Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (Nov. 29)

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 is from the new Stephen King book, 11/22/63:

"I took another step forward and went down another step. My eyes still told me I was standing on the floor in the pantry of Al's Diner, but I was standing straight and the top of my head no longer scraped the roof of the pantry. Which was of course impossible. My stomach lurched unhappily in response to my sensory confusion, and I could feel the egg salad sandwich and the piece of apple pie I'd eaten for lunch preparing to push the ejector button," (pg. 29)

Leave a comment with the link to your Teaser Tuesday and I will stop by and check it out!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title:  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author:  Michelle Hodkin
Genre:  Young Adult 
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Format:  ARC/Paperback   
Release Date:  September 27, 2011

Moving on after the death of your best friend is hard. Wondering if there is more to her death than what you’ve been told is harder.  Not being able to remember anything about the accident that caused her death and only you survived is the hardest. Until falling in love adds itself to the equation. Life as Mara Dyer is nearly impossible. It gets even harder once Mara starts to remember. Or is she just losing her mind?

This book is hard to summarize. I don’t want to give away too much in my description, so I am stating the bare minimum. The story is definitely engrossing, and it grabs your attention on the first page. The story begins with Mara waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there or what happened. She discovers that she was in an accident; an accident that killed three of her friends, including her best friend since childhood. Mara’s world spins out of control, so her family sacrifices everything to move and start over. It is at her new school that Mara meets Noah, a bad-boy she is inexplicably attracted to, despite the warnings of her new friend, Jamie. But Mara is still dealing with the aftermath of the accident and getting close to someone is something she is not sure she can do.

I really expected a lot from this book, so many people have given it phenomenal reviews. It was definitely good, but in my opinion, not “5-star” good.  So, I’d like to address a couple of the obvious things I noticed. Best friend who is always there for her (Jamie) versus the bad boy loner no one really knows (Noah). Hmmmm?  I was sure Mara was going to give us a love triangle reminiscent of the Edward/Bella/Jacob love triangle. It was similar, though not exactly the same. And Noah, well, his description reminds me of a certain handsome, scruffy-faced, bed-headed British actor who plays my favorite vampire. Every time Hodkins described him that is who I pictured. Seems a little coincidental to me.  There were some confusing time jumps also, due to the problems Mara was having. While I understand they may have been necessary to the story, the confusion they caused might have been too much. A little explanation goes a long way. That being said, it was a good story, very original. Despite (or maybe because of) the similarities I noted, I really liked Noah. He was adorable, vulnerable, misunderstood and broken. You just want to fix him. And I also liked Mara’s family, especially her older brother. I liked this book, though I didn’t really like the ending. Was that a cliffhanger? Is there a sequel? So many questions left unanswered.

Overall, this is a very readable book. I would recommend it to high-school-aged teens, I think the language is a bit strong for the junior high set.

My grade for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Follow Friday (14)

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: It's Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. so we want to know what you are Thankful for - blogging related of course! Who has helped you out along the way? What books are you thankful for reading?

There are a lot of bloggers who have helped, probably inadvertently. Definitely Kristi at The Story Siren, her blog help articles have been extremely helpful. Also, all the blogs with weekly memes that have helped me increase my followers and spread the word about my blog: Alison Can Read,  Parajunkee, Should Be Reading and The Story Siren

Books I am thankful for:

The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer (the YA books that pulled me in and didn't let me go)

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick 

Divergent by Veronica Roth

And really, all the books I have ever read. I am such a bibliophile that books have literally become my life. That started when I was a kid, and has never stopped.

So, what are you thankful for? Leave a link in the comment section and I will hop by your blog and check it out!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (Nov. 22)

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 today is from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin"

"For a second, I could not think. It was as if all feeling beneath my elbow had been cut off. Like the rest of my arm never existed. Then the scalding pain clawed at my skin, my bones, inside out, outside in." (pg. 147)

Please leave a link in the comment section and I will stop by and check out your Teaser Tuesday!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Twilight The Graphic Novel Volume 2

Title:  Twilight The Graphic Novel Volume 2
Author:  Stephenie Meyer, Art and Adaption by Young Kim
Publisher:  Yen Press
Genre:  Young Adult Graphic Novel
Edition:  Hardcover

Now that Bella knows exactly what Edward is--a vampire--she must reconcile that fact with the love she feels for him. While Edward is concerned about the constant danger he is to her, a greater danger lurks in the woods of Forks. A danger that Bella may not be able to escape.

