Monday, January 31, 2011

Books for me!

I really love to get books I haven't read yet.  I love it more when they aren't borrowed and I can keep them.  I love them even more (if possible) when they are presents!

Recently I received bunches of books in the mail and it made me a very happy girl.  Here's a quick list of what I got - what new books are you reading?

Books already out:

1. The Dust of 100 Dogs (reviewed) by A.S. King
2.  The Replacements by Brenna Yovanoff
3.  The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
4.  Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
5.  Matched by Ally Conde
6.  Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
7.  Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
8.  Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
9.  Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
10. Everlost by Neal Shusterman
11. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
12. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
13. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

ARC's that are either not out yet or very recently out:

1.  The Trouble with Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante (Jan. 6, 2011) (currently reading)
2.  On the Volcano by James Nelson (reviewed and posted)  (April 14, 2011)
3.  Where She Went by Gayle Forman (April 5, 2011)
4.  Department Nineteen by William Hill (March 31, 2011) (currently reading)
5.  Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach (March 31, 2011) (read/writing review)
6.  Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck (reviewed and posted)  (Oct. 28, 2010)
7.  Close to Famous by Joan Bauer (Feb. 3, 2011)
8.  Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Oct. 19, 2010)
9.  Rosebush by Michele Jaffe (Dec. 7, 2010) (read/writing review)
10. Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Jan. 11, 2011) (reviewed and posted)
11. Blade Book 3 by Tim Bowler (Feb. 17, 2011)

So that's a seriously wide range of books!  I'm geeked to be reading all these wonderful authors and I've already read and reviewed two of them since I received.  I have another review in the works and have started two more of them - yes, two - I like to have two books going so I can have one at home and one with me. :)

Do you have any books suggestions?  I have started a list, for when I'm done with these and the first one on it is A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young.  I saw it on The Story Siren's blog and it sounds great!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck

Publisher: Dial Books, Penguin Group, Inc.
Publish Date: Oct. 28, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3454-8
Pages: 193
Cover Art: Jennifer Kelly

Kerry's a sophomore at Pondfield High School. She sits at lunch pretending to talk on her cell, because her best friend transferred schools and she has no one to hang out with. One day she's swept in THE circle of girls: Tanya-a Senior, beautiful, in charge, organised and so knowledgeable about everyone and everything. Natalie -a Senior, the prettiest one. Makenzie - a Junior, 'ginger' hair, tiny and full of life.

Right from the beginning Tanya repeatedly says to Kerry "Try to keep up".  At first Kerry wonders if maybe they are the 'mean girls', then decides that they aren't, I mean Tanya keeps in communication with EVERYONE.  Besides, they took her in, right?  They can't be mean girls. I found myself saying 'they're using you!' to Kerry as I read, but Kerry is telling the story of what DID happen, so she already knows the ending and can't change it.

From the first day she hangs with the girls, Kerry notices that time...stretches...when you're with Tanya. Lunch goes on forever, or at least until Tanya's ready to move on. Natalie and Makenzie come across as the beloved pets next to Tanya's Queen. What does that make Kerry? The chambermaid, perhaps?

One day at school Kerry gets a call from Tanya, but she doesn't answer in time.  She tries to call back, but there's no answer. It turns out that the girls have been in a car accident and all three were killed.  Tanya was calling Kerry when she went off the road into the ditch. Kerry slumps into grief, but I couldn't decide if it was really for the three girls or if it's for herself and her social standing.

A month later, Tanya texts Kerry telling her to meet them at Aunt Lily's in New York.  What?! She's DEAD!  I know, right?! But does Kerry question it?  Nope, she picks up and takes the train to New York.  Here's where it gets weird. The girls greet Kerry at Aunt Lily's apartment (Aunt Lily is in Paris, apparently). They order food, dress in Aunt Lily's amazing old fashioned dressing room and go out to party. By this time I was annoyed by Kerry.  But then I remembered what it's like to be the shy girl, the new girl, the girl without friends and for the first time in the story, understood what Kerry was thinking.  How could she let these girls go? They were her only friends!  Who cares if they're bossy and kinda snooty and always saying "Try to keep up".  Not Kerry.  At first.

