Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Book Pick

 
Favorite Book:



Red Glove by Holly Black
This was hands down my favorite book.  I really love this series and I thought that Red Glove was a strong sequel to White Cat.  Few authors succeed in writing a strong follow-up but Black is more than successful.   I highly recommend this series to everyone.

Audio book: Since I have listened to one book this month, I can't really pick a favorite.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Betsy and Joe by Maud Hard Lovelace

Betsy is now a senior and she is ready for a great year.  The elusive Joe Willard is finally  interested in her and everything seems perfect for her senior year.  But Tony Markham has become interested in her as well and proud Joe does not like the competition especially since Betsy is unwillingly to hurt Tony's feelings.  Suddenly everything is not as perfect as it was suppose to be.
 It was getting difficult, though, to divide he time between Joe and Tony.  Balancing their claims, she felt sometimes like an acrobat on a tight rope.  p.142
The last high school book!  It was bittersweet to see Betsy and her friends graduate high school.  I am happy that they had a great year even if it didn't turn out like Betsy wanted.  I was frustrated by her inability to politely tell Tony that she preferred Joe.  I understand that they are good friends and she was trying to keep him from the "bad crowd" but I think she did it at the expense of Joe.  Also she did Joe a disservice by not explaining her reasons for going around with Tony.  He might have understood if she had tried to explain. 

I wasn't too keen on the football part of the story.  But I liked hearing about all the dances and the clothing.  It is interesting to read about how things were done in 1910.  And I wonder if they ever resolve the Carney/Larry subplot.  I guess I will find out in the next books. 

Hogwarts: 7 in a series

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Betsy in Spite of Herself & Betsy Was a Junior by Maud Hart Lovelace

Betsy in Spite of Herself
Betsy is now a sophomore and is extremely popular with her Crowd but she is dissatisfied with how boys look at her.  She wants to be different but doesn't know how to change, until she visits Tib in Milwaukee and decides to go back to Deep Valley Dramatic and Mysterious.  Despite attracting the attention of the sophisticated Phil Brandish, Betsy is unhappy with not acting like herself anymore, proving that it's hard to change your nature.
A Betsy-Tacy picnic, she thought as she foraged, was just about the nicest thing in the world.  p.13
So this book covers Betsy's sophomore year and picks up close to where Heaven to Betsy left off.  Betsy decides she needs to be a different version of herself to shake up her life a little and it works for a bit.  Phil Brandish decides he likes her and they "go around" together for a little while.  But Betsy gets tired of acting different from her nature and lets Phil go in order to go back to being happy, smiling, sometimes silly Betsy.  I like this lesson.  And I like how subtly is it done.  Betsy is not made to be Dramatic and Mysterious and I am happy that she embraces her nature at the end of the book.  It is also nice how her relationship with Joe is slowly built up over time and doesn't happen all at once.  That is so much better than how books are sometimes written now.

Betsy Was a Junior
Now that Betsy is a junior in high school, she has decided to mature and sets up a list of resolutions for the year.  But soon she is caught up in the idea of sororities as a result of her sister's Julia's experiences at college and decides to form her own sorority at Deep Valley High, derailing her resolutions.
"I really want him for a friend," Betsy thought. "Not just that I'm sweet on him.  We have so much in common.  We were intended to be friends." p.207
Tib is back! This made me so happy.  Of course, she was in Betsy in Spite of Herself for a little bit, but now is back in Deep Valley for good.  It is nice to see her and her practicality is a great rounder to the Betsy-Tacy team.  It's funny to remember the little girls from the first books and reconcile them with the teenagers of these books. 
Betsy starts a sorority which seems like a good idea at the time, but it means that some girls are excluded and that does not go over well.  The girls who are asked are already in the Crowd so it's not like Betsy means to exclude anyone but that is the nature of sororities.  But then nothing Betsy wanted to do goes right.  She had planned on excelling in school and going with Joe and learning the piano and hanging out with her younger sister more now that Julia has gone to college. But she only really manages to do one of those things.  But Betsy has a good heart and she tries to do the right thing but she can be careless a lot of the time and she doesn't stop to think about what she is doing.  But she matures more in this book.


