Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Holloween!

Happy Halloween!!
I hope everyone has a fun night, filled with shenanigans and candy

Friday, October 30, 2009

Book Review: Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs

This review does contain some spoilers for Oh. My. Gods.

Phoebe, who recently discovered she’s a descendant of Nike (the goddess, not the shoe), is finding that supernatural powers come with a crazy learning curve. Her stepfather, headmaster of the Academy for descendants of the Greek gods, has enrolled her at Dynamotheos Development Camp—aka Goddess Boot Camp—with a bunch of ten-year-olds for the summer. Embarrassing as that is, hopefully it’ll help her gain control over her powers in time to pass the test of the gods, continue training hard enough to qualify for the Pythian Games, and enjoy her godly boyfriend, Griffin, all while avoiding the ultimate mistake of accidentally misusing powers

While Oh. My. Gods. concentrated on Phoebe's history, and her attempt to fit in, G.B.C spent a lot more time on her attempt to control her powers. Pheobe has recently discovered that she's a descendant of Nike, and she has very limited control over the gifts she's been given. She ends up at Goddess Boot Camp, a place where she can learn to control her powers. Unfortunately, her fellow camp mates are giggling 10-year-old girls. To make matters worse, her "counselors" include her evil-ish stepsister, Stella, and her arch-rival, Adara.

Phoebe has a lot to deal with over the course of this book. She needs to learn to control her powers, she's going to be tested by the gods, and her boyfriend is spending a little too much time with his ex. On top of that, she's trying to keep up her training in order to qualify for the Pythian Games (an event that is bigger than the Olympics, but similar in nature).

I really enjoyed seeing the relationship between Phoebe and Stella improve. I don't think that Phoebe could have handled much more stress in her life, and it was nice to see that she had someone to turn to. Phoebe's friends also make an appearance, and lend her a hand when she's given the opportunity to learn the story behind her fathers trial.

I really loved the study guide exerpts at the start of each chapter. Each one discusses a power, including which god it is linked to, and what exactly the power entails. If I could choose one it would most certainly be Psychodictation.

Source: Athena
The Ability to communicate telepathically, whether in words, feelings, or other ways..." (page 104).

Once again, Childs didn't disappoint. If you're looking for a light, fun, quick read this book is for you.

By Tera Lynn Childs
Published by Dutton Juvenile
224 Pages
Rating: A-

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Random Facts on Thursday

While I'm busy studying, and struggling to get reviews done, I thought I'd share one of my favorite things...random facts!

I know, they're pointless, right? I still love them, and will seek out new ones around every corner.

Did you know...

That polar bears have black skin, and their fur is hollow?

Over 540 million phone books are delivered each year?

In 2006, 25% of adults in the US had read no books over the course of year (eek)

Tomorrow I'll be posting my review for Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs (her books are always so fun).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (October 28)

This was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Basically, these are books that haven't been released yet, but that I can't wait for.

Runaway (Airhead #3) by Meg Cabot

Emerson Watts is on the run: from school, from work, from her family, from her friends, from herself.

With everyone she loves furious with her for something she can't explain, and nothing but the live Stark Angel fashion show on New Year's Eve to look forward to, Em's reached the end of her rope. . .what's the point of even going on?

But when she discovers the truth about Nikki's secret, she knows there's only one person she can turn to.

Will Christopher be able to put aside his personal feelings and help her expose her employer to the world? Is it even fair to get Christopher involved--since if he agrees, there's every chance that Stark Enterprises will try to have them both killed--this time, permanently?

Maybe it would be better for Em to just keep on running.

Published by Scholastic

Release Date: June 1, 2010

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (October 27)

What is teaser tuesday? It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...

Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the pag
Don't include spoilers

"7. What annoys me is when people confuse "you're" with
"your" or "its" with "it's". 8. People are stupid. (see above)."

-Psych Major Syndrome, page 1, by Alicia Thompson

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In My Mailbox (October 25)

In my mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, who was inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. Here are the books I got this week...

I was actually surprised to get a book in my mailbox this week. I'm still working on my huge reading pile, assignments for classes, and studying for the GRE. So, with this IMM, I'm just going to say that reviews are probably going to be posted once a week, until I'm through the thick of it.

This week I got:

Monster Variations by Daniel Kraus (from YA Book Central)

Someone is killing boys in a small town. The murder weapon is a truck, and the only protection is a curfew enacted to keep kids off the streets. But it’s summer—and that alone is worth the risk of staying out late for James, Willie, and Reggie.

