Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pivotal Characters

A couple of posts ago when I was reviewing Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, I made the statement that Dimitri is a pivotal character for me.  I felt so strongly attached to him that I feel his fate decides whether or not I will like the rest of the series.  

I was wondering if there were any other books that had characters (not main characters but side characters) whose fate ultimately effected my enjoying the series of not.  I couldn't think of now I turn to you?

Are there any side characters from stand alone novels or series that you felt so connected with that their fate determined how you felt about that novel or series?  If so, what characters?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review of The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

Book:  The Betrayal of Maggie Blair
Author:  Elizabeth Laird
Published by:  Houghton Mifflin Books
Pages:  435
Available:  April 18th, 2011

From GoodreadsIn seventeenth-century Scotland, saying the wrong thing can lead to banishment—or worse. Accused of being a witch, sixteen-year-old Maggie Blair is sentenced to be hanged. She escapes, but instead of finding shelter with her principled, patriotic uncle, she brings disaster to his door.  Betrayed by one of her own accusers, Maggie must try to save her uncle and his family from the king’s men, even if she has to risk her own life in the process.

Maggie is a young girl who lives with her old, haggard grandmother who is quite outspoken and set in her ways.  When Maggie's grandmother upsets some of the villagers she gets accused of being a witch and unwillingly drags Maggie into the horror of it all.  Maggie escapes with the help of an old friend that gets her safely to her uncles house.  Once again tragedy upsets Maggie's life and she feels the need to set things right.

When I first heard about this novel I assumed it would concentrate on Maggie being accused of being of a witch.  I thought I'd be reading about charms and natural remedies that people often mistook for witchcraft.  Instead, most of this novel revolves around the religious battles that occurred in 17th century Scotland.

This was a wonderfully written depiction of the struggles between church and state.  It's historical accuracy is one of my favorite features.  I loved that fact that I was reading about true events and the lives of the author's ancestors.  This fact made the characters come to life for me and appreciate their stances that much more.

This action-packed, page flipping novel had a new conflict around every corner.  Once one conflict was resolved another popped into place.  Full of deceit, cunning strategy and religious zeal this is a novel is a must read.

I give this novel ★★★★

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this novel from the publishers and NetGalley with no compensation.  This did not affect my opinion or review of the novel in any way.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is:  Top Ten Authors That Deserve More Recognition
  1. Melina Marchetta, I read Jellicoe Road and I fell in love with her writing.  This book was amazing.  If you haven't read it yet...go do it now.  
  2. Catherine Gilbert Murdock, she wrote the Dairy Queen trilogy and it's set in Wisconsin!
  3. Markus Zusak, both of his novels that I've read have moved me emotionally and in totally different ways.  
  4. Alexandra Adornetto, I haven't read any of her novels but you have to give props to a girls who had her first novel published when she was 14 and had her U.S. YA debut at 17.  Man, do I feel like an underachiever next to her.  
  5. Mary E. Pearson, I absolutely loved The Adoration of Jenna Fox.  This novel was so original and unlike anything I've ever read.  
  6. Jandy Nelson, I adored her 2010 debut, The Sky is Everywhere, and I can't wait to read more from her. 
  7. Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was hilarious and heartbreaking all at once. 
  8. Lesley Kagen, amazing adult author and she's from my area.  I've met her a couple of times and even ate at her restaurant.  Plus her books are great mysteries that don't read like the traditional mystery.  
  9. Joshilyn Jackson, another amazing adult author.  Her books always keep me on my toes and are wonderfully written.  
  10. All of James Patterson's "ghost writers", they do all the work and barely get any credit.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Review of Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Book:  Elsewhere
Author:  Gabrielle Zevin
Published by:  Square Fish
Pages:  277

From GoodreadsElsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward? 

Once in a while I get stuck in a rut and feel like all the YA novels start to feel the same.  Elsewhere broke that rut for me; this novel was refreshingly original.  The world that Zevin created was thrilling, imaginative, and pure genius.  The afterlife is something that I think about once in a while, but I always have a hard time imagining what it would be like.  It was never something I got a clear and concise vision of, but I always hoped it would be a place with no worries and only happiness.  Zevin's created afterlife was something I could never have imagined myself, but was fun to read about.

As much as I like the originality of this novel, the characters fell a little flat for me.  There wasn't much depth to these characters and I didn't fell as if I knew them or was attached to them at the end of the novel.  I did, however, love the animals in this story.  If you are a dog-lover, like me, you'll love Zevin's fun twist on our canine friends.  I only wish this part of the novel was true in real life.  

