Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Book Picks

I had a tough choice this month but ultimately decided on

Favorite Book:

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
This was an incredibly beautiful, soulful book that just spoke to me.  It's amazing how a simple concept, a story told in dictionary form, can be so evocative.  I think there is something for everyone, especially those who've been in love or in a long term relationship.

Favorite Audio: 

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson, read by Jenna Lamia
I had a few minor problems with the narrator but, in the end, I began to enjoy the choice of reader.  In the end, the story was compelling enough to overcome any issues I had, including the fact that it was not as original as what I had hoped for.  In fact, I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex (audio) by Eoin Colfer

 In the 7th installment of the Artemis Fowl series, Artemis has developed something called The Atlantis Complex, a fairy disease of the mind that induces OCD-like behavior as well as paranoia and multiple personality disorder.  A strange confluence of events leads Artemis, Butler, Holly, Mulch Diggums, and Juliet to the Atlantis City and right into trouble because it seems one of the prisoners is determined to escape.

While I'm a big fan of this series, I was a little less keen on this book.  Artemis is acting different with his Atlantis Complex and I really just wanted the old boy genius back.  I guess it's good to explore different sides of him, but I like devious Artemis Fowl the best.  But still this was a nice addition to the Artemis Fowl story.  It was fun and went at a nice pace.  It's always great to see the gang together and Colfer invents creative ways to get everyone in the same boat so to speak.  Though it's a bit more little literal in this book since they do, in fact, end up in the same actual boat, trying to figure out how the villain's plan worked.

This is the penultimate book in the Artemis Fowl series and I have no idea what the last book will be about.  Opal, maybe.  She is briefly mentioned in this book.  There is no overarching plot that I can remember so I wonder how the series will wrap up.

8 hours, 10 minutes

Nathaniel Parker has narrated all the Artemis Fowl books and I really love the way he does it.  He has a nice voice and has perfected the various voices he uses for all the characters.  Often the way he reads gives me a bit of a Hitchhikers vibe, but maybe that is because Colfer wrote the last book in that series and I have that on my mind.  Anyway, the audio books are a really fun way to enjoy this series.

Hogwarts: Care of Magical Creatures
Off the Shelf
Whisper in my Ear

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cinderella, Ninja Warrior & Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer (e-books) by Maureen McGowen

"Thanks, but I don't need saving.  Really." She did need saving, but she planned to save herself.  p.97 e-book
A fractured fairy tale with a twist.  In this "choose your own plot" adventure, Cinderella is held prisoner by her evil wizard stepmother and made to be a servant in her own house.  She secretly begins practicing ninja skills and testing her magic abilities.  But a visit from a mysterious servant from the royal house starts a chain of events for Cinderella and her escape.

I loved Choose Your Adventure books when I was young and I love fractured fairy tales so this book seemed right up my alley.  I did like it.  It was very fun though I wouldn't so much call Cinderella a "ninja warrior" as much as a really amazing fighter.  The language felt too modern for the setting but that is my only real complaint.  It was an action packed adventure something you don't see a lot in fairy tales and, though I had a hard time picturing the fighting, it was still exciting.  The choose your own direction part was neat and though I didn't go through all of the possibilities, I will one day.

Hogwarts: History of Magic

The girl's first instinct had been to go for her stake, rather than sounding the alarm to bring help.  She admired Lucette's instinct to act, rather than relying on others to save her.  This girl had potential. p.306 e-book
Another twisted fairy tale with a "choose your own adventure" plot.  This one was also fun.  I love how the curse came from the neighboring vampire queen rather than an evil fairy queen and how the curse changed as well.  Lucette, Sleeping Beauty, is cursed to prick her finger at 16 and to fall asleep during daylight hours, but then wake during the night while everyone else sleeps.  So she essentially alone at night with the vampires.  But she learns to fight, much to her dad's displeasure, and becomes a vampire slayer. 
Once again I didn't go through all the choices, but I am definitely going to go through them soon.

Hogwarts:  Care of Magical Creatures

Both provided by NetGalley

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekly Round Up 3/28

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 Betsy-Tacy and Tib (Lovelace) and The Goddess Test (Carter). I'm listening to Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex (Colfer) and Paranormalcy (White).

Last read I read Spying in High Heels (Halliday), Cinderella, Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer (McGowan)
Other reviews posted: Real Live Boyfriends (Lockhart), The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Pearson), Queens of All the Earth (Sternberg)

Won from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers
Department 19 by Will Hill
In a secret supernatural battle that's been raging for over a century, the stakes have just been raised -- and they're not wooden anymore. When Jamie Carpenter's mother is kidnapped by strange creatures, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government's most secret agency. Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can't stand up against!

Metrogirl (audio) by Janet Evanovich, read by C.J. Critt 
"Wild" Bill Barnaby's dropped off the face of the earth and big sister Alex heads for Miami, Bill's last known sighting, on a harrowing hunt to save her brother ... and maybe the world. Truth is, Alex has been bailing her brother out of trouble since they were kids. Not that Bill's a bad sort. More that he acts first and thinks later. Unfortunately, this time around, Wild Bill will be Dead Bill if Alex doesn't find him in time.Alex blasts through the bars of South Beach and points her search south to Key West and Cuba, laying waste to Miami hit men, dodging palmetto bugs big enough to eat her alive, and putting the pedal to the metal with NASCAR driver Sam Hooker. Engaged in a deadly race, Wild Bill's "borrowed" Hooker's sixty-five-foot Hatteras and sailed off into the sunset ... just when Hooker has plans for the boat. Hooker figures he'll attach himself to Alex and maybe run into bill. Maybe Hooker can salvage what's left of his vacation. And maybe Hooker'll get lucky in love with Bill's sweetie-pie sister. After all, Hooker is NASCAR Guy. And NASCAR Guy is good at revving a woman's engine. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spying in High Heels (High Heels Mysteries#1) by Gemma Halliday

Maddie Springer is a children's shoe designer with a perfect lawyer boyfriend.  That is until he goes missing and people start turning up dead.  With a pregnancy test to take and a sexy cop implying bad things, Maddie is determined to find her boyfriend and clear this mystery up.

Somehow I couldn't bring myself to actually say the word "murder" out loud.  It seemed so John Grisham and so not anyone's real life.  At least not anyone I knew.  e-book
This was adorable.  Though Maddie reminded me of a less spunky Stephanie Plum, I still really enjoyed it.  Maddie was cute, Ramirez (the cop) was super hot and the mystery was fun.  I was almost surprised by who dunnit but, in the end, I guessed right before the reveal but I count that as well done.  Maddie's inability to take a simple pregnancy becomes this full on obsession with finding her missing boyfriend and leads to her solving this case and a really crazy "fight" scene.  It was really funny and, if you like Stephanie Plum or any chick lit type mysteries then I suggest you try this one.

Hogwarts: Hide and Seek mini-challenge
Take a Chance

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Queens of All the Earth (e-book) by Hannah Sternberg

After a mental breakdown, Olivia Somerset is brought to Barcelona by her stern but loving sister, Miranda for some R&R.  Olivia is drawn to the quiet and strange Greg Brown who is traveling with his father.  And the two families become acquainted after a mix-up with the sister's room and Mr. Brown's offer to switch with them.

If you have ever read A Room with a View, then you will be familiar with the plot of Queens.  There are a few changes here and there, but the basic story is there, just modernized and set in Spain rather than Florence.  Since A Room with a View is one of my favorite classics, I really enjoyed this book.  It is the condensed version and the descriptions of Barcelona are beautiful.  All characters fit their classic counterparts, but there are a few key differences that I liked.  The motivation for the trip comes from Olivia losing touch with reality and having a complete breakdown so her sister kindly travels for a bit of "travel therapy."  And the trip proves therapeutic for the both of them as is wont to happen in these books.  I'm not entirely sure if this is classed as YA or adult, but it really could go either way.  It is an enjoyable book whether or not you have read A Room with a View or not.

Provided by NetGalley
Publish Date: June 15, 2011
Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Adoration of Jenna Fox (audio) by Mary E. Pearson

Jenna Fox spent 18 months in a coma.  When she wakes she finds everything is different.  She's in a new house in a new town and she can't remember most of her life.  But as she begins to explore her new life, she starts to remember her old one and it is very plain that her parents are keeping secrets from her.

