Monday, January 31, 2011

Alphabet Challenge - COMPLETE

Hosted by The Life (and Lies) of An Inanimate Object is hosting the Alphabet Challenge.

COMPLETE 12/30/11

1. 26 books!
For each letter, read a book that has a main character or key supporting character  (not some random minor character mentioned twice!) whose name starts with that letter. It doesn’t have to be the title of the book, just the name. Ex: Alice (in wonderland), Bella (twilight), Cathy (Wuthering Heights), Dracula (Dracula) Estella (Great Expectations),  etc.
2. only one letter per book!
3. Crossovers are fine
4. audio, e-book, bound book, someone reading it out loud to you, reading a book to your little brother or sister, it all counts.
5. any length—short stories, books of the Bible, etc. they all count for this one.
6. Don’t have to be a blogger, don’t have to review the book. Just tell me you're participating.

Level 1: 10 Letters
Level 2: 20 Letters
Level 3: all 26 letters

I'm not sure what level I am going to try for, but I know I can do at least 20. Runs January 1st 2011 - December 31, 2011.

A - Astrid (Bright Young Things)
B - Bartimaeus (The Ring of Solomon)
C - Celeste (Once in a Full Moon)
D - Dempsey (The Fixer Upper)
E - Elizabeth (Wicked Appetite)
F - Fancy (Slice of Cherry)
G - Greg (Queens of All the Earth)
H - Hanna (Bleeding Violet)
I - Isabel (Linger)
J - Joan (Something New)
K - Kick (Perfect)
L - Lucy (Deeply, Desperately)
M - Maddy (Illyria)
N - Nancy (Mother Carey's Chickens)
O - Owen (Brilliant)
P - Penelope (The Mysterious Howling)
Q - Quinn (Glee: The Beginning)
R - Reuben (The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group)
S - Savannah (Savannah Grey)
T - Tallulah (Withering Tights)
U - Ulrich (Forever)
V - Vinnie (Sizzling Sixteen)
W - Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
X - Xander (Matched)
Y - Yusuf (Sister Mischief)
Z - Zoe (A Crooked Kind of Perfect)

Weekly Round-Up 1/31

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 Bright Young Things (Godbersen), Lucy Unstrung (Lazar) and So Much Closer (Colasanti) and I'm listening to The Ring of Solomon (Stroud).

Last week I read Perfect (Kellogg), Wicked Appetite (Evanovich), Perfect You (Scott) and Bleeding Violet (Reeves).  I finished listening to The Lost Hero (Riordian) and A Crooked Kind of Perfect (Urban)
Other reviews posted: Withering Tights (Rennison)

Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund
Astrid Llewelyn is now a fully trained unicorn hunter, but she can't solve all her problems with just a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend, Giovanni, has decided to leave Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend's powers seem to be mysteriously disintegrating, and Astrid can't help but feel that school, home, and her hopes of becoming a scientist are nothing but impossible dreams.

So when she's given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and put her skills to use as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she want--or can she? At Gordian headquarters, deep in the French countryside, Astrid begins to question everything she thought she believed: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and most of all her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns, or saving the unicorns from the world?

Sizzling Sixteen (audio) by Janet Evanovich, read by Lorelei King
Trenton, New Jersey, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has inherited a “lucky” bottle from her Uncle Pip. Problem is, Uncle Pip didn’t specify if the bottle brought good luck or bad luck....

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January Picks

 I used to do monthly wrap-ups but I've decided not to anymore.  So I thought something fun could be to share my favorite books and audios from the month.

Favorite book:
Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves
Despite the fact that it was scary and disturbing, it was really well written, had a great plot that overcame my fear and sucked me right in and some truly memorable characters.  Reeves has some serious talent that cannot be ignored.  Also the cover is just amazing.

Favorite audio:

The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1 by Maryrose Wood
This was an extremely fun book and I am so happy that I checked it out.  I actually enjoyed the narrator and think she did a wonderful job.  Her characterizations were spot-on.  The plot was fun and different and the main character was delightful and smart.

What was your favorite book of the month?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wicked Appetite (Diesel #1) by Janet Evanovich

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Tucker is a cupcake baker extraordinaire.  But when she is visited by a strange man in black who brands her with his fingertip, she learns that she is something more: an Unmentionable.  Enter Diesel, best know from the Stephanie Plum Between-the-Numbers series.  Still tall, handsome and cocky as ever, Diesel needs Elizabeth and her enhanced ability to find the first of seven powerful stones.  But they are going to have to go around his cousin, Gerwulf Grimoire, to get it.

"Ordinarily, I like a woman with strong appetites," Diesel said, "but you're downright scary.  I'm afraid when you finish the doughnuts, you're going to start gnawing on my arm."  p.105
Let me just say this first. Diesel, phew.  H-O-T

Okay, that being said, I wasn't too sure about a series about him.  I think he is funny and enjoy his adventures with Stephanie, but I wasn't sure about where this series was going.  But I'm glad I read it.  Lizzie is a little Stephanie-like, but she is definitely her own character.  I like her dynamic with Diesel and it was nice to see him with someone who isn't hampered already with two love interests.  Unfortunately something is going to prevent the fruition of Diesel and Lizzie's relationship. 

