Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson

Another holiday with the Herdmans!  This time they are ruining Halloween for everyone leading the adults to cancel trick or treating and instead do a "safe" Halloween at the school.  But is any effect really safe from the Herdmans?
The only good thing about it was that it would be Herdman-free, which, according to Alice, was the whole idea in the first place.  p.52 
So cute! I really love The Best Christmas Pageant Ever so I thought I'd try another one of the Herdman books.  It was very fun and funny and as usual the Herdmans make everything more interesting for the narrator and the whole town.  I love how even when the adults try to take the fun out of a holiday the Herdmans will put it back in, though I don't support their behavior that lead to Halloween being "taken away" in the first place.  But they manage to make it ok for the kids again.  Though not quite as charming at Best Christmas Pageant Ever, it was still full of the fun and quirkiness that comes with a Herdmans book.

Hogwarts: Charms

Saturday, October 30, 2010

October Wrap-Up

Books read:

The Kid Table (Seigel)
White Cat (Black)
No Going Back (Langford) (e-book)
Blockade Billy (King) (e-book)
Poison Study (Snyder)
The Lying Game (Shepard) (e-book)
The Best Halloween Ever (Robinson)

Audio books finished:

Nancy Drew read:

Challenges joined:

Off the Shelf Challenge (starts January 1)
The November Novella Challenge (starts November 1)

Challenges finished:

R.I.P. Challenge (2/2)

Favorite book of the month was White Cat by Holly Black.  It was a very interesting world that Black created and I loved all the detail and the mystery too, of course.
What was your favorite of the month?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Lying Game (e-book) by Sara Shepherd

Emma is a foster kid bouncing from house to house.  When she sees a disturbing video online with a girl that looks exactly like her, she wonders what is going on.  Figuring out that she must have a twin, she goes to the girl's hometown only to end up impersonating her twin sister, Sutton, while trying to figure out what happened to the real girl and who is out to get them both.
It was a relief to me, too.  Back at my house, maybe we'd finally get some answers.  p.52 ARC e-book 
Gossip Girl meets Desperate Housewives meets Lois Duncan.  And really really good.  This is a carefully woven tale of games people play, lies they tell and feelings that get hurt and the vengeful road that leads down.  I was sucked in almost immediately and spent the whole book jumping from person to person as the suspect.  And then the book ended with no real answer.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  It is a series so I guess I should have expected that.  Having never read the Pretty Little Liars series, I didn't have any ideas of Shepherd's style.  But now, after reading The Lying Game, I do and I'm definitely reaching for the first one of that series. 

All of the characters are so well drawn that I can picture them in my head.  And the whole concept of the Lying Game that Sutton and her friends play.  Chilling.  I really want to know more about Sutton.  She is such an enigma and I feel like there is a whole lot about her that has yet to be explored.  The same goes for her friends and sister.  There are quite a few mysteries going on besides the bigger mystery of Sutton and I'm excited to read the next one. 

Review based on e-galley provided by Net Galley.
Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - The Lying Game

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

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

The hair on the back of Emma's neck rose. All at once, she understood what was going on. Her lips started to twitch, just like they always did when she was about to lose it.

p. 24 e-book ARC The Lying Game Sara Shepherd

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 10/25

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 Lying Game (Shepherd), The Secret of the Golden Pavilion (Keene) and The Clue in the Old Stagecoach (Keene).

Since last week I read Blockade Billy (King), The Best Halloween Ever (Robinson), Poison Study (Snyder), and The Haunted Showboat (Keene).

Other reviews posted:
No Going Back (Langford)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drews 35

The Haunted Showboat (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #35) (e-book)

"Hypers!" cried George, using her favorite expletive.  "It worked.  Nancy, you're a brain child."  p.26 (e-book)
Nancy, Bess and George head to New Orleans to solve a mystery for Bess and George's uncle.  He wants to move and restore an old showboat but mysterious things happen to it every time it is fixed.  It's up to the girl detective to figure out what is going on.

I was excited that Nancy was headed down to New Orleans.  After a very rough trip down where her car was stolen and then someone tries to kill them a couple of times, Nancy and her friends finally make it down to the Crescent City in time for Mardi Gras.  Nancy sets about her task of solving this mystery fairly quickly but is stymied by Bess and George's cousin's fiancé.  Nancy doesn't let that get her in way though!  Of course, not.  

