Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Clockwork Angel

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Grab your current read
Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

The front of her dress was splotched with blood, but there was no pain. She knew it was not her blood; it wasn't the first time this had happened.

p.24 ARC Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

August Wrap-Up

Books read and reviewed:

Sleeping in Flame (Carroll) 
Sisters Red (Pearce) 
 Gone (McMann)
Virgin Territory (Lecesne) 
Sapphique (Catherine Fisher) 
 Adios, Nirvana (Wesselhoeft)
 Shadow of the Sun (Kreitzer)
The DUFF (Keplinger)

Audio finished:

Based on a Book movie reviews:

Nancy Drew read:

Challenges completed:

2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge  (50/50)
Dystopian Challenge (10/10)

No contest this month for favorite book of the month.  Mockingjay, of course!
What was your favorite book this month?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 8/30

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.

This week I'm reading Clockwork Angel (Clare) and The Witch Tree Symbol (Keene).  I'm listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling) and The Red Pyramid (Riordian).

Last week I read Mockingjay (Collins), The Ringmaster's Secret and The Scarlett Slipper Mystery (Keene).

Other reviews posted:
The DUFF (Keplinger)
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June (Benway)
The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (movie)

Provided by Traveling ARC Tours
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Publish Date: August 2010
Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: Jem, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length…everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Top 8 by Katie Finn
Madison MacDonald is seriously freaking out

Madison MacDonald


Putnam, CT

Status: Single?

About Me:
Everything in my life was working out. I had my three best friends, a brand-new boyfriend, and the lead in the school play. Aside from that history paper I hadn't started, things felt perfect.

Then I returned from spring break to find my Friendverse profile hacked. Someone clearly out to ruin me had spilled the most damaging secrets - AND posted the worst photos of me ever taken - online.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew 31, 32

The Ringmaster's Secret (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #31)
It was typical of Nancy not to think of herself.  She had been in many tight spots while solving the various mysteries that had come her way, but the safety of innocent persons involved had always been her chief concern.  p.9-10
Nancy Drew joins the circus.   Because, of course, Nancy has taken up "trick riding" and is so super good at it that the circus is practically begging her to fill in when one of the horse riders is injured.  And, of course, our girl detective just has to do it because it will get her one step closer to solving the mystery of the missing charm.  See Nancy's aunt bought her a charm bracelet with five horse charms on it.  But it's suppose to have six so Nancy must figure out what is behind the missing charm.  And, of course, the circus is in town with the exact people involved in this mystery.  It is all very very convenient.

Side note: I find it funny that Carson Drew is always in and out of town for various cases and is so super busy that he sends work the way of his teenage daughter, but the minute she calls him up and asks him to go somewhere he drops what he is doing and runs to her aid.  Wow.

The Scarlet Slippers Mystery (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #32)
Nancy was greatly admired in River Heights because of her unusual ability to track down elusive clues, as well as her courage and quick-wittedness.  p. 12
Bess joins a new dance school and when Nancy goes to meet the new owners she finds out that the brother and sister are in trouble!  They have been receiving threatening notes and have had to leave both their home country of Centrovian and France because of political reasons.  Nancy offers to help.  Somehow connected are painting that the brother, Henri, painted and a mysterious man that Nancy meet on a plane.

This was one of the more convoluted and coincidental mysteries that Nancy has solved yet.  So much depends on a huge cast of characters and there are a lot of twists and turns.  And poor Ned wants to marry Nancy so much and so won't even acknowledge it when he tells her.  Aw.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (Based on a Book)

I noticed this movie the other day on Netflix and it had been a long time since I have seen it so I added it to the queue.  Now I've never read the original book or if I have I don't remember, but I remember the movie.  It was very cute and sweet.  Pippi's father is lost at sea and so she returns to their family home named Villa Villekulla to live and wait for me.  There she befriends the two bored next door neighbor children, Tommy and Annika, and they have adventures together.  Pippi is very fun and sensible though she does like to tell stories and is often cheeky to adults, but usually adults who deserve it by treating her like she is dumb.  Anyway, some villains want to buy her house to tear down and make into a development so Pippi thwarts them at every turn.  She also tries to cheer up the orphan children who have a mean caretaker.

