Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Reading Challenges

I don't know about anyone else, but I love participating in reading challenges.  I find them to be a great way to help me decide which books to read, which is often difficult since my TBR list is massive.  I've tried to choose my challenges carefully, as I tend to be a bit overzealous and bite off more than I can chew.  Since today is New Year's Eve, the last day of 2010, it only seems fitting that I share with you my challenges for 2011.  Here it goes!

111 in "11
Jennie at Life is Short. Read Fast. created this challenge.  The name of the challenge is pretty self-explanatory.  Read 111 books in 2011.  This is going to be a huge challenge for me, since I only read 50 books in 2010.  Of course, I was pretty busy in 2010.  I was working full-time, getting my Master's degree in counseling, and planning a wedding/getting married.  With 2010 coming to an end, I have been married for 6 months and graduated with my Master's degree a few weeks ago.  That means the only major obligations I have for 2011 are working full-time as a counselor, keeping my husband happy, keeping my house from looking like a disaster area, and reading.  If you're interested in the 111 in '11 Challenge sign up here

2011 Debut Author Challenge
Kristi at The Story Siren is hosting the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.  The idea is to read at least 12 novels from debut Young Adult or Middle Grade authors.  12 is just the minimum, so you can read as many as your little heart desires.  Kristi has posted the challenge guidelines and a list of books to choose from on her site.  Check it out and sign up for the challenge!  So far, there are HUNDREDS of people signed up!


There's one more challenge I'm participating in, but I don't have a cute little picture for it.  It's the Winter Book Challenge from The Nest Book Club.  A list of tasks are created with each task given a point total.  Points range from 5 to 10 to 15 to 25.  It's a great challenge.  The first five people to win get to choose the 25 point tasks for the following challenge.  I've had my list of books for the challenge since the tasks were first posted.  I love these challenges and get super excited for them.  I haven't finished any of the ones I've participated in, but I have high hopes for this one.

In addition to these challenges, I'm hoping to read more of the books I already own.  My bookcase is exploding!  I'm also hoping to get more books from the library.  This might be hard, though, because my local library doesn't have much to offer.

Well, those are my reading challenges for 2011!  I don't know about you, but I'm excited for tomorrow.  It's the start of an awesome year of reading.  :-) 


The Vespertine

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Release Date: March 2011
Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
             NetGalley

In the summer of 1889, Amelia van den Broeke was sent to Baltimore to stay with relatives.  Her brother facilitated this stay in hopes that Amelia would find a husband.  Amelia makes friends, thanks to her welcoming cousin, and finds herself head over heels crazy for a Fourteenth, Nathaniel Witherspoon.  Unfortunately, he is below her, making a marriage impossible.

While searching for a husband, Amelia discovers she has a gift.  When the sun sets, she sees the future in the vespers.  Initially hesitant about revealing this gift, Amelia soon finds herself doing readings for callers. 

The summer had been enjoyable, that is until one of Amelia's more tragic predictions came true.  Amelia then found herself being blamed and facing a much different end to ther summer than expected.




My Thoughts:  I found this book to be a refreshing twist to the paranormal YA books I've read.  It's not your typical vampire or werewolf story like many paranormal stories are nowadays.  Don't get me wrong!  I love vampire and werewolf stories, but I also like to mix it up a bit.  I've never heard of anyone seeing the future in the vespers at sunset.  In fact, I don't think I've ever heard the words "vespertine" or "vesper."  (Clearly, I need to expand my vocabulary.)

One of my favorite things about the story was how Amelia's gift was handled.  I'm so used to reading books about paranormal gifts that must be kept secret.  If the public knew, that person would be shunned, experimented on, or maybe even worse.  Amelia, though, was embraced in a way.  The people in Baltimore were eager to meet with her and find out what the vespers held for them.  It wasn't until something bad happened that everyone had a much different outlook on Amelia's gift. 

Aside from the paranormal aspect of the story, I found it to be a great coming of age story.  That summer was a turning point.  It was the transition between childhood and womanhood, and Amelia was faced with the huge task of finding a husband.  She fell in love, and of course it was a difficult love.

I really liked The Vespertine.  I felt it blended historical fiction and paranormal gifts quite nicely.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, December 16, 2010

If I Am Missing or Dead

We've all heard the stories on the news of women who disappear or are killed by boyfriends or husbands.  It's often a shock.  What if you received a call that your sister was missing?  What if you then found out she left a hidden letter explaining who was responsible if she should go missing or be found dead?

This is exactly what happened to Janine Latus.  She tells her story in If I Am Missing or Dead.  When Janine's sister goes missing, she immediately suspects the boyfriend.  Upon searching her sister's house, a note is found, hinting that the boyfriend is responsible for whatever tragedy has occurred.

When I picked up this book, I expected the whole book to be the story of Janine's sister's disappearance, discovery, and fight for justice.  Instead, I found that most of the book was about Janine's life.  She talked of her own experiences and relationships.

While this wasn't what I was expecting, I still enjoyed the story she told.  Both Janine and her sister suffered in abusive relationships.  They would confide in each other but only to a certain point.  They would encourage each other to leave the abusive relationships while staying with their own abusers.

I have always been interested in learning why people behave certain ways and how their experiences and families have shaped them.  Janine spent most of the book talking about those events in her life that have shaped the woman she has become.  She writes about the messages she received from others, how she internalized them, and how she then reacted to these messages.

If I Am Missing or Dead is a revealing memoir about abusive relationships and the struggles that come with them.  Many people ask, "Why doesn't she just leave?"  Whether a relationship is physically, verbally, or emotionally abusive, there is damage being done.  There's also feelings of confusion, helplessness, and fear.  Janine demonstrated this nicely.  There were times when she wanted to leave her abusive husband, but then she would think of his good qualities and the good times they had shared.  She wanted him to love her and want her and feared that she would be alone if she left him.  She questioned how she would care for herself and her daughter if she left him, since he was the breadwinner.  Abusive relationships are complex, and Janine's book shows that.

So this book wasn't what I originally thought it would be.  It turned out a lot different.  I was expecting the story of Janine's sister, not the story of Janine.  Despite this difference, I still really liked this book.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Fifth Child

A relative gave me a box of books a few weeks ago, and The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing was included.  I had never heard of it before, but the synopsis sounded interesting.

From Goodreads:

The married couple in this novel pull off a remarkable achievement: They purchase a three-story house with oodles of bedrooms, and, on a middle-class income, in the '70s, fill it to the brim with happy children and visiting relatives. Their holiday gatherings are sumptuous celebrations of life and togetherness. And then the fifth child arrives. He's just a child--he's not supernatural. But is he really human?

My Thoughts:  I found this book to be interesting.  I couldn't wait to read about the fifth child and find out more about him.  That being said, I found the main characters, Harriet and David, to be really annoying.  They had this dream of having a ton of kids.  They both wanted a big family.  Unfortunately, they hadn't considered how much it would cost to have a big family.  David's father was wealthy, and he paid for most of their needs.  This was something that bothered me.  Harriet and David did very little thinking or planning when it came to starting a family.  Don't get me wrong.  I think big families can be great but only if there is sufficient financial stability.

Another thing that annoyed me was Harriet's feeling that everyone thought she was a criminal because she wanted a big family.  I really didn't like that the author chose the word "criminal."  This is just my opinion.  I feel there could have been a different way of describing how Harriet felt people thought of her.  It didn't seem to fit with the way the other relatives treated Harriet and David's stance on family size.

Anyways, back to the fifth child.  I was anticipating more about what the child was or what led to his strange behaviors and characterisitics.  I didn't get this.  The story continued throughout part of fifth child's childhood but there was very little discussion about what exactly was wrong with him.  He made the family's life difficult, and they were forced to try different ways of coping.

I thought the concept behind this book was interesting, but I would've liked to see more exploration into what caused the fifth child's problem behaviors.  That could just be the psych major in me, though.  :-)

Rating: 3/5 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hex Hall

I'm one of those people who believes things happen for a reason.  Whether it's a major event or some minor everyday task, I think it all happens for a reason.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins had been sitting in my bookcase for months.  I would pick it up, flip to the first page, close the book, and put it back on my shelf.  I just had this feeling like the time wasn't right.

Last month, I finally picked it up and read it.  I was immediately sucked in and found myself flying through the book.  For those of you not familiar with Hex Hall, here's a little synopsis from Goodreads:

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.



By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.


As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

My Thoughts:  Let me start by saying I really liked this book.  The story was interesting.  I didn't find any parts of the plot to be slow or boring, which is great.  There are some books that have slow parts, and it becomes difficult to finish them.  This plot seemed to always be moving along.

I really liked Sophie.  I felt I could easily relate to her.  She was lonely, felt like an outcast, didn't have the greatest opinion about herself, and would rather do what makes her happy than do what the "in" crowd wants.  This sounds just like me.  There was a specific part in the book where Sophie mentioned using magic to try to straighten her hair because it was so out of control.  That sounds like something I would do if I were a witch. 

If you take away the paranormal aspect of the story, I think Sophie sounds like many teenagers.  I also think she'd be a great role model.  She speaks her mind, stands up for her friends, and doesn't give in to the pressures of others for the sake of fitting in. 

So as I mentioned earlier, I feel things happen for a reason.  What does that have to do with Hex Hall?  Well, I kept picking up and putting down this book.  Here's my thoughts on why I did that.  It turns out the sequel to Hex Hall, Demonglass, doesn't come out until March 2011 (I think).  Since I liked Hex Hall so much, I'm itching to read Demonglass and find out what happens next.  If I had read Hex Hall months ago, I would've had that much longer to wait for Demonglass.  Since I waited longer, I now don't have quite as long to wait for its release.  That might sound silly, but oh well.  :-)

Rating: 4/5

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dreamland

A friend from my online book club recommended Dreamland by Sarah Dessen to me AND sent me her copy.  I had asked for some recommendations for books about teen dating violence, and this was one.

From Goodreads:

Strange, sleepy Rogerson, with his long brown dreads and brilliant green eyes, had seemed to Caitlin to be an open door. With him she could be anybody, not just the second-rate shadow of her older sister, Cass. But now she is drowning in the vacuum Cass left behind when she turned her back on her family's expectations by running off with a boyfriend. Caitlin wanders in a dream land of drugs and a nightmare of Rogerson's sudden fists, lost in her search for herself.


Why do so many girls allow themselves to get into abusive relationships--and what keeps them there? In this riveting novel, Sarah Dessen searches for understanding and answers. Caught in a trap that is baited with love and need, Caitlin must frantically manage her every action to avoid being hit by the hands that once seemed so gentle. All around her are women who care--best friends, mother, sister, mentor--but shame keeps her from confiding in any of them, especially Cass, her brilliant older sister, whose own flight from home had seemed to point the way.

Dessen has here created a subtle and compelling work of literature that goes far beyond the teen problem novel in a story rich with symbolism, dark scenes of paralyzing dread, quirky and memorable characters, and gleams of humor. With the consummate skill and psychological depth that brought her praise for Keeping the Moon, she explores the search for self-identity, the warmth of feminine friendships, and the destructive ways our society sets up young women for love gone wrong. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell

My Thoughts:  I really liked this book.  Susie, the person who recommended it, told me it didn't take her long to get through it.  The same happened to me.  I couldn't put the book down. 

Having worked with women who have been in abusive relationships, I have some firsthand knowledge of how those relationships affect them and how those perpetrators can really get under their skin.  I found Dessen's telling of Caitlin's story to be very realistic.  The writing conveyed Caitlin's feelings, confusion, and struggles.  I saw some of the standard red flags that can be found in abusive relationships.

I think Dreamland should be read by all young women.  There are so many girls out there who fall prey to guys like Rogerson and don't know what to do.  It's nice to read a book about a delicate subject and find that it's realistic, accurate, and attention grabbing.  I've already recommended it to others.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mini-Reviews

I've been slacking on posting reviews lately, so I've decided to do a post with some mini-reviews.  There are quite a few books that I've finished lately, and I'd like to share a bit about my thoughts on each.

I read Bag of Bones by Stephen King back in October.  It was a book picked for the October read with my online book club.  I've read a few Stephen King books before, so I was excited to read another one.  I had heard some people talk about how scared they were reading this book, but I didn't find it scary at all.  If I had to think of one word to describe Bag of Bones, it would be "intriguing."  King kept me thinking the entire time, trying to figure out what was going on.

Rating: 4/5









I read The Girl in the Green Sweater in November while on a Holocaust kick.  I had found some books about the Holocaust that looked interesting and this was one of them.  This is the story of a girl who lived with her family in the sewers under their city for a little over a year.  They were a Jewish family and were hiding from the Nazis.  This story was amazing.  Krystyna was so young when her family was forced into hiding.  I was blown away by the family's strength and resiliency.  I can't imagine experiencing what they went through.

Rating: 4/5









Like I said, I was on a Holocaust kick.  I loved this book!  I developed an attachment to the main character, which led to some interesting responses to the end of the book.  This is the story of a young boy whose father is an important part of Hitler's SS.  The boy's family is moved to a different location because of his father's job.  It is here that the boy comes face to face with what his father actually does at work.  Great book!  Read it!

Rating: 5/5





I'll finish up this post with yet another Holocaust book.  This one is a bit different, though.  This is the story of a young Polish woman who experienced the terrors of the Nazis because of her nationality.  In addition to dealing with her own struggles every day, she also risked her life to hide Jews.  Irene's story is sad, inspiring, and happy at times.  Reading it made me feel very grateful for my own life and made me think of all the things I take for granted every day.

Rating: 5/5


2011 Debut Author Challenge

With grad school coming to an end this week, I've been thinking of ways to spice up my reading habits.  I haven't participated in many reading challenges.  The main one I usually take part in is the seasonal book challenge from my online book club.  When I found this challenge, though, I knew it would be perfect!

So, what is the 2011 Debut Author Challenge?

The Story Siren created this challenge asking participants to read at least 12 novels from Young Adult or Middle Grade authors who haven't released a YA or MG book before.  You can read more than 12 books, but 12 is the minimum. 

I've made a list of books that I plan on reading.  Warning: My list will probably grow.  :-)

Unearthly - Cynthia Hand (January)
Entangled - Cat Clarke (January)
Angelfire - Courtney Allison Moulton (February)
The Iron Witch - Karen Mahoney (February)
A Touch Mortal - Leah Clifford (February)
Falling Under - Gwen Hayes (March)
Wither - Lauren DeStefano (March)
Entwined - Heather Dixon (March)
Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys (March)
Blood Magic - Tessa Gratton (April)
Starcrossed - Josephine Angelini (May)
Lost Voices - Sarah Porter (July)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dry

Let me start off by saying I love anything written by Augusten Burroughs. What do I love even more? Anything read by Augusten Burroughs. The first book of his I read was Running with Scissors. I know some people were a bit disturbed by some of the things that he wrote about, but I wasn't. I admired him for sharing stories about his childhood and past.


One day, I found Magical Thinking on audiobook at a local bookstore. I snatched it up and immediately began listening to it. After that, I decided I only wanted to listen to his books. Well, only if he's reading them.

I have a membership to Simply Audiobooks and requested Dry from them. It fit for a challenge in my Fall Book Challenge and was on my TBR list.

Here's a bit about Dry (Goodreads):

You may not know it, but you've met Augusten Burroughs. You've seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had to drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls, and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn't really a request) of his employers, Augusten landed in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey, Jr., are immediately dashed by the grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click, and that's when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life—and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that's as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is real. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a higher power.


I really enjoyed this book. Burroughs revealed a lot about himself. He shared his journey through rehab and recovery. He shared his disastrous relationships. He shared his losses. His story is definitely informative and enlightening for those of us who have not experienced an addiction. One of my favorite parts of the book was when Burroughs was in rehab and had to write out how much he typically drank. This seemed to be an "aha" moment for him. I found myself in awe that a person could drink that much and still function to some degree.

This is definitely a book that everyone should read. I might buy it in print format just to have and possibly read again.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Guess Who's Back!

So, I think it's obvious that I've been slacking on my blog. I'm sorry. Life has been really busy, but there's good news. I graduate from grad school in December! This means I'll have more time to read AND blog! I'm making some changes to how I run things around here.


First off, I'm going to be changing how I post reviews. I like having a standard format, but I'd like my reviews to be more free flowing and expressive. I'd also like to come up with a cute rating system, but I'm significantly challenged when it comes to doing most things on the computer.

I'm hoping to post almost every day. The Fall Book Challenge for my online book club will finish up in December, but the Winter Book Challenge will start up. I'll be participating in that and will post an update of my progress every week. This year I was hoping to read 75 books. When that started to look a bit daunting, I dropped the goal to 50 books. I'm pretty close. Next year, I think I'm going to strive for 100 books. I think it's feasible. I'll be done with school, so I'll have my evenings and weekends free.

School will wrap up December 17. The blog might not pick up until closer to the new year because of the holidays, but it will pick up. I've got a handful of books that need reviews written and a buttload of other books that need read. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I am Neurotic

My online book club has seasonal book challenges.  For the Fall Book Challenge, one of the tasks was the read a book with an orange or green cover.  I couldn't think of any books meeting this criteria off the top of my head.  I decided to browse through the Barnes & Noble ebooks to look for a book that fit.  When I stumbled upon this book, I am Neurotic (and so are you), I couldn't resist. 

Lianna Kong was doing something everyone does when she realized something.  While making a routine trip to the bathroom at work, she realized she cannot pee with her co-worker in there using the bathroom at the same time.  Kong started iamneurotic and that is how this book came about.  It's a collection of anonymous confessions.  People have revealed their neurotic behaviors.  Some are sad.  Some are strange.  Some are funny.

I liked this book.  It was a quick and easy read.  As a counselor, I've heard of most of the neurotic behaviors mentioned in this book.  Some of the behaviors seemed rather normal, but the significance the poster placed on them made them abnormal.  I also found myself thinking of things I do that could be considered neurotic.

Here is an example of my own:

I have a thing with locked doors.  Every time I come into my house, I lock the door.  It could be the middle of the day, and I lock the door.  My husband could be home with me, and I lock the door.  He thinks I'm nuts.

If you're looking for a book that is fast and funny in some places, this could be it. 

Rating: 2/5 

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's NaNoWriMo time!

Okay, so who else is super excited about NaNoWriMo this year?  I am!  I tried doing it last year but got way too busy with schoolwork.  I'm hoping this year will be different.  It may be difficult, but I'm really committed to getting my 50k words.

For those who aren't familiar with NaNoWriMo, it's a writing challenge done every year in November.  The idea is to write 50,000 words throughout the month.  Many people use this as a way to jumpstart a book they've been wanting to write.  Many people have actually published stories started from Nano.

I've had several story ideas floating around in my head for awhile.  It was kind of hard to decide which one to use, but it finally came to me.  I know some people spend a lot of time outlining, researching, and planning their Nano story, but I didn't.  One, I have no idea where to even start.  I've tried to outline, but I get really overwhelmed in trying to sort out the details.  Writing spontaneously seems to work better for me.  Now, even though I haven't done any prep work, I still have the story figured out.  I've played it through in my head over and over again.  When I'm driving to school or waiting for a commerical to end, I think about the story from start to finish and imagine it playing out like a movie. 

I don't want to give away too much, but I will tell you a little bit about my story.  As of right now, I'm thinking my story will be a YA.  The main issue will be about domestic violence.  That's all I can say.  :-) 

Good luck everyone!  I'll try to check in periodically with my progress.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Left to Tell

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust is the true story of Immaculee Ilibagiza's survival through the Rwandan genocide.  For those who may not be familiar with it, the Rwandan genocide took place in 1994 in the African country of Rwanda.  The murder spree inflicted by the Hutus onto the Tutsis lasted 3 months and left almost a million dead.  Immaculee found herself, as a Tutsi, one of the hunted. 

Like many others, Immaculee survived by finding a hiding place.  For 91 days, she hid in a tiny bathroom with seven other women.  By the time it was safe to come out of hiding, Immaculee's life was changed forever.  She had to start over from scratch despite all of the hard work she had done.  What helped Immaculee through this nightmare was her faith in God.  She spent most of her time in hiding praying and talking with God. 
I've read a few books by survivors of the Rwandan genocide.  They're touching, heartbreaking, and enlightening.  This book was no different.  The first thing that struck me was how different my world is compared to Immaculee's.  As she was growing up, it was not assumed that everyone went to high school.  Families had to pay tuition or students had to win scholarships.  As I was growing up, there was never any question as to whether or not I would go to  high school.  It was a given. 