I finally got around to Jenna Fox.  I wasn't surprised by what I found frankly.  And I really wanted this book to surprise me.  The first half found me yelling SPOILER She's a freaking AI or something similar because I've read a book before.  But despite my disappointment in the lack of surprise, I actually enjoyed this book.  I like the exploration of the two main questions this book raises: "How far would a parent go to save their child?" and "What makes us human?"  Interesting questions that are often raised in dystopian novels.  It was good that this was written in first person so I got to feel how Jenna felt and understand her thought process.  It's hard to get that in third person so I was glad for the perspective.  I'm actually okay with not being surprised by this book.  And it turned out to be fascinating enough despite being a riff on an old concept.  I'm excited for the next book, The Fox Inheritance, because I think that one might have just as interesting ideas.

7 hours 30 minutes

Sometimes I associated certain voices with certain series and when I hear them somewhere else it throws me off.  I know Jenna Lamia's voice from the Wolves of Mercy Falls series (Shiver, Linger) so I was surprised to find her here.  At first I was not too happy with her voice for this book.  It is too slow and languorous.  But in the end I found myself agreeing (with myself) that her voice worked perfectly fine for Jenna, though I still wouldn't have mind if she had speed it up a bit.  Even in the urgent parts of the book, she still reads too slow.  But she has a nice clear voice and she does a great job of making the characters sound distinct.

Hogwarts: Transfiguration
Whisper in my Ear

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart

In this last installment (*sniff*) of the Ruby Oliver series, Ruby is once again experiencing boy troubles when Noel suddenly withdraws from their relationship.  Ruby is at a loss to explain what happened.  But as she tried to figure out what happened to her real live boyfriend, she realizes how her own behavior is affecting her life.
But you have to like him and he has to like you -  and everyone has to know you're together.
He's your real live boyfriend! p.2
First, let me say that I love, love the Ruby Oliver series.  It is one of the few series that I have read multiple times and now that it is complete I will have to do a complete read through once again.  They are some beautiful, sweet complex books and I love Ruby and all her heartbreak and the unfairness of it all. 

And this book perfectly completes the series.  Do I wish there was more?  Well, yes.  Because I really will miss Ruby.  But I am happy with how the story turned out.  It was a great ending for Ruby.  I'm glad that she finally came to terms with herself and I love with whom she ended up.  And I am often a sucker for footnotes (if they are done right. *cough Bartimaeus*) so I love the lists and the footnotes.  Really there is nothing else to say. A great end to a great series. 

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 3/21

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 Spying in High Heels (Halliday).

Last week I read The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group (Jinks) and Real Live Boyfriends (Lockhart); and listened to The Fixer Upper (Andrews) and The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Pearson).

Sent by the publisher for review

Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell by Crickett Rumley
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Publish date: June 14, 2011
When seventeen-year-old Jane gets kicked out of boarding school (again) and returns to her small town of Bienville, Alabama, she is certain of three things: Her grandmother will be happy to see her. She will be the subject of the town's gossip mill. And there are some people she will have to avoid. But she doesn't expect that those very things will land her smack in the middle of the Bienville's most illustrious event: the Magnolia Maid achievement pageant.

The Wizard of Dark Street by Shawn Thomas Odyssey
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publish date: July 26, 2011
Oona Crate was born to be the wizard's apprentice, but she has another destiny in mind.  Despite possessing he rare gift of natural magic, Oona wants to be a detective.
Eager for a job to prover her crime-solving skills, Oona never expected her first case would be this challenging.  Someone has murdered her uncle -- the Wizard of Dark Street.  Now it's up to our precocious heroine to solve the murder mystery.
Full of magic, odd characters, evil henchmen, and a street where nothing is normal, The Wizard of Dark Street will thrill middle-grade readers and have them guessing until the very end.

Lent by my mom to my Nook
Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday
L.A. shoe designer Maddie Springer lives her life by three rules: Fashion. Fashion. Fashion. But when she stumbles upon the work of a brutal killer, her life takes an unexpected turn from Manolos to murder. And things only get worse when her boyfriend disappears -- along with $20 million in embezzled funds -- and her every move is suddenly under scrutiny by LAPD s sexiest cop. With the help of her post-menopausal bridezilla of a mother, a 300-pound psychic and one seriously oversexed best friend, Maddie finds herself stepping out of her stilettos and onto the trail of a murderer. But can she catch a killer before the killer catches up to her

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group (e-book) by Catherine Jinks

Toby is just a kid, playing around with his friends and causing trouble.  Then one night he wakes up in the dingo pen at the zoo and suddenly things have changed, especially after a priest and a shaggy-haired man show up on his doorstep claiming he is a werewolf.

