Saturday, April 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (April 30th, 2011)

In My Mailbox is a meme by The Story Siren to showcase our new books.  I have a ton this week, because B&N has been having an awesome Spring Clearance Sale and I also bought a few NookBooks as well.  I'll talk about the sale items first and these were all $1.99... unbelievable!

The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones has been on my wishlist for awhile now and I'm so excited I was able to get copy for so little!  Woo for awesome sales!  It's part of a series though, so we'll see if it's good enough to warrant buying the next one at full price haha.  If any of you have read this, let me know what you thought of it.  Thanks.

Paper Towns, by John Green has been recommended to me time and time again, so I was quick to select it.  I've heard lots of great things about John Green as an author as well and this will be my first book of his to try out.  I really like this version of the cover much more than the version for the NookColor as well, so I'm excited for that reason too.  :)  I hope it's as good as everyone has been saying.

East, by Edith Pattou is a retelling of a classic Norwegian fairy tale and I've had one of her other books on my wishlist forever now, so I was quick to snatch this one up!  I love the cover and you really can't beat $1.99 for a new book, it's awesome!

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period, by Gennifer Choldenko is written by a Newberry Honor award winner and a New York Times bestseller, so even though I hadn't heard of it before, I thought it looked good and selected it.  Also, it's supposed to be funny and most of you know how much lure that has for me!  If an author can make me laugh, then I'll be a fan for life since there's nothing better than laughter.

So, I thought this was the Bruiser I had on my wishlist, but that one is by Neal Schusterman and this one is by Ian Chofao.  Oops and thank goodness it was only $1.99, because it doesn't have very good reviews on Goodreads.  Some people even gave it one star.  Oh well, it's too late now and I'll have to be more careful and remember lots of different books have the same name!

Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen will be my first Sarah Dessen book ever and I picked it because of all the compliments I've heard about the author.  I don't know if I'll like it and I haven't read a sample or anything, but once again, it wasn't much of a risk for less than two bucks!  Woo, I'm still basking in the joy of this sale, which is still going on for those interested, follow my link at the top of this post.  :)

The Princess and the Bear, by Mette Ivie Harrison is about a hound who was once a princess and a bear who was once a prince.  It has elements of old fairy tales and is unique in that it follows the adventures of animals, even though they used to be humans.  It is also the second book in a series, but many say it reads just fine on its own, so hopefully that's true, because the first one was not on clearance, but this one was... so clearly, it's the one I chose!  Lol anyway, I love the cover as well. 

I love A.A. Milne and the creative writing and fun whimsical perspectives are definitely a delight and I would recommend anything from the Winnie-the-Pooh series to anyone.  It's not just for kids or parents if you ask me.  There is so much symbolism and so many interesting riddles, I think anyone can truly enjoy it.  I found Now We Are Six in the clearance list and it's about a sixth birthday so it will be something I can pass down to my child as well.  Everyone in the family will be able to have fun reading this one!

Once Upon a Marigold, by Jean Ferris was another one I hadn't seen before, but it looked good.  Here's the synopsis from Goodreads, "A young man with a mysterious past and a penchant for inventing things leaves the troll who raised him, meets an unhappy princess he has loved from afar, and discovers a plot against her and her father."  Sounds great for two bucks!  Lol.

Now for the second in the Mortal Instrument series (read my review for the first one here) and the first of my new NookBooks (just to clarify lol, this was not two dollars) and I'm glad to be able to continue the tale.  I am currently reading Anna and the French Kiss though, so it won't be right now.
Illusions, by Aprilynne Pike is the 3rd in the Laurel series (read my review for Wings here and my review for Spells here) and it will be out on May 3rd, so I pre-ordered it.  I look forward to reading it, but my friend Lexa from Pages of Forbidden Love said it wasn't as good as the first two, so I'm not rushing to read it.  I hope the series picks up again by the fourth book though if that's true!  

And finally, since everyone has been raving about this book, I decided it was a good idea to pre-order it as well!  Divergent, by Veronica Roth is apparently a great dystopian similar to The Hunger Games (which I gave those 3 books 5/5 stars before I started blogging), so I am hoping I agree with those sentiments and I'm excited to read it.  It comes out on May 3rd as well.  I love dystopians, so it should be right up my alley and I look forward to reading it.  Perhaps I'll get to it after one more book.  I'll probably finish Anna and the French Kiss tonight, so I still need one more before Divergent is available for download!  Graceling has the third most votes on my poll, so maybe that will be my choice. 

Well, that was fun sharing my huge IMM this week.  What did you all get?  I got my 3 NookBooks, 9 books for me and 14 children's books for my future baby!  All-in-all, 28 books!  Quite a haul lol, especially considering almost all of them were only $1.99...  :)  Share your IMM with me now, did anyone else pre-order Divergent? 

The Most Exciting News Ever!

My husband and I just got some amazing news and for those of you that know us or have been following my blog for awhile know, it's extremely welcome and wonderful news for us!  WE'RE EXPECTING A BABY!  And thanks to Anne Geddes for making this super cute picture to help me celebrate on my blog (not that she made it specifically for me or anything, I just stole it, so hopefully giving credit won't get me sued lol)!  I can't wait and I look forward to sharing my love of reading as a mom and hopefully my child and I can share a great many stories before he or she is too old to be read to anymore... even though my husband still lets me read to him, so you really can't be too old for a story lol.  :)

Anyway, thanks for stopping by to read my exciting news and I hope you're having a great day, mine is fantastic!  (^_^)

Friday, April 29, 2011

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1), by Cassandra Clare

Well, thanks to my poll voters for encouraging me to select City of Bones next!  I appreciate you pointing me in the right direction, because this was a highly satisfying read.  I had started it once and got sucked away by a new release in the middle, so I actually started the whole thing over and reread the first half to make sure I understood what was going on.  And I'm glad I did, because there are a lot of characters and settings in this book and if I had just picked up where I had left off, I would've been confused.  Anyway, for anyone that hasn't read this series yet, it's about some stuff and then some other stuff and some people, blah, blah, blah...  Just kidding!  Okay, it's about a girl named Clary whose sense of curiosity (or perhaps even fate) leads her to see a very strange scene in a nightclub one night while out with her friend.  She doesn't know at the time that this one small event is the catalyst to change her whole life, because what she observes is something no human should be able to see...  Slowly the pieces of the puzzle that is Clary's past start to come into view and readers are able to see all the connections forming throughout this book.  A few of these things seem obvious before they're revealed, but for the most part, there are a lot of things to try and figure out in City of Bones.  I really liked that aspect of this book and it kept me turning the pages (or tapping the screen technically lol, but that verbage doesn't have the same ring to it).  Clary is actually an integral piece to the puzzle herself, but it takes a long time to figure out why.  In the meantime she manages to get herself invited to a lot of dangerous situations which offer a lot of action to read about and kept the pace strong.  I bought the second book too, so I'm ready to continue this tale sometime, but I'm reading Anna and the French Kiss now (thanks to the advice of my poll participants as well) so I'm not sure when I'll get around to City of Ashes.  So, thanks for helping me organize some of my TBR books everyone, you didn't let me down!  All-in-all, I would recommend City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare for any fans of action, romance, paranormal, fight scenes, coming-of-age stories and other world/alternate reality-type books.

Favorite things:  Cassandra Clare's beautifully descriptive writing that gave this book so much personality, the fully developed characters that made me actually root for them and care about them, the twists and turns that kept me tapping the screen (lol I'm going to see if this can replace "turning the pages"), the intense action scenes that made me gasp out loud, the funny moments that made me laugh out loud (sorry for waking you up hubby) and the fact that there are more books to this series so I can keep enjoying all these things some more!

Criticisms:  the direction to plot took near the end wasn't where I wanted it to go and I hope I find out something different later in the series, some of the things in the book were too predictable and it made some of the characters seem a little dumb for not figuring it out sooner (haha) and then it was also a little long which was what prevented me from finishing it the first time, so I think it could've been trimmed down by 50 pages or so and it would've been perfect.  However, none of these things were enough to drop this book a point in my rating so...

Overall:  5 out of 5 stars!  I'm really looking forward to more from Cassandra Clare!  :)

Follow Friday/Blog Hop (April 29th, 2011)

Today's question:  If you were stocking your bomb shelter, what books would you have to include if you only had space for ten?

My answer:  Well, technically I could still have hundreds thanks to my NookColor, but I'll assume in this fallout or apocalypse there would be no power to charge it, yet still light to read by... somehow... lol.  Anyway, it is an interesting question and I'll have to think of my top ten books that are re-readable and able to stand the test of time, since it might be forever, lol.

  1. The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams - This is technically five books and a short story, but it does come as a complete set in one, big book, so it counts.
  2. The Complete Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis - The same thing applies here, but it is one leather-bound book, so I'm not taking too much of the bomb shelter space haha.
  3. The Lord of the Rings (one-volume edition), by J.R.R. Tolkien - Notice a trend here?  Haha, I am getting the most bang for my buck! 
  4. Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne -  I love the whimsy and unique perspectives in these children's stories.
  5. Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein - Written by a master of poetry, these poems often have hidden meanings and are filled with humor as well as deep symbolism.  
  6. Zombies vs. Unicorns, by various authors - This anthology would be especially appropriate during an apocalypse, but the humor and varied writing styles would be great for group reading time and perhaps a story before bed each night.  
  7. The Giver, by Lois Lowry - One of my all-time favorites and it contains a lot of lessons about the world which would be good to read about in the bomb shelter as we wondered what life would hold.
  8. The Hunger Games, by Suzaane Collins - I don't have room for all the 7 Harry Potter books, so I can at least have one more series that I love.
  9. Catching Fire, by Suzaane Collins - The second book in the trilogy would be coming with me...
  10. Mockingjay, bu Suzaane Collins - Of course, I'd have to remind myself of how it ended!
Book Blogger Hop

Today's question:  Summer is coming quickly.  What 2011 summer release are you most looking forward to?

My answer:   This one is hard, because I am excited for a lot of books, but some aren't technically arriving in the summer, so I think my favorite pick is Darke (Septimus Heap #6), by Angie Sage.  I've already posted about it before, but I'm still looking forward to it so I hope it's worth the wait! 

Now for all the Nook and NookColor users out there, it's Free Friday again and the book today is called Soft Apocalypse (it goes well with the theme from today's Follow Friday question too haha) and it's free for a limited time.  Here's the link to your free book from B&N since I'm so nice and awesome.  It's also a LendMe book, so you can share the love later with someone who missed it today.  :)  Ttyl everyone and have a spectacular weekend!