There wasn't a true plot line in this story.  There were a few small conflicts and resolutions but not an overall one.  It was more the story about Liz's afterlife experience in Elsewhere.  While some found the action lacking, I enjoyed the simple day-to-day life of Liz and her friends while they navigated the afterlife.  

Once again, I want to comment on how original this novel was.  If you are looking for something totally different and out of the 'usual' pattern of YA novels, this is your book.  I'd give this novel  ★★★ and 1/2   

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review of Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Book:  Cryer's Cross
Author:  Lisa McMann
Published by:  Simon Pulse
Pages:  256

From Goodreads:  The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic....Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

Are you ready for a psychological thriller that will keep you up at night?  Well...this is the book.  I'm not much of a horror reader but this book en-captured me from page one.  I fell right into Kendall's mind and felt jittery and obsessive and wanted to solve the mystery right along with her.  This novel kept me on my toes and I never quite knew what was going to happen.

McMann did a great job creating this creepy, enclosed small town.  I was constantly not trusting any of it's residents thinking they could possible be the kidnapper.  While I did like her writing, I'm not sure about the actual plot line of the story.  I don't want to give any spoilers but the premises behind the kidnapping was a little weird and unbelievable.

I did, however, love the characters.  Kendall was an amazing character who handled the disappearance of her boyfriend and the new additions to the town very well for a person with OCD.  I loved how determined and spunky she was. I also really liked Jacian .  He was defiant and passionate and made of yumminess.

Overall, even with the strange plot, I still enjoyed this novel.  I'd give it ★★★★ 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Follow My Blog Friday

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

Q. Inspired by the inane twitter trend of #100FACTSABOUT ME, give us five book related silly facts about you.

  1. 1.  When I start a book, I have to finish it no matter if i like it or not.  
  2. 2. I never peak at the last chapter or page, but I do have a tendency to look ahead on the page I'm reading by accident.
  3. 3.  I have to have my books in ALPHABETICAL order on my bookshelves.
  4. 4.  I have books all over the house and in every room, even the bathroom for when I decide to take a bath.
  5. 5.  When I get super emotional over a book I have to call my mom or talk to a friend about it asap!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review of Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Book:  Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2)
Author:  Richelle Mead
Published by:  Razorbill
Pages:  327

From GoodreadsIt's winter break at St. Vladimir's, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy's crawling with Guardians—including Rose's hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn't bad enough, Rose's tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason's got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks… This year, St. Vlad's annual holiday ski trip is mandatory. But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

This novel picks up right where the first novel ended.  Like the Vampire Academy, this one was packed with action, but definitely had a more serious tone.

I really felt like Rose grew a lot as a character.  She was still snarky and defensive, but she was more thoughtful and less action driven.  I loved the interactions she had with her mother.  These seemed so rael and heartfelt, even through the sarcastic comments.  Rose definitely had a lot of different emotions to deal with in the book and I think she handled them wonderfully (well maybe not wonderfully, but at least a lot better than I would have).

Another character I really ended up liking more was Christian.  I didn't really think much of him in the first novel, but this time he stood out.  I think he's fierce and caring and an all around great guy.

And, of course I can't go without commenting on Dimiri...*sigh.*  He can be my personal guardian and protector any day!

One of the things that bothered me though was that I felt like the plot was more predictable in this novel and I saw it coming right away.  Even with the predictable plot the ending had me in tears, but they were worth it.

Overall I give this novel  ★★★★

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Book:  Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)
Author:  Richelle Mead
Published by:  Razorbill
Pages:  332

From GoodreadsSt. Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school—it's a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St. Vladimir's—the very place where they're most in danger...Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy's ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world's fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

About a week or so ago I made a comment about how there were many YA series that I hadn't started and there wasn't a logical reason for it I just never got around to reading them.  Well I just started another YA series that I think most people have already read...Vampire Academy.

I've heard such amazing things about this series and about how Rose Hathaway is one kick-butt heroine so I was excited to start it.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the relationship between Rose and Lissa.  They are such great friends and really look out for one another.  I love the bond between them, and while I think their bond might be a little too close for anything I'd want between me and my friends I still adore their connection.

The other thing I really liked about this novel was Dimitri.  I don't think I have words to describe how amazing he is.  As much as I liked Rose, he is the reason I will continue reading this series.  I just have to know what will happen with him.  I definitely think he's one of those pivotal characters that has to end up exactly where I want him or it will ruin the whole series for me.  I have faith though that Richelle Mead believes in him as much as I do and will put him exactly where I want him.

Surprisingly, I didn't really like Lissa.  I thought she was whiny and immature.  I really hope she changes or I think she's going to annoy me as the series goes on. 

I think the premise of this novel was very intriguing and a fun twist on the whole vampire scene.  I especially enjoyed that vampires weren't the strong and self-sufficient that instead they needed protectors. 

Overall it was a fun start to a series that I think I'm going to really enjoy.  I give this novel ★★★★

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

I'm doing something a little different today and I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is your top ten bookish pet peeves. 

  1. People who dog ear their pages.  I have tremendous respect for books and I don't think it's that hard to use a bookmark or even an old receipt.
  2. Middle books in a series that have no real plot line other than to connect the earlier books to the later books.  I think each book in a series should be able to stand alone as a novel with it's own conflict and resolution, otherwise I feel like I'm watching a to-be-continued TV show.
  3. When books change their covers to match the movie.  When I look for a book that's already a movie I will only buy the original cover and not the movie cover.    
  4. Price stickers or bargain sticker that leave behind residue or won't peel off.  No one wants to spend hours trying to scrape off all the goo left behind from a sticker.
  5. Bargain books that have a giant sharpie mark on the bottom of the book.  I understand their needs to be a way to separate bargain books from normally priced books but do you have to deface a book like that.
  6. Overuse of swearing.  I personally don't swear very often and I find it really distracting to read it.
  7. People who claim that reading doesn't interest them...really out of all the books and all the genres you can't find anything?
  8. Not alphabetized books.  I know it's probably my OCD coming out but I can't stand it when novel are not alphabetized my author.  I seriously want to start rearranging people bookshelves when I stop over because it drives me nuts. 
  9. Instant love.  Don't get me wrong I totally get instant attraction, but instant love before even the first kiss?  Is this real? 
  10.  Memoirs or biographies by teenage stars.  Seriously?

Ok that's my list of bookish pet peeves...what's your biggest bookish pet peeve?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Review of Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Book:  Bright Young Things
Author:  Anna Godbersen
Published by:  HarperCollins 
Pages:  389

From GoodreadsThe year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties. Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star… Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will. The only person Cordelia can trust is Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets. 

I have this fantasy about going back in time and living in the 1920s and becoming a flapper.  I think it is the most exciting lifestyle I can think of.  The prohibition, dancing and the gangsters make it an exhilarating era that I think I would really enjoy.  That being said, I was super excited to read this novel.

The novel starts out with Cordelia and Letty escaping their small town life for a go at becoming famous in the big apple. I really enjoyed the characters of Cordelia and Letty.  I felt they were very realistic and their characters seemed timeless.  How many small town individuals still dream of escaping to New York or California and becoming famous?  I'm sure I did at some point growing up.  

Next we meet Astrid who is Cordelia's brother's girlfriend.  I didn't enjoy Astrid's character as much.  I wish that she was stronger-willed and would stand up for herself.  She lived a hard life with her mother on her fourth marriage, but at the same time lived a life of extravagance.  Hopefully in the next book she turns out to be more independent.   

As for love there are many different kinds shown in this novel, but my favorite would have to be Cordelia and her man.  It was a very Romeo and Juliet type love story with a bit of the mob thrown in.  

If your looking for a good historical fiction novel here is one for you.  I'd give this ★★★★

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Winner of the Contest for The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

And the winner is... 54 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

 Congrats April!!  

Male sure to check back in the next week or so for another giveaway

Thursday, March 17, 2011

There will be no post tomorrow.  I'm taking some time out of my normal routine to think about all the others who can't do any of their daily activities.  I think it's important to help support people in need be it a charitable donation or thoughts and prayers.  So take some time out of your day to think about the people in Japan and how you can help.        

Last Day of Giveaway

Just a reminder this is the last day to enter my giveaway for The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg.

Giveaway rules:
You must be 13 years of age or older,
one entry per person,
the deadline is March 17th, 2011 at 11:59 pm CST
and you must fill out this FORM.

This is open both to U.S. readers and international readers. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I hope everyone has a great day and gets to celebrate!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review of Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Book:  Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Author: John Green and David Levithan
Published by:  Dutton Juvenile
Pages:  310

From GoodreadsOne cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

I love novels that celebrate people's differences and this novel definitely did.  The characters were so unique and pretty amazing.

