Saturday, July 31, 2010

2010 Debut Author Challenge

The Story Siren
I just signed up for the 2010 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren (click on that link for information and to sign up!) The objective is to read a set number of YA (Youn g Adult) or MG (Middle Grade) novels from debut authors published this year. The challenge runs until the end of the year and you can find a list of qualifying books here...2010 Debut Authors I will be updating my progress over in the sidebar so be sure and check there for updates!

Here's a tentative list of the books I will be including in the challenge...

1. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
2. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
3. Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopkus
4. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
5. Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
6. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
7. Deception by Lee Nichols
8. The Absolute Value of -1 by Steve Brezenoff
9. Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
10. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
11. Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
12. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Join me in the challenge!

Friday, July 30, 2010

On My Wishlist

Dust by Joan Frances Turner

Nine years ago, Jessie had a family. Now, she has a gang.
Nine years ago, Jessie was a vegetarian. Now, she eats very fresh meat.
Nine years ago, Jessie was in a car crash and died. Nine years ago, Jessie was human.
Now, she’s not.

After she was buried, Jessie awoke and tore through the earth to arise, reborn, as a zombie. Jessie’s gang is the Fly-by-Nights. She loves the ancient, skeletal Florian and his memories of time gone by. She’s in love with Joe, a maggot-infested corpse. They fight, hunt, dance togeth
er as one—something humans can never understand. There are dark places humans have learned to avoid, lest they run into the zombie gangs.

But now, Jessie and the Fly-by-Nights have seen new creatures in the woods—things not human and not zombie. A strange new illness has flamed up out of nowhere, causing the undeads to become more alive and the living to exist on the brink of death. As bits and pieces of the truth fall around Jessie, like the flesh off her bones, she’ll have to choose between looking away or staring down the madness—and hanging onto everything she has come to know as life…

Room by Emma Donoghue

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review: Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Going Bovine
Libba Bray
Published Sept. 22, 2009
I bought this book
5 stars based on everything...

Let me just start off by saying if I could give each and every one of you a copy of this book I would. That's how much I loved it. It's the kind of book that makes you think to yourself, "Oh yeah, THIS is why I read..."

Here's the summary from Goodreads...

Cameron Smith, 16, is slumming through high school, overshadowed by a sister “pre-majoring in perfection,” while working (ineptly) at the Buddha Burger. Then something happens to make him the focus of his family's attention: he contracts mad cow disease. What takes place after he is hospitalized is either that a gorgeous angel persuades him to search for a cure that will also save the world, or that he has a vivid hallucination brought on by the disease. Either way, what readers have is an absurdist comedy in which Cameron, Gonzo (a neurotic dwarf) and Balder (a Norse god cursed to appear as a yard gnome) go on a quixotic road trip during which they learn about string theory, wormholes and true love en route to Disney World. Bray's surreal humor may surprise fans of her historical fantasies about Gemma Doyle, as she trains her satirical eye on modern education, American materialism and religious cults (the smoothie-drinking members of the Church of Everlasting Satisfaction and Snack 'N' Bowl). Offer this to fans of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy seeking more inspired lunacy.

Sounds crazy, huh? But it's so not. Yes, there is a ton of stuff going on in this book but here's the beauty of's not just filler, everything counts and everything has meaning. Lemme give you some info the summary doesn't. Mad cow disease is a death sentence. It starts eating away at your brain, literally leaving holes, causing your bodily functions to slip away one by one. Most of what goes on in this book happens after Cameron is diagnosed and admitted to the hospital and the "adventure" is what goes on in his mind as the disease progresses.
There are three quotes given before the story gets under way and each one holds profound meaning...
"Take my advice and live for a long long time because the maddest thing a man can do in this life is to let himself die." (Don Quixote.) Don Quixote is what Cameron was studying in school before his illness took over. And though his body kept him from living his life, his mind refused to give up and it took him on an incredible journey where he battled the "fire monsters" destroying his brain cells and where he lived as fully and as bravely as he could.
"Hope is the thing with feathers." (Emily Dickinson) Cameron's mother was an English teacher, so at some point he had heard this quote and feathers appear in his adventure, directing him where to go and symbolizing how he held onto hope and the desire to live.
"It's a small world after all." (Walt Disney) Cameron and his family had gone on a trip to Disneyworld when he was five and Disneyworld "the happiest place on earth" shows up in his adventure as well. And while all of these things can be taken literally because they were, literally, a part of Cameron's life experiences, they are symbolic as well.
All the things that have influenced Cameron in his 16 years show up in his adventure. His father is a physicist, so there is a chapter where Cam comes across scientists who are exploring other dimensions. His mother is a teacher and used to tell him bedtime stories of mythology, hence the Norse God yard gnome. Religion is there. Science is there. Consumerism, MTV pop culture, family, friendship...all are there. But ultimately it is the question of what it really means to live that is at the heart of this book. At the same time it is distinctly and personally Cameron's story, it is all our stories as well.
Read this book. It was, quite simply, brilliant.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler

Tracking the Tempest
Nicole Peeler
Pub date: July 1, 2010
I purchased this book
4 stars based on how much fun this series is and the laugh out loud moments!

