Friday, April 30, 2010

The "Back in the Water" Mini-Challenge - CANCELLED

I have a love of natural horror films which is weird because I don't like being scared and also I like animals.  But still, put on a movie with animals terrorizing small towns and/or people, well I'll watch it every time.  That being said, I'd like to introduce the Back in the Water Mini-Challenge.  Read 2 books in the "killer animal" genre. Challenge runs from May 1, 2010 to August 31, 2010.
Sign up here and I'll provided a separate page for reviews.  Please leave a direct link to your blog post.  Thanks and happy reading!


Jaws - Peter Benchly
Beast - Peter Benchly
White Shark - Peter Benchly
Meg – Steve Alten
Trench - Steve Alten
Primal Waters - Steve Alten
Hell’s Aquarium - Steve Alten
The Loch - Steve Alten
Extinct – Charles Wilson
Hunger – William Dantz
Natural Selection – Dave Freedman
Deeper – James Moore
The Lake – R. Karl Largent
Dark Gold – David Angsten
Ancients – David Lynn Golemon
Spider Legs - Piers Anthony
Shark Lake – John Mckiana
Jurassic Park - John Grisham
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea - Jules Verne

April Wrap-Up

Books read:

Frost Moon (Francis) (e-book)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson (Green and Levithan)
Scarlett Fever (Johnson)
Liar (Larbalestier)
13 to Life (Delany)
Leviathan (Westerfeld)

Audio books finished:
Shiver (Stiefvater)
Graceling (Cashore)


The Little Prince pop-up book

Nancy Drew:

Nancy Drew (2007 movie)

Challenges completed:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beautiful Malice

After her sister's death, Katherine moves in with her aunt, unable to face the loneliness and grief at her own house and also looking for a fresh start.  When she meets beautiful and charismatic Alice, she finally feels like she can move on.  But Alice is hiding a dark side and soon Katherine is afraid of what Alice will do next.
I didn't go to Alice's funeral.
I was pregnant at the time, crazy and wild with grief. p.1
In most books when the sibling dies and the main character blames themselves, it is usually for no real reason.  But, man, does Katherine have a reason.  And, yet, she was wholly sympathetic because she made a choice and she choose wrong.  But that's the thing about choices.  You can't say they are good or bad until you've already made them.  So I felt sorry for Katherine and for her parents and I was wholly creeped about by Alice.  From the book's description, it is apparent that Alice is not all there, but her insanity is best read, it cannot be described.  Her motivation for her behavior was surprising and not lacking, just unwarranted.  I was impressed with the narration through three time periods in Katherine's life and the story of what happened to her sister is unfolded slowly, horrifyingly.  There is a lot of time of guilt and redemption and choices.  I can't say that anything was lacking in this book because all the answers were waiting right there as I read along.  It was an intense and almost sad book.  I liked it.

Won from GoodRead's First Reads (out July 13, 2010)
Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Alive and Well in Prague, New York

Matisse is dragged to a small town in upstate New York when her father's Parkinson disease starts getting worse.  She is unhappy to leave her friends and her way of life in New York City, but mostly she is unhappy with dealing with her father's condition.
I stomped out of the kitchen.  It's great to know that your mother is amused by an attempt on your life.  p.17
I felt really bad for Matisse.  Everything around her is changing and she has no choice in the matter.  And her beloved dad is shuffling around the house dealing with his disease and his depression.  And her mother is pretending that everything is ok.  As a teenager, Matisse feels like she has no control over anything and then she is stuck in a "hick" town that has none of the sophistication she is used to.

I like how she tries to gain control by picking friends and trying to find a boyfriend.  Like these things will give her some control and make her feel better.  Luckily she picks the right friend, unluckily she picks the wrong boy.  But Matisse has some self-respect and knows how to handle herself so it was nice to see a strong female protaginsit in a YA.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
What's in a Name

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Anything but Typical

Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world.Most days it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.
Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird - her name is Rebecca - could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he's terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca wil only see his autism and not who Jason really is. By acclaimed writer Nora Raleigh Baskin, this is the breathtaking depiction of an autistic boy's struggles-and a story for anyone who has ever worried about fitting in.
It was how I felt it sometimes when I was with my mother.  The way I would sometimes just fell just my head or sometimes just my toes and they'd feel warm.  And I felt safe with my mother.  I could breathe easily.  p.23
I was captivated by this story of Jason.  How he failed to recognize distinguishing features on people, and couldn't control his emotions or his physical gestures, how he really felt inside but was unable to express.  It was interesting to "see" inside his mind and how it worked.  So sad and so sweet.  I think I have a better understanding of autism now.  It was interesting to see how Jason couldn't comprehend his mother's emotions except to know the basics.  Complex emotions seemed out of reach for him.  But it was endearing how much he really loves his parents and how he expresses it to himself, but never can to them.  And it was interesting to see how people reacted to him and expected things out of him.  A very moving little book with a wonderful character, I was  deeply impressed with Anything but Typical.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
Autism Awareness

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 4/26

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week and anything of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading The Secret in the Old Attic (Keene), Beautiful Malice (James), The Demon's Lexicon (Brennan), and Blue Noon (Westerfeld).  I'm still listening to The Year of the Flood (Atwood) and Wicked (Maguire).

Since last week I've read 13 to Life (Delany), The Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion, The Quest of the Missing Map, The Clue in the Jewel Box (Keene), and Leviathan (Westerfeld).  I've finished Graceling (Cashore) on audio.

Other reviews posted:
Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (TV)

From the Library is my weekly listing of what I checked out from the library recently.

Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century #1) - Cherie Priest
(after Leviathan, this seemed like a good one to check out.  Also zombies.)
In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

The Demon's Lexicon (Demon's #1) - Sarah Rees Brennan
Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.

Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is des-perate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.

Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries ( TV show)

I discovered the 1978/1979 Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries TV series a few years back when my library bought them on DVD.  Since I like old stuff, I took them home.  And honestly I didn't watch any of the Hardy Boys mysteries.  I"m sure they are fine and all, but having never read the books I wasn't particularly interested in their episodes.  I DID, however, watch the Nancy Drew episodes.  And I really liked them.  Pamela Sue Martin does a great job with Nancy and the first season is really very good.  The mysteries are standard Nancy Drew.  Nancy's main friends are George and Ned and Bess isn't really involved.  Subsequently, George takes on qualities ascribed to both girls and it balances out the character more.

The second season is a little weird though.  Most of the mysteries are Hardy Boys mysteries and Nancy only helps out.  I wasn't too fond of this, but it seems they were phasing out Nancy Drew since Martin was leaving the show as in the third season it is all Hardy Boys episodes.  So I don't really care for those two seasons.  The first is by far the best for Nancy Drew fans.  All the season are available on DVD and Netflix even streams them so now I have them available all the time!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Nook ereader (vlog)

So I made a video about my Nook. It ended up being a little long, but let me know what you think.  Sorry about how blurry some of it came out.

And, of course, some new features just came out after I made this, like games and an abbreviated web browser and a few other neat things.

Watch Nook in People & Blogs  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Friday, April 23, 2010

A rare soapbox post: YA Paranormal Romance. What is going on?

Yesterday I saw a link on Twitter that directed me to a post about YA and Rape Culture by bookshop, a very well thought out post on the dangers of YA paranormal romance and the trend toward stalker, moody, and/or dangerous heroes and the gullible female protagonists.  Specially it points to Hush, Hush, a book about a fallen angel with an obsession with the "heroine."  I recommend reading that post.  It also points towards these two articles and a follow-up on the same topic.  All very thought-provoking. 

I recently read Hush, Hush and so I went back to my review.  I knew that I had liked it, but I couldn't remember what I said about Patch.  This is what I said "I've noticed that some people seem to love Patch, but I didn't.  I was a little sorry that he is going to stick around in fact, though his new role might make him better.  He annoyed me and Nora had no reason to like him."  I remember actually being disappointed that he didn't die at the end.  How often does that ever happen?  I remember telling my husband that Nora was crazy because this dude wanted to kill her and she still ended up with him.  So why didn't I write that in my review?  After reading all the posts yesterday, I wondered what I was doing, not saying anything about these thoughts.  I'm not sure.  Honestly, it is one of those things which is no excuse but it's the truth.  When I write a review, I only write about what is standing out most in my mind.  And it was an easy book to read, a very fast book, mostly well-written, fans of paranormal romance would like it.  But this has been bothering me all night long and it was the first thing I thought of this morning.

And then I began to worry because one of articles said this "And I may be offending some of you PR readers/writers but I can't think of a single--not a single-- paranormal romance I've read in the last year or so that doesn't exemplify bad romance. I can't think of one that was actually--good."

That bothered me too.  I went back and looked.  It turns out that I really don't read much YA Paranormal romance.  Usually the romance is incidental rather than the point of the book in the books that I read.  Hush, Hush is actually an abnormality for me.  I was surprised to find this out.  Anyway,  I have to disagree with the above statement.  Of the YA paranormal that I have read a few stand out as being really good with the right message.

1.Beautiful Creatures - maybe because it is told from the guy's POV, but Ethan is neither creepy nor a stalker so nice.
2.Shiver - alternate POVs, the girl's obsession may be creepier since she falls in love with a wolf
3. Graceling - Katsa can kill a man with her pinky so there is no danger to her really.
4. 13 to Life - recent read as an ARC, Pietr was cool and honest and the love/hate thing was purely one sided.  Jessica didn't have a reason not to like him.

Those are just the ones I read.  I agree that Twilight and Hush, Hush are not sending the right message and they are perpetuating the rape culture.  But I can't agree that there are no good paranormal YAs.  A lot of authors seem to be going out of their way to write books that the opposite of Twilight.  And I applaud them all.


I did try to write a summary of my own, but all the words I wanted to use were all ready in the summary on Goodreads so there ya go.
Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

They were afraid of fabricated species, and worshipped their mechanical engines.  Did they think their mob of walking contraptions and buzzing aeroplanes could stand against the Darwinist might of Russia, France, and Britain?  p.115
I bought this book when it first came out and then never got around to reading it.  Finally I decided I really needed to otherwise it would be a waste.  Man, I wish I'd read it sooner.  It was so good!  I like steampunk in general but don't read a lot of it and I love the alternate history world Westerfeld created.  The idea of machines versus engineered animals was so interesting and a little horrifying, honestly.

Told in alternating voices between Alek and Deryn, Leviathan shows both sides of the beginning of the war.  I like how he took the historical events of WWI and changed them to suit the story's need.  Brilliantly done!  I liked both Aleck and Deryn and thought they were great, strong characters.

And, of course, the illustrations are freaking amazing.  This book was worth reading for them alone.  The map on the inside cover and all the drawings were so beautiful.  Keith Thompson is a wonderful illustrator.  I really can't wait for Behemoth.  And I will really and truly read it right away.

And if you've never seen the trailer, it is one of the best I have ever seen.

Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts
Another Chance

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Graceling (audio)

I've reviewed Graceling before, but I felt like listening to it after reading Fire recently.  So I'm just going to say a few words about the audio book.

First of all, it is done by Full Cast Audio so there are actors for each person and the main narrator is David Baker and he does an excellent job.  Everyone does an excellent job and I really felt the emotion in each scene, more so than even just reading it.  So that was great.  I really like audio books with full casts.  It adds more interest to the story.

Second, they add music to the story which always adds drama to a story.  I love sound effects in audio books and while there weren't any per se in Graceling there was some appropriate music interspersed through the story.

So thumbs up for the Graceling audio book and for Full Cast Audio for doing an excellent job.  Now I need to see if they've done an audio of Fire!

Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts

YA Bloggers Debut Book Battle

If you haven't seen the YA Bloggers Debut Book Battle at The Shady Glade, I suggest you check out the cool thing that is going on.  The nominations are close though, but soon the battle will begin.  Who will win?

This is the most awesome trailer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

13 to Life

Jessica has been having a hard time lately.  And now she has to show around the annoying new kid, Pietr.  But as dislike turns into something more, Jessica must contend with a best friend's crush on him, his unusual family and his dangerous secret.
I'd read enough romance books parading as paranormals to have stumbled across dozens of descriptions of roguish smiles.  They all paled in comparison to the dangerous twist of Max's lips. p.59 ARC
13 thoughts about 13 to Life:

1. Wow. I've been reading a lot of werewolf books lately.  It must be some sort of theme month for me or something.  Anyway, it was nice to read a more straightforward take on werewolves.  I mean I don't mind alternate takes or anything but this was more traditional which was nice.

2.  This was a very genre-savvy book.  It had a lot of little moments in it that made it obvious that the characters knew how to plan in this type of books. (Don't click on that link until you've finished reading this.  Also sorry.)

3.  It was also very meta, commenting on paranormal books in general especially on vampire books.

4.  This is very much a Team Jacob book.  Because the werewolves are hot and Pietr gets the girl.  Of course, there are no vampires but still.

5.  Jessica is a pretty great girl.  She is tough and sweet and can take care of herself.  She is also so sarcastic and funny which I love.  I love that her default is to make a joke because that's my default too. 

