.

The ReplacementThe Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



The town of Gentry is good at denying the horrible and the ugly things that live and happen there. Mackie Doyle believes he is one of those things. He is a replacement placed in the crib of a human child who was destined to be sacrificed. With deathly allergies to blood, iron and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world. When Tate Stewart’s little sister dies, Tate comes to Mackie and tells him that the thing that died was not her sister, but a replacement, and she want to know the truth the town of Gentry has been ignoring for so many decades. But sometimes the truth is too ugly to know.


Every year around Halloween, I get a hankering for something creepy, and spooky. It is sometimes hard to find a book that sets the right mood, but I believe Yovanoff, has captured that mood precisely in her debut book, The Replacement.

This was a fun and original book to read. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and was very eager to see where this story would go. I love the mood that the story set and how it flows. The story is so dark and shrouded in mystery that it makes a perfect read for the fall. While the novel does slow in places, you are so intrigued by the events that are unfolding that you can’t stop reading and eagerly keep going.

Yovanoff’s character development was good, but in some cases I found myself wanting to know more about certain characters and stories. Mackie is an intriguing and unique character in today’s YA Lit. In every sense, he should be the bad guy (given his heritage), but because of special circumstances he is an outcast struggling to survive in the human world. Although he isn’t human physically, he is very human emotionally seeking acceptance from the world around him. He is realistic in the fact, that like many in the town of Gentry he doesn’t want to get involved, and doesn’t until he is forced. All Mackie really wants is to fit in. The one character I found to be a bit of an enigma was Roswell. It was difficult to understand his motivations, and after his one revelation about his family, I found myself wondering why he and his family are so special. I loved Emma and her sisterly love for Mackie. She was willing to sacrifice anything to help him, and save him from the world. Tate, like Roswell is a bit of a mystery. She is suffering the loss of her sister, but you can’t predict what she is going to do from one moment to the next. I like her because she is tough and wants answers, but Tate has moments where she baffles both the reader and Mackie. I also found her relationship with Mackie a bit forced, but that could be due to the situation they are in.

Yovanoff is great with dialogue, and I love how well done, natural, and sometimes very creepy it is. What is left unsaid in instances can be downright terrifying. Her descriptions, too, are excellent, and do a wonderful job setting the creepy mood of the story. The descriptions do a superb job of conveying that haunting and dark atmosphere full of danger and deception.

This is a story of dark things, dark beings, and dark places. It is creepy and different from many books out there today. In moments, it reminded me of reading Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, but it is definitely for a more mature audience. Like Gaiman, Yovanoff has the ability to set a mood that sticks with you. I loved the atmosphere of this novel, and it may be my new favorite Halloween read. I loved the originality of the story and how dark and dangerous it was. An excellent debut!



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Friday, August 13, 2010

I Love These and Have to Share

One of my coworkers sent us a link to Cafe Press who has many librarian t-shirts! Here are a couple of my favorites. Click on the picture to go to there website--you can read it better there.




I have always loved this quote from The Mummy!  What do you think?  See any favorites?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Read Your Own Books Read-a-Thon



Since I declared August as Read Your Own Books month, what better way to celebrate, and focus on my goal, than by signing up for the Read Your Own Books Read-a-Thon at the Bibliophilic Book Blog!  The read-a-thon lasts from 9am Friday August 13th until 9am Monday the 16th of August.  This read-a-thon should be perfect for me and hopefully keep me on the straight and narrow!  If you are interested in signing up, head on over to the Bibliophilic Book Blog and sign up!

Here is what I hope to accomplish (yeah right!):

Under My Skin  by Judith Graves

Under My Skin (Skinned, #1)

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
My Fair Godmother

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
The Replacement

Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
Tyger Tyger (Goblin Wars, #1)

Insatiable by Meg Cabot
Insatiable

And MANY MORE! (That is if I get to them--you've seen my shelf!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Review: Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

I couldn't wait to read this sequel to Incarceron.  I have a bizarre fondness for dystopian novels and this is one of my favorites this year.  If you like dystopian fiction or just want to know more about this great genre, check out Dystopian August at Presenting Lenore!  You could even win a great prize package of books from Macmillan US for reading and reviewing dystopian books in August.  Check it out!  