 I started out really liking this novel, but then I met the second Will Grayson and didn't know what to the think.  He was a very dark and moody character, and not someone I'd typically enjoy reading about.  When it felt like he was too much to handle the next chapter would switch back to the first Will Grayson and I felt I could continue on and I'm glad I did. 

The novel alternated points of view between the two Will Graysons.  I thought this would be confusing but it wasn't because they had such different voices.

One of the most amazing things about this novel is how much the characters grow and change.  They all start out a little self-centered and by the end they are appreciating everyone and even acknowledging their faults and things they need to change. 

By the end of the novel it definitely found a place in my heart.  I'd give this novel ★★★★

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review of The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine

Book:  The Dead Girls' Dance (The Morganville Vampires #2)
Author:  Rachel Caine
Published by:  Allison & Busby
Pages:  380 

From GoodreadsClaire has her share of challenges. Like being a genius in a school that favours beauty over brains; homicidal girls in her dorm, and finding out that her college town is overrun with the living dead. On the up side, she has a new boyfriend with a vampire-hunting dad. But when a local fraternity throws the Dead Girls' Dance, hell is really going to break loose. 

This book picked up right at the end of the first book.  I really liked that there was no lag time between the books; it's almost as if you never left the story.   

Claire is still the naive sixteen year old trying to fight the evil girls at school along with the evil vampires in town.  I like that even though she is super smart Caine didn't try and make her extremely sophisticated and wise beyond her years.  Instead she kept Claire down to earth and age appropriate.  I also liked the Claire got a little tougher in this novel.  In the first one she just seemed like a scared kid, but in this book she was willing to take some more risks and put herself out there. 

The best thing about this book is the relationship of the four main characters.  They really look out for each other and genuinely care for one another.  These are the type of friends that everyone wishes they had.   

The writing again was nothing to brag about but the action kept you guessing what was going to happen next.  

Overall I give this book ★★★ and 1/2.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Review of Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Book:  Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires #1)
Author:  Rachel Caine
Published by:  Allison & Busby
Pages: 348

From Goodreads:  College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.

I recently realized there were a couple of popular series that I had not yet read.  One of those series is The Morganville Vampires.  I recently won a copy of the third and fourth book in the series from Tiger at All-Consuming Books so I decided to give it a try.

After a couple of chapters in I realized that I read a short story featuring The Morganville Vampires, but otherwise I hadn't heard much about this series other than that people seemed to like it.  I have a really hard time reading about people getting bullied so within the first chapter I was already screaming out-loud and almost in tears.  

I really felt for Claire as a character.  There was nothing particularly special about her character other than that she was super smart, but I wanted to wrap her in a cocoon so nothing bad could happen to her.   It seemed that she got targeted from the beginning and now she has to fight for her and her friends lives. 

This story showed vampires in a darker version than I'm used to.  It was definitely more of the traditional vampires who only come out at night and are scary as heck.  The writing and story line weren't spectacular, but it was engaging and really pulled you in.  

Overall I enjoyed the novel and I'm going to continue on with the series.  I'd give this novel ★★★ and 1/2. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review of A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Book:  A Northern Light
Author:  Jennifer Donnelly
Published by: Harcourt
Pages:  383

From GoodreadsSixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown asks her to burn a bundle of secret letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers the letters reveal the grim truth behind a murder. 

This novel was very complex with many interweaving plot lines.  There was romance, coming of age, mystery, death, and historical fiction.  At first I was a little overwhelmed by all the content and that the story was told alternating between the past and the present, but soon I got absorbed into the novel and just had to know what happened next. 

The characters were so unique and were really well developed as the story progressed.  Each character was lovable in their own way and I couldn't help but become attached to them.   

Mattie was a strong, independent main character.  It was more than a typical coming of age story for Mattie who not only just lost her mother, but also has to deal with a murder and the secrets she knows in conjunction with the murder. 

Donnelly has a very poetic writing style.  Mattie's voice was gorgeous and often seemed knowledgeable beyond her years.  I commend Donnelly for writing a very realistic novel and not sugar-coating some of the tougher issues such as adultery, childbirth, sickness, and love.   

This was a great story that leaves a lastly impression with you.  Overall I'd give this novel ★★★★  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Follow My Blog Friday

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



Who are You the Boy/Girl, instead of You the Blogger?