This is a sequel of sorts to The Reformed Vampire Support Group which I read last year in that it continues some of the story from that book with no resolution at this one either.  I'm guessing there will be another one.  About what I don't know.  But anyway, it is not strictly necessary to have read Reformed Vampire, but it makes more sense if you have.  It took me a minute to remember who Reuben was and the whole plot of the Vampire book.  This was a fun adventure, much more action adventure than the previous book.  I guess because werewolves are much more robust than vampires.  Jinks certainly does not let up in this book once it gets started.  The first half was slow and I was getting tired of Toby and his friends, but then the location changes and I sped through the rest ready to find out what happens next.  While lacking wholly sympathetic characters, because even Toby is enough to wear a person out, it was still a decent book.  I found a few funny moments, but it is also very rough and tumble, much like a werewolf.  I was happy to see the vampires and I look forward to reading how the over-arcing story pans out.

Provided by NetGalley
Publish date: April 14, 2011

Hogwarts: Transfiguration
350 Pages

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Fixer Upper (audio) by Mary Kay Andrews

After Dempsey Killebrew is implicated in a political scandal, she moves Guthrie, Georgia to Birdsong, a home her father has inherited.  Expecting to do some minor renovations while the scandal blows over, Dempsey is, instead, tasked with doing some major work on the old home.  But as Birdsong takes shape so does Dempsey's life, in an unexpected way.

When I started this book I kept thinking "What does this remind me of?" and then I remembered; Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews. It had a similar trope with the main character fixing up an old house.  I enjoyed Hissy Fit, just like I enjoyed The Fixer Upper.  Despite having one plot contrivance in common, the two books were different though, of course, the writing and flow in similar.  It is the same author after all.  I really like her tone and her sense of humor.

Dempsey is a very naive woman who gets mixed up in a political scandal involving bribery of a U.S. Congressman.  She heads down to Georgia to wait it out.  There, in Guthrie, she meets a cast of characters including Ella Kate, the cranky old squatter living at Birdsong and T. Carter Berryhill, the adorable attorney/newspaper editor and his father, also an attorney, both of whom take to Dempsey in very different ways.  The romance is so sweet and I liked T. Berryhill.  I think he is a good match for Dempsey.  I was frustrated by Ella Kate and how mean she is at first, but I like how her story pans out and I loved the ending.  Dempsey experiences a lot of character growth and it was nice to see her get hers in the end.

15 hours

Isabel Keating is the narrator of The Fixer Upper and I loved her voice.  Though there were a few places where she couldn't seem to get over her accent, she overall did a nice job with the Southern Georgia accent.  She did a good job of making everyone sound distinct and did really well the the male voices, something with which a lot of narrators seem to struggle.  The audio book was well done with the breaks in the right places.  I enjoyed this audio and look forward to listening to more by this author.

Hogwarts: Charms
Take a Chance
Cover Lover
Whisper in my Ear

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 3/14

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 Abused Werewolf Rescue Group (Jinks) and listening to The Fixer Upper (Andrews).

Last week I read Something New (Wodehouse) and Mother Carey's Chickens (Wiggin).

From NetGalley

Cinderella, Ninja Warrior (Twisted Tales #1) by Maureen McGowan)
Publisher Silver Dolphin
Publish date: 4/1/11
In this fast-paced story full of adventure and romance, Cinderella is more than just a servant girl waiting for her prince—she's a tough, fearless girl who is capable of taking charge of a dangerous situation. Seeking to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother, Cinderella perfects her ninja skills and magic talents in secret, waiting for the day when she can break free and live happily ever after. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Cinderella and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!

Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer (Twisted Tales #2) by Maureen McGowan)
Publisher Silver Dolphin
Publish date: 4/1/11
In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is an entirely new type of fairy tale–one that will keep today's kids guessing and offer them hours of magical fun.

