Monday, January 31, 2011

Don’t Judge a Book By Its Genre

Judging a book by its cover is a common thing that we all know about, and have probably been a part of. But judging a book by the genre feels like a common but rarely talked about problem. Although this can be applied outside of YA, I’m talking about “discriminating” between genres like contemporary YA and dystopic YA, or paranormal YA and romance YA. I’ve unknowingly done it time and time again. I seem to discriminate against contemporary books the most. I don’t remember a time when it’s ACTUALLY caused me not to read a book I’m really interested in, but there are other books that I didn’t give a chance initially because of their genre (and cover). I think a main reason is because I think it’s going to be too serious. Sometimes books are a way to escape, so I don’t want to read a book about abuse or suicide, which is not to say that they’re always about really difficult and serious issues. But as far as the serious topics, I’ve rarely considered that they also come up many times in other genres. I also initially seemed to think that if a book was about something serious, that it was going to be extremely boring. In 2010 I definitely learned my lesson, after finding two new favorite books, which just happened to both be contemporary novels (Paper Towns and Please Ignore Vera Dietz). I’ve already gotten better! I hate to admit it, but I didn’t want to read Jellicoe Road because I didn’t like the cover, and it was a contemporary novel (what was I thinking?). I can’t believe I ever let that govern my choice to read it, but it’s now one of my top books to read in 2011. I can’t wait to see what other books I’ve been missing out on! Am I alone in judging books this way? Do you do it too? Have you done it in the past? Let me know!

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

Currently reading:
Clarity by Kim Harrington

Upcoming reads:
Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux

Saturday, January 29, 2011

In My Mailbox 52

 This meme was started by TheStorySiren

I'm soo excited for all the cool books I got this week! I bought most of these at my local indie store (they were having a good week!). I've heard so much about Before I fall that I was dying to get it, and I enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, so I had to get The Lost Hero. Keturah and the Lord of Death is one of the books Maggie Stiefvater did  review on, and she made it sound really interesting. I received a copy of Red Moon Rising (yay) and thought of Mulan when I saw Daughter of Xanadu. The Book Smugglers reviewed Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer, so OF COURSE I wanted it.

What did you get this week?!

Please Ignore Vera Dietz review

Description: Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.

My thoughts: I didn’t look at too many reviews for this book, but it wasn’t hard to tell that a lot of people loved it. I saw it online and decided to buy it. I had no intention of reading it anytime soon. But once it got to my house, it called out to me and I had to read it. Looking back, it’s so amazing that I started 2010 with Paper Towns (a favorite!) by John Green, and ended 2010 with Please Ignore Vera Dietz (another favorite). Initially with King switching from past to present, and giving people like Vera’s father their own chapter, I was concerned it wouldn’t flow. But everything worked, from Vera’s father’s flow charts, to the talking pagoda, and transitions from past to present. King successfully goes back and forth between past and present, even though I initially thought it was a bad idea.  Sometimes I’d finish a chapter based in the past only to find that the next chapter was also set in the past. At first I thought, “No, this is too much of the past, I’ll get tired of it pretty soon.” But then she’d reveal something important and startling, and I’d say a quick sorry in regards to assuming King couldn’t write a good past tense chapter.
Seeing as how this has now been deemed one of my favorite books, you’d think it would be happier. It’s not. It’s sad and depressing with humor sprinkled in between, but so are little sections of our life. Of course, having a dead best friend that wasn’t even a friend let along best friend before he died doesn’t make you want to sing Glee songs while skipping down the road (lol I don’t know where that image came from). Especially when you find out, as you read that the situation was much worse than you imagined. Until the very end of the story I saw myself go from “that sucks,” to “ok that really sucks,” to “Vera you deserve better cause he’s a douchebag.” But there’s this version of Charlie (her dead bff) that she sees, which at times seems wrong and at other times seems like it represents his potential or former self. And through Vera’s point of view, it’s very easy to understand both the love and hate she feels for Charlie, even if it’s at the same time.
There are so many things Vera has to deal with. There’s her relationship with Charlie, her Dad, or just herself. She has so much she has to deal with, that you eventually forget about Charlie, not that he becomes less prevalent. He just becomes a thing that is so constant; his presence just becomes a part of Vera’s background. It’s interesting how a book about death is actually about living. Through all her trials, Vera is forced to deal with her problems. Acceptance and growth are a huge part of this story, and it’s these kinds of aspects that helps make this book one of my favorite books!

Random great thing about this book: The freakin pagoda gets its own chapters! How cool is that?!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Looking Foward to...