Book Title: Sapphique
Author: Catherine Fisher
Publisher Book: Dial
ISBN Book: 9780803733978
Publication Date: December 28, 2010
Pages: 460
Genre: Dystopian Fiction, Sci Fiction, Action Adventure
Source: Received ARC for review from Around the World Tours


  Sapphique (Incarceron, #2)Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



In this sequel to Incarceron, Finn has escaped the prison only to discover that the Outside is as much of a prison for him as Incarceron.  Trapped by Protocol and by a queen seeking to discredit him, he longs for those he left behind in Incarceron, especially his oathbrother Keiro.  Meanwhile Keiro believes Finn betrayed him and seeks to find his own way out.  Incarceron, the living prison, has other plans, and the Warden, Claudia’s father, now trapped inside the prison seems to be doing the prison’s will, as it gradually shuts itself down, letting those in all the wings suffer its’ neglect.


I loved Incarceron when I read it earlier this year, so I absolutely couldn’t wait to read Sapphique.  Fisher is a wonderful storyteller, and this story has had me hooked.  I was so excited when I received the ARC in the mail, that I read the book in two days!  Fisher is a superb author and the story flows smoothly transition between the adventures inside Incarceron and the politics of life on the Outside.  Her prose is vibrant and pulls you into her world making them believable and all the more frightening. 

The story is perfectly paced and you don’t want to put it down,  Transitions between portions of the book inside Incarceron and the events going on out side almost always end in cliff hangers which keep you hooked and eagerly pushing forward to find out what will happen next.

The main characters, Claudia, Finn, Jared, Attia, and Keiro, are well developed, but are still a bit of a mystery.  You never truly know their motivations and you don’t always know why they make the choices they do.  This mystery constantly keeps you on your toes and pulls you deeper into this world where deception is so rampant.  I did, however, find Claudia’s doubts about Finn a bit inconsistent.  In the first book she was so certain he was Giles that she stopped at nothing to get him out, but in this book she has too many doubts.  It was just a bit inconsistent.  Some of the supporting characters, Queen Sia and Caspar, for example are your typical stock bad guys, or good guys with no real depth to them, but that wasn’t troublesome, because there were bigger things going on.  The dialogue between he characters is natural and believable. Which helps the story flow.

The descriptions of the prison are some of my favorites in the book.  They are so vivid and intriguing, yet ultimately frightening and dangerous. I love how this book alternates the points of view, from the characters inside the prison, to those outside.  These transitions often end in cliff hangers that keep the reader going, anxious to find out what will happen next.

I really enjoyed this sequel, and found it to be just as good as the first.  It is not a stand alone however, you must read Incarceron before this one, or you will be lost.  There are a few things that I found myself wishing I knew more about and a couple of loose ends concerning power supplies at are left unresolved.  I would also love to see Fisher write a book going back to the beginning of Incarceron, and the Realm--I think that would be a fascinating prequel.  All I can say, is I want more!

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Updates!

First, you should check out the interview I did with Tiger at All-Consuming Books.  It is part of her Better Know a Blogger Feature!  Find out how I got the name for my blog, my favorite place to read, and my favorite review.  So head on over to her blog to find out all about me! :)

Second, I want to thank everyone for the well wishes for my son.  His adenoid surgery and new tubes, went smoothly.  He was a little cranky yesterday which was to be expected, but he is doing wonderful today.  You wouldn't even know by looking at him that he had surgery yesterday.  Now the hard part is keeping him from playing to hard.  With a 2 year-old that is virtually impossible.

Finally, an update on my read your own books.  I haven't made a lot of reading progress this week due to everything going on at home and with the baby's surgery, but I can proudly say I haven't bought any books so far this month.  I did get an ARC from Around the World Tours on Saturday, but since I had signed up for ages ago, it doesn't count.  I did read it though since it has to be sent on to the next person with in the week--I finished it yesterday at the hospital.  The book was Sapphique by Catherine Fisher, and I hope to have the review posted later today.

