Friday, July 29, 2011


Friday, July 29, 2011 with 1 comment

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads!  In this weekly feature, Ginger poses a question to her followers and then asks everyone to link up at the end of the post, sharing their responses.

This Friday's Question:

Character Envy: If you could be one character from a book, who would you choose & why?

At first glance, this question seemed easy.  I mean, the first name that popped into my head was one Hermione Granger, and I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one to have that reaction.  But before I give in to this gut instinct, I thought I'd analyze what makes a truly great character for me personally.  (Admittedly, I'm only looking at trading lives with a female character, as that's what I know best.)

#1   Strong sense of self
#2   Intelligent
#3   Sense of humor
#4   Kind-hearted
#5   Spirited
#6   Honorable
#7   Determined
#8   Different
#9   Pragmatic
#10 A good friend

Pretty much, it would have to be a character that I'd want to be friends with in real life.  Now, of all my favorite book characters, do any fulfill all ten requirements, epitomizing what a truly great character means to me?  Of course, Hermione is all of those things.  But what about Gemma Doyle?  Sure, she does.  What about Katniss Everdeen?  Totally, but she's been through a little too much for my liking and has years of sadness ahead of her, so maybe I wouldn't want to be her afterall. that leaves Hermione and...wait, Violet Ambrose is pretty awesome, too.  Man, this is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Okay, I'm calling it before I get in too deep.  I'd want to be Gemma Doyle.  Yes, because she's all of the things I listed, but mostly because she gets to wear awesome gowns and live in England at the turn of the century.  Yes, for me, it all comes down to fancy dresses and beautiful scenery.  Oh, and the magic, too.

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)

But if there was a BONUS requirement that held more weight than the others, it would be this:

#11 Gets to make-out with hot boy (or boys, as the case may be)

And then I'd have to say I'd want to be Clary Fray/Morgenstern, because who among us didn't imagine ourselves in her place in the DSAS?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blood Red RoadTitle:  Blood Red Road
Author:  Moira Young
Series:  Dustlands
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date:  June 7th 2011
Links:  Amazon | Goodreads
Rating:  Photobucket

From Goodreads:

 "Lugh's gone. Gone. My golden heart is gone. I kneel in the dust. The tears roll down my face. An a hard red rain starts to fall." When her "older" twin brother is captured by marauding horsemen, Saba knows that she will have to leave the ravaged landfills that have supported her family since the destruction of their civilization. Moira Young's Blood Red Road marks the auspicious beginning of an ambitious post-apocalyptic series that will ensnare your attention.

So, I try not to get too gushy in my reviews, and it’s usually pretty easy to avoid that because most books don’t warrant gushiness, no matter how good. But Blood Red Road deserves high praise. I normally hate to make these types of comparisons, but the easiest way to describe this book is Hunger Games meets True Grit, both of which merit gushing on their own. There’s a strong female lead, which fulfills the comparison to both the book and the movie, but the comparison to True Grit is due more to the dialect and setting of Blood Red Road. But it’s so much more than that. It’s an action-packed rescue adventure, and it is epic in its awesomeness. Truly.

Saba is a gritty, hard-to-like character when her tale first unfolds, but she really grows as a character and as a person through the span of the book. She’s charged herself with rescuing her twin brother, who was mysteriously kidnapped just after their 18th birthday. Saba has a terrible temper, and her younger sister is trying what little patience she has on this quest, but she’s determined to see this thing through to the end.

I don’t want to go into the story much more than that, for fear of spoiling anything. I hadn’t read much more than the Goodreads synopsis – and the beginning of a few reviews that started with “This is the best book I’ve read this year,” or something along those lines – before diving into the story and so I had no idea what to expect from this novel. That’s the best way to go into any book, I think, but especially this one. Like, I really want to tell you about Saba being forced to [redacted] and the [redacted] she and [redacted] face, but I seriously want you to read it for yourself.

This book was so amazing and unexpected that, although I read a version online courtesy of Pulse It!, I still went out and bought the book because I fully intend to re-read it. Also, I plan to make everyone I know read it…especially all of those that I forced on to The Hunger Games bandwagon. This was such an incredible read, and it’s not even the end of Saba’s story. After the [redacted], I can’t imagine how the author can top this first installment! Sorry, I couldn’t help one last attempt at a, ahem, spoiler…but I just can’t ruin it for you guys. You’ll just have to read it for yourselves to see why it’s so gush-worthy.

**Please do not let the dialect and lack of proper punctuation deter you from reading this novel. If anything, those add to the brilliance of the story.**

Alright, alright, if you must have some spoilery material, here's the book trailer:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Five #6

Friday, July 22, 2011 with 1 comment
In which I list the five books I *plan* to read next, major emphasis on the word plan because I'm an impulsive/compulsive book buyer, and what I intend to read also changes with my mood. =D Whenever I finish a book, I always feel kind of lost, so I think keeping a list like this will help me stay on track and actually remember what I really wanted to read next. Hopefully...