I love reading...especially during thunderstorms...I go to bed early and tend to melt in the rain...yep that's right I'm all sugar...I name my pets as if they are food...hence my goldfish Sushi...I love wine...I try to have a glass everyday...but I often forget and have 3 or 4...oh well…at least I'm having fun...I love my family and friends...but sometimes I need me time...I like to cook but I'm not very good at it...that's why I have Rachel Ray...I like to camp and am an outdoorsy girl...but I can be high maintenance too...I'm a true Wisconsin Girl at Heart...yep that means cheese is a must at every meal and snack...I don't mind killing spiders...but I'm scared to death of clowns...I really don't like birds...I tend to be random...but not very spontaneous.

Favorite Vampire?

I think it's a safe bet that vampires are here to stay as a common character in not only adult paranormal novels, but also in romance, and young adult novels.  These vampires all have different characteristics such as their supernatural abilities as well as  We have our classic Dracula type vampires along with our fun loving (well maybe not Edward but the rest of the family) vegetarians.

So this leads me to the question, what is your favorite type of Vampire and who in particular?

I love vampires who are not only confident, but a little cocky as well.  I want them hot, sexy, possessive and a heroic warrior.  My favorite vampire would have to be Eric Northman from The Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampires series by Charlaine Harris.  Sookie describes Eric as "handsome, in fact, radiant; blond and blue-eyed, tall and broad shouldered. He was wearing boots, jeans, and a vest. Period. Kind of like the guys on the cover of romance books.".  Eric is arrogant, cocky, protective and sexy as hell.  I wouldn't mind a little nip from him.

So what about you?  What's your favorite type of Vampire and who in particular? 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Review of The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Book:  The Lost Hero
Author:  Rick Riordan
Published by:  Hyperion Books for Children
Page:  557

From GoodreadsJason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly? Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out. Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god.

Oh I absolutely loved the Percy Jackson series, so I was excited to go back to camp Half-Blood and visit some of my old friends and meet some new ones.  

This book was fast paced, action packed, and full of fun, witty comments.  My new friends Jason, Leo and Piper are Demi-gods who are kind of "amped up" compared to what we were used to.  I had a hard time with this because for me Percy Jackson was the be all Demigod and now there are these new powerful Demigods.

Jason, Leo and Piper are great characters.  They are strong characters who developed more and more with every chapter.  Leo is so funny and will keep you laughing throughout.  Piper is a beautiful individual inside and out, and Jason is strong, but confused.  I really like how Riordan based this series not only on one main hero but on three.  This book was told from each of their view points in alternating sections.  It wasn't confusing like you might think it would be and it worked very well for this novel.  
The situations that Jason, Leo and Piper get into are fascinating.  I love how Rick Riordan brings Greek mythology to life.  There are many old stories I remember being told, but Riordan really elaborates on these stories and gives them a new twist.     

If you're looking for a fun, action filled read this is great for all ages.  I give this ★★★★ and 1/2

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First Giveaway!!

I'm so excited to be able to host my first giveaway.  I'm giving away a copy of The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg.  I really loved this novel and you can check out my review here.

Giveaway rules:
You must be 13 years of age or older,
one entry per person,
the deadline is March 17th, 2011 at 11:59 pm CST
and you must fill out this FORM.

This is open both to U.S. readers and international readers. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review of The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Book:  The Sky is Everywhere
Author:  Jandy Nelson
Published by:  Dial
Pages:  272

From GoodreadsSeventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

Wow...I've heard this novel was good, but I didn't expect to be this blown away.  It was so hearbreakingly beautiful that I couldn't put it down or stop thinking about it.  

Lennie recently lost her older sister.  They were so close that it almost seemed they were part of each other and now Lennie is lost without Bailey.  This is one of the parts that really got to me.  Baily and Lennie are a lot like my sister and I.  She is my best friend and I can't image life without her.  

This book is about grief and how to continue your life after you've lost the most important person in it.  Everyone deals with grief different and it is shown in this book.  Lennie feels like she's alone in her grief until she starts hanging out with Toby, Bailey's old boyfriend.  They help each other remember Bailey and comfort each other with their mutual grief.
My favorite character had to be Joe.  Joe is the new boy in town who starts hanging out the Lennie.  He also helps her with her grief, but in a different way.  He makes her smile again and feel happy.   Joe and Lenny's relationship is one to go down in history.  It's so romantic and swoon worthy that it challenges the great love stories of all time.

Both of these boys help her with her grief in different ways and both are essential parts of her life and her grieving process.

The writing in this novel was beautiful with a lyrical flow that had you savoring every word.  

I absolutely adored this novel and would give it ★★★★★    

Friday, March 4, 2011

Follow My Blog Friday

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

What embarrassing thing have you done on cold medicine? 