Hogwarts: 7 in a series

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 6/27


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 and Joe (Lovelace) and Imaginary Girls (Suma).  I'm listening to Mississippi Jack (Meyer) and Glee: The Beginning (Lowell).

Since last week I have read Betsy in Spite of Herself and Betsy Was a Junior (Lovelace).
Reviews posted: Spoiled (Cocks and Morgan); Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (Lovelace); Heaven to Betsy (Lovelace); Red Glove (Black); In the Belly of the Bloodhound (Meyer).


From the publisher
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown & Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (Betsy-Tacy #4)

Betsy, Tacy and Tib are 12 and begin to explore the town they live in further.  They go downtown shopping and Tib rides in a horseless carriage and they attend the theater.
Betsy and Tacy and Tib were twelve years old now, and when they made plans like that they didn't quite believe them.  But they liked to make them anyhow.  p.116
I've said it before.  I like how these stories grow up with the girls.  It's like getting to know them when they are 5 and watching them grow up into young ladies.  They are still children in this story though they are growing up fast.  It's fun to read about the era that they grew up in and the excitement over the horseless carriage and the theater troupes and on on.  And on the dime novels that the hired girl at the Ray's house lends them are considered shocking and too old for 12 year olds to read.  I liked the plot with Mrs. Poppy though I felt sorry for her and her part in the other plot about Mrs. Ray's long lost brother was nice.  I also liked Betsy's trip to the library (of course) and what a wonder that is for her.  It was really sweet.


Heaven to Betsy (Betsy-Tacy #5)
Betsy and Tacy are freshmen in high school now, making new friends and becoming apart of the affectionate Crowd.  Betsy is becoming more interested in boys and in developing her talents as a writer.
"Now," said Mr. Ray.  "I'd better go put the coffee pot on." For that was what the family always did in moments of stress.  p.213
Now that Betsy is a freshmen, her whole world expands once again to accommodate more friends and new loves.  It's exciting to see Betsy and Tacy growing up.  I missed Tib.  I was surprised that she had moved away in the interim and it wasn't really made a big deal of.  I'm glad that Betsy and Tacy are still best friends and that they always have each other, but are willing to let each other make new friends and it doesn't compromise their friendship.

I also love the descriptions of the hair and clothing styles.  It sounds just lovely, the way they dressed and entertained themselves.  Reminds me of Meet Me in St. Louis, one of my favorite musicals.   I love that Betsy and her sister, Julia, are allowed to decide career paths for themselves and their parents support them wholeheartedly. And that the sisters are also allowed to decided their own religion.  It's very progressive for that time. 

Hogwarts: 7 in a series

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Red Glove (The Curse Workers #2) by Holly Black

Cassel returns to his boarding school after discovering just what kind of curse work he is capable of and, after his mother works Lila, the girl he loves and consequently
can no longer have. When his brother is murdered Cassel becomes trapped between the FBI and the mob, both of whom want to use his talents for their own cause.

I have to say that Red Glove was as brilliant as White Cat, a book that I loved wholeheartedly.  Even as Cassel explains how to swindle a mark, I can't help but love him.  I feel sorry for him and I keep hoping he can just get out of this whole thing alive.  He is certainly not an innocent character but there is something about him that invites sympathy and I sincerely hope that he can get together with Lila and live a normal life.  I don't think that is possible but, you know, one can hope. 

I love the world of the curse workers that Black has built.  It is intriguing that, as one of the FBI agents says, if you know that you are a curse worker then you've already broken the law.  Because it is taboo to lay bare hands on someone else and it is illegal to work someone.  I love how just the sight of bare hands causes an extreme reaction in people.  It's almost like being naked and carrying a loaded weapon at the same time.