That's all for now!  Thank you again for all your well wishes!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Follow Friday!

Come and join the fun of the Friday Follow hosted by Parajunkee's View. You can find the instructions and rules on Parajunkee's Follow Friday post.  Happy Hopping!



Thursday Thoughts: Yes I Know It's Friday

This week has been majorly messed up for me. I have felt a day behind all week. I simply can't believe that it is Friday already.

I guess that could be because I am dreading next Monday. On Monday, my little guy goes to the hospital to have new tubes put in his ears, and his adenoids removed. He has had tubes before, so I am not as worried about that, but the adenoid surgery has me really worried about him. They told me he may not want to eat anything after the surgery, and we are always trying to make him gain weight since his weight is only in the 10th percentile. But I think the biggest reason is that I don't like the idea of my baby hurting. They say removing his adenoids will make it easier for him to breath and may help decrease the number of sinus infections he gets, but still I worry.




I also think I will be needing to buy a new dryer and soon! Turns out that crayon doesn't come out of the dryer quite as easily as I thought it would. Seems like every load has at least one crayon stained item no matter how much I scrub the dryer. It seems like all my appliances have it in for me lately! :)

I won't be working the first half of next week because of the baby's surgery, so hopefully I can get some reading done while he is sleeping.  I sense a lot of cuddling in my near future.  

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Book Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Book Title: Linger
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher Book: Scholastic
Publisher CD: Scholastic Audio
ISBN Book: 9780545123280
ISBN CD: 9780545207072
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
Pages: 362 (9 CDs)
Genre: Paranormal Fiction, werewolves fiction
Source: Checked out book and audio CD from public library.

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Sam and Grace are back again in Linger and now that Sam has stopped shifting they are hoping they can finally have their happily ever after. But it is never that easy. Sam has to deal with problems with the new wolves, Grace’s parents don’t want them to see each other, and Grace is suffering from a mysterious illness that may change everything for them both.


When I read Shiver earlier this year, I remember everyone telling me what a great book it was and how it was the next Twilight, but better than Twilight. I remember being so excited to read it and then feeling a little let down by the hype. Was it good? Yes. Was it better written than Twilight? Much! Did I love it? To be completely honest, no, not really. For me it was okay, but it was a book that left me feeling more than a little unsettled. I can’t explain really why I felt this way, but it didn’t hook me the way it has so many. But Stiefvater's poetic language and beautiful descriptions did interest me enough to read the next book in the series Linger.

Once again like Shiver there has been a lot of hype about this book. All over the blogosphere you hear everyone clamoring for Linger raving about it in reviews of advanced reading copies, and loving it. So once again, I thought I would give it a try. Stiefvater is a very talented author. Her descriptions are rich and luxurious, and even though I was reading this book during the hottest days of the year, she has a way of making me believe that I am in the middle of a Mercy Falls, Minnesota cold and icy early spring. I love that about her writing, that it is so rich that it can transport you. Unfortunately for this novel, while her descriptions, characters, dialogue, and narration is spot on, her pacing is off—an unfortunate occurrence in many middle of the series novels.

The narrative of Linger alternates between the voices of the four main characters; Sam, Grace, Isabel, and Cole, one of the new wolves. Stiefvater’s transitions between these four characters are flawless and in many cases this allows the reader to see the thoughts on both sides of the conversations. I have to say that I enjoyed the way this story was told with these four distinct voices. The characters are carefully crafted and I love the introduction of Cole. Being able to see inside the mind of someone who chose to be a wolf is fascinating. Isabel is also more developed as a character this time of around. Of all the four major characters, Isabel and Cole felt the most real to me, and I loved the portions of the story told from their point of view. Grace and Sam just seem too perfect as characters, especially when they are together. I found I liked Grace and Sam better when they were apart or interacting with Isabel or Cole rather than each other, which I realize is silly, since the story is about their romance.

