Saturday, October 31, 2009
Here is a newly added one though- the prize is a signed copy of Fire from Not Enough Bookshelves. This blogger does cover wars, comparing the US and UK covers which is a feature I definitely like. It is always interesting to see the different ways countries produce the same book and for this one, I think I actually like the UK cover better. While the US one does make you think that is not modern times in setting, the UK one just looks much more appealing to me. I also love the contrast between the night sky and the bright red dress on this one.
Details for the covers and the subsequent contest can be found here. Ends Nov 5.
Both images were taken directly from her blog page.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Chapter 3 first draft is done… And I am about 14 pages into Chap 4. I am super excited about where that chapter is heading but haven’t really looked at it since last week on Monday because first I came down with a nasty stomach bug that took me out of commission for 3 days then this weekend and early part of this week was spent visiting my parents. But, all the same, I am still liking how it is playing out because mind you, I don’t plan much. I just sit down and write and see what comes out but I was pleasantly surprised with this.
I am inspired often times by music and a 310 mile car drive each way means lots of music and lots of thinking time. I have come up with a few more ideas for things, mostly related to the characters- their back stories, who they are and what’s happened to them. Actually, the focus of the few things I have been mentally developing are more related to minor characters but I think it is still important.
In other exciting news… my good friend Lisa- the one who I must thank for really helping me get into all this blogging stuff- is holding a contest. She can be found here and if you follow my blog, you get extra entries. The prizes are pretty snazzy- it is a great first contest for her.
When I reach 50 followers- which might be very soon given the push of followers thanks to her help which I am undeniably grateful for, I will be holding a contest as well. It might not be as snazzy as hers, but hey, it’s a contest none the less. I just might be jacking her idea of promoting another blog but details to come.
All the same, check out her blog. I like it, but I just might be biased…
I received an email from a publisher at Random House today that pretty much made my day and had me bouncing around happily at 745 this morning and if you know me, that’s shocking. They saw a comment I left on another blog and offered to send me proofs of the related books and possibly even a proof of Fallen, which I am incredibly excited for! I am sure I will be doing another happy dance and posting an excited note when/if I do receive them but I am still kind of on a high from it so now I am telling you all and again, you have no choice really but to listen, assuming you are reading this, although I guess you are choosing to do that so maybe you do have a choice? *blink blink silence*
Currently, I am reading the Monstrumologist and I have to say, AMAZING! The dialogue and the way things are described and it is written is just… phenomenal. It is heavy on the gore factor which makes me love it even more but if you are squeamish, I still recommend this one. I am only 150 pages in but I am in love with it and even if I end up not liking how the plot pans out, I still hold complete respect for this book because of the way it is written so really, I highly suggest everyone reads at least some of it so see what I mean. More to come when I finish it and post the review but things are promising for it.
Tempted came out yesterday… my copy is on its way and somewhere in Dallas now according to the tracker. I am hoping it comes today… but, who knows. The postal service does weird things sometimes.
Also, I need a last minute Halloween costume for a party on Friday and currently have few ideas. Oops? I don’t know where this month went but it totally slipped my mind until my friend reminded me about it yesterday. Two days away, I know- fail. But what can I say? I rarely dress up and last year, I went after work which meant I was wearing scrubs already so I just was a nurse… soooo any new ideas you guys got that is something I can fashion at home? Leave comments. Who knows, maybe it will win you an extra entry or two later in my contest or something.
But on that note, I think I am out of things to ramble about. Mostly, I just felt like posting about me because, well, I can but I think we’ve established that fact. Leave me comments, make me feel special, etc. =)
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Partnered in biology with new student Patch, 16-year-old Nora Gray starts seeing things she cannot explain. At first she's both drawn and repelled by her lab partner, but when she sees V-shaped scars on his back, Nora learns Patch is fighting an ancient battle between the fallen and the immortal.
OPINION: 4 STARS
I've heard a lot of good things about this book and was looking forward to it but I have to admit, I was somewhat disappointed. The overall idea was great- the Nephilim, the story that you get about Patch, etc. But overall, I just felt distanced from it. A lot of it did seem choppy to me. I actually finished this book a few days ago but one, have been sick and busy, and two, just wanted time to really mull it over and have finally decided that I just didn't like Nora. I think she is what really killed this for me. She had a personality that I just couldn't really place and even in how she treated Patch, she was so hot and cold. She wanted to stay away from him and I get that there was some pull towards him, but until almost the end of the book when she flat out said that, there was little explanation why she was acting like she was. Many things in the books seemed disjointed.
I did enjoy Patch's character but felt that he was really the only comedy brought into this book. He had a great sense of humor and cracked many good jokes- some of my favorite lines from this book are from him- although even the mystery surrounding him kind of faded in the way Nora portrayed everything. Many of her reactions to things seemed weird to me and made me have to stop and retrace things which took away from the flow of the book.
One thing that really irked me through much of the book was the cops and maybe its just me, but it seemed incredibly unrealistic. The first time they show up after she thinks someone broke in, they just leave her there when they see that there was no break in and just say have your mom call but don't follow up. Then when they come to question her about another event, they almost outright accuse her and question her- a minor- while her mom isn't even home. I kept wondering if they were part of something bigger and maybe that will be revealed in a future book but for how it stands now, they really just seemed like crappy cops and it just irked me personally and also detracted from the book.
Now that I've said that stuff, the overall plot- great, awesome and unique. I am very intrigued about where it will go from here and I did like the ending. It was perfect for the end of a book and it could have stood alone which means there are even more possibilities for what's next. The last 100 pages her so did draw me in and make me want to keep reading but it wasn't really until then that I did. There were a lot of things that tied together nicely at the end and the different abilities the angels have- and where all they showed up- was pretty original and fit in well.
I give this one 4 stars because I just didn't like Nora, which took away from the story as a whole, but I am sure that if I did like her, I would have loved this book. Also, I was sick this week which I think distanced me more from it and kept me from wanting to do nothing but read. Bad timing as well as the perspective of a character that I couldn't get into is what detracted but overall, it is a great world and holds promise for the future books.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Name 8 Of Your Favorite Things (not all books either)
1. My Boyfriend of course
3. Chad Michael Murray
5. Chicken Lips (with ranch)
6. One Tree Hill
7. Hello Kitty
You can do 5 or 8, its your choice, I had trouble narrowing it down! LOL
(mix it up, be creative)
1. My dog, Toby.
3. The RP's I help run
4. House, MD
5. Forensics/Crime scene analysis
6. Writing, especially my novel
7. Fast cars (which I unfortunately do not have)
8. Lazy days with long naps
But the best part of this? The SURPRISE Contest aspect!!! Free books anyone? *raises hand* beacuse face it guys, I have a horrible book habit and need some other way to support it so here I am, whoring out my blog in my attempts to get them.
Also going on is a mega and huge one that requires your thinking caps and creativity, and a little animation skills to boot.
Donated by an anonymous but VERY generous author, a bundle of 9, yes NINE, as in six is afraid of 7 because 7 - 8 (ate) -9, ARCs.
Visit her site for the rules but the payoff, should you win, is amazing! Books like Fallen, Gone and The Unwritten Rule are included in this. Even if you don't submit an entry, the ones that do get entered are liable to be pretty awesome and creative so check in just to see what people can come up with!
Here are my entries into it:
This one was to recreate a cover of one of the 9 available ARCs. Chasing Brooklyn is the one I chose.
Option 2 was to make your own cover for which I used Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials. Sorry the photo is grainy on this one- for some reason it will only transfer into her from my computer small. *shrugs*
Win 4 books-
The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Voices Of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn
I don't know about you guys, but I have all 4 of these on my WANT list when they come out! Definitely looking forward to all of these- and if you are too, hop over to her blog and while you're there,check out all the other awesome give aways she has going on (and maybe worship her some too for setting all this up...)
Elizabeth Scott is one of my favorite writers, and Voices of Dragons had me going WHOA THAT LOOKS AMAZING from the moment I read the summary awhile ago. I want all four of these!
But hurry, the massive giveaways end tonight!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant . . .Before That Morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature. But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made- Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers. After That Morning, there's only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer. And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible- she turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon's unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.
OPINION: 5 STARS
Fantastic. Brilliant. Heartfelt. Emotional. Those are just a few of the adjectives that crossed my mind while reading this. I am not normally the kind to get emotional and choked up by things, but this book caused me to feel such strong emotions more than once- and not just because of the subject matter. Efaw is one of those rare writers who can infuse intense emotion into their writing and elicit such responses. I felt for and sided with Devon from the start- there was never any intense surges of hatred towards her for me because of how this story was written.
It is not secret to those who knows me that my favorite author is Jodi Picoult. I completely adore her writing and work and this book is on a similar level for me, although obviously meant for a younger group. The writing style and court proceedings are not nearly as in depth and detailed as in Picoult's works, but those are written for an older generation. The character development, the emotions, the casting of a negative character in a good light- the things that make me adore Jodi's writing- were all present in this work and at least in my opinion, that is a huge compliment.
Efaw has taken a sad, often misunderstood and somewhat ignored topic and cast it into the spotlight. She has shown how it can happen- why it still happens in such a privileged society. It even goes a step further to show how even mature, smart, competent women and girls can be doing this. She has taken you into the mind of the supposed murderer and shown you why things are not as black and white as most want to believe. This book gripped me from the start- the imagery is all there, along with the emotion and even the stark contrast and differences in characters. I loved some and hated some and was able to see and understand why the different characters were there- they did serve a purpose and weren't just random, space filling occurances.
I felt for Devon and I could relate to her. By the end of the book, it was easy to understand how and why she has done this- but above all, I especially liked the ending. At first, it came as a shock and I wanted to be outraged but I appreciate it and understand it. It is beautiful and understandable and bittersweet. Initially, I wanted more- wanted more details of what happened, of the future, of even the baby's future but after a few moments of just thinking about it, I started to appreciate how this ended and how things were left. The full effect of things would have been negated, I think, if there was more and I applaud
I give this book 5 stars because it gripped me and kept me turning the pages, I adored the characters, and because of the topic. I highly recommend this to people of any age. It is written on a level for younger generations to be able to enjoy and understand but it is great for all ages. This book is definitely going on my favorites shelf and is the kind of book that I will reread.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
A haunting debut teen novel about a girl who revisits random moments in her life through the objects she has lost--and learns surprising things about her life "and" death.
OPINION: 3 STARS
First off, after reading this book, the idea behind it is downright creepy. In death, Madison is able to visit different moments of her lifetime through objects that surround her in death- a rattle, a set of keys, a planner. But as she's watching these moments, she becomes herself and experiences them and when you really think about it, its a chicken and the egg kind of philosophical circuitous track. She experienced these in life but is there again in death but she had to experience them sometime before she died but if she changes them from death, it changes who she is so its like she's doing it the first time but there had to be a life but now she's visiting it... and yeah, you get the point. Something about that is really quite creepy to me, along with the idea of how things play out after death.
The big mystery for the book is Madison realizing she died and finding out how, as well as trying to figure out the whole afterlife thing. I did like that aspect and couldn't help but laugh at the reason why she had no idea how she died. It was so perfect in all honesty and made so much sense.
As a whole, however, I only give this book 3 stars. A big part of it was just too much high school drama and while I don't entirely mind that, I think that has more to do with the fact that I am several years out of high school and don't deal with it every day. There is little character development but I think that is expected and assumed in this kind of story line but I did like how even though most everything was in flashbacks, they told a story in a logical order.
When I finished the book, I still had a lot of unanswered questions and though again, that is expected because it is death, I would have liked a little more substance and explanation about several things. While this is a unique view on death and ghosts, I wish it explained more of what this particular author was going for.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Straight from his blog, which can be found here:
"On the writing front, I’ve launched into the new Camp Half-Blood series and am having a great time with it. I get SO many emails from worried readers saying please, please, please, please (times fifty) write more Percy Jackson books, but all I can say is chill, guys. I’m putting a new twist on things but it’s not the end of Percy and friends by a long shot. You’ll see where I’m going with it winter 2010 when the first book comes out, and I think you’ll be pleased (and I hope a little shocked and amazed!) but that’s all I can say for now."
And on a related note, just a reminder that the first book is being made into a movie, now in post production and scheduled for release Feb 10. I will admit, I am incredibly excited for this movie. The books are action packed and the descriptions help you to see what is happening- it has so much potential to make a good movie and the world Riordan created translates even better to the big screen in my opinion because there is so much more you can do with it and manipulate without taking away from the basic story in this case.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
SUMMARY (Courtesy of borders.com):
Eddie Fennicks is excited that his family has moved to the small town of Gatesweed. He discovers that his favorite author, Nathaniel Olmstead, had lived there before his mysterious disappearance 13 years ago. Soon, Eddie and his new friends must solve the mystery of the missing author.
OPINION: 4 STARS
Keeping in mind that this book level is grades 4-7, I give this work 4 stars. The writing is simple- but it works and is appropriate for the audience intended. It is a very quick and very easy read but I did find myself falling into it and I can easily imagine that younger audiences would really love this book.
The idea behind it is a good one- an author’s work and the horrors within his books coming alive and haunting the town in which he resides- and I particularly liked the reasons on how and why this was happening. The actual solution to it was great- simple yet a puzzle at the same time. I found myself thinking no, that is too easy- it has to be something harder but I didn’t actually think of the very obvious answer.
My main critique with the book is the overall lack of character growth but everything does happen in a relatively short time frame. There are some true emotions shown in there but overall, that aspect of the story seemed to be lacking in my opinion.
Overall, everything is explained but there was one loose end that was never tied up with bothered me related to one specific person. I can make an assumption about that character but at the same time, I cannot be sure and that sort of bothers me in this case.
The ending, however, was great- I really enjoyed the very last part but I won’t say how or why, you just need to read it to find out but I think most book lovers will appreciate it.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Chapter 3 is started and about 8 or 9 pages in. I keep hitting a little bit of a wall in regards to where I want it to go- I had the same problem with Chapter 2 but am trying to just work through it and just get it going somewhere, even if it ends up changing. Chapter 2 has about 15 pages already of story line that I have cut out but I figure it makes for nice little teasers and extras later on should by trilogy get big (and I have every intention of it being that amazing).
I learned about this from my friend's blog (Books Not Bombs, link on the side) but there is this challenge for aspiring writers called 1000 words a day (there is also a 500 words a day variation) where you try to write 1000 words a day at least 6 days of the week. At first, I couldn't help but think wow, that's a lot of words- until I looked at how many words I had written on Friday while I was at work. It was about 1,650- which I was surprised at though I imagine that is normal for me. I tend to be able to just sit down and start writing and can often crank out 8-15 pages at work, depending on my flow and how much time I have.
So, I have decided that I am going to try my best to make a weekly update on Sunday's, and to probably post my total word or page count for the week. This, of course, is assuming I even remember to try to keep track... so, really, no promises there.... Although I will admit that I usually try to email my progress each day with the date on it and chapter, in part just so that should I get nostalgic down the line, I can look back and see how far I got each day and what not.
My goal for this week is to finish Chapter 3 and get started on 4 but hopefully finish it. I also need to make an outline, adding to it as each chapter is done for when I start trying to find a publisher...
In other news, I have come to realize how bad my book shopping addiction is, given the number of unread books I own. As a result (and after looking at my really high credit card bill), I am going to try my very very best to not buy any more new books for awhile, apart from a few preorders coming out that I want, most of which are already ordered. And so far, I have gone a whole week without buying one book- which is really kind of amazing for me.
Okay, that is enough updating and rambling for now. =D
Friday, October 9, 2009
There were plenty of twists thrown into this tale- some of which I predicted and some that I didn’t and others that were painfully obvious but I simply didn’t put any thought into them. And I have made a revelation while reading this story which again is likely ostensibly blatant but I chalk it up to the fact that I am actually working on my own trilogy now. Several of those twists, in retrospect, are completely logical and you can even go wow, that makes sense. And yet, as a reader who has no idea of what is coming- I find myself grinning and gasping and falling more into the story with each revealed caveat and facet. As a writer, however, I find myself planning things out for my own trilogy and rethinking it, wondering if it’s too blatant and too easy and too, well, logical. But reading this book- now that I am starting to look more at plot lines and how things tie together and hints early on that become something later- I realize that things are often supposed to be logical and make sense. What seems obvious to me as the writer is not necessarily obvious to the reader and perhaps I have just been delayed in such a realization but it has only made me appreciate such twists more and I wonder if perhaps the reason I find myself grinning so much after finishing this novel is for this reason- that newfound appreciation- or if it is just that it is a well written, well thought out novel.
Whether everyone else knew it or not that this is the first in a trilogy, I didn’t prior to reading it and only when I finished it did I come to know that. In a way, I think that made me love the story more. Although there is no huge blow out in this book, the pacing was great and the way the reader followed each clue and each step- learned more about the prophecy right there with Lia made it even more amazing in my opinion. Many things I didn’t consider happening because Lia didn’t consider it. It was as shocking to her as it was to me and I love writing styles such as that. I am now very much looking forward to the next installment in this trilogy and am actually glad to know it isn’t going to be over yet. I have a better idea of what the next book is meant for, and now know to expect the final bang in the third and final book.
Overall, I actually really did like Lia. She is confused and scared but she is not dim witted or a coward. She faces her prophecy and everything around her as bravely as she can and she cares immensely for those around her. She loves book and she takes comfort in her family. She is protective of her brother, and a friend to her sister even if that same sister stands on the other side of this prophecy- if that sister is something more sinister and damaging. Her actions make sense- I never found myself questioning why she was doing something. In ways, I could relate to her (as much as you can relate to someone living 200 years before you). I also think this story is made even better because while it very much centers around both Lia and Alice, it is in Lia’s perspective- the reader is inherently biased towards her side of the story, her plight- but it gives me plenty to think about. To wonder about the events we don’t know about- the things even Lia is in the dark towards- that have led Alice to where she is.
I give this book 4 stars only because while I did enjoy it and fell into it, it didn’t absolutely grip me and make me think about nothing but it, where I lose sleep staying up to read and where I pull it out at every chance I get. In all truthfulness, I think that is just because this book centers around unraveling the prophecy and understanding both it and Lia’s place within it. It is a good mystery- a great puzzle to figure out- but it also lacks mind stealing action. I would not ask for that high volume of action to be in this book- it does not belong there- but unfortunately, I believe that is why it didn’t totally grip me. Am I going to get the next book as soon as it comes out? Absolutely. Do I see the next book and especially the third being full of action and gripping me to it? Definitely.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
SUMMARY (Courtesy of goodreads.com):
Madison Sabatini thought she knew who she was: an almost-sophomore with a bright future. The newest photographer on her school paper. A shopaholic with great hair and a fabulous wardrobe. Then, in a flash, everything changed.
Now she's stuck in Sandyland, a gloomy beach town in the middle of nowhere, living with her parents in a crappy hotel "suite." Instead of spending the summer with her friends at home, she's hanging out with pink-haired Delilah, an artist who works in a shop called Psychic Photo, and a skater boy named Duncan who's totally not her type. Except, maybe he is . . .
Determined to make the best of things, Madison throws herself into her one passion: photography. But when strange figures start appearing in her pictures—people who weren't there when she snapped the shots, people who are later reported dead—she begins to question everything about who she is . . . and who she wishes she could be.
OPINION: 2 STARS
If I hadn't read the description of this book and went in knowing absolutely nothing, I probably would have liked this book much more. But reading the description led me to believe this book would be much different than it turned out to be- I thought this would be a true ghost story and while the reason for the very few 'ghosts' that turned up in the pictures was unique, I just didn't really care for it.
This is one of those character development/change of heart kind of books more than anything else- not a spooky, suspense kind of thing. If I take out what I expected it to be and the hopes I had for it, I did enjoy the book overall. For a quick read (only 221 pages), it was well written considering limitations that come with such a short book.
But the hardest thing about this book for me was not that it wasn't what I expected- it was the fact that the main character really annoyed and her parents grated every nerve of mine. In some ways, I really felt like the main character was just an idiot towards a lot of things and her shallow comments and thoughts throughout the book definitely irked me. I understand that was her personality but it was still hard to sit there immersed in.
The characters, however, were well done, even if some of them annoyed me. They all showed some sort of growth and their personalities and different facets were revealed slowly. The stark contrast between the life Madison knew before their 'vacation' and the lives of the people she meets at the beach meld together surprisingly well which was the biggest redeeming part of this book.
Overall, I was disappointed in the actual events which did dampen my view of the story as a whole but there were also several aspects I did enjoy.
A devilish debut by a brother-sister team invites us into the world of the elite Marlowe School, where some gifted students are having a hell of a year. 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-- they start to suffer 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.
OPINION: 3 STARS
Choppy. That was the word that kept coming to mind while I read this book. It jumped from scene to scene, character to character quickly and somewhat randomly and I found myself often having to stop and reread something to get onto the new character mindset/path only to have to do it again a few paragraphs or pages later. The constant shifting did detract from the story for me just because it didn't seem smooth and sometimes I didn't really see why things were cut and shifted when they were.
This is one of those deal with the devil kind of stories but one thing I did like was that typically, the person who sold their soul gets the reward now and suffers later but here, the children got both at once. Belle was beautiful but she had a horrible odor that pushed everyone away from her- admired from afar but never close. Vileroy truly was a master at tricks and she pitted the children together in the most subtle of ways where the reader only knew because of their omniscient perspective- if it weren't for that, I assume many facets of the story would have remained in the dark.
Even with the all knowing aspect, there were still plenty of things that didn't unfold until the very end, particularly everything related to Bice. Her story was the most well done in my opinion and the final explanation for everything with her was the most put together out of all of them. The relationships and personalities of the different children as well as they way they interacted with the world were intriguing for me but this book didn't completely take me by storm and make me want to keep reading till I finished- it didn't hold my attention enough.
The ending left me feeling iffy- I completely adored the closing line and thought it was fantastic and tied everything up but at the same time, I felt like there was a sense of things left undone. It was far from a happily ever after and truly bittersweet which made me adore it more but it was the last line that did hold it all together for me.