Twilight The Graphic Novel Volume 2 is a beautiful addition to the Twilight family. Just like its predecessor, Volume 1, it takes the love story between vampire Edward and mortal Bella to a new level for fans of the books. I strongly believe it is truly meant to be an addition to anyone's Twilight collection, rather than a stand-alone book.

Normally, I am not a graphic novel/manga fan. I have nothing against the genre, it has just never been something that appealed to me. I bought the first novel merely because I saw it as a re-imagining of the original book and I'm a sucker for Twilight memorabilia. I wanted to put it on my shelf and look at its pretty cover. As a matter of fact, I had it for quite awhile before I even read it. But once I cracked it open and read it, I was very pleased. I felt like Young Kim stepped into my head and saw the characters and their surroundings like I saw them in my head. My favorite lines of dialogue were there as well. Volume 2 has done exactly the same thing for me. Kim's artwork is amazing and beautiful, and those one-liners I memorized in the book are still there. My only complaint with Volume 2 is how little color there is. While this is the case in the first book as well, I felt like there were several places in the book where a splash of color would have added to the beauty of the art. There is a lot of color added near the end, I just wanted to see it sooner. Other than that small detail, I wouldn't change a thing. Edward is gorgeous, Bella is stunning and the Cullens look amazing. Absolutely breathtaking!

I do NOT see these graphic novels as a replacement for my beloved book, but instead something I can turn to when I want a quick "refresher." And the covers do look pretty on my bookshelf alongside my other books. As a matter of fact, I am hopeful that Young Kim will add to the graphic novel collection by completing the other novels in the Saga.

My grade for Twilight The Graphic Novel Volume 2:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Follow Friday (13)

Didn't get this posted yesterday, because I was at Breaking Dawn!!!  My daughters and I had a great time, we got into an earlier showing, but I was exhausted when I got home. I am going back to see it again today and taking my mom! 

Anyway, Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee’sView and Alison at AlisonCan 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:

"Letter to Santa:  Tell Santa what books you want for Christmas."

I would like:

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

That's all I can think of right now.

On another note:  HAPPY 100TH POST TO ME!! I am very happy to have reached what, for me, is a milestone. I never thought I would keep up with this blog and I certainly didn't think it would become what it has! Thank you to all my wonderful followers for being nice enough to read what I write! You guys really are the best!

Please leave your link in the comments section and I will stop by your blog!

Monday, November 14, 2011

2012 Debut Author Challenge

I have decided to participate in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I am very excited to participate in this challenge. I will be creating a page here on the blog dedicated to it, where I will keep my readers updated as to how I am doing, as well as including links to the reviews I post. For more information, or to join in, check out The Story Siren.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hushed by Kelley York

Title:  Hushed 
Author:  Kelley York
Genre:  Young Adult Thriller
Publisher:  Entangled Publishing
Format/Pages:  NetGalley/Kindle
Release Date:  December 6, 2011

Archer and Vivian have been friends forever. But when Archer couldn’t protect Vivian from being hurt when they were kids, he does whatever it takes to protect her from everything else as they get older. So while Vivian hops from bad relationship to bad relationship, Archer waits in the wings—always there, always forgotten.  Then Evan shows up. Evan is the first person to ever care about Archer with no strings attached. The closer Archer gets to Evan, the more he realizes just how messed up Vivian is. But Archer can’t break free of Vivian, and after she discovers just what Archer has done to protect her, she threatens to turn him in, unless she gets what she wants. And what she wants is Evan gone and Archer at her beck and call. But will Archer give up his last chance at redemption to save Vivian one last time or will he realize what he really needs?

Hushed is a very intense, very disturbing novel about the dark and twisted things love can make you do. How would you feel if you spent your entire life being there for someone and they couldn’t see what was right in front of them? This is Archer’s life; always there for Vivian, doing anything and everything she wants, protecting her from anything and everything that might hurt her, even killing for her. Archer’s entire world begins and ends with Vivian. Needless to say, Viv doesn’t feel the same way about Archer. She only needs him when her latest relationship goes south or she needs a shoulder to cry on. Not exactly what Archer is looking for. Then Evan comes along. He accepts Archer for who, and what, he is. No questions, no strings. And that doesn’t make Vivian happy. From the very beginning, this book gives you a sense that nothing is going to end well for anyone. Despite what Archer has done, you can’t help but like him. He longs to be loved, heck, even liked. And then there is Vivian. I honestly can’t say anything nice about her. At first I wanted to blame life’s circumstances on her flaws and her behavior. But Evan put it very well: “…no one can turn you into a bad person, just like no one can turn you into a good one. We’re all dealt our hands in life, and how we choose to react is entirely up to us. That’s free will.” I love Evan! He is understanding and calming; he lets Archer be himself and he is so good for Archer. Their relationship is sweet and innocent and quite frankly, perfect. I cheered for those two the entire book. I wanted something in Archer’s life to go well, and I wanted that something to be Evan.

Hushed is an amazing book. York writes the flawed protagonist better than any author I have recently read. In one breath, you are horrified by what Archer is doing, but in the next breath, you are cheering for Archer. York pulls your emotions in so many directions at once that your head starts to spin. But it’s a good spin. It’s the subtle nuances of the story that really play with your emotions and pull you into the story—the character’s expressions, the unexpressed feelings, Vivian’s descent into madness, Evan’s feelings for Archer. These things build as the story progresses and they build well. It’s great to read an author who knows what she is doing and does it oh-so-well.

Hushed is a book that needs to be read, it would be a shame to put it aside and let it gather dust. Grab it off of the shelf and give it your full attention. But, it is a dark and disturbing novel. It is not for the ultra-sensitive, like those who might be offended by a relationship between two males, those offended by the use of the f-word or those offended by descriptions of murder. I would recommend this book for older teens or very mature teens. I will recommend it to my daughters; I think they would like it.

My grade for Hushed:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Follow Friday (12)

Follow Friday is hosted by Rachel at Parajunkee’sView and Alison at AlisonCan Read. It is another 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:
"In light of Veteran's Day tomorrow--11/11/11--tell us about your favorite soldier and how he or she is saving the world. Fictional or real life."

Well, my favorite real-life soldier is every single one of the brave men and women who are fighting for the United States anywhere in the world or serving here at home. Also, any soldier that has ever fought in any capacity for our nation. They are an amazing group of people who are willing to sacrifice their lives for our country. 

As far as my favorite fictional soldier, that one is tough. I've been sitting her for 15 minutes trying to think of someone and nothing is coming to mind! I'll have to edit if I think of one. Hmmmm.....  **Edited: I got one! Actually several of them. Any of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. They are definitely soldiers in the war against the Lessers. And they're hot. Like, steaming hot. Especially Rhage....

So, leave a link to your post and I will stop by! Happy Friday!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristie at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. Because it is difficult if not impossible to feature a review for every book received by a book blogger, this meme allows book bloggers to feature the books they receive that they may not have time to review.  It is also a great way to network and meet other bloggers. 

I love In My Mailbox, because occasionally I do get books that I have already read and will not be reviewing, but would like to brag about getting. Which is usually just bragging for my sake anyway!

This week my "brag books" are two books I bought at Sam's Club: 

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (paperback). I needed to get this before Clockwork Prince comes out and at less than $7, well, I couldn't resist! I've read it, but it was borrowed from my daughter's friend. I read their books, too!

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (this is the small-sized paperback). I needed this to "complete" my collection (or because I'm crazy obsessed according to my husband). And it was less than $5. 

I received four author requests for review this week and all four books caught my interest. I will be reading them in late December and posting my reviews soon after (that's how far behind I am).

Chain Gang Elementary by Jonathan Grant

Feyland by Anthea Sharp

The Moon Coin by Richard Due (this one has gorgeous illustrations!)

The final book I received for review is called The Dig by Audrey Hart. I do not currently have a cover image available for this book. When I post the review, I will request cover art from the author. It looks really cool though! (This book will be reviewed before December as it comes out later this week and I want to get my review ready for the author.)

Ok, that's my week! Leave a comment with a link back to your IMM and I will definitely check it out! Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Follow Friday (11)

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 meet new bloggers and find new blogs to follow. If you would like to join in, just go to either blog, follow ALL the instructions and add your link to the list. It's just that easy. 

This week's question:

Today's question is actually an ACTIVITY! We want to see what you look like! Take a picture of you and your current read! Too shy? Booooo! Well, then just post a fun pic you want to share!

So here I am. My current read is Hushed and it's on my Kindle, so that's me with my Kindle. And look how Edward managed to sneak into this week's question by hanging out on my shirt! Edited to add: Since this is one of the best pictures I've taken in about a year or more, I changed it to my profile picture. Good pictures are few and far between!

Now, let's see what YOU look like! Post a link to your Follow Friday in the comment section and I will stop by! Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Birthday Trilogy by Brian Rowe

I was sent this book, along with its sequel, Happy Birthday to Me, Again by the author Brian Rowe with a request to review the sequel.  I felt like I couldn’t review a sequel without reading the first book in the series, so I read both books and I chose to review both of them. Please note, the review for the second book may contain some spoilers for the first book.

Title:  Happy Birthday to Me (Birthday Trilogy)     
Author:  Brian Rowe
Genre:  Young Adult
Format/Pages:  Kindle
Release Date:  April 7 2011

Cameron Martin’s life couldn’t be anymore perfect. He’s popular, dating the hottest girl in school and he’s the star of his high school basketball team. Too bad it is going to end soon, much sooner than he ever thought possible. Inexplicably, Cameron is aging an entire year with each passing day and there doesn’t seem to be anything that can stop it.  Cameron just wants everything to go back to the way it was; he wants to go to prom, graduation and help his team win the state championship. But there doesn’t seem to be anything anyone can do to help him, not even Reno’s best doctors.  When a mysterious young lady captures Cameron’s heart, he finds himself having to trust the one person who may have caused his problem.

I really liked the idea behind this story—it had a great concept and I liked the originality of the plot. It was well organized and obviously well-thought out. Brian Rowe is a very talented writer, quite adept at creating a world and convincing you the events in that world are really happening. He definitely puts a great deal of time and effort into writing a worthwhile novel. 

That being said, I did have some issues with this book.  I felt like too much time passed before we as readers were given the reason behind Cameron’s mysterious aging illness. I was approximately 80% done with the book on my Kindle before there was any type of explanation given (though I had figured it out prior to this). Consequently, this made the ending feel quite rushed. It was as if Rowe knew he needed to wrap things up and he sped up the plotline to do just that.  There was also a severe over-use of the word “shout” in all of its verb forms (shout, shouting, shouted). This in combination with capital letters EVERYTIME SOMEONE WAS UPSET made me feel like I was being screamed at through the whole book.  I also took issue to the constant references to vomiting. Every time Cameron was upset about something disturbing he was experiencing in the aging process or other unpleasant experiences, he vomited or nearly vomited or thought about vomiting. And it was always vividly described. I felt nauseous from the constant references to being sick. I feel this was really overused. 

This book is labeled as young adult, but I would label it older young adult. I feel that it would best be read by high school students, perhaps sophomore year and up.  There are far too many references to sex and male body parts to consider recommending it to younger teens.

My grade for Happy Birthday to Me: 

Title:  Happy Birthday to Me, Again (Birthday Trilogy)     
Author:  Brian Rowe
Genre:  Young Adult
Format/Pages:  Kindle
Release Date:  September 2011

Cameron Martin thought his luck had finally changed. He was going to marry his beloved girlfriend Liesel and hopefully live happily ever after. But when Cameron gets cold feet and tries to cancel the wedding, Liesel lashes out at him with another life-altering curse. Except this time, Cameron is aging backwards—one year every day. Even worse, Liesel has disappeared and Cameron can’t do anything but sit back, watch himself shrink into nothing and hope Liesel shows up in time to save him, again.

This book follows the same story line as the original, albeit with a twist. This time, Cameron is getting younger. The same characters appear as in the original, though this time they are a bit more likable. We as readers are introduced to a couple of new characters and fortunately, we get to know Kimber, Cameron’s sister, a bit better in this book. I really enjoyed this, as she was probably my favorite character from both books—she was definitely the most likeable. Rowe utilizes the same techniques as in the first book—great concept, original story, as well as a well-organized and well-thought-out plot.

Unfortunately, the flaws I pointed out in the first book are present in this book as well.  Shout was still the most overused verb in the book, capital letters to indicate a loud volume or being upset were still there and vomiting took center stage in nearly every chapter. For instance, I don’t think it is necessary to have Kimber shout “Yes. Twice” at her mother when calmly asked if the dog pooped while on a walk.  Every time I turned a page, the capital letters jumped out at me, to the point that I started to unconsciously keep track of how often they appeared in the book (I lost count). And again, vomiting was discussed so frequently that you could pretty much count on it appearing at least once per chapter.  I sometimes felt as if I was reading a book written by a male teenager, rather than written from the viewpoint of a male teenager. And believe me, there is a difference.   

I do think this book could be read by older junior high school students and up, as there was less discussion of sex and male body parts this time around.

My grade for Happy Birthday to Me, Again: