Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekly Round-Up 6/24

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'm still reading by The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente and The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting by Bunmi Laaditan and listening to Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews, read by Kathleen Mcinerney.

Last week I reviewed Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, read by Rebecca Gibel.

This week available for download til Thursday on SYNC is Once by Morris Gleitzman and Letter From Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (The Syrena Legacy #1) (audio)

Emma is on vacation in Florida when she literally bumps into one of the hottest guys she's ever seen. Little does she know that Galen is a prince of the Syrena (aka merpeople) who is looking for her. Emma has the ability to communicate with fish, something unusual for both humans and Syrena. This ability might be the key to uniting the two Syrena kingdoms who are engaged in a bloodless war. 

If you've ever read a romance novel especially a paranormal romance novel then you will be familiar with the elements to this story. There's the ultimate alpha male and the sweet, spunky, curvy girl who drives him crazy. They fight a lot but there is an undeniable attraction and they have great chemistry when they kiss. That doesn't mean this wasn't a great book. It was really fun and I liked Emma and Galen. It was just very familiar. It really could have been an adult romance if it weren't for the fact that Emma is still in high school. Both of them are legally adults but I guess they are on the fine line between young adult and adult. But don't worry there is no sex and very little kissing (sadly). I loved Emma and Galen but they needed to get their act together.

Still this was super fun and had some great merpeople elements. I feel like the characters were being deliberately obtuse when it came to figuring out who Emma really was but it left room for a "shocking" ending which left the reader hanging. I'm pretty sure no one will really be surprised at the end but I do want to find out what happens next. My only complaint is that I wasn't feeling how Galen's chapters were written. Emma was in first person and Galen was in subjective third person. I'm not really fond of this kind of back and forth.

Rebecca Gibel is the narrator and I liked her. She does a great Jersey accent for some of the minor characters and she really captures the nature of the characters.
9 hours, 32 minutes

Monday, June 17, 2013

Weekly Round-Up 6/17

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 by The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente and The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting by Bunmi Laaditan and listening to Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, read by Rebecca Gibel .

Last week I reviewed Confessions of an Angry Girl and Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett and Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor. 

I gave The Little Bookworm a bit of a face-lift. I'm still tweaking it here and there but I think I like it.

This week on SYNC you can download The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (a book I highly recommend) and Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya (a book I've never heard of but it sounds good).

 The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday. 

The Darkest Mind by Alexandra Bracken
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Shadowlands by Kate Brian
Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection program. Entering the program alongside her, is her father and sister Darcy. The trio starts a new life and a new beginning leaving their friends and family behind without a goodbye.

Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. Just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?

If you've never read The Honest Toddler blog then  you are missing out especially if you have or have ever had a toddler. I was pretty excited when the book came out and got it for my birthday. 
The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting by Bunmi Laaditan
Bracingly candid, sweetly indignant, and writing with an unchecked sense of entitlement, the Internet’s wildly popular Honest Toddler delivers a guide to the parenting techniques he deems acceptable (keep the cake coming and the apple juice undiluted).

The toddler stage can be a rude awakening for parents, whose sweet infants morph, seemingly overnight, into tyrants ready to turn simple errands into hellish and humiliating experiences. Trying to convince your defiant darling to do something as simple as put on her shoes can feel like going to war. It’s not all blood, sweat, and tears, though. Toddlers can be charming little creatures, with their unfettered enthusiasm, wide grins, and ready hugs. In fact, what makes toddlers so fascinating is their unique blend of cute and demonic behavior. A toddler will take your hand and say "I love you," then slap you in the face.

Now, The Honest Toddler provides an indispensable guide to parenting that places the toddler’s happiness front and center. Who better to instruct parents on the needs of toddlers than a toddler himself?

In a voice that is at once inimitable and universal, The Honest Toddler turns his sharp eye to a wide range of subjects, including play date etiquette, meal preparation, healthy sleep habits, and the pernicious influence of self-appointed experts and so-called doctors. The result is a parenting guide like no other, one that will have moms and dads laughing through tears as they recognize their own child in the ongoing shenanigans of one bravely honest toddler.

Mind Games by Kiersten White
Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett (Confessions #2)

Rose is trying to be the 2.0 version of herself, a less angry, going to forget Jamie Forta version of herself for her sophmore year. But that is easier said than done. Rose is stuck going to therapy with her mom, dealing her brother and once again trying to make it through high school.
I try to be all 2.0 and I wink back, which a) is not what you're supposed to do when someone winks at your and b) looks super lame if you can't actually wink. Which I can't, I just found out. p. 113 ARC
One of the worst things about reading an ARC is that it extends the amount of time between books in a series. I assume there will be another one (please let this be a thing that happens) because I need to know more about Rose and about Jamie and about them together pretty much right now. I finished Confessions of an Angry Girl and immediately picked up Almost-Girlfriend. And I finished it in one night. I haven't been this enamored of a book in a long time and certainly not this invested in a teenage girl since Ruby Oliver. Sometimes characters just strike the right chord. Rose did that for me. She just feels so real. I feel bad for her. She wants to be a good person but then she lashes out because she is hurt or angry or embarrassed and sometimes she is sorry and sometimes she is not. And there is nothing wrong with not feeling sorry but there is something wrong with expressing your emotions in the worst way. She is so hard on herself and thinks everything is her fault and doesn't appreciate anything good about herself which is sad. And so very 15. And Jamie doesn't help with his hot/cold business. But that boy is hot and I might have a book crush on him. He is the kind of guy I would have liked at this age but I never would have ended up making out with him on his car in the middle of the night (sadly). He is another one that tries to do the right thing and have it blow up in his face. I like them together but I think they both have a lot to deal with. But their chemistry is excellent.

I was also happy to see more of Rose's best friend Tracy and their friendship. It can be hard at the high school level to maintain long standing friendship but they are trying their best. And I love seeing that in a book. Often you get girls fighting and breaking up friendships but it is unfortunately rare to see two teenage girls trying to keep their friendships together in YA books. Tracy definitely gains more depth in this book but that might be because we see more of her. I love that she is willing to put up with Rose's hostility but still expects to be treated right. And that she stands up for herself and takes ownership of her reputation rather than let the school bullies do it for her.

I could go on but I have a book hangover from staying up to late. My husband told me I was going to be tired today. But I honestly could not stop reading. It was worth it.

Received from NetGalley for review
Publish date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett (Confessions #1)

Rose is angry. She is angry about her father's day and her mother's withdrawal from their daily lives, about her brother's disappearance to college and her best friend's social climbing during their freshmen year. She is also confused by all of these things and by her feelings for the badass boy who sits with her at study hall. Rose has a lot going on and she can't seem to figure out any of it.
The rules of high school are completely, entirely, distrubingly mysterious to me.
But everyone else seems to get them.  p.64

Unputdownable. Which isn't a real word but is really what describes this book for me. Cause I'll tell this book really struck a cord with me. I was pleasantly surprised by this. It really brought me back to being this age and having all these feelings and not knowing what to do with them. And, okay, I can't relate to losing a dad at this age but I can relate to all the friendship stuff and the boy stuff. Things are really confusing at that age. Rose felt so real to me and her emotions were so dead on accurate especially the part with the boy. I liked Jamie. I think he knows better than to get involved with someone so much younger but some people just connect and I think that Jamie and Rose have some sort of a connection. Sometimes you can't explain attraction. The 35 year old part of me was not happy about a 14 year old girl and a 17ish boy getting involved but the 14 year old part of me was all squee. Those two have some serious chemistry. Kissing scenes like that don't come around in just every book. I'm glad there is another book because there is so much more to Rose's story and not just the Jamie part but the part about finding herself and dealing with friendship at this age.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

Anne Dowling may have accidentally set fire to her school's auditorium and gotten kicked out but that doesn't mean her parents have to ship her off to boarding school. But they do and she finds herself having a decent time until her roommate is murdered. The school doesn't seem interested in finding the murderer, just on pretending everyone is safe. Not one to leave things alone, Anne goes in search of who killed her roommate and finds that her roommate is not as innocent as she appeared and that the school is covering up a multitude of secrets.
I don't stick around to hand out explanations. I abandon my chicken salad and take off after Zach. He's fast, but my ever-unflinching willingness to cause a huge scene give me the upper hand her. p. 199 ARC

Here's what I learned. 1. Don't read murder mysteries before bed even if they are YA and you think you are safe. Sometimes they are creepier than you think. 2. This is going to be a series and I'm pretty excited about that. I love a good mystery series and this one has more real elements than a lot of other YA mysteries that I have read. 3. That's about all.

While I did find some parts of this book stretch the imagination a bit far, I was still okay with that. It was amazing the amount of cover-up Anne found as she searched for Isabella's killer. I guess a school as old and prestigious as the Wheatley School would have a lot of secrets. Still it is amazing the lengths that Anne goes to when trying to find her roommate's murder. I was surprised by whodunit because there were very few clues left in that direction. Usually there is at least a little foreshadowing involved. But I enjoyed the mystery and I enjoyed the characters. Anne is bold and brash and an all around cool girl. The love triangle felt a bit forced with her but the guys are pretty awesome. Between the beautiful Brent and the bad boy Anthony, twin brother of Isabella, Anne had a lot to choose from. I assume these relationships will develop further with the series. I love that her last name is Dowling and I wonder if that is a nod to the Father Dowling mysteries. I guess she is going to be sticking around Wheatley since the next book seems to follow a decades old mystery that was touch on in this book.

