Friday, December 30, 2011

Follow Friday (19)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee’s View and Alison at Alison Can Read. It is a great way for bloggers to make new friends and find new blogs to follow. Go to either blog, follow ALL the instructions and then add you link to the list. It’s just that easy!

This week’s question:

"The New Year is here -- and everyone wants to know your New Years Blogging Resolution! What are you going to try to revise, revamp and redo for 2012 on your blog?"

  1. Just say no:  When I first started getting author requests to review a their book, I was so excited that someone noticed my little blog, that I agreed to read every one I got. That is not always a good idea. So, for 2012, I am going to be a little bit more picky about what I agree to review. 
  2. Blog, blog, blog:  I am pretty proud of how I've done so far this year, but I want to keep up what I'm doing. I like having a blog, I really enjoy it. I don't want to let it fade into oblivion. So, I just want to make sure I continue to blog in 2012.
  3. Utilize social media: It's the future (actually, the present) and I need to use my Facebook and Twitter accounts more than I do now. I want to try to tweet everyday and utilize my Mom Reads My Books Facebook more. 
  4. Redecorate:  At some point during 2012, I would like to redecorate my blog. New button, new header, new look, etc. This is my freshman attempt at making a blog and it's ok, but I'd like to get it done by someone who knows what they are doing. 
Your turn! What are your resolutions for your blog?  Leave a link in the comment section and I will stop by your blog. I hope you and yours have a very Happy New Year and an a wonderful 2012!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (December 27)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
·         Grab your current read
·         Open to a random page
·         Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
·         BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

"Tessa had to admit there was something rather beautiful about it, the way they circled each other, blades singing through the air, a blur of black and silver. The ringing sound of metal on metal, they way they moved, so fast her vision could barely follow."--pg. 55 of Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare.   

Please leave a link to your tease in the comment section and I will stop by and take a look! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Crossed (Match #2) by Ally Condie

Title:  Crossed (Matched #2)
Author:  Ally Condie
Genre:  Young Adult/Dystopian
Publisher:  Dutton Juvenile
Format:  Hardback
Release Date:  November 1, 2011

Cassia’s search for Ky, and a new future with him, has taken her to the Outer Provinces, where death and danger are commonplace. But Ky is not there and now Cassia must follow a series of clues left by him, across a land she is completely unfamiliar with. Cassia’s journey not only leads her toward Ky, but it leads her to question everything she believed.  Along the way, she faces betrayal, a chance to join the rebellion and an unexpected visit from Xander—who may still hold more than a piece of her heart. Now Cassia has a new path to follow, filled with crossings and double-crossings and no way of knowing what to expect out on the edge of the Society.

Oh, where to start? I absolutely loved Matched, the first book in Ally Condie’s planned Match trilogy. It had a great story, it was filled with fascinating, interesting characters and ideas, it was well-thought out and absolutely engrossing. I could not wait to read its sequel, Crossed. But I did wait, drawing out my anticipation as I plowed through my to-be-read pile until I got to it. Unfortunately, the anticipation of reading Crossed turned out to be more exciting than the actual book. *Insert sad face here* I was sorely disappointed in this much-anticipated sequel.

Crossed was vastly different from its predecessor. It was a mixture of poetic waxing and soul-searching babble, with a very small touch of interesting thrown in. I was bored, literally bored, throughout the majority of this book. About halfway through, I seriously considering not finishing and just giving it up to read one of my cookbooks. At least that might have kept me awake. But, I kept reading, in the hopes that maybe it would get better. I kept reading and hoping, hoping and reading. Interesting never happened. I also spent a lot of time confused while reading, thanks to Condie’s choice to switch back and forth between Ky and Cassia as narrator. There were times I read 3-4 pages in a chapter, only to discover that I wasn’t reading Ky’s point of view, but I was instead reading Cassia’s point of view.  I kept having to go back and check to see who the narrator of the chapter was. That was extremely annoying. Just one more thing to add to my list of reasons not to reread this book. Ever.

When I read a book with the intention of writing a review for it, I do not read the reviews of others (such as those posted on Goodreads, LibraryThing or Amazon) because I do not want to be prejudiced or influenced in any way by what others have to say. In the case of Crossed, I wish I had checked out the reviews of others before I chose to read this book.

My grade for Crossed by Ally Condie:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

May all of my wonderful readers and fellow bloggers have a fabulous holiday! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick

Title:  The Drowning Instinct
Author:  Ilsa J. Bick
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Lerner Publishing
Format:  Kindle/NetGalley
Release Date:  February 1, 2012

Jenna Lord’s life has been difficult to say the least. Her mother is a drunk and her father is cruel and pretty much a jerk. The only bright spot in her life was her older brother, but then he went to Iraq. And let’s not forget her near death in a fire when she was younger. Jenna’s move to a new school is supposed to make things better. And things really start to look up when she meets Mitch Anderson—teacher and coach, extremely kind and understanding and of course, gorgeous. Oh, and married. This is certainly not your typical boy-meets-girl fairytale. It’s more like a fairytale with teeth.

When Jenna is given the chance to tell her story, she decides honesty should be the best policy. And so begins her tale of a severely dysfunctional childhood, survival through cutting and a budding relationship with a forbidden friend. Jenna knows her friendship with her chemistry teacher Mitch Anderson is a road she shouldn’t go down, but since her brother was sent to Iraq, he is the only person who “gets” her. As their bond grows, Jenna has to choose between what is right and what is wrong, even if what is wrong is the only safety net she has. 

In Drowning Instinct, Ilsa J. Bick weaves an intricate and emotionally charged tale of love and vulnerability. She takes the reader on a journey of discovery, but lets us be the ones to make the discovery. Bick never tells us what to think, she just shows us what happens and lets us decide how it makes us feel. And believe me; those feelings will take you by surprise.

I honestly can not describe accurately how this book made me feel. It was a rollercoaster ride of a book. I went through a host of emotions while reading Drowning Instinct.  When I read a book, I take little notes—things that I want to remember or struck me as interesting, emotions I might have felt. I could have filled a notebook with this one. And once I got to the end, nearly every note I took had taken on a new, deeper meaning. With that being said, I truly believe that this is one of those rare books that will affect each reader differently. I doubt everyone will feel the same way about it that I did. Some people may hate it, while others will love it. But give it a chance, it is truly an experience you don’t want to miss.

Drowning Instinct is a young adult book, but I strongly recommend that this book be read by older, more mature teenagers. There are sexual themes throughout the book, most of which might be difficult for a younger junior-high aged child to deal with. I will be letting my 15- and 17-year-old read it, though. In fact, I may force them to read it. I don’t want them to miss out on such an amazing book.

My grade for Drowning Instinct:              

Please check out Ms. Bick's website at She is truly one of the best authors I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Follow Friday (18)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee’s View and Alison at Alison Can Read. It is a great way for bloggers to make new friends and find new blogs to follow. Go to either blog, follow ALL the instructions and then add you link to the list. It’s just that easy!

This week’s question:

Question of the Week: If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book which book would you choose and why?

There are a lot of books I would love to spend eternity in, but I think my top three are: any of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Books (preferably as Rhage's shellan), the Mortal Instruments books with Jace or the Twilight books as a vampire living with the Cullens. Funny, every book I picked is a series!

What book would you want to spend eternity in? Leave a comment with the link in the comment section and I will stop by and have a look. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Title:  11/22/63
Author:  Stephen King
Genre:  Thriller/Horror
Publisher:  Scribner
Format:  Hardback
Release Date:  November 8, 2011

What if you could go back in time and change one significant event in world history—Hitler’s rise to power, Kennedy’s assassination, or even 9/11? Would you do it?  Jake Epping, a thirty-five year old English teacher who teaches GED classes in his spare time, is going to find out.  It all begins with an essay Jake assigns his GED class to write: tell him about a moment that changed their lives.  One student, Harry Dunning, writes about the night his father killed his entire family—mother, brothers and sister—in a drunken rage. His entire life changed forever because of that event. Jake realizes that life turns on a dime, and anything, literally anything, could change the future.  Not long after that, Jake’s friend Al tells him a secret; his storage room is really a portal to go back in time, back to one particular day in 1958. Once Jake’s shock wears off, Al asks for his help; he wants Jake to take over his plan to stop Kennedy’s assassination. Jake agrees and takes on a new persona, that of George Amberson. His journey takes him across the country, from Lisbon Falls, Maine to Jodie, Texas (where he finds love) until he finally lands in Dallas, Texas. Now George has to change our history, giving us a new future. But will it be the one we hoped for? And how willing is the past to change?

Stephen King manages to do it again in this heart-stopping read. It has all the elements we’ve come to expect from a King book—it’s long (849 pages long), it contains its fair share of cryptic characters and our protagonist has to go up against unbelievable odds to succeed in the end. One thing missing from this book was the typical Stephen King gore and gross-out factors. That was actually a refreshing change.  King’s writing is so powerful that you can practically smell the unpolluted air of the 1950s. He painted an idyllic portrait of a world that no longer exists and now, I wish I could live in it.  As usual, King finds a way to bring former places and stories into the current book. Whether it’s a brief mention or a full-out correlation, King has a knack for reminding his readers of stories maybe long forgotten. This time, King a found an interesting way to bring two of the characters from his book It into the story. I really loved this, because It is one of my favorites (yes, the one with the creepy clown).  11/22/63 did drag a bit in the middle, though at more than 800 pages, I would have been surprised if it hadn’t. Finally, 11/22/63 turned out to be a rather poignant love story, which took me by surprise. King doesn’t always write effective love stories, but this one snuck up on me and shocked me. I even shed tears as I read the book (I’d like to say a few tears, but it was actually s lot of tears).

If you are a King fan, this is a must-read. It has everything we, his fans—King’s Constant Readers—love about a Stephen King story.  And quite frankly, if you aren’t a King fan, you might want to give this one a shot. It’s not scary, unless changing the past to change the future terrifies you. This might be just the book to ease someone into the strange world of Stephen King. And once you are in, it’s pretty hard to get out.        

My grade for 11/22/63

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Follow Friday (17)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee’s View and Alison at Alison Can Read. It is a great way for bloggers to make new friends and find new blogs to follow. Go to either blog, follow ALL the instructions and then add you link to the list. It’s just that easy!

This week’s question:

"When you've read a book, what do you do with it ? (Keep it, give it away, donate it, swap it, sell it...)

It depends on the book. I buy most if not all of my books. I am not patient enough to wait for the library to have a copy available for me to check out. And I don't like being on a time-limit to read my books, which usually happens with new releases. It makes the rebellious teenager in me come out and I swear, I read slower! So, I tend to buy books rather than borrow them. Once I read it, if I liked it,  it gets passed on to one of my daughters, and when she is done with it, she passes it on to the other daughter. If I didn't like a book, I usually take it to the local Half-Price Books and sell it for credit to buy more books. They take all of my books, whether they buy them or not, and they donate what they don't buy. One stop. I will usually keep books anywhere from six months to a year before I decide whether or not to get rid of it. I always keep books I loved, because I know I will read them again. Needless to say, my bookshelves are overflowing.

Leave a link in the comment section to your Follow Friday and I will stop by!   

Monday, December 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (December 13)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
·         Grab your current read
·         Open to a random page
·         Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
·         BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
·         Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week comes from page 120 of Crossed by Ally Condie (finally!):

"They also served another purpose for the Society. Many of the people in the Outer Provinces were too afraid to try to escape to the Carving because the Society started spreading rumors about how savage the farmers are."  

I am so excited to finally read this book! I have been waiting forever--or at least it feels that way--for it to come out! 

Now, leave a link to your Teaser Tuesday in the comments section and I will stop by and check it out.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

5 Reasons to Leave a Lover-A Novella and Other Short Stories by Carolyn Moncel

Title:  5 Reasons to Leave A Lover—A Novella and Other Short Stories
Author:  Carolyn Moncel
Genre:  Adult
Publisher:  Self-Published
Format:  Kindle
  *author request to review

While there are most certainly many ways to leave a lover—as Paul McCartney told us in song—there are only a few reasons to leave a lover. Moncel explores these reasons in her collection 5 Reasons to Leave a Lover.  Moncel’s characters bring to life the heartache experienced when a relationship fractures apart, no matter the reason.

Carolyn Moncel’s 5 Reasons to Leave a Lover—A Novella and Other Short Stories is a quick read exploring the various reasons that relationships end. In the novella, she brings back characters introduced in the book Encounters in Paris, and shows the reader life after the discovery of an affair. Moncel explores the various sides of the story found in any love triangle. Every point of view is different.  Moncel very effectively captures the pain, desperation and heartache of a betrayed woman through Ellery.  Katrine shows us the anguish and confusion felt by a mistress, while Julien personifies the cheating husband. I thought this tale was very well-told. The two short stories that follow explore the point of view of an interested party during the break-up of a marriage and the loss of love after many, many years.

5 Reasons to Leave a Lover is a very easy read, I finished it in just a couple of days (I was reading multiple books at the time and I kept switching back and forth). It’s not your typical chick-lit, instead it explores love and loss in very touching stories. Despite not having read Encounters in Paris, I was able to follow Ellery’s and Julien’s story easily. I especially enjoyed the little twist in the short story Or Maybe Just Leave, Steve. Overall, this collection of short stories is an enjoyable read, especially if you are looking to fill a quiet, rainy afternoon.

My grade for 5 Reasons:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

Title:  Cinder (Book One in the Lunar Chronicles) 
Author:  Marissa Meyer
Genre:  Young Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction
Publisher:  Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group 
Format/Pages:   Kindle/NetGalley
Release Date:  January 3, 2012

The streets are crowded with not only humans, but androids as well. The world’s population is succumbing to a deadly plague while the Lunars watch and wait to swoop in. And one unknown, lonely girl could hold the fate of the entire world in her hands. 

Cinder is just nobody. Her talent as a mechanic is overshadowed by the fact that she is a cyborg.  She is a second-class citizen who knows nothing about her past.  Not only does her stepmother hate her, but when her stepsister, Peony becomes a victim of the plague, Cinder is blamed.  After Cinder meets Prince Kai, who she is strangely attracted to, she becomes embroiled in a struggle for intergalactic supremacy. She now has to try to discover the past that has been kept secret from her so she can save a world that shuns her.

If you can’t tell from the title, Cinder is a twist on the fairy tale, Cinderella. It even has quotes from the original tale interspersed throughout the book. There are some similarities:  handsome prince, wicked stepmother, evil stepsisters (well, one of them is evil), and a put-upon heroine. This version of Cinderella has a pretty cool twist though; it is set in the extremely far away future. Cinder is a cyborg, a group of people who are shunned by every one in society. She works as a mechanic, supporting her adoptive family. She remembers nothing about her former life. As luck would have it, the future emperor, Prince Kai wanders into her shop trying to get one of his android fixed. And that is when Cinder’s life changes forever. Now she must contend with plagues, doctors and the scariest of all, the queen of the Lunars, a race of “humans” hell-bent on making Earth their own.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past that I am not a huge science fiction fan—aliens, spaceships and the like are usually not my thing. I literally started and stopped this book three times before I finally just decided to read it. And it wasn’t a lack of quality in the book, it was me. Those three times I never got past page one. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like it because of the science fiction aspect of the story. When I finally decided to read it, it grabbed me and held on to me. Meyer has created such an intriguing world that I found myself completely engrossed in this book. I really want to know more about it. A prequel would make me very happy; I am so curious about what has happened in the world before we even meet Cinder. But the sequels will make me even happier! I loved the characters in this story. Cinder is a fantastic heroine—smart, gutsy and ready to take on the world. Prince Kai doesn’t even realize he is the most gorgeous man in the kingdom or what a fantastic leader he will be. He is unassuming, vulnerable yet strong and darn it, my heart melts every time he doubts himself. You just want to give him a hug and tell him everything will be ok. And the Lunars, well, let’s just say they are definitely not a race of people you want to mess with. Reading the things they have done literally made me cringe. They are truly a horrid group of people. Meyer’s storytelling is amazing and the emotional rollercoaster she takes the reader on in this book is well worth the ride. I highly recommend Cinder. It is a great story.  

My grade for Cinder:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Follow Friday (16)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee’sView and Alison at Alison Can Read. It is great way for bloggers to make new friends and find new blogs to follow. Go to either blog, follow ALL the instructions and then add your link to the list. It's just that easy!

This week's question:

"Keeping with the Spirit of Giving this season, what book do you think EVERYONE should read and if you could, you would buy it for all your family and friends?

Tough question. There are so many books I absolutely love.  I tried to think of the last book I read that I literally could not put down, the book that kept me up half the night because I just had to know what happened. I narrowed it down to three, two young adult novels and one adult novel that has been out for awhile, but I just recently read it.

The first YA novel I chose is Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick. I absolutely loved this book. It was unbelievably well-written, with an amazing story. This is one of my favorite books of the year.

The second YA novel I have chosen is Divergent by Veronica Roth. In the extremely cluttered genre of YA dystopian novels, this one stands out. A lot. Fantastic book.  

And finally, I chose Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. This book blew my mind. It was so realistic, that I felt like I was actually at the circus in the 1920s. Any author that can suspend my disbelief like that should have her books read by everyone.

Now for the follow fun. Leave a link to your Follow Friday in the comment section and I will stop by and check it out. I am excited to see what books everyone thinks should be the go-to gift this year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On A Dark Wing

Title:  On A Dark Wing
Author:  Jordan Dane
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Harlequin/Harlequin Teen
Format:  NetGalley/Kindle
Release Date:  December 27, 2011

After surviving a horrific car accident that claimed her mother’s life, Abbey Chandler believes she will never be normal. Touching the hand of a beautiful boy—one made up of the clouds and sky—changed her life forever. Now the Angel of Death is using Abbey’s secret crush, Nate, to get to her.  And Nate will pay the price.

On A Dark Wing begins with a car accident and a death, shown to the reader in a flashback. Abbey Chandler survived a terrifying car accident at age ten, an accident that claimed the life of her mother. Abbey has carried that guilt for five years, and it has changed her life. Her relationship with her father is practically non-existent and very strained. She is an oddball at school; her only friend is the wheelchair bond Tanner Lange and her secret crush, Nate Holden, doesn’t even know she exists. Things only get worse when Tanner discovers awful pictures of Abbey posted on a website. Abbey decides to escape town, and possible humiliation, by accompanying her father on his yearly trek to their cabin. Meanwhile, Nate, his father and his best friend set out to climb Denali, an intimidating mountain towering above the skies of Alaska. It is there, on that mountain, that events are set in motion that will change everyone’s life forever. Death’s fascination with Abbey will bring Nate to the brink of death and beyond.

I am kind of on the fence about this book. It had an interesting plot, original and thought-provoking. I felt like it had a lot of potential, but it really didn’t grab my interest like I had hoped. There were some aspects I liked. On A Dark Wing is told from varying points of view. The primary point of view is Abbey’s, told in first person. Other aspects of the story are told from a third-person viewpoint—Nate, Tanner, and Nate’s mother and father. My initial reaction was that this might be confusing, but it worked surprisingly well, giving us a part of the story that Abbey would not have known or been able to tell. I liked the Dane’s message as well:  the reality of a crush.  I also enjoyed Tanner, he was a very refreshing character. Unfortunately, I felt like the other characters were cardboard caricatures, stock and uninteresting. Nate was the typical popular pretty boy, every girl’s dream, Brittany (I think that is her name) was the typical mean girl and Abbey was the typical misunderstood weirdo. I couldn’t find enough about Abbey to fascinate me or compel me to care a great deal about her. Also, this book had a “never-ending” ending. Every time I thought it was over, well, it wasn’t. It just went on way too long.  Let’s just say I was disappointed with the majority of this story.

So, to sum it up, I really didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped I would. It had amazing potential, but unfortunately it didn’t live up to it.

My grade for On A Dark Wing:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Follow Friday (15)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee’sView and Alison at Alison Can Read. It is great way for bloggers to make new friends and find new blogs to follow. Go to either blog, follow ALL the instructions and then add your link to the list. It's just that easy!

This week's question:

Question: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don't like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it!

Wow, where to start?

A plot I can walk through:  I cannot handle an unbelievable plot. Now, I'm not saying I don't like science fiction, paranormal, dystopian books or such. What I don't like is the forced, "please-believe-that-I-am-plausible" plots that are practically begging you to believe in them. The ones that give you so much back story you could wallpaper a large room with it, because the author figures if they drown you in information, you will digest any swill they put in front of you. But the plot is still unbelievable. There are no amount of words that can change that. A wet-paper bag plot is still a wet paper-bag plot.

The blatant rip-off books:  You know the ones I am talking about. The ones that took Twilight or Hunger Games and changed a few key things (like the setting or the character names) and then tried to pass it off as an original book. Ummm, yeah, I already read that book, thank you very much. Guess what?  Your readers are more intelligent than you are giving them credit for and they know a rip-off when they see it.

Punctuation and editing issues:  I have no problem with these in an ARC, but I do have an issue with it in a book put out in the marketplace. There is a popular author I read whose books often have multiple editing errors and she very rarely puts question marks at the end of her questions. And it is sooo noticeable! It drives me nuts! First time I noticed it, I waved it off. But after the fifteenth or twentieth time I noticed it, I realized it was her writing style. But a question is a question. And sometimes the English teacher in me can't help but notice it.

Lack of follow-through in a story:  I think probably my biggest pet peeve is the author that begins a story line in a book, pulls the reader in with it and then drops it, leaving the reader wanting more. This is most often seen in books with multiple plot lines flowing at one time. I understand that sometimes stories drift from their original intent, but I hate to be left hanging. 

I bet I could think of a hundred more (sometimes I can be unforgiving) but these are probably my biggest pet peeves. What are yours? Leave a link to your Follow Friday post in the comments and I will hope by and check it out!