Tracking the Tempest is the follow-up to Tempest Rising, which I absolutely adored! It was hilarious and had lots of action, romance and heart so I was really looking forward to the next installment.
Tracking starts out with Jane working on developing the supernatural powers she discovered she had in book one. In true Jane fashion, there is quite a bit of bumbling going on in her efforts. I was laughing by the end of the first paragraph where she is working on mage lights (little balls of energy) and mentioned how she would NOT burn off her eyebrows again...too cute! And there were lots of other moments that had me giggling out loud.
Tracking focuses on Jane, her vampire lover Ryu, and some new supes trying to solve the mystery of several mysterious deaths and what they could mean to the supernatural community. There's lots of danger and lots of action but to be honest it was kind of apparent who was behind the murders and I was a bit frustrated that Jane couldn't put two and two together. I was also frustrated by something else in the story and I'm about to drop some spoilers here so if you don't wanna know what happens, this would be the time to "X" out =)
There has been a lot of backlash about the whole Bella choosing Edward the controlling vampire and lately authors seem to be jumping on the bandwagon of making their characters NOT choose the vamp. I think this is supposed to come off as refreshing and we're all supposed to go "Yay, our strong female character stuck up for herself" but it's really just coming off as a planned plot device. This happened in another vampire book I read recently and it happens here as well. In the first book, there was a great romance between Jane and Ryu the vampire. Here, he comes across as a controlling and condescending lover that we are not supposed to like as much because he doesn't have very much faith in Jane's abilities. Well, sorry to say it, but he kinda has reason not to have so much faith and as someone who cares about Jane, I think he has the right to try to keep her out of danger. Jane ends up spending more and more time with Anyan, a barghest who shifts into the form of a dog, and it's obvious she is starting to develop feelings for him. Which is fine because I DO like his character more and am rooting for them to get together, I'm just not really fond of the way it's happening. At the end of the book, Ryu is wanting Jane to come away with him but she doesn't want to give up her small town life or leave her dad alone (comparisons to Twilight galore...felt like I was reading a "what Bella should have done" book...)
All that being said, I DID really like the book. The supernatural characters are unique and interesting, the humor is still laugh out loud funny, and Jane is one incredibly likeable character (but maybe not AS likeable as she was the first time around.) I love how she has gained more confidence in herself from the last book. I only wish she didn't have to CHOOSE between romance and strength. I want her to have it all!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Booty!

Lots of new books this week and that's perfect because starting tomorrow at 5 PM, I am on vacation for 6 days! I'll be keeping track of just how much reading I get done (and posting updates every day =) Anyway, on to the goods...

These first four are courtesy of NetGalley...(click on the titles for the Goodreads summaries)

1. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater Big thanks to Anna Staniszewski
2. Deception by Lee Nichols Thanks to Kody Keplinger!

And I just downloaded Kindle to my laptop and my phone...silly me, all this time I thought you actually had to BUY a Kindle to use those apps...nope, FREE FREE FREE! And in the spirit of my overzealous capitalizing, I downloaded these guessed it...FREE!

1. My Soul to Lose by Rachel Vincent
2. Beyond the Reflection's Edge by Bryan Davis

I'm really excited about all of these...which one would YOU read first?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Comic Con

Wow, what a day! Traffic was horrible and we spent a LOT of time waiting in lines but the stuff we did manage to see was awesome! My daughter loves celebs, so we spent a lot of time in Hall H to see movie panels...RED, where we saw Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, and Warren Ellis.

Then we stuck around for a discussion with JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon...not really much revealed here and my boyfriend actually fell asleep during this one! HOWEVER, he sure did wake up for The Expendables panel. This is an action movie featuring Sylvester Stallone, Terry Crews, Steve Austin, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, and Jet Li. I thought I would be bored out of my mind, but these guys were hilarious! Stallone's banter with the other cast members was great and we all really enjoyed this one!