Leave It to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse
One of the most perennially popular of all the Wodehouse titles, Leave it to Psmith, according to Wilfrid Sheed, "helps to usher in the Wodehouse golden age" -- the age of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, Blandings Castle and all the rest, among whom the ingenious Psmith ("The p is silent, as in phthisis, psychic, and ptarmigan") is entirely worthy to be counted. A debonair young Englishman who has quit the fish business, "even though there is money in fish and decided to support himself by doing anything that he is hired to do by anyone, Psmith, wandering in and out of romantic, suspenseful and invariably hilarious situations, is in the great Wodehouse tradition.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mother Carey's Chickens by Kate Douglas Wiggin

After the death of her husband, Mrs. Carey and her children pack up and move to the Yellow House in Beulah, a country village.

There is an old Hayley Mills movie called Summer Magic that is based on this book.  I love that movie and have been meaning to read the book it was based on for a while now.  This was a very sweet book.  I can see the similarities between the movie and the book and, while it is not faithful, the movie manages to capture the tone of the book though it gets rid of the language thankfully.  Because the flowery language is the hardest part of the book and I found myself skipping over bits of it.

Nancy is the eldest, spunkiest daughter (Hayley Mills played her) and I really liked her.  She was funny and spirited and charming.  There are 3 more Carey children, Gilbert the oldest boy, Kathleen the youngest girl and Peter the youngest and the smallest boy.  Together they all rally around their mother after their father's death and help to support her and do their best with lot that life has handed them, especially since they don't have a lot of money.  But they get the Yellow House and it makes for a fine life for them.  It really is a charming little book and very sweet.

Hogwarts: Book in the Day mini-challenge

Friday, March 11, 2011

Something New by P.G. Wodehouse

Originally titled Something New, this was republished in the United States as Something Fresh.  When I bought an omnibus Something New was the novel that was included so that is what I read and am reviewing.
If girls realized their responsibilities they would be so careful when they smiled that they would probably abandon the practice altogether.  There are moments in a man's life when a girl's smile can have as important results as an explosion of dynamite.
Something New is classic Wodehouse, but it is early Wodehouse and it is the first of the Blandings Castle Saga.  In it, Lord Emsworth's youngest son, the Honorable Freddie, has become engaged to Aline Peters, the daughter of an American millionaire.  In the course of observing Mr. Peters' priceless scarab collection, the absent-minded Lord Emsworth absconds with one of the scarabs, thinking it a present from Mr. Peters.  Mr. Peters thinks that the old gentleman took it on purpose and contrives a plan to steal it back without Lord Emsworth knowing.  He employs a young man, Ashe Marson, to steal it with a reward of 5000 dollars.  Meanwhile, Miss Peters employs her friend, Joan Valentine, for the same purpose.  When all the parties arrives at Blandings hi-jinks ensue though it ends merrily for all involved.

This was a very amusing story.  I laughed out loud several times.  I like how Lord Emsworth is so absent-minded that he can't even keep track of what he is saying in one conversation.  The core stable of characters is introduced with Lord Emsworth being the central figure.  But we get to know Blandings Castle a bit and are introduced to Rupert Baxter, Lord Emsworth's very efficient secretary and the foil for the robbery.  There was also a surprising amount of women's lib talk, mostly in favor of and that couldn't have been common in 1915.  It is an amusing little comedy and a great start to this series.

Hogwarts: Back in the Day Mini-Challenge

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras!

No parades for me today since it looks like rain, but I've been to 2 this season so that's plenty for me.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 3/7

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 Something New (Wodehouse) and The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group (Jinks) and listening to The Fixer Upper

Reviews posted: The Grimm Legacy (Shulman), The Lover's Dictionary (Levithan), Gigi (Colette)

Following from Net Galley

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publish date: 4/26/2011

Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.
Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he's found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instruction

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Publisher:  Harper Teen
Publish date: 4/26/2011
When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.
Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.
Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.
When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publisher: 5/1/2011
Newbery Honor author of Ella Enchanted Gail Carson Levine weaves a spellbinding tale about a clever heroine, a dragon detective, and a shape-shifting ogre.
Newly arrived in the town of Two Castles, Elodie unexpectedly becomes the assistant to a brilliant dragon named Meenore, and together they solve mysteries. Their most important case concerns the town’s shape-shifting ogre, Count Jonty Um: Someone is plotting against him. Elodie must disguise herself to discover the source of the threat amid a cast of characters that includes a greedy king, a giddy princess, and a handsome cat trainer. 