6.  I love Pietr.  I'm not one to go around falling in love with fictional characters, but I really like him.  He is never mean and moody like a lot of YA heroes are right now.  He is very cool and pretty open.  Also werewolf.

7.  Jessica has a lot of friends and she stays pretty close to them.  So much lately the heroine falls in love with the guy and then you never see her friends anymore.  Not with Jessica.  Her friend Amy is really a true friend and I was glad to see her stick around.

8.  I wasn't too sure about the subplot with Sarah.  I won't give that away, but it was odd.  I think I understood it, but at the same time I wanted to shake Jessica for remaining friends with her.  I hope that Sarah plays nice for the rest of the series thought I doubt it.

9.  I was not a fan of the Derek crush thing though it was nice to see Jessica have other interests.  I don't know, he just seemed like a jerk.

10. Jessica's family is too cool.  I liked her dad and that he took an interest in her and there were consequences for her actions.  There are so many absentee parents in books now.  I was glad to see a great dad.  Her sister was funny and annoying as little sisters are sometimes. 

11.  The Russian mafia subplot was interesting.  I'm not sure what was going on there, but at least it wasn't out of the blue.

12.  There were a whole lot of unanswered question at the end of this book.  Like of Lost portions and that is too many.  I was not happy that some things were just left open, but I guess the next book will answer some of them.

13. As a book it was pretty good though I was less than pleased with the ending.  I hate abrupt endings with a passion and normally this makes me hate the book.  It's a sign of how much I liked it that I still like this book.  I just wished it wasn't such a cliff-hanger.

From Library Thing's Early Reviewers
Hogwarts: Care of Magical Creatures

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Leviathan

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

Without hesitation, without a thought of what Jaspert had said about not drawing attention, and with the last squick of nerves in her belly gone, Deryn Sharp took one step forward.
"Please, sir. I'd like to fly."
p.104 Leviathan Scott Westerfeld

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 4/19

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week and anything of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading 13 to Life (Delany), The Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion (Keene) and Leviathan (Westerfeld).  I'm listening to The Year of the Flood (Atwood) and Graceling (Cashore).

Since last week I've read The Clue of the Tapping Heels and The Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk (Keene), Bones of Faerie (Simner) and Liar (Larbalestier).

Other reviews:
Scarlett Fever
The Little Prince pop-up (vlog) 

Books I won:
From Goodreads' First Reads
Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James
So. Were you glad, deep down? Were you glad to be rid of her? Your perfect sister? Were you secretly glad when she was killed?

Following a terrible tragedy that leaves her once-perfect family shattered, Katherine Patterson moves to a new city, starts at a new school, and looks forward to a new life of quiet anonymity.

But when Katherine meets the gregarious and beautiful Alice Parrie her resolution to live a solitary life becomes difficult. Katherine is unable resist the flattering attention that Alice pays her and is so charmed by Alice’s contagious enthusiasm that the two girls soon become firm friends. Alice’s joie de vivre is transformative; it helps Katherine forget her painful past and slowly, tentatively, Katherine allows herself to start enjoying life again.

But being friends with Alice is complicated – and as Katherine gets to know her better she discovers that although Alice can be charming and generous she can also be selfish and egocentric. Sometimes, even, Alice is cruel.

And when Katherine starts to wonder if Alice is really the kind of person she wants as a friend, she discovers something else about Alice - she doesn’t like being cast off.

From Library Thing's Early Reviewer
13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale by Shannon Delany
Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction…

When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.

The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.

From the Library is my weekly listing of what I checked out from the library recently.
Just one.

Anything but Typical - Nora Raleigh Baskins
(for Autistic Awareness Month)
Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world.Most days it's just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.
Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird - her name is Rebecca - could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he's terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca will only see his autism and not who Jason really is. By acclaimed writer Nora Raleigh Baskin, this is the breathtaking depiction of an autistic boy's struggles-and a story for anyone who has ever worried about fitting in.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew 16, 17

I was making great headway, reading at least one book a week and then my Nancy Drew reading slowed down considerably as I got in some books that had to be read right away for a book tour.  So I'm feeling a little abashed that last time I only reviewed one book.  I'm hoping to get back to a book a week now.

The Clue of the Tapping Heels (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #16)
This is one of the creepiest Nancy Drew covers.  Something about the weird cat and Nancy's bell-bottomed pants suit makes me a little crazy. 
"Nancy, you just seem to go from one dangerous adventure to another." p.31
Nancy is invited to solve a mystery of a mysterious tapping sound in a invalid's house.  But once she gets there, there is another mystery to solve, of course.  It seems someone is stealing the old lady's Persian cats.  The poor old lady has a lot of problems.  But the girl detective is up to the task with Nancy solving both cases, reuniting old lost loves, and performing spectacularly in a play.

