Friday, December 31, 2010

Follow My Blog Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.
           My answer to this week's Follow Friday question:

What are your new years book blogging resolutions?
  1. I would like to host a couple of giveaways in the coming year.  I think it would be fun because I get so excited when I get to give people gifts they really like and who doesn't love books.  
  2. I want to comment more on other people's blogs.  I try and write comments but often I just end up reading it and forget to comment.
  3. I want to read some new authors and start a couple of new series.  It's great to discover a new author that you love.
  4. I'd love to host a blog tour, or some author interviews. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday's Name Game

Name:  Blake
Gender:  Male
Character From:  Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Meanings and history of the name Blake: 

  • It is of Old English origin, and the meaning of Blake is "black; pale, white"..
Personal Experience:
  • I went to high school with a boy named Blake.  He was very chill in a coffee house guitarist way.  Also I absolutely love the name Blake for a girl.  I have this thing for "typical' boy's names used for girls.
Places name Blake:
  • Blake's Place Cafe, Chino CA
Famous real-life people named Blake: 
  • Blake Christina Lively, an American actress
  • Blake Lewis, American Idol season 6 runner-up
  • Blake Shelton, Country Music singer
  • Blake Edwards, screenwriter, director, producer
  • William Blake, English poet
Blake in song, story & screen:
  • One (Blake's Got a New Face) by Vampire Weekend
  • Bad Blake, character in film Crazy Heart
  • Balthazar Blake, character in film, The Sorcerer's Apprentice

List adapted from

These are just some I know...what about you?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review of Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Book:  Skipping Christmas
Author:  John Grisham
Published By:  Arrow
Pages:  177

From GoodreadsJohn Grisham turns a satirical eye on the overblown ritual of the festive holiday season, and the result is Skipping Christmas, a modest but funny novel about the tyranny of December 25. Grisham's story revolves around a typical middle-aged American couple, Luther and Nora Krank. On the first Sunday after Thanksgiving they wave their daughter Blair off to Peru to work for the Peace Corps, and they suddenly realize that "for the first time in her young and sheltered life Blair would spend Christmas away from home."
Luther Krank sees his daughter's Christmas absence as an opportunity. He estimates that "a year earlier, the Luther Krank family had spent $6,100 on Christmas," and have "precious little to show for it." So he makes an executive decision, telling his wife, friends, and neighbors that "we won't do Christmas." Instead, Luther books a 10-day Caribbean cruise. But things start to turn nasty when horrified neighbors get wind of the Krank's subversive scheme and besiege the couple with questions about their decision.

I read this as my final novel for the Holiday Reading Challenge hosted by All About {n}.

At first I really liked this novel.  I agree with Luther Krank that some people blow Christmas way out of proportion.  I mean who would really spend over $300 on custom Christmas card and over $6,000 total on Christmas?  I think sometimes it's nice to take a break from all the commercialized aspects of Christmas.  They one thing I was worried about in this novel was that by forgetting Christmas in general, that the Krank's would forget the real meaning of Christmas also.  I liked the part where Nora sat down with their priest and explained that they still believe in Christmas and what it stands for but they are just not celebrating the Halmark Holiday version of it.

I also liked the end of the book (which I won't go into in case anyone wants to read it), but overall I didn't feel like the first part of the book and the second part of the book fit together.  I feel that Grisham was trying to get two conflicting points across and it didn't flow together for me.

As for characters I actually like Luther Krank, but did not like his wife Nora.  I felt that she was a coward a times and very whiny.  Also some of the other characters in the book were rude and pushy.  I definitely wouldn't want to live in that neighborhood.

Overall I'd give this book:  ★★★  

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Holidays.  I hope you get to enjoy spending the Holidays with those you love and eating lots of great food. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday's Name Game

Name:  Simon
Gender:  Male
Character From:  The Mortal Instruments series by
Cassandra Clare

Meanings and history of the name Simon: 

  • It is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Simon is "to hear, to be heard; reputation". Biblical: Simon was the name of two of the apostles, including Simon Peter.
Personal Experience:
  • None...what about you?
Places name Simon:
  • Simón Bolívar Airport, airport serving the capital city of Venezuela, Caracas
  • Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, Venezuela
Famous real-life people named Simon: 
  • Simon Bolivar, "El Libertador" liberated most of South America from Spain (19th Century)
  • Simon Baker, Australian actor (The Mentalist)
  • Simon Cowell, British music executive and television personality (American Idol)
  • Simon Gallup, Rock Bassist (The Cure)
  • Simon LeBon, British singer-songwriter (Duran Duran) 
Simon in song, story & screen:
  • "Simon Says", children's game
  • "Simple Simon" children's rhyme
  • Simon Bae, character in the Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong
  • Simon from Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • Simon Camden, character in the tv series 7th Heaven

List adapted from

These are just some I know...what about you?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What makes you tick?

