Friday, April 22, 2011

My Ramblings on City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels
By: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Author Website


City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.

Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels
. (from

My Ramblings:

Cassandra Clare is one of my favorite authors. Her books are fun to read and Clare somehow takes some pretty crazy plot lines and charecters and makes them seem believable. It's really pretty amazing. Picking up City of Fallen Angels was like hanging out with old friends. Even though it's been awhile since I read the first three books in this series, it all came back pretty quickly.

This book picked up roughly where the last one left off. Simon was trying to figure his life out, how to be a vampire, how to deal with the Mark of Cain and more importantly how to deal with his new ladies man status! I personally really enjoyed his relationship with Isabelle, she's tough as nails, but I felt like we were starting to see the cracks a bit with her in this book. She's been through a lot and as a Shadowhunter is expected to just continue forward, but it was refreshing to see her keep her strength, but also be a little vulnerable with Simon.

The remainder of the supporting case was great as always. I enjoyed the addition of Kyle and his backstory to the group. I thought it was done in a way that made it important, so he didn't feel like a random additions, but instead a crucial part to unraveling the entire story. Alec and Magnus were great, I can't help but love them. I always feel like they have the most normal relationship of the bunch, and then I remember that Magnus has been around for centuries and isn't altogether human. I also was excited a the mention of Will (from Clockwork Prince), I'm hoping that further ties between the two stories will be revealed as both series go forward.

Of course the relationship between Jace and Clary is center stage and I have to say (and I may be in the minority here), I just dind't feel it in this book. I get that Jace is moody and he doesn't think he deserve's Clary. I also get that his dreams are being influenced by a power he can't even imagine, but after 3 books, I was a little tired of him. (I know, I know, blasphemy!)

Lastly, I have to say (without giving anything away) that I LOVED the ending. Based on the flurry of tweets following the release, I'm pretty sure I am in the minority here. As the book began to draw to a close and we got some insight into who was influencing Jace's dreams and the reasons behind why he was ignoring Clary, I began to guess at what was going to happen. I was fairly certain I knew where it was going. I was wrong. There's nothing I like more then when an author surprises me. The return of old enemies, the fall of one hero, the rise of a new one- I didn't see it playing out the way it did. It absolutely made the book for me. I can't wait to see where it goes next!

Book Blogger Hop

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

This weeks question is:

"If you find a book you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?"

This is a pretty simple answer- YES! If I find a book that I really love I want to read everything else by the author- thank goodness for the library so I can feed the habit without going totally broke!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Follower Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to IVY on winning the Follower Giveaway!!

Thank you to everyone who participated and I hope to see everyone at future events here at A Readers Ramblings!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Revisiting The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel

The Land of Painted Caves
By: Jean M. Auel
Release Date: March 29, 2011

Back in November I was at NCTE in Florida and just missed the chance to snag an ARC of Auel's most recent book, The Land of Painted Caves. Luckily the gentleman working the desk said he would take my name and if possible send me a review copy. I was shocked and super excited when the book showed up in mid-December. I devoured the book in about a day and half. Immediately I sat down and write a review (which can be found here). A few people commented right away, mostly wondering how I got a copy, and mostly I forgot about the post. Then the book was released at the end of March and suddently my comment area blew up. People were looking for a place to discuss the book, which many felt was a bitter dissapointment. Even skimming through the comments here on this blog will reveal numerous reasons that people were disheartened, some of which I pointed out in my original review. Still, at the end of my review, I threw out the 5 star rating. Even with all the things I disliked, I still had some connection to the book and the story and I loved it anyways. Almost the way you do when a family member dissapoints. You shake your head, you hope for better next time (if there is a next time) but you don't lose those warm feelings for them.

The book wasn't great, but I still loved the series, and that influenced my rating. As the discussion wore on, I realized that conveying that in a post and especially a starred rating was hard. People were only seeing those 5 stars and then looking at all the dissapointment surrounding the book and feeling like there was a disconnect between what I said and my starred rating. In fact one commenter was "shocked and appalled" by my 5 star rating. To be honest, I felt the disconnect too, and posted this in the comments (and later added to the review):

"On a side note I read and reviewed this book in a span of a few days. I was basking in warm fuzzies of visiting with these characters again. There were, for certain, parts I didn't like and I was dissapointed in, as I noted in my review. Still, I tossed the 5 star out there. I wonder, now that I've had time to reflect, if I wasn't judging based on the good feelings the series as a whole gives me and not the merits of the individual book. I won't change the rating, because at that moment that's how I felt, but it does give a little food for thought on taking the time to really reflect on a book like this where you come into it with a huge bias. "

So what do you do when you find your feelings changing over time? I refuse to change my original rating, because, as noted in the comment, that is how I felt at the moment I closed the book. I grew up with these books, and I tend to be rather forgiving when things go wrong. I appreciate the huge amounts of research that went into this book, and I'm sympathetic to the fact that it seems at times it's the research that got into the way of the story, a bad habit I've been known to suffer from. My solution was to revisit it, hash out my thoughts, and post again on this book.

Looking back at the review- I think it's solid. I explain my deep connection to the series and outline my own feelings as to where I thought it fell short. It's funny how a review can stick with you. The farther away from reading the book (and writing the review) I get, and the more people I speak to, the more I realize that this book was a fairly monumental failure. Storylines were left dangling, people we love acted out of charecter and there were inconsistancies with the previous books. I didn't read the rest of the series prior to picking this one up. Frankly, I didn't have the time. So there were many things that others picked up on, like the inconsistancies with prior books, that I didn't have fresh in my mind, so I missed. Honestly, I'm glad I was in the dark on those as I read. Ignorance is bliss as they say, and here it kept me from being even more dissapointed then I already was.

I no longer do starred ratings, not because of this particular review, although the reason fits the bill. Ratings are personal and when you condense it down to stars you miss out on all the reasons why. It's unfair to all involved. You miss out on my reasoning and it might give you a false impression of the merits of the book. In this case- my 5 star, while warranted in my mind for the way the book made me feel, it wasn't earned in terms of the content of this individual book seperate from the series. Still, the shortcomings of this one book don't effect my affection for the series as a whole or for the author Jean M. Auel. In fact, I sincerely hope she writes another book, albiet a shorter, better edited one, and ties up all those loose ends. If not, I will still look back on the series, including this last book, with affection.

So, what say you readers? Did you love this book or hate it? Do the shortcoming in The Land of Painted Caves change your feelings for the Earth's Children series? Are you hoping for more books from Auel? Do starred rating systems totally throw you off? Sound off below in the comments. As always, keep it clean. I don't like to delete comments, but I also won't put up with a lot of cursing or negativity (to eachother). The comment thread on the original review has been amazingly wonderful, so let's continue that same atmosphere here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In My Mailbox 4-17-11

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. (you'll notice I accidently put the wrong date on the video title- oops!

In on Review:

Juniper Berry by M.P. Koslowsky (Debut Author Challenge)

Bought for my Nook:

City of Fallen Angels by Cassie Clare
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

From the Library:

Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
Sweet Liar by Jude Deveraux
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (Debut Author Challenge)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blog Follower Contest!

As my blog follower numbers have been creeping up I've mentioned a few times that if I hit 666 I'd have a giveaway. Well, that time is now! As a thank you to all my fabulous followers here on the blog, on Twitter (@ReadersRambling) and on my new Facebook page I have a great bunch of books to hand out to one winner.

Want to know what you can win (of course you do!)

I have 4 Melissa De La Cruz Blue Bloods books to giveaway- they aren't all in order, but they've got something to make it worth your while. All 4 are autographed! I'll also toss in some other author swag (signed and unsigned) for the winner.

The four books are:

The Van Alen Legacy
Misguided Angel

Sound good? Want to know how to enter? (It's easy I promise!)

All you have to do is fill out the form below and be a follower of this blog. I don't usually require you to follow me, but as this giveaway is, after all, a thank you to my followers, it only seems appropriate. This giveaway is U.S. only and will run until Tuesday April 19th at Midnight. The winner will be chosen using and notified via email and announced here on the blog.

Good luck and thank you so much for following my blog. I appreciate it more than words can say!

Interview with Chris Rylander

Earlier this week I reviewed Chris Rylander's The Fourth Stall, now I'm happy to share an interview I was able to do with him! This was a super fun book and I'd recommend going and picking it up if you get a chance!

A Reader's Ramblings: Can you tell us a bit about The Fourth Stall and how the story came about?

Chris Rylander: Well, when I first started writing, I actually was writing books for adults. And then I queried an agent who suggested that I might have a good “voice” for writing YA or MG. And so that’s how I first was pointed toward children’s literature. As for THE FOURTH STALL itself, there really was no cool story or moment or dream or anything like that. Essentially, it was me sitting down and asking two questions: 1) What cool and funny and action-packed book did I never get to read as a kid? 2) What’s something adult, that I can put a kid-friendly spin on that lends itself well to the school structure? And so I came up with this idea to do like a noirish organized crime type thing. Well, that’s what I told my cat to write about, anyway. I mean, I didn’t actually do the writing myself. My cat is much better at that part of it, I’m more like the idea guy.

ARR: Mac run’s a pretty tight business, and so does rival Staples, where did the idea for the competing Middle School Mafia families come from?

CR: Definitely The Godfather and other such organized crime stories. The idea of rival mob families and crime bosses I thought could be transitioned to school fairly well and that it created a lot of opportunities for humor and action and mystery.

ARR: Your website has a lot of great drawings, did you ever consider adding drawings to The Fourth Stall?

CR: I actually never did think of it that way. I always considered it strictly a novel. I mean, I don’t hate the idea, but it never really occurred to me when I was writing it. That said, I’m not opposed to someday maybe getting to illustrate my own book. The only problem will be that I can only draw sharks and stick men who meet violent ends. So I’m not sure if that will fly as a kids book, even as awesome as it sounds to me.

ARR: Books for tween and teen girls seem to rule the marketplace sometimes, did you always want to write for Middle Grade boys?

CR: Not really, it never was a conscientious decision that I made. I just wrote what appealed to me and sounded fun to me. And, being a guy with the mindset of a 13 year old, I think it was only natural that the end result can be considered a “boy book.” That said, I’m pretty happy to say that a lot of middle grade girls have told me they loved the book, too.

ARR: The Fourth Stall ends with a bit of a teaser about a girl- will we get to hear about how this girl with “…damp hair and a swagger…” sometime in the future?

CR: Actually, yes. There will be a sequel coming out in February 2012. It picks up pretty closely after the first one ends, so you’ll definitely get to meet that girl a lot better in part two.

ARR: If Mac could give boys advice about dealing with a bully like Staples, what would he say?

CR: It would be to not put up with it! If you have a problem, then solve it! But he’d also say to be smart about it. I mean, if some giant kid who weighs 270 pounds of muscle is bullying you, he wouldn’t recommend going up to the kid and starting a fight. There are countless possible ways to solve a bully problem, or any problem for that matter, and that’s why Mac is so good at what he does. He finds the best ways to solve those problems, instead of always the easiest or most obvious.

ARR: Do you have any upcoming books or events you can tell us about?

CR: The only upcoming book for now is the THE FOURTH STALL sequel sometime next year. As for events, I will be speaking at the North Dakota State Reading Conference in Fargo, ND, April 14-16. Also, I serve as the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Dakotas, and we’ll be hosting our annual spring conference in Sioux Falls on May 14, 2011. We have some great speakers lined up for that this year.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

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

This weeks question is:

Pick a character from a book you are currently reading or have just finished and tell us about him/her

This is a good one- I just finished 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. I could tell you about the main charecter Ginny, but instead i will tell you about her Aunt Peg. She is a free spirit who has trouble settling down in one place. She has a tendency to dissapear on those she cares about, including Ginny. Her absence doesn't mean she doesn't care though. In fact, she cares enough to send Ginny on a pretty amazing adventure (although some bits are ill advised). I wont give anything away, but through out the trip Ginny discovers a lot about the world, her aunt and of course, herself. If her Aunt hadn't taken the same journey first, we never would have had this story!

