Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer Spectacular Challenge!


-INSERT EXCITED FACE HERE- So what could be more awesome than a Reading Challenge? A Reading Challenge and a Giveaway AND the fact that its my first one on this blog. This is hosted by Stephanie over at The Thoughts of a Book Junkie. Sweeeeeetness. So yes, classes started back for me today so I will be slightly hindered because I have to devote more time to school, but on the plus side I actually tend to be more productive when I am in school. I know, weird, huh? So the rules are as follows:

  • It will start September 1st and go on through September 30th.
  • There will be a 5 book reading challenge, ( one book a week) that you will have to read. Which books? Any 5 you want. Its your choice... Easy huh. At the end of that week you will post your review on your blog and add your link to the Mr. Linky at the bottom. ( If you don't have a blog you can either post a comment, letting everyone know what you think about the book or sent me an email with your review) * Sep first starts on a Wednesday so you can start your first book on Sunday the 29th if you want.
  • At the end of each week a giveaway will be posted. That's 5 giveaways!! The only thing you have to do to enter is, link your review on that weeks Mr. Linky. Plus get an extra entry if you add the September Spectacular button to your post or sidebar! ( Open Internationally)

So! My FIVE books are:

    



Monday, August 30, 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

Sweeeeeeeeeet. I recieved my first blog award from LupLun over at Lupines and Lunatics! Thank you so much LupLun, this is an awesome award and I always think everyone else's blog is more lovely than mine so thank you so much! 



Okies, so the terms of accepting this award is to pass it along to 15 other people. Here is where the problem comes in. I keep running into blogs that already have them or I'll find somebody and their contact information is hiding from me, so I'm going to tag all of my followers for this award! Is that cheating? I'm sorry if it is. =[ 

It just proved to be too difficult to pass the award along to people who don't have it already because this award has been passed around so many times. So! If you are reading this right now and you do not have this award, I award this to you! The only condition is that you must comment on this post and let me know that you didn't have the award already and leave your link so I can follow you! Fair? 


                                               

Saturday, August 28, 2010

In My Mailbox / Book Haul

In My Mailbox is a meme sponsored by The Story Siren. Over the past two weeks I have accumulated a few beauties that I would like to share with you all. I am a bargain hunter and waited to buy a couple things until they were stocked at my local used book store. This came out quite well for me this time as none of the books even looked like they had been opened before! 


I would like to just say.. my upstairs neighbors must be elephants because they are SO loud and it's 11:50 at night. I am a night person, but geez!! This is not a fat joke. I mean, who stomps around like that when they walk? I don't get it. Anyway, I am about half way through The Hunger Games now and can't wait to share my thoughts on it. Now on for the vlog of books!

[Vlog removed]

Books:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Dead Father's Club by Matt Haig
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Hush, hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Wicked squared by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viquie

Friday, August 27, 2010

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen


Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Author's Page: Sarah Dessen

*Skip down a paragraph to bypass possible spoilers*

Halley and Scarlett have been best friends for years, sharing secrets, clothes, and crushes. People know Scarlett as the popular, flamboyant one; Halley's just her quiet sidekick. Then, at the beginning of their junior year, the balance shifts. First, Scarlett's boyfriend Michael is killed in a freak accident; soon afterward, she learns that she is carrying his baby. For the first time, Scarlett really needs Halley. Their friendship may bend under the weight, but it'll never break--because a true friendship is a promise you keep forever. Sarah Dessen's poignant, funny voice has earned her raves and legions of teenaged fans.
Well, here where I am summer is almost over so Sarah Dessen is the appropriate go to author for bittersweet summer reads. I read this book in about two and a half to three hours last night. It had enough of a storyline to keep me engaged and wanting to read more, but was not full of crazy plot twists and turns that caused me to have to think about it too much - perfect for the end of summer on lazy days when you just want to pile on the couch in pajamas! Which, by the way, is exactly what I did. 

The moral of the story is that friendship conquers even the toughest situations. I loved the relationship between Halley and Scarlett and it reminded me of a friend I had back in middle school/high school. Sarah Dessen herself says that this book was crafted around a relationship that she had with her friend Bianca from high school and Sarah wrote this in a way where mostly any girl or woman can relate to what that kind of friendship feels like and looks like. 

We have all been teenagers at some point and eventually we begin to make a natural break away from our families and have stronger relationships with our friends than with our moms or dads. Halley's urges to sneak out of the house to meet Macon really came across as just that, passionate urges! The magnetic pull that Halley felt towards Macon was very accurate about how teen girls do anything to be with that one guy. Even when mom knows best, Halley just has to find out for herself who she is and what she really wants. 

I give this book four book geeks out of five. I don't give it the fifth one, only because its not a book I feel that I would just HAVE to have to own, but it is a fun, light read. 

Funny Note: Listen to Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" after reading this. Reminds me of what Halley wanted out of Macon. lol.


                                           




Follow Friday and Blog Hop!


Book Blogger Hop by Crazy-For-Books.com
Follow Friday by Parajunkee

It's Friday again everyone! Something that is brilliant about this Friday for me is that today marks the first day of me having Fridays off of work for the next six months! Woohoo!! Now I'm going to wish that Thursday would get here soon, hmph. ;P 

I want to say thank you to everyone who is following and welcome any new followers. I am so amazed by how strong the book blog community is on blogger and I am so happy that I can be a part of it!! The lovely Parajunkee  has featured me for this Friday's Follow Friday and I cannot be any more honored! So I want to welcome anyone to my little nook here on the interwebs, feel free to link me to your own blog and I am more than happy to check it out. =] 

The Follow Friday question is: 

 What is the first book that you remember reading?

There are quite a few, but the one that stands out as being the very first is Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I also loved loved loved The Very Hungry Catapillar by Eric Carle and my first YA book was The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause and also happened to be my first encounter with vampires. Soon after I found Anne Rice and here I am today! I am very eclectic and will read almost any genre. 

The Book Blogger Hop question is:

Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?

Currently my rating system is in the same format that my personal book journal [yes, the paper kind teehee I'm a dork, I know] has always been. I write what I felt about the book as an experience and comment on what intrigued, inspired, or otherwise emotionally or mentally made an impression on me. Then, after doing that, on a scale of one to five, with one being the lowest and five being the highest, I think about the book as a WHOLE. Would I read it again, would I tell someone it is worth buying or just getting at the library? Is it worth how long it took to read? Did I love the characters and the plot? I give the book the rating, and then explain in further detail on a book by book basis why I gave it that.

What that looks like:
1 Book Geek: I couldn't get through the book.
2 Book Geeks: I thought it was mediocre. Nothing to see here, keep moving. 
3 Book Geeks: It was an average read. Not bad, not amazing.
4 Book Geeks: It was above average and was amazing!
5 Book Geeks: This book exceed my expectations and is a MUST read. 

I rate my books this way because for me the content of the book is more important than the rating itself. Ratings are so subjective based upon the person, so I think that actually reading the review and getting a sense of how it made you feel or think. Over time, my rating system may change but for now I like it this way and I hope it makes sense, if anyone has suggestions or feedback I am definitely open eared!  =]

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri



  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763648345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763648343

Wikipedia: Faust
Amazon: Another Faust
Author's Page: Daniel and Dina





One night, in cities all across Europe, five children vanish - only to appear, years later, at an exclusive New York party with a strange and elegant governess. Rumor and mystery follow the Faust teenagers to the city’s most prestigious high school, where they soar to suspicious heights with the help of their benefactor’s extraordinary “gifts.”
But as the students claw their way up - reading minds, erasing scenes, stopping time, stealing power, seducing with artificial beauty - the side-effects of their own addictions. And as they make further deals with the devil, they uncover secrets more shocking than their most unforgivable sins.
At once chilling and wickedly satirical, this contemporary reimagining of the Faustian bargain is a compelling tale of ambition, consequences, and ultimate redemption.

I don't want to get into the habit of saying "other people" or "other reviewers", but I have to on this one. A lot of reviewers and readers out there have given this book a bad rep, saying that it is hard to get into or it's boring, or poorly written, this and that, but I have to disagree. The problem with this book is not so much the book's problem, it's just the simple fact that people don't know what to expect going into it. Something that is quite helpful before reading this book is to first read a little bit about Faust and then visit the author's page and read what the author's have to say. Admittedly after reading a couple of chapters, I tilted my head to the side and said, "What?!" But after reading about Faust on wiki and doing a tiny bit of research, I realized this book is a modern dedication to Faust. 

What is Faust? Faust is the protagonist of a German legend in which a man who is a scholar is unsatisfied with his life and makes a deal with the devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge and world pleasures. There are many similar stories out there involving a pact with the devil in exchange for something, but I have never read one that is so unique and actually based upon the real legend! The school that the character's go to is even named after Christoper Marlowe, a writer who made the story famous in his play called The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus.


The story itself is very character driven and I accept that the beginning can be a bit confusing, but if you enjoy classic literature or gothic genres, then hang on just a little bit. The characters are interesting and if you've ever wished for more out of your life, more money, beauty, intelligence, popularity, success, or whatever the case may be then you can understand why these characters are so interesting. Madame Vileroy was so incredibly mysterious and gorgeous *in my mind* and almost like a mother to the poor children. Christian, Belle, Bice, Valentin, and Victoria each had their own detailed background and storyline which for me kept me entertained and engaged in the story.


This book is not a light read nor is it cuddly or cute, it is dark and detailed. If you can get past the first couple of chapters it is more enjoyable for those who are not into classic literature. 


I give this book four and a half book geeks. Perhaps if one didn't have to do research to *get* the storyline then I would give it five, but all-in-all it is a phenomenal. 











Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Daily Dose #2

Daily Dose is brought to you by Good Golly Miss Holly  and it is a meme where every Monday you post some inspiring or cool pictures for your followers to enjoy! 


This week's peek-a-tures!



















Saturday, August 21, 2010

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803733720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803733725

Amazon:Extraordinary
Goodreads:Extraordinary
Author's Page:Nancy Werlin






*SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT*


Back Cover:
Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, Soon the two girls are as close as sisters...until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, appears. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe - but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself.


Soon she'll discover the shocking, fantastical truth about Ryland and Mallory, and about an age-old debt they expect Phoebe to pay. Will she be strong enough to resist? Will she be special enough to save herself?


Review:
Nancy Werlin takes us on an exciting and puzzling ride with Extraordinary. From the first page I knew that that there were faeries involved, but the plot took me on a subtle realization that these faeries don't play nice! I must begin by saying, "Bravo Nancy!" The plot was completely unpredictable for me. After every Faerie Queen conversation I wondered, what do they want with Phoebe? Why are they talking like something absolutely terrible is happening to them? I love stories that have me asking questions and wondering what could be going on. I loved the way the story could have turned in any direction through a majority of the book. It kept me engaged and wanting to continue to read, even during the wee hours in the morning when I should have been sleeping...oops! I read the book in two days, which would have been one day if I didn't have to go to work. I couldn't put it down!


My favorite character would have to be Mallory. Despite what is going on to her people, she just can't bring herself to do exactly what the Faerie Queen asks of her. She is a dynamic character who is more than she appears to be and when her brother Ryland steps in and causes conflict, Mallory displays her true compassion. She even tries to warn Phoebe, but Rylan's spell on Phoebe causes her to mistake the warning as an insult. 


