Saturday, October 29, 2011

In My Mailbok 72

Description: Fourteen-year-old Angel wakes up one morning at her desert trailer home to discover her mother has been murdered by a lowlife named Scotty, who has vanished. Angel has no water, no weapon, but she knows that Scotty, an expert tracker and hunter, will surface soon in order to eliminate her as a witness. She has to run, to disappear, if she is to survive and tell the world what happened. Her flight takes her through a harsh landscape to places she never expected to be, forcing her to trust others for the first time and strengthening her in ways she doesn’t even anticipate . . . until it’s time to take a stand.
My Thoughts: I've heard very little about this book but it sounds good.

Halloween Week

Halloween guide
I never really go out of my way to acquire Halloweenish stuff for this week, but I do use my resources (aka – Internet, TV, and review books).
Based on this I have or will be watching and reading these items:
I’ve read this already and it’s a great book to read this month! 

I’m not done with this and it’s more like a mystery, but mystery is a characteristic of scary.

It’s not scary so far, but I know there’s witchcraft and human sacrifices.
 I've had this book since elementary and it still freaks me out a little bit. It has suspense, action, and awesome characters. And I still remember reading this at night and feeling like somebody was watching me!
TV/Movies/Videos in general
The Walking Dead

I watched The Walking Dead marathon in honor of October and in honor of the fact that I hadn’t watched past the first episode when the season 1 episodes first premiered.
Hey Arnold - Haunted Train

This is an episode I watch EVERY October. It used to creep me out so I love watching it and thinking about how scared I used to be. And it still makes me a little leery of taking trains around the 31st.
The (ghetto) Halloween story

This just had me cracking up the whole time. Especially with Alcoholharmony’s (the reader who by the way is an awesome singer) commentary.
Modern Family's Halloween episode
Their episode is just hilarious! So many funny scenes.
Other than that I just pay close attention to my TV listing to watch either scary movies I’ve never seen or ones that I watch every year (or multiple times a year), like:
Scream, Casper  (which I just finished), Hocus Pocus, The Shining, Pet Sematary, Coraline, Matilda (not really scary but it’s coming on tonight), 30 Days of night, The Strangers, Prom Night, The Sixth Sense, Peanuts, etc.

Anna Dressed in Blood review

Description: Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

My thoughts: I don’t usually go out of my way to read ghost stories. It’s probably because the descriptions of the books always have a girl being haunted by their dead boyfriend or friend. Sometimes those books are good but after reading a few I don’t feel like reading anymore. So thankfully the cover (which is awesome) made me want to read the description, which made me decide to give it a try.
It turns out that it was a good thing I did! There were no ex-boyfriends and no situations where they were trying to understand what the ghosts were feeling in order to send them to “a better place.” Cas, the main character doesn’t know where he sends the ghost he “kills,” and it really doesn’t matter (to him).
And for a good ghost story, that’s what I need. I need a scary story with ghost killers that (without being heartless) don’t care too much about the ghosts they “set free.” And although I don’t mind having some kind of romance in just about every book I read, I don’t want that to be the only point of a book. Anna Dressed in Blood had romance but what was driving the character to do what he was doing was about more than that. It was for his dad, and for their profession, which involved a job that only he could do.
Something else that made this book really good was that the main character was a guy. Cas has to be my favorite male narrator, and one of my favorite YA narrators period! Because as we all know, most YA books have a female narrator. And even the good books have female narrators who can be annoying at times. Like when they like a guy you have to read about how they feel about that guy for multiple pages per chapter. I’m all for love, but I don’t want to read on page 10 (RIGHT after you meet the person) that you can’t stop thinking about them, and you’re wondering why you can’t stop thinking about them, and WOW, you still can’t stop thinking about them. And then you have to read the SAME thing on pages 20, 30, and so on. With Cas, he might say that he doesn’t understand why he’s drawn to Anna, but he only says that like two times in the whole book. And with female narratives, everything is so descriptive. But unless the author is great at making a description of an item or setting sound intriguing, I don’t want a book to be that descriptive. Like why are you telling me that you’re going to make a sandwich and then describing how you put the makings of the sandwich together? Unless it serves a purpose in the story, I DON’T CARE. So when Cas makes a sandwich, that’s all he had to say, and then we all move on.
Aside from the great narration, the book is actually scary. I don’t get too frightened by books and movies anymore so it’s hard to make a statement like that, but the book did give me an uneasy feeling at times which was good enough for me. This plus the fact that Anna herself was so awesome even after something so tragic happened to her makes this a great book in general, and especially for Halloween. And thanks to the end, I’m waiting to know what happens with Anna, which should be revealed in Girl of Nightmares. Which by the way also has a gorgeous cover:

Additional note: I loved Cas’ friendship with Carmel and Thomas! They’re quirky and so drastically different from each other, but their friendship works out well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week: 
Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

Currently reading:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Shattering by Karen Healey

Upcoming read(s):
Envy by Gregg Olsen
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In My Mailbok 71

I only got one book this week, but I've been wanting to read it for over six months. Now I have my chance!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Icefall review

Description: Matthew J. Kirby, author of THE CLOCKWORK THREE, deftly weaves a brand-new tale with chilling cleverness and subtle suspense that will leave readers racing breathlessly to the end.
Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Solveig, along with her brother the crown prince, their older sister, and an army of restless warriors, anxiously awaits news of her father's victory at battle. But as winter stretches on, and the unending ice refuses to break, terrible acts of treachery soon make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst. A malevolent air begins to seep through the fortress walls, and a smothering claustrophobia slowly turns these prisoners of winter against one another.

Those charged with protecting the king's children are all suspect, and the siblings must choose their allies wisely. But who can be trusted so far from their father's watchful eye? Can Solveig and her siblings survive the long winter months and expose the traitor before he succeeds in destroying a kingdom?

My thoughts: This is the middle grade story I've been searching for! Ever since finishing the Percy Jackson series, I’d been excited about finding some other middle grade level books. Unfortunately no MG book I've read since seemed to appeal to me. It's partly why I've avoided reviewing any as of late. This is until Icefall. Had I initially known it wasn't YA I probably wouldn’t have been interested in it. Fortunately I didn't know and was able to start Icefall without any negative preconceived notions. So now when I think of the middle grade books I love, I can add Icefall with my Percy Jackson and Series of Unfortunate Events (and a Wrinkle in Time, etc) type books.

One thing I love about any book at any level is when the author makes me forget that it's supposed 
to be geared toward a specific group. For instance, A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms never 
screamed adult. Daughter of Smoke and Bone never seemed like a young adult book. 
And Icefall clearly isn’t just appealing to 11 and 12 year olds.

There was something magical about every aspect of this book. From the well thought out 
characters to the haunting setting that was filled with foreshadowing. Not to mention the 
writing. It was prolific, it was wise, to the point that I was amazed by how the story was 
told better than a lot of YA books. On top of all this it included one of my favorite topics, 
mythology. In this case it was Norse mythology, which I've been intrigued with ever since 
I first started reading the Thor comics.

This wonderful combination of elements made for a page-turner. And it ended with me closing the 
book with a huge smile on my face. Hopefully this new excitement for middle grade level books 
will continue!

Additional note: I loved Solveig’s relationship with Hake! He was somewhere in between a father figure and a friend for her. And as weird as it could have been, I got the feeling that had she been older and him younger, their relationship may have been something more. What made Hake even better was that due to a mixture of my own imagination and the book’s description of Hake, I pictured him as looking a bit like Wrath from the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And anybody who knows anything about this series knows how appealing that is *winks*.
Also, Alric, the storyteller and keeper of legends had so many words of wisdom. And he was such an important part of Solveig’s development. As she said herself,  “he found me and led me to myself.”

Crescendo contest Winner

The winner: Bookish in a Box

I randomly selected the winner 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. Congrats to the winner!