Color me Offended and the Resulting Changes to A Reader's Ramblings

Today I read an interesting article at The New York Times which claims to be a Television Review of HBO's Game of Thrones (read the full article here)

For the most part it reads as a criticism of the whole project- the reviewer isn't a fan, which is totally okay, not everyone will love everything. Then I got to the following paragraphs:

"Like “The Tudors” and “The Borgias” on Showtime and the “Spartacus” series on Starz, “Game of Thrones,” is a costume-drama sexual hopscotch, even if it is more sophisticated than its predecessors. It says something about current American attitudes toward sex that with the exception of the lurid and awful “Californication,” nearly all eroticism on television is past tense. The imagined historical universe of “Game of Thrones” gives license for unhindered bed-jumping — here sibling intimacy is hardly confined to emotional exchange.

The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise. While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half."

The insinuation here is that no woman in her right mind likes stories like this unless there's some hot sex with hot boys involved. That we, collectively as a group, are champions of the likes of Lorrie Moore- who may be in fact be a phenomenal writer - but I've never heard of her, despite being a fairly well-read person. Thanks to wikipedia I now know that is she is "an American fiction writer known mainly for her humorous and poignant short stories." Great for her, but definitly not my cup of tea. And if I was in that particular book club, you can bet your ass that I'd be standing up and demanding some Tolkien (Silmarillion anyone?)to be included in the required reading. In fact, I'd hope that we'd be reading a wide variety of books- from YA and HisFic, to Fantasy and Chicklit. Of course if there was no chance of that kind of diversity, I probably wouldn't even bother to show up. Maybe that's why "no single woman" has challenged their book club on this, we simply think it's not worth the time. We are probably at home watching Lord of the Rings while wearing our Star Wars t-shirts and hanging out with other sci-fi/fantasy geek girls. In short, color me offended by the insinuation that my only interest in fantasy books, movies and tv shows is due to the sex scenes. To be fair- I certainly don't HATE that there are sexy guys running around, much in the same way that male watchers aren't turned off by they beautiful woman shown on the screen. Clearly this makes me a closet perv who can only be lured in by hot (naked) boys getting it on with anyone they can grab- the world building, the intrigue and the way that fantasy almost always is making a statement about historical events or the current state of the world is obviously lost on me.

Additionally, I worry about what message this line of thinking sends. As someone who is a current Library Student and who harbors a desire to work with Teens in the library setting upon graduation, I cringe when I think of how it will impact girls who like Sci-Fi and Fantasy. If we, as adults are being talked down to because we like this genre, then how will youngers girls feel? To be told that if you enjoy this genre then you must be only interested in the racy, illicit scenes is troubling. It implies that if you do like it for other reasons (as I do) that you are somehow outside the norms for your gender. Don't teens have enough to worry about without having to defend their choice of books, tv and movies to people?

So what does this mean for A Reader's Ramblings? How could it possibly result in changes here?

So here's the deal. My biggest gripe about this article was that it was presented under the guise of a journalistic review. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing a scathing review about something that you didn't like, so long as you back it up with some sort of facts. When you begin to make broad generalizations without backing it up, as the review here did by lumping women together in an anti-fantasy pile, you cross the fine line between professional review and editorial. This read as the reviewers thoughts and opinions as opposed to a proper review. Immediately upon sharing this criticism with some friends I felt like a hypocrite. Isn't that what I do here everyday, share my personal opinion on books? Sure no one is paying me, but why should they be held to a higher standard then I am? So here we are, and I've decided to make some very small, but I think important changes.

Moving forward:

1. While the posts will not change in terms of what is included (i.e. my personal opinions on the books I read), how I refer to these posts will. From now on they will not be called reviews. Instead every post will be "My Ramblings on [book title] by [author]. It may seem like a small change, but it makes me feel like less of a hypocrite, and since it's my blog, I get to make these monumental, world changing decisions ;)

2. I'm eliminating the rating system from this blog. I don't particularly think it's adding to the posts and I often find it hard to hammer down a starred rating.

So those are my thoughts on this particular article as well as the changes that I'm amking here on the blog. I'd love to hear what you all think- are you offended too or am I totally over-reacting? Where is the line between review and opinion piece and where do we bloggers fit in? Sound off in the comments (but keep it clean!).