This version of Pippi has held up reasonably well and I enjoyed watching it again.  My 3 year old watched it with me and it seemed to enjoy it as well.  He liked when Pippi lifted up the horse and he liked the monkey and when they threw ice cream to the orphans.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) (e-book) by Suzanne Collins

From Goodreads:
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.
But I don't know what to tell him about the aftermath of killing a person.  About how they never leave you.  p.55 e-book
My mind is blown.  This was every bit as good as The Hunger Games, better even than Catching Fire.  I am amazed.  This is how to write a series with a killer ending and sell the whole damn thing.  Honestly, it was an amazing journey that Katniss went through and I am pleased at how it all turned out for her.  It is a good and appropriate ending.

For a while, I was thinking that wow, this isn't nearly as bloody or gory as the other two, but then I hit about the middle and I took it back.  I like how Collins explores the psychological damage that the Games have taken on everyone especially the victors.  How they can't escape what happened to them.  It was a good choice not to gloss that over.

**I was always Team Katniss.  I figured that she wouldn't end up with either Peeta or Gale because she is so strong and independent.  I thought I would be disappointed if she actually choose either one.  I was wrong.  I liked Peeta more than Gale anyway so that made me happy.  I guess because it really happened so gradually and Katniss and Peeta really earned their time together.  They are both damaged in the same way and can relate to each other in a way that Gale never could.  And the fact that Gale had become synonymous with the death of Prim really didn't help matters anyway.  But it was a good and natural ending.

I liked too how the problem of President Snow was addressed and applauded Katniss' decision to end the cycle as it began again with President Coin.  I wasn't shocked that Coin had it in for Katniss but I was surprised at the idea of doing the Hunger Games again with Capital children.  It's like they didn't learn any lessons.  I'm glad that Katniss took manners into her own hand and solved that problem because I have a feeling it would have moved from one dictatorship to another.

"That what I need to survive is not Gale's fire, kindled with rage and hatred.  I have plenty of fire myself.  What I need is the dandelion in the spring...That it can be good again.  And only Peeta can give me that."  p.280-281 e-book

I even liked the epilogue.  It was nice to see that Peeta and Katniss had grown and that their psychological scars had healed.  I wasn't bothered by her having children because what people say or want at 17 doesn't always apply when they are 27.

Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway

April, May and June are sisters starting a new high school.  And then one day something extraordinary happens and each gains a new "superpower" and they must figure out what to do with them. 
I hate the school library. It always smells like old yellow paper and pencil shavings and nerds. April always say, "That's just the smell of history and knowledge." She's ridiculous sometimes. p.44 ARC
This book.  I was ready because how gimmicky is naming the sisters April, May and June.  It's sort of an eyeroll.  And at first I didn't like the alternating chapters because I couldn't keep track of who was talking.  But then I got into the rhythm.  My favorite girl was May though I identified with April too.  Roll them into one minus the superpowers and you have me as a teenager only much less assertive.  This book was funny and sarcastic. combined with a great extraordinary story.  I loved how each girl reacted to getting this powers and how each used them.  I liked the boys and how the girls interacted with them.  I was less fond of the "disaster" that the original book description talks about.  I expected it to be something amazing and was a bit disappointed.  Anyway, I'm glad I stuck out the first couple of chapters because it was worth reading.

Also FOR ANYONE WHO HAS READ THE BOOK, what was the deal with Avery?  I felt like there was something more with her and I have no idea what it was.  Did I miss something?

Hogwarts: Charms

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Bianca is having a hard time.  Her parents are fighting and she is sick with self-doubt after being called The DUFF, The Designated Ugly Fat Friend, by Wesley, one of the most obnoxious and hottest guys in schools.  Unfortunately, Bianca discovers that sleeping with Wesley will bring about a temporary relief from her problems and so she begins to use him like a drug. 

"You didn't, like, stab the boy, did you?  I mean, I totally disapprove of murdering hotties, but if you need help burying the body, you know I'll bring the shovel." 
p.73 ARC
While I'm reasonably certain that using someone else to forget your problems is a bad idea, it makes for a great book.  I went expecting it to be a typical chic lit type book, more in line with Sarah Dessen, but I found that The DUFF was very witty and much more relatable for me.  Not that I ever did what Bianca did, but I understand the impulse to want to lose yourself in something.  But that never works out.

