Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Inspirational Words from Maggie Steifvaeter

I am one of those people that have a hard time when something is hard. I tend to drop stuff. More often than not because it is taking longer to accomplish than I had originally hoped.

I have an entire SUITCASE of scrapbooking paper and supplies sitting in my basement. It took us two years living in our house to actually take the time to use the paint we bought (before we even moved into our house) to paint our tiny bathroom. So tiny I call it a water closet. The only reason I own a laptop was I wanted to finish my first book, but I still have yet to do that.

I think the hard part for me is I know people who do these activities a lot more efficiently than I do, and then my competitive nature comes out, tells me I will never be able to do scrapbooking as crafty looking or professionally as "so and so", I will never have the energy or decorating ability to just do a painting project and know it will turn out great as "you know who" and I will never be able to crank out a book as fast or as cleanly as "such and such". So I quit.

I took the step to go to a local one day writer's conference this weekend and it helped me remember how much I want to write. Then today Maggie Steifvaeter's blog has an incredible post that made me laugh and made me motivated to get back on track.

So if I am reviewing less than normal, the reason is I am going to be spending more time writing. Honing my own craft and FINISHING something that I have started. Cause it's time to break my pattern of quitting.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

In my Mailbox (11)

As always, thanks to the StorySiren for hosting IMM.

From the Library:
by Melissa Marr

Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; everything.
Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first-century faery tale.

by Claudia Gray

Bianca wants to escape.

She's been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He's not the "Evernight type" either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.

"I couldn't stand it if they took it out on you," he tells Bianca, "and eventually they would."

But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.

From Publishers:
by Melissa Marr
paperback released April 1st

Seth never expected he would want to settle down with anyone—but that was before Aislinn. She is everything he'd ever dreamed of, and he wants to be with her forever. Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen.

by Melissa Marr
published April 20, 2010

Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.

Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries' coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani's death.

Ani isn't one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

by Claudia Gray
Paperback released December 1, 2009

Evernight Academy: an exclusive boarding school for the most beautiful, dangerous students of all—vampires. Bianca, born to two vampires, has always been told her destiny is to become one of them.

But Bianca fell in love with Lucas—a vampire hunter sworn to destroy her kind. They were torn apart when his true identity was revealed, forcing him to flee the school.

Although they may be separated, Bianca and Lucas will not give each other up. She will risk anything for the chance to see him again, even if it means coming face-to-face with the vampire hunters of Black Cross—or deceiving the powerful vampires of Evernight. Bianca's secrets will force her to live a life of lies.

Yet Bianca isn't the only one keeping secrets. When Evernight is attacked by an evil force that seems to target her, she discovers the truth she thought she knew is only the beginning....

by Claudia Gray
Published March 9, 2010

Bestselling author Claudia Gray’s Evernight series continues. In Hourglass, Bianca and Lucas have found a way to be together. But it means lying to the people who care about them the most.

*These are two series' that I have been wanting to read for a long time! I am excited to get into them!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review THE DEAD TOSSED WAVES by Carrie Ryan

The Dead-Tossed Waves (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #2) The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Published March 9th 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 407 pages

Placement in the Pile: Top Picks

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

This is one of those books that is so frightening and captivating that I could not put it down.

Dead Tossed Waves is narrated from Gabry's perspecitve, the daughter of Mary from the first book. They live by the sea that Mary was so desperate to get to. The ocean is not what Mary hoped it would be though. It is full of Unconsecrated (called Mudo in this book) that wash up on the shore daily.

Mary has raised Gabry in this small town trying to keep her protected from the horrors she lived in the Forest. But Gabry feels lost and affraid of the outside world mroe than safe.

Fairly early in the book there is a big heartbreak moment that sets Gabry on a path that throws her into hers and her mother's past.

As with Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves is a beautifully written novel that deals with some really hard things. Even more heartbreaking and terrifying than the first, The Dead-Tossed Waves is more of an emotional journey than Mary's.

I felt that Mary's entire purpose was to get to the sea. Gabry on the other hand just wants to find out who she is, answer questions about her world, and when she is faced with the frightening realities of the infected Mudo she has to learn what is left in the world left living for.