I don't know if I have necessary done anything embarrassing when on cold medicine before.  However, I did once take a night time sleep aid instead of a pain reliever by mistake and I ended falling asleep during a meeting.  That was kind of embarrassing.  

What about you?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Movies before books?

So many books are getting turned into movies that it's not uncommon to read your favorite book and then go see the movie version, but how common is it to see the movie and then go read the book?  Just the other day I saw a preview for I Am Number Four and I went to the bookstore to pick up the book because I wanted to read it before seeing the movie.  I know of multiple movie previews (I Am Number Four, Percy Jackson, etc) that made me go and read the book before I saw the movie, but how many movies have I watched first and then went on to read the book?  I can think of three...Romeo and Juliet, A Walk to Remember, and Misery?

What about you?  Which movies have you seen before you read the books?  And which format did you like better?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Review of The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

Book:  The Lipstick Laws
Author:  Amy Holder
Published by:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages:  240
Available:  April 4th, 2011

From GoodreadsAt Penford High School, Britney Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her.   For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don't even know she exists. But one lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity.   But Britney's friendship comes with a high price tag. How much is April willing to pay? 

This novel starts out with April's first day of her sophomore year.  She is lonely and friendless.  Somehow during gym class she gets paired with the most popular girl in the school.  Is it luck, or fate...well it doesn't matter because April is just excited to have some potential friends.  But after a while Britney becomes demanding and April realizes that Britney's standards seem a little outrageous, but it's worth it to be popular and have friends, right? 

I've heard a lot of people comparing it to the movie, Mean Girls and I'd have to agree with them.  No matter how much people try to deny it everyone wants to be 'liked' in high school.  You want to have great friends, a cute boyfriend (or girlfriend), a rockin social life, and it wouldn't hurt to throw a little popularity in the mix too.  But the question for those people, just like it was for April, is what are you willing to sacrifice for that popularity? 

This was a really fast, fun read.  The dialogue was witty and laugh-out-loudable.  Even though this was a cute read I think there was a deeper issue at hand --- bullying.  This is happening in a lot of schools lately and it's not just the boys, it's the girls too and they can be just as vicious if not more.   

I can't imagine ever being on someone like Brittney's bad side.  If Britney didn't like someone, she made their life miserable.  People even transferred schools just to get anyway from her.  I can't imagine someone so mean and hurtful, but I'm not naive enough to think that people like Britney are just fictional. 

Besides the bullying there were also other issues such as body image that were brought up.  One of the reasons I liked this book is that it talked about peoples insecurities.  This is not something most people talk about or want anyone else to know about.  I think it's important to see these things in books so that people realize they are not alone.     

At times I loved April and at times I wanted to smack her upside the head to knock some sense into her.  This didn't only happen at the beginning of the book, but also in the middle and towards the end too.  She was a nice, sweet girl, but sometimes her priorities were not in the right place.

 Overall I liked this book, but had some issues with how both of the main characters acted (I don't want to get into it too much because of spoilers).  I think this is a great read for people in middle school and high school to help them understand that popularity sometimes isn't all people hoped it would be.  

I'd give this book ★★★ 

Disclaimer:  I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher and from NetGalley for my honest review with no compensation.  This did not affect my opinion or review in any way.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review of A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

Book:  A Secret Kept
Author:  Tatiana de Rosnay
Published by:  St. Martin's Press
Pages:  303

From GoodreadsIt all began with a simple seaside vacation, a brother and sister recapturing their childhood.  Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach.  It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they’d returned to the island—over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased.  But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer.  When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.

This book is about a family that soon discovers a secret from their past that they never really knew about.  Antoine and Melanie's mother died when they were young and a recent trip starts sparking unexplainable memories and a desire to find out the truth.  

While the family secret is the main catch of this story there is also so much more.  It's really about family, how they interact and the people that are not necessarily related to us that we call family.  It is told from Antoine point of view and follows his 'semi mid-life' crisis.  His world is falling apart and he clings to the one thing that keeps him going...his desire to uncover the past and his family's secret.  

The writing is lovely and told with a grace and elegance that captures the readers and transports them to France.  I felt like I should be sitting at a little outdoor Bistro sipping some wine while reading this book, instead of snuggled in bed avoiding the snow.  While, I did enjoy this book it was a little hard for me to connect to the main characters.  They were in a different place in their lives than I am in mine so it was hard to completely sympathize.  The discovery of the secret did keep me engaged, but I found myself losing interest in the other parts of the novel. 

I think this was a good novel and would definitely recommend it to any adult.  I give this book ★★★.