Because Immaculee was a Tutsi, she was frequently discriminated against.  People expected the worst from her, but she always excelled.  This is something I've never experienced.  I've never been discriminated against because of my looks, my ethnic background, or my family's background. 

Immaculee's story is sad but inspiring.  I can't imagine going through the things she experienced.  I can't imagine facing the losses she has felt.  Yet, through it all, she has persevered.  She has survived physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Her story is one that clearly demonstrates how people can overcome the most devastating of life's surprises.

I loved this book.  Immaculee's story was amazing.  I would recommend this book to everyone.  Actually, I would recommend that everyone read up on the Rwandan genocide itself.  It makes me sad and sick to my stomach to think that people could be so cruel.  I cannot understand how people can just set out to kill an entire group of people based on stereotypes they've been fed through the years.  Genocide is not a rare occasion.  We're all familiar with the Jewis Holocaust.  Recently, we're heard about the genocide in Darfur.  Many people in the U.S. might argue that it could never happen here.  I would have to disagree, though.  Despite all of the advances we have made through the years, hate still runs deep in certain parts of the country.  That's all it takes to start a genocide; hate.

Rating: 5/5


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Reader

The Reader


Cover: I thought the cover was very pretty. I liked the bundle of flowers on top of the book. It's not until I got into the second half of the book that I began to understand the importance of reading.

Characters: Michael is 15 when he meets Hanna, who is much older. Michael seems to be a responsible, intelligent boy. The book spans many years of his life and shows a transformation in him. I felt that Michael changed from a loving young man into a hardened grown man. He had difficulty maintaining relationships after his first real love. Hanna is very secretive. She does not talk much about her past. Her moods change quickly at times, and she can be difficult for Michael to understand.

Writing: I felt the writing was very simple. Any descriptions described by the author were brief. The writing seemed to make the book go by quickly. Years seemed to be condensed into chapters. I enjoyed how the author conveyed Michael's thoughts and feelings. He showed how over the years, Michael began to learn more about himself and how his relationship with Hanna had affected him.

Plot: Michael meets Hanna by chance one day. He becomes sick in the street, and she helps him to clean up. They then begin a relationship that carries on for a period of time. Eventually, the relationship ends, and Michael finds himself moving on. Later down the road, Michael finds himself face to face with Hanna again and learning things about her that he never expected.

Overall: 2/5 This book was not as good as I was expecting it to be. It felt rushed. I felt like the author was given a specific number of pages that he could not exceed. I wish some things had been expended on, like how Michael was changed after his relationship with Hanna. There were also some things at the end that I would've liked to read more about.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Last Lecture

I've had Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture sitting pretty on my bookshelf for awhile.  I'm from the Pittsburgh area, so I heard all about Pausch's famous Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University.  After hearing the news report on it, I immediately looked up the video online.  Watching the video made me super eager to read the book.  Unfortunately, it took me awhile to get around to it. 
Cover:  I love the cover.  The little ribbon on the front makes me think of a little present.  After reading the book, it was clear that it was a gift.  It's a gift for his children.

Characters:  Randy Pausch was an amazing man.  His courage and strength were so very admirable.  It was wonderful to see him embrace his remaining time.  He had such valuable advice.

Writing:  I liked the writing style of this book.  It was simple and easy to read.  The stories got the point across without too much fluff. 

Plot:  The idea of this book was to leave behind the things Pausch couldn't tell his children as they grew up.  His stories were moving, and I really liked the way he thought of some things.  For example, he felt that complaining was useless.  Instead of complaining, one should just work harder.  I've been trying to incorporate this into my own life.  It makes sense.  Complaining wastes time.

Overall: 4/5  I really liked this book.  It was such a touching piece of work to read.  I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to know I wouldn't be around for my children's future. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fourth Comings

Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty

Cover: I don't really have any feelings or opinions on the cover.


Characters: Jessica Darling is back in the fourth book of the Jessica Darling series. She's all grown up and facing new challenges. I've always found Jessica to be independent until it comes to Marcus Flutie. Marcus sucks her in and gets under her skin. This time around, though, Jessica was questioning her relationship with Marcus. She was struggling with the idea of growing up and having to make tough decisions. I think this shows the growth she has experienced. Marcus is kind of like a drug. He's just so good and irresistible. It's hard to describe him. I feel like Marcus just needs to be experienced for a person to really understand him. So, read the first 3 books people!

Writing: I love that McCafferty wrote these books like a diary. I think it gives the story a much more personal feel. Diaries are where people spill their guts. It's where they get lost in thought and find themselves rambling. Jessica is still sarcastic and witty in her writings, and her re-telling of stories is still just as great. This time, though, Jessica is writing about deep topics, like love and jobs. It's not longer the superficial stuff that made up her high school journals.

Plot: In Fourth Comings, Jessica finds herself thinking it would be best to break up with Marcus. She can't see them working out. When she tries to break up with him, he proposes (in typical Marcus fashion). Jessica then spends a week thinking about whether or not she will accept his proposal. Throughout that week, she chronicles her days in a notebook, sharing her thoughts and what she is discovering about herself. This notebook will then be given to Marcus. Jessica finds herself facing job interviews, friends getting married, friends having babies, realizing her parents are human too (not just Mom and Dad), and other things most 20-somethings go through.

Overall: 3/5 I really like the Jessica Darling series. That being said, I gave this book a 3/5. I didn't like it as much as the first three. The grown up Jessica just doesn't appeal to me like the teenage Jessica. I am eager, though, to find out what happens in the last book.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Carved in Bone

Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass


Cover: I wasn't very impressed with the cover. It shows a woodsy scene, which ties into the story nicely.

Characters: Dr. Bill Brockton is the main character. He's a forensic anthropologist who teaches at the University of Tennesee and handles the research experiments at The Body Farm. Bill is very into his work. He uses it as an escape from the loss he has suffered. He also uses it as an excuse to not move forward. Bill seems like a genuinely great guy, though. He has devoted his life to working with the dead in an effort to give them one last chance to tell a story. Bill is definitely not one to give up on cases either. Despite warnings and impending danger, Bill pressed on until he found the answers he had been searching for.

Writing: I thought the writing was done well. Despite forensic anthropology being a very scientific subject, I never felt like the words were too "big" or too scientific for me to understand what was going on. I liked that the authors (yes, there were 2) did a great job at explaining their findings. In addition to using a forensic anthropologist's jargon, the authors also described in great detail what that particular bone may look like or what happens when a person experiences a certain type of injury. I felt like I learned a lot because of this. I also felt like the story was written in a suitable pace. There was just enough excitement when you needed it, to keep the story going. There were a few side stories but not so many that my attention was drawn away.

Plot: I found this story to be very interesting. Dr. Brockton is called in by a local sheriff to help with a case. A body had been found, but there were very few ideas as to who it could be. After determining the person had been murdered, Bill then begins helping with the investigation. This takes him into a small town inhabited by people who stick by their kin. They're the types that will do ANYTHING to protect their families. It's a town where everyone has secrets despite everyone knowing everything about each other. A twist in the identification of the body leads to resistance from the sheriff. Bill presses on and eventually learns the truth behind the murder and the sheriff's shady behaviors. I thought there were quite a few twists and developments in the case. They really kept me guessing as to who was the killer and why they did it.

Overall:  4/5  I really liked this book.  I already have the second book in the series and can't wait to read the others.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Speak Loudly!

I can't even begin to describe the disgust I'm feeling after reading about the man who wants to ban Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak.  I haven't read the book, but I'm aware of the story.  I'm aware that it's about a young girl who was sexually assaulted. 

Wesley Scroggins feels that Speak should be banned from schools.  He thinks the book is "filthy" and "immoral" and called it "soft pornography" because of the rape in the book.

I'm disgusted that anyone would compare RAPE to PORNOGRAPHY.  Rape and pornography are two different things.  Rape is a CRIME that is about power and control, in which sex is used as the tool. 

Scroggins is concerned about young people reading this book containing a rape scene.  I think he should wake up.  Many of those children he's concerned about have probably already been sexually assaulted in some way.  I suggest he check out RAINN and get educated on the horrific stats that indicate just how prevalent sexual assault is.  Shielding children/teenagers from this just hurts them.  It makes bringing awareness about sexual violence even more difficult. 

As a sexual assault counselor, I'm all too familiar of the dynamics of sexual violence.  I'm also, unfortunately, aware of how people are more likely to turn the other cheek and pretend it doesn't exist.  IGNORING IT DOESN'T MAKE IT STOP!  Ignoring it allows it to continue.  Ignoring it kicks the victims when they're down.

I think it's wonderful to have a book written from the perspective of a sexual assault victim, especially for young people.  Many young people are too afraid to talk about what happened to them.  Reading about another person's experience may give them the courage to talk about their own.  Banning books like this just keeps these young people silent, leaving them to be eaten alive by their secrets.  Banning books like this only conveys the message that victims should "keep quiet."  "Rape is filthy and immoral.  Don't talk about it."

Instead of wasting his energy trying to ban a book about sexual assault that may help victims, I suggest Wesley Scroggins use his energy to fight against sexual violence.  Maybe he should try "banning" sexual assault instead of books about sexual assault. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Summer Book Club Challenge

Each season, my online book club The Nest Book Club holds a reading challenge. Challenge tasks are designated at 5, 10, 15, or 25 points. The idea is to read a book meeting each task and rack up the points. The first 5 people to finish the challenge get to pick the 25 point tasks for the next challenge. I've participated in a few but have never finished. Actually, I'm not sure I will ever finish a challenge. I basically use the challenges as a way to pick books to read. Based on the tasks, I pick books from my shelves at home. It's been a great way to finally read books that I've owned for ages. The Summer Book Challenge (SuBC) will be over September 30. The Fall Book Challenge (FBC) starts October 1. I haven't gotten very far, but here's what I've done so far.


5 Point Tasks

Book set in a place you never want to visit: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Book with one word title: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Dystopian/Utopian: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Book you haven't read yet by a favorite author: Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult


10 Point Tasks

Book where the title or author's name starts with "J," "A," or "S": Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster

Memoir, Biography, or Autobiography: Me of Little Faith by Lewis Black


15 Point Tasks

Book with a ghost or character with psychic powers: Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison

Read a book and watch the movie/TV show: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Book about the paranormal: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Book you keep looking at and putting down: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong


25 Point Tasks

Read a book and contact the author: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Start a series you haven't read yet: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs



So far I have 150 points out of 425. I still have a few more books that I'll probably finish before the end of the month.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Blogger Hop: Sept. 17-20, 2010

The Book Blogger Hop is a great weekly meme hosted over at Crazy for Books.  Each week, book bloggers post about the hop and add their sites to a list of links.  This list is then used by other book bloggers as a tool to check out new fellow bloggers.  Along with the general hop info, Jennifer also posts a question for everyone to answer in their hop post.  Instead of a question this week, though, she's asking that everyone share a fellow book blogger that they enjoy in honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

Here are a few book blogs that I like:

Me, My Book and the Couch

The Story Siren
 

What I'm Reading

Carved in Bone: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass


So far, I'm really enjoying this book. It's about a forensic anthropologist helping with the investigation of a murdered woman. The investigation takes him into a small, rural town that is inhabited by people who will do whatever they have to in order to defend themselves and their kin. I'm fascinated by the field of forensic anthropology. I've found that this book isn't so technical that I can't understand it, but it still has enough science to make me feel like I'm learning something. I'm also eager to find out what happened to this woman.








The Migraine Brain by Carolyn Bernstein and Elaine McArdle


This is a book that I randomly picked up in Walgreen's one day. I've suffered from chronic miraines for a little over 9 years. It took me forever to finally find the right combination of medications to curb my painful migraine episodes. As a newlywed, I spoke to my neurologist about how my medications will play into trying to have a baby when my husband and I are ready. I will still be able to take my magnesium supplement but will have to stop my other medication. This makes me nervous. I'm not sure I'll be able to manage being off my medication and having the migraines like before. Finding this book, though, has helped with my determination to find ways to manage my migraines without medications. I'm only 24, and I really don't want to spend the rest of my life popping pills every day to keep from feeling like someone has a jackhammer in my head. I'm not very far into the book, but it has already given me some valuable informatio and useful suggestions. In fact, I'm starting my headache diary again today. I kept one for awhile until I got my migraines under control. Then I stopped. I figured it would be a good idea to track them again, learning as much as I can about my migraine brain.

What are you reading?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Me of Little Faith

I love Lewis Black, so finding this audiobook, Me of Little Faith, was like hitting the jackpot.  What I found even more interesting was that the book was about religion.  I just couldn't imagine Lewis Black having a book about religion.

Cover:  The cover is quite simple, just like Lewis Black. 

Characters:  Lewis Black is the main character.  This was exciting enough for me.  He's hilarious and outspoken.  He talks about others that he encounters, but I didn't think he talked about anyone enough for them to really stand out.  I feel as if Lewis is known for his stand up routines.  He's known for saying the things people think but are too afraid to say.  This is one reason I love him.  I have the same tendency.  The stories he tells in this book reveal a different side to him.  He's not just the smartass that people love or hate.  He's an extremely fascinating man. 

Writing:  I listened to the audiobook, so it made the writing seem more like a conversation.  Lewis Black read the book, which only enhanced this feeling. 

Plot: Throughout the book, Lewis told stories of his experiences with various religions.  Lewis Black was raised Jewish, although his family did not really practice the religion.  He has his own personal beliefs but does not believe in organized religion.  He does not, however, think any particular religion is better than any others.  Lewis respects everyone's right to have their own beliefs.  I found his experiences to be educational in some ways, considering I haven't had much contact with people of varying religions.