My Ramblings on 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

13 Little Blue Envelopes
: Maureen Johnson
Release date
: October 1, 2006
Author Website

When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.(from goodreads)

I'm not going to lie, I had a lot of trouble with this book. As a broad concept I loved it. Ginny, a shy teen from New Jersey, recieves a package from her Aunt instructing her to pack up and ship out to Europe where she will follow in her Aunt's footsteps on a bit of an adventure. She will inevitably learn something about the world and about herself. LOVE IT. In fact I kind of want to do it too. The people she meets up with along the way are interesting, I especially liked the group she hooks up with from Australia, and I found that I believed these relationships easily. I also really liked Kieth and Robert, who become a bit of surrogate family to Ginny as she completes the tasks laid out by her Aunt.

There's the rub though. Family. Ginny has one back in Jersey. She's got parents and a best friend. She is instructed via the package from her Aunt that on this trek she is not allowed to contact her family at all. Not by phone or email or text. It's radio silence. This one concept killed this book for me. For all the actual trip seemed plausible I had trouble believing that a girl of 17, who had never travelled before, let alone by herself, would be allowed to hop a plane on a whim and follow some letters to god knows where without being able to check in with her family. Maybe it's just that I can't seperate the way my family would have acted from how I think Ginny's family should have. I was allowed to travel quite a bit while in high school, but there would be hell to pay if I didn't check in a few times a day. Just a quick "hey, I'm alive, having fun, going to dinner, talk to you later." We don't get a whole lot of info about Ginny's family beyond the fact that her Mom dissaproved of the way Aunt Peg lived, but that fact was enough for me to feel like Ginny's Mom wouldn't have bought into the whole premis of the tour of Europe, alone, without checking in every now and then. I do realize that she was able to write good old fashion letters, since she sent a few to her best friend, but no where in the book is there mention of her writing to her family.I just didn't buy it.

I know that I just ranted a bit here on this point, but it really bothered me. It's also one of those aspects that might not bother other readers at all! If not for that one little thing I think I would have REALLY loved this book. The writing was good and the charecters were really well developed and relatable (although I do wish Ginny had taken advantage of her surrounding a little more). I liked the adventure of it, the going where the letter takes you and even how Ginny didn't see the forest for the trees until the very end. There was a lot there to latch onto.

So in the end- I didn't like one specific part of this book, but if you look past that, there is a lot to really like and enjoy. I'd say grab it up if you can and give it a read. I know that despite the issues I had here I will still be reading the sequel The Last Little Blue Envelope when it comes out later this month to see how the story ends.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rock the Drop 2011

It's time to Rock the Drop in support of Teen Lit Day! This event is hosted by the Readergirlz.

Here's how you can get involved (from their website):

* Snag the banner above, created by the uber-talented David Ostow (who blogs hilarious cartoons here), and add it to your website, linking back to this post to share the love, and proclaiming that you will indeed ROCK THE DROP!

* Print a copy of the bookplate below and insert it into a book (or 10!) that you'll drop on April 14th. Drop a book in a public spot (park bench, bus seat, restaurant counter?) and you're done. Lucky finders will see that the book is part of ROCK THE DROP!

* Snap a photo of your drop and email readergirlz AT gmail DOT com with the pic -- we'll be posting lots of pictures of drops happening all over the world at the readergirlz blog, and our friends at Figment will also be featuring the event!


Of course I had to join in on the fun- so today I raided my bookshelves for unread books that I had multiple copies of(I'm a messy reader- no one wants my already reads...) and came up with Across the Universe by Beth Revis and The Haunted by Jessica Verday! I also pulled out some sweet author swag like bookmarks (some autographed) and stuck them in the pages of the books!

First up was to drop ATU- I knew just where I wanted it to go. Right outside the front of our local Target there are a few benches and and a really cool spot that is essentially a giant hole in a red wall. After school lets out there are always some teens hanging out there,drinking their starbucks and relaxing. So I headed out and dropped Across the Universe literally in the wall. I'm hoping the wind doesn't pick up too much and blow the book right over!

Next I headed toward the bus stop which is nearby to drop Jessica Verday's The Haunted. The stop is always busy, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it empty, which made it so much easier to drop the book and get the picture!

I had a great time participating in Rock the Drop this year. I admit I felt a bit like a caped crusader (you know, minus the cape and any super powers) as I hurridly set up my books and snapped pictures. I hope someone finds the books and loves them as much as I did!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

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 list is all about what books you want to be seen made into a movie (assuming said movie will be covered in awesomesauce and not come from the land of suckville)

1. The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg- I love, love, love this book. I think the message is great and the characters are super relatable and... well... fun. I'd love to see it come to life on the big screen.

2. The Study Series by Maria V. Snyder- this is a toss up for me. I love the books, but there are so many places where it could jump the shark and land in cheeseville. Some genre's are better left between the covers, you know? That being said, seeing Valek come to life? It might be worth the risk.

3. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver- This is another one that I'd love to see, but which I'd worry might no translate to the big screen. It's such a moving story and they'd really need to capture it all for it to work.

4. The Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMann- this one may be cheating because they are working on it. Still, I want to see Janie and Cable in the flesh on the screen. I'm not even super concerned with the fact that it looks like Miley will be playing Janie. I just want to see McMann's story up there.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- another bit of a cheat, but I seriously can not wait to see this movie. I'm down with the casting and I'm ready to see where it can go on the big screen- especially interested to see if they can preserve the graphic nature of the books, which really is what makes it so good, and still keep that pg13 rating.

6. The Berrybender Narratives by Larry McMurtry- I love a good western and this series is one of my all time favorites. I don't know if it's big screen movie material, but TNT should get on it and turn it into a mini-series movie!

7. Any Jude Deveraux Book- Have I mentioned my current obsession? I'm seriously addicted to these books right now. I'm reading one a week. how are they not already movies? I mean at the very least Lifetime should be all over this. Or maybe they are (are they? Are the Deveraux movies out there that I'm unaware of? Good gravy this obsession could take over my life...)

8. The Mists of Avalon by Marian Zimmer Bradley- Yes, I know it was already a (TV) movie once. It even starred one of my favorite actresses, Julianna Marguiles. Thing is, the movie resided clearly in the dreaded Suckville. I was so excited and it totally didn't do the book justice. So if someone could just go ahead and give it another try I would really appreciate it.

9. Stolen by Lucy Christopher- Have you read this book yet? If you haven't, go get it. I want to see this movie for one reason only. Australian Outback. Christopher created such a heartbreaking and hopeful story and it starred three characters, Gemma, Ty and the Outback. I want to see that desolate backdrop come to life on the screen. I want to see what Gemma saw and see it the way Ty does. It's not so much a want as a neccessity. This movie must be made.

10. The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander- I'm all over this book this week since I'm participating in the blog tour. Even if it wasn't The Fourth Stall week over here this book would still make my list. It's so funny and there are a lot of interesting and unique charecters in the story that I'd really love to see come to life. From Mac to Vince, from little Fred to big bully Kitten, I want to see these guys take over the screen as they battle for control of the school.

So that's my top ten this week- what books do you want to see take that leap to the big screen?

The Fourth Stall Giveaway: We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Karen K. who has won an autographed copy of Chris Rylander's The Fourth Stall!

**winner was determined by using and has been notified via email**

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review & Giveaway: The Fourth Stall

The Fourth Stall
Chris Rylander
Release Date
: February 8, 2011
Author Website

Do you need something? Mac can get it for you. It's what he does—he and his best friend and business manager, Vince. Their methods might sometimes run afoul of the law, or at least the school code of conduct, but if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can pay him, Mac is on your side. His office is located in the East Wing boys' bathroom, fourth stall from the high window. And business is booming. Or at least it was, until one particular Monday. It starts with a third grader in need of protection. And before this ordeal is over, it's going to involve a legendary high school crime boss named Staples, an intramural gambling ring, a graffiti ninja, the nine most dangerous bullies in school, and the first Chicago Cubs World Series game in almost seventy years. And that's just the beginning. Mac and Vince soon realize that the trouble with solving everyone else's problems is that there's no one left to solve yours. (from

Review: I've had this book sitting on my shelf for awhile. The cover was pretty great, but for one reason or another it kept getting passed over. Once I signed up for the blog tour I was excited to get to reading. I can't believe I waited this long! I've heard this book described a few different way- as a Ferris Beuller type story and as a Godfather/Mafia story. Both totally apply and the result is a funny, heartwarming, sometimes violent but at all times believable story about being a 6th grader who rules the school and the dark underbelly of the school that you have to deal with. Mac is our main man- he is both Ferris and the Godfather. He rules the school, trading favors with the janitor and working outside the rules from his broke-down bathroom office. He is also the one who everyone turns to when there is trouble- one by one they go into the fourth stall to tell Mac of their troubles, ranging from homework help to money issues, and hope he will help. At his side is his best buddy Vince. Together they call in favors from other members of the school and save their money so they can go to the World Series. Everything was working out fine until Fred, a puny 3rd grader enters the picture, with a tale of the legendary bully Staples and the bookie ring that is infiltrating Mac's turf. Soon, Mac's whole business is in trouble and he might lose everything.

The charecters are really well written. Mac, real name Christian, is a great. At first I scoffed at the idea that a 6th grader could really do all that Mac does, but Rylander employs little side stories that give us all the abckground we need to see how it happened. We find out how his team came together, why the fourth stall is available for his use and how the janitor came to owe him. We even get some pretty great backstories on the other charecters, including nemesis Staples. The more I knew about Mac, Vince, Staples and the rest of the cast, the more I bought into the world Mac occupies, which includes bullies named Kitten (who works for Mac)and middle school bookies on every piece of playground equipment.
There is a fair bit of violence in this book. Enough to make you cringe, not neccessarily because it's gratuitous, but because we can all remember these middle school fights (at least I can) Where there was no finesse, you just got right to it, punched as hard as you could, ganged up with your buddies if that's what it took to get the heck out of there, knock-down, drag-out fights. Even if we remember it, it's still hard to read about. Picturing some bigger kids beating up the little guy is hard to handle no matter which way you slice it. To not include it though, would have been shame, because it is the reality for kids (not that it should be) and it certainly fit into the world that Rylander created for Mac.

That's not to say that this is a dark/violent book. For every punch that is thrown there are lighter moments, including Vince and Mac having a catch as they discuss the Fred/Staples problem and Vince compares it to the time her "really wanted barbacue chicken but couldn't because" he "decided to be a vegetarian for two weeks to see what it was like to be a giraffe". For all they act like adults, these moments are great reminders of what it's like to just be a kid.

Before I wrap this up I have to say that I loved the way this book ended. There is a great conclusion to this story, but we are left with a great intro into a sequel when a girl walked in "with damp hair and a swagger that [Mac] found both attractive and unnerving". With that one sentence Rylander had me ready for more. I can't wait for the sequel to see who this girl is and what kind of trouble she gets Mac into!


The Fourth Stall Blog Tour

This week I'm participating in the blog tour for Chris Rylander's The Fourth Stall. I'll be posting my review and giveaway information tomorrow and I was also lucky enough to get the chance to interview Rylander and that will be posted on Saturday.

Here is the list for this weeks tour stops:

4/11 – Review and Giveaway at A Reader’s Ramblings 4/11 – Review and Giveaway at Kid Lit Frenzy

4/12 – Guest post at Milk and Cookies: Comfort Reading 4/12 – Giveaway at Alison’s Bookmarks

4/13 – Interview at Alison’s Bookmarks

4/14 - Review at Eve's Fan Garden

4/15 – Review and Contest at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

4/15 – Interview at A Reader’s Ramblings

4/16 – Interview at Teach 8 YA book Blog

4/16 – Review and Giveaway at Tracey Edward Wymer’s Blog

4/17 – Interview at Kid Lit Frenzy

4/18 – Review and Giveaway at Read Now Sleep Later

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

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 weeks Top Ten Tuesday is all about those covers that make you cringe! Which covers would you redesign if you could?

I do want to note here that while I may be snarky on the nature and design of these covers I have actually read and enjoyed all of these books. So it's not a knock against the books or the authors- just on the tragic (IMO) artwork that graces the covers :)


City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I know. A lot of people LOVE these covers, but this one is just, um, weird. He's naked, mostly decapitated and there seems to be some odd green mist coming from his lower regions.