I am assuming that this is going to be a seven part series since they have to find seven stones that each represent a different deadly sin.  This book focused on Gluttony with hilarious results.  I love the humor in this book.  Priceless.  But I'm with Diesel on one thing.  I can't wait to see what happens when they go after Lust.

Hogwarts: Divination
Cover Love - January
What's in a Name
Off the Shelf

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Lost Hero (audio) by Rick Riordian

 Jason wakes up on a bus holding the hand of a pretty girl with no memory of who he is or how he got there.  After a monster attack, Jason, Piper (the girl), and Leo (a friend) are whisked away to Camp Half Blood and there they find out about their parentage and are sent on a quest to save Hera and stop something worse than the Titans from rising from the earth.

Phew.  I was afraid after The Red Pyramid that I was off of Rick Riordian.  But The Lost Hero has saved me from that.  Because I really enjoyed it.  As much as I did the Percy Jackson series.  Partly, I think, because the characters are more familiar and I don't have to learn a whole bunch of new gods or monsters or how the world works.  There's something to be said for familiarity.  But this is a fresh approach to the Greek gods and demigods.  It centers around three new demigods, Piper, Jason, and Leo and alternates between their voices in the third person.  It was a good way of getting to know all three and getting to see everything that was happening.  My only problem is that sometimes there is just too much mystery.  Just say it already and quit jerking me around.  But that's par for the course in a Riordian book.  Still I liked the book and was eager to find out what happens next.  I'm curious about Annabeth and Percy and I hope the next book deals with their side of the story.  The cliffhanger at the end has been eagerly awaiting the next book.

Joshua Swanson is the reader and overall he did a great job doing all three characters.  His reading was a bit stilted in place and I don't know if that is his fault or the fault of the text.  It just sounded unnatural in places.  It wasn't anything that detracted from the story as a whole, but it was something that I noticed.  I like these books on audio, in general because they are exciting and absorbing.

16 hours, 48 minutes

Hogwarts: Ancient Runes
Whisper in my Ear

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Perfect (Kick Keswick Mysteries #3) by Marne Davis Kellogg

Kick Keswick is the world's best jewel thief.  But she is retired.  That is until the Queen's jewels are stolen and Kick is recruited to steal them back.  Kick enters the world of the beyond wealthy to find the thief and get back the jewels and it will take all her wits and skill to do just that.
If I were going to commit to using my highly developed skills and signature techniques, I wouldn't dream of putting myself in jeopardy or making myself vulnerable to capture by letting him, or anyone, seeing into my secret world. My secret world of Swiss bank vaults packed with stones and currency and identities.  I could vanish in seconds.
In fact, I just had.  p.31
I love heist stories.  And this one is an inverted heist story because Kick is a thief stealing from a thief at the behest of Scotland Yard.  Kick is very good at what she does and she knows a lot about jewels and jewelry and all the finest things in life.  I liked her and her descriptions of all these things.  And food.  OMG the food in this book is described in such detail.  I went around hungry the entire time I read it.

It turns out, though, that this is third in the series.  It wasn't a problem, prior knowledge isn't really necessary to read this one.  There is some summing up of past adventures but it's not blow-by-blow or anything.  But now I want to start at the beginning and read some of her adventures when she was an actual jewel thief and not just "coming out of retirement" for this caper.  Because Kick is very clever and really knows her stuff.  The plan is so simple yet so elaborate and I loved reading how it played out.  This is definitely a fun series if you like mysteries or heists or food or all of the above.

Hogwarts: Perfect Mini-challenge

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison

 Talluah Casey is going away to theater camp or "college" as she calls it.  There she meets some fun and talented girls and has adventures involving boys, owls, and, of course, the theater.
Vaisey said, "It can't really be Mrs. Rochester, can it?"
I said, "Well, you say that, but it all adds up, doesn't it?  We're in Yorkshire on some moors at a big house, the roof's on fire and someone who may or may not have been banged up in the attic for years, has just come out on to the roof?  I'm only stating the obvious.  Who else can it be?  p.49/50
As a huge fan of Georgia Nicholson and Louise Rennison in general, I was excited to see a new series coming from her.  And this was definitely her style.  Tallulah is Georgia's younger cousin and so there is some family resemblance attitude-wise.  Just as Georgia was clueless about boys so is Tallulah.  But Tallulah is cluess about a great many other things.  She is precious and funny and apparently very tall.  It's funny because I always think no one can be that clueless and then I remember myself in high school and oh yes they can.  Reading her adventures with the boys, especially Cain, the brooding bad boy, brought me back to being a teenager.  Except I've never been tall or lanky and not inclined to the theater.  But Tallulah is refreshing and amusing and very British and I enjoyed this book. I thought this was a cute book, not quite as amusing as the Georgia books but definitely a good follow-up for Rennison.  Tallulah is going on my must read series list.

 Hogwarts: Charms
350 Page Book
LazyGirl Mini-Challenge: Borrowed

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 1/24

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 am reading Perfect (Kellogg) and Bleeding Violet (Reeves).  I'll finishing listening to The Lost Hero (Riordian) and start A Crooked Kind of Perfect (Urban) next.

Last week I read Withering Tights (Rennison) and didn't post any reviews.  I'm trying this whole taking my time and reviewing as I go thing now.

Perfect by Natasha Friend
Isabelle Lee has a problem, and it's not just Ape Face, her sister, or group therapy for an eating disorder, or even that her father died and her mother is depressed and in denial. It's that Ashley, the most popular girl in school, is inviting Isabelle to join her at lunch and at sleepovers at her house, and this is presenting Isabelle with a dilemma. Pretty Ashley has moved Isabelle up the social ladder, but is it worth keeping the secret they share? Caught in the orbit of popularity and appearances, Isabelle must navigate a world with mixed messages, false hopes, and potentially harmful turns, while coping with her own flailing family and emotions. The author brings a depth of characterization, humor, and a real adolescent's voice to this multileveled story about the desire to be perfect in an imperfect world.
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Sometimes life-ending.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

A Crooked Kind of Perfect (audio) by Linda Urban, read by Taj Alexandra Ricci
Ten-year-old Zoe Elias dreams of playing a baby grand piano at Carnegie Hall. But when Dad ventures to the music store and ends up with a wheezy organ instead of a piano, Zoe's dreams hit a sour note. Learning the organ versions of old TV theme songs just isn't the same as mastering Beethoven on the piano. And the organ isn't the only part of Zoe's life that's off-kilter, what with Mom constantly at work, Dad afraid to leave the house, and that odd boy, Wheeler Diggs, following her home from school every day. Yet when Zoe enters the annual Perform-O-Rama organ competition, she finds that life is full of surprises—and that perfection may be even better when it's just a little off center.
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Love can be a dangerous thing....
Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.
But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cover Love Challenge - ABANDON

Cover Love Challenge
I think this is cute and I like color challenges for some reason.  So I'm going to give this one a go.  Hosted by The Love of Reading, the Cover Love Challenge asks that you read one book a month with a certain colored cover.
The challenge runs til December 31, 2011.

I'm dropping this one.  8/20/2011

January:  Wild Cherry (Red) - Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich
February:  Pineapple Pashionfruit (Blue - Darker Blues) - Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
March:  Sour Mandarin (Orange) - The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews
April:  Melon Berry (Green) - Not completed
May:  Grape (Purple) - Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
June:  Peach Pear (Light Greens) - Not completed
July:  Orange Mango (Light Peach) - Betsy's Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace
August:  Milk Choclate (Brown)
September:  Lemon (Yellow)
October:  Brownie Batter (Black)
November:  Cotton Candy (Baby Blue-Lighter Blues)
December: Peppermint (White)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

LazyGirl Reads Mini-Challenge - COMPLETE

This seems cute so I thought I'd sign up.  I'll list as I go.
  • This challenge goes from Jan. 1st 2011- Apr. 1st 2011
  • Rules: Choose 4 books according to the following guidelines.
    You don't have to pick the books ahead of time! Be creative! While the other categories are self explanatory, 'Something blue' can mean a book with a blue cover, a book with the word 'blue' in the title, a book that takes place at sea...anything you want!

    COMPLETED 3/3/11

    1. Something old Gigi by Colette
    2. Something new - Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves
    3. Something borrowed - Withering Tights by Louise Rennison
    4. Something blue - Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Weekly Round-Up 1/17

    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 Withering Tights (Rennison) and Perfect (Kellogg).  I'm listening to The Lost Hero (Riordan).

    Last week I read Once in a Full Moon (Schreiber), Slice of Cherry (Reeves) and Deeply, Desperately (Webber).  I also reviewed The Mysterious Howling (Wood) on audio.

    From NetGalley 
    Queens of All the Earth by Hannah Sternberg
    Publish date: 6/16/2011
    Not on Goodreads yet.  I love A Room With a View so I thought I'd like this one.  It's interesting that with so much Austen being rewritten or updated that someone decided to take on Forrester.
    As her freshman classmates move into dorms at Cornell University, Olivia Somerset suffers a nervous breakdown. When months of coaxing and analyzing fail to rouse Olivia from her stupor, big sister Miranda decides the sisters should fly off to Barcelona for some "vacation therapy."
    When a mistake at their Barcelona hostel leaves the Somersets in a large co-ed dorm room, Olivia and Miranda are saved by kindly Mr. Brown and his son Greg, who happily volunteer to surrender their private room. But while Olivia feels an instant connection with brooding Greg Brown, Miranda sides with fellow guest and cocky American travel writer Lenny:

    The Browns are just plain weird, and must be avoided at all costs.

    In the midst of urbane Peruvian priests-in-training and Scottish soccer fans, from the shops of La Rambla to the waters of the Mediterranean to the soaring heights of Montjuic, Miranda works to protect her still-fragile sister while Olivia struggles to understand her burgeoning adulthood, her feelings for Greg, and the fear that makes the next step in her life so impossible to take.

    Inspired by E. M. Forster's classic novel A Room with a View, debut author Hannah Sternberg's Queens of All the Earth is a poetic journey of young love and self-awakening set against the beauty of Catalonia. Teenagers and adults alike will be riveted and moved by this coming-of-age novel about the conflicting hearts and minds of two very different sisters.

    Withering Tights by Louise Rennison
    Picture the scene: Dother Hall performing arts college somewhere Up North, surrounded by rolling dales, bearded cheesemaking villagers (male and female) and wildlife of the squirrely-type. On the whole, it’s not quite the showbiz experience Tallulah was expecting… but once her mates turn up and they start their ‘FAME! I’m gonna liiiiive foreeeeeever, I’m gonna fill my tiiiiights’ summer course things are bound to perk up. Especially when the boys arrive. (When DO the boys arrive?) Six weeks of parent-free freedom. BOY freedom. Freedom of expression... cos it’s the THEATRE dahling, theatre!!

    Perfect by Marne Davis Kellogg
    Despite her best intentions, Kick Keswick—international jewel thief, fabulous dresser, gourmet cook, and woman-about-town—finds herself drawn into the glamorous, dangerous world of jewels (and the people who covet them)....
    It should have been the start of a perfect sojourn in Provence. Kick Keswick had just settled down to warm chocolate soufflĂ© with a decadently rich Grand Marnier sauce and a small glass of Armagnac when she receives startling news: the personal jewels of the Queen of England herself have gone missing, and she wants Kick to get them back. Most of the world knows Kick as an expert in jewels and antiquities, having been the right hand at Ballantine & Company Auctioneers in London, but others know Kick as the world's finest jewel thief, a woman who can stand out in a crowd at will, but who can also blend in when she wants to. So the chase is on, in a race that takes her from Provence to Paris, London, St. Moritz, and Milan—and puts all her wiles and talents to the test as she faces a thief whose skills match her own. And with Kick Keswick on the case, there will be trouble afoot—of the multifaceted kind.
    With sophistication, wit, and insider details, Perfect is a madcap adventure that takes you on a quest for the things that make life worth living…or at least worth talking about.

    Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
    Kate Brown's life has gone downhill fast. Her father has quit his job to sell vitamins at the mall, and Kate is forced to work with him. Her best friend has become popular, and now she acts like Kate's invisible. And then there's Will. Gorgeous, unattainable Will, whom Kate acts like she can't stand even though she can't stop thinking about him. When Will starts acting interested, Kate hates herself for wanting him when she's sure she's just his latest conquest.
    Kate figures that the only way things will ever stop hurting so much is if she keeps to herself and stops caring about anyone or anything. What she doesn't realize is that while life may not always be perfect, good things can happen -- but only if she lets them....

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    Once in a Full Moon (e-book) by Ellen Schreiber

    From Goodreads:
    Celeste Parker is used to hearing scary stories about werewolves—Legend's Run is famous for them. She's used to everything in the small town until Brandon Maddox moves to Legend's Run and Celeste finds herself immediately drawn to the handsome new student. 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.
     Her best friends may never forgive her if she gives up her perfect boyfriend, Nash, for Brandon, who's from the wrong side of town. But she can't deny her attraction or the strong pull he has on her. Brandon may be Celeste's hero, or he may be the most dangerous creature she could encounter in the woods of Legend's Run.
    Psychic predictions, generations-old secrets, a town divided, and the possibility of falling in love with a hot and heroic werewolf are the perfect formula for what happens . . . once in a full moon. 

    Plot: Standard werewolf love story.  The only good thing about this book is that the concept is at least well thought out.

    Writing:  Show, don't tell is something Schrieber needs to learn.  This book is all telling and I mean all. 

    Characters: ClichĂ©d.  And maddening.  Celeste made me want to shake her & everyone else made me want to punch them.  They were all so ridiculous especially her friends.

    Love Story:  Sudden.  Suddenly Celeste develops an obsession with Brandon for saving her.  This is acceptable and even realistic.  Her "falling in love" with him was stupid because they barely had a conversation.  All of it was dumb.

    Overall:  I've never read the Vampire Kisses series by Schreiber and I never will because this book read like a poorly written fan-fic.  I guess at least it was readable enough to get though it so that might count for something.

    E-ARC from Netgalley 
    Hogwarts: Transfiguration
    What's in a Name

    Hogwarts Challenge - Mini-Challenges - COMPLETE

    I decided to have a spot for the mini-challenges of the Hogwarts Challenge.

    Perfect Mini Challenge
    Time frame is Jan 14th to Feb 13th
    So what do you have to do?
    *First way: read at least 3 books with the word Perfect in the title.
    *Second way: read at least 3 books that you give a perfect rating to. You do not have to blog the books but you do have to tell me why you gave it a perfect rating.
    Points - 10 points (max 30 points) an additional 25 points for completing the challenge. Meaning you read all 3 will receive 30 points plus 25 bonus points for a total of 55 points. 15 points for each additional book (for every 3rd book you get an extra entry in the Triwizard Tournament Drawing)
    ***Yes, you can do any combination of the two options. Ex: read 2 books with perfect in the title and 1 book that you have given a perfect rating to.
    Have Fun and Happy Reading!!!

    + 10 Perfect (Kick Keswick Mysteries #3) by Marne Davis Kellogg
    + 10 Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
    + 10 A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
    + 25 completion
    = + 55 points

    Book in the Day Mini Challenge
    Time frame is Feb 14th to March 13th
    Throughout the series the characters are constantly delving into the past so in this challenge we will too. You task is to read 3 books that were published in 1999 or earlier.
    Points - 10 points (max 30 points) an additional 25 points for completing the challenge. Meaning you read all 3 will receive 30 points plus 25 bonus points for a total of 55 points. 15 points for each additional book (for every 3rd book you get an extra entry in the Triwizard Tournament Drawing)
    *Yes, books set in the past count but it still have to be set in a time period on or before 1999.
    Have Fun and Happy Reading!!!

    +10 Gigi Colette
    +10 Something New P.G. Wodehouse
    +10 Mother Carey's Chickens Kate Douglas Wiggin
    + 25 completion
    = +55

    Hide and Seek Mini Challenge
    Time frame March 14th and April 30th
    There are times when one must hide while seeking out the next move to make. Harry and friends had to this on many occasions like when they can to sneak and learn Defence against the Dark Arts on their own. For this challenge, you must read 3 books that are related to hide and seek. These books can be mysteries, detective stories, crime, have the words hide or seek in the title. When in doubt ask me.
    Points - 10 points (max 30 points) an additional 25 points for completing the challenge. Meaning you read all 3 will receive 30 points plus 25 bonus points for a total of 55 points. 15 points for each additional book (for every 3rd book you get an extra entry in the Triwizard Tournament Drawing)
    Have Fun and Happy Reading!!!

    +10 Spying in High Heels Gemma Halliday
    +10 Priceless Marne David Kellogg
    +10 Absolutely, Positively Heather Webber
    +25 completion
    = +55

    Flight or Fight Mini Challenge
    Time frame May1st to June 30th
    We all know that at the end of the series Harry Potter must either fight Voldemont or forever run in hiding. For this challenge read 3 books that have to do with fighting, boxing, military, or aviation. Books with the words flight or fight will count as will. Books with the word bird or a type of flying bird will count. So books about an ostrich will not count, they do not fly. When in doubt ask me.
    Points - 10 points (max 30 points) an additional 25 points for completing the challenge. Meaning you read all 3 will receive 30 points plus 25 bonus points for a total of 55 points. 15 points for each additional book (for every 3rd book you get an extra entry in the Triwizard Tournament Drawing)
    Have Fun and Happy Reading!!!

    +10 Behemoth Scott Westerfeld
    +10 Starcrossed  Josephine Angelini
    +10 Under the Jolly Roger: Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber L.A. Meyer
    +25 for completion
    = +55

    7 in a Series
    Read 7 books from one series by June 30th.
    I've decide to read 7 of the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace.

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Deeply, Desperately by Heather Webber

    Lucy Valentine is back.  Using her psychic ability to find lost things, she is now in the business of finding lost loves.  But public knowledge of her abilities also comes with some threatening letters.  Along with that, it looks like her boyfriend's ex-flame is trying to win him back and something is up with her best friend's fiance. 
    At a big-box office-supplies store, I picked up a clipboard, and quickly drew up a phony petition letter, a blundering paragraph on rezoning.  Maybe Marisol wasn't the only one who used Magnum, PI tactics.  But what worked, worked.  And my plan had to work.  p.224
    Lucy Valentine is back and cuter than ever!  I liked these little mysteries with their blend of paranormal abilities and good old fashioned mysteries.  There are some heartwarming moments and quite a few surprises in this book.  Really I think I rate this right up there with the Stephanie Plum series.  It has significantly less cursing (none) and less violence and that is just fine.  Lucy is such a sweet girl though she worries too much.  And Sean, phew, hot.  Their relationship is awesome and I like seeing them together.  I'm curious to see where this is all going but I like how Lucy is able to figure things out using not only her abilities, but good old mind power.  Very nice.

    Hogwarts:  Divination
    Off the Shelf

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Slice of Cherry (Portero #2) (e-book) by Dia Reeves

    Fancy and Kit Cordelle are the daughters of the Bonesaw Killer and are ostracized by their town because of their serial killer dad.  But the girls have inherited their dad's love of murder though they try to suppress it.  Until Fancy opens a door into another world, that is.  With a place to hide the bodies, the girls begin giving into their desires though they try to only hurt those who hurt others.  But once the Turner boys, whose dad was the Bonesaw Killer's last victim, take an interest in the Cordelle sisters things begin to change.  And Fancy does not like change...
    Kit settled against the building opposite the side door of the dress shop, her cap pulled low over her eyes so that her poison mouth was the most visible part of her, the same shade of red as the brick in her fist. (e-book)
    Well, this  For me, anyway.  I don't usually read horror since I like to sleep at night but I was drawn to this book, initially, because of the super amazing cover.  And then I read the description and thought well, okay, I'll give it a shot.  Then I download it onto the Nook and got scared.  What was I thinking?  I thought.  I'll wait. But I peeked at the beginning and decide to read the first chapter, then a chapter after that.  And wouldn't you know it?  I read the whole thing.  But only during the day.  I'm serious about sleeping.  And it was a good thing I did.  Because this is some disturbing stuff.  Girls who like to murder people, yeah.  Disturbing.  But strangely compelling too.  I honestly could not figure out where this story was headed especially with the introduction of the two guys.  And so I kept reading because I was invested in Fancy and Kit and could not tell where this was going and where they were going to end up.

    There is a whole fantasy element to the story that is rare in a horror novel. At the first appearance of the monsters, I was surprised (I haven't read Bleeding Violet which is set in the same town), but once I went with the whole concept, it blended horror and fantasy perfectly.  The town is interesting with the way they have developed coping mechanisms for the appearance of real life monsters and their reaction to the girls' "solving" of their problems is different.  It defies expectations which is something that can be said for the whole book.

    Fancy and Kit do not invite sympathy.  At all.  But the character growth in both of them is done with such style. And the love interest part of the story was very mysterious.  I really couldn't figure out what angle the Turner boys were coming from until it was spelled out for me.  I liked that.  I hate guessing the ending before the story is over. 

    Despite the fact that I liked it and that I'm praising it, I must say that this book isn't for everyone.  It has some really gory elements and is disturbing.  The fantasy elements might be off-putting for straight horror fans and the horror elements might be too much for fantasy fans.  But if you can put up with fairly graphic scenes of murder and mayhem, then I suggest you read it.  Just don't read it before bed.

    Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts
    E-book Challenge

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1) (audio) by Maryrose Wood

    Penelope Lumley has been engaged as a governess to three children, three feral children, that is.  The Incorrigibles were found in the woods of Ashton Place and it's now Miss Lumley's job to civilize them.  But there mysteries abound.  Who are these children?  And what is Lord Ashton hiding?  And why is Old Timothy, the coachman always sulking around? So many questions and this is just the beginning.

    I want to say "think A Series of Unfortunate Events mixed with a penny dreadful and The Jungle Book"  And that might come close,  but A Mysterious Howling is not depressing like ASoUE (one of my favorite series but really depressing if you read the whole thing at once).  In fact, it's jolly good fun.  Miss Lumley steps up to the plate of basically training these wolfish children and turning them into normal humans.  While she can be a bit officious, she is a great deal of fun and I loved her approach to the children.

    There are plenty of mysteries raised in the first book of this series.  Why are there three feral children living in the woods at Ashton Place?  Why did Lord Ashton keep them?  What the heck is going on?  I can't wait to read more because I am really glad I got this from the library.  It is a delightful book that I highly recommend.

    This is the second book that I've listened to narrated by Katherine Kellgren, the first one being The Red Pyramid.  I did not like her voice in that book.  I found it grating.  So when the audiobook began and I heard her voice, I groaned.  But I think she did an excellent job as the reader and I liked the voices she put to the characters.  I think my problem with her before stemmed from that book being a two narrator book.  She doesn't have the smoothest voice but it lent itself nicely to Miss Lumley and the Victorian feeling of the book.  I'll be happy to listen to her again if she is the narrator of The Hidden Gallery

    5 hours 28 minutes

    Hogwarts: Charms
    Whisper in my Ear

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Weekly Round-Up 1/10

    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 Once in a Full Moon (Schreiber) and maybe Slice of Cherry (Reeves). I'm listening to The Lost Hero (Riordan).

    Last week I read Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters (Staniford) and Illyria (Hand) and I finished listening to The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (Wood) on audio.

    Slice of Cherry (e-book) by Dia Reeves
    I'm a little frightened based on the reviews but I'm going to try it.  The cover is amazing.

    Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.
    It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities….

    Something Fresh (e-book) by P.G. Wodehouse
    To start my Wodehouse Challenge

    One thing that constantly disrupts the peace of life at Blandings is the constant incursion of impostors. Blandings has impostors like other houses have mice. Now there are two of them—both intent on a dangerous enterprise. Lord Emsworth"s secretary, the efficient Baxter, is on the alert and determined to discover what is afoot—despite the distractions caused by the Honorable Freddie Threepwood"s hapless affair of the heart.

    Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone: The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival by Dene Low
    You would think Petronella’s sixteenth birthday would be cause for celebration. After all, fashionable friends are arriving at her country estate near London, teas are being served, and her coming out party promises to be a resplendent affair. Everything is falling nicely into place, until, suddenly—it isn’t. For Petronella discovers that her guardian, Uncle Augustus T. Percival, has developed a most unVictorian compulsion: He must eat bugs. Worse still, because he is her guardian, Uncle Augustus is to attend her soiree and his current state will most definitely be an embarrassment.
    During the festivities, when Petronella would much rather be sharing pleasantries with handsome Lord James Sinclair (swoon), important guests are disappearing, kidnapping notes are appearing, many of the clues are insects, and Uncle Augustus is surreptitiously devouring evidence. It’s more than one sixteen-year-old girl should have to deal with. But, truth be told, there is far more yet to come . . .