So I was reading the novel Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon and in the beginning these schoolmates are harassing Nick the main character.  The harassing went past the whole joking stage into full on bullying insulting Nick's socially economic status, his clothing, and his mother.  I was reading this cringing, yelling and almost crying because I felt so bad for Nick.  I've noticed that certain situations in books evoke my emotions more than others where I'm literally yelling at characters.  After last night I relized that bullying is one of them. 

What about you?  Are there certain situations in books that having you yelling, cheering, crying, etc. out-loud?  If so which ones and what books are they in? 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Review of Heist Society by Ally Carter

Book:  Heist Society
Author:  Ally Carter
Published By:   Hyperion Book
Pages:  287

From GoodreadsWhen Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

This was a fun, cute read.  I really enjoyed the plot and thought the author did a wonderful job at always keeping me on my toes with unexpected twists and turns.

Carter also did a great job with the characterization.  I got to know more and more about each of the characters, especially Katarina and Hale, as the novel progressed.  It started with just a glimpse of their thief personalities and then grew into who they were as people.  

Carter's writing was fun and flirty with enough of a mystery to keep you wanting more.  I really felt like I was part of the Heist team and was planning a job.  I loved all the details involved in the heist and the unexpected direction each new piece of information took them.  I felt a little like I was in the Thomas Crown Affair.  

I wish there was a little more action and explanation behind the actions that were there.  I sometimes found myself having to reread parts to understand why they were doing a certain mission or maneuver but I guess that's all part of the stealthy game of thievery.   

Overall:  ★★★★     

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review of Fallen by Lauren Kate

Book:  Fallen
Author:  Lauren Kate
Published by: Delacorte Press
Pages:   452

From GoodreadsThere’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.  Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move. Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.
The first thing I want to talk about with this book is the cover, which is stunningly gorgeous.  I love that you can feel how raw the girl's emotions are.  It is almost hauntingly beautiful in a mystic, gothic sort of way.  

I believe Kate did a great job at letting the readers get to know parts of the characters, but not giving away too much.  She left some of her characters' actions a mystery that the reader had to figure out for themselves.

As for the plot itself I really like what I understood of it.  It's something completely different from any of the other Angel books I've read.  I did feel like I was missing something reading this novel though.  It was quite slow moving in the beginning and and I often wanted the author to go into more descriptions about the school, the characters, and the setting.  At the end I felt very confused about what was happening and what had just happened.  

For me this book left many questions and not many answers.  Hopefully, Torment, the next book in the series will explain some things for me.  

Overall rating:  ★★★

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review of All Through The Night by Mary Higgins Clark

Book:  All Through The Night
Author:  Mary Higgins Clark
Published By:  Pocket
Pages:  256

From GoodreadsMary Higgins Clark, the reigning queen of suspense, gives her millions of fans an early Christmas gift with All Through the Night. Clark's new novel is an engrossing suspense tale that reunites readers with Alvirah and Willy Meehan, that lucky couple who won $40 million in The Lottery Winner and decided to do what any other multimillionaire couple would do — solve deadly crimes. And All Through the Night gives the Meehans their most interesting case yet. 

I read this book as part of my Holiday Reading Challenge hosted by All About {n}.  I love Holiday related novels and I have been disapointed with the Holiday novels I've chosen so far, so I decided to go with a trusted author this time. 

All Through The Night was a quick, easy read.  It fulfilled it's purpose and got me in the Holiday spirit.  The plot was a little cheesy with Alvirah being a former cleaning lady, turned lottery winner, turned amateur sleuth having to solve two crimes in time for Christmas.  I love the twists that Clark usually puts in her writing, though that was missing in this book.  The plot was often predictable, but overall the book was still entertaining. 

Clark didn't have as much character development as she's had in her other books, but if you've read some of her other books you know all about Alvirah and Willy.  This was definitely one of her lighter reads compared to some of the thrillers she writes. 

Overall if you're looking for a light Holiday read I'd suggest giving this one a chance.    

Friday, December 17, 2010

Follow My Blog Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.
My answer to this week's Follow Friday question:


What did you study in college, or are currently studying 

and did it lead to your current 9 to 5 

or are you doing something totally different?

