Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Challenge Update (2)

What I Read:
Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish

Everything I Was by Corinne Demas

111 in '11 Total: 3/111
DAC 2011 Total: 1
Winter Book Challenge 2011 Total: 30
     Task: Read a book with a City, State, or Country in the Title (Savannah Grey) 5 points
     Task: Read a book by a new-to-you author (Everything I Was) 15 points

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Everything I Was

Title: Everything I Was
Author: Corinne Demas
Release: April 2011
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 264 (Hardcover)
Overall: 3/5
Source: Publisher (NetGalley)
                         Challenge: 111 in '11, WBC2011

From Goodreads:  "My walls were stripped, and all that was left in the room was a pile of boxes and my mattress propped against the wall."

So begins Irene's journey from an Upper West Side penthouse to—well, she's not entirely sure where. Irene's investment banker father is "downsized" when his company merges with another. When he can't find work, her family's lifestyle—and her socialite mother's spending—quickly catches up with them. Eventually, they're forced to move in with Irene's grandfather in the big family farmhouse upstate. But what begins as the most disastrous summer of her life takes a surprising turn when she meets a most remarkable family.

My Thoughts:  Honestly, this book wasn't what I was expecting.  When reading the synopsis from Goodreads, I expected to be reading about a spoiled rich girl turned average teen.  This wasn't the case at all.  I expected Irene to be upset about not being able to shop and have the best of everything.  Nope.  She was upset about losing her things from her room (which were put into storage), but that seemed to be more because they belonged to her and felt like home.  When it was suggested that she return to her expensive private school on scholarship, she refused.  It wasn't because she thought poorly of those on charity, but because she knew how others would think of her. 

This was a quick read for me.  The writing was simple and easy to understand.  I found the voice fit what I would expect from a 13 year old.  I liked that the author included other teenage struggles in the story, like making friends, crushes, and feeling disconnected from the parents.  Irene was easy to like, and it was hard to not root for her.  Even though the family in this story is wealthy, I could see this story being easy to relate to for any young person whose parent(s) have lost their job.  Making Irene easy to relate to instead of being a spoiled rich kid made this possible.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Michelle at Hooked to Books gave me this awesome blog award!  Blog awards are always exciting, because receiving one means someone has noticed your blog.  While my main motive for writing this blog has been to have a place to share my thoughts on what I read, it is nice to have people enjoying my blog. 

Blog awards usually have rules, so here they are.

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

2. Share 7 things about yourself

3. Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

7 Things About Me

1.  My birthday is 4 days before my husband's.  We were in the nursery together when we were born.

2.  I have an Old English Sheepdog.  He's an adorable poof ball.

3.  I recently graduated with a Master's Degree in Professional Counseling.

4.  I work as a sexual assaul counselor.

5.  One of my New Year's Resolutions is to finally get my house organized.

6.  I could totally be a hermit as long as I have plenty of books to read.

7.  I hate washing dishes. 

Now pick 10 newly discovered bloggers you like!

Savannah Grey

Title: Savannah Grey
Author: Cliff McNish
Release Date: 4/28/11
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 272 (Hardcover)
Overall: 2/5
Source: Publisher (NetGalley)
                         Challenge: 111 in '11, WBC 2011

Synopsis:  At 15, Savannah feels as if she doesn't belong.  After becoming an orphan at a young age, Savannah bounced around between foster homes.  The main reason?  She feels restless and must keep moving.  Savannah keeps her distance from people, except her best friend, Nina.  It's a surprise, then, when Savannah meets Reece and feels an attraction.  Around the same time she meets Reece, she begins noticing strange things about her throat.  It's been sore and making strange noises.  Reece seems to share a lot of qualities with Savannah, including some strange things when it comes to his throat.  Soon, it becomes clear that there's a purpose to these strange throat conditions.  There's a monster lurking around, and Savannah may be the only one who can stop it.

My Thoughts:  Initially, I was really intrigued by the idea of supernatural throat powers.  I was excited to read the book, but my excitement started to falter not too far in.  In general, I felt like the book was rushed.  It seemed as though everything happened too fast, and there wasn't enough time for development.  I felt like the characters could have been developed more deeply. 

The best development was done in the pieces pertaining to the monster.  The author did a great job telling the story of the monster, it's motives, and the steps it had taken to reach its confrontation with Savannah.

I'm the kind of person who always asks, "Why?"  I want to know why people think what they think and do what they do.  Even though Savannah didn't know what made her throat special, she seemed to magically come up with the answers as she went along.  I wish there would have been more of a backstory explaining what Savannah was and how she had become that way.