The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #17)
"Hold it!  As detectives, we must not get carried away with guesses.  Let's try to find out the facts."  p.95
Nancy is sailing home from Holland to New York and on the departure day she notices a man in the crowd signing to someone on the ship (using the "finger language" as the book says over and over again which just sounds wrong).  Of course, Nancy knows a little sign language (of course she does.)  The message is "Beware of Nancy Drew and Ne" and that's all Nancy sees.  But what does it mean?
Then the wrong trunk is delivered to Nancy's room with the initials ND.  And people are acting very suspicious about the trunk.  Where is Nancy's own trunk?  Who is Ne?"  And what is up with Nancy's roommate Nelda Detweiler?  Will Nancy solve all these mysteries in one neat and tidy package?  Of course,  she is Nancy Drew, after all.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Little Prince (vlog) (pop-up)

I made a little vlog about a very cool book that I got my son for Christmas.
Also I hate my "hi ya'll." It sounds weird.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Micha is a liar, but she's telling the truth now.  She swears she didn't kill her secret boyfriend, Zack and she doesn't know what happened.  She swears that's the whole truth, but is it? 
I don't read, but I do like libraries.  I like order, and libraries are all about order.  Every book has a place.  It's quiet, too: no music. p.99
I can't think how to say it nicely so I'll just say it.  This book is a mindf*#k.  I knew it was going to be before I started, but I had not contemplated exactly what that meant until I got to the end and was gasping at the sheer enormity of this book; the audacity, the craziness.  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend that you do.

I'm not sure what to say because I really don't want to spoil anyone.  This book would be no fun otherwise.  Well, a little fun, but it wouldn't be the same.  I am weirdly a fan of unreliable narrator books which is funny because they are no fun in real life.  But I digress.  Micah is a piece of work.  I felt so sorry for her, but at the same time, I almost couldn't stand her.  Larbalestier did a brilliant job of writing an almost sympathetic unreliable narrator.  She did a brilliant job of making me believe multiple things at once and of convincing me each and every time that she was telling the truth.  A-maz-ing.

*My opinion for everyone who has read the book which contains SPOILERS (highlight):
I think the whole book was a lie.  I'm not sure about what Micah and Zach's relationship was, but I wonder if they were in a relationship at all.  I think she killed him and is in prison and that the whole thing is what she wished would have happened.  Because I think she did love him, maybe as a girlfriend, maybe as a stalker and that her parents abandoned her in prison, but her biology teacher visits her. 

I recommend The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler if you like this book.  I recommend it no matter what in general because it is equally as brilliant.

Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts
Another Chance

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bones of Faerie

Dystopian fairy fiction.  How often do I get to write those words?  Never up till now. So the concept was surprising because I don't think I realized what Bones of Faerie was actually about until I started reading.
Even after the War ended and the faerie folk left this world, the magic they'd set loose lingered, killing still. p.5
Liza lives in a world after the war with the Faerie folk has ended.  In her unhappy town, the rule is to Cast out the magic born among you.  So when her sister is born with pale hair and silver eyes, her cruel father sets her on hilltop to either be collected by the Faerie or die.  Liza cannot save her sister, but she discovers that magic is growing in herself, she makes the choice to run away.

This world that Simner crated is very interested.  In the War, the faeries fought with magic, making the trees come alive to kill, creating magical burning rocks and turning the earth against the humans.  Now the trees and plants crave blood and the corn refuses to be harvested, resulting in a battle that often leaves bruises.  Liza's father has the whole town scared of magic and the magic born that they are willingly to do anything to get rid of it.  But she runs away when her own magic abilities become apparent and discovers a different way of life.

If I had to pick any problem with this book, it would be that it was too short.  I wanted to know more about the War and why it had started.  I wanted to know more about Liza's mother and the other town.  But it was written in first person and so I can't know more than Liza and that is a little frustrating.

But it was an intriguing book and I loved the idea of it.  I thought it was well executed and very interesting, just too short.  It was a very quick read in any case.