Description: It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin.

When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their badlands town.

Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.

My thoughts: Contemporary isn't my favorite genre, but my favorite books always seem to be contemporary (Paper Towns, Please Ignore Vera Dietz). This sounds like a book that could be of or near that caliber.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Books I Wish I'd Read As A Child

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

 They are all books I wanted to get to, or finish reading but never got to.

The Fallen: Raziel review

She was just an ordinary mortal . . .
“You’re dead” is so not what Allie Watson wants to hear. Unfortunately, it explains a lot. Like the dark, angelically handsome man who ferried her to this strange, hidden land. The last thing she remembers is stepping off a curb in front of a crosstown bus. Now she’s surrounded by gorgeous fallen angels with an unsettling taste for blood—and they really don’t want her around. Not exactly how she pictured heaven.
. . . until death catapulted her into a seductive world she never imagined.
Raziel is unsure why he rescued Allie from hellfire against Uriel’s orders, but she stirs in him a longing he hasn't felt in centuries. Now the Fallen are bracing for the divine wrath brought by his disobedience, and they blame Allie for the ferocious Nephilim clawing at the kingdom’s shrouded gates. Facing impossible odds at every turn, the two must work together to survive. Raziel will do anything to defend his spirited lover against the forces of darkness—because Allie may be the Fallen’s only salvation.

My Thoughts: Ever since I started reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I’ve been looking for another series that could have the same setting, but deal with a different person from the same group in every book. There were already plenty of books out there with that element, but that wasn’t the only prerequisite for a new series. It had to be likable. I already knew that nothing would take the place of the BDB series, but there must be a close second, or a series with great potential. I think The Fallen series has great potential!
This is my first adult book with fallen angels in it, so I had no real expectations when it came to what a group of angels would act like. I’m trying hard not to compare this series to BDB too much, but there are some positive and negative aspects of this book compared to BDB, I didn’t connect with these characters very well initially. Raziel was cold and had the kind of description that I’m used to a side character having before they get their own book and become more personal. I also thought at times, that Allie was stuck up. But other than the problem with how relatable the characters were (at first), everything else (including the characters) was fascinating. 

I’ve never heard of a story like this when it comes to fallen angels. It’s almost as if this book goes the opposite way when dealing with who the fallen are, whether they deserved to fall, and who the good guys really are. Being a Christian who loves to “study to show herself (yourself) approved (2 Tim. 2:15 ) it took a moment to except some of the background story pertaining to the fallen angels. But after a few chapters, I was totally into it.

Another thing I liked about this book was the overall problem. There’s always a problem between the main guy and girl which keeps them from being together, or seeing how they feel about each other, but there is always a bigger problem that affects the whole group. With this one, there is a war going on, and it’s getting closer and closer to the fallen’s door. If done right, this along with the main couple’s love problems will provide me and others with an exciting and alluring new series to read.

Note: This book was just released today!

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Nada. Had to deal with roommate issues this week*shudders*.

Currently reading:
Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

Upcoming reads:
Clarity by Kim Harrington

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In My Mailbox 51

 This meme is by TheStorySiren

1. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
2. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
You should have seen me do my happy dance when I saw the copies of Delirium and Angelfire. A bookish friend sent them, which I'm sooo thankful for!!

3. Maximum Ride by James Patterson
I've wanted to start this series for a while now, so I really appreciate Little Brown sending me a copy!

4. Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux
I'm really anxious to start this one! I hope I like it

Thursday Links

I'd like to post up a list of links every Thursday showing you all some of the things I see during the week. Some post are recent, some are old. It might be every other week, because sometimes it takes two weeks to get through certain post.

Tantalizing Future YA Releases - This is one of three places I like to check out during the week to find out about upcoming books I haven't heard of.

On The Smugglers' Radar - This is another one of the three places I LOVE to go on to find out about knew (and sometimes old) books! I've loved everything the Book Smugglers recommend, so I try to pay attention to the books they think are interesting.

F*ck Yeah Maureen Johnson - I love that this website catches some of her very hilarious tweets.

A Rather Contentious and Pointless Will vs. Jem Battle - I love battles between different Teams! I haven't actually read this post yet, because I'm assuming there are spoilers. But I will read it once I'm finished with Clockwork Angel.

 So, Alex Pettyfer for Jace - I didn't know nor did I understand anything about all the people wanting Alex to play Jace until I found this picture on twitter... Now I understand!!

Hot Guys Reading Books - I think the title says it all!

Personal Demons review

Description: Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance—-even her closest friends—-and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him.
What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy—-all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.
But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

My thoughts: Gabe, where have you been all my life! If that opening sentence didn’t give you any indication on how I (might) feel about the book, or at least some of the characters, hopefully the rest of this review will. I liked the book as a whole, but there were three specific reasons why.

1)      I loved the two guys. I’m totally team Gabe, with his sexy appearance and his selfless acts. How could you NOT love a guy who loves you so much that he would be willing to back off if he knows you want to be with someone else? I thought this would mean I WOULDN’T like Luc. But how could I not like a demon that would change his ways for love?! This is one of the best love triangles I’ve read about in a long time. In most books, there are two love interests, but only one has a real chance. Initially, I definitely thought one of the guys had the upper hand, but after finding out how Frannie felt for both guys, I think it’s a tie (or almost)!

2)      I also loved that it dealt with forgiveness. Frannie had something she was holding on too, that she refused to let go of. Although it was annoying at times (that she couldn’t let go), I liked that the problem was so realistic. The problem was apparent in the beginning, and continued until the very end. I’m use to books with problems that show up half way through the story, seeming to be there JUST to provide a climax to the book. This, like the love triangle is fresh and unique.

3)      When one guy is for team heaven, and the other is team hell, it makes sense that the major problem is much bigger than just one person, or a group. Don’t get me wrong, I love Twilight, but I didn’t want the book's trouble to be that everybody wanted Frannie, and she was too weak to defend herself. So it was exciting to know that it wasn’t just ALL about her. Plus she can kick any guys butt (how cool is that?)!

Now that I’m done and going through Gabe withdrawal, there’s nothing to do but wait. Hopefully the months won’t seem that long, because I have to know how Frannie’s progressing with the knowledge of knowing why she’s so special. Plus I need to know what’s happening with Luc and Gabe…. and Gabe…. did I mention Gabe?

Sorry for the white box. I don't know where it came from!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Looking Foward to...

Description: One choice
One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs, and determines your loyalties . . . forever.
Or, one choice can transform you.
In Veronica Roth's debut novel, Divergent, a perfect society unfolds into a dystopian world of electrifying decisions, stunning consequences, heartbreaking betrayals, and unexpected romance.

My thoughts: I couldn't find the initial description that got me stoked for this, but I truly believe that this book is made of awesome...ness! I need a copy as soon as possible!!

Book Teaser: Legacies by Mercedes lackey & Rosemary Edghill

She was all floaty now, and she couldn't keep her eyes open. Never mind me, she wanted to say, where's Mom and Dad and the shrimp? But she was falling away now, falling into soft, warm blackness, and couldn't get the words out, couldn't even hold onto the thoughts.

Couldn't even beg to be kept safe from the thing that had loomed up in the middle of the road. The thing, the impossible thing that could not exist, with the black, terrible eyes...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Most Inspirational Characters

I wanted to come up with this list from the books I’ve read in the past year and a half. If this list had just come from any of the books I’ve read, I would have added characters like Atticus Finch and Hermoine Granger. But most bloggers should know how inspiring they are by now, right?

 These aren't in any kind of order:
1. Zsadist from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series
I couldn’t imagine having to go through what he went through. The fact that he got through it, found love, and finally began to come to terms with what happened to him is such a powerful example of strength.

2. John Matthews from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series
It’s remarkable to see how many characteristics John and I have in common as I continue to read the BDB series. It’s inspiring to read about his semi (because it’s not the end of the series) happy ending after all the hurtful he went through. 

3 Aislinn from the Wicked Lovely series
She has so much courage! In the first book of Wicked Lovely, when it didn’t seem like she could make her own choices, she found a way to do it anyway. She stuck to her beliefs and came out better for it.

4. Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief
So much happened in this book, it’s hard to put in a few words why she’s deserves to be on this list, so I’ll just say this. Liesel Meminger, the Book Thief, is packed full of inspiration.

5. Bertie from Eyes Like Stars
She never let the two boys in her life discourage her from any goal she had. She didn’t let boys define who she was, or how she would act.

6. Q from Paper Towns
His inspirational characteristic is perseverance. If Margo did to me what she did to Q, I don’t think I could have lasted as long as he did. I would have stopped at the Walt Whitman poem (or at least take a break).

7. Plain Kate from… Plain Kate
There were so many ways she could have handled all the things that happened to her. She took the high road EVERY time. As confident as I am about my integrity, I don’t know if I’d have done as good as she did.

8. Yeine from The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
She knows she’s probably going to die, and she’s still fearless! What else is there to say?

9. Vera from Please Ignore Vera Dietz
OK, most of the time she wasn’t dealing with her problems. And she saw her dead best friend everywhere she went. But could you have gone through what she did and come out as good as she did?...  Yeah, that’s what I thought.

10. Prim from the Hunger Games
Katniss was the obvious choice, and it’s true, she is very inspirational. But everybody (not EVERYBODY) seems to forget about Prim. This might not be the best example, but it reminds me of when someone is really really sick, like dying sick. Obviously everyone is concerned over the person whose dying, but rarely do people ask about the caretaker. She has to deal with whatever feelings come, due to watching her sister take her place, and almost die, like a MILLION times. The way she carries herself is extremely inspirational.

Monday, January 17, 2011

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

Currently reading:
The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers
 Upcoming reads:
Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

Saturday, January 15, 2011

In My Mailbox 50

This meme was started by TheStorySiren

I only received one book this week, but it sounds really good (and has an 4.33 average on Goodreads)!

Description:When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth? This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.
Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.
And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year's Contest Winner

The winner: Elise Rodriguez. Congrats!

I randomly selected Elise with Random Line Picker. Putting each name in as many times as the number of points they got.As an automatic, winners of my contest have 48 hrs. from the time I send them an email  to reply.Once again Congrats. I hope the winner enjoys their copy of Vampire Crush!

Also, I'm hoping to do another contest at the end of January or the beginning of February.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Looking Foward to...

Description:When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth? This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.
Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.
And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Release date: March 1, 2011 by Scholastic Point

Book Teaser: The Fallen: Raziel by Kristina Douglas

"It will be fine." And I pulled her forward, spinning her out into darkness and releasing her as I stepped back. It was only at the last minute I saw the flames. I heard her scream, and I grabbed for her without thinking, dragging her back.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Spray Review

Description: Five teenagers enrol in a play assassination game in a fictional city: Shell, a student, with a perky exterior hiding a vulnerable need to prove herself, falls for Mac when required to assassinate him; Mac a student drop out, resentful of his parents' divorce a year before the story starts, what he doesn't know is that his sister Han has joined the game to find him; Green, a computer geek, is overweight and has issues with self-esteem, like Shell he sees the game as a chance to prove himself as well as interact with people his own age; Zed is feisty and attractive and a metal head goth by night, by day a student nurse - Zed is a chameleon and pretty ruthless, the most competitive of all perhaps, but does she know who she really is? The buzz in this 'street war' is that you feel like a player in a real action movie with all of the adrenalin and the strategy and the pace, without the danger The game is organized online by the elusive 'gamekeeper' and all players meet him once, to collect the details of their first target on a laminated card ...Meanwhile their name is also down as a target, for whom, they don't know...all they know is that they have to be on their guard, always looking over their shoulder, ready to dodge their 'assailant'. These five teens have their own stories to tell, their own relationships unresolved, for some the game and the end result is more important than others. But what becomes clear, as the plot and the game unravels, is that the danger is more real than they thought, and that the Gamekeeper has a shady agenda of his own.

My Thoughts: I was leery of this book at first. I was surprised that I’d been sent a review copy, and was fighting between being happy, because I am always generally happy when a book comes, and wanting to role my eyes because this book was about water guns (or something). I’m sorry to admit that I gave it a chance only because it was short and I appreciated any book that publishers were willing to give me. After giving in, telling myself not to judge a book by its cover, or description in this case, I started to read.

It took only a few pages before a grin appeared on my face and a chapter before I paused to explain to my mother the rules of assassination/spray “and actually, my school played this last year” I tell her. As if I actually knew what assassination was at the time students were walking around campus with play guns. Then I read chapter 2, stopped to summarize it for mom, read chapter 3, filled mother in and so on.

I couldn’t stop smiling as I read it! I wondered who would spray who, and who would manage to avoid who. I made guesses on who would win, and predicted which couples would get or stay together.  This was just the break I needed from the serious books I’d been reading lately. Books like StarCrossed, The 10 p.m. Question, and Trapped were lovely books. But they were filled with complications and real deaths. In Spray if you died, you just sighed with your mixed emotions of sadness, anger, relief, and giddiness, and handed over your laminate of your target. 

This is not to say that there weren’t any messages behind the game. The importance of water and the problems that are attached to any society were laced throughout the whole book. So while I was laughing at how I and a character had been outfoxed by Zoro, I was also digesting the Invisible Man’s lecture on the Importance of Water. The combination of fun and a good message has me hoping that others might give this book a chance.
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