For my undergraduate degree I studied Chemistry.  Then because the real world scared me, not really I just liked school that much, I decided to go on and get my PH D in Analytical Chemistry and Chemical Education.  I am currently still in graduate school, I have about 2 years left, and I still have no idea what I want to do after I graduate.   

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday's Name Game

Name:  Katarina
Gender:  Gender
Character From:  Heist Society by Ally Carter

Meanings and history of the name Katarina: 
  • is a variant of Catherine (Greek) and Katherine (Greek), and the meaning of Katarina is "pure".
Personal Experience:
  • None...what about you?
Places name Katarina:
  • Casa Katarina, in Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya
Famous real-life people named Katarina: 
  • Katarina Witt, German World Champion and Olympic Gold medal figure skater
  • Katarina Waters, wrestler
  • Katarina Van Derham, model, St. Pauli Girl spokesmodel 
 Katarina in song, story & screen:
  • Katarina Strat the main character in 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Katarina, an aged, well spoken Persian cat from the TV show Sooty's Amazing Adventure

List adapted from

These are just some I know...what about you?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Off the Shelf Challenge

I don't know about you, but my 'to be read' pile just keeps growing and growing.  My TBR bookshelves are filled to the point of overflowing onto any other piece of furniture next to it.  So once I heard about the Off the Shelf Challenge hosted by Bookish Ardour I knew I had to participate.  The goal of this challenge is to read some of the books that you own (without counting books purchased after the start of the challenge), but have never gotten around to reading yet.  Hopefully this is lessen my TBR pile and give me a chance to finally read some of those books I bought long ago.

Here's my list:
1.  Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
2.  Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
3.  A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
4.  Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner
5.  Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson
6.  Front And Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
7.  The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
8.  Torment by Lauren Kate
9.  Crescendo By Becca Firzpatrick
10.  Let's Take The Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
11.  Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
12.  Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
13.  The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
14.  All Things Bright And Beautiful by James Herriot
15.  The Rest Of Her Life by Laura Moriarty

What Challenges are you doing for 2011?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review of An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson

Book: An Irish Christmas
Author:  Melody Carlson
Published by:  Revell
Pages:  192

From GoodreadsFor Colleen, life is spinning out of control. She just lost her husband, and her relationship with her young adult son Jamie is crumbling. Should she confess to him the secret that has been haunting her for twenty years? Jamie has a few secrets of his own. When he announces his plans to join the military, Colleen decides it's time for the two of them to take a trip together--to Ireland. The truth they discover there could fulfill both their dreams in a way neither ever thought possible. An Irish Christmas is a captivating story of love, deception, and secret passions, from popular and prolific author Melody Carlson. 

This was another book for my Holiday Reading Challenge hosted by All About {n}.  Once again I want to tell you how much I love Holiday novels.  They usually make me feel warm and fuzzy and get me in the holiday spirit.  Apparently, this season just hasn't been my best season for picking great holiday reads. 

An Irish Christmas was a very short read.  The writing tended to be simplistic and predictable.  It didn't really capture my attention and pull me into the story.  I did, however, enjoy the descriptions of Ireland in December.  The country sounds beautiful and makes me want to take a vacation there soon. 

For me, the characters themselves were believable but their expectations of each other were not.  Both the mother and son have MAJOR secrets they are keeping from each other and they expect the other person to not to be horribly upset when they reveal them.  I don't think this is believable at all.  If I was as deceptive as either of these characters I would expect monumental explosions once I revealed my secret.  I was talking to my mother about this book (she read it for her bookclub) and she agreed with me that if I ever kept a secret like that I'd be disowned and disinherited...not really...but she did say she'd be disappointed in me and we all know how catastrophic that is coming from a parent.   

Another thing about this novel that I didn't enjoy was the ending.  Without giving away too much, it was too unrealistic and extremely unlikely.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Review of City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Book:  City of Ashes
Author:  Cassandra Clare
Published by:  Margaret K. McElderry
Pages:  453

From Goodreads:  As readers of series starter City of Bones already know, teenager Clary Fray is a Shadowhunter, a demon slayer who has the gift (?) of spotting Downworlder werewolves, vampires, and faeries. She is also an adolescent in an abnormally dysfunctional family: Her mom is in a magically induced coma and her father is probably insane and undoubtedly evil. All of which places Clary in situations that would challenge even the most talented average American girl.

This was definitely another one of those books that you stay up all night just to finish.  The storyline itself was thrilling, exciting and completely original.  The action kept me on my toes and the edge of my seat, while the romance left me aching for more.

The characters were exactly what you are looking for in a story.  I definitely wanted integrate myself into this novel.  I wanted these characters as my friends or more than friends (my charter crush on Jace, which I might add, only increased in this novel).  I wanted to be a kick-butt shadowhunter fighting for my friends and family.  As you might guess Clare's characters are completely relate-able and real.  You can empathize with them and feel yourself really caring for these people.

The only character I had a problem with was the inquisitor.  The whole time I was reading this novel she reminded me of Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter novels.  They both were controlling and manipulative.  I actually found myself yelling at this character multiple times when reading the novel.

As for Clare's's wonderful.  I guess that is a given when she has me feeling so strongly about characters to yell at them or want them as my friends.  Her descriptions of places and feelings are extraordinary and perfectly magical.

I cannot wait to read the rest of this series!          

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review of Boys That Bite by Mari Mancusi

Book:  Boys That Bite
Author:  Mari Mancusi
Published By:  Berkley Trade
Pages: 272

From GoodreadsTechnically Sunshine can't get killed-because she's immortal. Well, not quite yet. Due to the worst case of mistaken identity with her dark-side-loving twin sister at a Goth club called Club Fang, Magnus, a vampire hottie, went for Sunshine's innocent neck. Now if she doesn't reverse it in time, Magnus will be her blood mate forever and she's doomed to be a blood-gulping, pasty, daylight-hating vampire. That would seriously bite.  And now, after the unfortunate slaying of the vampire leader, Sunshine, her sister Rayne, and Magnus must find the one thing that can solve her problem: the Holy Grail. They wish it were a joke but it's not. It's absolutely necessary that Sunshine gets out of this in time, because somehow she scored the hottest prom date in her school, the mouth-watering Jake Wilder. So she just can't be a vampire for the prom-let alone the rest of eternity.

The tagline for this book is "This is not your typical boybites-girl love story." I don't think I really agree with that.  Of course I understand that Sunshine was not the sister who wanted to be turned into a vampire. but yet all the typical YA vampire plot events still occured.  Sunshine still had to avoid the sun (no pun intended), slept during the day and was awake at night, and of course craved blood.  

The writing just didn't do it for me.  I liked the story line and they idea behind the series, but I felt the writing lacked the flow and inventiveness of many other YA writers. 

Some of the things I did enjoy about the book was the relationship between Sunshine and her sister Rayne.  I felt this to be true to some sister relationships and even though my sister is my best friend we are often drastically different just like these sisters.  I, however, don't agree with the actions of both of the sisters at the end of the novel.  I don't think that if the sisters were as close as they seemed that they would both be ok with the choices made.  (I know this sounds confusing but I don't want to give away too much.)  I also liked Magnus as a character.  I really felt bad for him and found him to be the most likeable character of the book. 

Overall, if you are looking for a vampire read I think there are others out there you would enjoy more. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Follow My Blog Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View.
My answer to this week's Follow Friday question:
Do you have an under-noticed author that 
you think we should all know about?

The author that I think is under-noticed is YA author Melina Marchetta.  She wrote an amazing book called Jellicoe Road or On the Jellicoe Road (I've seen it with both titles).  It's one of my favorite books and if you haven't read it yet go get it.  I have another one of her books, Saving Francesca, on my TBR pile.   

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday's Name Game

Name:  Clarissa
Gender:  Gender
Character From:  Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

Meanings and history of the name Clarissa:
  • Form of Clara, from Latin, meaning "clear, shining"
Personal Experience:
  • None...what about you?
Places name Clarissa:
  • Clarissa Minnesota, United States.
  • Clarissa Falls, a resort in Belize.
  • Clarissa Street is a historical street in Rochester, New York that had once been a cultural and commercial center of the city.
Famous real-life people named Clarissa: 
  • Clarissa Childs, American golfer, DOB March 23, 1974
  • Clarissa Scott Delany (1901-1927), American poet
  • Clarissa Kaye, Australian stage, film and television actress
  • Clarissa Eden, Countess of Avon (born Anne Clarissa Spencer-Churchill
  • Clarissa Pinkola Estés, American poet, psychoanalyst, and author
Clarissa in song, story & screen:
  • Clarissa Harlowe, heroine of Samuel Richardson's novel "Clarissa"
  • Clarissa Darling, main character in T.V. show "Clarissa Explains It All"
  • Clarissa Dalloway, protagonist of Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway"
  • Clarissa Harlowe, from Samuel Richardson’s popular novel Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady. 
  • Clarissa Spenlow, from the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield.

