Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Title:  Everneath
Author:  Brodi Ashton
Genre:  Young Adult Paranormal
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Format:  NetGalley/Kindle
Release Date:  January 24, 2012

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her best friend, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her; six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for; six months to find redemption, if it even exists.
Nikki longs to spend these precious few months forgetting the Everneath completely and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. Cole wants to take over the Everneath’s throne and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.
As Nikki’s time on the surface draws to a close and all of her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: finding a way to cheat fate and remain on the surface with Jack, or returning to the Everneath and becoming Cole’s queen (summary courtesy of Harpercollins).

Everneath is an interesting mix of mythology and author Brodi Ashton’s vision of what we would call Hell or Hades or the Underworld or the Everneath as she calls it. Ashton takes the stories from mythology that readers are familiar with and gives them a twist and makes them new. It takes a lot of inspiration from the story of Orpheus attempting to rescue Eurydice from Hades, as well as the myth of Hades and Persephone. Ashton even references both several times. The twist on mythology really gives the story an originality not always seen in the young adult genre. 

Ashton also explores what I feel is the sensitive topic of young love and how it can affect the teenagers who fall into it and what happens when they lose it. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that it was dealt with as carefully as it should have been. My impression of the Everneath is that going there is similar to committing suicide—you leave this earth with no chance of return and going there “makes the pain go away.” Nikki flees to the Everneath to escape a death in the family but more so to run from a relationship she fears is in jeopardy. Is any boy worth giving it all up for? That is what it seems Nikki believes, she chooses the Everneath over life. Nikki very quickly makes a choice that in affect ends her life, leaving everyone who loves her behind and lost. Fortunately, Nikki is given the chance to Return to say good-bye. This gives her the opportunity to see how her choice to “make the pain go away” has affected everyone in her life—her father, brother, best friend, friends at school and her boyfriend Jack. It’s a unique perspective on making a choice—should Nikki make the easy one or should she make the right one? Like I said, it’s a sensitive topic and one that must be carefully explored. I thought Ashton was a bit off-handed in her dealings with Nikki leaving, I’m not sure that the impact Nikki made with her choice was fully explored. Because this book is aimed at young adults and teens, this is a topic that should be dealt with very carefully and I didn’t feel that this was the case.

I also felt that the character development was a bit weak. I thought Jack had the potential to be a very complex and intriguing character, but he was not developed well through the course of the story. Nikki’s little brother Tommy was basically a non-entity throughout most of the book. We received only cursory glances of him in small doses. This is also the case with Jules, Nikki’s best friend, and Will, Jack’s brother, as well. We never really get to know these characters that could have been an asset to the plot. Perhaps leaving Tommy out of the story would have left room to develop the other characters more. Everything we know about every character in the book comes to us from Nikki’s point of view, which is very flawed. I would have liked to have seen the perspective of some of the other characters or even a third-person narrator to give a bit more depth to the story.

Despite what appears to be a negative review, I liked Everneath. It was readable. It certainly wasn’t amazing and it didn’t knock my socks off, but it was a good read. I know that sequels are planned and my hope is that the story and characters will grow with the series. I really wanted this book to be amazing, but it just wasn’t. It really had the potential to be fantastic, too. I thought the cover was gorgeous and I had heard really good things about the book. Too bad it didn’t live up to the hype. As far as recommending it to my girls, well, their TBR piles are nearly as big as mine and I truly believe this one can be put on the back burner for awhile. Maybe if they get to a point where they have nothing to read, I will tell them to pick it up and give it a try.

My grade for Everneath by Brodi Ashton:

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

Title:  Tempest
Author:  Julie Cross
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  MacMillan
Imprint:  St. Martin’s Griffin
Format:  NetGalley/Kindle
Release Date:  January 17, 2012

The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy; he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there are no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.
That is until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.
Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.
But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit him… or kill him.
Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world. (Summary courtesy of Macmillan Publishing/Goodreads)

Julie Cross’s debut novel is a fun, fast-paced intriguing tale that keeps the reader turning pages in an effort to keep up with our hero Jackson’s leaps through time.  Jumping through time could have been difficult to keep straight, but Cross manages to keep what could have been a convoluted storyline crystal clear and easy to follow.  The characters are also very consistent, despite the leaps through time. Jackson is your typical young college male, vulnerable but afraid to admit he is and cocky as all get out, Holly is a lovely, easy-going girl, trying to figure out what Jackson is hiding and Adam is the science geek we all secretly long to have as a friend.  In every time strain that Jackson jumps into, the characters are what we expect. This is not to say that there is no growth in the characters, we actually get to see how those characters grow over the course of several years.