Stiefvater’s dialogue is well done and believable, but sometimes seems awkward with Grace and Sam. This could be because throughout the novel there is so much unsaid between the two of them, and so much they aren’t telling each other, that it really interferes with what is being said. I love it when Isabel comes into the picture and just tells everyone how it is because it really breaks up some of the tension.

My major problem with the novel though, is the pacing. Like many other middle of the series books, this one felt like it was merely a transition to the next book rather than a novel with action that stands alone on its own. I felt like you spend the whole book waiting for something to happen and this causes the story to slow in spots. While the ending is very climactic, and will lead us right into the next book, I just felt the rest of the book was lacking, because it took so long to get to the climax.

The audio version of the book was produced by Scholastic Audio and read by four different narrators, each representing the four main characters. Jenna Lamia reprises her role as Grace in the audio version, and does just as good a job as she did in Shiver. She is a talented and believable voice for Grace, and the narration is spot on. Pierce Cravens narrates the voice of Sam and does a wonderful job making Sam’s thoughts and dialogue sound convincing. Emma Galvin reads the role of Isabel and does a perfect job narrating Isabel’s edge, anger, attitude, and irritation at the events she sees unraveling around her. Finally Dan Bittner, who narrates Cole, performs a strong and convincing narration of the rock star turned wolf. Without the audio version, I might not have finished the book, but their voices and narration kept me interested throughout the novel. Original music from the author rounds out the audio version, making it all the more enjoyable.

Overall I just felt that there was a lot of going nowhere in this book, and I realize that Stiefvater was building to the conclusion, but there was a lot of emotional baggage to slug through before you got there. It suffers from middle book syndrome, where you spend so much time building the story that you might lose your readers interest. I know that sometimes that has to be done, but it is unfortunate when the book is so slow. On the other hand, this book leads you right in to the third book, and believe me after finishing Linger you are going to want to know what happens next. It is just too bad, that the hook is so deeply buried in this novel, that you don’t feel it until the very end. Stiefvater manages to deliver a stunning conclusion to this novel that makes wading through the rest well worth it. I look forward to, and will definitely be picking up book 3.

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Read Your Own Books August and Book Buyer's Anonymous

My name is Melissa and I am addicted to buying books!

There I said it. I am addicted, and this is going to be a very challenging month. As many of you know I have created my own challenge to avoid book buying in August--actually the challenge goes a little bit further than that, limiting me to reading only book I currently own, or have pre-ordered (Mockingjay), or currently have checked out from the library. (See Read Your Own Books August for details.)

To further this commitment, I am signing up for the August Book Buyer's Anonymous challenge hosted by Tara at 25 Hour Books.  If you are interested in signing up for Book Buyer's Anonymous, head on over to her blog for details.

bookbuyer1

My Goals--pretty much the same as for Read Your Own Books:
  • No new book purchases or checkouts from the library during August. (Books on CD excluded--I don't have any of those in my TBR pile at home.)
  • No new holds on library books that will arrive during August.
  • I can check out books that come in for holds or inter-library loans since these are time sensitive items. 
  • I can read books I own.
  • I can read ARCs that arrive from tours.
  • I can read ARCs I own.
  • I can read Ebooks I own.
  • I can read pre-ordered books that arrive in August (Mockingjay).
  • NO SPENDING MONEY ON NEW BOOKS!
Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You Choose, I Review (August): And The Winner Is....

You voted and the votes are now in.  My You Choose, I Review title for August is My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison.  I will read and review this book before the end of August.  Thank you for all your votes, and if you look closely at the picture of the shelf in my Read My Own Books August challenge, you will notice that this book is on my shelf and is one of the 10 I have to read before October.  Thank you for your help and tune in later this month for the review!

My Fair Godmother

Teaser Tuesday: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

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:

The Replacement

 I stood there, helpless to look away as he leaned in closer. He tightened his grip on my jaw and whispered hoarsely, "Do you really need a wretch like me to tell you that you're dying?" The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff pg. 66.






For more information about this upcoming release and other great new titles, check out The Penguin Five, or visit The Replacement at Penguin's website.

In the meantime, enjoy the trailer!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Book Review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Hush, Hush
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Genre: YA, Paranormal Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: October 13, 2010
Publisher Book: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publisher Audio: Audioworks/Simon & Schuster Audio
ISBN-13 Book: 9781416989417
ISBN-13 Audio CD: 9780743599566
Source: Checked out both Book on CD and Book from the public library.

Hush, HushHush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Nora Gray just simply wants to finish high school and get into a good college. What she doesn’t plan on is Patch, the irritating yet attractive new biology partner she gets stuck with. As she gets closer and closer to Patch, Nora finds herself in several terrifying life and death situations. Is someone trying to kill her? Could it have something to do with Patch? What is Patch trying to hide? Find out in Hush, Hush.

This book was a hard one for me to get through. I went from moments where I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next, to other moments when I really didn’t care. In some ways there were too many things going on in this novel and I really had trouble focusing on it. Now that I finished however, I find myself itching to read Crescendo, just to see where the story may go.

The book is told from the point of view of the main character Nora Gray. Nora is a likeable character who is just your everyday girl. She has a lot more freedom than most teens since her mother works out of town most of the time. I felt that Nora was a well drawn realistic character that finds herself in a very unusual situation. Patch was a mystery throughout the book, and even remain so at the end, which will no doubt give us more to explore in the sequel.

Fitzpatrick’s descriptions are memorable and some of the scenes are heart stopping scary. I really enjoyed those moments when I was on the edge of my seat anxious to find out what is happening next. Unfortunately, there were lulls when I had trouble staying interested.

The audio version of this book is produced by Simon & Schuster Audio and narrated by Caitlin Greer. Greer does an excellent job with the voice of Nora and is a believable narrator. I would definitely recommend listening to the audio production.

Overall this is a book that I did enjoy, but not at the top of my list for best reads this year. I will definitely read the sequel though, because I believe the story has potential to be even better in the next installment. The sequel, Crescendo comes out October 19, 2010.


View all my reviews

Read Your Own Books August and Giveaway

In an effort to save money (yeah I've been spending a lot lately), and to get through my reading list for my committee by October, I am designating August READ YOUR OWN BOOKS AUGUST!  This means that I will not read any books that I purchase or check out from the library this month.  I can only read books that I currently have in my possession or that have already been pre-ordered.  (Yes, I made that exception specifically for Mockingjay.)

Here is what I am allowing myself to read:
  • Books I own.
  • Books I have currently borrowed from the library.
  • ARCs that I currently have or receive during the month will be allowed.
  • Audiobooks are exempt--I can still check out and listen to new audiobooks (I don't own many audio, and none that I haven't already listened to.)
  • Books that have been pre-ordered prior to August 1st, 2010. (So I can read Mockingjay when I get it!)







If you would like to join me in this attempt to read my own books and save a little money for August, all you have to do is sign Mr. Linky below. With your name and your post about reading your own books in August.  You can make your own rules and limitations, but the point is, lets save some money in August so we can spend freely on those great fall releases.  Feel free to grab the button, and lets do our best to support each other through August!




Lets sweeten the deal a bit, shall we....

Perhaps I should mention there is a prize! At the end of the month, I will choose a winner to receive one of the books I have listed in the picture above. If you choose one of the ARCs I will pre-order a copy of the book for you.

Rules:

  • Must Sign Mr. Linky AND fill out this FORM to enter.
  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Open Internationally anywhere Book Depository Ships. (http://www.bookdepository.com/)
  • URLs must be included if asked.
  • Contest begins August 2, 2010 at 12:00 AM EST.
  • Contest ends August 31, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST.
  • Winner will be announced September 1, 2010 and will be emailed.
  • Winner will be chosen by Random.org
  • Comments are welcome, but will not count as entries.  
Click on the picture for a clearer imagae of what is on the shelf. :)

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