I was a little surprised at the ending and I think you will be too.  By the end, Kerry has learned something valuable and looks at people in her life with a new perspective.  I finished the book in one sitting, which I haven't done in awhile, but I just couldn't put it down.  I was too busy Trying to Keep Up.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King

Publisher: Flux, Llewellyn Publications
Publish Date: February 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7387-1426-4
Pages: 320
Cover Art: Gavin Dayton Duffy

I can’t help but think that “The Dust of 100 Dogs” isn’t really a YA novel. I know that some teenagers would definitely read it and love it, but reading it as an adult I found some of it to be very thought provoking. I’m glad to see that YA is beginning to blur that line between YA and Adult novels. So let’s take a look at this one…but first, can I mention the cover?  LOVE IT! I adore the mod looking girl and the ship and the skull...just everything about it screamed "you want to read me!"  Anyway, back to the review:

What do you do when your village is destroyed, you lose your true love and get sold into marriage?  You become a bloodthirsty pirate! Emer Morrisey watched her village be destroyed at six years old, on her birthday.  She escaped with the help of her uncle who beat her regularly until she quit talking. Emer didn’t talk for years, until she began embroidering again. In the meantime, she met her true love, Seanie. Seanie didn’t talk either. When her uncle sells her into marriage with a Frenchman, she loses all hope of ever seeing Seanie again. But Emer is a fighter and eventually ends up as the Captain of a pirate ship. It’s a struggle getting there and she has to avoid a second Frenchman who is obsessed with her. As is the case with pirates, Emer is killed and as she lay dying she is cursed to live out the lives of 100 dogs, with her memory intact, before she becomes a girl again.
Saffron Adams is born into a poor family. Everyone believes she’s a genius because she knows so much history. Saffron isn’t a genius, she’s the reincarnation of Emer. She has all of Emer’s knowledge, including where her buried pirate’s treasure is. All she has to do is wait until she’s eighteen and then she can go get it. I didn’t feel that I got to know Saffron or to care about her as a character, because Emer overpowered her.  Even when she’s listening to her parents, she’s thinking about how she would skin them or mutilate them – that’s all the pirate, Emer. She continuously works toward being able to go to the tropics to find Emer’s buried treasure. Saffron seemed to be simply a vessel to carry Emer’s thoughts, feelings, wants and needs – with none of her own.
There are eight “Dog Facts” sections in the book – each describing some facets of dog behavior, from Emer’s experience.  These seem to be applicable to humans as well as dogs and are quite interesting, as you’ll find yourself thinking that you know people that act like that.
I won’t tell anymore as I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone, but I will say that it is one of the best books I have read and I’ve already loaned out my copy to one person and recommended it to several more. The story captivated me and I found myself rooting for Emer to get what she wanted and to have a happy ending.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Randomness About Me

I suppose that it's time for me to say something about myself here. I'm full of randomness, so here goes, try to keep up. ;)  I've been married for 11 years and while we aren't very much alike on the surface, our values are the same and that's what makes us work. :)  He likes country and classic rock music, western movies, hunting, fishing and all that outdoorsy stuff.  Me? Not so much!  I have two children, an almost 16yo daughter and a 9yo son.  I also have a pretty pretty princess cat names Sasha. I prefer original art to mass produced, handmade to store bought, homemade food to eating out. I moderate on an amazing craft site in my spare (??) time: I work at a college and love what I do - not everyone gets to say that, but I do!

I love music, almost all kinds of music. My favorite genre? British punk, the Fratellis in particular. Cute punk boys in skinny jeans are hard to resist! Let's go to my music list, hit shuffle and see what comes up:
1) Devil's Haircut by Beck
2) Last of the American Girls by Greenday
3) Under Pressure by David Bowie/Queen
4) Bohemian Like You by The Dandy Warhols
5) Rehab by Amy Winehouse

Yeah, that's kind of a weird list, but that's not as weird as it gets!  What's on your music list?

I loved going to movies as a teenager and young adult. Then I became a mom and discovered that I either didn't have the time, the babysitter or the money to go to a lot of movies. Last year a friend gave me a free month of Netflix and I love it! We watch all sorts of movies, from kids to drama and everything in between.  The next five movies on my list:
1)  The Expendables
2)  Nanny McPhee Returns
3)  Reign Over Me
4)  Legend of the Guardians
5)  The Other Guys

I love to craft, although I am not a serious crafter.  You know, the ones that make things that look like they were purchased at a high end store. :) I dabble in a lot of mediums and just have fun with it. I can sew, mainly PJ pants (a vital skill) and purses/totebags; make simple jewelry; paint shirts/hoodies/etc (not stencil, that's a whole different thing!); simple crochet and general craftiness.

My favorite stuff:  Mr. Spock of original Star Trek; Data from Star Trek Next Generation; Hermione Grander from JK Rowlings Harry Potter; Vlad Tod from Heather Brewer's The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod; Rachael Morgan from Kim Harrison's The Hollows series; Nightmare Before Christmas - I LOVE Sally; the Goth culture - I am, as my sister assures me, in touch with my inner Goth; the colors green/silver/purple/red/black; I collect little animals to sit on my desk and weird stuff to put on my 'book' shelf - it is, in fact, a Thing shelf, there are very few books on that one; lastly Coca Cola and Iced Tea.

Stuff I don't like: the colors yellow and orange; being labeled based on what I look/dress like; Pepsi; hmmm, this list seems to be pretty short.  Good for me! :D

Randomness: what, you thought we covered this already? Silly readers! ;) I am a list maker. I believe in taking responsibility and stepping up to do what's right. I believe that you will do the right thing...unless you prove me wrong. I believe that everyone has the ability to succeed in whatever they want to do.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sleepless by Cyn Balog

Publisher: Random House Delacorte Press
Publish Date: July 2010
ISBN: 978-0-385-73848-4
Pages: 224

When I was a little girl, my Grandma told me about how the Sandman would sprinkle sand in my eyes to force me to sleep.  I. Was. Terrified.  Until I heard the song "Mr. Sandman" by The Chordettes on the oldies station.  Then I decided that the Sandman was a cute guy in a tux who brought me wonderful dreams...and maybe a boyfriend! ;)

It would seem that Cyn Balog had the same thoughts!  The story starts right off with Julia's boyfriend, Griffin (great name!), falling asleep at the wheel.  Griffin has been recruited to join the Sandmen.  Sandmen are in charge of several 'clients' at a time for one hundred years minimum.  At that point they may train a replacement and become human again.

One problem:  Griffin doesn't want to let go off Julia, especially since his best friend AND his trainer, Eron, are both crazy over her.

Griffin's struggle to let go of his human life and Julia, Eron's struggle to learn to be human again and Julia's struggle to learn who she really is makes this book worth reading.  I didn't think I would like it this much, but I read it in one night!

I would like to take a moment here to apologize to my personal Sandman for being a difficult sleeper. :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

First off, you all need to know that I've never been a fan of zombies.  I never watched zombie movies or played zombie games.  So when my sister gave me The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I was hesitant. I mean, seriously, the cover's pretty, but...  since I trust my sister wholeheartedly about books, I read it.  On the way home.  From Missouri to Michigan.  The whole thing.  It's amazing!

The cover art and the title drew me in, I wanted to like it. The book is beautifully written and I couldn't get enough of it. In fact, I read the second book (which my sister handily gave me at the same time) and it is just as fascinating.

Mary lives in a secluded fenced village and the villagers believe they may be the last people on Earth. In the forest all around are zombies - get it - hands and teeth? The zombies will try to grab or bite people that venture too close to the fence around the village. It would seem that the main goal of the zombies is infection, secondary is eating. Ewwww! Through a quick series of events, Mary ends up with no parents, a brother that won't let her live with him and no man to speak for her. See, if a woman doesn't have a man to speak for her, she has to go live with the Sisterhood - the group of nuns that control the village. Mary learns, or half-learns, things with the Sisterhood that make her question staying in the village. She dreams that there's something more out there. Her mother told her wonderful stories of the ocean and Mary is determined to see it someday.

Did I mention the love triangle? See, Mary loves Travis and maybe his brother Harry and they both love her, and maybe her best friend Cassandra. It's a little weird, but never off-putting. It actually enriches the story during their struggle for survival.

At first Mary seems a bit selfish and self-serving, but that's what keeps her going when things get tough. She is always determined to find a way to stay alive and to see the things she's dreamed of. In the end, I had a great respect for Mary, she followed her dream and gets at least part of what she wants.

An excellent read and thank goodness there's a companion book "The Dead-Tossed Waves" and a third coming out in March 2011 "The Dark and Hollow Places". Even if you're not a fan of zombie-related books, please take a chance on this series, you won't be sorry.

Pages:  336