Overall, I thought this book was okay.  I felt there was a lot lacking, almost as if the author just gave up on developing certain parts of the story.  I still think the concept is great, and while I didn't care for it much, I would still urge others to read it. My own personal preferences shouldn't judge whether or not people should read a book.  Read it for yourself and see what you think.  :-) 

Friday, January 7, 2011

What I'm Reading (1)

Everything I Was by Corinne Demas

"My walls were stripped, and all that was left in the room was a pile of boxes and my mattress propped against the wall."

So begins Irene's journey from an Upper West Side penthouse to—well, she's not entirely sure where. Irene's investment banker father is "downsized" when his company merges with another. When he can't find work, her family's lifestyle—and her socialite mother's spending—quickly catches up with them. Eventually, they're forced to move in with Irene's grandfather in the big family farmhouse upstate. But what begins as the most disastrous summer of her life takes a surprising turn when she meets a most remarkable family.

I'm not very far into the book, but it seems good so far.  I'm eager to see how things will turn out for Irene.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What's On My Shelf(1)

I don't know about you guys, but I have tons of books.  I've read some of them, but most of them haven't even been cracked open yet.  I thought it would be neat to share some of the books we currently have on our shelves.  Here is a picture of my very messy bookcase:

My home office is a complete mess.  It's been used as a catch-all room since we moved in about a year and a half ago.  Now that I'm done with grad school, I'm planning on getting the room all organized.  I can't wait to tackle this bookcase. 

For this first installment of What's On My Shelf, I thought I'd share my most recent books that I've added to my shelves.

I got The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins for Christmas.  I've heard such great things about these books and can't wait to read them.

So, what books do you have sitting on your shelves?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday comes to us from Should Be Reading (check out the link in the picture).  Here are the rules:

  • Grab a book
  • Flip to a random page
  • Share 2 teaser sentences.
  • Share the title and author of your tease.  You know, just in case anyone wants to read more.
  • Avoid spoilers!

This week's teaser comes from Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish.

Nina stared openmouthed at me as it gushed inside my throat, sweeping ticklishly upward.  For a moment the bubble seemed to teeter, pausing uncertainly on the tip of my tongue. p. 39

What's your Teaser Tuesday?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Here Lies Bridget

Title: Here Lies Bridget
Author: Paige Harbison
Release Date: 2/1/2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 208
Overall: 3/5
Source: Publisher (NetGalley)
Challenge: 111 in '11, 2011 DAC, WBC2011

Synopsis:  Bridget Duke is your typical mean girl.  She's the most popular girl in school, but is it because her fellow students lover her or fear her?  Bridget doesn't think twice about anyone else's feelings or well-being.  She will do anything to get herself out of trouble and keep it that way.  When a car accident leaves Bridget in a place between life and death, she finds that her fate rests in the hands of the people she's hurt the most.

My Thoughts:  When I first read the synopsis for Here Lies Bridget, I thought the concept was interesting.  When you have someone who is as cold and cruel as Bridget Duke, is there any chance that they will change for the better?  What, if anything, could make them snap out of it?

I liked this book, but I wasn't crazy about it.  While I did like the story, I found it to be rather predictable.  By the time I finished, I thought to myself, "I totally saw that coming."  It was a fast read.  The writing flows nicely.  Later in the book, when Bridget begins "reliving" some experiences, I thought it might get confusing.  Harbison wrote it well enough, though, that that wasn't a problem.  The present and past alternated easily.

I found myself with some interesting feelings towards Bridget.  For most of the book, I wanted to smack her for being so downright mean.  I was so annoyed by her selfish, immature behaviors.  As the book progresses, Bridget learns new things about herself and acknowledges feelings she had been trying hard to ignore.  I felt sorry for her at times and sad for what she was going through.  She had to come to some really tough realizations.

Here Lies Bridget is a good book.  I'd definitely recommend it to readers.  I think it would be interesting to have real life mean girls read this book and see how it influences their choices.

Challenge Update (1)

It's only the first week of January, but it's still a great time for an update on my reading challenges. 

Book read:
Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison


111 in '11 Total: 1/111
2011 Debut Author Challenge Total: 1
Winter Book Challenge Total: 15 points
     Task: Starting Over or Starting Something New (15 points)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New You!

Courtesy of funscrape.com

Happy New Year!  2010 has come and gone, and now we welcome 2011.  I hope everyone enjoyed a safe New Year's Eve and was able to celebrate with those you love.