So anyway, I actually liked Bianca.  She has some really horrible problems that she didn't deal with well.  But her friends were great and very supportive.  All the characters felt very real and very natural.  It was a very engaging book and I hated putting it down.  I wasn't sure how I was going to like it and I really didn't know how Wesley was going to become a sympathetic character and I also didn't care for the term of the "Duff" but it was interesting to see that evolve too and I thought that Keplinger pulled it off impressively.

Provided by Traveling ARC Tours
Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - The Ringmaster's Secret

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Grab your current read
Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

Nevertheless, Nancy concluded that circus life was strenuous.  As she was wearily removing her costume before going to bed, Erika dashed in, her eyes aglow.  

p.94 The Ringmaster's Secret Carolyn Keene

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 8/23

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading Mockingjay (Collins)!  And then I don't know what else.  I"m in a bit of slump now but I do plan on reading a couple of Nancy Drews: The Ringmaster's Secret and The Scarlett Slipper Mystery.  I'm listening to The Red Pyramid (Riordian).

Last week I read The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June (Benway).

 Reviews posted:
Adios, Nirvana (Wesselhoeft)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (audio) (Rowling)
Shadow of the Sun (Kreitzer)

From the publisher
It's a Book by Lane Smith
(A picture book that is so very cute)
It’s a Book is about a book loving monkey, a tech savvy jackass and a straight talking little mouse.

Won from GreenBeanTeenQueen
What's Your Status? by Katie Finn
(This is a sequel to Top 8.)
Madison MacDonald thinks things are finally working out!
Followers: 300
Status Updates:
mad_mac         Nate and I have been together for two months, and it’s wonderful!  Life is good!
mad_mac         Well, except for the fact that I still might be failing history.
mad_mac         And I no longer have a BFF.
mad_mac         But aside from those things!
mad_mac         Okay.  So, um, apparently I’ve just been put in charge of the school’s priceless heirloom.
mad_mac         And the assistant headmaster has a vendetta against me.
mad_mac         And it seems I’m being blackmailed.
mad_mac         Gathering together a crew. I’m going to try and pull off a heist.  Without getting caught. Or expelled. Or arrested.
mad_mac         Also, I think I may have just accidentally wrecked my relationship. . . .
Madison MacDonald is trying not to panic.

Salt by Maurice Gee
In a dangerous world, Deep Salt strikes terror into the heart of everyone. Hari lives in Blood Burrow, deep in the ruined city of Belong, where he survives by courage and savagery. He is scarred from fighting, he is dangerous and cruel, but he has a secret gift: he can speak with animals. When his father, Tarl, is taken as a slave and sent to the mine known as Deep Salt, from where no worker ever returns, Hari vows to save him. Pearl is from the ruling families, known as Company, which has conquered and enslaved Hari's people. Her destiny involves marriage that will unite her family with that of the powerful and ambitious Ottmar. It soon becomes clear that the survival of their people depends entirely upon the success of Pearl and Hari's mission.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes

Amanda from The Zen Leaf posted her Top 10 Favorite Book Quotes and I am a big fan of quotes in general. I collect quotes like other people collect stamps or coins.  This meme comes from Jillian at Random Ramblings so I thought I'd join in.

"Freedom is an illusion. It always comes at a price."
— Jonathan Stroud (The Amulet of Samarkand)

"It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things."
— Lemony Snicket (Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid)

"One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take?" she asked. "Where do you want to go?" was his response. "I don't know," Alice answered. "Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."
— Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)

"Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can."
— Alice Hoffman (Practical Magic)

"Touchstone watched, suddenly conscious that he probably only had five seconds left to be alone with Sabriel, to say something, to say anything. Perhaps the last five seconds they ever would have alone together.
I am not afraid, he said to himself.
'I love you," he whispered. "I hope you don't mind.'"
— Garth Nix (Sabriel)

"To get something you must give something away.
To hold something you must give something away.
To love something you must give something away."
— David Levithan (The Realm of Possibility)

"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."
— Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe)

"Everyone, at some point in their lives, wakes up in the middle of the night with the feeling that they are all alone in the world, and that nobody loves them now and that nobody will ever love them, and that they will never have a decent night's sleep again and will spend their lives wandering blearily around a loveless landscape, hoping desperately that their circumstances will improve, but suspecting, in their heart of hearts, that they will remain unloved forever. The best thing to do in these circumstances is to wake somebody else up, so that they can feel this way, too."
— Lemony Snicket (Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid)

"Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free."
— Tom Robbins (Still Life with Woodpecker)

And last, I love this quote.  It is the most perfect quote about Louisiana weather I have ever seen.

"Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature. The air - moist, sultry, secretive, and far from fresh - felt as if it were being exhaled into one's face. Sometimes it even sounded like heavy breathing."
— Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's a Book {Trailer}

This book looks so precious about a book loving ape and his technology friendly donkey friend.  And the trailer is hilarious!
From author Lane Smith:
“Not to say that I'm not excited by the new technologies and reading devices introduced (it seems) nearly every month, I am. But I'm sure on some level I'll always be a traditional book guy.” And aren't we all? New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Lane Smith delivers a book to the technorati and literati alike. Juxtaposing a book-loving ape and a tech-savvy donkey, with clever illustrations and a brilliant punch line, Smith's nod to the times will be a collector's item on shelves, and will be read again and again in bookstores, libraries for years to come.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Shadow of the Sun by Laura Kreitzer

Gabriella works as a supernatural specialist investing paranormal activities and disproving them.  But when some mysterious regenerating bodies turn up at her lab, she becomes embroiled in an angelic war and discovers that her own destiny lies beyond being merely human.
Unless it had all been in my imagination - the angels and the dark creatures - all thing I had just invented.  Maybe I had eaten some hallucinogenic mushrooms.  Maybe I wasn't even really at work... p.474
I'll be honest.  I had my doubts for the first couple of chapters.  There was too much exposition and that tires me out.  But I began to identify the main character as a Bones type and once the action began, the story really moved and I was hooked.  Gabriella wasn't my favorite character and she came off as annoying in the beginning, but so much happens to her that I ended up feeling sorry for her.  There were some interesting twists and turns and I appreciated that.  It was good to be kept on my toes.  There was a lot of action in this book and it never bogged down at those moments.  My only complaint is my same old one: show, don't tell.  It bugs me when there is too much, I'm so smart, but not enough to back it up.  Gabriella proves it later, but at the beginning I was doubting her claims.  And it turns out there is a sequel so I'll definitely be looking for that.  I need to find out what happens next.

Hogwarts: Ancient Runes

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (audio) by J.K. Rowling

Harry cannot win because even when he wins he loses.  Sucks to be him.  No, really.  But every time I read this book I wonder how Dumbledore failed to notice what was up with Moody.  I know how obviously but he is the super genius top wizard and all.  And I still get irritated at Fudge's reaction at the end.  Talk about blinders!  And Voldemort is such a talky villain.  Aren't they all though?

Anyway, Goblet of Fire is not my favorite though I don't dislike it or anything.   It's a long book for the story that it tells and it's nice to see more of the wizarding world and all.  And knowing the ending makes spotting the clues more fun, for this book and the series as a whole. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft

It's true.  I am hard on my books.  You don't get your money's worth till you've slammed them against the wall a few times.  Broken their backs.  My books are my family - the more they hurt me, the more I hurt them. p.6 ARC
Sheer beautiful sadness.  I cried and by cried I mean tears streamed down my face through the last part of this book.  It was so inherently sad and hopeful and there was beauty and pain.  I don't even know.  To lose your brother, your own twin, is horrible, but Jonathan lost a piece of himself and doesn't know how to put himself back together.  His friends, his Thicks as he call them, do their best for him but they miss Telly too.  And Jonathan could care less about being a genius poet or school or anything.  But he receives an ultimatum from his principal to write a World War II veteran's biography and to play a song of her choosing at graduation or repeat his junior year.  Through listening and writing the man's life story, Jonathan begins to connect with his own loss.  And through his guitar he learns about deep sadness and breaking the cords to play it out.

There is a lot of guitar/music talk in this book and I don't play so I couldn't follow along exactly but I got the idea of how Jonathan plays his blues and infuses it into his guitar and into his poems.  The story of the WWII veteran, David, is a sad one but it shows how one day can haunt you forever.  The parallels drawn between the life defining moments of David and Jonathan are interesting.

It is also a deeply poetic book, justifiably since Jonathan is a poet.  There is a lot of imagery and very poetic writing involved.  Most of it was really good, some of it was heavy handed.  But I enjoyed Wessolhoeft's voice for Jonathan.  It was real.

I'm way past writing for the fun of it.  Lots of times it's not fun.  I write because I have to.
If Stalin or Hitler arrested me and tossed me into one of those camps, I would carve words with my fingernails.  If they cut off my fingers, I would write with my teeth.  If they pulled out my teeth, I would blink my worked to any listening bird.  If they cut off my eyelids,  I would fart code into the trosposphere.
You'd have to kill me to stop me from writing.
It's how I breathe.
p.175 ARC
Provided by Traveling ARC Tours
Hogwarts:  Muggle Studies

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Grab your current read
Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

This was getting way out of control.  I already knew this conversation was going to end in an argument, though, so I just plowed ahead.  "Okay," I said.  "We need to use these things for good, not evil."

p.77 ARC The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 8/16

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June (Benway) and Karma Bites (Kramer and Thomas). I'm listening to The Red Pyramid (Riordian).

Last week I read Adios, Nirvana (Wesselhoeft), Shadow of the Sun (Kreitzer), and The Duff (Keplinger) and I finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) on audio.

Reviews posted:
Gone (McMann)
Virgin Territory (Lecesne)
Sapphique (Fisher)
The Clue in the Velvet Mask (Keene)

Provided by Traveling ARC Tours
The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “Duffy,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway
Three sisters share a magical, unshakeable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood—powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?
April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds—everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other.
Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.

Won from Library Thing's Early Reviewer
Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin
Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe, but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself. Soon she'll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Pheobe's ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn't been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself?

From the author
The Kid Table by Andrea Siegel
(After I checked out To Feel Stuff from the library, the author e-mailed and offered me a copy of The Kid Table because it is YA where To Feel Stuff is of a much different tone and she seemed concerned.  I accepted, of course and I appreciate it.)
It's there at every family event. A little smaller, collapsible, and decked out with paper napkins because you can't be trusted with the good ones. But you're stuck there. At the Kid Table. Because to them- to the adults- you're still a kid.

Ingrid Bell and her five teenage cousins are in exactly this situation. Never mind the fact that high school is almost over. They're still eating mac and cheese with a toddler. But what happens when the rules change? When Brianne, the oldest cousin, lands a seat at the Adult Table, the others are in shock. What does it take to graduate from the Kid Table?

Over the course of five family events, Ingrid and her cousins attempt to finish childhood and send the infamous table into retirement. But as Ingrid turns on the charm in order to manipulate her situation, the family starts questioning her motives. And when her first love comes in the form of first betrayal (he's Brianne's boyfriend), Ingrid is forced to consider how she fits into this family and what it means to grow up.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew 30

"Nancy ought to go as the Queen of Mystery," Bess remarked.  "I'll bet it won't be long before she's in the midst of another case."  p.177
Nancy gets involved in a mystery surrounding some party thieves.  A gang is going around posing as guests and stealing the valuables from the hosts.  The owner of the party planner business is about to get sued and it's up to Nancy to clear his name and catch the bad guys.
Honestly, this one was a little too easy.  It was immediately obvious, more so than her other mysteries, who was going to end up being the thief and I was surprised.  Nancy took forever, it seemed, to figure it out and get cracking on it. 
And George was kidnapped and threatened and she completely freaks out, which is a very normal reaction, and everyone is worried and Nancy still won't give up the case because she just has this compulsion to find out.  But since Nancy is never phased by being knocked out or kidnapped or threatened, she thinks no one else should be.  But the weird thing was that the threats made weren't that bad and I was surprised by George's reaction.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sapphique (Incarceron #2) by Catherine Fisher

In the stunning sequel to Incarceron, Claudia and Finn are on the outside trying to get Keiro and Attia Out.  Meanwhile, on the Inside, that same pair have stumbled onto the Glove of Sapphique, the only man to have ever Escaped.  But the Prison wants the Glove too as it provides a means for It to Escaped Itself.  And on the Outside, Claudia and Finn play their own dangerous game with the Queen who will stop at nothing to preserve the Era and stop the Prison.
The library of the Academy was a vast and hushed collection of room.  Great oak cabinets of books, some of them chained, stood in ranks down the galleried halls.  p.221 ARC
I must admit that I was surprised to find out that Incarceron was only two books.  I mean everything else in the book world seems to be a trilogy.  So it was refreshing to find that the author wasn't going to drag out this story over an unnecessary three books.  Consequently there is tons of action and a satisfying conclusion.  I approve.  Sapphique moved the characters along, never keeping them anywhere long enough to get comfortable and kept me on my toes.  I also approve.

Really I would say that the Prison is the most interesting character.  All the characters have something to add to the story though a few (Claudia and Finn) are a little annoying about it.  But the Prison.  Wow.  A sentient Prison bent on escaping itself and seeing the Outside, all because of *SPOILER* the dreams of one man who the Prison actually loved and who shared his dreams with it.*END*  I was intrigued.  The people characters provided the action, the background, but Incarceron really provided the emotion.

My only complaint is that the point of view shifted much too often, in the middle of a scene most of the time.  It threw me off a bit.  I preferred how the first book was written in a more chapter oriented alternation, rather than in the middle of a paragraph.  And I almost wished for a POV directly from Incarceron though that might have been too dark a place to go. **And you almost get that in the end anyway**

Provided by Traveling ARC Tours
Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Virgin Territory by James Lecesne

Dylan is a apathetic teenager working as a golf caddy at one of his town's many golf courses.  But when the Virgin Mary appears on a tree on the golf course turning into a destination for miracles, he finds his life changed after befriending the Virgin Club, a group of teenagers dragged around with their parents.
And yet my mother was able to see something in me that no one else could eve imagine, not even me.  Love gave her second sight, and I don't think science has a name for that.  p. 5 ARC
Did I love this? Well, I'm not in love with it.  It was good, wanted to be quirky and failed a bit.  But I found it to be a very touching story and it brought tears to my eyes a few times.  I felt for Dylan and his father, both dealing with the huge loss of Dylan's mother.  Dylan's father did annoy me.  He didn't seem to have the ability to see what Dylan was feeling.  It was like he wanted to be a good father and he didn't know how.  Dylan came off confused and lonely and sad though he tried to hide it most of the time.

As for the whole Virgin Club thing, it felt forced.  And I really didn't like Angela, the girl of the whole thing.  You know the one that every boy loves and who is so quirky and different that it is amazing.  Yeah, she didn't work for me.  This would have been better without her.  I loved the story of Marie, the grandmother and I liked the other members of the Virgin Club.  All in a all it was good enough to finish, but not great.

Provided by Traveling ARC Tours
Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gone (Wake #3) by Lisa McMann

The final book in the Wake trilogy finds Janie trying to decide how to handle her inevitable crippling.  She is torn by the desire to save her sight and her hands or to stay with Cabel who loves her desperately.
To Janie, this room doesn't feel like a part of the house.  It's more just a door to another world, a portal to sorrow, from which Dorothea appears and disappears at random.  p.46

This was a sad series overall, but Gone gave a some hope with a very appropriate ending.  I liked Janie and I liked Cable and I loved their relationship.  Not always easy and not all consuming, but very realistic.  And poor Janie with her choice that seems like no choice at all.  I didn't have any expectations with Gone, but I found it very satisfying.  The writing is intentionally choppy and has sort of a dream-like quality and there were a few adjustment moments for me.  But all in all Janie transitioned well through the series as a whole and I think got the ending she deserved.

Hogwarts: Divination

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Sapphique

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Grab your current read
Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

In Incarceron he had dreamed of them, his symbol of Escape; now he realized they were still that, that he was still imprisoned.  Perhaps he always would be.

p.168 ARC Sappphique Catherine Fisher

Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 8/9

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading Adios, Nirvana (Wesselhoeft) and Shadow of the Sun (Kreitzer). I'm listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) and The Red Pyramid (Riordian)

Last week I read Virgin Territory and Sapphique (Fisher). 