Willie, who lost his arm in the first hit-and-run attack, finds it hard to keep up with his two best friends as they leave childhood behind. All of them are changing, hounded by their parents, hunted by the killer, and haunted by the “monster,” a dead thing that guards the dangerous gateway between youth and manhood. But that’s not all: shadowing the boys everywhere is Mel Herman, the mysterious and brilliant bully whose dark secrets may hold the key to their survival. As the summer burns away, these forces collide, and it will take compassion, brains, and guts for the boys to overcome their demons—and not become monsters themselves.

What did you get this week? How was read-a-thon. I wish I could have participated, but I've been working all weekend (not nearly as fun as reading)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (October 21)

This was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Basically, these are books that haven't been released yet, but that I can't wait for.

I first saw this book over at The Story Siren

The Fire Opal by Regina McBride

There was a time when Maeve O'Tullagh led a simple life; a time when she and her mother, Nuala, collected kelp on the foreshore near their cottage in Ard Macha; a time when she played among the Celtic ruins with her older brothers and daydreamed about the legendary Holy Isles, an enchanted land ruled in a past age by a beautiful goddess.
But after Maeve's sister, Ishleen, is born, her mother sinks into a deep, impenetrable trance. For years, Maeve tries to help her mother "awaken," and then the unthinkable happens: Ishleen succumbs to the same mysterious ailment as Nuala.
Heartbroken to think that her sister and her mother might be lost to her forever, Maeve sets off on an unimaginable quest to a world filled with fantastical creatures, a web of secrets, a handsome, devious villain who will stop at nothing to have her hand in marriage—braving them all to retrieve a powerful glowing stone that will help her recover the souls of her loved ones and bring them home to Ard Macha. (From the Random House website)

Published by Random House
Release Date: May 11, 2010

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (October 20)

What is teaser tuesday? It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the pag
Don't include spoilers.

"You don't believe me?"
"You have to admit, it all sounds a bit far-fetched."
"Most true things do," she replied.

-Jane Austen Ruined My Life, pages 28-29, by Beth Pattillo

Monday, October 19, 2009

Book Review: Austenland by Shannon Hale

Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen—or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

For the Everything Austen Challenge hosted by Stephanie's Written Word

Some of my friends absolutely adore the author Shannon Hale. So it was that, added with the fact that the plot centered around an Austen-addict, that made me pick this book up.

The story focuses on Jane, an Austen lover how has let the obsession take over her life. She spends more time with her BBC version of Pride & Prejudice then she does with non-fictional men. When her wealthy great-aunt Carolyn leaves her a trip to the super secretive Pembrook Park, she sets off for England. Over the course of the stay she realizes that being in Austenland isn't all that she dreamed it would be.

Generally, I liked the book. I'm not really sure what to say about it, hence the short review. It was fairly short, pretty quirky, and ended on a happy note. There was, however, one thing that caught my attention. Amanda, from the Zen Leaf, wrote a review which pointed this out. Here's a link to her review. On page 158 (of the paperback edition), the book says: "Jane caught sight of a very striking Colonel Andrews, who, now that she watched him dance, might just be gay." While I love Shannon Hale, she was great at her author signing...this kind of threw me. Yes, he was gay, but the stereotype in this line pulled me out of the story completely. I felt like that was a totally unnecessary way to mention his sexuality.

Aside from that line, I thought that book was cute. I was really in need of a light, fluffy book, and this one delivered. Although, it has left me thinking about my Austen mini-obsession. Would I really go so far as to spend a few weeks at a faux-Austen getaway?

Would you spend your money to spend time with actors?

Austenland by Shannon Hale
Published by Bloomsbury USA
208 Pages
Rating: B

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Winner Is...

Thanks to everyone who participated in my contest for a chance to win a signed Shannon Hale book! After tallying the entries, I had 168 entries from over 50 different people.

According to the winner was entry number 17

Congratulations to Juju from Tales of Whimsy

In My Mailbox (October 18)

In my mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, who was inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. Here are the books I got this week...

This week I got...nothing! I've been trying to get through my TBR pile.

I've also been feeling particularly unmotivated lately, so I'm going to actually try to get some work done today.

What did you get this week?

*Check back later today for the announcement of my contest winner

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Last Day to Enter My Contest

Don't forget, my contest for a signed Shannon Hale book ended tonight at midnight (EST)!
To enter click here

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (October 14)

This was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Basically, these are books that haven't been released yet, but that I can't wait for.

The Reckoning (Darkest Powers #3) by Kelley Armstrong

Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now, along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I’m on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We’re hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We’ll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we’d left behind and to take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope.

Published by Orbit
Release Date: May 1, 2010

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (October 13)

What is teaser tuesday? It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the pag
Don't include spoilers.

"Mae did not back down a step. Under other circumstances that might have impressed him, but just now all he wanted to do was get his brother away from the curious stares of strangers and take that look off his face, and her stubbornness simply infuriated him."

The Demon's Lexicon, page 51, by Sarah Rees Brennan

Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Review: How to Catch and Keep a Vampire by Diana Laurence

Discover the Secret of the Red Satin Ribbon . . .In How to Catch and Keep a Vampire: A Step-by-Step Guide to Loving the Bad and the Beautiful, author Diana Laurence explores the romantic fascination we mortals have for the undead. Why do perfectly normal people fall for such sinister beings? And more importantly, what should we do about it when we do? Diana Laurence knows. With loads of personal experience to draw upon, Laurence does everything from explaining the attraction to blood-drinkers, to sharing what red satin signifies to them. In this book, she has created a road map to show readers how a vampire relationship can be achieved and conducted in harmony with everyday existence.

This isn't normally the type of book that I review on this site, but when I was given the opportunity to read it, I couldn't say no. I wasn't disappointed! Thanks to Andy, for giving me an opportunity to read this.

I had a lot of fun reading this book! While I enjoy the occasional vampire story/TV show (i.e True Blood), I've always been curious about the vampire-obsessed. What makes the vampire so appealing, aside from the characters being played by attractive actors? This book answered that, and more. Plus, it had me laughing aloud (which probably frightened a lot of other people at my library).

In my opinion, the book would definitely be categorized humor. If you look closely, however, there are some genuine dating tips throughout the book. Each chapter had various different sections, like "FAQ's about the Undead", Case Studies, and plenty of other tips on how to catch yourself a vampire. For example, did you know that wearing a red satin ribbon (tied in a bow) on your wrist shows your interest in those who are undead?

Laurence also takes time to point out the difference between an evil vampire, and a "bad" vampire (think murderer vs the bad boy). She uses her personal experience with a vampire, named Dr. Stephen Grey, to emphasize why evil vampires shouldn't be sought out. In short, they want to drain you of your blood and/or convert you against your will.

Laurence is a seasoned author, including the vampire story Bloodchained. After reading this book, I might have to pick that one up as well.

How to Catch and Keep a Vampire: A Step-by-step Guide to Loving the Bad and the Beautiful
By Diana Laurence
Published by Sellers Publishing
160 Pages
Rating: B

I'll leave you with a vampire pick-up line featured in the book:
3. The romantic: "They say a diamond is forever-I can promise you an eternity"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In My Mailbox (October 11)

In my mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, who was inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. Here are the books I got this week...

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan

Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.

Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is des-perate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.

Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.

This is the Demon's Lexicon. Turn the page.

Candor by Pam Bachorz (Part of 1 ARC Tours)

Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town
where his father brainwashes everyone, he's found a way to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He's got them all fooled: Oscar's the top student and the best-behaved teen in town. Nobody knows he's made his own Messages to deprogram his brain. Oscar has even found a way to get rich. For a hefty price, he helps new kids escape Candor, Florida before they're transformed into cookie-cutter teens. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor, and Oscar's carefully-controlled world crumbles.

Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson

Patient Name: Leigh Nolan Age: 18 years Presenting Concerns: Leigh Nolan has just started her first year at Stiles College. She has decided to major in psychology (even though her parents would rather she study Tarot cards than Rorschach blots), despite reporting that she thinks, "Psychology is a load of crap." Patient has always been very good at helping her friends with their problems, but when it comes to solving her own...not so much. Patient has a tendency to overanalyze things, particularly when the opposite sex is involved. Like why doesn't Andrew, her boyfriend of over a year, ever invite her to spend the night? Or why can't she commit to taking the next step in their relationship? And why does his roommate Nathan dislike her so much? More importantly, why did Nathan have a starring role in a much-more-than-friendly dream? Aggravating factors include hyper-competitive fellow psych majors, a professor who's badly in need of her own psychoanalysis, and mentoring a middle-school-aged girl who thinks Patient is, in a word, nave. Preliminary treatment will include Introduction to Psychology, but may require more if she's going to answer these questions and make it through her freshman year. Diagnosis: Psych Major Syndrome

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Book II in the Darkest Powers trilogy takes us deeper into a world where the supernatural intrudes on the everyday with riveting effect. If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl—someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment—not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a group of people who call themselves The Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I’m a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control: I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever. I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends—a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch—and we have to find someone who can help us gain our freedom back before The Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

What did you get this week?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Another Awesome Contest

Cindy over at Princess Bookie is having another awesome contest. So, get on over there and enter. There are a bunch of ways to get bonus entries, so you can do as many as you please!

Click here to enter!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday (October 7)

This was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Basically, these are books that haven't been released yet, but that I can't wait for.

Light Beneath Ferns by Anne Spollen

Elizah Rayne is nothing like other fourteen-year-old girls. More interested in bird bones than people, she wraps herself in silence. Trying to escape the shadow of her gambler father, Elizah and her mother move into an old house that borders a cemetery. All her mother wants is for them to have "normal" lives. But that becomes impossible for Elizah when she finds a human jawbone by the river and meets Nathaniel, a strangely hypnotic and mysterious boy who draws Elizah into his world.

Only by forgetting everything she knows can Elizah understand the truth about Nathaniel—and discover an unimaginable secret.

Published by Flux
Release Date: February 1, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (October 6)

It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules:
Grab your current read...
Open to a random page
Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on the pag
Don't include spoilers.

"Back when I was nine, my parents went missing. At first it was easy to believe that each new day would bring them back. After all, they had only gone in search of my older brother, Jett."

-Page 1, Violet Wings (ARC edition), by Victoria Hanley

Monday, October 5, 2009

Book Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells. Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans. Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.

Ever since I read that Kristin Cashore was writing two companion novels to Graceling, I couldn't wait to read them. Graceling was a great novel (that I couldn't put down), so I set my hopes very high for Fire.

This story focuses on the character, Fire, a half-human, half-monster. She's able to control the minds of people around her, but she's very cautious about using this power unless it's absolutely necessary. Similar to Katsa, Fire is an extremely strong female character, but she's conflicted about her gifts. She's extremely beautiful, due to her half-monster lineage. This may sound like a blessing, but she is forced to hide her dazzling hair under a scarf, because it attracts people to her. To Fire, her monster powers are more of a curse than a gift. It's also because of these powers that she's constantly reminded of her father. He was fiercely protective of her, but cruel to everyone else he encountered.

I really enjoyed Fire's story. It seemed like the book delved a lot deeper into who she was. Particularly, what it meant to be part-monster, but feel as humans do. I enjoyed reading Fire's memories of her father, Cansrel. He was a full monster, and had no qualms with manipulating the minds of people around him to do his bidding. Fire's memories seemed to emphasize that, while she hadn't always made the best choices, she had a conscience. She never manipulated the minds of people when it wasn't completely necessary. The romance was very subtle, and built up very nicely over the course of the story. It didn't feel rushed, or forced, and really affirmed the humanity in Fire.

We also got to see the origins of a character from Graceling. I won't give away the name, even though he's introduced in the very early pages of the book. I'll just say this, I hated the character in this book, too!

Final Say:
Is it wrong that I want a sequel about Fire? I absolutely loved this book, and can't wait for Bitterblue, Cashore's next book.

By Kristin Cashore
Published by Penguin Group (USA)
480 Pages
Rating: A

Happy release day, Fire!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

In My Mailbox (October 4)

In my mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren, who was inspired by Pop Culture Junkie. Here are the books I got this week...

(All the books I got this week were from Kristi's site Books for Grabs)

The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler
When her mother moves them from the city to a small town to open up a cupcake bakery, Penny's life isn't what she expected. Her father has stayed behind, and Mom isn't talking about what the future holds for their family. And then there's Charity, the girl who plays mean pranks almost daily. There are also bright spots in Hog's Hollow—like Tally, an expert in Rock Paper Scissors, and Marcus, the boy who is always running on the beach. But just when it looks as though Penny is settling in, her parents ask her to make a choice that will turn everything upside down again. A sweet novel about love, creativity, and accepting life's unexpected turns.

Devil's Kiss
by Sarwat Chadda

As the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn't normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a soldier in her order's ancient battle against the Unholy. Billi's cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He's ready to reclaim his place in Billi's life, but she's met someone new: amber-eyed Michael, who seems to understand her like no one else, effortlessly claiming a stake in her heart. But the Templars are called to duty before Billi can enjoy the pleasant new twist to her life. One of the order's ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have protected for hundreds of years — a cursed mirror powerful enough to kill all of London's firstborn. To save her city from catastrophe, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than any of the Templars could have imagined.

Donut Days by Lara Zielin

Emma has a lot going on. Her best friend's not speaking to her, a boy she's known all her life is suddenly smokin' hot and in love with her, and oh yes, her evangelical minister parents may lose their church, especially if her mother keeps giving sermons saying Adam was a hermaphrodite.

But this weekend Emma's only focused on Crispy Dream, a hot new donut franchise opening in town, where Harley bikers and Frodo wannabes camp out waiting to be the first ones served. Writing the best feature story on the camp for the local paper might just win Emma a scholarship to attend a non- Christian college. But soon enough Emma finds the donut camp isn't quite the perfect escape from all her troubles at Living Word Redeemer.

I'll be trying to catch up on reviews this week, since I've fallen a bit behind (I blame an obscene amount of school work).

What books did you get?

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