In many ways I felt it was more satisfying than the first, in others more frustrating in Gabry's repetative thoughts.

All in all I could not put it down and I am very much looking forward to more!

On Carrie Ryan's website she has announced three short stories being published in some story anthologies and she also announced "there's a third book in the series and it should be coming out in Spring 2011. It's already written and the title is The Dark and Hollow Places." For more information go to Carrie's Website http://carrie-me.blogspot.com/

View all my reviews >>

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. (I got the image from The Bookie Bunch) Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
By Nancy E. Turner

"I have much to read and have discovered a peculiar box, packed underneath other boxes at the bottom in a corner of the wagon. It had a slick piece of something white and shiny and shaped like a long necked bird on the lid, and a tiny little hook and eye bolt to close it, and when I opened it I found some wonderous things." pg. 53

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either a link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your two 'teasers' in a comment here (if you don't have a blog). Thanks and Happy Reading!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Incredible Cover!

As mentioned before my good friend Ally Condie's first nationally published book, MATCHED will be out in November! WOOT! Today on her website she posted the cover for her MATCHED.

I LOVE it. ADORE it. CRAVE it!

I can't say enough about how excited I am to get my hands on this book! You should all follow Ally on her site because she is just plain awesomeness!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Review HUSH HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick

I thought I would try this. It is a way to post reviews you have done on GoodReads on blogger without having to re-type it all...

Hush, Hush Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have read many rave reviews for this book, (including my co-blogger on My Pile of Books already) and some that didn't like the sexual tension and how it was presented.

As long as this book isn't read by super hormonal teenagers I thought it was great! Patch was predatorial at times, but I think Nora's reactions to him were soemthing many girls can relate to!

I was that nerdy girl that had crushes on the "bad boys" in school. One in particular. We flirted in class ALL the time, and he exasperated me much the way Patch exhasperated Nora. Of course I didn't take it any farther, but reading this book was kindof a "what might have been" experience for me, if I had let our flirting relationship be anything more.

I also loved the mythology.

My biggest complaint. Take a basic story arch of Twilight and/or The Dark Divine and you practically have the same story. Just a different "monster". But hey, it works, it sells and I couldn't put it down last night!

View all my reviews >>

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK by Sydney Salter

by Sydney Salter
Published April 5, 2010 by Graphia

Placement in the Pile: Reaching New Heights

It’s the summer before senior year and Polly Martin has sworn off boys. Who needs the hurt and confusion? Five recent breakups have left her with an unnatural knowledge of NASCAR, the ultimate hiker’s outfit, a student council position, the sixth highest score on the Donkey Kong machine at the mall, and a summer job at Wild Waves with ex #2 Sawyer Holmes.

Success seems a sure thing when Polly’s grandmother, the syndicated advice columnist, Miss Swoon, moves in for the summer. Polly almost doesn’t mind sharing a room with her little sister, Grace. Think of all the great advice she’ll get!
Everything is going according to plan except... Miss Swoon turns out to be a man-crazy septuagenarian! And then there’s Xander Cooper. If only he wouldn’t keep showing up at Wild Waves with his adorable cousins every afternoon — and what is he writing in that little notebook?

No advice column in the world can prepare Polly for the lessons she learns when she goes on a group camping trip (with three too many ex-boyfriends). Polly is forced to see people for who they are — a blend of good and bad qualities that can’t be reduced to a list or a snappy answer in a Miss Swoon column.

None of the summaries I have read about this book really prepared me for it. The camping trip is a short part of the story, although some pivotal things happen there, it isn't what the story is about.

Polly's world is realistic. Rooted in a home torn apart by divorce, mis-communications with her mother, feeling abandoned by her father, and dealing with teenage hormones and social status. In the end SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK was a touching story of Polly's journey to learning who she is, and that she is worthy of being loved.

Slow in the beginning, I suggest you keep reading and give this book a try. Polly's seemingly shallow life is revealed in bits and pieces and I came to love her character and really feel for her.