It's January 1, 2011.  The ball has dropped off.  You've slept off a hangover, whether from drinking or just staying up late.  You've hopefully cleaned up after the party you had.  Now, you and many others are probably thinking about those changes you're going to make this year.  You've had time to reflect back on 2010, to think about your successes and your failures.  Now is the time to think about your resolutions for the new year.

Like many others, I usually set resolutions and have trouble keeping them.  This year, though, I'm determined to do my best.  I've thought about the things I want to change most about myself, and I'm hoping that at this time next year, I can look back and see these things as successes.

1.  Be healthier.

With this resolution, my aim is to just be healthier in general.  I want to make better choices in food selection, drink more water, get some exercise in, and take care of my sanity.

2. Lose weight.

Going along with my first resolution, I'm hoping to lose weight this year.  I've gained some weight over time, and I feel very unhealthy and unhappy.  My big weight loss goal is 30 lbs.  Hopefully, I can achieve that.

3. Organize my house.

My house is extremely unorganized.  And messy.  I'm hoping to go from room to room to find a place for everything in them.  I'm hoping to make it easy to pick up at the end of the day.  I've heard that a clutter-free home is a happy home.  That's what I'm aiming for.  Unfortunately, according to my husband, I have trouble getting rid of things. I'm a much tamer version of those people on Hoarders.  :-/

4. Develop a good cleaning routine.

I hate cleaning.  I would much rather spend my time reading or watching one of my favorite TV shows than cleaning.  My least favorite cleaning task is doing dishes, but we don't have a dishwasher, so I'm stuck.  Now that grad school is over, I'm hoping that being home every evening will help me develop a good cleaning routine that I can stick to.  My husband helps out with some housework, but I'd like to enlist his help a bit more.  *fingers crossed*

5. Make our house a home.

This is a big resolution for me.  We've lived in our house since May 2009.  I'm ready for it to be ours and to really feel like our home.  I think this will start to happen once I get the house organized.  The rest will just be small things, like hanging pictures, changing curtains, and getting a few new pieces of furniture to make everything cohesive.

6. Finish a WIP.

I've started a few WIPs over the years but haven't finished them.  This year, I'm hoping to finish one.  I haven't decided if I'll just stick with one that has been started or start a new one.  It'll come to me, though.

7. Meet my reading challenges.

I've already shared my 2011 reading challenges, and I'm hoping to meet them.  My online book club has seasonal book challenges.  I'm hoping to finish at least one.  I'm also hoping to complete my other reading challenges.

Well, that's it for my resolutions.  Wish me luck in keeping mine, as I wish you luck in keeping yours!

50 in 2010

I started out 2010 with a goal to read 75 books.  I quickly recognized that wasn't going to happen, so I adjusted my goal to 50.  I DID IT!  Here are the books I read:

1. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

2. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

3. An Idiot Girl's Christmas: True Tales from the Top of the Naughty List by Laurie Notaro

4. Big Boned (Heather Wells #3) by Meg Cabot

5. The Church of Dead Girls by Stephen Dobyns

6. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

7. Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

8. Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

9. Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs

10. Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why it Often Sucks in the City, or Who are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me? by Jen Lancaster

11. The Aqua Net Diaries: Big Hair, Big Dreams, Small Town by Jennifer Niven

12. The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death: Reflections on Revenge, Germophobia, and Laser Hair Removal by Laurie Notaro

13. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

14. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

15. Somebody Else's Kids by Torey Hayden

16. Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

17. Mercy by Jodi Picoult

18. Second Glance by Jodi Picoult

19. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

20. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

21. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

22. Fallen by Lauren Kate

23. Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster

24. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

25. Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie #2) by Charlaine Harris

26. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

27. Deja Dead (Temperance Brennan #1) by Kathy Reichs

28. Shadow Bound (Shadow #1) by Erin Kellison

29. The Summoning (Darkest Powers #1) by Kelley Armstrong

30. Me of Little Faith by Lewis Black

31. Carved in Bone (The Body Farm #1) by Jefferson Bass

32. Fourth Comings (Jessica Darling #4) by Megan McCafferty

33. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

34. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

35. Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza

36. i am neurotic by Lianna Kong

37. Bag of Bones by Stephen King

38. Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

39. Dry by Augusten Burroughs

40. The Girl in the Green Sweater by Daniel Paisner

41. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

42. In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Irene Opdyke

43. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

44. The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing

45. If I Am Missing or Dead by Janine Latus

46. Honey by V.C. Andrews

47. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
48. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

49. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

50. The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell