Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (August 29)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield

Shipwrecked on an island seven years ago, Lucy has been warned she must never sing, or disaster will strike. But on All Hallows Eve, Lucy hears tantalizing music in the air. When she sings it, she unlocks a terrible secret: She is a Chantress, a spell-singer, brought to the island not by shipwreck but by a desperate enchantment gone wrong.

Her song lands her back in England — and in mortal peril, for the kingdom lies in the cruel grasp of a powerful Lord Protector and his mind-reading hunters, the Shadowgrims. The Protector has killed all Chantresses, for they alone can destroy the Shadowgrims. Only Lucy has survived.

In terrible danger, Lucy takes shelter with Nat, a spy who turns her heart upside-down. Nat has been working with his fellow scholars of the Invisible College to overthrow the Lord Protector, and they have long hoped to find a living Chantress to help them. But Lucy is completely untrained, and Nat deeply distrusts her magic. If Lucy cannot master the songspells, how long can she even stay alive? (From Goodreads)

Published by Simon & Schuster

Release Date: May 7, 2013 (noooooooooo that's almost an entire year).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (August 28)

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 page Don't include spoilers.

"She rolled aside as her cover was smashed to kindling, azalea petals drifting over the oni's shoulders like perfumed snowflakes. The demon loomed above her, twelve feet high, all iron-tipped tusks and long, jagged fingernails."

-Stormdancer, Page 1 (!), by Jay Kristoff.

Yep, this is the second paragraph...I''m swooning over the book already.

Monday, August 27, 2012

In Defense of Sansa Stark

Sorry Sansa, I didn't mean it! 
It wasn't that long ago that I posted a mini-review of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. In that review I referred to the fact that I found Sansa Stark to be the most annoying character everrrr omg! Well, I've finished the third book in the series (and two seasons of the show) and I've had some time to think about what exactly set me off about her character, why so many other people dislike her, and what it means to be a feminine character in a fantasy series.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that Sansa is in her very early teens at the start of this series. She's naive to the ways of court, and what people are really driven to do in their search for power. She still believes in the stories of the handsome gentle knight, and can't see when she's being manipulated. Her younger sister, Arya, fulfills the role of the "female badass". She's strong, brave, and she defies the gender-stereotypes of her time. When I compared Arya to Sansa...well, of course I liked Arya more.

It took me a while, but I finally figured out what it was about Sansa (and potentially other feminine fantasy characters) that I had a problem with. In the first book, Sansa represents everything that I feel that I am. She's not always aware of what's going on around her, and can't see the true nature of people. Arya, on the other hand, is the character that I want to be. She may be stubborn, but she's powerful and is keenly aware of the true nature of the people around her. Mind blown. Of course, I can't say that everyone feels this way. I just know that I've always liked the story of Mulan more than Sleeping Beauty. So, I've got my own stereotypes to deal with.

Now, if I had just waited a couple of books before passing judgement (I should have just listened to Jenny) I would have found that Sansa's character shows a different kind of strength. She's a resilient character (forced to face some truly horrible stuff), and I look forward to seeing her story in the final books of the series.

*Photo of Sansa from

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review: 7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker

When a humiliating picture of Blythe goes viral, she's instantly the target of ridicule at her new school. To salvage her reputation, Blythe teams up with Luke to win the Senior Scramble scavenger hunt. But Luke is an unlikely ally and potentially can't be trusted.

Perhaps it's his Shakespearean witticisms that reel Blythe in despite her better judgment . . . or maybe she just craves the thrill of the game. But as the hunt progresses, their relationship heats up. Soon their madcap mischief spirals out of control. Blythe is faced with arrest and expulsion, among other catastrophes - until Luke shows her what the Scramble (and love) is really about.

Best Bits: This one was cute, just like Walker's previous novel. Blythe was a great character, and I really felt for her. It's not easy to take the high road when you're forced to leave everything you know and start a school where you're mocked by everyone. She also makes plenty of mistakes throughout the book. Hurrah for a character who isn't perfect, and realizes it! She sets out to fix things, and in the process I think she learns quite a bit about herself (and aren't those the best reads). 

Nit picks: So, I think this might be due to my age, but I really wanted more focus on the family aspect of this book. Blythe's parents don't include her in discussions about moving the family. While I understand it might be silly to think that people in their 40's are really going to listen to input of their teens...shouldn't they? I mean, the motivations behind this move have more to do with Blythe's dad's issues. If he wanted to save more money for them to go to college...why not let her in on their finances?  I'm not sure that this was resolved enough for me either. I don't think saying "I'm sorry" toward the end of the book is enough to make up for what Blythe had to go through at the start of the book. 

7 Clues to Winning You

By Kristin Walker
Published by Razorbill
317 Pages
Rating: B

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (August 22)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Furious by Jill Wolfson

Three high school girls become the avenging Furies of Greek legend.

We were only three angry girls, to begin with. Alix, the hot-tempered surfer chick; Stephanie, the tree-hugging activist; and me, Meg, the quiet foster kid, the one who never quite fit in. We hardly knew each other, but each of us nurtured a burning anger: at the jerks in our class, at our disappointing parents, at the whole flawed, unjust world.

We were only three angry girls, simmering uselessly in our ocean-side California town, until one day a mysterious, beautiful classmate named Ambrosia taught us what else we could be: Powerful. Deadly. Furious. (From Goodreads)

Published by Henry Holt & Co.

Release Date: April 16, 2013

Monday, August 20, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (August 21)

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 page Don't include spoilers.

So, I'm about to start my internship...after 18 years of being in school it's finally time to start my career (eep). So I thought I would post some Winnie the Pooh quotes (plus I just finished Monument 14, so I haven't technically started a new book yet).

“If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” 

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”!

So as we get closer to October you'll see me reviewing a book called Zombie Cat: The Tale of  Decomposing Kitty, written by Isabel Atherton and illustrated by Bethany Straker. It's classified as an adult picture book (I'm sure many of you have heard of Go the F*%* to Sleep, it's along those lines).

This one looks like it's made of awesome, and I can't wait.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (August 18)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews! It's a way to highlight the books that everyone got throughout the week.

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network.

When Zoe starts to malfunction (or “glitch”), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Both boys introduce Zoe to feelings that are entirely new. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse.

In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy. (From Goodreads)

The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin

One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better

Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend.

Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most? The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture. (From Goodreads)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book Review: As Dead As it Gets by Katie Alender

It's been three months since Alexis helplessly witnessed Lydia Small's violent death, and all she wants is for her life to return to normal.
But normal people don’t see decaying bodies haunting photographs. Normal people don’t have to deal with regular intrusions from Lydia’s angry ghost, sometimes escalating to terrifying attacks.
At first, it seems that Lydia wants revenge on Alexis alone. But a girl from school disappears one night, and Alexis spots one of Lydia’s signature yellow roses lying on the girl’s dresser the next day. Soon, it becomes clear that several of Alexis’s friends are in danger, and that she's the only person who can save them. But as she tries to intervene, Alexis realizes that her enemy is a much more powerful ghost than she's ever faced before... and that its fate is tied to hers in ways she couldn't possibly imagine.
Not even in her worst nightmares. (From Goodreads)
Best Bits: This one is as creepy as the cover! Seriously, all the books in the series kept me up at night (reading until 3, and then being unable to sleep because I'm freaking out). Alender does a great job of building up the suspense. I was reading what was happening to the characters, but I felt as helpless as Alexis. I came up with a ton of theories, and they were all wrong.  This is the third, and final,  book in the series. The great thing about this series is that we get to see the same characters, but each story is unique. It deals with a variety of paranormal entities, and while the overall theme may be the same, the way that the character's grow is different. I've never felt like I'm rereading the same book with the only difference being in the name of the baddie. I can't wait for more from Alender. Uh, hopefully it's not as scary, though. 
Nit Picks: This one was a little long, at over 400 pages. Obviously I'm not one to shy away from long books, but I do think that it would have had the same impact if some scenes had been cut. 
As Dead As it Gets
By Katie Alender
442 Pages
Published by HyperionPurchased
Rating: B

Waiting on Wednesday (August 15)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus 3)

In The Son of Neptune, Percy, Hazel, and Frank met in Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Camp Halfblood, and traveled to the land beyond the gods to complete a dangerous quest. The third book in the Heroes of Olympus series will unite them with Jason, Piper, and Leo. But they number only six--who will complete the Prophecy of Seven? 
The Greek and Roman demigods will have to cooperate in order to defeat the giants released by the Earth Mother, Gaea. Then they will have to sail together to the ancient land to find the Doors of Death. What exactly are the Doors of Death? Much of the prophesy remains a mystery. . . . With old friends and new friends joining forces, a marvelous ship, fearsome foes, and an exotic setting, The Mark of Athena promises to be another unforgettable adventure by master storyteller Rick Riordan. (From Goodreads)

Published by Hyperion
Release Date: October 2, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (August 14)

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 page
Don't include spoilers.

"Dad was a bit of a radical at the time, and he had a big mouth. A freethinker leftover from the seventies. An also, to Grandad's horror, a democrat." 
-7 Clues to Winning You, Page 43, by Kristin Walker

I'm finding this one hilarious so far! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Author Guest Post: Trisha Leigh

Today I'm lucky enough to host a guest post by the author of Whispers in Autumn, Trisha Leigh! 

A little tidbit that people enjoying tossing around is this: every story has already been told. And it’s true. There have been plenty of books and thesis papers and yes, blog posts written about the four or five main plotlines that are recycled again and again into new tales.

But we want to be writers, we have things to say, stories to tell, characters to develop. How do we give readers something fresh, exciting, and new with a story that’s already been told?

I witnessed a great little example last week on one of my favorite television programs, So You Think You Can Dance.

For those of you who don’t watch (first off, you should), every week the couples draw a genre to perform, then work with a specialized choreographer to create the final piece. The dances that seem to connect best with the audience are Contemporary or Broadway pieces, I think because it’s easier to find familiarity within those movements. The pieces that typically get kids tossed off the show are Ballroom numbers. They’re hard, they’re complicated, there’s no accompanying story and most of us don’t understand the intricacies that make them astounding feats.

I’m one of those people. I admit it. Except for the Viennese Waltz, which I always enjoy, my attention strays while the kids struggle through learning a Salsa or Mambo or Quickstep, etc.
Except last week, So You Think You Can Dance brought back a favorite former contestant, Pasha Kovalev, who choreographed a Cha-Cha for contestants Janelle and Dareian. It was obvious from the rehearsal footage that they were having trouble with the steps, among other things, but when they began to perform and Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe pumped through the speakers, I started to pay attention.

“This is a Cha-Cha, but it feels like a Contemporary piece”, my brain chattered. “I think this is interesting. It’s romantic! I’m not bored!” It stared to shout and get excited over a dance that usually has me looking down to check Twitter.

And even though the performance didn’t go all that well, I remembered it at the end of the night. Pasha took an old dance—the Cha-Cha—and gave it his own update, a new twist, by setting it against an upbeat pop number that is invading every corner of America. Honestly, I’m not sure it worked, but you know what? He tried. He didn’t just offer audiences the same old thing. Pasha maybe thought, I want people to love ballroom dancing as much as I do! How do I make them notice its positive qualities?

I’m making that up. I (sadly) don’t know Pasha. But that’s what I would have been thinking.
And that’s the point of creating, whether you’re a choreographer putting together your seven hundredth performance, an actor reprising a classic role, an artist painting within an established style, or a writer who’s dying to tell a dystopian tale, or one featuring vampires or angels (etc) at a time when publishing adamantly insists those books are done.

If you can do what Pasha did, and make viewers/readers/patrons/agents/etc sit up and pay attention because you did something unexpected and daring, then you’re doing your job as an artist. It may be harder to sell certain genres sometimes, and you might even fail at the attempt (sorry, Pasha), but if that’s what you love, you should try.

Because as ancient as stories are, their authors are not ancient, and we are not uniform, and we all have something special and unique to bring to the table. People may have heard your story before, but they have not heard you tell it.

Thanks again to Trisha! You can check out her website here!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Book Review: Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh

In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots. 

Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone. 

The autumn she meets Lucas, everything changes. 

Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race. 

It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.

And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.

*Note that my review is based off of an ARC that had not been fully copy edited. My review contains no spoilers, but there might be slight changes between the version I read and the version available on Amazon/Barnes & Noble

Best Bits: When I first saw this book on a Waiting on Wednesday post I couldn't want to grab a copy. Luckily for me, I got a chance to review it. Boy did it exceed my expectations! The Others, an alien race, has made the earth a peaceful place, and everyone seems devoted to them. This peace comes at a price, however, but humans are unable to see that. Althea is different from the people around her. People barely acknowledge her, she never experiences summer, and she certainly isn't content. Then she meets Lucas, and her life is thrown into chaos. The two things that have stuck with me most about this one are the world-building and the suspense. Leigh does an amazing job of making the world seem foreign, despite everything taking place on earth. You know when you're reading a book and you see you have a certain number of pages left...and then you realize there's no way that everything can be resolved in those pages?! Yeah, that happened to me. As the book was drawing to a close the action was picking up. Naturally, I was freaking out. She does a good job of dealing with a lot of the questions I had, while simultaneously leaving enough open for the second in the series. For that, I tip my proverbial (bowler) hat. 

Nit Picks: The book starts off right in the middle of things. The upside to this is that people who can't get into books unless that have an interesting first chapter will enjoy it. It took me a little while to understand what was going on, who was who, and what was what. Once everything clicked into place for me, however, the story started to flow.

Whispers in Autumn
By Tisha Leigh
Self-published (but professionally edited)
Received for review
Rating: B+

Check back tomorrow when I'll be hosting a guest post by author Trisha Leigh!

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (August 8)

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Spellcaster by Claudia Gray

When Nadia's family moves to Captive's Sound, she instantly realizes there's more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in the town. Mateo has lived in Captive's Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that a curse has been placed on his family that will cause him to go insane. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl-Nadia-from a car accident come true, he knows he's doomed. 

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family's terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone in the town. Shimmering with magic and mystery, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray's new novel is sure to draw fans of the Hex Hall and Caster Chronicles series, and fans of the hit CW TV show The Secret Circle. (From Goodreads)

Published by HarperTeen

Release Date: March 5, 2013

Young Adult Giveaway Hop

The Prize: Any YA book of your choice (under 16 dollars). This contest is open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to your country!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to enter all of the other contests!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (August 7)

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 page
Don't include spoilers.

"The bad news is, ghosts are everywhere. They're in your kitchen, your garage, your school cafeteria." 

-As Dead as it Gets, Page 1, by Katie Alender

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fairy-Tale Mini-series on Monday

Last week (between Olympic events on TV) I popped in one of my favorite mini-series as I researched for the final paper of my grad school program. Of course, this didn't really work out in my favor because I ended up watching more of the show than looking at research articles.

The premise: A girl with a simple life crashes into a dog on her way to work, and eventually finds herself, along with her father, in a world where fairy-tales are real.

The Cast:

I'm where?!
Virginia is played by Kimberly Williams-Paisley. Her hum-drum life is stifling her. She's taking care of her father, she wants to open a restaurant, and it isn't happening. It's your classic case of 'be careful what you wish for'.

Tony is played by John Larroquette. He's a bumbling oaf, but he's lovable. He's gone from riches to rags, and he spends his time as a live-in handyman at a building for the uber-rich. Unfortunately for him, things get a lot worse before they get better.

Wolf is played by Scott Cohen. You may recognize him if you watched the first couple of seasons of Gilmore Girls. I have to say, he is the most fascinating (and hilarious) character in the series. At times he can be downright frightening...but then you see him getting some impromptu therapy and shopping for self-help books.

The Evil Queen is played by Diane Wiest. She is fabulous, and an actress from one of my favorite movies (Practical Magic). She's viscous, but she's charismatic. I mean, I knew that she was completely and totally evil...but for some reason I just couldn't hate her.

There are a number of other fantastic actors in this one. Ed O'Neill from Modern Family plays Relish the Troll King, Warwick Davis played Acorn the Dwarf, and there are a couple of actors who will seem very familiar if you've seen Game of Thrones.

Some of the visual effects haven't stood up to the test of time (this was released in 2000), but the scenery is amazing. The script has it's cheesy moments, but it's a great story. Sigh, if only that had made a sequel.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (August 1)

Happy August!

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.

Erasing Time by C.J. Hill

In this high-action and romantic futuristic adventure, there is no escape from the future for two contemporary girls pulled out of their own time.

When twins Sheridan and Taylor wake up 400 years in the future, they find a changed world: domed cities, no animals, and a language that’s so different, it barely sounds like English. And the worst news: They can’t go back home.

The twenty-fifth-century government transported the girls to their city hoping to find a famous scientist to help perfect a devastating new weapon. The moblike Dakine fights against the government, and somehow Taylor and Sheridan find themselves in the middle. The only way to elude them all is to trust Echo, a guy with secrets of his own. The trio must put their faith in the unknown to make a harrowing escape into the wilds beyond the city.

Full of adrenaline-injected chases and heartbreaking confessions, Erasing Time explores the strength of the bonds between twins, the risks and rewards of trust, and the hard road to finding the courage to fight for what you believe in. (From Goodreads)

Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: August 28, 2012

Hold the Pony I the only person that didn't know C.J. Hill is a pseudonym for Janette Rallison? What?! I'm definitely picking this one up. 

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