I was a bit stunned, I must admit, by the servants of the Havers (the relatives) and Uncle Rufus, the voodoo preacher.  They are such stereotypical "Negro" characters that I was embarrassed by their appearance.  It was written in 1957 when I guess such things weren't so off-limits but I wish it was different.  Other than that, it was an okay book.  I like how Mardi Gras is described.  It was so different back then and I like all the information about New Orleans that is included though the part about the levees made me laugh.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Love ya like a biscuit *

Today my husband and I are celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary.  We have been together for 12 years total which is a pretty long time.  I thought that I'd celebrate with some of my favorite quotes on love.

*blog title comes from a restaurant in my town that serves the best biscuits ever

"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more."
— Jane Austen (Emma)

I know this love is passing time
Passing through like liquid
I am drunk in my desire...
But I love the way you smile at me
I love the way your hands reach out and hold me near...
I believe...

I believe
This is heaven to no one else but me
And I'll defend it as long as
I can be left here to linger in silence
If I choose to
-Sarah McLachlan ("Elsewhere")

"Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction."
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince)

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

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

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."
— Dr. Seuss

Friday, October 22, 2010

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

To escape a horrific life, Yelena does something horrific in turn; she murders the son of her orphanage's benefactor who is also the General of her District.  Sentenced to execution, she is offered the chance to live if she take the job as the food taster for the Commander of Ixia, a job that comes with many risks of its own.  Now she chances death with every taste all the while dodging assassins from the General and magicians from the southern continent who seem to have it in for her as well.
I used the map of the castle that I had copied in my journal to find the library.  It was a multilevel suite of rooms, burgeoning with books.  The smell of decay and dust floated in the air along with a sense of abandonment.  I was saddened by the knowledge that this tremendous source of information was going to waste because the Commander discouraged his people from educating themselves beyond what was necessary for their jobs.  p.158
Question: How awesome is this book?
Answer: Pretty freaking awesome!

I've seen this around and finally got around to reading it.  I wish I had read it sooner because it was really really good.  The main character reminded me a bit of Katsa but without the awesome Graceling powers.  Yelena had such a strong spirit and great survival skills.  When she is offered the poison as food taster, she immediately begins to calculate her escape.  Even after she is tied down to the position by the poison she is given to prevent this escape she does everything she can to prevent being killed by the General whose son she killed, learning a lot about herself along the way.

All the characters were well drawn and, in addition to, Yelena, I especially liked Valek, the chief of security and the Commander who is a very interesting character that surprised me at the end.  I liked how level-headed and fair the Commander is and the friendship between him and Valek.  I also liked the dynamic between Yelena and Valek.  The story really sucked me in and it was one of the first books I've stayed up late to finish in a long time.  It was intriguing and sad and fantastic and hopeful.

Read for the Take a Another Chance Challenge - Blogroll Roulette: I went from The O.W.L.'s blogroll to her number 2 (the number from random) blog and ended up on Bookworming in the 21st Century and picked Poison Study from her list.  She gave it 5/5 so I'm optimistic.

Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts
Take Another Chance

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The November Novella Challenge 2010 - COMPLETE

I did this last year and thought it was fun enough to do again.  The November Novella Challenge is hosted by J.T. Oldfield at Bibliofreak.  I'm signing up at Level II: Read four novellas (one each week, mayhaps?) by November 30, 2010. 



Here's the list I've put together.

1. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyers
2. Inside Job by Connie Willis
3. Shopgirl by Steve Martin

Blockade Billy (e-book) by Stephen King

 While I was searching for books on the other tasks for the Take Another Chance Challenge, I realized I was outright dismissing certain writers.  One of the them was Stephen King and I realized that I always assume that I will be scared or won't like a King book.  Once when I was around 10 or so, I wanted to read The Stand and a neighbor told me that I wouldn't like it because it might be too scary (I can agree now that The Stand might be too much for a 10 year old esp. one prone to nightmares) and so I never read anything by him.
I was suppose to read Dolores Claiborne but in the end I couldn't do it.  So I picked Blockade Billy, a novella by King, which combines two thing I don't read, Stephen King and sports.