*On another note:
We reached 100 followers this last week! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am constantly amazed that people care to read what I (and my co-bloggers, I can't forget them!) think about the books we are reading. A HUGE thanks to everyone who has been part of that! I am thinking of what to do to celebrate this, so I will let you know soon!

Friday, April 9, 2010


Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Details: Published July 29th 2008 by The Dial Press (first published 2007)

Hardcover, 274 pages

Placement in Pile: Top Picks

Summary: “ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.


I know this isn't YA, but I had to review this book. I know I read a LOT of adult literature as a teen, so I feel okay about recommending one. Especially this one. I've been hearing people say they loved this book for a LONG time. I was so busy reading YA though that I kept putting it off. Then it got picked for a book club that I'm supposed to facilitate, and I figured I'd better read it! ;-)

It is told entirely through letters, which I didn't realize at first. I kept waiting to get to the "story." But it is done so well, soon you don't even care that everything is letters. The voice is fabulous, I love Juliet's witticisms and engrossing "letter writing" skills. It made me long to receive some really fabulous, long-awaited letters in the mail (instead of just quick little notes on email). I also learned so much about WWII that I didn't know. I didn't realize that the islands in the channel were occupied during the war.

If you are looking for an easy, sometimes hilarious, always engrossing read that has some depth and meat to it, without getting too dark, this book is for you!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Share the Blog Love

Thanks to Kate at the Neverending Shelf for putting this together! I was just thinking, I need to get a blog award or something so I could share with you my new favorite blog finds!

Here are the rules for Share the Blog Love!
  • Create a post sharing with us 3 blogs that you love. They can be new, old, or just underappreciated.
  • Your post should include the blog's title, url link, and a small blurb about why you enjoy this blog so much.
  • Leave link to your post in Mr. Linky (over at Neverending Bookshelf) so that we can all see your picks. And hopefully, we can all discover a few news blogs that we did not know about.
1) On the Cluff Reviews

Sara has been a reader of my blog nearly since the beginning. She decided not long ago to start her own review blog, mostly books but she reviews movies, tv shows and music as well. I agree with her reviews a lot, like the stuff she is reviewing and have wanted to support her new blog. I know how hard it is to be putting so much time and effort into blogging and not have anyone read it! This one's for you Sara!

2) Books by Their Cover

Yan at Books By Their Cover may not be new to you, but I love her unique concept of focusing on cover love as well as giving great reviews. She is worth checking out!

3) Bites

Donna at Bites has such a unique blog. The look, the theme, the edge. It is all great. She reads a lot more edgy stuff, but for me it is good to read reviews of those books because a lot of them really do appeal to me after reading her reviews, and I wouldn't otherwise pick them up! I like review sites that help me expand my reading repertoire.

So there you have it folks! Check them out, follow them go to Neverending Bookshelf and vote for your own faves.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Young Adult Authors Against Bullying

If you are on FB please come join this group! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=105581906147904&ref=nf#!/group.php?gid=105581906147904&ref=share There are lots of links from authors and their experiences with bullying in their lives or the lives of those they love.

Too many children are bullied so horribly that they end up doing bad things to themselves. Even "nice" kids can be very harsh on their friends and don't understand the effects it can have.

When I was in Elementary school I was on the chubby side. I wasn't the biggest kid in school, but big enough that I could in no way be accepted by the "cool" crowd. Some days I would cry all the way home from school on the bus and walk all the way down my street being taunted by other children.

I was lucky that I had a strong family that loves me and helped me know that I was wanted, but it still affects my self esteem. The things that young children do often doesn't compute in their brains as being bad, but it can have horrible lasting effects.

Bullying isn't just something young children participate in.

In High School I was also bullied among a group of people that should have accepted me. I remember sitting alone on the bus coming home from a choir competition. Food being thrown at me from the back of the bus and a group of taunting girls. I chose to ignore them and not make a scene but I bawled the whole way home. Not one person thought to say "stop it" or "enough".

Again, I was lucky that when others who love me, including my director found out about it they stood up for me and helped me know I was wanted. (And the next year I was in a different choir and had no more problems from then on) But it still led to me harbouring bad feelings for fellow classmates.

We need to teach our children to be kind in ALL situations. Regardless of if we think someone is strange or different or what other people may think of them. Children feel awkward enough on their own, they don't need other people reminding them of the fact that they are different and don't belong.

This post isn't intended for sympathy. It is intended to show you what kids can do without their parents ever knowing, at any age.

Again, please check out the page and be part of this great group!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Book vs. Movie: PENELOPE

PENELOPE the novel written by Marilyn Kaye was published on March 20th 2007 by St. Martin's Griffin. The book was an adaptation of the screenplay of a movie already showing in other countries than the USA by the same name, starring Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, and Reese Witherspoon.

PENELOPE is a fairy tale.

Penelope Wilhern has everything a girl could want: A wealthy, socialite family, an enchanted bedroom and some of the coolest clothes around. There is only one problem: She was born into a cursed family and has the face of a pig.

Hidden away from the world, Penelope now finds herself subjected to a string of snobby, blue-blooded bachelors in a desperate attempt to find her a husband in order to break the curse. Though she yearns for something greater, what?s a girl to do when faced with a determined mother and her matchmaking sidekick? Hoping to snap a photo of the mysterious girl, mischievous tabloid reporter Lemon hires down-on-his-luck Max to pose as a prospective suitor and infiltrate the family. But when Max finds himself truly drawn to Penelope, he can?t bring himself to expose and disappoint her, so he just disappears. Fed up with this latest betrayal and determined to live life on her own terms, Penelope decides to break free from her family and go out into the world in search of adventure. Hiding her true identity with a scarf, Penelope discovers a wondrous world where freedom opens her eyes to possibilities she never knew existed. Making new friends along the way, she discovers happiness in the most unexpected places.

I saw the movie long before I read the book. But it was also the first book I had read based on a screenplay and not the other way around, so I thought I would review both for you side by side, in the order that I experienced them (because those who read the book first, tend to have a different reaction -- which I think is equally interesting!).

I love this movie! Honestly I think it is adorable. The characters are funny James McAvoy is captivating and Christina Ricci is the prettiest "pig faced girl" one can imagine. I laughed at the situations, felt a pang in my heart for Peneleope and just really enjoyed this movie! I wish it had had better distribution because it has such an amazing message for everyone, as we all have insecurities.

If you have not seen this movie, see it! If you have teenage daughters make them watch it with you. It really was great.

Oh and all I can say is James McAvoy has those EYES and that LOOK and that KISS. Oh man. I skip back and watch that scene a hundred times in a row and never get sick of it!

Placement in the Pile: Middle of the Stack

PENELOPE the novel was an interesting read for me. It really felt a lot like she took the text of a screenplay, put it in paragraph form and added a little.

A few chapters in I realized one reason why reading it "felt" so strange. The book switches perspectives from Penelope to others at chapter breaks. This isn't unheard of for a book, but what was VERY strange was all of the Penelope chapters were in first person and all of the other chapters were in third person. It really felt strange. I kept thinking..."can authors do this?" The answer I came up with is "they shouldn't". It really kept pulling me out of the story every time my brain had to switch gears.

Some of the character developments were a little more in depth, but other than that it was a very similar experience to watching the movie. In the end I think Marilyn Kaye could have done so much more with the story and really delve into the characters, their backgrounds and their motivations more. It just fell a little flat.

Although after reading the book, I can see how people who read the book first would think the movie fell flat, as it doesn't develop some of the backstory in minor characters that the book does expand.

In the end it's a two edged sword. The book took about 3-4 hours to read for most of the girls in my reader's group and the movie is just under 2 hours. Either way, it is a really really cute story so I highly suggest it to all who have not read/watched it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

205 Years Ago Today....

The world was introduced with someone who would change the literary world and the way we tell stories forever.

Happy Birthday Hans Christian Anderson. Thank you for chronicling fairy tales so we could one day have the likes of Disney. ;)