List adapted from

These are just some I know...what about you?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review of Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales

Book:  Mostly Good Girls
Author:  Leila Sales
Published By:  Simon Pulse
Pages:  288

From GoodreadsThe higher you aim, the farther you fall….It’s Violet’s junior year at the Westfield School. She thought she’d be focusing on getting straight As, editing the lit mag, and figuring out how to talk to boys without choking on her own saliva. Instead, she’s just trying to hold it together in the face of cutthroat academics, her crush’s new girlfriend, and the sense that things are going irreversibly wrong with her best friend, Katie.  When Katie starts making choices that Violet can’t even begin to fathom, Violet has no idea how to set things right between them. Westfield girls are trained for success—but how can Violet keep her junior year from being one huge, epic failure?
This was a cute, light read.  I've read other prep school novels where they seemed to be focused on the trouble students got in, the 'stuck-up' rich kids or the romances with the all boys school nearby.  This had some of those aspects but it was mostly a book about friendship.  I don't come across many of those books anymore.  Sure there are elements of friendship in every novel but not many that focus purely on that. 

I really enjoyed the author's character development of Violet and Katie.  Both of these girls seemed very real to fact, I must admit that I am Violet.  I was always the girl who was smart and got good grades but I was never number one, but not for a lack of trying.  Like Violet, I pushed myself harder than my parents, teachers, or anyone at school ever could.  Because I had such high expectations of myself I often had too high of expectations for everyone else also, which is one to the problems with Violet and Katie's friendship.  I understand Violet's determination but I also understand Katie's need to be 'normal' and not have to live up to everyone's expectations.  She just wanted to be herself, what I essentially think every girl wants deep down.

This book was very funny and I often founds myself laughing along with the girls.  One of the main problems I had with the book is that there wasn't much action and the 'problem' or 'conflict' that did occur didn't happen until the end of the novel.  I wish there was a little more action or at least enriched the conflict more.

Overall, if you need a book you can relate to or a break from the paranormal books out there give this a try.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review of City of Bones by: Cassandra Clare

Book:  City of Bones
Author:  Cassandra Clare
Published By:  Margaret K. McElderry
Pages:  485

From GoodreadsWhen fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?  This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....  Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

So this book seemed to get mixed reviews, either people loved it or hated it.  I'm very proud to say that I am one of those people that LOVED it.  I was hooked right away.  I felt like I was on the dangerous, thrilling amusement park ride that I never wanted to end.  It is fast paced, thrilling, enticing and sexy all at once.  Clare's writing is captivating with all the action and the witty dialogue.  Her characters are so interesting and entertaining that you can't help but fall in love with them.  My favorite character is Jace who is cocky, deadly, and emotionally scarred.  He makes the perfect warrior and character in this disturbing take on forbidden love.  I was so enthralled with this novel that I found myself yelling, crying, begging, screaming and cheering (all out-load) throughout this entire novel.

There are just some novels that touch you and become not only a part of your bookshelf but also a part of your heart.  This is definitely one of those novels for me.  I hope you enjoy/enjoyed this book as much as I did.    

Monday, December 6, 2010

Review of Home in Time for Christmas by Heather Graham

Book:  Home in Time for Christmas
Author:  Heather Graham
Published By:  Mira
Pages:  285

From Goodreads:  Melody Tarleton is driving home for Christmas when a man--clad in Revolutionary War-era costume--appears right in the path of her car. Shaken, she takes the injured stranger in, listening with concern to Jake Mallory's fantastic claim that he's a Patriot soldier, sentenced to death by British authorities. The last thing he remembers is the tug of the noose.Safe at her parents' house, Melody concocts a story to explain the handsome guest with courtly manners, strange clothes and bump on the head. Mark, her close friend who wishes he were more, is skeptical and her family is fascinated--though not half so fascinated as Melody herself. Jake is passionate, charming and unlike anyone she's ever met. Can he really be who he claims? And can a man from the past be the future she longs for?With the aid of enchanted petals, ancient potions and the magic of the season, Melody and Jake embark on an unimaginable Christmas adventure--and discover a love that transcends time. 

This book wasn't exactly like I expected.  I thought it would be a quick, steamy, and romantic read, but I was wrong on the steamy part.  There were no love scenes or even very much kissing.  I've read young adult romances that were steamier than this.  The plot of this book wasn't very believable but I guess the concept behind Christmas isn't very believable to some people.  I found myself siding with Melody that people can't travel through time and that is just a ridiculous notion.  But then I got to thinking I'm sure people think it's crazy that a child was born from a virgin mother too.  This is a Christmas book after all and it did portray common Christmas themes such as belief and faith.  It was a quick read that did get you thinking about all the technology and technological advances the 21st century has.  I guess if we've come this far who knows what is possible in the future.  I think that's the point of this book, maybe not to get people to believe in the plot-line of time travel but to see how far we've come and with a little faith to imagine what we can achieve.     

Review of Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Book:  Shade
Author:  Jeri Smith-Ready
Published By:  Simon Pulse
Pages:  309

From Goodreads:  Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart.  Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.  Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.  Well, sort of.  Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.  It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.  As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.

I had a really hard time getting into this book to start with, but after Logan's death I was hooked.  I'm still not sure about the whole ghost thing but the plot behind this book is unique and thought provoking.  It would be very hard to have to lose someone twice, first as their corporeal body and second as their spirit.  Would you want them to hang out for a while or would you want them to pass on immediately?  The writer took a serious issue such as death and gave the readers a whole new way to look at it.  I often felt this internal struggle while reading this book trying to decide what I would want or do in Aura's position.  So many people dealing with the death of a loved one just want another day with them or a chance to tell them something important.  In this world that Jeri Smith-Ready created they can, but what happens when the spirit is still around after a couple of days?  What happens to their soul with they are in this limbo stage and what happens when the people around them start to move on?  How would you feel if you were that spirit?  All of these questions were going through my mind when I was reading this book (often times through tears) and to tell you the truth, I still don't have any answers...only more questions. 

The writer did an amazing job examining each characters feelings relating to the circumstances surround Logan's death.  I loved the contrasting feelings of those pre-shift (Mickey, Siobhan, the parents, etc.) and those post-shift (Aura, Dylan, and Megan).  I thought that part of the book was amazing and I understood each person's feelings, especially Logan's.  The characters were really well developed and all of the situations and the emotions they experienced dealing with these situations were very realistic.  Once again though, the author leaves you with a cliffhanger in anticipation for the next book Shift.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I know most people hate to read books assigned to them in school.  I mean either these books are classics where you can't understand half of the words or you're only suppose to read a chapter of that book because you will get quizzed tomorrow only on events in that chapter.  I was never like that.  Don't get me wrong I hated the quizzes and didn't agree with all the symbolism that the teacher thought the author put there to invoke a discussion, but I still loved reading them.  Do you ever find yourself walking through a store and seeing one of those books you were required to read for school and remember how much you loved them...well I do that all the time.  I thought I would share with you two of my favorite books that I had to read for school. 

From GoodreadsThe mysterious death of an eccentric millionaire brings together an unlikely assortment of heirs who must uncover the circumstances of his death before they can claim their inheritance. 

From Goodreads:  When Jonas turns 12, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. Now, it’s time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

If you haven't read either of these books, go pick them up! 

What about you?  Are there any books you remember reading for school that you absolutely loved? 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Review of Forgive My Finns By Tera Lynn Childs

Book:  Forgive My Finns
Author:  Tera Lynn Childs
Published By:  Katherine Tegen Books
Pages:  293

From GoodreadsLily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.  Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.  When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

This was a cute, easy book that I read in one sitting.  Lily was a very likable character that many readers can related to.  I mean who doesn't get a little crush on the cutest boy in school even if he is a jerk.  There were times in this book that I wanted to yell at Lily and tell her that she shouldn't go after Brody, but as you all know the characters from books (or TV and movies) never listen to what you have to say.  As for Quince, he really made the book for me.  I loved his character and would like to have learned more about him.  Overall, the plot was predictable and the characters didn't have much depth as I would have liked. One thing I did love about the book was Lily's fishy expressions like "son of a swordfish." These puns kept the book entertaining and light and definitely kept this reader laughing out-loud.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday's Name Game

Name:  Logan
Gender:  Male
Character From:  Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Meanings and history of the name LOGAN:
  • Of Gaelic origin, meaning "Small Hollow".
Personal Experience:
  • Logan High School/Logan Middle School
Places name Logan:
  • Logan, West Virginia
  • Logan Airport, Boston, MA
Famous real-life people named Logan: 
  • Logan the Orator a Native American orator and war leader 
  • Jimmy Logan, Actor from early 1900s
  • Daniel Logan, Actor from Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones.
  • Ben Logan is an author, he wrote the classic Wisconsin tale, The Land Remembers.
Logan in song, story & screen:
  • Logan - Wolverine in the X-Men movies
  • Logan Bruno - Boyfriend of Mary Anne in the Baby-sitter's Club series
  • Logan Jonsen - Werewolf in Kelley Armstrong's 'Women of the Otherworld' series.

List adapted from

These are just some I know...what about you?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review of The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Book:  The Iron King
Author:  Julie Kagawa
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Pages:  363

From Goodreads:  Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six.  She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.  When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.  But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war.  Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

This was such an enchanted fairy tale with a dark twist.  I was completely enthralled and creeped out at the same time by this novel.  This faery world was a little darker and more complex than I would have liked  especially with all the other creatures, besides the Fay, wandering NeverNever.  I did however love the main characters.  I loved Meghan's fierce loyalty to her little brother and to her friendship with Puck.  Her character was so believable and pulled you right into her life.  At first I though she was a little hasty in some of her decisions but when I thought it over I probably would have done the same thing.  Speaking of those choice, this novel definitely left you hanging and waiting for it's sequel, The Iron Daughter. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review of Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Book:  Once a Witch
Author:  Carolyn MacCullough
Publisher:  Clarion Books
Pages:  292

From Goodreads:  Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.

I've always enjoyed stories, television shows, and movies about witches.  Something about them intrigues me and makes me want to learn more.  With all of the young adult paranormal novels out there I was very excited about this one because finally it was about witches!  This was very cute and easy fact I read it in one sitting.  It was light and enjoyable and completely refreshing after all of the darker young adult novels out there.  I instantly started character crushing on Gabriel the minute he was introduced.  He was the perfect partner for Tamsin, who was pretty kick butt herself.  The characters were all easy to relate to and the writing really pulled me into the story.  I'm still confused about the theme of "time/clocks"...any ideas?  Maybe we'll find out in the sequel Always a Witch due out August of 2011.    

Monday, November 29, 2010

Review of The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado

Book:  The Christmas Candle
Author:  Max Lucado
Publisher:  WestBow Press
Pages:  192

From Goodreads:  Journey back to a simpler time, to a small English village where nothing out of the ordinary ever happens.  Except at Christmastime.  When a mysterious angel suddenly appears in a lowly candlemaker's shop, the holy and the human collide in a way that only God could imagine. Glowing bright with a timeless message, The Christmas Candle will warm your heart with a surprising reminder of God's bountiful love.

I read this book for the Holiday Reading Challenge 2010 hosted by All About {n}.  It was a really fast read, in fact I read it in about one hour.  Holiday stories are suppose to be uplifting and make you feel all warm and cozy inside.  The Christmas Candle definitely had the whole uplifting story about hope and faith but I don't think it was detailed enough.  I like the plot and I think the idea behind the story is original, but the supporting details just weren't there.  I felt like I was just getting a quick overview of a story instead of the whole thing.  Another thing that bothered me is that there were typically less than 100 words on a page.  I felt as if I was a beginning reader with how this novel printed.  Overall, I was kind of disappointed with my first Holiday read of the season.    

Review of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Book:  Hush, Hush
Author:  Becca Fitzpatrick
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pages:  391

From GoodreadsFor Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along.  With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.  For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

So I've heard a ton of good things about this book and with it's sequel Crescendo hitting stands last month I wanted to make sure I read Hush, Hush first.  This book was good and kept my attention but I think the hype may have set my hopes too high.  There were times that I found the characters confusing and annoying, especially Nora's best friend Vee.  I did like Nora and Patch and how their relationship developed, even against the odds.  Patch was definitely that confident, gorgeous guy that every girl takes a second look at.  He seemed dark and brooding and at the same time you just didn't want to believe that he could possibly be the bad guy.  The plot took some unexpected turns that made me want to keep reading but at the end I wasn't really satisfied.    

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review of Paranormalcy By Kiersten White

Book:  Paranormalcy
Author:  Kiersten White
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Pages:  335

From GoodreadsEvie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.  But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.  So much for normal. 

First, I have to talk about how gorgeous this cover is.  If you can walk by this book at a store and not look twice, you might want to check your pulse.  Plus the dress on the cover is simply AMAZING!  Ok, enough gushing about the cover.  Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I loved how it tied all paranormal creatures together into one novel.  Evie was a fun and flirty main character that almost anyone can relate to in a kick butt heroine who just wanted to be a normal girl, kind of way.  White did a great job with the character development between Evie and Lend.  Their romance was cute and you couldn't help but cheer for them.  Another thing that is totally unrelated but have to talk about is how when Evie went to swear she said "Bleep" instead.  I thought is was nice to keep the novel clean and pure like Evie herself.   