Reviews posted:
Princess of Glass (George)
Sleeping in Flame (Carroll)
Sisters Red (Pearce)
Fairies and the Quest for Never Land (Levine)

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Galen is a young soldier returning from war; Rose is one of twelve princesses condemned to dance each night for the King Under Stone. Together Galen and Rose will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to dance at the midnight balls. All they need is one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love—to conquer their foes in the dark halls below. But malevolent forces are working against them above ground as well, and as cruel as the King Under Stone has seemed, his wrath is mere irritation compared to the evil that awaits Galen and Rose in the brighter world above.

Provided by Traveling ARC Tours

Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft ARC
Release Date: Oct 2010
When you piss off a bridge into a snowstorm, it feels like you’re connecting with eternal things. Paying homage to something or someone. But who? The Druids? Walt Whitman? No, I pay homage to one person only, my brother, my twin.
In life. In death.
Telemachus. Since the death of his brother, Jonathan’s been losing his grip on reality. Last year’s Best Young Poet and gifted guitarist is now Taft High School’s resident tortured artist, when he bothers to show up. He’s on track to repeat eleventh grade, but his English teacher, his principal, and his crew of Thicks (who refuse to be seniors without him) won’t sit back and let him fail.

Also Provided by Traveling ARC Tours
Shadow of the Sun by Laura Kreitzer
Release Date: Feb. 2010
Gabriella’s past is a mystery, but that never stopped her from achieving her goals. As a supernatural specialist, and far more intelligent than anyone her age, she has always been ignored by her peers. Because of the isolation she has always felt, she put her life and soul into her job. Being a supernatural specialist hasn’t given her the divine intervention she always longed for, until one day a shipment arrives from Italy containing three dead bodies with an uncanny ability to regenerate. Gabriella is frightened and intrigued, but not as scared as she becomes when a dark creature attacks her.As the bodies come back to life, the plot takes an unexpected twist that you won’t see coming. The supernatural world only begins to unfold before her as angels appear, her dreams start to haunt her, and the very past she has forgotten comes back with startling clarity. Romance blooms, escape plans are made, an assassin is out to kill her, and death is only around the corner. But what is more terrifying than all of it is the fact she is the chosen one, the Illuminator, the one who will save them all.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ponyo (Based on a Fairy Tale)

The storyline is a take on "The Little Mermaid" by  Hayao Miyazaki.  Ponyo is a young goldfish who come to love Sōsuke, a five year old boy.  Defying her father, she goes to Sōsuke and tries to stay with him.  But her father, a sorcerer, does not wish for her to be human so he enlists her mother, a sea goddess, to get Ponyo back.

It was such a sweet movie with a nice message about saving sea life.  The animation seemed rougher/sharper in some places like for the sorcerer, but was very fluid and soft for Ponyo and the water scenes.  It was a nice choice since it showed the character of each scene.

I was also impressed with Noah Cyrus (Ponyo) and Frankie Jonas (Sōsuke).  Both did a great job on the voices.  I was afraid because sometimes the voice over actors are awful (Castle in the Sky), but everyone did a fine job.  Other voices include Tina Fey (Sōsuke's mom), Matt Damon (Sōsuke's dad), Liam Nelson (Ponyo's dad), Cate Blanchett (Ponyo's mom) and as the old ladies in the nursing home: Lily Tomlin, Cloris Leachman and Betty White.  It is such an amazing cast!

It has become one of me and my son's favorite movies to watch and I would recommend it to anyone whether they liked anime or not.  Miyazaki is one of the best movie making and I love most if not all of his movies.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fairies and the Quest for Neverland (audio) by Gail Carson Levine

Gwendolyn, descended from The Wendy, patiently awaits her turn for Peter Pan to bring her to Neverland.  But Gwendolyn has no interest in Peter or the Lost Boys, instead she wants to visit the fairies.  When she finally gets her chance to go to Neverland, she befriends the fairies but is warned to "Beware" of loving the fairies too much by Mother Dove.  And then the dragon Kyto escapes from his prison and is bent on the destruction of the fairies and Neverland.  Can Gwendolyn both beware and help save the fairies?

This was different than the first two.  While Quest for the Egg and Quest for the Wand focused on the fairies and was from their point of view, Quest of Neverland was told from Gwendolyn's POV and I don't know if I liked that.  It was a very cute story and in a way it was nice to see the fairies from an outside view and I doubt the storyline would have worked for anyone but Gwendolyn's POV but still I don't know.

But still it was precious and it was nice to see more of Tink and the rest and to know how it really works in Fairy Haven.  There were a couple of surprising moments and I even exclaimed outloud at one point.   It doesn't shy away from having bad things happen to characters.  Still it ended on a happily ever after as it should and I thoroughly enjoyed this entire series. 

Hogwarts: Care of Magical Creatures

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sisters Red Q&A

For Once Upon a Week, we were given some questions to consider for Sisters Red.  For the entire spoiler-ridden discussion, check out Today's Adventure.  Obviously, there are spoilers in my answers.

Was the book scarier than you were expecting?  It was a little more violent than I had expected, but not scarier.  Still that's fine.  I can liken it to Buffy violence.

Which of the two sisters did you relate to more? Why? Neither really.  I like Rosie better but felt more for Scarlett.  She just had such a hard time and was very driven, very focused.

What did you think of the relationship dynamics between Scarlett and Rosie?  It was extremely co-dependent and a little unhealthy (for good reason), but I'm glad at the end they saw that it was ok to be two different people with different life goals.

Obviously this wasn't a straight up fairy tale retelling, but what did you think of the way the bits of Red Riding Hood were worked in? It was such a great direction in which to take the tale.  Much more like the original story where everyone gets eaten and no one rescues them.  There was a real moral in that tale and this felt like a throwback to that more violent tale. I liked at the end where Rosie is chanting to herself that she will rescue herself and not wait for a hunter or woodsman.  So awesome!

What was your favorite moment in the story? When Rosie single-handedly chokes the Alpha to death.  I mean, how great was that!  So much power and strength for the weakest character.

Was there anything about the book you really didn't like?  I actually didn't care about Rosie and Silas.  I mean, their relationship was so very subplot to me that whether they stayed together or not made no difference to me although it was important to the character.  I didn't hate it and it was necessary to the plot.  I just didn't care too much.

Did you see the ending coming, or was it a surprise?  I figured Silas would be the Potential.  He kind of had to be.  But it was still cool.

Did you like the ending?  Yeah, it was fine and appropriate.  No complaints from me.

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

The March sisters are hunters, after the werewolves responsible for the death of their grandmother and unsuspecting girls everywhere.  Scarlett is consumed by it, having face down a werewolf when she was 12, determined to kill them all and to protect her sister.  Rosie longs for a normal life but knows she owes her current life to her sister and continues on with the hunt.  But when Rosie reaches out for a more normal life, will her sister stand in her way?

I like libraries.  It's a comfort that knowledge can be saved for so long.  That what we learn can be passed on.  p.107
This is a kick ass book in more ways than one.  It was like Buffy/Underworld awesome.  I hadn't anticipated the level of violence but it is on par with The Hunger Games or Rampant.  That stuff doesn't bother me but just a warning if it bothers you.  Sisters Red is, of course, a Red Riding Hood fractured fairy tale.  It's an interesting Buffy-esque take on the tale, but that really lends itself to kick ass heroines and bad ass wolves.  There are some genuine laugh out loud moments combined with all the fighting action.  And, as a librarian, I really appreciated how much the March sisters like the library.  Very very cool.

*Possibly spoilery*
The characters were both strong and sad.  I really felt sorry for both Rosie and Scarlett, having face down a werewolf at a young age and surviving with the burning desire to kill them all.  Scarlett was so driven, both obsessed with the hunt and, to a degree, what her life would have been like otherwise.  I think she was the most complex of all the characters.  Rosie, on the other hand, was the more sympathetic.  She longed for something different, but had a hard time reconciling that longing with the idea that she owed her sister her life.  There were a few moments I wanted to shake them both, but I know they can kick my butt so I refrained.  Seriously. 

Hogwarts: Care of Magical Creatures
Colorful Reading