One of the highlights for me was seeing my friend Brian Denham, an amazing comic book artist...he's worked on Iron Man and X Files and every year he does these crazy cool sketch caps with whatever characters you want on them. Check out the ones he made for me this year...

Awesome huh??
And no trip to the Con would be complete without's the goodies I scored..

My daughter has a lot more pictures on her camera, I will try to get some of those uploaded tomorrow. All in all, a fun day, just wish I had been able to go all four days but the tickets sold out back in February!! I'm gonna have to get mine earlier for next year!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Hi all, hope everyone is well =)

Tomorrow is a BIG day, I will be going to San Diego Comic Con and I plan on having lots of pictures, stories, and maybe even some giveaway goodies for you!

I finished Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler and I should have a review up for you on Friday.

Pam at Midnyte Reader gave me an AWESOME award and I'll be getting to that on Friday as well =)

AND I started reading Going Bovine by Libba Bray last night and HELLO! I haven't wanted to put it down!! I'm about 100 and some pages in and the writing is deserving of a great big HELL YA! Expect a full review by the weekend.

Have a wonderful next couple of days and I look forward to posting all kinds of stuff for you guys Friday!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

New Booty!

Just a few new ones this week...
(Click on the images to go to Goodreads for summaries =)

Loved the first book in this series and I'm more than halfway done with this coming soon!

Got this one at the suggestion of Pam over at Midnyte Reader

And last but not least...
Someone very close to me has a relative who was recently diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (which is what the main character in this book suffers's the human variant of Mad Cow Disease.) Have any of you read this one? I'm curious to see if it treats the disease with sensitivity because frankly, this video has me a little worried. Creutzfeldt-Jacob is a HORRIBLE disease...sigh...a 16 year old friend of the family is currently watching his father die from this. I'm hoping this book will be something I can pass on to him. That maybe he can find something to relate to in it, you know what I mean? Anyway, this one is next on the reading list but if you any of you have any input on it, please, please leave me a comment.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review: Shadows in Summer by Crescent Varrone

From Goodreads....
Plagued by dreams of her dead father, Katrina Nielsen returns to her native Denmark to face the ghosts of her past. After seven years in New York, sidelined by a career-ending injury, Katrina is determined to reunite her shattered family. But when she and her American husband, Richard, purchase Sound House, an ordinary-looking home overlooking the water, a series of weird events begins: inexplicable smoke and footsteps, a ghostly face at the window. After she is “pushed” down the cellar stairs by an unseen force, her charming (if slightly creepy) neighbor, Søren, convinces her that she is being haunted by the ghost of Karl Damsgaard, the original owner of Sound House. As the terrifying disturbances escalate, the desperate couple puts their faith in Rowena, a flamboyant psychic – which leads to the book’s tragic conclusion. Inspired by actual events, Shadows in Summer is a deliciously scalp-prickling tale that will haunt readers long after the final page.
I thought Shadows in Summer was an excellent ghost story that somehow managed to feel quite gothic despite taking place during the Clinton era. It had all the trappings of a traditional ghost story...things that go bump in the night, mysterious shadows, objects being moved and a juicy history that spanned three generations.
Being described as a novel told in six voices, I was afraid it would be hard to keep track of who was who and what was going on, but there were only a couple of times I found it difficult to switch perspectives and that was when chapters would switch between Katrina and her mother. Otherwise, the six different points of view weren't a problem at all.
Varrone did an excellent job with the setting. I didn't know much about Denmark before going into this book, but his descriptions were detailed and fascinating and I found myself looking up places online to see if they really exist (they do!) He also wove a bit of the country's history into the story, especially its role during World War II (events from this era play a role in the story and in the perceptions of some of its characters.)
The ghostly occurrences start early in the book and their effect on Katrina builds slowly as the reader is left wondering about the true nature of what she is going through. Is their house indeed haunted? Is it all in her mind? Does the "slightly creepy" neighbor have anything to do with what is going on?
This is a thinking person's ghost story. And by that I mean it 's not one of those filled with in your face frights, it's more subtle than that. There are dinner parties, details, and discussions but they are interesting. And just when you think you have everything figured out, Varrone manages to pull out a couple of surprises.
If you think you might be interested in this book I HIGHLY recommend you check out the website here You can read the first chapter and also check out pictures of some key places in the book.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

And my writing style is like...

I read about this on Twitter and a lot of the blogs I paste in a sample of your writing and it "analyzes" it and tells you what famous author your writing style is most like. I couldn't be happier with my results =) Of course I don't really think I'm even CLOSE to Stoker but I DO love vampires! Try it and let me know you match up with!