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review of Beautiful Darkness By Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Book:  Beautiful Darkness 
Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published By:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages:  503

From Goodreads Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.  Sometimes life-ending.  Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

This book had some of the wonderful features of Beautiful Creatures such, as the unique supporting characters and amazing writing.  Who wouldn't love a Seer as a housekeeper, crazy great aunts, and a rebel best friend?  I love that the point of view of this novel is from Ethan's perspective instead of Lena's.  I don't know if I could have handled Lena's perspective as I thought she was annoying at times in this novel.  It was hard to understand her hot and cold emotions until certain events were reveled later in the novel.  Garcia and Stohl have a fantastic writing style that transports us in the Southern Gothic feel of this novel.  Beautiful Darkness, as it's title suggests, is much darker than it's prequel and often times confusing.  I felt myself having to go back and reread things especially when they were in the tunnels.  Overall, this was a good book, but I still enjoyed Beautiful Creatures more.       

Monday, November 22, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

So it's almost 2011 and that means a whole new season of books.  This year I'm going to participate in the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren.  Challenge yourself to try new authors, you just might find a new favorite.  You can sign up at The Story Siren's website.  There are so many 2011 Debut Authors to choose from that I haven't made up my mind on which ones to read, but here are a couple of them!

Have fun reading!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review of Turtle Moon By Alice Hoffman

Book:  Turtle Moon
Author:  Alice Hoffman
Published by:  Vintage
Pages: 288

From GoodreadsVerity, home to more divorced women from New York than any other town in Florida, is where Lucy moves with her son Keith to get away from her ex. But when Keith runs off with a baby, after the child's mother is murdered, the stage is is set for mayhem, thrills, and unexpected romance.

I loved Practical Magic by Hoffman and so wanted to read more of her books.  I read Turtle Moon during my traveling time for my morning and afternoon commute.  It was easy to pick up and read a couple of pages at a time, but at the end I gave in and continued reading even after I was at work (during my lunch hour of course).  I love the unexplained magic in Hoffman's books.  She does a great job with magical realism where you can actually imagine that this magic is a part of everyday life and not just fantasy.  Her writing is almost lyrical and captures you into the scene immediately.  So in parting, I'll leave you with my favorite passage from the book:  "Every May, when the sea turtles begin their migration across West Main Street, mistaking the glow of the streetlights for the moon, people go a little bit crazy.  At least one teenage boy comes close to slamming his car right into the gumbo-limbo tree that grows beside the Burger King.  Girls run away from home, babies cry all night, ficus hedges explode into flame..."      

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review of If I Stay By Gayle Forman

Book:  If I Stay

Author:  Gayle Forman
Published by:  Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 199        

From Goodreads:  In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck... A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands.
I've heard a lot of good things about this book so I was excited to read it, but I have to admit I've been putting it off for a while.  I knew there were going to be very sad and tragic parts to this novel and therefore, I had to be in the right mood to read it--kind of like the mood you're in when you want to watch a sappy movie.  I'm glad I waited because this book totally consumed me.  I loved how Forman varied Mia's past memories with that of her current situation.  It seemed like whenever the book got to be too much and I would start to tear up, Forman would switch to a memory of Mia's, often times making me smile or laugh out loud.  This helped me continuing reading this book and not be overwhelmed by sadness.  This book definitely makes you think about if Mia and ultimately yourself (if in this situation) would stay.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Review of Graceling By Kristin Cashore

Book:  Graceling
Author:  Kristin Cashore
Published by:  Graphia
Pages:  480

From Goodreads:  Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight — she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme, and in her case horrifying, skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace — or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away... a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

I absolutely adored this book.  Graceling was a wonderful debut novel for Cashore with a new take on paranormal.  This novel was very well written, with enough action and adventure, and a touch of romance to make it hard to put down.  Katsa was the perfect lead character who was strong not only physically but also in character.  You could easily relate not only to Katsa, but to most of the main characters in the novel.  Some of these characters were more well rounded than others, but that's to be expected when you have so many in one novel.  Overall I really enjoyed this novel and I can't wait to read the prequel, Fire. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010


My name is Lisa and I'm new to blogging.  I love books and I thought this would be a great way to talk about books and get others opinions on them.  I read a variety of books but mostly current fiction and young adult.  So to start off my blog I guess the first thing I'd like to know is what is everyone's favorite book?  If you're like me and have too many to choose from just list the top couple.