Received from Netgalley for review.
Publish date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekly Round-Up 6/10

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 by Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett and listening to Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, read by Rebecca Gibel .

I reviewed "Who Could That Be At This Hour?" by Lemony Snicket and The Selection by Kiera Cass. 

Juju at Tales of Whimsy pointed out SYNC, a program that "offers free Young Adult & Classic audiobook downloads in the summer months to introduce the listening experience." Every week this summer that will offer a free download of a current book and a paired classic book as well. I'm pretty excited by this. I love audiobooks. So the first week I downloaded Of Poseidon and The Tempest, a Shakespeare play that I've never actually read. So I'm looking forward to that. Go check out their lineup if you are a fan of audiobooks.

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, read by Rebecca Gibel
Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen — literally, ouch! — both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .

Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Selection by Kiera Cass (The Selection #1) (audio)

In a country where everyone is ranked by numbered caste, America Singer is in love with a boy in a caste lower than her own.  But she is chosen to compete to become the wife of the prince. How can she handle the competition when her heart is elsewhere? And what will she do when she comes to care for the prince after all?

I read a description of The Selection that it was The Hunger Games crossed with The Bachelor. That's not really accurate. It's more like a pseudo Katniss competing in The Bachelor. So I don't know. I loved Katniss but found America annoying. Why is that? America is so very giving and feisty and just all around good or at least that is how she is written. And her one character flaw is that she is in love with two boys. So she's the Bella of this book. Katniss at least had more depth. Of course she is in the fight of her life. America is in a competition to be the wife of the prince. But she is so confused because she loved the boy in the caste beneath her and he broke her heart. Can she ever love the prince? Really, there was nothing new here. The plot twists were predictable. So were the characters. I'm not sure about the whole rebels subplot. Nothing really exciting actually happens with that anyway and I assume it is going to be developed more in the rest of the series. I honestly don't know why this is a trilogy other than everything seems to be a trilogy. This could have been a decent one-off with a little more development and a lot less angst. The whole rebels plot could have been dropped and the competition which should be the main focus developed more. I would have read that and probably been happy. As it is I am debating on following through on this series. It didn't make me hate it. It just turned out to be kind of blah.

The narrator is Amy Rubinate and while I enjoyed her voice I wished she'd read a little faster. Even at the exciting parts she still read so slow. And put almost no emphasis or excitement in her voice. Basically she read it and didn't act it out. She wasn't unpleasant to listen to, she just didn't add anything to the story.

8 hours, 7 minutes

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"Who Could That Be At This Hour?" by Lemony Snicket (All the Wrong Questions #1) (audio)

When Lemony Snicket was a boy he began an apprenticeship with a chaperone. The first assignment of that apprenticeship takes them to Stain'd-by-the-Sea to find a missing statue. But  Lemony quickly learns that asking all the wrong questions will get you nowhere when one right one is all you need.

I'm not sure what I was expecting. More of A Series of Unfortunate Events type stuff? Maybe. And this certainly follows in that vein. I guess this is the precursor to that series. More on the mysterious Lemony Snicket who, I was jarringly reminded, is actually a fictional character in his own right. A few characters from ASoUE appear, a detail I appreciated. I wonder if the Bauderlaire parents will appear.

Anyway, Lemony takes an apprenticeship which I guess consists of solving mysteries with a chaperone (mentor). His chaperone is certainly a character and not the most effectual one. But she is suppose to be a means to an end. Instead though she brings him to Stain'd-by-the-Sea where they are suppose to find a statue that was stolen. But instead of asking whether something can be stolen that didn't belong to the person in the first place, he asks all the wrong questions and is lead on a crazy quest around town, meeting the types of characters you'd expect to find in a Lemony Snicket book. And like ASoUE this is a dense book in that a lot of things are happening and most of it is not explained. But if you are a Lemony Snicket fan you will be expecting that.

Liam Aiken is the narrator and to be honest I wasn't really feeling his reading. He has a nice voice and is a good narrator but I don't know how I feel about him as Lemony Snicket. He does sound like Daniel Handler so maybe that has something to do with it. 

3 hours, 43 minutes

Monday, June 3, 2013

Weekly Round-Up 6/3

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 by Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett and listening to The Selection by Kiera Cass, read by Amy Rubinate .

I gave up on Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski. It's not because it is a bad book but because I couldn't seem to get interested. I will try again later.  I did read Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor and listened to "Who Could That Be At This Hour" by Lemony Snicket. Those reviews should be up this week.

Last week I reviewed Son by Lois Lowry and posted Books I'm reading with my son and From the Library.

The Selection by Kiera Cass, read by Amy Rubinate
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.