Monday, June 27, 2011

Blog About Your Dog Monday - June 27th, 2011

Today is the is Monday and that's the day to share some of my pet pictures!  I hope you enjoy looking at my silly dogs.

This is Tsukiko after she fell asleep with a ball in her mouth.  So cute!

This is Chanceux shaking off after taking a swim in the dog park pond.  <3
Both of my dogs are Plott Hounds and were rescued from local Humane Societies here in Colorado (Longmont and Boulder to be specific).  Tsukiko (the girl) is 2 and Chanceux (the boy) is 3 and they're best friends! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sass & Serendipity, by Jennifer Ziegler

Sass & Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler is a new take on Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.  That is where my comparisons end between the two books, because I never read Sense and Sensibility.  Rain your shame down on me classical lovers, but I got through as many as I could in my lifetime and I really enjoy modern writing styles a lot more, so I'm sorry.  I can tell you how I feel about this book though and I thought it was really good.  It's about two sisters who are so different it's hard to believe they're sisters at times.  Daphne thinks everything in life can be better dealt with once she has a fresh coat of lip gloss on and Gabby doesn't even see the point of wearing lip gloss.  Gabby is serious, dedicated and ready to help her single mom with everything, be it the bills or trying to keep Daphne in line.  Daphne just wants to be a kid and misses her dad more than anything.  The divorce was hard on both girls and they've both taken very different views on the whole thing.  Daphne feels like an outsider in her own home and wishes she could just go live with her dad, but if not, she's definitely going to partake in some fun teenage activities like going to prom.  Gabby, on the other hand, can't believe how selfish her younger sister is.  They're struggling financially and Gabby almost hates Daphne for spending precious money on a prom dress when she hasn't even been asked to the prom yet.  Gabby wonders how her little sister can be so self-absorbed and inconsiderate and Daphne wonders how her older sister can be such a killjoy and a pessimist.  When their financial difficulties get even worse it's liable brings out the best or the worst from each sister and their relationship is put to the ultimate test.  Will they learn to meet in the middle or just drift farther apart?  I would recommend Sass & Serendipity to any fans of coming-of-age, books about family and sisters, romance, YA in general, Jane Austen (apparently lol) or stories about overcoming hardships.

Favorite things: the contrasting personalities of the two sisters, the love story which gave the book another layer without taking over completely, the name Mule (which is apparently short for Samuel and oh-so memorable), the descriptions (especially one of a pink dress that stands out in my mind), the lessons each sister were able to learn, the wildly different perspectives each one had on the same thing and the pace which kept me interested and allowed me to read this book rather quickly.

Criticisms:  the character flaws each sister were given were a bit annoying and frustrating to read about, some things seemed so obvious that I wanted to shout through the pages for the girl to notice and pay attention and I personally didn't like the cover that much. 

Overall:  5 out of 5 stars!  This was a nice change from the paranormal and fantasies I've been reading lately.  :)

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.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wicked Lovely, by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely is the first in a series about an interesting young woman named Aislynn and her unique ability to see faeries.  Her grandma has warned her time and time again about the dangers of faeries and Aislynn has had the chance to see for herself how cruel and dangerous they can be to one another.  Her only protection is that they don't know she can see them.  She does her best to stare through them and keep her expression even when she observes them injuring each other.  Aislynn just wants a normal life and when more and more faeries seem to take an interest in her, she knows she has to keep it a secret from her grandma or risk losing all her freedom.  She's almost positive that they've never caught her looking at them, but why would they suddenly start following her?  And why would they tolerate being around iron when it hurts them?  She thought iron could keep her safe, but now she knows that nothing can keep them away if they're determined enough, but she better find out why they're taking such huge risks to stalk her, before it's too late.  I would recommend Wicked Lovely to any fans of urban fantasy, paranormal, faeries, battles between good and evil, or YA in general.

Favorite things: Aislynn's strong personality, the great pace that got me to read this book in one sitting, the lead-in to the next book which wasn't a cliffhanger and still kept me intrigued, the plot that took on some characteristics of a fairy tale, the romance between Aislynn and her best friend Seth that felt realistic and not forced, the gorgeous cover and descriptive and flowing writing style of Melissa Marr.

Criticisms: the love triangle that developed was predictable and the behavior of the Summer King Keenan was rude which made him an unlikable character that seemed to have no redeeming qualities which only compounded my annoyance at the love triangle more.

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars!  This was recommended to me multiple times and I see why now, it was a great read and I've already started the next one.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm back!

I have returned!  I did not tell anyone I was leaving, but my husband had some time off work and we've used it as a working vacation, so I've been super-busy!  We've been preparing for the baby, doing upgrades around the house, visiting with our families, spending some time together for my husband's birthday and enjoying the warm weather!  I'm glad to be back and I missed all my blogging and reading too!  I managed to read two books in my free time, but I'm looking forward to finally writing those reviews, doing some memes and catching up with all my blogging friends!  I've missed you all and I hope you missed me too!  :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - Wicked Lovely

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading so we can share a bit from the book we're currently reading.  Right now I am reading Wicked Lovely, by Melissa Marr and I'm enjoying it a lot.  :)

"Whenever he came near, she could smell wildflowers, could hear the rustle of willow branches, as if she were sitting by a pond on one of those rare summer days: a taste of midsummer in the start of the frigid fall.  And she wanted to keep that taste, bask in it, roll in it until the warmth soaked into her very skin.  It terrified her, the almost irresistible urge to get closer to him, to get closer to any of the fey.  He terrified her."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Off Topic Post - Nursery Design

So, for most of you it is old news that I'm pregnant, but for anyone that didn't know, now you do!  My husband and I are very excited and have been working on the nursery ever since we decided to try and expand our family.  I actually got to help paint the nursery myself, which a lot of moms-to-be don't get to do since most kinds of paint release dangerous fumes known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs.  My husband has done all of the construction, installation and assembly and I've been the main decider of the colors, theme and items as well.  I just wanted to share some of the progress so far, because it's so fun and exciting to me!  I know since this is a book blog, a post like this might not be of interest to some of you, but hopefully some people enjoy checking it out!  :)

This is the nursery so far complete with the first tree decal we put up leaf by painstaking leaf.  Also there is the beginning of, what will one day be, an awesome bookcase filled with books!

This is the Fisher-Price Zen Cradle/Swing with a polar bear baby in it lol. 

This is the crib (minus the mattress obviously) and the second tree decal we put up.  Do you like the wind effect we did?  I think it looks awesome!

This is the beginning of the ceiling fan project that took my husband a bit more than a day's worth of work to complete!  The wiring was annoying and he had to add another switch...

And voila, a working fan and light, each operated by their own switch and the light has a dimmer now as well!  I heart it. 

Okay, well there's our work so far!  My husband, Brian, also added the frost coating to the French doors, painted the lock white, painted the closet and the doors a fresh-coat of white, added new door handles, installed the baby-proof lock on the sliding door, re-hung the curtain rod in a better spot and he's finishing up some floating shelves and a tiny stool he made as well!  I heart him to pieces!  :)  I hope you all like my ideas and his handiwork!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Follow Friday/Blog Hop (June 3rd, 2011)

Today's question?  What are you doing to prepare for an upcoming zombie apocalypse and/or the return of Mel Gibson to the silver screen (both of which could be terrifying). 

My answer?  Haha, that is a funny question this week and it's so weird too, because I just finished reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan, so I've had zombie apocalypses on the brain haha!  I am not prepared at all and I would have to fight them off with a butter knife.  I would probably become all zombified pretty quickly, so if you hear me knocking strangely, just don't open the door...

Today's question:  Share your favorite post from the last month and tell us why it's close to your heart.

My answer:  The post closest to my heart from last month was my Blog About Your Dog Monday post, because I love my dogs to bits and they're so cute.  However, the post closest to my heart that I ever posted was just a few days before that and called, "The Most Exciting News Ever," and it is self-explanatory lol.  :)

And for all the Nook and NookColor users out there, today is Free Friday from Barnes and Noble again and this week's book is called Life's a Beach and it's by the bestselling author of Must Love Dogs, Claire Cook and of course, you can't beat free for the price!  Might as well download it.

Thanks for stopping by everyone, new or old, I love a visitor no matter what!  :)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan

How would you survive in a zombie apocalypse?  Would you be brave?  Would you adhere to the rules of the new society?  Would you be content living in your little sliver of safety or would you ache for something more?  For Mary, it's the only world she knows, but through the stories her mother used to tell her, she knows there is more.  She knows there are cities with buildings so high they climb into the sky.  She knows there are other faraway places.  She knows there is an ocean...  There might be somewhere safe from the zombies (otherwise known as the unconsecrated).  If there's any way to get there, it seems like an impossible mystery and one she's not sure she's brave enough to figure out.  Most people think she's a bit crazy though, because she believes in these "fairy tales" of oceans and giant cities and the last photos that could've been evidence of the strange world outside were burned in an accidental fire years ago.  To the majority of the villagers, going outside just means certain death and they can't understand why Mary fantasizes about it all the time.  The village is safe, the people are well-fed and no one wants to see beyond the fences.  Except Mary.  Mary dreams of a life without fences or trees, with water as far as the eye can see and she wants to know it personally.  There are fenced paths leading away from the community, but everyone has been warned to stay away from them and told that they're not safe.  Perhaps they lead to the ocean though...  I'd recommend The Forest of Hands and Teeth to fans of horror, suspense, zombie-apocalypse stories, survival, dystopians, tragic love stories or anyone looking for something a tad darker than their usual read.

Favorite things:  the creepy atmosphere, Mary's inquisitive soul, the exciting and dangerous world Carrie Ryan created, the characters and their uniquely intertwined relationships, the elaborate society complete with New World rules, the scary threat of the unconsecrated looming at every turn, the level of creepiness which provided an interesting read without being overwhelming, the pace which kept me hooked from cover-to-cover, the approach of the love story which was quite different from most YA reads and the overall journey you go on while reading this book.

Criticisms:  the ever-changing covers for this book resulted in me getting one that doesn't match the second one now which is a pet-peeve of mine, the behavior of one of the male leads was frustrating at times and... that's all I can think of, it was a really good read!

Overall:  5 out of 5 stars!  I'm so thankful to those of you who suggested it through my poll, because it really was worth my limited time!