I enjoyed how Nancy Werlin took a real life family, the Rothschild family, and created a fictional story that involved faeries. It was interesting to learn about the heritage of the family and how extraordinary they were to be able to make something from nothing. Phoebe had to find out for herself what friendship and  being extraordinary actually means, as it turns out, we are all extraordinary to someone! I will be adding this book on my bookshelf on September 7th!


By the way, I LOVE this cover! It's just as mysterious as the plot. I also don't understand why there are so many negative reviews for this book as personally, I loved it and would recommend it. I didn't have any issues with the ending, I thought it was beautiful. 


I give this book five out of five book geeks.





Friday, August 20, 2010

Blog Hoppity Hop!


Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosted By: Parajunkee
Book Blogger Hop Hosted By: Crazy-For-Books




I can't believe it's Friday already. This week seemed to fly right past me. It wasn't the best week for me, but enough about that! I am so glad it's Friday and I was recently honored with reading Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin. I can't wait to put up the review and tell you all about it. So hello to everyone who is already following and welcome anyone who will follow, comment and I will certainly stop by your blog as well. =)


The question this Friday from the Book Blogger Hop is...
How many blogs do you follow?

I follow 48 blogs currently and if this blog hop has anything to say about it, by the end of this weekend I will be following more. I love meeting new people and seeing what other people's opinions on books are and frequently step outside of genres that I would normally read in order to expand my horizons. There is no amount of knowledge that is enough and I always want to read more! So keep'em coming, Blog Hop. =)


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Review: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin


                          
                                   ( U.S - right, U.K - left )

                                             

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish (May 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312367465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312367466



Back Cover Description (Because it didn't give so much away):


Dear Dr. Fujiyama,


By now, you have probably heard that I'm dead. This means I won't be attending this year's regional science fair, which is a great disappointment to me as I'm sure it also is for you. At the time I died, I felt I was starting to make real progress with those earthworms.


I really enjoyed your class and continue to follow along from the place where I'm now living I now find myself. Dissecting the pig looked pretty interesting and, I thought I might try it. Unfortunately, there aren't any dead pigs here for me to dissect.


I was disappointed not to see you at the funeral as you were my favorite teacher, even including middle and elementary school. Not to give you a hard time or anything, Dr. F :)


Yours,
Elizabeth Marie Hall, 5th Period Biology.


Review:
This story was a light at the end of the tunnel. When the main character Elizabeth or "Lizzie" dies, she finds herself in a place where one continues to keep living, only it is a life that we never would expect to have after one dies. 


I grew attached to the animals in this story. When Lizzie's dogs get sent back to Earth [read the book for further explanation ;) ] a light bulb popped up over my head. I was so busy during the story worrying about Lizzie getting what she wanted out of her "death" and feeling sorry for her that I didn't get the bigger message. In the end, it didn't matter if she was dead and her family were alive, because the circle of life is beautiful. If we take ourselves out of the picture and stop being so selfish, we realize that life and death itself are miraculous occurrences, weather you believe in reincarnation or not, at the basis of our own theologies we unanimously agree that life is sacred. 


The concept of this story was unique. I can truly say that I have never read anything with the same concept. I have watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but even that is not entirely the same as the story of Lizzie and her life in Elsewhere. The only downside to me is that it was anti-climatic. There were a lot of building of relationships that in the end didn't go anywhere. Maybe it was written that way on purpose, but for me I wanted a different ending. Then again, we can't all have our perfect endings. 


The characters were believable and lovable, but I would've liked to see more of what the inside flap of the book promised. It stated that Marilyn Monroe was the psychiatrist and you could see new paintings of Picasso, I wanted to meet more characters that are dead that are now living in Elsewhere, but it was overall still a good read! 


I give it three out of three book geeks.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book Review: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

(U.S. cover - right, UK cover - left     )

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; 1 edition (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803734956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803734951

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. 

Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding. 

Review:
Some say that this book was hard to get at first, or hard to get into. Beginning with the first page I found it quite easy to get into and I understood right away what was going on and the feelings that that Lennie had. Perhaps because I lost a loved one this year, but anyone who has ever gone through something similar, such as a friend moving far away or losing a boyfriend, will know the deep and intimate feelings and thoughts that Lennie had in this story. 

This story made me cry. Let me say it again and emphasize, this story had tears streaming down my face almost every chapter! It was so beautifully written and so emotional, so heartfelt, so sad, happy, angry, in love, AMAZING. The characters drew me in and I absolutely fell in love with them. Even though we never actually see Bailey in action, I grew to know her and long for her presence through Lennie's scattered notes and memories.... and pure grief

I had a love/hate relationship with Toby because I understand that he was a way for Lennie to saturate herself in her sorrow and mourn in a passionate way, but I hated him because he was Bailey's! If I ever died and could come back as a ghost (Bailey didn't, but just saying..) I would've murdered my boyfriend for messing around with SISTER. The strong relationship that Lennie and Toby made was heart wrenching so I loved Toby because of his sadness and his ability to fluster Lennie.

As for Joe, at first I felt he was quite smug and full of himself, but after he spent time with Lennie and pulled her out of her misery I absolutely adored him just like everyone else did in the story. Must've been those eyelashes... hehehe. 

I loved the story, the characters, the stunning writing, and I cannot wait to hear more from Jandy Nelson. I highly recommend this read to anyone. I am definitely going to read it again and keep it as a part of my book collection. 

I gave this book five out of five book geeks.


Daily Dose

Daily Dose is a weekly meme in which you post pictures that inspired you or images that you think would inspire others. I wasn't able to find who originally started the meme, so I'm unable to give credit but I found out about from Holly @ Good Golly Miss Holly. =) Here are my pictures! Hope you enjoy. All of these have special
                                                            meanings to me.
























Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Most Comfortable Spot on My Couch

How do you get comfortable to read?
Essentials for reading?
Where and when?


My most favorite place to read is outside in the fall or spring. I absolutely love it when the wind is slightly blowing and there is a nice cool shade for me to sit in, but there must be sun. That kind of sun that is hidden mostly behind a cloud, but causes a beam of beautiful light. If the sun is hiding that day and its chilly, I like for there to be no wind, only a peaceful calm. Have you ever walked outside in the fall and listened to the sound of the leaves dancing when the wind blows or listened to the nothingness when the leaves have already fallen? Yes, I love that sound while I am reading. In the spring, I love the beauty of the green coming back to earth after winter leaves its footprint and those blue skies that make for viewing when pondering over what I've just read.

Recently with it being summer it has been too hot for me to go out and enjoy reading outside, so on the days that its either too hot or too cold I found solace in my couch or in my bed. So, do you have anything that you would prefer to have when you are at home reading? Here is my list that makes my reading more enjoyable.

  • A lit candle or incense
  • Soft music 
  • A snuggly fuzzy warm blanket (in the summer I blast the AC and snuggle up)
  • A few big fluffy pillows
  • Some type of beverage
  • Laptop (in case I ever need to look something up (ie authors, word meanings, etc)
  • A clock to check the time every once in a while because I get so lost in the story that I sometimes lose track of other things I need to do (sorry mom for not calling)
  • Last but not least.. A PILE OF BOOKS! 


I am interested to know what other people like to have with them when they curl up to read. Sometimes I just plop down and read, but these things are nice to have for me, a kind of relaxing if you will, so they are not always needed, but nice to have. So, share yours with me and everyone else for that matter, I think it would be pretty cool to see where people like to read and how. If anyone wants to respond on their own blog, that would be awesome, if not just comment below or laugh at me for being so geeky about my reading.YEP I'M A BIG DORK! For example, do you read in the bath, at work on lunch break, in the morning, at night before bed? Do you like being on the porch at night or reading by candlelight? Anytime, everywhere? (Should I try to use Mr. Linky? Here goes nothing...)