Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Summary: One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans. (from

Review: Loved this book. It took me a minute to get into reading the two stories, especially because one Will Grayson does not use capital letter (for some reason this bothered me)- but after those first few chapters I was sucked right in. Both Will's are great charecters and it was interesting to watch them come together and grow together and really build a relationship built off of nothing more then a name.

For me though, it was the secondary charecters that really made the book. Both Will's are slightly depressed and are going through alot and struggling to fit in. So charecters like Tiny really brought a sense of fun to the book. His musical, which the performance of ends the story, bringing everyone together is hilarious. The lyrics to his musical made me laugh out loud, and I loved the fact that in the end Tiny realizes that it's not about him neccessarily, but that through his musical he may be able to actually make a statement that could change some lives.

Jane was great as well- she was that steadfast friend who is trying to figure her shit out too, but remembers that she has to be there for others as well. I was happy that her and Will figured it out together in the end.

The charecter I hated was Will Grayson's friend Maura (I think that's her name- the book is not in front of me, so I hope I'm not remembering wrong, because that will make for an unfortunate review). What she did to him was horrible. She had to know that it would not end well, and the fact that she did it anyways really made me angry. It did bring Will Grayson to Will Grayson though, and that led to alot of other great things.

I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention the meeting of Will Grayson and Will Grayson. I thought the location was brilliant. I knew that eventually the two would meet, but porn shop never crossed my mind. I thought it was woven into the story really well too, and not used just for a laugh, both Will's had a decent reason to be there at that moment.

Overall this was a great book. It's not for everyone though. Swear words abound and if you are uncomfortable with sexuality, this is not going to be your cup of tea. I loved it though and think it's totally worth reading!

About the authors:
John Green-

David Levithan-


Whatcha Thinking Thursday

It's time for Whatcha Thinking Thursday, hosted by me! Here's how it works. Each Thursday I'll simply blog about something book related that's weighing on my mind. Feel free to comment away if you agree or disagree (just keep it clean, okay?), or if you want to post to your site either on the same topic or about whatever it is you're thinking about go right ahead. I just ask that you link back to here. Also, make sure you let me know in the comments if you've participated so we can find you!

This week is a kind of continuation of last weeks post, where I talked about genre's. It got me thinking about why you get caught up in a genre to begin with. Which made me think of gateway books. Much like gateway drugs, these are books that get you hooked and lead to more and more books. finding the next great book in the genre is almost like an addiction, it keeps you reading.

I'll pick just one genre to run with here, but I can pinpoint the book for each of the genre's I talked about last week. I'm going YA here, because that's what I'm reading most of right now. For me, the gateway book was Twilight. I suspect that the same can be said for many other readers. I read Twilight while on bedrest for a week. I devoured it. All four books (twice) and the first movie (several times) and then I thought "now what". Luckily I found TwilightMoms and the lovely ladies there were generous with their recommendations. Pretty soon I was grabbing everything YA I could get my hands on. I was hooked. Looking back, after reading alot of YA, I have to admit that Twilight is not the best book out there, it's not the best written book and the plot is not tops either. However, it give you a bit of everything and does a phenomenal job at hooking you, sucking you in and making you want more. I LOVE Twilight for those reasons. It opened my eyes to a whole genre of books I was ignoring and not only have my reading habits changed, but my whole life is changed (which is a seperate and lengthy story- but to summarize, it made me quit my job and become a librarian).

Do you have a gateway book that sucked you in and made you want more of a particular genre? Sound off in the comments!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. The idea is to share what books you got your hands on in the last week.

I had a pretty good book week! One from the library, one borrowed (from Donna!) and one win.

Book Win: Lauren Conrad Style: In her first-ever style guide, Lauren offers tips on how to create your own unique look, shares her favorite sources of inspiration, and identifies the absolute must-haves for any fashionista's wardrobe. Along the way, she examines her fashion evolution, from California-casual teen to camera-ready style icon and clothing designer.

From beauty advice and hair secrets to how to shop vintage or find the perfect T-shirt, Lauren Conrad Style unlocks the mysteries of being effortlessly chic. With Lauren's guidance, you'll look and feel stylish every day.

Library Book: These is my Words by Nancy Turner:

Inspired by the true story of the author's pioneering great-grandmother, this mesmerizing saga tells of the emotional, intellectual, and romantic awakening of a spirited young woman of the late 19th century in the American West.

Borrowed: Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single guy in his spring semester at Pemberly Academy must be in want of a prom date.

After winter break, the girls at very prestigious, very wealthy, girls-only Longbourn Academy are suddenly obsessed with the prom, which they share with the nearby, equally elitist, all-boys Pemberly school. Lizzie Bennett, who attends Longbourn on scholarship, isn't exactly interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be - especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.Lizzie is happy about her friend's burgeoning romance, but less than impressed by Will Darcy, Charles's friend, who's as snobby and pretentious as his friend is nice. He doesn't seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it's because her family doesn't have money. It doesn't help that Charles doesn't seem to be asking Jane to be his prom date, or that Lizzie meets George Wickham, who tells her that Will Darcy sabotaged his scholarship at Pemberly. Clearly Will Darcy is a pompous jerk who looks down on the middle class--so imagine Lizzie's surprise when he asks her to the prom!Will Lizzie's prejudice and Will's pride keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? From Elizabeth Eulberg comes a very funny, completely stylish prom-season delight of Jane Austen proportions.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Crazy for Books, so hop on over her way to see what she is up to!

Here's this weeks question:
"Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

My favorite place to read is outside- not at the beach of anything, but if I can get to a nice field, or the mountains, or especially by a river I like that. A little nature, a nice view and good book. Unfortunately I live in the land of lake effect snow and nor'easters, so my opportunities for really good outdoor reading is limited! For the 7 months of winter (flanked by the few grey months of spring and fall) I like to curl up on the couch, under a blanket, with a cup of hot cider. Not quite as good as the great outdoors, but it gets the job done!

Review: My Big Nose & Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter

Summary: It's the end of junior year, and summer is about to begin. The Summer of Passion, to be exact, when Jory Michaels plans to explore all the possibilities of the future - and, with any luck, score a boyfriend in the process. But Jory has a problem. A big problem. A curvy, honking, bumpy, problem in the form of her Super Schnozz, the one thing standing between Jory and happiness. And now, with the Summer of Passion stretched before her like an open road, she's determined for Super Schnozz to disappear.
Jory takes a job delivering wedding cakes to save up for a nose job at the end of the summer; she even keeps a book filled with magazine cutouts of perfect noses to show the doctor. But nothing is ever easy for accident-prone Jory - and before she knows it, her Summer of Passion falls apart faster than the delivery van she crashes.

In her hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel, Sydney Salter delivers a story about broadening your horizons, accepting yourself, and finding love right under your nose. (from

Review: I'm a big Sydney Salter fan (go read Swoon at Your own Risk)- so I knew ahead of time that I would like this book as well, and I did. One thing I really like about Salter's book are that they look at the serious issues that teens face with both compassion and humor. Here we see Jory deal with alot, insecurity about her big nose (aka the super-schnoz), her mothers insecuritues about her appearance, boy issues, and friends who break your heart. It's pretty sad how much focus Jory puts on her nose, but totally realistic at the same time. In her mind if she can just fix her nose everything will be better. What teen hasn't felt that way at one point or another- if not your nose, then your teeth or complextion or any number of things. At the heart of the story, beyond the boy issues and mom issues and friend issues, is Jory learning to accept herself.

That doesn't mean the rest isn't good through! Jory's in love with classmate Tyler Briggs, but there's also Wooster Tom who keeps turning up when Jory least expects it, then there's Gideon whose mother owns a bead store where Jory delivers cakes and who is increadible intriguing despite being totally NOT Jory's type. All three boys definitly play a part in Jory's figuring out who she is, and who she wants to be, not to mention who she wants to be with.

Also in the mix are friends Hannah and Megan. I have to admit- not a Megan fan. I didn't feel like she was a good friend to Jory and while the argument can be made that they've been friends forever, I wonder if there isn't a point in which you realize that the fact that you've been friends forever doesn't means you keep being friends. That's how I felt about Megan, and it was really the only let down for me. I wish we could have seen Jory emerge with a better sense of who had her best interest at heart. That being said- if I think back on the people I was friends with in high school, there are few I can say were really good friends. So maybe the fact that Jory heads into senior year with a few really good friends, and few friends that she's known forever actually puts her in a really good place.

Overall- this was a really fun book. I laughed out loud in a few spots and visably cringed in a few others (while remembering my own time in high school). I cna't wait to read more of Salter's books.

About Salter:


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: Archvillain by Barry Lyga

Summary: Kyle Camden knows exactly where he was the night Mighty Mike arrived: Sneaking around the fallow field behind Bouring Middle School (motto: "The U Makes It Exciting!"), running the electrical cabling that would allow him to dump the contents of the old water tower on the visiting football team during the next day's game.
Which is why he couldn't tell anyone where he was.

Or what he saw.

Those lights everyone saw in the sky weren't tiny meteors burning up in the atmosphere. They were some kind of strange, supercooled plasma that bathed the entire field - including Kyle - in alien energies, energies that boosted Kyle's intellect and gave him superpowers.

Unfortunately, the energies also brought Mighty Mike to earth.

Kyle is the only one who knows that Mighty Mike is an alien. Everyone else thinks that Mike is just some kid who stumbled into the field, got beefed up on meteor juice, lost his memory, and decided to start rescuing kittens from trees. But Kyle knows the truth. And he'll do anything in his power to stop Mighty Mike, even if it means being an Archvillain! (from

Review: This book was a bit of a departure for me, but a fun book all the same. I've come to find that middle grade books that are geared towards boys highly amuse me. Perhaps because I still have the mentality of a 12 year old boy. That point in time when you basically can be a total self-absorbed idiot, who laughs at stupid jokes and does things that can only be deemed reckless has always been one I look back on fondly. Despite the fact that I never was, in fact, a 12 year old boy.

The main charecter is Kyle, an already super-smart super-prankster when he is exposed to a plasma curtain that not only enhanced his brain power, but also gave his super powers like flight andd super-strength. This should really only make hi more popular in the boring town of Bouring. Unfortunately he wasn't the only one there when the "stars fell"- from the plasma rose Mighty Mike, with all of Kyle's super powers (and then some), but none of the intellect. Pretty soon Kyle see's himself go from hero to villain as far as Bouring is concerned. They are all wrong though- only Kyle knows who and what Mike really is- and being the Villain might be the only way to save everyone.

Kyle is a great charecter. He's arrogant and conceited and clearly believes himself to be the superior of everyone in Bouring. Although having a main chareceter who is pretty obnoxious could be a turn-off, but Kyle is written in a way that you really just find him humorous. The poor kid is smarter then everyone, has super-powers, but still can't see past himself to get anything right. I laughed every time he called the Guidence Counselor his Nemesis (to her face), or zapped his parents brains so they would agree with him (leaving them with a tick and stutter). I especially loved his interactions with Erasmus, a AI fashion from an IPOD and whose personality is taken from video's of Kyle. Eveyrthing he hates about Erasmus are things he fails to see in himself.

His vandetta against Mighty Mike starts out pretty superficially and is born of jealousy, and we really don't move much past that in this book. Mike manages to bumble his way into the saving the day again and again, which Kyle overthinks and fails repeatedly- this is where their main conflict resides. Mike believes he must stop Kyle's Archvillain, while Kyle is positive Mike is an alien that must be taken care of. Despite teh fact that there isn't any huge event to overcome, or final battle to decide, this book does set a pretty great foundation for future books (this is book 1 of a series).

I was thoroughly amused throughout the entire story and I will definitly be not only waiting (not-so) patiently for book 2, but also picking up a few more Barry Lyga books.

About Lyga:


Whatcha Thinking Thursday

It's time for Whatcha Thinking Thursday, hosted by me! Here's how it works. Each Thursday I'll simply blog about something book related that's weighing on my mind. Feel free to comment away if you agree or disagree (just keep it clean, okay?), or if you want to post to your site either on the same topic or about whatever it is you're thinking about go right ahead. I just ask that you link back to here. Also, make sure you let me know in the comments if you've participated so we can find you!

This week I'm thinking about genre's, and specifically how it can be easy to get stuck in one genre and forget the rest. For me I've been on a major YA run lately- I'd say that since I read Twilight almost 2 years ago I've read almost exclusively YA, and within that catagory, almost everything has been of the paranormal ilk. There have been a few other book stuck in there, but by and large, what I'm interested in is YA. Thinking back I realize that I've always been like this- obsessive about a genre. I went through a phase where all I read were those books that delt with the dawn of man (in the sci-fi realm though) like Clan of the Cave Bear, a Arthurian phase and a historical-fiction phase. I even went through a phase where I read everything Mark Twain wrote- everything. Now, it's the YA phase of my life.

Recently I had to make a list of my top five favorite books and it went something like this: Huckelberry Finn, Hunger Games trilogy, Clan of the Cave Bear Series, Mists of Avalon and the Berrybender Narratives. In other words, Mark Twain, YA, Dawn of Man Sci-fi, Aurthurian and Historical Fiction. I wasn't thinking of genre's when I made my list, I was just thinking of the five books that I had a lasting attachment to, books that I read over and over until the point that they fell apart, books that I recommend when I get the chance. Now, a week or so later, when I am thinking about genre's I'm struck by the fact that each of those phases in my reading life had a lasting impression on me.

How about you? Do you get stuck in a genre and read that exclusively or do you share the love? Looking back are the genre's that stuck with you more then others or do multiple genre's hold a space in your heart? Sound off below!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Peter & Max by Bill Willingham

Summary: A new stand-alone FABLES NOVEL from award-winning and wildly acclaimed author, Bill Willingham.

This story stars Peter Piper and his incorrigible brother Max in a tale about jealousy, betrayal and revenge. Set in two distinct time periods, prepare to travel back to medieval times and learn the tragic back-story of the Piper family, a medieval-era family of traveling minstrels. Then, jump into the present to follow a tale of espionage as Peter Piper slowly hunts down his evil brother for a heinous crime, pitting Peter's talents as a master thief against Max's dark magical powers.

Based on the long-running and award-winning comic book series FABLES, PETER AND MAX is its own tale. Readers don't have to be familiar with the comics to fully enjoy and understand this book. (from

Review: I heard about this book from a high schooler who suggested it for the book club. When he gave a quick overview I thought it sounded interesting and went ahead and reserved it from the library. Let me say- what a great book! I love fairy tales, so the premis instantly appealed to me. I'm not a huge fan of comics so I have never read the Fables series, and I don't think that it hurt me when picking this book up.

The concept is pretty easy- all those fairy tale charecters from Cinderella to Red Riding Hood are all real, and living in exile in New York, both in the city and on an Upstate farm. The book begins with Peter Piper discovering that his brother Max (who is our villain) has returned, and must be stopped. From there we go on a great adventure as the story jumps from Peter's quest to find Max to the tale of how Max became the villain he is.

One particular thing I loved was how seemlessly Willingham wove the familiar tales and charecters together. I don't know enough about the history of the tales to know if this was the original intention, or if it was a plot decision by Willigham alone, but I loved seeing how many different tales we find Peter Piper in. He picks a peck of pickled peppers, but we also see him keeping his wife in a pumpkin shell. Two seperate tales (to my knowledge), but artfully used as plot points in the story. They don't detract from the story either, they are just little moments that move the story forward. I thought it was fabulous.

I liked the way that even though the bulk of the book was action there were moments of quieter, more personal moments. Peter is married to Bo Peep, and their relationship is seen at it's beginning and as it is in the present, so it's a nice balance to the action and adventure that fills the book.

Overall this was a great book- it was a nice departure from my usual YA and I'm sincerely hoping that Willingham write more stand alone books.

About Willingham:


Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine- head to her site to see what everyone else is eagerly awaiting.

This week I'm waiting on a book that is technically already out, but due to my book buying ban (silly student budget) I'm waiting for my library to send it my way, which according to them, won't be for another few weeks. So today I'm waiting on The DUFF by Kody Keplinger.

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. (from

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cast your villain!

WORD for Teens has a pretty cool game and giveaway going on over at their site that I just couldn't pass up. It's called CAST YOUR VILLIAN and here's what you do (it's really, really easty) You pick a villain and decide who you would cast and why.

So many villians popped into my head- President Snow from the Hunger Games, The Archvillian from Barry Lyga's Archvillian, The Iron King from the Iron Fey series. All would be fun to cast, but ultimately I went with....

Seraphine from Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness (Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl)
Cast: Angelina Jolie
Why: I had a few actresses in mind. Someone beautiful, but who could really pull off the evil lurking beneath. In my mind she was thin and frail, but with power emenating from her. Jolie in undeniably a beautiful lady, but I've always found there to be something just a tad bit off about her, as if at any moment you could find yourself on her bad side. This is how I imagine Seraphine as well!

Teaser Tuesday & Top Ten tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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!

"So, this is how it was going to be? Kyle was willing to make this a battle of wits, but clearly Mighty Mike had no withs. He had to resort to swiping the Pants Laser and then throwing punches. Yeah, that was mature. What a baby" Archvillian by Barry Lyga pg 112

I entered to get this book off Lyga's website, even though it's more middle grade then my usual YA. I'm glad I did! It's a totally cute, really funny book and it's only one in a coming series.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at Broke and Bookish Here is what they have to say: Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND sign Mister Linky at the bottom to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Don't worry if you can't come up with ten every time..just post what you can!

This week they are looking at Top Ten Fictional Crushes. So in no particular order...

1. Ash from the Iron Fey series (Julie Kagawa)- He's a bit moody and has a quick temper, but he's a winter prince and willing to give it all up for Meg. How can you not love that?

2. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)- he has always been one of my favorite, I love him in the books and in the movies and love that he is surly and arrogant, but is brought to his knees by a smart and strong woman.

3. Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain)- I'm going old school here and listing Tom among my crushes b/c as far as I remember he was my first literary crush. He was a trouble maker and had a great time pulling pranks with Huck (who coincidently I also kind of love)- but he also had a soft spot for Becky Thatcher which was totally endearing.

4. Peeta from the Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)- I'm firmly Team Peeta on this one. He's strong and handsome and willing to do whatever it takes to save Katniss and later, save Panem.

5. Valek from the Study Series (Maria V. Snyder)- He's an assasin. A super sexy, assasin. Enough said.

6 & 7. Edward & Jacob from Twilight (Stephenie Meyer)- I'd be remiss if I left them off. On my first read, I loved Edward. He was mysterious and chivalrous and well, a vampire. Then upon revamps, I found that it was Jacob who I really loved. He is loyal and he allows Bella to take risks. Both guys love her and would die for her, they just show it differently- but both are totally crush-worthy.

8. Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse series (Charlaine Harris)- Tall, blond, frequently naked vampire. Thank goodness for Alexander Skaarsgard.

9. Ky from Matched (Ally Condie)- he's an outsider and mysterious. He works hard and is loyal.

10. Legolas from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (JRR Tolkien)- another one of my long time crushes. Beautiful elf who is also and archer. That pretty much does it for me...

So those are my 10. How about you?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margeret Stohl

Summary: Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems. (from

Review: I enjoyed this book alot. I will admit that I was not the biggest Beautiful Cretures fan. I struggled to get through it, to connect to the charecters and to get invested in the story. Still, there was enough there that I wanted to see what would happen next. I'm so glad I didn't write this series off, because in my opinion, Beautiful Darkness was a great book.

This book picks up pretty much where Beautiful Creatures leaves off. Lena has survived turning 16, but now a new countdown has begun, and it is pulling her from Ethan, and into a much darker Caster world.

Part of what I missed in BC was a connection to the charecters- but in Beautiful Darkness I felt it immediately. I hurt for Ethan as he saw his world come apart at the seams. It's not often in YA that we have a male main charecter, it's more frequently a girl dealing with her supernatural counterpart, but here we see mortal Ethan dealing with Casters and Keepers and all manner of supes in between. I love that he doesn't really ever give up on Lena, even when she gives up on herself. I also loved that, with the introduction of Liv, that we see Ethan conflicted. It would be too easy (and rather unbelievable) if Ethan didn't at least have second thoughts about his place in the grander scheme of things, if he's really meant to follow Lena into the dark. As a reader we know he will find his way there eventually, but a teenage boy would not be without doubts. I also really liked that Riley was a bigger part of this book, her relationship with Link is humourous, but not a distraction.

I also thought this book, beacuse all the groundwork was laid in BC, was able to jump right into the action. The adventures of Ethan, Link and Liv (and eventually Riley) was far more interesting to me then the emerging relationships we saw in BC. Seeing what Seraphine was really after was also fun- I felt the danger much more in this book and consequently became far more invested in the entire book.

I will admit that I was a bit dissapointed in the ending. Without giving too much away, I will just say that I wanted a concrete ending, a conclusion of some sort, and then be left to ponder what the fallout would be until the third book arrives. I felt the ending was a slight let down, leaving us pretty much where we began. It will be interesting to see where the book goes next, and I hope it doens't just become a rehashing of the same basic story over and over again. That being said- this was still a really entertaining book and totally worth the read!

About the Authors:
Kami Goodreads
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Margeret Goodreads
Margeret Twitter
Margeret Facebook


Sunday, October 17, 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. The idea is to share what books you got your hands on in the last week.

I had a pretty slow week as far as books go- which is fine- because I had a really busy week as far as homework and school goes! Only one book in my mailbox- by way of the library.

A new stand-alone FABLES NOVEL from award-winning and wildly acclaimed author, Bill Willingham.

This story stars Peter Piper and his incorrigible brother Max in a tale about jealousy, betrayal and revenge. Set in two distinct time periods, prepare to travel back to medieval times and learn the tragic back-story of the Piper family, a medieval-era family of traveling minstrels. Then, jump into the present to follow a tale of espionage as Peter Piper slowly hunts down his evil brother for a heinous crime, pitting Peter's talents as a master thief against Max's dark magical powers.

Based on the long-running and award-winning comic book series FABLES, PETER AND MAX is its own tale. Readers don't have to be familiar with the comics to fully enjoy and understand this book. (from

This book was suggested by a book club member- I've jsut started into it and so far it is fabulous! It's a lot of fun to read about the real lives of some of the most beloved fairy tale charecters.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review: Iron King & Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Summary: Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined--the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart.


Summary: Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey, iron-bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's alone in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.


Review: I read these two books back to back, and it was a while ago, before life got totally crazy. Because of that the books kind of run together in my head, which is not a bad thing. I loved these two books, and I'm really looking forward to the third book, The Iron Queen, which comes out in February.

First I have to say I love the concept of the Iron Fey. Fey who go against everything in the canon of Faery, and they know it. One thing I love about faery stories is that there is a pretty set canon that is followed. There is always Titania and Oberon, Puck is always the jocker of the group and Mahb is always the evil one. It makes it really easy to jump into any book about faery. It also makes me feel like all the books, even when written by different authors are connected. As if Kelley Winslow from Lesley Livingston's Wondrous Strange, Laurel from Aprilynne Pike's Wings and Meghan Chase (from these books), might all bump into eachother someday during their adventures in Avalon, discover they are all related by virtue of Oberon's many dalliances, and become friends somehow. I LOVE that. The canon can also be troublesome, because it makes it hard to really do anything new and unique. How do you stay true to everything that came before, while still breating something new and exciting? I think Kagawa nailed it. the Iron Fey exist in the familiar world, but contribute something so unique that it creates a new story and world. It's hard to do, but I think here it is a complete success.

Another success is the characters. Meghan Chase is fabulous as our heroine who finds out she is 1/2 summer faery princess. She is tough as nails, but still maintains that uncertainty that comes with being a teen, especially one who discovers nothing is what it seems. Robbie aka Puck is great as the best friend. He's there every step of the way for her, and provides some great comedic relief. Ash, as our angry yet oh, so intriguing Winter Prince is also great. I love the fighting between Ash and Robbie and that the backstory for it was so fleshed out and believable (and heartbreaking). You can really understand his actions and the conflict within him.

There was alot of action in these books- which I really loved. Sometimes we get aot of magic and romance, but miss out on how violent fey can be. I think Kagawa found a great balance. The tension between the summer and winter courts was great, and with Meg and Ash in the middle, you could really feel that it could all go too far at any minute. Add in the Iron Fey lurking at the edges, waiting to take advantage and it was a perfect mix of action and restraint.

Overall- great books. I'm dying to get my hands on The Iron Queen. I wnat to know what happens with Meg and Ash, how Puck will fit in, if Meghan's father will be found, if an alliance can be forged between the Winter and Summer courts and if the Iron Fey can be defeated, or at least controlled. So many unanswered questions! I can't wait :)

About Julie Kagawa:


Whatcha Thinking Thursday

Let's start by acknowledging the fact that I suck at blogging lately. Life has been busy and time has been short, but I'm really hoping to find a balance with school work, volunteering (an offshoot of school work), being a Mom and blogging. It's slow going, but I'm getting there.
It's time for Whatcha Thinking Thursday, hosted by me! Here's how it works. Each Thursday I'll simply blog about something book related that's weighing on my mind. Feel free to comment away if you agree or disagree (just keep it clean, okay?), or if you want to post to your site either on the same topic or about whatever it is you're thinking about go right ahead. I just ask that you link back to here. Also, make sure you let me know in the comments if you've participated so we can find you!

I've been thinking lately about weeks and months. You know, Teen Read Week, Banned Book Week, Poetry Month, Black History Month, etc. and why they are neccessary. So that's this weeks topic: What do you think of special weeks and months, and are they neccessary?

My thoughts? I like them, kind of. Here's what I mean. I love the fact that having a week, like Banned Book Week, gets us all moving in one direction, thinking and reading together. It was great to see all the comraderie and posts about our favorite banned books, our personal experiences, etc. It's a great way to share books and ideas, and for me a great way to find new books that I may have missed.

I think there is a negative as well. By giving it a week, or in the case of Black History Month, a month, are we giving ourselves permission to only think about these topics during that time period? Do we think "well, I did my banned book stuff" or "I featured my Black history month authors" and then move on to something else without a backward glance? I hate to say it, but I think we do. There aren't many blogs out there who routinely feature censored/banned books (off the top of my head I can think of Roof Beam Reader's Saturday's Uncensored), and even fewer who feature other specific topics. That doens't mean their not out there, because I by no means read every blog, but compared to the numbers in which we turn out for Teen Read week, or Poetry Month it's noticibly scarce.

I wonder why that is? For me I don't feature things based on those catagories because that's not what I think is important. Whether it's banned or written by an author of a certain race isn't as important as whether or not the book was good. It's fun to join in on events within the writing/blogging community so I do those things, but for my everyday reviews, I try not to focus on those things, and instead focus on what I loved (or occassionally hated) about the book.

How about you? What are your thoughts on special weeks and months?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Review & Contest: She Smells the Dead by E.J. Stevens

Summary: It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like the ghost hunting on television.


The smell impressions are becoming stronger. Yuki is being visited in her dreams, and she suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. To make matters worse her crush on Garrett is going unrequited, Yuki's friend Emma is on a rampage against bee oppression, and annoying Calvin Miller mysteriously disappears.

Will Yuki be able to focus her powers in time to save the lost soul who is haunting her? Meanwhile, who will save Yuki from following the spirits into the light?

Review: First off, I want to say that I think the cover of this book is beautiful. Everyone says "you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover", but I think most of us do, we can't help it. I really love this cover, it caught my eye months ago and had me interested, so when Stevens sent out a request for bloggers to read and review her book (and hold a contest), I was all over it. Just based on the cover alone. So well done on that front.

As for the book, there were parts that I loved and few little things that irked me. Let's get the "meh" parts out of the way quickly and move on to the love, shall we? Biggest thing I didn't like was over and done with in the first few chapters, so in the long run, not a huge deal, but it stuck with me. In the book, Yuki repeatedly reminds us she smells the dead. Over and over again- I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking "I get it, you smell the dead, you don't need to remind me, I won't forget". To me, it was too much. It's not a hard concept to understand, so I dind't feel like I needed to be reminded about Yuki's ability. As the book moved forward, the references stopped and I thought the book was better for it. Other minor "meh"? The ending totally drops off. I get a cliff hanger, but geez, this really leaves you hanging! Thank goodness Stevens has a sequel coming, because I really wanted to know what will happen on Halloween! So there you go, my big "meh", now I can move on.

Things I loved- Yuki. Admittedly I love the whole idea of smelling the dead. (Not that I want that ability, but it's something new and different and therefore = love) I like that she uses the scent as a sort of "getting warner, getting warmer, colder!" detection device, and even uses it as her own personal Ouija board. She has this oversensitive sniffer, and it kind of sucks, but she does with it what she can to help the dead find peace. I also loved Yuki's style. She is most definitly true to herself and that is refreshing. I was also pretty happy with the fact that she has told her best friends about her ability- too often we see the main charecter hide their supernatural gifts, and become isolated, but here she hads friends who know whats going on and stand by her and even help her. Both Emma and Calvin are great charecters and great friends.

Speaking of Calvin- totally down with his supernatural gift as well. I'm not going to give it away, but I like that it was something familiar, but twisted in a new way. His relationship with Yuki and what he has to be for her was a good way of tying them together. It made their friendship so much more without jumping into the generic and sterotypical love triangle, which is pretty played out.

Like I said, the book ends rather abruptly, but that doesn't neccessarily take away from the story itself. This book lays good goundwork for the remainder of the Spirit Guides series, which I'm looking forward to reading when they come out.

About EJ Stevens:
Spirit Guides series website
From the Shadows website


Check out this awesome book trailer!

So now I have a contest to go with this book. Up for grabs are 2 bookmark/postcard sets. This contest will be international and will run starting now and closing on Friday 10/15 at 11:59pm. With the exception of this being an international contest, all other contest policies apply.

simply fill out the form below to enter:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Whatcha Thinking Thursday

It's been awhile folks- so I'll start by apoligizing for that. I've had a very busy week with school (apparently week 6 means first big assignments must be every class), and then I went ahead and hit a deer, which monopolized my entire Sunday, which is when I usually get all my posts lined up for the week. Needless to say, it was pretty hectic around here. Still, the lesson plan (big assignment numero uno) has been turned in, which means I can spend a few minutes catching up!! So without further ado....

It's time for Whatcha Thinking Thursday, hosted by me! Here's how it works. Each Thursday I'll simply blog about something book related that's weighing on my mind. Feel free to comment away if you agree or disagree (just keep it clean, okay?), or if you want to post to your site either on the same topic or about whatever it is you're thinking about go right ahead. I just ask that you link back to here. Also, make sure you let me know in the comments if you've participated so we can find you!

This week I listened to some students discuss why they joined the local HS bookclub. I volunteer at the HS and have pretty much hitched myself to the train that is their book club ("hi my name is Kate, and I'm a book club addict). The answers were all over the place, which is great, because it means that people read, and want to discuss what they are reading for so many reasons that are personal to them. Which led to my thinking about why I suddenly am a book club junkie, why I read.

So that is this weeks Whatcha Thinking: Why do you read? and if you are a book clubber, why do like to participate in a book club?

For me, it seems like I've always read. Both my parents are readers, so it was probably a given that I would be one too. I was that kid who would take a book and flashlight and huddle under the blankets to read all night (thinking my parents would never know). I remember being totally ecstatic when I found a bed that had a book shelf as a headboard. It was clearly made for me. I read all the time, snuck extra books into english class so that I could read what I wanted (I would slip my books into the required book). I love to read because there is just so much to learn, about everything, and I think that's what gets my interest more then anything. Even when you are learning about something completely made up, there is still something to gain from it. For me, there is no downside.

So what about book clubs? A year ago I had never been in a book club. In fact, I didn't even like to go to the library, I just headed over to the Barnes and Nobles and bought the book, went home a read it. Sometimes I'd obsess over it, but mostly it ended there. Then I read Twilight, and I loved it, and to be honest, I was embarressed that I liked it, so I had no one to talk to regarding this new book that I loved. Turns out I wasn't alone, I found TwilightMoms and there it was, the TwilightMoms Book of the Month club. New books every month to read, discussions, author chats and contests. People who were as nerdtastic as I was about books. By January I was lucky enough to join the team of moderators for Book of the Month and pretty soon we had our own site, Eve's Fan Garden where we also run a Book of the Month club. Then I went back to library school and found a spot volunteering at my old stomping grounds, aka my High School. They had a book club too and I couldn't resist asking to come along and see 1.) how a high school book club works and 2.) how an in-person book club works.

I love the ability to talk about the books I'm reading. What I like about them, what I don't and why. The discussion adds so much to the experience of reading the book that it felt like I had been missing something before. I was missing the interaction. Now I've got it, and I love it (and I'm addicted to it.)

So how about you, why do you read? Do you participate in a book club and what do you love about that?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Banned Book Week: Wrap up and contest winner!

Well, banned book week has drawn to a close and I really enjoyed surfing around the blogs and seeing what banned books people love and reading about all the different and sometimes heartbreaking experiences people have had with being banned and with banned books. I also really loved featuring some of my favorite books, which I was shocked to find on the banned books list. I'm hoping that this trend of standing up, of speaking loudly, against the banning of books continues as we move forward and isn't confined to these 7 days. Keep reading banned books!

Which brings me to my contest winner! I'm happy to announce that the winner of the books is:



thank you to everyone who participated :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Banned Book Week: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Summary: Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

Why it was challenged: This book was on the Most Frequently Challenged Book for 2009-2010- the ALA's listing reads "Retained on the summer reading list at Antioch, Ill. High School (2009) despite objections from several parents who found its language vulgar and racist." In addition this book was banned in both a Oregon HS and a Missouri HS for reasons of it including sexual language, off-color jokes, and discussions of masturbation, racism, alcoholism and violence and being generally "pretty trashy" (links to full articles here and here)

My thoughts: A year ago this week I started this blog- the first book I reviewed was Part-time Indian. It's not the best review I've ever written (I was a newbie, what can I say?) but my opinion of the book remains the same. This is one of my all time favorite books, from one of my absolute favorite authors. I was shocked to find out that not only was it challenged, but that it had successfully been banned from 2 High Schools. The book is written from the perspective of a 14 year old boy, and Junior deals with all the things that 14 year old boys deal with along with all the added things that kids on reservations deal with. I thought the book was hysterical. I read it while in the hospital and I can tell you that the nurse came in to check on me because I was literally laughing out loud and reading passages to my husband (who was trying to sleep). I think I ended up reading almost the entire book out loud- there were that many pages that I thought were worthy! To ban the book because one person thinks it's "trashy" is a shame. There is so much to be learned from this book- from what it's like to be picked on, to be an outsider, to be a reservation kid. The fact that Alexie has the ability to relate all these really serious issues to the reader without sacrificing humor and compassion is something that makes this book so special.

I really could go on and on about this book, but the bottom line is, it's worth a read, it's a fabulous book.
To learn more about Alexie and his books, check out his website. Don't forget to enter my Banned Book Giveaway for your chance to win every book that was featured this week!