Overall:  3/5  I enjoyed this book.  I found it to be funny, interesting, and comforting.  My own lack of religious beliefs often makes me feel wrong.  People around me seem to think badly of me because of it, but Lewis Black's just reinforced for me that my beliefs are my own.  No matter what anyone else thinks of them.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Summoning

I've had The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong on my bookshelf for awhile.  I would pick it up, think it was a little too thick for what I was in the mood for, and put it back down.  One day, I was sorting through my "To Be Read" list on Goodreads and this book was listed first.  I decided to give it a shot, and I'm really glad I did.   

Cover:  There's something intriguing about how the cover cuts off the top part of the girl's face.  The cover made me think the red pendant would be a majorly significant part of the story, but I found that it wasn't played up as much.

Characters: The main characters of The Summoning are Chloe, Derek, Simon, Rae, and Tori. There are some other characters who make frequent appearances, but I didn't think they were as important. Chloe suddenly finds that she has some abilities that most other people don't have. Chloe's got the typical teenage struggle. You know, finding yourself, dealing with peer pressure, and trying to fit in. On top of that, though, is this new realization that she's different...in a big way. Chloe has a good head on her shoulders. I liked that she was intelligent, had plans for her future, and wasn't boy crazy. That was refreshing for me. I've read so many books with teen girls who were absolutely out of their gourds over boys. I have trouble identifying with those girls, because boys were never my main concern. Good grades, getting into college, and getting a good job were always at the top of my list.


Derek and Simon are mysterious brothers who ended up in the facility after their father disappeared. Without giving away too much, I'll just say that they know more about Chloe's special abilities than she does. Rae and Tori are two girls that were already at the house when Chloe joined. Rae befriends Chloe, but Tori seems to make it her own personal mission to make Chloe's life hell.

Writing: The writing was simple but descriptive enough to suck me into the story. I felt the author had good timing with certain events in the story and knew exactly where to end chapters. That's a big thing that can determine whether I like a book or not. I love when I finish a chapter and just CAN'T STOP. I MUST read the next chapter. This was one of those books for me.

Plot: The storyline in this book seemed different from the other books I had been reading. There was the paranormal aspect (which I've been reading a lot of lately), but it seemed to have been incorporated in a different way. Chloe finds herself with a strange new ability and discovers others who are kind of like her. While most people don't believe in the things Chloe and her friends can do, there are others who do believe, want to learn more, and have cruel intentions. As I sit here writing this about the plot, I'm reminded that I have no idea how Chloe's story ends. The author left the book with a real cliffhanger. Guess I'll have to read the second book. ;-)

Overall: 4/5 I really liked this book. I never lost interest in it and really liked the way it ended. It was a true cliffhanger ending, the kind that I think all books in a series should have.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Shadow Bound

I was browsing the free books on my Nook one day and found Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison.  I thought I had seen it mentioned on a blog or someone's Twitter feed and decided to try it out.  It's the first book in Kellison's Shadow series.  I love reading books that make up a series, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.

Cover:  The cover didn't do much for me.  That's okay, though, because since it was an ebook I hardly ever saw the cover.

Characters:  Talia knows she is unique and different.  She doesn't necessarily know what she is, but she knows she's not entirely human.  She's smart and dedicated but has come to accept that her uniqueness will keep her from ever getting close to anyone.  Adam has devoted his life to stopping the wraiths.  He knows a war is on the horizon, and he has taken it upon himself to fight it.  He has his own personal demons to fight and finds an ally in Talia. 

I really enjoyed these characters.  I felt the author gave them depth and personality but also showed personal growth in them throughout the book.

Writing:  I liked the way the author wrote the book.  I didn't find it too confusing.  The POV alternated between Adam's and Talia's.  I've said numerous times that I enjoy when POV alternates, and I'll say it again.  I really like hearing from two different people and seeing how they are perceiving a certain situation.

Plot:  I enjoy reading paranormal books, but sometimes the plot just gets repeated.  This plot was different.  New types of paranormal beings were introduced, which was refreshing.  There was suspense, action, and sexual tension, which in my opinion, make a good book.

Overall: 4/5  I really liked this book.  I had trouble putting it down and found myself wanting to read just one more chapter.  I've been on a roll lately.  The last few books I've read have given me this feeling.  I'm excited to read the next book in this series to find out what happens next.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Deja Dead

I've been wanting to read the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs since I read a blog post about it a few months ago (Sorry, I can't remember which blog!).  I'm a huge fan of the show, Bones, and figured the books would be pretty good, too.  I definitely didn't expect the show and books to be identical, but I was thinking the character of Tempe Brennan would be the same.  Wrong.  Anywho, I still really liked the first book, Deja Dead.

Cover:  The cover is neat.  Once I started getting into the story, I began to understand the meaning behind the map and pins.  Read the book to find out! ;-)

Characters:  In the books, Tempe is a middle aged anthropologist living and working in Canada.  She's divorced and has a daughter in college.  Tempe is good at what she does and works with local law enforcement to solve cases.  She is determined, intelligent, and resourceful.  What makes her great at her job is her ability to think outside the box and come at a problem from different angles.  She works closely with a few police officers, Ryan and Claudel.  Ryan is kind to tempe and supports her ideas.  I think she might have a little crush on him, too.  Claudel, on the other hand, is a jerk.  He dismisses Tempe like she's some kind of dummy.

Writing:  Reichs uses a lot of scientific and medical terminology.  At times, I thought she used it too much.  I would get confused in some parts and have to just skim until I could find a part that I understood again.  I thought Reichs did a good job at knowing where to end a chapter.  Most of her chapters ended and left me wanting to know what was coming. 

Plot:  I really liked the plot of this story.  The concept was that Tempe found some human remains, which led her to believe that there was a serial killer on the loose.  She then fights to convince local law enforcement that she is right and get them on board to find this guy.  There are quite a few twists and turns.  Just when I thought the bad guy had been caught, BAM!  Something else happened.

Overall: 4/5  I really liked this book.  The beginning was a little slow for me, but the story eventually picked up and caught my interest.  I'm definitely going to read more books in this series.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fallen

I have been wanting to read Fallen by Lauren Kate from the first time I saw the cover.  Before I had even read what the book was about, my mind was made up.  I chose to order the book on my Nook, which kind of jipped me from having my hot little hands on that gorgeous cover.  That's okay, though, because the content more than made up for that.

Cover: GORGEOUS!  That's all I can say. 

Characters: The characters in this book were rather intriguing. The fact that they all had some sort of troubled past and dark side made them really fascinating to me. It could also be because I work with troubled adolescents. Luce sucked me in right away. I felt for her. She was in a strange, frightening place and felt as if she was being doubted and attacked. She even felt like her own parents were afraid of her. Luce seemed very relatable. She had a secret that she didn't want to share with anyone and felt like she had a past far worse than any of the other students at her new school. Then there was Daniel. Oh, if only Daniel were real. ::swoon:: He definitely had that "bad boy" image that good girls like. He's mysterious and brooding. I won't say too much about him. He's one of those characters that you just must read about to get to know. Cam's charm and good looks seemed too good to be true. I was wary of him from the beginning.