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Waiting on Wednesday (Illusions, by Aprilynn Pike)

    Waiting on Wednesday is a meme started by Breaking the Spine to talk about the books we can't wait for!  I don't have to wait much longer for my choice this week fortunately since Illusions (Laurel #3), by Aprilynne Pike is available on May 3rd, 2011, but I almost feel that's too long!  I already read and reviewed Wings and Spells and Aprilynne Pike gave the readers some exciting things to look forward to in the third book.  There is set to be at least a fourth as well though, so I might just be in a rush to hurry and wait again for that installment lol, but oh well.  I really look forward to this one.  :)  So, that's my WoW this week and please leave a link to yours so I can see some other good books that are coming out soon and maybe add to my huge wishlist some more haha.  Have a good Wednesday!

    Oh and for all the lovers of sales out there (who isn't a lover of a good sale though?) B&N is having a Spring Clearance sale on books right now and there are tons for just $1.99!  There is also free shipping on orders of $25.00 or more, so if you have that much to spare, it's a tremendously good deal!  I just ordered 10 books and another NookColor charging kit (my wire broke at the seam and one of the little wires in there ripped so I can't upload or download from my PC anymore) and I am also eagerly awaiting that delivery!  So this Wednesday, I am waiting on a lot lol.  Anyway, here's the link to the awesome book sale and I'll ttyl!  *hugs*

    Bless This Mouse, by Lois Lowry

    Bless This Mouse, by Lois Lowry is a cute children's book about some darling church mice and their adventures trying to stay alive and hidden.  The Mouse Mistress, Hildegarde, is sensible, caring and cautious and the other mice would be lost without her.  Lucretia doesn't quite see that though and thinks that she, in fact, would make a better Mouse Mistress.  Hildegarde doesn't have time to worry about that though, with so many mice to protect and fear of the, "Great X," looming over them with every mouse misstep.  She's always doing her best to protect the group with her quick thinking and wise solutions.  She works very hard not only for their lives, but to protect their place in the beautiful church.  All the mice love to listen attentively every Sunday and they know all the hymns by heart.  Hildegarde especially loves the beautiful gold threads of Father Murphey's chasuble and the privacy she's claimed for herself in the sacristy.  Everyone does their best to stay hidden in the walls and clean up after themselves.  They even take care to control the population as well and since Millicent keeps having litters, the Mouse Mistress often has some scolding to do, but all-in-all, it's a good life.  The preschoolers always drop cookie crumbs and Father Murphey usually spills a little wine and leaves a supply of gumdrops in the sacristy too.  As long as they're careful...  they can live there happily forever.  I really liked this book and I've always been a fan of Lois Lowry's writing style, so this was a lucky find through NetGalley.  There were a few missing illustrations in my copy, so that was the only disappointment for me, because they were really cute and thoughtfully placed, so I wanted to see all of them.  This would be a great book to add to your or your children's bookshelf and I would recommend it mostly for children or for story time, but it would also be enjoyed by any fans of Lois Lowry, personification of animals, stories involving church, or stories about acceptance.

    Favorite things:  the beautiful and often funny writing style of Lois Lowry, the cute illustrations that brought a smile to my face, the different personalities of the various mice, the elements of bravery and wit, the funny solutions the mice came up with for their problems and the overall message of acceptance and equality.

    Criticisms:  the targeted demographic for this book is a bit younger than I like to read and younger than most of my favorites by Lois Lowry, so that was a personal disappointment for me, but there were some humorous moments and great characters to give it a bit more depth than your typical children's book, so that was okay after all and then there were quite a few church-related terms for me to learn and since I wasn't too good at remembering which area was which it gave me a foggy mental image at times.

    Overall: 4 out of 5 stars!  Pretty good for what it was, but a bit of a stretch from my personal reading tastes.

    Note:  I was able to read this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  I did not pay for this book, however that did not affect my opinion or review in any way.

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Spells (Laurel #2), by Aprilynne Pike

    Spells is the second book in the Laurel series by Aprilynne Pike and I've already reviewed Wings and if you'd like to get the general gist of the overall story, just click here.  As for the latest installment, a lot is going on in Laurel's world.  She has a whole summer to train at the Academy in the magical realm of Avalon; she has a lot of magical potions, tinctures and recipes to master; she has her two lives to try and keep separate and she has a lot of explainin' to do when her boyfriend David catches her in a kiss with her faerie friend Tamani.  This book has been my favorite in the series so far.  I love the element of faery chemistry that added such a unique layer to this book.  Modern fantasies don't seem to include many special potions or life-saving tinctures and Laurel's often botched attempts gave rise to a nice source of conflict too.  Will the potion work?  Will it produce different results?  Will Laurel finally learn to harness her skills?  One of my favorite things from Wings carried over to this book as well and that was the vivid descriptions of nature and the outdoors.  I love reading books like this during the spring and summer and it really puts me in the mood to listen to the bird songs outside my window, to go for a walk and to reconnect with nature.  I would recommend this series for any fans of fantasy, YA, romance, love-triangles, fae, nature or even chemistry, because that element was really fun in this book.  :)

    Favorite things:  the nature references, the chemistry parallels, the love-triangle, the character growth from Laurel's mom, the lead-in to the next book, writing style in general and the incorporation of a modern-day weapon (a gun) that helped keep this fantasy grounded and somehow more realistic and more dangerous.

    Criticisms:  I didn't like the cover as much as the first one and the series has been so consistent and innocent that when danger approaches it doesn't feel very scary, because I almost know that they're going to be okay and they're going to figure it out.  Other than that, nothing, it was a great book!  So, I'm sure you can guess I thought this one was...

    Overall:  5 out of 5 stars!  I heard the next one wasn't quite as good though, so that's a bummer.  I do hope the 4th book returns to the quality of Wings and Spells though if that's true about Illusions.  Read this series if you haven't, it's worth a spot in your huge TBR piles people.  :)

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Poll Results: Your Favorite Way to Read...

    So the results of my first poll are in!  According to 159 of you, your favorite way to read is...
    1. Regular books (with 84 votes)
    2. NookColor (with 27 votes)
    3. Tied - Nook and Kindle (with 19 votes each)
    4. Another ereader (with 8 votes)
    5. iPad (with 2 votes)
    It's interesting that regular books only got 52% of the vote which says to me that ereaders are on the rise and I definitely think that's a good thing!  I love my NookColor and I am glad I got one!  :)

    Now for my new poll.  I am buried in a sea of TBR books and I need some help sorting through them.  Please vote off to the side and let me know which book you think I should read next and feel free to add some of your thoughts in my comments as well!  If you see something you loved or have been dying to read, let me know.  :)  Click the titles for links to Goodreads.

    In My Mailbox (April 23rd, 2011)

    In My Mailbox is a meme started by The Story Siren with the intent to have everyone share their new books!  This week I actually got some discounted books with the most expensive one only costing me $3.00 and the cheapest one was an amazing $0.50.  A few were children's picture books, so I won't mention them, but here are the other two...

    The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen was such a good deal and it was written by the author of Garden Spells for whoever read that one!  I love the concept and the cover and of course the wonderful price!  My only complaint is the ugly red marker dot on the pages.  Why must stores do this to my precious book?  *Sigh*  Oh well, for that price I guess they can do whatever they want to the book haha.  Read the synopsis from Goodreads here
    Shopaholic and Baby, by Sophie Kinsella was the same low price as The Sugar Queen and since I've got babies on the brain, it looked like a good choice for me.  I've never read anything by Sophie Kinsella, but I keep meaning to, because she certainly has a lot of books out there, so there must be a good reason why!  Now I'll definitely have my chance and even though this is technically the 5th book in the series, they all seem to stand alone and have their own self-contained stories with just the same characters and such, so hopefully I'll be able to get right into it.  :)

    I haven't been buying many books lately, because I've been spending a lot of money on home improvement stuff this month.  Thankfully I have a huge pile of TBR books waiting to be read.  I'm finishing up Spells, by Aprilynne Pike so look forward to that review soon if you are interested in fantasies and paranormal.  :)

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Waiting on Wednesday (Darke, by Angie Sage)

    Waiting on Wednesday is a meme started by Jill @ Breaking the Spine where you can talk about whatever book you're eagerly awaiting and this week I am selecting Darke, by Angie Sage which is the 6th book in the Septimus Heap series (read my review for Syren here) and it will be out on July 7th, 2011.  Every book so far has had magic, great friendships, original ideas, interesting locations, an awesome dragon named Spit Fyre and a comforting atmosphere that I love to come back to.  I can't wait to finally read it!  Check out the Goodreads synopsis here

    Oh and for all my fellow Nook and NookColor users, I have a link to a free book for you... 13 Little Blue Envelopes, FREE for a limited time.  It has good reviews so far and the author is a New York Times bestseller, so that's a good sign.  The concept sounds interesting too, so might as well download it!  I hope everyone is doing well and I'll ttyl!  :)

    The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

    The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a classic children's book written over 100 years ago, but it's still wonderful to read today.  Many of you have probably read it, seen the movie or at least heard about it, but for those that haven't, I will tell you what it's about...  Mary is a spoiled girl from India who loses her parents to a plague-type disease and has to go live with her uncle in England.  She is skinny, lazy, self-righteous and weak, but her new life on the moor quickly starts changing all of that.  She spends most of her time alone wandering the gardens or even sneaking peeks at the 100+ closed up rooms in her uncle's mansion.  But over time she gets to know a few of the employees and one of the servant's sons becomes her good friend.  It's great to read about the changes to the moor with spring creeping in and everything coming to life.  It's also great to read about Mary growing, changing and basically coming to life herself.  Her new home holds more than one secret and since Mary isn't used to doing what she's told, those secrets don't remain hidden for long and as time passes Mary becomes the one hiding information.  I love the time she spends outdoors, because I got to read about the plants and flowers starting to bloom, cute animals that love her new friend Dickon and the amazing sun and rain that brings all the changes to the moor.  I read most of this book on my balcony sitting in the sun and it was the perfect setting to read such a nature-inspired book.  I would recommend The Secret Garden to anyone who loves nature, animals, coming-of-age stories, England, life lessons, stories of triumph over incredible odds and lovers of classic children's literature in general.

    Favorite things:  the imagery that expressed the beauty of spring and summer, the repeating metaphors that tied the whole book together beautifully, Mary and her internal transformation, the emotional journey of Mary's uncle as he learned to look at things with a new perspective, Dickon and his collection of nearly-tame animals, the descriptions of the moor that made me feel like I was actually there, the Yorkshire accent that some of the people spoke in, and I especially loved the secrets in this book.

    Criticisms:  the racism (yes, this book was written over 100 years ago, but that didn't erase my shock as I read the less-than-appropriate opinions near the beginning of the book, thankfully there wasn't a lot of that, but I would still warn people to brace themselves if they're going to read this for the first time) and some of the words were unknown to me, so that was a bit frustrating (I'm not sure if it's because of the time when it was written or perhaps it was English slang...).

    Overall:  5 out of 5 stars!  I love this book and it's a great one to reread or to enjoy in the spring or summer or even in the winter if you're missing the fairer seasons.  :)

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Angel Burn (ARC), by L.A. Weatherly

    In the paranormal genre, anything is possible and that is definitely the case in this book about angels, by L.A. Weatherly.  Willow is your average girl with psychic abilities, just telling her friends' fortunes and enjoying her special gift even if she knows some people find it weird.  Until one day when she ignores her own bad premonition and sees a vision of her friend that changes everything.  Soon she finds herself at the center of a huge conspiracy involving angels and humankind.  They're not as sweet as we all thought...  They're not protecting us or helping us in any way.  They're using us.  Using us until we're dried husks of the people we were before.  Until we're dying of disease or crazy, lost in a haze of confusion.  And Willow is connected in more ways than one.  Thankfully she has an angel assassin named Alex to watch out for her and help her find the truth.  Together, they crisscross around America creating a road trip of epic proportions and reminding me of many of my own travel experiences.  Of course it helped that most of the settings are places I've been to or even lived (including Denver, Colorado)!  I definitely loved that aspect of this book, because I've been on many road trips myself and it brought me right back to the long days in a car or having to stay in less-than-wonderful hotel rooms.  I especially related to Willow when she was struggling to gather enough toiletries and clothes, realizing how much she was missing.  I usually take a lot of my essentials for granted until I find myself without one of them on a trip (haha).  Anyway, that was a nice element in this book that I found especially relatable.  As for my recommendation, this book would be great for anyone who likes paranormal, romance, action, travel, angels, fantasies, twists on old concepts, YA or adventure.

    Favorite things:  Willow (in many regards), because she breaks gender-stereotypes with her love of mechanics and I always love girls that do "boy" things; the different take on angels; the various settings, including many that I know personally; the travel element; the designs at the beginning of each chapter (they're an intricate pattern of swirls and lines); the fight scenes and action elements including gun shooting and the concept in general.

    Criticisms:  Willow spent a lot of the book with a self-deprecating attitude that got old; it was written in alternating perspectives, which isn't normally a problem for me, but it switched back and forth from the first-person to third-person each time and that was distracting.  It's easy to read a book from either point of view, but when it switched (sometimes very abruptly) it broke my willing suspension of disbelief for a minute as I was brought back to reality to think consciously about what just happened and reacquaint myself with what I was reading.  Other than that, it also lagged in a few places and was very long, so I felt that some of the 450 pages could have been trimmed down for a more concise story.  I would've liked this book more if the perspective had been omnipresent or the same choice for the whole book and if it had been shorter.

    Overall:  4 out of 5 stars...  could've been better, but I'm still going to read the next one whenever it comes out.  Angel Burn is scheduled for release in May of 2011.  :)

    Note:  I was able to read this book as part of an ARC tour in exchange for my honest review.  I did not pay for this book, however that did not affect my opinion or review in any way.

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Follow Friday/Blog Hop (April 15th, 2011)

    Today's question:  Do you have anyone you can discuss books with IRL?  Tell us about him/her...

    My answer:  I don't know anyone who likes to read the same style of books as me, so for the most part I only discuss them online.  However, my husband is sweet enough to let me read him to sleep sometimes and he always listens to my blog posts as well.  He is super-sweet and so supportive!  :)

    Book Blogger Hop

    Today's question:  Pick a character from a book you are currently reading or just finished and tell us about him/her...

    My answer:   I just finished one of the books from the Gripping trilogy (read that review here) and the main character is named Lia Kahn and she is a very complex person ever since her big accident that left her life in jeopardy and forced doctors to download her memories into an artificial brain with a robotic body.  She used to think being rich enough to buy anything she wanted and having a cute boyfriend and tons of friends was the way her life would always be, but so quickly things can change...   Not many people feel the same about her once they see what she's actually become and she has to learn what her new role in life will be and what life really is without a heartbeat, the ability to breathe or cry and no one from her old world to support her anymore.  She is an interesting character to read about and I look forward to seeing how her personality develops in the final book.  :)

    And now for all the Nook and NookColor users out there it's Free Friday again and this week is Divine, by Karen Kingsbury and it has 4.5 stars out of 5 with 36 ratings so far, so might as well download it!  :)  Click here for your free ebook from B&N and I hope everyone is having a great start to their weekend!

    Oh and thanks for stopping by everyone, whether you're a new or old follower, I love to see visitors checking in and leaving comments!  <3

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Crashed/Shattered (Gripping Trilogy #2), by Robin Wasserman

    This is the second book in The Gripping Trilogy (soon to be known as The Cold Awakening Trilogy apparently) and you can read my review of the first one here.  For those of you unfamiliar, this is a dystopian about a girl named Lia Kahn who has been saved from her mangled body and ultimately death, by being copied into a mechanical body.  In the first book she was learning how to use her new body and how to deal with all the negative consequences of life as a mech or skinner.  In this book, Lia is much more sure of herself, but the world is changing and public opinion is changing.  A political uprising has resulted in a fight for mech rights and attempts to prevent any new mechs from coming into existence and Lia finds herself caught in the middle, not knowing who she can trust.  This book was fast-paced and interesting, filled with deceit and mystery, but I didn't like it as much as the first one.  It lost the element of the unknown that filled the first book.  There were so many things to figure out with Lia having a new, strange body and having to learn to be the new person she is, even though that person isn't even a person anymore.  This time around it was more about the politics, mech-rights (shadowing other civil rights movements throughout our own history) and the mystery elements coming into play and, for me, that wasn't as interesting.  I still moved along the text through the emotions and personal relationships though and I was still eager to find out what happened as I read, it just wasn't for the same reasons this time and that was a slight disappointment to me.  I'm interested to see how the last book wraps things up, but this book wasn't good enough to get me reading the last one right away, so who knows when I'll finally find out?  I would recommend Crashed a.k.a. Shattered for fans of dystopians, sci-fi, robots, futuristic fiction, political dramas and philosophy.

    Favorite things:  the stunning covers for this series; the elements of technology and robotics; the inner turmoil of the protagonist; the development of a supporting character that I really liked named, Riley; the descriptions of tattoos, underwater cities, slimy iridescent water, synflesh and life as a robot without a heartbeat or physical reactions; the ethical conundrums presented by turning a machine into a person, especially when some people consider that machine to still be only machine; the twists and turns and the intriguing writing style of Robin Wasserman.

    Criticisms:  the main theme, atmosphere and tone shifted from the first book and I wasn't a fan of the new direction the series has taken; the confusing double set of names for these books that made it hard to remember what they were called, find them while browsing my NookColor shop and to even blog about them as well and the political undertones that came through so strongly in Crashed/Shattered weren't really my cup of tea.

    Overall:  4 out of 5 stars...  it just fell short of the first book in this series, but I still have high hopes for the final book.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Blog About Your Dogs Monday! (April 11th, 2011)

    Well, it's Monday again and I have some super-cute pictures of our rescue dogs today!  They're just adorable!
    My husband thought it would be cute to put his glasses on her while she was laying on him and it turns out, he was right!  This is one of my favorite pictures of her, she had the perfect expression for it too.  This only took three shots before she made that awesome face haha!

    This was Chanceux when he was really young and eager to destroy his new toys.  I love the expression on his face, the cotton in his mouth and his ear flying as he quickly zoomed in for another attack!  

    Anyway, there are my picture choices for the week and I promise more cute ones next week for all you animal-lovers out there!  :)

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    Wild Magic (The Immortals #1), by Tamora Pierce

    Speaking of covers, here's one I didn't really like, but it didn't stop me from loving the contents within!  Wild Magic is the first in The Immortals series and it was the first book of Tamora Pierce's that I've read at all.  It is not the first of all her books, but that's okay, because I loved this one so much I didn't mind having started out of order.  This book focuses on a young girl named Daine who has some "wild magic" inside which allows her to communicate through her thoughts to animals.  Daine has been an orphan for awhile and has learned to care for herself with just the help and love of her horse, Cloud.  Seeking work ends up changing her life forever when she is introduced to the right people who can help her harness her wild magic.  Maybe it's my lifelong draw to animals that made this book so special to me, but whatever it was, I loved her affinity with all the furry, feathered and scaly creatures.  I loved how they would sneak into her bed or she would sneak down to the barn to sleep with them and I loved reading as her abilities grew and changed with the help of her new friends.  This book was a lot like Light of the Oracle, by Victoria Hanley (read my review of that one here), The Chronicles of Narnia and The Wizard of Oz and it definitely satiated my craving for a comforting fantasy to read.  I can definitely see why Tamora Pierce has 20+ books for sale with this kind of welcoming writing.  I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good rainy day read, fans of fantasy, animal communication, YA, female heroines, magic or RPG video games (I felt a lot of similarities to the various Final Fantasy games or World of Warcraft and the like).

    Favorite things:  Daine's amazing ability, the interesting world Tamora Pierce has created, the displays of loyalty and friendship, the comforting familiarity that reminded me of so many of my favorite childhood reads, the distinction that the animals were only choosing to help Daine and she didn't really have any control over them and the differences between the various species of animals and the unique ways they each played a role in this story. 

    Criticisms:  I guess it did seem like there might be some things I am missing and I suspect that is because I started these books out of order, but this book mostly stood alone.  I didn't feel like I was missing much, but it did lead to a few moments of wonder or confusion.  Other than that, nothing!

    Overall:  5 out of 5 stars!  I have been enjoying a wide variety of really good books lately!  I am more likely to love a book if I spent my money to buy it though, because I never do that without first reading a sample and also having a lot of prior interest in the book as well, so don't expect too many bad reviews from me in general.  It doesn't mean I'm not objective, it just means I'm really picky before ever buying in the first place.  :)

    Anyway, I hope everyone is having a good end to their week and I'll ttyl!  *hugs*

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Follow Friday/Blog Hop (April 8th, 2011)

    Today's question:  Do you judge a book by its cover?

    My answer:  Yes!  I love a great cover, I really dislike a bad cover and I am reluctant to buy a book if I don't like the cover as well.  I think cover art is really important and the writing might be great, but a lot of people won't ever know if they pass it by due to a boring or plain cover. 

    ... and the Blog Hop isn't being done this week so no extra question.  Oh well!

    Syren (Septimus Heap #5), by Angie Sage

    I've been reading these books over the course of several years, which I remembered while reading this one and memories of New Mexico came back to me.  I had a photography job that required a lot of travel and I spent weeks at a time living in NM and apparently reading these books haha.  Anyway, for those of you unfamiliar with the series, it's about a magical boy named Septimus Heap and his extended group of friends, family and co-workers.  One of the stand-out features in this series is the presence of a friendly dragon named Spit Fyre and I really loved all the dragon flight in these books.  Syren, specifically, involves some mysterious islands, a demonic possession and some quick thinking.  I really enjoyed this book and I will buy the 6th installment when it comes out in June, but I've heard bad reviews of these books too, so I caution my readers to read a sample or if you were lucky enough to catch the Free Friday of the first book then you can try the series for free, but beware, you might be one of the people that doesn't like it!  Perhaps all the magyk is too convenient or the books are a little too juvenile, but whatever the complaints, I wasn't bothered at all.  These books are technically a dystopian or a post-apocalyptic, but they read more like children's fantasies.  There is hardly any reference to the world we know as a reader, but it was apparently some time in the past for them.  However, they do go back in time for some of the books and there is no mention of anything like our civilization either, so nothing is explained very much.  I just don't care though, I'm ready to read and read whatever.  Spin me a tale Miss Author Lady and I will jump right in!  I had fun reading every single one of these books and if you're willing to take a bit of a leap these books are worth a try.  I would recommend the Septimus Heap series for any fans of YA, magic, dragons, stories of friendship and family, mysteries, coming-of-age or lovers of the renaissance time period. 

    Favorite things:  Spit Fyre: the dragon, the feeling of being in another time period similar to the renaissance, the lovable characters, the post-notes at the end of each book that are similar to a mini-epilogue for some of the characters, the talent of Angie Sage to get me so involved that I actually said the words, "Oh no," out loud while reading this, the island setting in Syren, the creepy descriptions of something happening (I can't say what without a spoiler though haha) and the whole world Angie Sage created - I feel like I really know some of these people and places now.

    Criticisms:  there are almost too many characters in this series for me, because I found it hard to remember who a few of them were and there are always new characters in each book too.  It's a bit frustrating when you have to stop and think about who such-and-such is before you can continue on reading and if she would just use a few less characters in each book, it would be easier to follow along.  Other than that, nothing, I don't have any of the potential complaints other readers might, because personally, those things don't matter to me.  I'm along for the ride and I don't necessarily need to know how I got there to begin with or why the ride is so weird or how it's upside down with no bars to hold on to... 

    Overall:  5 out of 5 stars!  If you have similar tastes to me, I would really recommend this series.  :)

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Blood Ninja, by Nick Lake

    Wow, what a book.  A lot of you know that I love variety and this book definitely gave me something different than anything I've been reading lately!  Blood Ninja takes place in feudal Japan and is about vampire ninjas, ancient magic and a web of lies and deceit that quickly unravels to take the reader on a dangerous and bloody journey.  I have been a big fan of Japan and Japanese culture ever since I was a little kid, so that was the first thing that interested me about this book, but the calculated writing was what kept me rapt for 341 pages (NookColor count).  I felt like I was living in one of my favorite anime movies like Ninja Scroll.  The descriptions of the sword use, the falconry and the fighting itself seemed as if Nick Lake must have really done these things, but hopefully he's never decapitated anyone!  I mean, of course he hasn't or he would be locked up in jail instead of writing books (haha), but those scenes were extremely realistic as well and as a result I would not recommend this one for the faint of heart or to anyone who is put off by gore and violence.  I did have weird dreams after the first night of reading this book myself, but that was the only night and I read the rest of the book in two more chunks before falling asleep, so the story itself does begin to take precedence over the concept and I ended up loving Blood Ninja.  I usually don't like watching or reading about violence, but it gave this book so much character and I wouldn't change it personally.  I don't know who decided this book was YA though and I saw it was approved somewhere for ages 8 and up, did I misread that?  Because, that doesn't seem right if you ask me.  This book should be for 16 and up in my opinion.  I wouldn't want to explain seppuku to a 12-year-old personally.  However, if you get past that or are an adult like me, then Blood Ninja is truly an exceptional book.  So much so, I'm actually going to recommend it to my brother and I rarely have things to recommend to him, because he's a bit of a book snob and is only interested in a book if it has real substance, so that should say a lot.  I think he would love this book and a lot of you out there will too.  I would recommend this book to anyone who loves other cultures, Japan, different time periods, ninjas, vampires, books from the male perspective, fantasy, action, fighting and there's even a bit of a love story in there too for all the fans of romance out there!  :)

    Favorite things:  the use of the Japanese language and explanations of tone that helped the reader understand more of what was really being communicated instead of just what was said, the occasional shifts in perspective that allowed us to get to know Lady Oda no Hana better, the fresh and interesting take on vampires, the surprise at the end that wasn't really a cliffhanger but still got me excited for the next book, the realistic characters for the time that showed a kind of sexism and cruelty and Nick Lake's ability to describe confusing things in a clear way to give my mind a perfect picture of a sword fight or a falcon's flight.