Told in an interview form, Blockade Billy tells the story of a rookie coming in to catch for a professional New Jersey baseball team in 1957.  But bizarre things begin to happen for the team and something is up with the new guy.
There was something strange about him, something off, something that made folks nervous...but that something made people take to him too.  p.13
Going in I wasn't sure at first.  Like I said I'm not usually up for Stephen King and I'm not a huge sports fan, but I enjoyed this novella.  It was suspenseful waiting for the secret of Billy and even interesting to hear about the bad luck that followed him around.  The ending was as disturbing as I had anticipated.

Even though I enjoyed this, I don't think I'll read any more Stephen King.  I am just a huge fraidy-cat and I know that I won't sleep reading a lot of his books.  Though, even saying that, I might have to give The Stand a try or maybe just try to graphic novels of that book first.

Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts
Take Another Chance

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Going Back (e-book) by Jonathan Langford

Teenagers found out all the time that someone they liked didn't like them back.  The fact that he and Paul were both boys didn't really have anything to do with it.  Yay for equal-opportunity disappointment.  Somehow it didn't make him feel any better.  p.145 e-book
As a whole, I enjoyed this book.  It was an interesting story and one I have never read before.  I really don't know much about the Mormon church so I was hoping to learn a little about it.  I think I did.  I definitely learned how they feel about homosexuality.  Apparently it is ok to be "same sex attracted" as long as you never act on those feelings.  Interesting.  The main character, Paul, figures out he is gay in the eight grade and finally tells his best friend, Chad, in the ninth grade.  The book picks up from there and explores every single reaction that someone could possibly have to finding out about Paul.  It was interesting to see how the church and the bishop handled it.  He and Paul's mother were the most understanding of the adult characters and Chad was the best teenager character aside from Paul.  I liked how Paul struggled with the idea of his homosexuality as well as the idea of living up to his church's standards.  I am, of course, much more liberal in my views but I also understand that my views are mine alone and I shouldn't force them onto anyone else like quite a few characters try to do to Paul.

As for the writing, I found that some of the dialogue and thoughts felt stilted, like someone writing them on a page rather than actually being thought.  And the handling of the passage of time was awkward.  And the subplot with Chad's mother was wholly unnecessary and bogged the book down in places.  Without it this would have been a much better place.  I would be interested in that storyline in another book about the adults, but it felt out of place here.  But even given all of that, I still enjoyed this book.  The characters and storyline was interesting enough to overcome it and I found myself impatient to find out what happens next.  I became invested in Paul's situation and I wanted him to come out fine in the end.  The resolution was satisfying

Sent by the author for review
Another review on Confessions of a Book Habitué

Hogwarts: Charms

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Poison Study

 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

By the time I reached the Commander's office, I had concluded that I had other enemies besides the magician, and being able to defend myself might save my life someday.  Knowledge, whatever the form, could be as effective as a weapon.

p.169 Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 10/18 + an award

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 Best Halloween Ever (Robinson) and, I think, Poison Study (Snyder) and/or Delirium (Oliver).

Last week I read White Cat (Black) and No Going Back (Langford) and I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling) on audio.

Other reviews posted:
Extraordinary (Werlin)


Tara at Fiction Folio has given me the Versatile Blogger Award!  Thanks so much for this.  I really appreciate it.

Won from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers
Matched by Ally Condie
Published November 30, 2011
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Following from NetGalley
The Lying Game by Sara Shephard
Published December 2010
New York Times bestselling author Sara Shepard’s new series weaves a mystery of long-lost twins, mistaken identities, a duplicitous circle of friends, and cold-blooded murder. Combining juicy plot lines, to-die-for lifestyles, a tangled web of friendship and romance, magnetic characters, and sharp-witted narration from the afterlife, The Lying Game is an alluring cross between Pretty Little Liars and The Lovely Bones.

Foster kid Emma Paxton has only just discovered Sutton Mercer, the wealthy twin sister she never knew she had, when Sutton drops off the face of the earth, asking Emma to cover for her at home, school, and with her friends—just for a few days. At first Emma enjoys trying on her sister’s fabulous life: her fiercely loyal friends, her adoring boyfriend, her close-knit family. But as Emma is drawn deeper into Sutton’s world she finds the friends are not so fabulous, the boyfriend is not who she wants to be with, and the family is clinging to long-buried secrets and a veneer of functionality. And worst of all, Sutton may not be coming back. In fact, someone may have made sure she never could…and that someone knows Emma is not who she claims to be. Emma will need all her wits to survive The Lying Game

Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber 
Published January 2011 
Beware of a kiss under the full moon. It will change your life forever.