Writing: Lauren Kate did a fantastic job writing this book. She knew exactly how much to put into each chapter and just where to end each chapter. It seemed as if I'd finish a chapter and think, "Just one more! I have to read one more!" The writing was easy to follow but still included enough detail for me to create the world of Fallen in my head. I liked how she was able to convey the characters' emotions through descriptions of their body language and dialogue. That was part of what drew me into the book so deeply.

Plot: I thought the plot was wonderful. It was refreshing after reading so many books about vampires. While there were some paranormal (I guess you'd call it that) aspects to the book, the plot didn't rely on it too heavily. In my opinion, the real paranormal stuff didn't come until later in the book. The rest of the story seemed to do just what the characters in the book did; fit in with the normal world.

Overall:  5/5  I absolutely loved this book!  I NEEDS the next one!  The story completely sucked me in.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is a book that I've been wanting to read.  I picked it up one day while shopping at Books-A-Million, but it sat on my bookshelf for quite some time.  I enjoyed the book but wasn't blown away by it. 

Cover:  The cover makes me think in two different ways.  Sometimes, looking at it makes me feel as if I'm on the Consecrated side looking into the village.  At other times, I feel like I'm in the village looking out at the consecrated.  This simple image can be interpreted differently.

Characters:  The main characters of the book are Mary, Travis, Harry, Cass, Jed, and a young boy.  Mary is a young woman who longs for something other than life in the village.  She is sure that something exists beyond The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Jed is Mary's brother, but he doesn't share her sentiments on life and The Forest.  Travis, Harry, Cass, and the young boy share Mary's journey throughout the book as she searches for a different kind of life.  These characters are up against the Consecrated, zombie-like beings who only know the urge to feed on human flesh.

Writing:  I found the book easy to read and follow.  It didn't appear to be filled with unnecessary details and facts that drag the book along.  Considering that the story takes place in the future, the author did a great job writing from that type of perspective.  The people of this time period would not have the same luxuries and conveniences of our time, and that was conveyed well in the writing.

Plot:  I found the plot to be slow in the beginning.  It eventually picked up, and I found myself eager to find out how the book ended.  My interpretation of the plot line is a story of having a dream and following it, no matter what obstacles turn up or what others think about it.  Mary had a dream of finding the ocean.  She knew deep inside that it was real, despite being told otherwise.  Everyone told her to forget her silly notions and do what was best for the village and future generations.  She chose to follow her dream instead.

Overall: 3/5  I liked The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  I wasn't blown away by it, but I'll definitely read the books that come after it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why Just One? (4)

I see a lot on the internet about popular book series. One that I've heard a lot about, especially because of the new book coming out, is the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. These books make up this week's series that I'm eager to read.


Hunger Games
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Catching Fire
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mockingjay
 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (8)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme held by Miz B at Should Be Reading. It's a great way to share what you're reading or what you're planning on reading. Here's how it works. Grab a book, open to a random page, and share two teaser sentences. Be sure to avoid posting spoilers and include the book's title and author.

This week's Teaser Tuesday is from Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs:

The bones of the pelvis encircled a bathroom plunger, its long wooden handle projecting upward like an inverted Popsicle stick, its red rubber cup pressed hard againt the pelvic outlet.  Its position suggested deliberate placement. - p. 22

I can't wait to read the rest of this book!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up (5)

There's not much to say about this weekend.

Highlights:

Last class of the summer semester.
Freshly squeezed lemonade from the county fair.
Gave my kitchen and dining room a good, deepl clean.
Finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Low points:

Hubs worked night shift all weekend, which left me to sleep alone.  It also left us with very little time together.
We went to the county fair to see The Clarks play but left because it looked like a bad storm was rolling in.
I wanted the hubs to help me measure our huge living room window so I could buy curtains.  Unfortunately, he slept in, ate breakfast, and then slept again before leaving to work the night shift.

My fall semester starts in a few weeks.  I'm really hoping to get some enjoyable weekends in before I get stuck with weekends full of homework.  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yay! Another award!

I found a comment on my last post letting me know that I've been given The Versatile Blogger award.  Woo hoo!  I love getting awards and hearing that readers like my blog.  As some of you may know, The Versatile Blogger Award comes with some rules. 

1.  Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.

Brooke at Brooke's Box of Books gave me the award.  She has an awesome blog, so check her out!

2.  Tell us 7 things about yourself.

1.  I have a huge problem with procrastination.
2.  I'm afraid of the dark.
3.  I've suffered from chronic headaches for 9 years.
4.  I'm one semester away from finishing grad school.
5.  I plan to get my doctorate degree, teach at the college level, and supervise therapists.
6.  I have a 12 year old brother who is like my own child.
7.  I'm a terrible cook.

3.  Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason!

http://21pages.x10hosting.com/
http://laurenscrammedbookshelf.blogspot.com/
http://supernaturalsnark.blogspot.com/
http://casuallymusing.com/
http://jennandtonica.com/
http://booksncooks.wordpress.com/
http://www.poeticserendipity.blogspot.com/
http://andanythingbookish.blogspot.com/
http://www.bookhookedblog.com/
http://www.craftybookworm.blogspot.com/
http://agoodaddiction.blogspot.com/
http://www.theneverendingshelf.com/
http://www.crazy-for-books.com/
http://book-faery.blogspot.com/
http://allygreeson.blogspot.com/

4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award! I’m sure they’ll be thankful ;-)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (7)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme held by Miz B at Should Be Reading.  It's a great way to share what you're reading or what you're planning on reading. Here's how it works. Grab a book, open to a random page, and share two teaser sentences. Be sure to avoid posting spoilers and include the book's title and author.




This week's Teaser Tuesday is from Club Dead (Sookie #3) by Charlaine Harris.



There was a quiet crowd in the bedroom, I noticed. Eric had gotten me situated on the bed, which was so high, I might need a stepstool to get down. - p. 180

Weekend Wrap-Up (4)

I don't know about anyone else, but I had a boring weekend.  My husband was out of town for work, which meant I had lots of time to myself.  Normally, I have class on Saturday mornings but not this week.  What are the chances?  I have no work or school for the entire weekend, and he has to work all weekend out of town.  I found myself doing a whole lot of being lazy.

After work on Friday, my friend came over.  She's been having some rough times and needed to vent.  We had some pizza and spent about 4 hours dishing on everything that's been going on with us.  She left around 10:00, but I found that I wasn't tired at all.  I had wanted to finish reading Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie #2), so I spent some time both on the couch and in bed reading that.  It was about 4 A.M. when I finally finished the book and settled in to go to sleep.  Unfortunately, I only slept about 4 hours.  Ugh.

Saturday was a totally lazy day for me.  I ended up with an awful migraine from not getting much sleep the night before.  After a quick trip to the drug store, I settled in to spend the night alternating between reading and watching HGTV.  I love the shows on HGTV.  I hate that they always make me hate the way my house is decorated.

We've been in our house for just over a year.  Planning a wedding left us with little money to put into our new house.  Most of our furniture is used that we've brought with us from our parents' houses or got from friends/family.  I'd love to do so many different things to our house, but I have no idea where to start.

My in-laws stopped  briefly Saturday evening.  My mother-in-law is always bringing me candy dishes for some reason.  I like candy but not enough to have a candy dish in every room in my house.  While they were here, they invited me over for breakfast Sunday morning and made plans to mow our grass.  The hubs won't be back in town for a few more days, and our grass was getting straggly. 

I tried to be more productive on Sunday.  Breakfast with the in-laws was good.  I made a trip to Target to get some organization tools.  I picked up some laundry sorters.  I can never see the laundry room floor, so I'm hoping this will help me to keep it a little neater.  My father-in-law came over to mow our grass, while my mother-in-law and I pulled weeds in my flower beds.  After that, I cleaned up the house a little bit.  My weekend finished up with some ice cream from Dairy Queen, Big Brother, and True Blood.

All I can say is I hope next weekend is better than this weekend.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Spotlight (2)

While checking out other blogs through the Book Blogger Hop, I've been trying to pick a particular blog to focus on.  I feel like this is a good way to share blogs that I find and like.

Blog Name: Supernatural Snark

What I Like:  The thing that caught my attention about this blog was the Cover Critique post.  I liked how she created a dialogue between the designers of the two different covers.  I also liked that she had lots of books on her blog that I have read or want to read.  I know that her blog is one I check back to for more book recommendations.

Living Dead in Dallas

Since I've started watching True Blood on a regular basis, I've been wanting to finish the Sookie Stackhouse series.  With the first season, I noticed a lot of differences between the book and movie.  I've been eager to see what kind of differences popped up in Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris compared to the second season. 

Cover:  I like the illustrations on the covers of the Sookie books.  This cover reminded me of Sookie and Bill flying to Dallas.  Obviously, she didn't fly there on his coffin, but it still reminded me of this.

Characters:  At times, I found Sookie and Bill annoying.  I didn't like when they called each other "sweetheart" or "honey."  It just didn't seem to fit them.  It could also be because I don't remember them talking to each other like that in the show.  Like the show, I like Eric best.  I find him humorous, and his sneakiness is attractive.  He wants Sookie and tries, even though she always refuses him.

Writing:  I liked the writing style.  It's easy to understand, and there isn't a lot of unnecessary stuff added in.  There were just enough details to get wrapped up in the story but not so many that I got distracted.

Plot:  I had an idea of what the plot was going to be since I had already seen Season 2 of True Blood.  It didn't play out exactly like the TV show, but there were enough major similarities to know how the books was going to end.  I wasn't a big fan of how the murder in Bon Temps was played out.  It would've made more sense to me to have explored it more before diving into the trip to Dallas.  By the time I got towards the end of the book when the murder was discussed again, I had forgotten some of the details.

Overall: 3/5  Watching the show before reading this book kind of ruined the book for me.  I did enjoy discovering the differences between the two.  It was very interesting to see which changes were made.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (2)

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer over at Crazy for Books. Each week, she gives bloggers the opportunity to share their blog and discover new ones. Make sure you read her rules for the hop, otherwise your blog link could be deleted. This is not just meant for pimping out your own blog. It's a great chance to find new bloggers you didn't know about. There's also a question posted with each Hop. Be sure to answer it when you post about the hop on your blog.




Question: Do you listen to music when you read? If so, what are your favorite reading tunes?



Answer: Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't. I think it all depends on my mood and where I'm reading. I do a lot of my reading in our living room, game room, or bedroom. If I'm in the living room or game room, the TV is usually on. It's not uncommon for me to be reading and watching TV at the same time. If my husband is sleeping when I read in bed, I don't listen to music. If I'm by myself when I read in bed, I pick a Pandora station on my iPhone and listen to whatever comes on.



In addition to commenting on cool new blogs I find through the Hop, I've also decided to start doing a special post for a blog that really cathes my attention. Be sure to stop back later to see which blog I've chosen!



Happy Hopping!

What I'm Reading (3)

Last week, I tried reading multiple books instead of just one like I usually do. I found that I do like having an audiobook for my car and a regular book for home, work, etc. But I don't like having to choose which book to keep reading. It made me feel like I wasn't getting anywhere. So, I've decided to stick to reading one book at a time.




Right now, I'm reading Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie #2) by Charlaine Harris. I've seen the first 2 seasons of True Blood and have been watching the current season. I've been eager to read the rest of the Sookie books. Obviously, there are some major differences between the books and the show, but I love discovering them. My husband got annoyed with me when we watched the first season of True Blood. I had already read the first Sookie book and kept telling him about how the book was different from the show. He also hated that I had a general idea of what would happen.



I'm hoping to finish Living Dead in Dallas tonight, so I can start my next book. Here's what's coming up next for me:

The Forest of Hands and Teeth


Fallen

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Linger

When I downloaded Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater to my Nook, I downloaded its sequel, Linger. I figured if I loved Shiver I would probably want to start Linger right away. That's exactly what I did. Now, I liked Shiver but wasn't exactly head over heels in love with it. I can honestly say, though, that I fell hard for Linger. When I finished it today, I was heartbroken. I need to know what happens next!

From Goodreads:


Their eyes, human eyes in wolf skulls, remind me of water: the clear blue of water reflecting the spring sky, the brown of a brook churning with rainfall, the green of the lake in summer as the algae begins to bloom, the gray of a snow-choked river. It used to be only Sam's yellow eyes that watched me from between the rain-soaked birches, but no, I feel the weight of the entire pack's gaze. The weight of things known, things unsaid.



Sam, who spent most of his life as a werewolf, has undergone an unlikely cure and no longer transitions between fur and skin as the temperature changes from cold to hot. This should be a happy time for Sam and true-love Grace, but just as he begins to trust his new human life, Grace feels her humanity slipping away. Sam's focus is split between worry for Grace and his role as caretaker of the werewolf pack, which for the first time in years includes new members.




Cover: Like the Shiver cover, the Linger cover was so pretty. For me, the greens symbolized the warmth and life of the spring season and when the wolves shed their furry pelts for a less hairy appearance.

Characters: Sam and Grace are still crazy about each other. Sam's insecurities seem to be exposed a bit more in this book. I was surprised at how friendly Isabel and Grace became. Cole was a nice addition to the story. His growth throughout the story was touching.

Writing: Stiefvater does such a nice job of telling the story from the various perspectives. I'm a sucker for this style of writing. I also like how she adds Sam's lyrics and poems that Sam is fond of. Her writing in this story really pulled me in. I found myself hanging on the last word of every page, just waiting for what would come next.

Plot: I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I will say that I enjoyed the way Shiver tied in with Linger. What's the saying? When one door closes, another one opens. That's exactly what happened in this book. Just when you thought Sam and Grace would live happily ever after, something else pops up.

Overall: 5/5 I LOVED this book! I can't wait until the next book in the series is released.