I'm rockin' and rollin' through the Vampire Academy audiobooks.  I'm on Shadow Kisses, book #3, right now, and if I wasn't taking a short vacation at the end of next week, I'd probably finish the series by next Friday.
1.  I'm still waiting on my copy of Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls Series #3) to show up.  I had hoped to read it over vacation, but it may have to wait.  :(

After that...

2.  Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz
3.  Blood Magic (Blood Journals, #1)  by Tessa Gratton
4.  Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison
5.  Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Of course, this may all change again with the news that all Borders stores are now closing...

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads!  In this weekly feature, Ginger poses a question to her followers and then asks everyone to link up at the end of the post, sharing their responses.

This Friday's Question:

Bookshelf Tour: Where do you keep your books at home?  Are they organized?

So, this is my first TGIF post but when I saw what the topic was this week, I just couldn't resist. I've been reworking my bookshelf a lot lately, making room for the never-ending influx of books, organizing by favorites only to realize I have too many favorites for one bookshelf and then deciding to alphabetize them all instead.  I started out with one narrow ladder bookcase when my husband and I were still dating, but that's since been rendered useless and has been relegated to my daughter's room, where, inevitably, it will be deemed too small, as well.  (We're hard on bookshelves, but I couldn't be happier that my little one has latched on to my devotion to reading, as well.)

Okay, so a few weeks ago, my husband commented that my shelves were looking a little shabby due to all of the overflow.  I have to agree:


Since we installed the shelves ourselves, it's easy to add another one and a relatively cheap solution, too.  I also bought some cheap metal bookends to hold me over until I find the perfect ones.  I have my eye on some, but they are most certainly not least, not when I take into account my reading habit. 

Below is what my shelf looks like now -- extra shelf, alphabetized, book-ended and all:


Alas, that's not near all of them, but these are what are currently on display.  Maybe I'll have room for them all when we get a house this fall.  My husband enjoys carpentry work, so I'm envisioning one of these ideas for the new house:

...if I decide to go for a more contemporary look

*photo courtesy of Atlanta Booklover's Blog

or if I just want something different - I saw one similar to this on a Home Depot commercial and was instantly jealous...

*photo courtesy of Incredible Things

Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fury (Fury, #1)Title:  Fury
Author:  Elizabeth Miles
Series:  Fury
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Publication Date:  August 30, 2011
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Rating:  Photobucket

From Goodreads:

Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.

*ARC provided courtesy of Good Choice Reading.*

I have always loved the idea of the Furies, the Fates, the Erinyes…whatever you want to call them. I just never expected them to be so hell-bent on death as punishment, at least not in this day and age. I thought it was more of ‘eye for an eye’ and all that. Not so in this novel.

I had a hard time sympathizing with any of the characters in this book. None of them seemed to have any redeeming qualities. But at the same time, they were very genuine. They were the kids in school that you didn’t know or befriend but that everyone “knew”. They all committed unscrupulous and tawdry acts and rarely gave them a second thought. That is, until the Furies forced them to do so.

When I read the synopsis for this book, I erroneously assumed that the story would focus on Emily (Em) and Chase as a couple, but it was so much more complicated than that. I think some people might be put off by the behavior of the characters in this novel, but I found that it was really relatable, at least when I think back to my own time spent in high school. It didn’t seem at all far-fetched--aside from the fact that the Furies seemed to be calling the shots on a higher level. It just appeared to be teenagers getting caught up in circumstances that they should morally be above.

I didn’t feel connected to this novel in the way that I normally do, but that’s not to say that I didn’t get where the writing was coming from. Sure, there were too many pop-culture references, something I’ve really started to notice in YA novels since attempting to start the House of Night series, but it wasn’t so awful in this book that I couldn’t get past it.

The story was honest, gritty, and not at all what I expected. It definitely set the stage for more action/judgement from the Furies, and I can’t wait to see how it all pans out.

Next up for review:  Invincible Summer

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It's a weekly meme where we all get to brag about the books and swag we got in the mail, for review, won in contests, etc.

First, a bit about me:  I like change, I really do.  But I'm also old-fashioned and kind of stuck in my ways.  So, it was really hard for me to get with the times and buy an eReader.  I fought it forever, even as more and more of my friends were getting them and swearing by their awesomeness.  So, I finally caved and got a Nook Color and freaking love the thing.  It goes everywhere with me now.  Which is probably a relief to my "real" books because they once fell to the same fate, and sadly, the are worse for the wear.  But they are still loved.
Okay, so now that you understand the difficulty I had in purchasing my Nook, maybe you'll understand my uncertainty toward audiobooks.  I mean, seriously, the whole point of books is for them to be read, right?  But then SYNC had their summer promotion, and I couldn't pass on the free audiobook for Shiver.  It only took me two days of listening at work (and on the drive home that second day so I could finish it) to get hooked.  I then got a subscription to Audible while they're running a promo, as well, so that I could get the audiobook of Linger for free.  (I know, I mentioned all this previously in IMM #5, but it bears repeating.)  I am now a huge fan of audiobooks, simply for the fact that I can trim my TBR pile down that much more quickly AND do it while I'm working on more mundane tasks.
Which brings me to my first batch of goodies in this weeks IMM post.  Audible is currently running 'The Paperback Sale' in which 300 hundred titles are being offered at paperback prices ($5.95 or $8.95, depending on the title):

I picked up five YA titles this week, and can't wait to get started on them.  Some are from authors I've never read but have wanted to for awhile, and I couldn't resist at these prices!

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead <-- Yeah, I know...I can't believe I haven't started this series yet, either.
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
For review, I received the following:
Fury by Elizabeth Miles, as part of the Good Choice Reading ARC tour
Tris and Izzy by Mette Ivie Harrison, via Netgalley
Blood Red Road by Moira Young, via Pulse It
Ship BreakerVampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Garden SpellsAnansi BoysAlong for the RideFury (Fury, #1)Tris & IzzieBlood Red Road (Dustlands, #1)
I can't wait to get reading!  What did you get this week?  I'd love to check out your haul, so leave the link to your IMM in the comments!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Five #5

Friday, July 15, 2011 with No comments
So many books, so little time...

Currently reading & reviewing as part of the Good Choice Reading ARC Tour:
Fury (Fury, #1)

Then, I'm off to devour this:
Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3)

And then it's back to choosing from my top five, though Invicible Summer is a fore-runner, namely because I already have it downloaded on my Nook and need to prepare myself with some Hannah Moskowitz before another ARC tour later this year for Gone, Gone, Gone.  But also because my book soulmate, one Cheles Bells, said I should read it next, and well, she IS my book soulmate, so I must oblige.  :D

1.  Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz
2.  Blood Red Road (Dustlands, #1)  by Moira Young
3.  Blood Magic (Blood Journals, #1)  by Tessa Gratton
4.  Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison
5.  Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Whew!  I wish I could read 24/7 so I could purge some of my TBR list, but hey, at least I'll always have something to read, right?  What are you reading/plan to read/want to read???

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Passion (Fallen, #3)Wow, I've only been blogging for a couple of months, and I already feel the love!  I've reached the 50 follower mark, and as promised, I will now be giving away a SIGNED copy of the third book in Lauren Kate's Fallen series!  If you'll remember, I had her sign every one of her books when she was in town for a signing recently, and I had her sign an extra copy of Passion for one of my lucky readers.  I'm so excited for one of you guys to win this!  (Here's my review and the Goodreads synopsis, in case any of you are curious what I thought.)

We're going to make this giveaway pretty simple since it's my FIRST GIVEAWAY EVER.  I'm not offering any extra entries for sharing this time around, but tweeting about the contest would be much appreciated!!!  You don't have to be a follower or leave a comment or do anything extra to enter, but again, that is much appreciated!  To enter, just follow the link below to complete the entry form.

Good luck and happy reading!

Go to ENTRY FORM and complete required fields.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna Dressed in Blood, #1)Title:  Anna Dressed in Blood
Author:  Kendare Blake
Series:  Anna Dressed in Blood
Publisher:  Tor Teen
Publication Date:  August 30, 2011
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Rating:  Photobucket

From Goodreads:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

I'm sure I've said this before, but I'm going to say it again: We need more male narrators in our YA novels. It seems that I always connect better with the books where I'm seeing the world from a guy's perspective, and Anna Dressed in Blood was no different.

I adored Cas, the main character, from page one. He's completely self-aware, but not to the point that he's egocentric. And considering he's a professional ghost hunter, he's got quite the cheery disposition. His wise-cracking inner monologue had me laughing throughout the novel. I think his character truly shines, though, in the way he interacts with others, forming friendships...something he's never really had the time or need for.

Kendare Blake is a fabulous storyteller. She's written a bad guy that will haunt your dreams and make you pull the covers over your head to keep from seeing the bogeyman stalking the foot of your bed. (Yes, the two nights I spent reading this book were full of nightmares. Don't laugh.) It's a real demonstration of her talent that she can create characters that not only warm your heart but also spring from the pages of the book and invade your dreams.

This story was fantastically spooky, eerie, and just plain ole gave me the chills. I've already admitted that it gave me nightmares. But it was more than just a ghost story. It's a story about loss, friendship, young love, and most importantly, revenge. If you're not too afraid, I'd definitely recommend you pick this book up when it's released on August 30th.

*I won a SIGNED ARC of this book through a giveaway from Jill Scribbles.*

Next up for review:  Invincible Summer
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