I write like
Bram Stoker

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Free Amazon Prime for college students...

Hey friends...if you are a college student with a .edu email address, you can click on this link Amazon to get a FREE year of Amazon Prime...that's free 2 day shipping, no minimum purchase required! I already had a paid membership, but I signed up for this and not only did I get the free year, they are also giving me a refund on the unused portion of my membership. SCORE! (of course I'm gonna use the money to buy books!)
I don't get anything for you clicking this link, I just wanted to share it with you guys in case anyone can use it!
Happy shopping!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tell Me A Secret Contest Entry

is hosting a contest where you design a cover for Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala and the winner gets the book!

I'd really like to read this one and the contest sounded fun, so here goes =)

Tell me a secret, and I'll tell you one…

In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.

Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own.

In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her own future.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Review: Insatiable by Meg Cabot

This book is the "Scream" of paranormal fiction! Remember how that movie kinda poked fun at the horror genre at the same time it was itself a horror flick? Meg Cabot has done that with Insatiable! She pokes a bit of fun at the whole popular vampire fiction craze (oh yes, there are references to sparkly vamps and Sookie Stackhouse) at the same she is pulling off telling an awesome bit of vampire fiction herself. Loved it!

This was such a fun and clever read and what I loved MOST was that Cabot totally respected Stoker. You know, that guy who wrote Dracula, the forefather of all our modern vampire stories?? It seems so many modern authors writing vampire fiction have never even read Dracula. And while I think it's perfectly acceptable for authors to create their own versions of vampires, I absolutely loved the fact that this book drew from the original Dracula.

First of all, we have the characters names...Meena Harper and her brother Jon Harper. If you're read Stoker, you'll remember the characters Mina and Jonathan Harker. Mina is generally considered a pretty submissive female protag (and Meena starts off that way, but more on that later.) In Stoker's Dracula, Mina possesses telepathic abilities and Cabot's Meena has abilities of her own...she can tell how someone will die just by looking at them. Insatiable also introduces us to vampire hunter Alaric Wulf, and his boss Abraham Holtzman. Of course Stoker's famed vampire hunter was Abraham Van Helsing...see how brilliant this all is???

Cabot wrote Insatiable as if Stoker's Dracula was the true history of vampirism and even weaves references to Stoker himself into the story. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading a vampire book that actually FELT like a vampire book. The vamps could be scary and that's exactly how vamps should be as far as I'm concerned.

Insatiable is able to stand on its own as an incredibly entertaining book. So much here is clever and original and this book really has a little of everything to offer: Humor (Jon Harper, Meena's brother, was hilarious...he is unemployed and when Alaric the vampire hunter shows up, Jon asks if they are hiring =)There is, of course, romance...not to mention a very exciting finale that had elements that took me completely by surprise.

I must confess to getting a little discouraged in the middle of this one despite all it has going for it and I'll tell you why. Meena goes on ONE date with Lucien the vamp, falls into bed with him and BAM! the next day she is convinced she is in love with him. And THEN, actually says to him that very afternoon..."I thought I knew you." Seriously?? SERIOUSLY?? I HAVE to go on record and say I am SO tired of books that do these two things...
1. Heroine immediately ends up in bed with the book's love interest. This is usually explained away by saying it's been oh so very long since she has been with a man, we simply can't blame her for being so slutty. Or we are led to believe it's supernatural forces bringing them together. Geez you vampire loving heroines, keep your legs closed for at least a couple of dates!!!
2. After a couple of hours of conversation and a couple hours of sex, our heroines ARE IN LOVE. Again, SERIOUSLY? C'mon authors...make me believe the main characters actually have a REASON to fall in love with each other.

Ok, mini rant over. And while yes, Insatiable did these things, I have to say Cabot made up for it and Meena totally and completely redeemed herself in a major way. MAJOR! I actually ended up loving the book even more for how this all played out.

Bottom line: One of the best paranormals I've read...the kind of book that makes you wish you had come up with the idea..SO very clever, intelligent and original...just an all around awesome summer read!

And just for fun, for those of you who have read the book, here's a couple of pictures..

Lucien, the vampire, has a castle in Sighisoara, Romania. As it turns out, this is the real life home of Bran Castle, known as Dracula's Castle. Legend has it that this was Vlad the Impaler's castle...just another wonderful example of how Cabot used Dracula mythology in this book. Here is a picture of the castle...

And some scenes in the book take place at this church...kinda cool to see what the interior really looks like and then envision the story taking place here...