    Criticisms:  there were vivid descriptions of everything, which can be considered a good thing, but perhaps not when it's a description of a decapitation.  However I felt it gave the book weight and tension, so I personally wouldn't have wanted it toned down at all.  I just wanted to mention it here as a warning to anyone looking for a YA book, because this one is a bit intense and extremely graphic.  Other than that, there were a couple side stories that were hard to focus on, because I knew somehow they would tie in, but I didn't know how and it was a pretty long book, so that was part of my inability to focus as well.  It wasn't enough to make me stop reading or switch to something else though, so...

    Overall:  5 out of 5 stars!  I will never forget this series and I look forward to buying the second one to find out what happens next.  :)

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Win a $50 Borders Gift Card @ Addicted to Words!

    Candie @ Addicted to Words is hosting an awesome giveaway!  Please spread the word to help her get more followers, follow her yourself and you will be entered to win $50.00 from Borders via a gift card!  Just click on my link and good luck everyone!  :)  UPDATE:  Congratulations to the winner! 

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    In My Mailbox (April 2nd, 2011)

    In My Mailbox is a meme started by The Story Siren to share all our new books from the week.  I didn't remember buying this many books until I looked just now to prepare for this post, but I ended up with more new choices than there are days in the week!  Oops!  Oh well, I can never have too many reading options.  Who knows what I'll be in the mood for next?  Or if I'll have some unexpected expenses pop up that prevent me from buying more books.  So, I might as well splurge while I can!  :)  Now to finally get on to what books caught my eye this week:

    Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep is the second book in this children's series about a half-mermaid, half-human girl named (you guessed it) Emily.  Read my review for the first one by clicking here.  I've been on a bit of a mermaid kick lately, so please leave me a comment if you know of any others for me to try, thanks.  (^_^)

    After reading Hoot (read that review here) I was eager to read more of these kinds of books by Carl Hiaasen, so I bought Flush.  Hiaasen apparently does another style or set of companion books that don't really look like my type, but these animal/ecology-themed ones seem great if Hoot is any indicator.  I look forward to reading this one.

    Hold Me Closer, Necromancer has been recommended to me first by Nick from the Teen Reads B&N Book Club and I put it on my wishlist.  Then, one-by-one everyone else started reading it and expressing the same sentiments about it, saying how funny it was and what a great read it was.  So, I realized I was missing out on something really worthwhile and I better get on board!  Now, I finally own it and I just have to fit it into my reading schedule sometime.

    Wolf-Speaker is the second in The Immortals Series, by Tamora Pierce.  I had seen her books all over the place and never read any, so I purchased the first one awhile ago and once I finally got around to reading it, I was enjoying it so much that I just went ahead and bought this one now too.  It has someone with the ability to communicate with animals and if you read my review of The Light of the Oracle, by Victoria Hanley then you already know how cool I think that is!  I haven't finished the first one yet, but I will post a review as soon as I do!  :)

    I already read and reviewed Gingerbread (see that here) and since I liked it so much I went ahead and bought...

    ... Shrimp, by Rachel Cohn.  I look forward to continuing the Cyd Charisse novels, but (as those of you who are familiar with my reading habits already know), I like to switch up my reads and get a nice variety throughout the week, so I'm not sure when I'll read this one.

    I haven't finished Specials yet, but I wanted to buy Extras, by Scott Westerfeld anyway since I'm not planning on reading Specials right away and I want my covers to come as close to possible to matching as they can.  I don't think Pretties (read my review for that by clicking here) matches the rest of them, including the first one: Uglies (read that one right here), but what can I do?  *sigh*

    What if you were frozen for ten years and once you were thawed you had to figure out life again with new technology, a little/older sister and parents whom are still frozen in the cryogenics lab?  These are some of the problems posed in I Was a Teenage Popsicle, by Bev Katz Rosenbaum and I wanted to know more.  This is definitely one of my favorite genres: YA/sci-fi/dystopian/fantasy/chick-lit or whatever you want to try and categorize it as... lol.  Anyway, it looks good and the cover makes me want to go swimming and enjoy summer again.  This winter was pretty mild here in Colorado, but I look forward to the return of flowers, green grass, hot sun and warm breezes!

    I've been craving something scary or suspenseful again lately and hopefully The Devouring will satiate my needs!  I love the cover and it has good reviews, so I'm really looking forward to this one.  It is part of a trilogy (or there are only three so far perhaps) and the other two covers are equally stunning and maintain the beautiful theme of a face, some colored smoke and the black background.  I hope the words are as beautiful as the cover art though, because it's such a letdown when I don't even want to buy the next books after the first one in a series.  Here's hoping!  *crosses fingers*

    Okie-dokie!  That was my huge IMM this week.  I definitely bit off more than I can chew, but that's ok.  I am really happy with my choices and I think I got a good variety too.  So, ttyl everyone and post a link to your IMM if you want me to come check it out!  :)