Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Captured contest

I wanted to give away my extra copy of the first book in the Divided Realms series, Captured. You'll have to fill out this FORM, but here are the rules:

You MUST leave your email address, name, and check the box saying whether you're either an old or new follower, or not a follower at all.

Extra Entries
+3 - old follower
+2 - new follower

Advertise contest:
+2 - link giveaway on sidebar and/or Tweet
+4 - blog post about contest

Contest ends on June 14, 2011.
The contest is for people living in the US and Canada only, unless you live somewhere else but are able to use a friend or family member's US address.

Top Ten Tuesdays:Top Ten Books That Should Be In My Beach Bag

I'm trying to keep things light (for the most part) and/or interesting with this list.
The Summer I Turned Pretty series and Twenty Boy Summer are both set in the summer.
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, Two-Way Street, and Going Bovine all have what sounds like amazing road trips!
I loved (loved loved) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms!! So I HAVE to read  The Broken Kingdoms this summer.
The Name of the Wind and Ash are vastly different, but they both sound unique in there own right. Plus I've been wanting to read both of them for a while now.
And The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series seems like a set of books everyone at least attempted to read.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Captured review (+ contest details)

Description: A teen is transported to an enchanted realm—could she be the hero that the kingdom seeks?

Fifteen-year-old Willow Kingswell has been listening to her Nana's tales of faeries and enchanted kingdoms for as long as she can remember. But when she is magically transported to the realm of Mistolear, she is stunned to learn that the stories were true, and that she is actually a princess. Suddenly, Willow has to fit into a royal family she didn't know she had, deal with customs she doesn't understand and sort out her feelings for Brand, the handsome knight who has sworn to protect her.

On top of everything, she may also be the key to saving Mistolear from a terrifying spell. The nefarious faerie prince Nezeral has pitted two kingdoms against each other in a life-or-death chess match, in which people are the game pieces. As a pawn, Willow now glows with the light of the game and must find the courage and cleverness to battle Nezeral before her loved ones fall. Could a meager pawn really be the most powerful piece on the board?

My thoughts: This was a sweet and short introduction to the Divided Realms series. Early on I was introduced to Willow and in turn introduced to the realms, family, and people (/creatures) she had no idea existed. Therefore, like Willow I didn’t know much about the new world and was forced to cope quickly with the complicated situations.

Everything moved so quickly, but Willow and her companions seemed like a good enough team to handle all kinds of adventure, which I’m looking forward to with the upcoming books in the series.

Until the end of the book I thought the problem in this book would be spread out over the series, but it turns out that it wasn’t the main problem. It was more like a symptom of the main problem, and was solved by the end of the book. I’m not sure how I feel about Willow solving the dilemma by the end of the 1st book.
On one side I thought the ending came too fast. But at the same time, I don’t like when authors drag out a situation so that the same problem can be used throughout the remaining books. 

It was nice to begin to learn about this magical world and the history behind it. The information given in Captured reminds me of the beginning stages of a snowball. It’s just starting out, but as long as it keeps on rolling and continues to grow, there’s potential for it to build. And this means bigger romance, adventure, and magic in the next books, which I’m looking forward to!

Captured Contest details:
I've decided to give away a copy of Captured, starting either today or tomorrow.
The only requirement is that you fill out the form I'll post later with your email address and name.
There will be extra points given if you become a blog follower or promote the contest.
Look for a contest post later today or tomorrow!

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Captured by Maggie L. Wood
Memento Nora by Angie Smibert

Currently reading:
Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Upcoming read(s):
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Monday, May 23, 2011

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Currently reading:
Captured by Maggie L. Wood

Upcoming read(s):
Bitter End by Jennifer Brown
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Instructions for a Broken Heart review

Description: Three days before her drama club's trip to Italy, Jessa Gardner discovers her boyfriend in the costume barn with another girl. Jessa is left with a care package from her best friend titled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," instructing her to do one un-Jessa-like thing each day of the trip. At turns hilarious and heartwrenching, Instructions for a Broken Heart paints a magical Italy in which Jessa learns she must figure out life-and romance-for herself.

My thoughts: Initially, when I first read this book’s description, I immediately thought of Maureen Johnson’s 13 Little Blue Envelopes, and was concerned that it would be the same type of story. Thankfully, except for both books having a loving yet sometimes unreliable individual send letters to a person who needs them for one reason or another, Instructions for a Broken Heart stood on its own.

 This story was a rare example of how a book could be messy and still be good. And I don’t mean messy like the book was bad. The main character has to go through a lot, and because she didn’t know how to deal with her breakup, or how to handle her best friend’s letters, a lot of unexpected things happen. 

There were so many situations that could have resulted in vastly different outcomes, but none of them happened in a way I expected. At some points, things didn’t make sense, and people seemed cruel and insensitive. Then there were critical learning moments that seemed to connect the challenging moments in life with the easy and carefree ones. 

What I liked most about this book is that it portrayed the characters as having more than just one side to them. People can generally be good or bad, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t more complicated than that. Good people can do bad things and vice versa. The situations in this book showed that life isn’t just black and white, which was hard to accept at first, because I never wanted to see Jessa as anything but an innocent victim, or her ex as anything but a jerk. But because of the author’s realistic writing, I was eventually able to see all the characters as real people who make mistakes. I’ve never heard of this author but I look forward to reading more books by her, especially if they’re in the contemporary genre.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Red Moon Rising review

Description: Being only half-vamp in a high school like Carpathia Night makes you a whole loser. But Danny Gray manages to escape the worst of the specists at his school. Thanks to genetic treatments he had as an infant, most people assume Danny's other half is human. Which is a good thing.
Ever since the development of synthetic blood – SynHeme – vamps have become society’s elite, while wulves like his father work menial jobs and live in bad neighborhoods. Wulves are less than second class citizens; once a month they become inmates, forced to undergo their Change in dangerous government compounds.
For Danny, living with his vamp mother and going to a school with a nearly all-vamp student body, it’s best to pretend his wulf half doesn’t even exist. But lately Danny's been having some weird symptoms — fantastic night vision; a keener-than-usual sense of smell; and headaches, right around the full moon.
Even though it's easy to be in denial, it's hard to ignore evidence. There's only a month until the next few moon, and Danny's time is running out.
Peter Moore speaks to adolescents in a voice that will have them laughing, set in a world that will get them thinking.

My thoughts:  
Red Moon Rising was different than any other werewolf book I’ve read. Sure, it’s not new that werewolves and vampires don’t get along, but this book took it to a whole other level. Psychological terms are still swirling around in my head from this morning’s exam, so I think I’ll use some terms I learned (can’t say I didn’t use psychology in real life!). 

In Red Moon Rising, werewolves were treated as the out-group, and vampires were seen as the in-group. Werewolves are looked down on because they are not like the vampires. And the vampires have in-group bias. Meaning that they think their group is better than others, especially and more specifically the werewolves. This then creates a prejudice. One that, minus the supernatural elements, reminded me of our prejudices towards one another, whether it be the color of our skin, our religion, gender, etc. These parts of the story, along with Danny’s relationship with Julia were the things that kept my interest while reading this book.  

I do admit that I thought there would be a more exciting finish. In a way, something big did happen, but the story still ended in a way that had me going, “Okay, so is this it?” I definitely want to know what happens with Danny and his situation, but the book’s dilemma kept building and building to the point that I thought the story wouldn’t JUST be about Danny’s personal problems. It looks like a second book could involve a society level problem (like racism, or another problem that’s bigger than him), but I can’t tell where the story is heading. And if there is no second book, then that just sucks, because there are some lose ends that the author didn’t tie up. As long as there’s more to the story than this one book, I’m fine with reading additional books to get my questions answered!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

In My Mailbox 58

I haven't read Hate List, but I've heard a lot of positive thing about the author so I can't wait to read Bitter End. I've been wanting to read Enclave since I first heard about it as Razorland, and Haunting Violet sounds interesting enough to give it a try. I'm loving Captured and am excited to continue the series with The Darkening.

What did you get this week?!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Overprotected review

Description: Ashlyn: A lonely society princess living in New York City.

Daddy hired you to be my bodyguard.

Colin: Childhood enemy, now her protector.

Daddy thought I’d be safe. He thought I’d never fall in love. He thought he could keep me forever.

Charles: obsessed with keeping her safe, keeping her his, he hires the one person he knows she could never fall in love with: Colin.

Daddy was wrong.

My thoughts: Growing up I always thought my parents were too protective. Well, they were nothing compared to Ashlyn’s parents! I have so much sympathy (or empathy) for her. I couldn’t imagine being cut off from the world the way her father forced her to. That’s why I was so happy when Colin came in to the picture.

At first, when finding out that he was a childhood bully, I didn’t want to like him, and I didn’t want Ashlyn to fall for him either. But once Ashlyn (and in turn I) got to know him, or relearn him, there was no reason not to fall for him.

I loved how everything fell into place with the story. Ashlyn’s father’s attempt to keep his child safe (or trapped as I’d like to call it) led her to find a strong relationship and new freedom. It was amazing to see Ashlyn’s transition from defenseless and innocent (in a naïve way), to a young woman who learns to stand up for herself. I’d love to see where she is, now that she’s more confident and independent.
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