Celeste Parker is used to hearing scary stories about werewolves—Legend’s Run is famous for them. But when, after an unnerving visit with a psychic, she encounters a pack of wolves and gorgeous, enigmatic Brandon, she must discover whether his transformation is more than legend or just a trick of the shadows in the moonlight. Brandon may be Celeste’s hero, or he may be the most dangerous creature she could encounter in the woods of Legend’s Run.

The bestselling Vampire Kisses author, Ellen Schreiber, weaves together psychic predictions, generations-old secrets, a town divided, and the possibility of falling in love with a hot and heroic werewolf—the perfect formula for what happens...once in a full moon.

Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer
Artemis has committed his entire fortune to a project he believes will save the planet and its inhabitants, both human and fairy. Can it be true? Has goodness taken hold of the world’s greatest teenage criminal mastermind?

Captain Holly Short is unconvinced, and discovers that Artemis is suffering from Atlantis Complex, a psychosis common among guilt-ridden fairies -- not humans -- and most likely triggered by Artemis’s dabbling with fairy magic. Symptoms include obsessive-compulsive behavior, paranoia, multiple personality disorder and, in extreme cases, embarrassing professions of love to a certain feisty LEPrecon fairy.

Unfortunately, Atlantis Complex has struck at the worst possible time. A deadly foe from Holly’s past is intent on destroying the actual city of Atlantis. Can Artemis escape the confines of his mind -- and the grips of a giant squid -- in time to save the underwater metropolis and its fairy inhabitants? 

The Danger Box by Blue Balliett
A boy in a small town who has a different way of seeing.
A mischievous girl who won't stay in one place.
A mysterious notebook .
A fire.
A stranger.
A death.

These are some of the things you'll find within The Danger Box.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Off the Shelf Challenge - COMPLETED

Bookish Ardour’s Reading Challenges is hosting the Off the Shelf ChallengeThis challenge is to read those books you own copies of, but have never got around to reading. If you don't have many that you own, but have a massive TBR shelf you're welcome to read those ones as long as you don't add new ones.  It runs from Januaray 1 to December 31, 2011.   There are multiple levels but I'm joining at the Trying – Choose 15 books to read level.  I'll list as I go.

1.  Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters - Natalie Standiford
2.  Deeply, Desperately - Heather Webber
3.  Wicked Appetite - Janet Evanovich
4.  Lucy Unstrung - Carole Lazar
5.  Savannah Grey - Cliff McNish
6.  The Atlantis Complex - Eoin Colfer
7.  Behemoth Scott Westerfeld
8.  Matched Ally Condie
9.  Huntress Malinda Lo
10. Department 19 Will Hill

Finished at the Tempted Level (5 books). On that same note, I feel like jumping from 5 to 15 is not a good way for reading challenges to go.  It's a huge jump reading-wise.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (audio) by J.K. Rowling

So much happens in this book, but I'm going to ramble on a bit. Order of the Phoenix is one of my favorites plot-wise but not Harry-wise.  I mean I always like Harry, but he is rather tedious in this book.  It's very realistic and all, but it's hard when the main character is a prat half the time.

It is a much more depressing book on the whole.  I still cry when Sirus dies though.  How is it when you can read a book multiple times and still cry when a character dies?  That's a really good book.  It just a really long book.

Oh and Umbridge.  I hate her so much.  She is really the most evil person.  At least Bellatrix shows her crazy to the world and they know what they are dealing with.  Umbridge pretends to be sweet and caring but she is more vicious than some of the Deatheaters.  And that quill.  Oh my!  Every time that still gets to me.  I hate her so much.  But the Weasley twins are so awesome in this book.  They are definitely two of my favorite characters.