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publish date: 5/31/2011
How do you defy destiny?
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
(I need to reread it before the sequel)
When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Blog Awards

Lately I've gotten a few blog awards and I wanted to mention them.  Thanks so much y'all.  It is super sweet of you to think of me.

From Dystopian Desserts
and also A Cover Lover

From Reflections of a Bookaholic

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gigi by Colette

From Goodreads:
Gigi is being educated in the skills of the Courtesan: to choose cigars, to eat lobster, to enter a world where a woman's chief weapon is her body. However, when it comes to the question of Gaston Lachaille, very rich and very bored, Gigi does not want to obey the rules.
"A liaison with a great professional lady is the only suitable way for him to wait for a great marriage, always supposing that some day he does marry."  p.29
I have seen the movie Gigi countless times and consider it one of my favorite movies.  I love Leslie Caron and the music is so wonderful.  It wasn't till I was older that I realized how it verges into creepy especially Gaston's song at the end.  But Leslie Caron does not look 16, as Gigi is suppose to be, so the creep factor is dialed down a bit.  

Recently I discovered that Gigi is based on a novella by Colette and decided to read it. The movie follows along with the story so I recognized most of the dialogue and knew what was going to happen next.  It is, of course, shorter and the movie adds scenes that expand on Gaston falling in love with Gigi, but the gist is here.  Gigi is portrayed as an innocent girl who both understands and doesn't understand her family's "career" choice. Gaston is a rich younger man (33) who is friends with Gigi's grandmother and who Gigi has known a long time.  Gradually he develops feelings for her while her family grooms her to become his mistress.  It's actually pretty shocking for our time, but I guess it was less so then?  But the story has a sweet ending and I'm glad I read it.  Now I feel the urge to rewatch the movie.

Hogwarts: Book in the Day mini-challenge
Lazy Girl Mini Challenge

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

Levithan explores a couple's relationship in dictionary entries.
And the thing I hate the most is knowing how much hinges on my reaction, how your unburdening can only lead to me being burdened.
p.60 under composure, n.
This is pure poetry.  So simple and sweet and a little heart-breaking, all in short dictionary like entries.  Not an entire relationship but a snapshot, an idea of one until one pivotal moment.  I really truly love it.  I am going to have to buy this book, just to mark my favorite parts that spoke to my heart.  There is something about watching a love begin and then start to fall apart that most people can identify with.  And while this is not poetry, it is poetic.  And though the entries are mostly very short, it encompasses a couple's beginning and middle, but leaves off open-ended.  I think that it is wonderful how Levithan managed to do that.  How he managed to write a beautiful story in dictionary form is really amazing.  I really cannot say enough good things about this book.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Grimm Legacy (e-book) by Polly Shulman

Because of a history project on the Grimm Brothers, Elizabeth starts working at the New York Circulating Material Repository, a library which loans out material objects rather than books, as a page.  There is she is granted access to the Grimm Collection, a magical collection involving objects collected by the Grimms themselves, not only related to their fairy tales but straight out of them entirely.  Because it turns out the stories which quite made up and that magical objects are extremely powerful and very troublesome...
The stack door opened and an unfamiliar librarian came in.  She was tall and skinny, with glasses and hair in a bun; she looked like a stereotype of a librarian.  She was the first one I'd eve seen who looked like that.  p.42 e-book
The concept of this book is really fun.  You might know how much I love fairy tales and this book was right up my alley. The idea that the magical objects are real is so awesome and I like how they were dangerous too in their own right.  And a lending library of objects, not just magical, but historical and useful made me little librarian's heart flutter.  Really any book set in a library makes me happy, but the idea of this one and how it works is really well thought out and makes me wish I was a librarian there

There are parts that stretch the imagination a bit too much and made me raise an eyebrow and I was less than keen on the boys of the book and how they factored into the story.  I found them off-putting, especially Aaron, the head page.  I waited for him to be a little more umph to justify Elizabeth's interest but I don't feel like I got that.  Elizabeth, though, was a sweet and generous girl, sort of playing out a Cinderella role and she made a good main character.  The adventures that take place really made the book move along and it never stalled.  If you are interested in fairy tales and the Grimm Brothers, then this is a fun book.

Hogwarts: History of Magic