I did have a couple of minor issues with the book. Sometimes the flashbacks (not the actual time jumps) were unclear. This could have been easily solved by simply putting an extra space between paragraphs.  The other thing I didn’t really care for was the CIA angle.  I understand why it was there, I just didn’t care for it.  I guess I want my super-secret government agencies to be so secret that the name comes as a surprise to me. These small things were the only issues I had with the book, minor really when you look at the big picture.
Tempest is a fast-paced action movie in book form. So, it’s not surprising that Summit Entertainment, the powerhouse behind the Twilight move franchise, has already optioned it for a film.  I think the book will translate well to film. I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to any future sequels.

My grade for Tempest by Julie Cross:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (22)

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 your link to the list. It’s just that easy!

This week’s question:

"Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?"

I don't have a genre I "avoid at all costs," but I don't read autobiographies. I pretty much stay away from them. I enjoy non-fiction and I will read occasionally read biographies, but in general I don't read self-aggrandizing works. There is just something about someone writing about themselves that irks me. In my early college years I had to write an autobiography and I didn't even enjoy that. 

What genre do you avoid? Leave me a link to your Follow Friday and I will stop by and see what it is!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Title:  Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices #2)
Author:  Cassandra Clare
Genre:  Young Adult Paranormal
Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format:  Hardcover (self-purchased)
Release Date:  December 6, 2011

We are once again drawn into the world of the Shadowhunters of Victorian London. Tessa Gray has found refuge with the Shadowhunters of the Institute in London, where she is protected from the Magister and even her brother Nate. But one can never truly hide from pure Evil.  While Charlotte struggles to keep her position as head of the Institute, Jem, Will and even Tessa do everything possible to find the Magister and bring him before the Clave. As the deadline for finding him draws closer and closer, Tessa, Will and Jem discover that the Magister’s war against the Shadowhunters is more personal than they ever could have imagined. Their search takes them from the English countryside, to a fancy ballroom filled with enemies and even to the City of Bones. That search even brings them into the halls of the Institute.  But finding the Magister is not Tessa’s only worry.  She must contend with her growing feelings for Jem and the fact that she is inexplicably drawn to Will.  Finding the Magister may be the only thing that frees Tessa from her doubts and worries.

Cassandra Clare does it again with this amazing sequel to Clockwork Angel. Not only does she continue the spellbinding tale of the search for the Magister, but she introduces us to new characters and reacquaints us with our familiar favorites.  We get to learn more about the history of the troubled warlock Magnus, and discover the history of the ancestors of some of the more infamous Shadowhunters.  Clare does all of this while telling a complicated, engrossing tale rivaled only by her Mortal Instrument series.

I love this series, and I can’t get enough of it. Waiting a year between books is practically torture. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t discovered it until ALL of the books had come out. Then I wouldn’t have to wait. But I do have to wait, though it is definitely worth it. Clare never disappoints. She manages to keep the reader’s interest peaked throughout the entire book, keeping you guessing and on the edge of your seat. I never know what to expect when I am reading one of her books. Just when you think everything is getting better, or at least going okay, Clare throws a monkey wrench in the mix. And surprisingly, I really enjoy those monkey wrenches. Bring ‘em on!

As always, Clare has given her readers a book that is extremely well-written. One of my favorite things about Clare as a writer is that she doesn’t talk down to her readers, she actually writes like we are intelligent people. That being said, I did have to keep my dictionary handy. Because Clockwork Prince is set in
Victorian London, Clare frequently uses language we don’t often see in modern times. I like that she does this, because I feel like I am actually learning something.    

In case you can’t tell, I really enjoyed Clockwork Prince and I can’t wait for the sequel. My daughter Tiana has read the Infernal Devices series as well, and watching her read them when I know what is going to happen is always fun. She is very expressive and emotional. She must have slammed the book down about ten times and screamed “I hate this book!” I even got a text message at work one day about how crazy the book was making her. She didn’t really hate the book though, like I said, she is just very expressive. Tiana loved the book, too.  So, the consensus in our house is two thumbs up and we can’t wait for the next book! 

My grade for Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare:   

Monday, January 23, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (January 24)

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!

My teaser this week is from Everneath by Brodi Ashton:

"He uses music to stir the emotions and circulate the life force of the audience, just before he eats. It's like an actual heart; the center of the circulatory system."  Kindle ebook from NetGalley (quote subject to change) at 91%

What are you reading this week?  Leave me a link to your teaser in the comment section and I will stop by and check it out.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review: Anew The Archers of Avalon by Chelsea Fine

Title:  Anew: The Archers of Avalon
Author:  Chelsea Fine
Genre:  Young Adult Paranormal
Publisher:  Acacia Publishing
Format:  Kindle
Release Date:  December 7, 2011

Two years ago, Scarlet Jacobs woke up in the forest of Avalon, Georgia with no memory of anything regarding her past. All she knows is her name. She has spent the last two years lost and confused, until she meets Gabriel Archer. Gabriel’s voice is familiar to Scarlet, and she is inexplicably drawn to him. She believes he may be able to help her unlock some of the memories that are hidden deep inside her.  Even though Scarlet and Gabriel become nearly inseparable, there are still mysteries regarding Gabriel that Scarlet can’t seem to discover.  One of those mysteries is Gabriel’s brother, Tristan. After meeting Tristan, Scarlet becomes even more confused.  While she is drawn to Gabriel, Tristan makes her feel whole and complete. Now, Scarlet must put together the pieces of her past—but that past will affect any future she has. If she has a future at all.

Anew is the first book in a planned trilogy from author Chelsea Fine. I can’t give away too much of what exactly Anew is about, or I will give away a lot of the plotline.  I can tell you this:  after waking in the forest with amnesia, Scarlet tries to live a normal life.  At least it’s moderately normal—as normal as the life of an amnesiac can get—until Gabriel Archer and his brother come to town. Gabriel and Tristan know something, and Scarlet is determined to discover just what it is they know about her. But while she is trying to learn about her past, her feelings for the brothers may tear her apart.  

There is a lot going on, pretty much right from the beginning. I can tell you that this book is chock full of things to love—mystery, witches, curses and especially gorgeous boys.  Who doesn’t love a gorgeous boy? Fine’s writing is crisp and clean, and well-done.  She weaves a story that is compelling and entertaining.  It keeps you turning pages right up until the end. And then, it ends and leaves us wanting more. Literally. The last sentence of the book could not possibly be more of a cliffhanger. I sat there holding my book saying, “Really? Really? That’s it?” Kind of made me want to yell. It definitely makes you anxious for the next book. And I give Fine kudos for knowing how to pull the reader in, how to tease us with just a little bit of information and just when and how to leave the story so we are dying to read the next book (Awry is expected this summer).  

Anew isn’t like anything I’ve read before. In a genre of “been there, done that” Anew is an original.  While we’ve all seen the love triangle played out in countless books, Fine manages to give her love triangle an unexpected twist. Her take on the paranormal is also refreshing and interesting. She also drops subtle hints that we may get a lot more in future books and I for one cannot wait to see what she comes up with.  I like the characters as well. Nate is entertaining and a typical guy—man cave and all.  Heather, Scarlet’s best friend, is your everyday teenager, obsessed with clothes, hair and make-up. It’s like Ms. Fine has an inside track on the inner workings of a teenage girl’s brain. A couple of times, I could hear my daughter’s voice when Heather spoke (b-t-dubs…).  But she is a good friend who always has Scarlet’s best interest in mind. The brothers, Gabriel and Tristan, sound absolutely delicious. One brother is an open-book and one brother is a locked box that allows you to peek into the cracks, but will not open completely—which just makes you want to open it all that much more.  I like them both; I definitely cannot choose which brother is my favorite. They both believe what they are doing is the right thing, whether it really is or not. That makes them easy to love; they are utterly convinced that they are doing the right thing.  Scarlet is a great heroine—she’s tough, smart, scrappy and just a little bit vulnerable. She’s not afraid to fight for what she believes in. And she is an amazing friend. What’s not to love?   

Anew is a great book, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It’s appropriate for teenagers and perhaps the more mature tween (junior-high age), and I think adults will enjoy it as well. Like Ms. Fine’s first book, Sophie and Carter, it is an easy read, but it definitely doesn’t talk down to you. Fine just knows how to write a book that appeals to everyone.  If you are looking for something new and different, give this one a try. I think you’ll like it!

My grade for Anew: The Archers of Avalon by Chelsea Fine:

As an added-bonus I am including the link to Chelsea’s playlist for Anew and the Amazon link for purchasing the book.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (21)

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:

"What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get your hands on any particular book?"

My answer is boring, sorry.  I've never really done anything crazy in order to get a book. I've never had to sleep outside of a bookstore overnight or wait in some super-long line. I live in a big city (Phoenix area) and I can drive in about a 15 mile radius and hit about 3 large bookstores, an independent bookstore and a bajillion Walmarts. I usually don't have a trouble getting a book. And now that I have become technologically savvy, I can get any book, any time I want with my Kindle. Love that. 

How about you? Anything crazy? Leave me a comment and I will stop by!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Title:  Under the Never Sky
Author:  Veronica Rossi
Genre:  Young Adult/Dystopian
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Format:  NetGalley/Kindle
Release Date:  January 3, 2012

Like everyone else in Reverie, Aria spends her time in the Realms, virtual environments accessed through her Smarteye. For Dwellers like Aria, life in Reverie is simple.  When Aria is accused of a vicious crime and thrown out of the pod and the only life she knows, she knows she will die. That’s why the outside is called the Death Shop; danger is every where.

Perry has lived all his life on the Outside, fighting hunger, predators and strange energy storms generated by the Aether, the strange electrified atmosphere that has replaced the once-blue sky.  Even in a world of Outsiders, Perry is special. He has powerful gifts, allowing him to sense danger, prey and even human emotion.

Unexpectedly forced together, Aria and Perry form a reluctant alliance. Aria needs his help to return to Reverie and Perry needs Aria to help him find his nephew, who was abducted by Dwellers. Not only will they battle cannibals, wolves and the Aether, but they must battle their prejudices against each other or neither will find what they need. Aria and Perry forge a bond, a bond that may change the lives of everyone—Dwellers and Outsiders alike.

Under the Never Sky is a young adult book set in a dystopian future. Lately we’ve seen a lot of books with a dystopian theme (Matched, Wither, Divergent). The question is:  can Veronica Rossi create a story in a genre that is rapidly becoming overloaded? The answer to that question is yes she can. Not only that, but she does it very well.

Under the Never Sky has a fresh, inventive plot, a distinctive writing style and well-written dynamic characters. It was refreshing to read a dystopian story with such originality. I haven’t enjoyed a book of this genre so much since I read Divergent by Veronica Roth. The plot is well-paced and entertaining. Rossi has a fantastic writing style; she knows just what to do to keep her reader interested. The point of view switches between Aria and Perry, but she manages to make it a seamless transition. Perhaps using third person limited point of view is what eases the transition (unlike Crossed by Ally Condie which uses first person point of view and confuses her readers). Rossi’s characters are also very dynamic characters, obviously growing and changing as the book progresses. I loved the growth seen in the main characters, Aria and Perry. They both learn so much about not only themselves, but also each other.

In case you can’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is by far my favorite of the year thus far. I have already recommended it to several teachers I work with, as well as both of my daughters. I don’t know if Ms. Rossi is planning a sequel (and honestly, she ended the book in a way that would allow for a sequel, but not in a way that demands a sequel), but if she is, I can’t wait to read it.

My grade for Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (January 17)

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!

My teaser this week is from Anew: The Archers of Avalon by Chelsea Fine:

"Nobody had attempted to break into Scarlet's house since the night Tristan and Gabriel had killed the weird ash guy. Which was good news. 

The fact that crazy ash people existed and were running around in the trees behind her house? Super creepy."   Kindle edition at 89%

I am loving this book! Now, leave me a link in the comment section to your Tuesday Teaser and I will hop by and check it out!

Review: Katerina Trilogy Vol. 1 The Gathering Storm**

Title:  The Katerina Trilogy Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm
Author:  Robin Bridges
Genre:  Young Adult Paranormal/Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Children’s Books
Imprint:  Delacorte BFYR
Format:  NetGalley/Kindle
Release Date:  January 10, 2012
**Debut Author Challenge Book**

The year is 1888. The place is St. Petersburg, Russia. While Katerina Alexandrovna, the Duchess of Oldenburg, attends the winter season’s balls, operas and ballets, she must try to hide the deepest, darkest secret any person could have:  her ability to raise the dead.  It is a secret she hides from her family, her friends at the Smolny boarding school and especially the tsar and the aristocratic circles to which her family belongs.  But when Katerina is forced to use her special gift to protect a member of the Imperial family, she finds herself drawn into a world of intrigue she is not able to escape. 

Evil surrounds all those within the royal bloodlines of Europe.  Lines are being drawn—light and dark are choosing sides. Katerina finds herself being drawn to two different men—the tsar’s middle son, George Alexandrovich and Danilo, the prince of Montenegro. But which one will she, or should she, trust?  Katerina must embrace her powers and choose—light or dark?

The Gathering Storm has something for everyone. It mixes historical fiction, Russian fairy tales, paranormalcy, romance and suspense all in one book. I hate to use the words “new twist on the same old thing” because I think that statement can be overused, but that is exactly what this book is. We get witches, vampires, the undead and werewolves all in one book. First and foremost, this book is a paranormal story though, so it is important to keep that in mind if you don’t care for the paranormal genre. I enjoyed the various paranormal creatures and Bridges take on those creatures a great deal. Bridges debut novel is extremely well-written, entertaining and fascinating.   

Katerina Alexandrovna is a very strong female lead character. Even though she is growing up in Russia in 1888, she doesn’t conform to what one would expect of a young lady during that time. Katerina (or Katiya as her family calls her) is strong-minded, willful, independent and smart. She wants to be a doctor, something practically unheard of in Russia at that time. She is very protective of her family, in particular her overdramatic mother. And she must learn to rein in her powers, if she isn’t attempting to outright hide them. Katerina isn’t wishy-washy, whiny or overly sensitive. She accepts what is happening to her, but she is willing to take risks to set things right. Bridges creates a character every girl can look up to. 

While reading The Gathering Storm, I did find it a bit difficult to keep track of the various houses and families, the light court and the dark court, and the numerous ties everyone seems to have to each other. Sometimes it got a bit confusing. Also, Bridges uses quite a few Russian words in the book, but learning the meanings of those words was actually kind of interesting. Fortunately neither of these things distracted me too much from the story. I found the book to be a very enjoyable read. It was definitely worth muddling through the various families and houses and deciphering Russian to read this book. 

This book is appropriate for both tweens and teens. Because of the chaste time Katerina is living in, there are not a lot of heavy sexual themes and the paranormal creatures and actions are not too overwhelming or scary. I really enjoyed The Gathering Storm and I am looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.

My grade for The Katerina Trilogy Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In My Mailbox (January 15)

In My Mailbox (IMM) was started over at the The Story Siren by Kristie and has evolved to over 300 participating blogs.  It is a way for bloggers to network and socialize and to show everyone the various books that they have received.  Postings may vary by blog, some bloggers post weekly, bi-weekly and so forth.

This week was a good week. I was approved for 3 books on Netgalley I had nearly forgotten I had even asked for, I had one publisher request to review a book and I received a book I won from Eve's Fan Garden. And now on to the goodies!

From Netgalley:

The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes (Goodreads

Halflings by Heather Burch (Goodreads)

Another Jekyll, Another Hyde by Daniel & Dina Nayeri (Goodreads)

Publisher's Request to Review:

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin 

Won from Eve's Fan Garden:

dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman (Goodreads)

That was my week. I am very excited to read these books! What was in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Save it for Saturday

Word to the wise: don't chaperone a band lock-in with 86 teenagers unless you are ready to be totally exhausted ALL day!

I had big plans for today's "Save it for Saturday." But extreme lack of sleep kept me from getting my post ready and now the day is more than half over. So, today's "Save it for Saturday" will be very brief.

I'm not ready to give up on this weekly feature, life just got in the way this week. Not to mention I have read 4 books this week and I have been trying to get my reviews ready. Those reviews will be posted this next week. Some really great books.

I hope everyone had a great week!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Follow Friday (21)

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: Many readers/bloggers are also big music fans. Tell us about a few of your favorite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012.

I absolutely love Florence and the Machine. I think her voice is utterly amazing and listening to it gives me chills. And while I may be a bit late to the game, I have recently discovered Adele and I can't get enough of her sultry, gorgeous voice. I have very eclectic tastes, and I listen to a lot of different music. I have a future music manager living in this house and she is always listening to new music and getting me to listen to it. I love having teenagers with great taste in music!

So who or what do you like to listen to? Leave me a comment and I will stop by and check out your music preferences.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: The Dig by Audrey Hart

Title:  The Dig (Zoe and Zeus Trilogy #1)
Author:  Audrey Hart
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Backlit Fiction 
Format:  Ebook
Release Date:  November 7, 2011

Zoe is an outsider.  She’s not interested in the same boring, lame stuff all of the girls at her boarding school are interested in—things like constantly updating her Facebook, watching Teen Mom or talking about boys. She would rather discuss ancient history or spend her summers digging up ancient relics with her aunt and uncle.  It is on one of these archeological digs that Zoe’s life changes forever. While investigating an ancient temple in Crete, Zoe is inexplicably transported back in time to ancient Greece. She soon discovers that the Gods are real, living, breathing humans and for some reason, she is just as powerful as they are. But they refuse to accept Zoe. In fact, Zoe has thrown the balance of nature completely out of whack and the Gods will stop at nothing to set it right. Only the gorgeous, winged god Zeus will risk everything to save her.

The Dig is a fun romp through ancient Greece, with a bit of Greek mythology thrown in for good measure. Zoe is a smart, funny and completely relatable character. At the beginning of the book, she is a good role model for young teens, especially those who travel a bit off the beaten path (I said “at the beginning of the book” because Zoe’s attitude changes a bit—more on that later).  The Dig is a simple, quick read, perfect for those reluctant readers who hate picking up a lengthy book and plowing through it. There are a lot of pop culture references also, which made for some interesting conversations with Zoe attempting to explain Kim Kardashian or Facebook to someone in ancient Greece. I also liked Hart’s twist on the Olympian Gods; it gave The Dig a bit of Mean Girls nastiness and snark.  Hart doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously, which definitely shows through in her writing and the plot of The Dig.  She gives it her all and holds nothing back.  I commend her for not being afraid to tell her story the way she wants to tell it.

My biggest issue with this book was Zoe’s very rushed relationship with Zeus. She literally falls for him after spending just a few hours with him. And I felt that she became the type of girl she seemed to look down on at the beginning of the book. Her entire world became all about Zeus and how she could stay with him. Because this is a trilogy, maybe the love story between Zoe and Zeus could have been stretched out a bit. This is the primary reason I felt that Zoe was a good role model at the book’s beginning, but she seemed to lose that quality a bit as the book progressed.      

Also, I do feel that The Dig is a bit simplistic. I am not sure older, more mature teens will appreciate the humor and laid-back attitude present in the story. I know my girls would not enjoy it.  And the pop culture references will be obsolete in about ten years, making this a book with questionable longevity issues.  I do think it is a great story for middle-grade readers, like sixth, seventh or eighth graders, especially those looking for a good, quick story.  I would definitely recommend it to my students at the junior-high level. If you are looking for a funny, quick read, this is the book for you.

My grade for The Dig by Audrey Hart:        

Monday, January 9, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (January 10)

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!

"I wished there were a textbook of undead creatures. Or a field guide. It would make my life so much easier."  The Gathering Storm (Katerina Alexandrovna #1) Kindle e-galley--42% 

Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Title:  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Author:  Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen
Genre:  Adult
Publisher:  Quirk Classics
Format:  Kindle e-book (self-purchased)
Release Date:  May 2009

The peaceful English village of Meryton, home of Elizabeth Bennet and family, is facing a zombie menace of epic proportions. But that is a menace Elizabeth has been trained to overcome. Until the supposedly haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy arrives and distracts her from her duties as a protector of her beloved England. What follows is a hilarious tongue-in-cheek retelling of a beloved classic.

I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; it was a fun and interesting read.  The one word that comes to mind when describing this book is quirky. It is definitely much racier than the original book.  I finally had to pull my copy of Pride and Prejudice out, dust it off and use is it for comparison.  For instance in chapter 17, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are discussing balls—the dancing kind. Which you would never guess from was the topic of conversation: “On the contrary, I find that balls are much more enjoyable when they cease to remain private.” Like I said, racier than the original.  It’s funny how dropping just one little word like “an” can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Trust me, it does.

Overall, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a good read, especially if you can handle the gory descriptions of zombies eating brains and cannibalizing dead bodies. That was a little gross for me, so I usually just skimmed through those parts. I liked the absurdity of the book, in particular Elizabeth Bennet’s visit to Charlotte and Mr. Collins, definitely kept me giggling. It takes a classic to a whole new level, a funny, quirky new level. 

My grade for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies


Sunday, January 8, 2012

In My Mailbox (January 8)

In My Mailbox (IMM) was started over at the The Story Siren by Kristie and has evolved to over 300 participating blogs.  It is a way for bloggers to network and socialize and to show everyone the various books that they have received.  

I haven't participated in In My Mailbox in well over a month. The holiday season was keeping me hopping (unfortunately, not always through blogs)! I thought about going back and listing every book I received since the last time I participated, but that was too much. I am only listing the books I received during the last week, especially since I am very excited about them. I might feature the other books during a week when I didn't receive any other books.

Without further adieu, here are the books I received this week!

I am very, very excited about the following books! All of these books I received from NetGalley for review. I am including a link to Goodreads so you can check them out for yourselves. 

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi--Goodreads Link
Slide by Jill Hathaway--Goodreads Link
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows--Goodreads Link
Everneath by Brodi Ashton--Goodreads Link

And finally, I have been waiting for this book for what seems like forever! 

Anew: The Archers of Avalon by Chelsea Fine--Goodreads Link

That is my week in a nutshell. Please leave a link to your IMM in the comment section and I will stop by and check it out.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Save it for Saturday

I have decided to start a weekly blog post entitled “Save it for Saturday.” While it is true that Mom Reads My Books is a book blog, every now and then I feel the urge to discuss something else, whether it is movies, television or music. Sometimes I find interesting articles I would like to share with my readers and sometimes my extremely opinionated nature comes out and I feel the need to share my thoughts and feelings about some aspect of my life or such (never politics, though, that is too volatile of a subject). This is also helping me in my attempt to blog more consistently—reviews, memes or interesting articles.  So I have decided that these discussions will be “saved for Saturday” and a weekly post made on that day.

I have several ideas on paper, and a least one interesting guest post coming up concerning technology and where it is taking the reader. I figure more ideas will come to me as time passes and I am willing to take input from my readers as well.    

I hope my readers find this new venture interesting. Please leave a comment in the comment section to let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Follow Friday (20)

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: Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many?

I opted to count not only my physical books, but my Kindle books as well.  Since getting my Kindle over the summer, I have been getting books like crazy! So, I have 36 on my Kindle, plus about 25 on my shelves (under the bed, stacked on the floor, on my coffee table), which makes my total 61 unread books. Phew, that is way more than I thought! I really need to work my through my TBR pile this year. I'm actually scared to look at my "to-read" list on Goodreads (ok, I looked, it's 178 books, ugh)!

How many books do you have waiting to be read? Leave a link to your Follow Friday post in the comment section and I will check it out. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (January 3)

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!

My teaser this week comes from The Gathering Storm (Katrina Alexandrovna #1) by Robin Bridges:

"Our family tree has roots and branches reaching all across Europe, from France to Russia, from Denmark to Greece, and in several transient and minute kingdoms and principalities in between. This tree is tangled with all the rest of Europe's royalty, and like many in that forest, my family tree is poisoned with a dark evil."  NetGalley e-book ARC--1st paragraph of 1st page (quote may be subject to change)

Please leave a link to your Tuesday Teaser in the comment section below and I will stop by and check it out! Happy New Year all!