SPOILERS:
(highlight) ** I just wanted to say that I was kind of right about the chair.  In my review of White Cat, I questioned the chair, thinking maybe it was Cassel's dad.  I was wrong about that, but it was a person.  I feel alright about my detecting ability right now because I also was guessed it was Maura that killed her husband.**

Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In the Belly of the Bloodhound : Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber by L.A. Meyer



Returning to the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in order to avoid piracy charges, Jacky Faber finds herself in another problematic situation.  Most of the girls from the school including Jacky herself are kidnapped by slavers and are trapped in the belly of the slaver's ship.  Jacky must use her cunning to get the girls out of their terrible situation.  

Another adventure for Jacky "Mary" Faber!  This one was sadder since it explored what slaves endured on their passages from Africa to the New World.  It was heartbreaking listening to it.  The girls are in a similar situation though they aren't chained up and seem to have more freedom than the black slaves that are usually in the hold.  I guess because they are "well born" and are going to be sold to harems and not as field hands.  I kind of thought that kidnapping well to do young ladies for a social slight on the parent of one of their parents was a shaky reason to kidnap and enslave anyone, but it made for a good story and showed that Jacky is capable of handling any situation.

I think that Jaimey underestimates Jacky too much.  He refers to her often as a silly girl and doesn't seem to realize how clever she really is.  Higgins has more faith in her and isn't surprised in the least when she manages to rescue all the girls while Jaimey really is surprised.  I don't think he is good enough for Jacky and doubt he could keep her tied down. 




15 hours

As always, Katherine Kellgren is the narrator of this book and does a fine job.  She is a good voice actress and I enjoy listening to her.

Hogwarts: Charms
Bloody Jack
Whisper in my Ear

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Molly Dix is in shock.  Her mother revealed to her that her father is Brick Berlin, famous movie star, right before she died.  Now Molly is moving to L.A. to get to know her father at last.  But Brick's other daughter, Brooke, is none too happy and out to make Molly's life miserable.

I'll try not to let my love of Go Fug Yourself get in my way of any objective review, but it's hard since the authors of Spoiled are the authors of that website.  I love those ladies and that is one of the funniest websites I've ever read.  Seriously check it out.  The best thing is that they have taken that same sense of humor and written a YA book so score for me!  It is definitely an over-the-top, fluffy, hilarious beach read.  The plot is a little predicable.  Good girl finds out about famous dad, half-sister is not happy, makes her miserable, etc.  There wasn't anything really surprising about it.  But the fun is in the details.  And the details were fun!  So many pop culture jokes and fashion statements in one book.  I adored this book. 

Brooke and Molly were everything you'd expect, though there were a few surprises here and there.  I love a mean girl in a story and Brooke was definitely all mean girl.  But Molly had some backbone in her too and that was great to see.  I hate it when the nice girl just lays down and takes it.  And Brick was crazy over-the-top with his random sayings and his trying to parent trap the girls into being friends.  The rest of the characters were funny too and there was a nice little romance in the story to spice it up.  It concluded hilariously and there will be a second book next summer.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 6/20


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 Imaginary Girls (Suma) and Betsy in Spite of Herself (Lovelace) and I'm listening to Mississippi Jack (Meyer) and Glee: The Beginning (Lowell).

Since the last time I posted, I've read Spoiled (Cocks and Morgan), Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (Lovelace), Heaven to Betsy (Lovelace) and Red Glove (Black).

The wedding, for those of you who are interested, was lovely and we all had a good time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ruby Red Giveaway!

Thanks to the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, I am giving away one copy of Kerstin Gier's upcoming book, Ruby Red.  

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Sounds awesome right!?  Just fill out the form.  Giveaway ends June 15, 2011.  US or Canada only.  Winner will be chosen randomly and e-mailed for mailing address.


And here is the awesome book trailer as well!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 6/6 + Hiatus!

In other news, I'll be on a hiatus of sorts for a little bit. We have a big wedding in the family this week and I have a feeling that I won't have time this week or next to write too many reviews. See ya soon!


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 Spoiled (Cocks and Morgan) and Imaginary Girls (Suma) and listening to Glee: The Beginning (Lowell).

Last week I read Ultraviolet (Anderson) and listened to In the Belly of the Bloodhound (Meyer).  I started Blood Red Road (Young) but wasn't in the mood so it was abandoned.  I'll try again another time.
Other reviews: Under the Jolly Roger (Meyer)

On my Nook
Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan


16-year-old Molly Dix loves her ordinary life in suburban Indiana, so when her single mother passes away, she is shocked to discover that her biological father is Brick Berlin, world famous movie star and red carpet regular.
Equally intrigued and terrified by her Hollywood lineage, Molly moves to Southern California and plunges head-first into the deep end of Beverly Hills celebrity life. Just as Molly thinks her new life and family couldn't get any stranger, she meets Brooke Berlin, her gorgeous and spoiled half-sister whom welcomes Molly to la-la land with a healthy dose of passive-aggressive "sisterly love."
Set against the backdrop of a sparkling and fashion-filled Los Angeles, this deliciously dysfunctional family soap opera will satisfy every reader looking for their next lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous beach read. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Alison wakes up in a mental institution with no memory of how she got there.  As she begins to remember what happened, she also remembers confessing to killing a classmate.  But how she remembers that event doesn't make any sense because people just don't disintegrate. Do they?  As Alison struggles to make sense of that event, she always begins unraveling the mysteries of her own mind and her special abilities.
Dark chocolate, poured over velvet: that was how his voice tasted.  I wanted him to follow me around and narrate the rest of my life.  e-ARC
So this was different.  It starts Girl, Interrupted and then sharply detours into science fiction.  Alison wakes up in the psych ward of a hospital covered in scratches and bruises with no memory of what happened.  She is then moved to a mental health institution for young adults to recover and maybe tell what happened to her classmate, Tori, who disappeared the same day that Alison went crazy.  The description of Pine Hills, the place that Alison goes, is really well written and very realistic.  I could picture the place in my mind perfectly and it had a nice mix of patients that really illustrated the story the author was trying to tell. 

Another aspect of Alison's story is her synesthesia.  I've read a few books about this condition before and was interested to see it employed in this book.  I liked how it was made integral part of the story but was not the point of the story.  Alison didn't even realize that her extrasensory abilities had a name until part way through the story.  It gave the story some interesting depth and played nicely into the climax of the story. 

Provided by NetGalley
Publish date: September 1, 2011
Hogwarts: Astronomy

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Under the Jolly Roger: Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber by L.A. Meyer

From Goodreads:
After leaving the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston--under dire circumstances, of course--Jacky Faber boards a whaling ship bound for London, where she hopes to find her beloved Jaimy. But things don't go as planned, and soon Jacky is off on a wild misadventure at sea. She thwarts the lecherous advances of a crazy captain, rallies sailors to her side, and ultimately gains command of a ship in His Majesty's Royal Navy. But Jacky's adventures don't end there. . . 

It's funny that this book feels like two separate adventures because it all comes full circle in the end.  Jacky winds up on the Wolverine, pressed into service after being mistaken for a boy.  Once on ship she reveals herself as a girl but the lecherous captain has ideas about her and keeps her aboard.  Since she is Jacky Faber, she makes herself useful begins training the men.  Later she escapes after a particular incident with the captain and commanders the Emerald for herself, beginning a life of profiteering until her letter of mark is revoked, marking her as a pirate instead.  But Jacky shows herself true and always manages to come out of this situations alright.  


I wonder if her relationship with Jamey is going to succeed.  I don't think he has it in him to hold her for long and I cannot see Jacky settling down and being the good wife.  Jamey seems to be alright and he cares for her but I feel like she might outgrow him 


15 hours

I'm not sure what more I can say about Katherine Kellgren the narrator of these books.  She is awesome and certainly the voice of Jacky and the rest of her friends.  I love her singing voice and how much emotion she puts into her readings.

Hogwarts: Fight or Flight
Bloody Jack
Whisper in my Ear