**An aside** If you haven't seen or heard of Mark Reads Harry Potter I suggest you check him out.  He is reading all of the Harry Potter books with almost no knowledge of what happens in the series and reviewing each book chapter-by-chapter.  It is so funny to see his reactions and remember back when I first read the books and how I reacted to each thing.  He is on Deathly Hallows now, but it's worth reading his reviews of the other books.**

Hogwarts: Harry Potter

Thursday, October 14, 2010

White Cat (The Curse Workers #1) (e-book) by Holly Black

Cassel comes from a family of criminal curse workers, people who have the power to change people, change their memories, their luck, their emotion, with just one touch.  He is the one person in his family who is not a worker, but he is a great con man.  Haunted by the memory of the murder he committed, Cassel tries to become the most normal kid, but his hard work of normalcy starts to unravel the night he finds himself of the school roof lead by a dream of a white cat.
In the Sharpe family the worst thing you can do is be vulnerable in front of a mark.  And everyone who isn't us is a mark.  p.26 e-book
I'm a sucker for a good con game story.  I loved Heist Society and Ocean's 11.  Something about these especially when the main character is sympathetic makes me happy.  Cassel is an extremely sympathetic character even as he explains how to swindle or outright steal from someone.  There are some seriously horrific things going on this book though, but Cassel carries the whole book really well.  The whole idea of curse workers is an intriguing one and there are a lot of parallels that can be drawn to their situation. I liked the whole world that Black built.  It was very thorough and there were lots details that support the idea of the curse workers and their abilities and oppression as well as the fear that having people with the innate ability to change someone would bring.  The mystery was sound and I enjoyed the resolution.  Now I can't wait for Red Glove to come out and I will definitively read that one as soon as it is published.

**SPOILER section (highlight)!
Question for people who have read the book.  Do you think Cassel changed his dad into the chair that he hates but that no one in the family wants to get rid of?  I know that is a weird detail to walk away with, but I was wondering if that one of the memories that got changed.  Like if he did it on accident or if his brothers made him do it, but didn't have the heart to get rid of the dad like they should have.  Maybe that's crazy though.**

Hogwarts: Transfiguration
Colorful Reading

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

Phoebe befriends the odd Mallory when they are 12 and six years later they are still best friends.  When Mallory long lost brother comes home and Phoebe is instantly drawn to him, Phoebe enters a downward spiral of self-doubt.  Because it seems that Ryland is feeding that self-doubt for a purpose.
She knew she would always be loved.  But that was not what Phoebe had been talking about, when she said her mother had expectations of her.    p.58 ARC
The thing about this book is that it is almost completely upfront about what Mallory and her brother are, which is to say fairies.  They are targeting Phoebe for some reasons and that is the mystery.  What is it about Phoebe that they need and what do they need her to do?  It is an spell-binding question and the answer is fairly surprising.  Throughout is the theme of ordinary and extraordinary.  What makes someone extraordinary?  And if a person is born of two extraordinary people, then shouldn't they be extraordinary too?

The writing is reminiscent of Impossible, Werlin's other book that I enjoyed.  Very slow and dream-like, something that complements the fantasy of the story.  There isn't a lot of action.  The story unfolds a little at a time with hints here and there as to the nature of what the fairies need from Phoebe.  I found myself loving Phoebe and even Mallory, hating Ryland, and frustrated with what they both do to Phoebe.  It was sad and yet the ending was spot-on.

Hogwarts: Care of Magical Creatures

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - White Cat

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

She leans up to kiss my cheek, which startles me into flinching. "Two brothers in love with the same woman never goes well.".

p.90 e-book White Cat by Holly Black

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 10/11

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 White Cat (Black) and No Going Back (Langford).    I'm listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling).

Last week I read Extraordinary (Werlin) and The Hidden Window Mystery (Keene).

Reviews posted:
Mostly Good Girls (Sales)
The Kid Table (Siegel)
The Candidates (Scott)
The Witch Tree Symbol (Keene)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew 33, 34

The Witch Tree Symbol (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #33)
Her eyes were glowing.  She was never happier than when working on a mystery.  p.12
Nancy has another culture to trivialize!  This time it's the Amish.  Nancy and her friends travel to Amish country  to solve a mystery involving some stolen furniture and a mysterious hex symbol that follows the girl detective around.  In the meantime, they get involved in a family affair involving a runaway girl whose parents want her back.  If you think the two mysteries don't intersect than you've obviously never read a Nancy Drew before.

As Nancy Drew mysteries go, this one was fairly generic.  The ending felt very rushed and a little unresolved even for a Nancy Drew and that was odd.  I can't attest to the accuracy of the Amish portrayal but if it's anything like the Native American, or Indian portrayal than it is probably extremely stereotypical.

The Hidden Window Mystery (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #34)
"Well, George, we'll have to rescue ourselves.  Let's start." p.105
Nancy's postman is accused of stealing money and that somehow leads into the main mystery of this book in which Nancy decides to find an old stain-glass window in Charolettesville, Virginia.  So off Bess, George and Nancy go to the South.  There they encounter a few more mysteries for Nancy to solve.  Never fear though as the girl detective is more than up to the task!

Another generic mystery.  Though we get to meet Nancy's married cousin and that is almost interesting.  And a brief visit from Ned after which Nancy is flirted with by a handsome stranger at a party.  She is shameless.  I feel so bad for Ned.  Never really going to get that girl, is he?

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Candidates (Delcroix Academy #1) by Inara Scott

Dancia has spent most of her life trying to fade into the background since whenever she gets close to someone and that person is threatened, something bad always happens.  Dancia doesn't want to hurt anyone so she stays away from other people.  But after an incident that lands her on the local news, Dancia is asked to attend the prestigious Delcorix Academy, a place for the gifted though Dancia cannot figure out why they want her.  But soon enough it becomes clear why they do.

     My breath caught when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Cam wave at me as he headed toward his usual table, Anna to his right.  I tried to looks surprised, as if I hadn't noticed him.  p.225 ARC
As far as supernatural power boarding school books go, this one was pretty good.  I liked Dancia though she could be a little slow on the uptake, but she was a nice enough character.  She reads like a 16 year old character instead of the 14 year old she is and that put me off a little, especially given the romantic aspects.  I liked the other characters, especially the friends.  Cam was a great, very sweet character and I even liked Jack for what he was.

I'm always a fan of boarding schools in books, especially ones with deep dark secrets.  What I liked was that not everybody had an ultra-special superpower, but an extraordinary talent in their own right.  So that was different.  I'm curious as to where Scott is taking the story.  I have a feeling that it is going to get much darker for Dancia and Cameron.

Provided by Traveling ARC Tours
Published August 2010

Hogwarts: Charms

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel

Despite being close to high school graduation, Ingrid is still assigned to the kid table with her cousins all about her age except for her four year cousin.  When one of the cousins is suddenly assigned to the adult table, Ingrid and the other cousins try to figure out where the status of kid ends and adult begins.
And was it really possible for anyone to ever know you better than you knew yourself, or (as I looked around my Kid Table comrades) should we all just be thankful for the rare true glimpses we actually get of each other?   p.123
I believe I am indebted to Amanda at the Zen Leaf for bringing this absolutely amazing book to my attention. And to the author, Andrea Seigel, for sending me a copy.  I'm not sure how to express my love for this book.  Because I really and truly loved it.  There was just so much I related to and so much realness in this book.

I have a large family on both my parents' sides.  But the side we spend the most time with is my father's.  I have 10 cousins on my dad's side, making 12 with me and my sister.  We are divided up into the Older Six and the Younger Six.  The older ones are the ones who are much older than me; whose kids are closer to my age than my actual cousins.  The younger ones are the ones closer in age to me.  My best friend is my youngest first cousin.  We are the ones who sat together all the time, who hung out on vacations.  There was nothing so dramatic as what happens in this book, but I can completely relate to the whole idea of the Kid Table.  I have my very own.

That being said,  I completely loved Ingrid.  Her wittiness, her need to make everyone love her, she is so great.  She was so funny and there were quite a very laugh out loud moments in this book.  I loved Cricket and even Brianne, the annoying cousin who I have a feeling that I am a lot like sometimes (B.S. in Psychology over here).  The whole storyline about Brianne's boyfriend and Ingrid flirting felt very real.  I liked the resolution for that and thought it was appropriate and hopeful though very dramatic which was fun. 

I'm not sure I can express everything that this book said to me, especially without giving a lot of myself away.  But it meant a lot to me and I think that might be enough.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
Take Another Chance

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales

Violet is trying her best to be the best at school and in life while her best friend Katie moves along almost effortless at their elite private school.
Lolly could define a metaphor in her sleep, but goddamn it she wouldn't recognize one if it galloped up and punched her in the stomach.  ARC p.71
I may over identify with Violet because I loved her and she is so much like me as a teenager and to some extent me as an adult.  But really what I can identify with most is her relationship with her best friend, Katie.  It reminded me so very much of me and my best friend, the easy way of talking; of having a conversation that doesn't sound like a conversation to the rest of the world because there is actually no need to finish a thought or a sentence.  The other one already knows what you are talking about.