Hogwarts: Care of Magical Creatures

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Scarlett Fever

 After a very odd and heartbreaking summer, it's time for Scarlett to go back to school.  But complications arise with Mrs. Amberson's new client and her older brother Scarlett is assigned to watch.  Adding to that is Spencer's new job and Lola's personal life, all of which is stressing Scarlett out.
New start or not, there was a line to be drawn, and that line was singing musicals to yourself as serious psychological motivation.  p. 13
While this was a thoroughly enjoyable and very Maureen Johnson book, let me say upfront that I don't care for either Max or Eric and I hope that Scarlett doesn't end up with either.  Much like the love triangle from The Hunger Games is unnecessary so is the one set up for Scarlett.  Maybe that is just me, but I don't like either one of the boys and Scarlett has no real reason to either.  But then she's a teenager.  Crazy things happen when you are a teenager.

Beyond that, I liked this sequel to Suite Scarlett.  It was sweet and funny and I always like the family dynamic among the Martins.  They are a great, very real family.  Spencer is, of course, my favorite sibling of Scarlett's.  He is just so awesome and he and Scarlett are a great team.  I was glad there was less Marlene and more Lola though.  And there was just the right amount of Mrs. Amberson.  She still reminds me of Auntie Mame though.

I'm not entirely sure of where the storyline of this series is going.  The first one dealt with Scarlett meeting Eric and Hamlet and all.  Scarlett Fever had more to do with Scarlett at school and working with Mrs. Amberson and moving the characters around.  But I have no idea where any of this is going.  Hopefully somewhere interesting.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Bones of Faerie

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

Or I could stay beneath the surface.  I could let myself drown and hope the magic died with me - but even as I thought that, I burst into the air, coughing and gasping for breath. 

p.26 Bones of Faerie Janni Lee Simner

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 4/12

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week and anything of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading Bones of Faerie (Simner), The Clue of the Tapping Heels and The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk (Keene).
I'm listening to The Year of the Flood (Atwood) and Graceling (Cashore, read by David Baker and a full cast).

Since last week I've read Frost Moon (Francis), Will Grayson, Will Grayson (Green and Levithan) and Scarlett Fever (Johnson). I've listened to Shiver  (Stiefvater).

Other reviews posted:
Nancy Drew (2007 movie)

From the Library is my weekly listing of what I checked out from the library recently.
Just one this week.

Pretty Little Liars (Sara Shepherd)
(to finally start this challenge)
Everyone has something to hide—especially high school juniors Spencer, Aria, Emily, and Hanna.
Spencer covets her sister's boyfriend. Aria's fantasizing about her English teacher. Emily's crushing on the new girl at school. Hanna uses some ugly tricks to stay beautiful.
But they've all kept an even bigger secret since their friend Alison vanished.
How do I know? Because I know everything about the bad girls they were, the naughty girls they are, and all the dirty secrets they've kept. And guess what? I'm telling.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew movie (2007)

This has become one of my favorite rainy day/nothing to watch movies.  Nancy has benefited from the updates while still retaining her essence.  Emma Roberts does a nice job with Nancy, perfecting that know-it-all-but-still-super-nice thing that Nancy Drew has.  I miss Bess and George and wish that they had been included more.  I was glad to see Ned (sidenote: the kid who plays him looks a lot like the boy who played Ted in the old 1930's movies) and I'm happy that he has a bigger role.  Same old Ned though always showing up to be the muscle and be the sort of boyfriend. 

The wardrobe is amazing.  I covet the clothes that Nancy wears.  So classic and chic.  Very cute.  I wish they would make another one, but one in River Heights and not on location.  Though Nancy goes away a lot in the books so it is not unprecedented. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Provided by Traveling ARC Tours

Meet Will Grayson.  He's a quiet, introverted guy who has two rules: 1. Don't care too much and 2. Shut up.
Meet Will Grayson.  He's a quiet, introverted guy with chronic depression and a secret.
Soon these two Wills will meet in a very odd place and, as their lives begin to intersect, things will change for both of them.
"i want to tell him i should be out killing some people now, not taking a stroll with him.  but he takes a little of the murder off my mind.  it's not like it won't be there later. p.145 ARC
And the following makes me actually love John Green a little
"You're amazing, and I so want to be your boyfriend, because of what you just said, and also because that shirt makes me want to take you home now and do unspeakable things while we watch live-action Sailor Moon videos." p.257 ARC
I could actually quote the whole book, I think it is that good.  I was enthralled and saddened and overjoyed by this book.  I actually laughed out loud many many times.  The phrasing, the situations, Tiny, all very very good to me.  Tiny, you might be asking, who is that?  Well, Tiny is a 6'6" 300 pound gay football player/musical writer, and it is the main catalyst behind the changes to both Will Graysons.  Tiny was so great, both very real and a caricature of himself at the same time.  I've meet guys like Tiny before.  Not as over the top, but still very big personality, very generous heart, very selfish at times.