Monday, October 17, 2011

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
Ruined by Lynn Nottage
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Death Catchers by Jennifer Anne Kogler

Currently reading:
Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

Upcoming read(s):
Envy by Gregg Olsen
Children of Paranoia by Trevor Shane

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In My Mailbok 70

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick: It sounds like it's made of awesomeness.
A Monster Calls: I've heard fantastic things about this book, especially from The Book Smugglers
Paranormalcy: I've been wanting to read this since before it came out

Daughter of Smoke and Bone review

Description: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My thoughts: I adore this book. As in if it was a boy I'd ask it out. And if it were a girl we’d have to be best friends. 

Sometimes I like books that weren't necessarily great at one aspect of the story, but another 
compensated for it. Like the characters were great so it made the plot better (compensated 
for it).

Thankfully there was no compensation needed for this book! From the plotting to the setting 
to the characters, Daughter of Smoke and Bone was intriguing and exciting. And the writing 
was what brought it all together. From the beginning Prague was so beautifully described that 
by the start of the second page of the story, I’d already plotted a way I could go there in 
real life... Like don’t be surprised if in 2012 I say I'm going to study abroad in Prague (or 
somewhere close enough I can visit).

But it wasn't just the setting. It was Karou and the way she saw the world, or her best friend and 
her humor, and especially her family. There’s fatherly Brimstone, the motherly Issa and the 
rest of the bunch. Then there is the mysterious Akiva. You love the characters as a whole but 
there's something uniquely special about them all.

The world building is amazing too. It was something else that set it apart.  Because I think this 
is an aspect of stories in general that can change the level of... likeability. There's a reason why 
Harry Potter and even Percy Jackson books (though not on the same level) are well received. 
And that’s impart because of the world building. Of course that's not all. It's being able to create
a book that's well received in all aspects, but the way the world is perceived can make the whole
book shine more vividly.

And of course there was the love story. Akiva and Karou. It wasn't quite an I’m in love with you 
and I’d throw all caution to the wind for you story, nor was it an our friendship will slowly develop
into love type situation. It was somewhere in-between. And the interesting thing is that although
the second half of the story is almost feels like another book entirely, it still pulls you back to 
Akiva and Karou’s relationship from the first half of the book, keeping your interest to the 
very end.

And what an ending it was! I think my jaw dropped (literally). It was one of those situations 
where you knew enough from the beginning that you shouldn't be too shocked at what happens, 
but you're still shocked. And I don't know what’s going to happen, but I NEED to know the real 
ending of the story. Whether that be 1-2 more books or 20 (big exaggeration :)).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Contest Winners

The winners: Maindenveil and Jessy!

 Yes there are two winners. I received an extra copy so I decided I’d give an additional one away. The original winner's book will come directly from HarperTeen, and the second winner will get my extra copy.
I randomly selected both winners 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 both winners will enjoy their copies of Eve!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Deadly Cool review

Description: First I find out that my boyfriend is cheating on me. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And now he’s depending on me to clear his name. Seriously?
As much as I wouldn’t mind watching him squirm, I know that he’s innocent. So I’m brushing off my previously untapped detective skills and getting down to business. But I keep tripping over dead bodies and I’m still no closer to figuring out who did it. And what’s worse: all signs seem to point to me as the killer’s next victim.

I really need to pick a better boyfriend next time.

My thoughts: This was such a cute mystery! I mean... the killing itself wasn't cute, but the story was.  And it wasn't until I started Deadly Cool that I realized how much I missed Nancy Drew type stories. I admit that the characters themselves didn’t really stand out compared to characters from other books I've read (and liked), but it was exciting. I loved when the characters had to use any clues that could be found, questioned people, and do that thing where they FINALLY remember things they hadn’t remembered before that makes the whole killing spree “make sense” in relation to who the killer was.

I also really appreciated that the connection with the killed and the killer made sense. There have been so many times that I've read a book and things are going along fine, and then the killer is revealed and it doesn't make any sense. Then it turns out that the killer was this random person who the reader either never met (because the killer had only been referred to), or met like one time. And the reasoning for why the killer killed people came from some random background story at the end of the book instead of revealing tiny clues throughout the story.

Even though the characters weren't really one of my favorite aspects of the book, I got to hand it to Hartley. She has more understanding than me, because as the story went on, she learned more and more reasons NOT to help her ex-boyfriend. But she still knew he wasn't a killer and that someone should stick up for him. 

I also loved that this was neither a my-boyfriend-is-a-jerk-sometimes-but-in-the-end-I-still-love-him type book, nor an I've-got-to-find-and-fall-in-love-with-my-soul-mate type story. Avoiding these stereotypes and reminding me of my love for mysterious  (especially fast paced ones) made this a very fun (and cute) read.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Doubt by John Patrick Shanley
All My Sons by Arthur Miller

Currently reading:
Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby

Upcoming read(s):
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Eve Tour: Into the Past+Giveaway

Today Anna Carey is here with a guest post on her favorite books at ages 5, 10, 16 and 20.

Age 5: Caps for Sale by
I remember thinking this book was so funny. I recently re-read it and laughed as hard as I did then. I love how angry the man gets, how he literally throws a tantrum and is screaming at those monkeys. What a lunatic.
Age 10: Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin
These books established my identity as a reader. I tore through all 150+ of them, and they’re one of the reasons I write for a younger audience. Series like these are a gateway drug.
Age 16: Lord of the Flies by William Golding
I’m sad to say I read only required reading during high school, but I truly enjoyed this book. Oh Piggy. I still scream “I’ve got the conch!” when people aren’t listening to me.
Age 20: Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
I loved this book not only for the writing, but for what it did for me. I found it after a long period of not touching anything that wasn’t assigned in school. It reminded me why I loved reading. It opened me up again to what good writing can do, how it can make you feel. Shortly after I became an English major, took my first college level creative writing class, and started down a path I’m still on.

Thanks for sharing that look Into Your Past Anna!

 Fill out this form to try and win a copy of Eve!
Ends October 12, 2011
US only

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Crescendo Contest

I wanted to give away my extra copy of the Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick in honor of Silence coming out today. 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 October 17, 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 Book Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open

Memento Nora
The ending reminded of what happens in some scary movies. Sometimes they end with the main characters escaping, and sometimes they add a short 5-second clip that has you thinking that things didn't turn out so good.  
Everything happened so fast at the end. I was jumping up and down because I was so excited. Until I finished the last page and remembered that I'd have to wait till next year to know what happens next. 
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
It wasn't a cliffhanger, but out of all the endings I could have imagined in my head, I wouldn't have thought up this one in a million years 
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone
I think this is the only book where my jaw really did drop. Everything was exciting and amazing, and then the author threw a curve ball. 
Shadow Kiss
I couldn't believe what happened to him! 
Catching Fire 
The last line. One of the best cliffhangers ever!   
I was so in to this book. During the week I read it I wasn't paying attention to school or TV shows or friends (etc.). I just wanted to finish it. The whole story built up what was going to happen at the end, and when it finally happened the book ended before letting you know what happened to the characters 
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I was so scared about reading this. I had just gotten a copy when I accidentally read a spoiler online that a main character would die. And below it in bold letters said Hermione Granger. I was devastated! First that she would die and second that someone told me before I could read it myself. Needless to say the jerk that fake spoiled it was wrong, she didn't die, but someone else (who was very loved did). 
The Giver
 It just left off in a make-of-it-what-you-will type way 
Radiant Shadows
This like A Hundred Thousand kingdoms ended in a way I would have never thought of.

Monday, October 3, 2011

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Eve by Anna Carey

Currently reading:
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Upcoming read(s):
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
Envy by Gregg Olsen

Saturday, October 1, 2011

In My Mailbok 69

All three of these books sound good. I'm really excited about Everybody Sees The Ants because Please Ignore Vera Dietz was my favorite book I read in 2010!
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