Violet and Katie are so exactly right and so very much like me and my best friend that when I realized that this was going to be partly a "friendship" book, I grew uneasy.  I didn't want Violet and Katie to fight and "break up" as happens so much in a friendship book.  I wanted them to be best friends forever.  But even given my reservations, I completely loved this book.  I loved the humor which made me laugh out loud so many times.  I loved Violet and Katie.  I even liked the vignette-style of storytelling which was an interesting way to get all the details in without bogging down the story.  It gave a very clear picture of the school and the girls that attend it and provided a lot of insight into Violet's character.

Provided by Traveling ARC Tours
Published October 2010
Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Extraordinary

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

Phoebe stopped talking only because she forced herself too.  She was pretty sure she hadn't even made any sense.  She chewed on the inside of her cheek.

p.130 ARC Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 10/4

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 finishing Extraordinary (Werlin) and reading White Cat (Black).  I'm listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling).

Since last week I've read The Candidates (Scott), The Kid Table (Siegel), and The Witch Tree Symbol (Keene).

Reviews posted:

Low Red Moon (Devlin)
Red Hood's Revenge (Hines)
Dylan and the Baby Doctor (Woods)

No Going Back by Jonathan Langford
(Sent as an e-book from the author for review)
A gay teenage Mormon growing up in western Oregon in 2003. His straight best friend. Their parents. A typical LDS ward, a high-school club about tolerance for gays, and a proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment to the state constitution. In NO GOING BACK, these elements combine in a coming-of-age story about faithfulness and friendship, temptation and redemption, tough choices and conflicting loyalties.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dylan and the Baby Doctor (e-book) by Sherryl Woods

I thought I was going to read a nice, fluffy romance.  Man, I was wrong.  Dr. Kelsey James' son is kidnapped by her drug-addicted ex-husband and it's up to private investigator Dylan Delacourte to find him.  Seriously, this is a fairly heavy subject for a romance novel.  Or maybe there are all like this now?  I don't know.  It's been about 15 years since I read a romance book.  It was a quick read, the characters are fairly surface level and the action takes place over the course of two days.  Still I enjoyed it for the most part.  Interesting to see two characters fall in love over the course of several days while trying to find the missing boy.  I was happy to see the issue of how they could fall in love in the middle of the crisis addressed because otherwise it would have been weird.  There was very little sex in this romance which was very appropriate given the subject matter.  All in all, I liked it though I doubt my reading is going to be taken up by romances anytime soon.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Friday, October 1, 2010

Red Hood's Revenge by Jim C. Hines

The Princesses are back!  This time they must battle the notorious assassin The Lady of the Red Hood, whose story you might know as Little Red Riding Hood.  The Princesses are lead to Talia's home country after an assassination attempt fails and it seems that someone is out to get Sleeping Beauty.
     "She's known as the Lady of the Red Hood," said Talia.  "Having failed to kill Beatrice, it looks as though she's coming for you."
     Danielle stared.  "You're telling me Little Red Riding Hood want to kill me?"
     Asked Cinderella of Sleeping Beauty," Snow added with a smile.  p.24

I love these books!  By the third book of any series, especially a longer one than a trilogy, I begin to feel wary.  But Hines seriously delivers.  I think this one is even better than The Mermaid's Madness and I was happy to get more on Talia and to see the repercussions of her actions and explore more of her background.  It was nice to see more of the "Sleeping Beauty" story explored and built on.  I enjoyed the resolution for Talia and thought it was well done. 

I loved the theme of Red Riding Hood and how that story was twisted so that the Lady of the Red Hood, Roudette, becomes someone both villainous and sympathetic at the same time.  So well done.  It was nice to see a match for Talia, but, of course, I always wanted Talia to win.  I liked the whole straying from the path and how is was taken from a literal idea to a religious one.  Roudette was a great villain and a great character.

I was also glad to see Danielle have a little more to do in this book.  She is becoming a really awesome character and living up to the greatness of Talia and Snow.  I can't wait for the next book since it seems to promise a bit more on Snow though I hear that it is the last book and that makes me sad.  But still a great series so far on the whole.

Hogwarts: History of Magic