The Wills were both a little annoying, especially Levithan's Will (2) who was very moody.  But he was dealing with chronic depression so that was an interesting part of his character.  He was also so real.  They both were.  I found myself hoping that when my son is a teenager, we have a better relationship than the Wills do with their moms.  But it was very realistic.

I was little meh on Will's (1) relationship with Jane and didn't care much for Will's (2) problems with Maura.  They both felt in addition to, not reason why.  But I loved Tiny's role.  And it was nice to see them looked beyond themselves because of him.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
Take Another Chance

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Frost Moon (e-book)

Dokota Frost is a not just a tattoo artist, she's a magical tattooist.  Able to tattoo images that look alive, she is one of the best in her field.  But when she is commissioned to tattoo a werewolves and at the same time is drawn into a police investigation involving a serial killer who is cutting magical tattoos off of his victim while they are alive, her life gets a lot more dangerous.
"I find myself less and less enamored of were-whatevers," I muttered, cracking my neck where the collar had kinked it in my sleep." (p.111 e-book)
This is not my normal type of book, but when I won it from Library Thing's Early Reviewers I thought what the heck.  I found that I really enjoyed it.  It's an alternate world Dakota lives in, filled with magic and mystery.  I like the idea of the magical tattoo and the skindancing that makes them come alive.  Dakota is very cool, very badass, and very nice.  She genuinely cares for people and their situations.  She gets into a lot of trouble trying to help a werewolve out and that leads down a dark path for everyone.  Some of it was very tongue-in-cheek and there were some funny moments.  It was alternately horrifying, sweet, cheesy, funny, kick-ass, and magical.  Fans of this genre will enjoy this series. 

My only problem was the writing was a little too loose in some places and the ending was a little too pat, too summed up.  I know it is a series so maybe a little should have been left for the next book.  The other thing that bothered me was the introduction of so many characters into one book.  Again I assume for the series, but it was a bit much.

Won from Library Thing's EarlyReviewer
Hogwarts: A History of Magic
GLBT Challenge (main character is bi)
Twenty Ten

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) (audio)

Ten years ago, Grace was dragged off her tire swing by wolves, but she was rescued and doesn't remember how.  Now she is obsessed with the wolves who live in the forest behind her house and with one wolf in particular.
Sam knows how Grace was rescued and he, in turn, watches out for her when the weather turns cold and he turns into a wolf.  But when he is shot, Grace discovers his secret.  How can they ever stay together as winter begins?

I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  I don't know if it is because I listened to it or what, but I really enjoyed it.  Where I was afraid it would be cheesy or derivative, I found it sweet and fascinating.  I like the new idea on the werewolf mythology.  It was such a change from the normal stuff. I liked practical Grace and sweet Sam.  I liked their romance began innocently though oddly.  I was horrified and sickened by what happened to Sam when he began to change and there were some parts where I had tears in my eyes.  All in all, I thought it was pretty good and I can't wait for the next book, Linger.

I really think that this is one of those books that benefited from the audio version.  With the two voices actors, Jeanna Lamia and David Ledoux, doing the alternating parts of Grace and Sam, it really brought the book to life.  And it made me care more about the characters because their voices conveyed so much emotion.  They did an excellent job.

Hogwarts: Transfiguration
Young Adult

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Scarlett Fever

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

"It was useless for Scarlett to try to explain that this was her fate. Outrageous fortune. Hamlet had made some good points after all."

p.24 Scarlett Fever Maureen Johnson

Monday, April 5, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 4/5

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week and anything of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading Frost Moon (Francis), a e-book I won from LibraryThing, The Clue of the Tapping Heels (Keene), and Scarlett Fever (Johnson).
I'm listening to The Year of the Flood (Atwood) and Shiver (Stiefvater).
I didn't check anything out of the library this week which is so rare for me.

Last week I read Perchance to Dream (Mantchev), an ARC I got from Traveling ARC Tours.

Other reviews posted:
The Dead-Tossed Waves (Ryan)
The Blonde of the Joke (Madison)
The Haunted Bridge (Keene)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew 15

I only managed one book for this week.  I'm got a book for a book tour and then I had a couple that I just had to read so anyway... That's okay.