    The Fixer Upper (audio) by Mary Kay Andrews, read by Isabel Keating
    After her boss in a high-powered Washington public relations firm is caught in a political scandal, fledgling lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left almost broke, unemployed, and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father's offer to help refurbish Birdsong, the old family place he recently inher­ited in Guthrie, Georgia.

    But, oh, is Dempsey in for a surprise when she arrives in Guthrie. "Bird Droppings" would more aptly describe the moldering Pepto Bismol-pink dump with duct-taped windows and a driveway full of junk. There's also a murderously grumpy old lady, one of Dempsey's distant relations, who has claimed squatter's rights and isn't moving out. Ever.

    All Dempsey can do is roll up her sleeves and get to work. And before long, what started as a job of necessity somehow becomes a labor of love and, ultimately, a journey that takes her to a place she never expected—back home again.
    The Ring of Solomon (audio) by Jonathan Stroud, read by Simon Jones
    Bartimaeus, everyone’s favorite (wise-cracking) djinni, is back in book four of this best-selling series. As alluded to in the footnotes throughout the series, Bartimaeus has served hundreds of magicians during his 5,010 year career. Now, for the first time, fans will go back in time with the djinni, to Jerusalem and the court of King Solomon in 950s BC. Only in this adventure, it seems the great Bartimaeus has finally met his match. He’ll have to contend with an unpleasant master and his sinister servant, and runs into just a “spot” of trouble with King Solomon’s magic ring....

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Illyria by Elizabeth Hand

    Rogan and Maddy are cousins who have fallen in love with each other. But, even as they hide it from their families, they begin to explore their talents.
    I touched my fingers to his lips, then kissed him.  I was afraid to guess at what might be there, beyond the tiny stage; afraid to give a name to what we saw there, just as I couldn't give a name to what I felt for my cousin.
    Magic; love.   p.50
    You'd expect the main theme of this novella to be the incestal relationship of the cousins.  Surprisingly it's not.  It definitely factors into the whole book since the relationship of Maddy and Rogan is such a huge part of her life.  But really I think this is not only about love, but art.  Rogan has a huge natural talent while Maddy is much more plain.  But their aunt sees more in Maddy than Rogan since Rogan is inclined to be more reckless and wasteful.  Maddy is a steady kind of girl, more inclined to hide in Rogan's shadow than stand out.  But, as this book shows, sometimes it is better to the rock than the star.

    I expected to be squicked out by Rogan and Maddy, but I felt sad for them.   That no one was going to accept their relationship and that they had to hide it (though I don't think they did that good a job at it since everyone seemed to know) was a little heartbreaking for me.  It was sweet to see how much they loved each other.  I thought the actual sex scenes were well done and described tastefully, not exploitative at all.   

    It is a book worth reading; full of love and sadness and magic.  The relationship was very well developed and idea of talent and how it is used is an interesting one.

    Hogwarts: Charms

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

    The Sullivans are a rich and quirky family almost entirely dependent on the matriarch of the family who they, and everyone else, call Almighty.  Someone in the family offends Almighty and so it is up to the offender to write a letter of apology or the whole family will lose their inheritance.
    I'd just read that even, regular features are universally recognized as beautiful.  So no matter what I think of Brooks as a person, I'm genetically programmed to find him attractive.  I resent that. --Norrie p.35 
    Maybe it was a result of having read nothing but Nancy Drew for two months, but I really enjoyed this.  It provided a refreshing and sweet change from the mysteries of the girl detective and I liked the whole concept of the book.  Each section is a letter to their grandmother from one of the girls and then an explanation of the offense.  My favorite girl was Norrie, the oldest.  Maybe that is because her part felt the longest and provided most of the background for the book.  She was mature and sweet and I liked how she finally realizes that it is less about Almighty and other people's opinions and more about what she wants.  Jane is the middle girl and is the rebellious-because-someone-has-to-be child. She was a bit harder to take and she just made me roll my eyes a lot.  I think that is because I am an adult.  And Sassy, the youngest girl, was very sweet but her section seemed short and I never got into her character.  Still over all, I liked it and thought it was super fun and very well done.

    We were trying to turn it into a bad girls' bathroom that nice girls would be afraid to use, but so far we kept getting interrupted by ninth graders whose idea of bad was chewing gum. --Jane p.145

    He didn't take my confession seriously.  And the proof was in the penance: only one Hail Mary.  For the sin of pride, not for murder.  --Sassy p.285

    Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
    Off the Shelf

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Hogwarts Reading Challenge 2011 - COMPLETE

    Yes!  It's back!  I loved this challenge last year and so I'm joining again.  Hosted by Worth Reading It, in Hogwarts Reading Challenge you are a student of the school. You will be sorted into houses. Each book you read must fit in to the subject of one the classes. You do not have to read books that fit all the subjects. Each book equals one point (toward the house cup).  Reading one of the 7 Harry Potter books earns you 25 house points. You can only read this books once during the challenge. 15 points for any other Harry Potter related book such as Tales of Beedle the Bard or A Parent's Guide to Harry Potter, again these books and only be read once during the challenge.   Challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011.