Monday, July 5, 2010

New booty!

Hi all...hope everyone had an awesome holiday weekend! I had to work yesterday but did make it to our local sports park for an awesome fireworks display AND I got to try falafel, which I had never had before and it was quite delicious! For those of you don't know what that is (I didn't,) falafel is a kind of sandwich-y thing...lettuce, tomato, tahini sauce and deep fried ground garbanzo bean balls served up in pita bread. Better than it sounds lol =)

Anyway, after having received SO many books last week, I decided to skip a week in ordering and only picked up two new books. The first was borrowed from a co-worker: Insatiable by Meg Cabot.

Click on the cover to go to the Goodreads page. I'm reading this one right now and should have a review for you in a couple of days.

I also got Shadows in Summer by Crescent Varrone for review.


From Goodreads...

Plagued by dreams of her dead father, Katrina Nielsen returns to her native Denmark to face the ghosts of her past. After seven years in New York, sidelined by a career-ending injury, Katrina is determined to reunite her shattered family. But when she and her American husband, Richard, purchase Sound House, an ordinary-looking home overlooking the water, a series of weird events begins: inexplicable smoke and footsteps, a ghostly face at the window. After she is “pushed” down the cellar stairs by an unseen force, her charming (if slightly creepy) neighbor, Søren, convinces her that she is being haunted by the ghost of Karl Damsgaard, the original owner of Sound House. As the terrifying disturbances escalate, the desperate couple puts their faith in Rowena, a flamboyant psychic – which leads to the book’s tragic conclusion. Inspired by actual events, Shadows in Summer is a deliciously scalp-prickling tale that will haunt readers long after the final page.

Did you pick up any new books last week?? What did you get??

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Review: One Day by David Nicholls

PhotobucketAhhh...the joy of reading about two people being miserable for twenty years...

Well yes, there's that, however One Day is a very well written and a compelling read that will keep you up into the wee hours of the morning. I kept reading about this one and the premise sounded intriguing so I had to give it a try. The book follows Dexter and Emma for a span of twenty years, telling the story of where they are in their lives on one day ~ July 15 ~ every year. From everything I had heard (and read in the gazillion blurbs,) I expected this to be a love story, and while Emma does yearn to be with Dexter, love story it is not. What it is instead is a tale of lives misspent on bad decisions and two people who never quite figured out how to be happy.

One Day starts out twenty years ago, the morning after Dexter and Emma have hooked up. They've just graduated from college and their "real lives" are about to begin. Emma is idealistic and has harbored a crush on Dexter for a while. Dexter...well, Dexter doesn't seem to care very deeply about anything. They go their separate ways but remain friends over the years.He eventually gets a job as a Howard Stern like TV host and Emma begins working in a Mexican restaurant but dreams of writing. His life is a rapid descent into drinking, drugs, and sleeping with EVERY woman he crosses paths with. I found it really hard to have any sympathy for his character and to tell the truth, I kept hoping something awful would happen to him to make him wake up and quit being such an ass. But even when bad things did happen to him, he continued on with his selfish, self-destructive ways. Emma's life meanwhile is quiet and plods along slowly (marked by her own share of really bad decisions.) She eventually achieves "success" in life but she never seems to find happiness. Her relationships don't work out, she suffers from low self-esteem and I think we are supposed to believe that if only she and Dexter could figure out they belong together, they would get their happily-ever-after.

Only problem is, I never found myself rooting for them to get together because frankly, I thought Dexter was a jerk and would more than likely only break her heart anyway. I couldn't figure out for the life of me why he had such a hold over her heart for so long. I can understand it when she was in her twenties, but for two decades? Seriously? You know the girlfriend you just wanna shake cause she keeps picking the wrong men? Hello, Emma.

And the ending. Remember watching the last Lord of the Rings movie and thinking to yourself at least 4 or 5 times, "Ok, THIS must be the end?" Check. And I have some other issues with the ending, but discussing them would include spoilers and I don't wanna do that. Suffice it to say a certain pivotal event kinda pissed me off. Not to mention it was ripped right out of a popular movie from a few years ago. If you read it you will understand. Or you can email me and we can discuss it =)

Bottom line, despite my complaints, One Day IS highly readable. It gives a solid portrayal of the emptiness in living only for yourself with no regard for others (shout out to Jesse James and Tiger Woods.) It also does a fine job of showing us the changes Dex and Emma go through in their lifetimes...dreams that don't quite work out, disillusionment, aging itself, and longing for something more. Not every book can be about the winners at the game of life.