Nancy's friends really have nothing better to do with their time and money than follow her around.  Even the guys never seem to go to school, though they always have time to play football. 

The Haunted Bridge (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #15)

No matter how many mysteries Nancy had solved, her friends never ceased to be amazed each time.  p.180
Nancy is staying at a resort with her friends, Bess and George, playing golf and having fun.  The only nuisance is a man who has taken an interest in Nancy.  Her father asks Nancy to help him solve a case that has been puzzling New York City detectives.  There is a gang of jewel thieves running around and Nancy is asked to find a woman who might be the key to the whole operation.
There is also the puzzle of a haunted bridge at the golf resort and a missing young woman from the area.  Nancy gets involved with this mystery by accident, but, of course, the young detective does her best to wrap it all and up and still have time to participate in a golf championship.  Guess how she does.

Also let me point out that if Nancy had done what George did then she would have been right and it would have wrapped up some part of the mystery.  Nancy doesn't make mistakes and she is such a great judge of character.  Bess and George, on the other hand, well, they are always in some sort of trouble though George comes in handy on occasion with her knowledge of judo.  Bess is just there for the eats.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Perchance to Dream

Provided by Traveling ARC Tours
Bertie sets out to rescue Nate, who was captured by the sea goddess in the first book, Eyes Like Stars.  But she meets with a whole lot of trouble and some very interesting characters during her travels.  Meanwhile,  visions and dreams of Nate spur her on even as Ariel gets closer to Bertie.
Carrying it gingerly outside, she sat the stairs and braced the hatbox against her knees, sawing away at the cardboard until a scalloped proscenium archway emerged somewhat crooked for her haste to finish and set the knife down before a wayward tug caused her to pull an inadvertent Juliet.  p.93-94 ARC
There is something so odd about these books.  I enjoy them but sometimes I can't wrap my head around why certain things need to happen to move the plot forward.  But then at the end, I can see, ah, that's why.  I like Bertie and the message that the author was trying to convey was important though it felt heavy handed in a couple of places.  It didn't help that my head was in a different world than the one that this book occupies.  I was thinking it was the modern day world, but it's not and once I realized that it made more sense to me.  So that was reader fail, not writer fail.

I like Bertie and her two guys and that whole love triangle is very interesting since it is easy to see they both care for her and she for them.  I still like one better than the other for her though.  The fairies are hilarious as usual and I like the additional sneak-thief character and the circus made for a good visual in my head.  Perchance to Dream was definitely a strong book in this series and didn't suffer from "middle book syndrome" like some books.

Hogwarts: A History of Magic
Young Adult

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Blonde of the Joke

Valentina is the ultimate wallflower, afraid of disappearing completely.  But then she meets Francie and everything changes.  Francie is larger-than-life and Valentina falls completely under her spell when she becomes her partner in crime.

But the instant everything changes, you know.  It's just like - one second you are one thing, and then you're something else...A moment of clarity in which, briefly, the entire future of everything is laid out clearly before you and then is gone.  p.13
Let me just say that I've been there.  My best friend is college was a Francie.  No, not a chronic shoplifter, but someone so big that you think they can make everything better and they do.  I was (am) very shy, but when I meet my friend, everything changed.  I was much cooler just being with her than I had ever been.  But people like that always has dark secrets and they will evidently pull you into them.  I tell you this only because I want you to know that I related to Valentina in a very serious way.  Up to a point.  And then I couldn't understand her anymore.  I get the magnetic attraction, but I feel like I am missing something important about this story.

There's no doubt that Bennett Madison is an excellent writer.  Show, don't tell.  What I'm always looking for in a good novel and he has that ability to describe things exactly right; to give details without shoving them down the reader's throat.  Are Francie and Valentina sympathetic characters?  Well, that answer gets complicated.  Yes they are and then no they aren't.  They are very compelling though.  I think they expected too much from each other.  Other people can never really fix you.  You have to fix yourself.

The other thing I wanted to mention was the language.  There was a lot of flack about how the girls talk and the slang they used.  I don't want to criticize in either direction, but I'm sure they was a reason for it.  I'm going to link to an article about it which contains Madison's comments on the subject.  It is very thought-provoking (make sure to read the comments).  Also there was some drinking and smoking which normally doesn't bother me but then I kept reminding myself that they are only suppose to be 14.  They act so much older.

GLBT Challenge
Young Adult
Hogwarts: Transfiguration

(P.S. My friend and I are still friends and she's a police detective of all things.  Life is so crazy sometimes.)