    I'm going to stick with my house from last year's challenge:

    The Classes

    Transfiguration - read any book that has trans or figure in its title, is about shape shifting, has a shape shifter in it, or is about anything having to do with changing one thing into another

    + Once in a Full Moon Ellen Schreiber
    + Savannah Grey Cliff McNish
    + Linger Maggie Stiefvater
    + The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group Catherine Jinks
    + The Adoration of Jenna Fox  Mary E. Pearson,

    Defence Against the Dark Arts - read any book that has defence(defense), dark and/or art(s) in its title, read any book that is about self defense, war, history of war/marital arts, murder mysteries

    + Slice of Cherry Dia Reeves
    + Bleeding Violet Dia Reeves
    + Sizzling Sixteen Janet Evanovich
    + Shine Lauren Myracle
    + Red Glove Holly Black

    Charms - read any book that has charm in its title, any book that deals with gives something or someone a new aspect (for example the nerdy guy become a handsome doctor)

    + Illyria Elizabeth Hand
    + The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Maryrose Wood
    + Withering Tights Louise Rennison
    + Bright Young Things Anna Godbersen
    + Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl
    + The Fixer Upper Mary Kay Andrews
    + Bumped Megan McCafferty
    + Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary Jacky Faber, Ship's Boy  L.A. Meyer
    + The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival: Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone Dene Low
    + The Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady L.A. Meyer
    + In the Belly of the Bloodhound : Being an Account of a Particularly Peculiar Adventure in the Life of Jacky Faber  L.A. Meyer

    Potions - read any book that has potion in its title, cookbooks count but you must cook at least one recipe out of the book

    Astronomy - read any book that has astronomy in its title, books about planets, stars, etc, sci-fi

    + Ultraviolet R.J.Anderson

    History of Magic - read any book that has history or magic in its title, books about magic, witches, etc

    + The Grimm Legacy Polly Shulman
    + Cinderella, Ninja Warrior Maureen McGowan
    + The Goddess Test Aimee Carter

    Herbology - read any book that has herb in its title, again cookbooks count and again you must cook at least one recipe out of the book

    Arithmancy - read any book that has arithmancy in its title, any book with a number in its title, any book that deal with numbers or math

    + First Light Rebecca Stead

    Ancient Runes - read any book that has ancient or runes in its title, books about historical places like the pyramids, Stonehenge, great wall of china, or any book about symbols

    + The Lost Hero Rick Riordian
    + Wrapped Jennifer Bradbury

    Divination - read any book that has divine in its title, any book about psychics or psychic abilities, tarot reading etc

    + Deeply, Desperately Heather Webber
    + Wicked Appetite Janet Evanovich

    Care of Magical Creatures - read any book that has magical or creatures in its title, about supernatural beings

    + The Ring of Solomon Jonathan Stroud
    + Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer Maureen McGowan
    + The Atlantis Complex Eoin Colfer
    + A Tale of Two Castles Gail Carson Levine

    Muggle Studies - nearly any book works here, what better why to understand Muggle than to read what they read

    + Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters Natalie Standiford
    + Lucy Unstrung Carole Lazar
    + Hero at Large Janet Evanovich
    + Brilliant Marne Davis Kellogg
    + The Lover's Dictionary David Levithan
    + Queens of All the Earth Hannah Sternberg
    + 13 Little Blue Envelopes Maureen Johnson
    + The Last Little Blue Envelope Maureen Johnson
    + Lucy Rose: Here's the Thing about Me Katy Kelly
    + Leave It to Psmith P.G. Wodehouse
    + Summer Lightning P.G. Wodehouse
    + So Much Closer Susane Colasanti
    + Spoiled Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

    7 Books in a Series

    Betsy-Tacy series Maud Hart Lovelace
    Betsy-Tacy and Tib 
    Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
    Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
    Heaven to Betsy
    Betsy in Spite of Herself
    Betsy Was a Junior
    Betsy and Joe

    Perfect Mini Challenge

    + 10 Perfect Marne Davis Kellogg
    + 10 Perfect You Elizabeth Scott
    + 10 A Crooked Kind of Perfect Linda Urban
    + 25 for completion
    = +55

    Book in the Day Mini Challenge

    + 10 Gigi Colette
    + 10 Something New P.G. Wodehouse
    + 10 Mother Carey's Chickens Kate Douglas Wiggin
    + 25 for completion
    = +55

    Hide and Seek Mini Challenge

    + 10 Spying in High Heels Gemma Halliday
    + 10 Priceless Marne Davis Kellogg
    + 10 Absolutely, Positively Heather Webber
    + 25 for completion
    = +55

    Fight or Flight Mini Challenge

    + 10 Behemoth Scott Westefeld
    + 10 Starcrossed  Josephine Angelini
    + 10 Under the Jolly Roger: Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber L.A. Meyer
    +25 for completion
    = +55

    Total: +274