**EDIT** Upon further investigation I've discovered something disturbing. All of the Mortal Instrument covers have something south of the border going on. In City of Glass there appears to be mysterious fireworks eminating from well, you know where. And in City of Ashes there is a distinct blue fog rising up and spreading out over the city. Even City of Fallen Angels is not immune. Here we see a roving orange mist, a super mist if you will, combining the south of the border mist powers of the two characters who grace the cover, pouring out over the city. These mysterious mists may not mean anything, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they may be a part of whatever ailment keeps the cover models from showing their entire face. They may want to get that checked out...


High Fantasy books- like Elvenbane by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey

Creepy dragons (or other mythical creature) learing at scantily dressed ladies. It's like romance covers for mythical creatures...


Speaking of romance covers... Some are so cheesy that I actually cringe when I see them. I am physically embarrassed for these book covers. And they actually keep me from puchasing books like this. Don't even get me started of the ridiculous titles some of these books have...This is just one example- The Laird Who Loved Me by Karen Hawkins

**EDIT **Thanks to commentor Stephanie for talking about this cover. It made me take a second look and lo and behold I found even more to laugh about! Did you notice be has on the scottish version of Uggs? Like straight up fur boots. If it is that cold out, shouldn't he be rocking something more then a poorly wrapped skirt? Not that I don't appreciate a fine looking man, but boots and a skirt? He's not impressing anyone with that fashion sense...


Busy covers like Cat Patrick's Forgotten.

The underlying picture is nice, but add all that extra stuff and it all just gets messy and confusing looking.


Briefly mention in the City of Bones description is this trend that I simply don't get- the decapitated person. Swoon at Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter employs this trick. Why are we cutting off half the head? Are these models so hidious that there is a need to protect the publics eyes from their offending foreheads?


Technically these are already redesigns so what I really want is an un-design of these covers. They are the Movie Tie-in covers. I get that you are trying to suck every last penny from die-hard fans, but these covers are silly.


The Devils Kiss by Sarwat Chadda

There are two covers to this book (Thank god), and this one, well, sucks. There is so much going on and what is with that giant red X covering everything?!


The duel scene cover. Night Runner by Max Turner isn't the only offending cover to jump on this trend, but it is a good example. It always seems like the top part is randomly floating up there, smashed in for no good reason.


Frankentein by Mary Shelley.

I have this cover sitting on my shelf and every time I see it I laugh. Why is there a naked dude on the cover? I think it's supposed to be Frankenstein, but who knows. All I know is I can't pick it up without laughing...

**EDIT** Credit to the fabulous Darby Karchut for noticing that Frankentein here (if that's who he really is) is totally blushing. Even he is embarrased by how this cover came out.


The translucent cover. There are a ton of examples here where the person on the cover is see through or fading into the background. The Revenant by Sonia Gensler is one such cover.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

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.


Days of Gold and Mountain Laurel by Jude Deveraux- Sara got me hooked on Deveraux's books. I'm literally reading one or two a week. These are just the latest two to come in for me at the library!

The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales by Bruno Bettleheim- over at TwilightMoms there is a thread where we talk about Fractured Fairy Tales. I can get sucked into that thread for hours. Basically I got this book so I can do reasearch for a thread on a chat board. So yeah. I'm a nerd.

XVI by Julia Karr- I've already finished this one up. It was a really great dystopian and it also counts for the Debut Author Challenge.

M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman- This one is for the HS Book Club I help with. It's a collectio of short stories and so far is really fun!

For Review:

Ravenwild by Peter Plasse- I was contated by Michael Longenecker, who does some brilliant illustrations in this book, about reviewing Ravenwild. Between the artwork, the synopsis and the tagline on the website I was convinced! I mean under the title we have: "War...Tyranny...Courage...Honor...Loyalty" and then the fabulous quote of: "Sometimes even a fool can be reasoned with if you hit him with a big enough stick." That was enough for me! Check out their website for more information on the book!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

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

This weeks question is:

"Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR that someone has played on you?"

I'm not a huge prank person, but when I worked at a small office we did gang up on eachother every once in awhile to pull some small time pranks. For one person's birthday we stayed at the office LONG after she left and then encased all her small office supplies, the stapler, the mouse, the keyboard, etc. in jello. Obviously we were all really big fans of The Office!