Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year in Review

First of all, I just wanna say a very heartfelt thank you to all of you who have been a part of Vampires and Tofu this year. I started V&T this year after discovering many of YOUR blogs and I loved what you were doing so much that I wanted to be a part of it too...this is an amazing community of people and it is such a wonderful experience to be able to share my love of books with all of you who love books too!!

My goal this year was to read 52 know, one for every week of the year...and I am happy to say I am at 53 (if I finish Delirium today it will be 54!) Lemme share a few of my favorites with you...

Turns out the Fae were my favorite supernaturals to read about with these books leading the pack...

I met a girl named Katniss who will forever be etched in my memory..

Some books moved me to tears....

Others made me laugh out loud...

And some made me wanna sleep with the lights on...

This was my very first post, where I discuss why I fell in love with YA.

This was my first review, although I don't think you can really call it that. Wow it was sooo...bad!!!

Jasper Jones was my first ARC review (Getting better!)

was a blast in July.

I took part in my first Read-a-Thon

I wrote a little zombie rap

And I ended the year with a brand new Kindle

What a year it's been!!!! Here's to 2011...may it be filled with good times, good friends, and of course good books!!! Cheers!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ARC Review: The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

The Book of Tomorrow

By: Cecelia Ahern

Published by: Harper

Publication Date: January 25, 2011

320 pages

I received this book from Harper via Library Thing

5 stars!

From the author's website...

Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she’s ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes, and a large four poster bed complete with a luxurious bathroom en-suite. She’s always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow.

But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever. Left with a mountain of debt, they have no choice but to sell everything they own and move to the country to live with Tamara’s Uncle and Aunt. Nestled next to Kilsaney Castle, their gate house is a world away from Tamara’s childhood. With her Mother shut away with grief, and her Aunt busy tending to her, Tamara is lonely and bored and longs to return to Dublin.

When a travelling library passes through Kilsaney Demesne, Tamara is intrigued. She needs a distraction. Her eyes rest on a mysterious large leather bound tome locked with a gold clasp and padlock. With some help, Tamara finally manages to open the book. What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its core

Here is a book that I think will appeal to almost everyone. I absolutely loved it and will be picking more of Ahern's novels ASAP!! The Book of Tomorrow reads like a modern gothic, filled with family secrets, mystery, and a healthy sprinkling of magic. Tamara is the kind of character I love to who changes, grows, and learns valuable lessons and insights about life when faced with life changing events. She starts off as a bratty, spoiled rich girl who thinks only of today and only of herself, but when her father commits suicide and it turns out her family is broke, she is forced to look at life in a whole new way.

Magic enters the picture when Tamara discovers a diary in the travelling library. But it isn't an ordinary diary...once blank pages fill up at night with diary entries of things that haven't happened yet...written in Tamara's own handwriting...dated for the next day. She soon discovers that the entries are accurate and that she has the power to change the course of events, that things are not set in stone and that she can create her own fate by how she chooses to act in certain situations. It is through this that Tamara grows as a person and begins to look at the consequences and repercussions of her actions.

Ahern's writing flows and is intensely readable, this is definitely one of those books that you can't put down. Nor is it predictable. With some books, you just know what's going to happen and what the outcome will be. Not the case here. There are mysteries galore...why won't Tamara's mom come out of her room once they arrive at the aunt's house? Is she consumed by mourning her husband, is she ill, is there something sinister going on?? Who lives in the house across the way where Tamara's aunt mysteriously disappears to every day? Is there more to the sweet old nun from the neighboring monastery than meets the eye? You won't be able to quit reading until you find out The Book of Tomorrow's Secrets!

I HIGHLY recommend this book and look forward to reading more of Ahern's work!

Visit the author's website here
(she also wrote P.S. I Love You!)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas and Some Personal Notes

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I actually got the day off for the first time in three years so I was VERY happy =) On Christmas Eve, I made our traditional tacos and we opened presents as soon as it got dark. We had thought about waiting until Christmas morning but my daughter and I were both too excited and couldn't wait. My munchkin got me a new top and a pair of black skinny jeans which will go perfect with the black boots my honey got me. I surprised her with a new phone, the G2 (got myself one too, they are awesome!) and a Tom Tom for her car. There were also movies...Easy A (love!) Eclipse (which I STILL haven't seen) and Step Up 3 (quite possibly the cheesiest movie ever, but we love the dancing!) Oh yeah, and Just Dance 2 and The Michael Jackson Experience for the Wii...have you played these??? They are SO much fun and a great workout, which I am so gonna need because of all the food I've been eating!! I sent a Spongebob bedroom set to my grandson in Vegas and I will be hand delivering my oldest daughter's presents when I go visit her out there next month. On Christmas, we had friends over and played games (Balderdash! Scattergories!) and ate all through the day and while the presents were nice (I'll admit it, I love giving and getting Christmas presents and spoiling the people I love =) it was being home and being with my family and friends that made the day truly special. And oh yeah...............

I GOT A KINDLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am SOOOOOOO excited!!! Real "flesh and blood" books will always hold the top spot in my heart but the Kindle is gonna make reading ebooks so much easier. Thanks to Netgalley and Amazon, I already have these goodies loaded on her...

Amazing titles and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to read them! Now I know some of you have Kindles you have tips or tricks to enhance and get the most out of my ereading experience???

And last, but not least, some personal messages to those of you who commented on my resolutions blog post...

Khadija...congrats on reading so many books and good luck with your goal for 2011!!!

Nicole...haha...your comment made me laugh =) the Waiting on Payday idea. I think I am constantly waiting on payday even when it IS payday when it comes to books, lol.

Leanna....thank you so much for the blog roll idea for keeping track of blogs, I am going to do that this weekend!!!!

Lorelei...I might sign up for that challenge too!

Hattie...Oh my gosh lady, you are too sweet!!! I know I say it all the time, but I truly admire and respect what you do....helping to foster a love of reading in kids is so very important and I can see that you do that =)

Pam....that's a great resolution. I would like to do that as well, I know sometimes I can be a bit harsh.

Juju...thanks for the encouragement!!!

Aleetha...good luck...YOU CAN DO IT!!

And now, please excuse me....I've got A LOT of reading to do ;)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blogging Resolutions for 2011

With the year coming to a close soon, I've been thinking of New Year's resolutions and things I would like to accomplish in 2011, especially my goals for V&T...

1. I'm currently 2 books away from my 2010 goal of reading 52 books. For 2011, I would like to get to 100 books read. And to do this, I really need to get a little better with my time management. I admit it, I am a Facebook game junkie. But come New Year's day, no more Frontierville, Cityville, etc. etc. etc. I waste too much time that could be better spent reading. And to be perfectly honest, I think I need to cut back on the number of blogs in my reader. Or at least figure out a way to put them in some kind of order to make sure I'm not missing posts by my favorite bloggers.

2. I would like to have a little bit more of a regular schedule with my posts. I am off work on Fridays and Saturdays and I think it's best if I write my reviews on Friday and post them on Saturday. And if I happen to have an extra review for the week, I think Wednesday would be a good day to set it to post.

3. I'm not a meme girl. I know lots of people love them, but....shhhh....I hardly ever read them. I like reviews or posts that feature a single book so that's what I'm sticking with for my blog. I will continue to make New on My Shelf posts for new books that I get and I may start making posts for books that I am looking forward to, but I think I will leave it at that.

4. I don't want to waste time on books that I'm not loving. I read for the joy of it, and if a book isn't bringing me that joy then I'm not gonna feel guilty about setting it aside. There are just too many good books out there to spend time on the ones that aren't. And while we're at it, that also means I'm only going to say yes to review requests of books that I really, truly want to read. When I first started getting asked to review people's books, I was saying yes to everything just because I was so excited to be asked. But I've discovered this isn't fair to myself or to the authors and so I will learn to say no thank a very nice way of course =)

5. I want to complete the challenges I have signed up for!

6. I seriously need to stay on top of updating my Currently Reading section in the sidebar...

7. I'd like to have more discussion type posts, I love hearing your thoughts and feedback on all things book related (and other things too) so I think I'll be making more posts asking for YOUR opinions.

8. And last but not least, I need to get a little notebook or something to jot down where I hear about books. There have been several times I have ordered books this year after reading another blogger's review and then I forget who it was. I wanna keep track so I can give credit to those bloggers in my reviews.

Do you guys have reading/blogging goals for the New Year? I would love to hear them!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Review: Afterlife by Merrie Destefano

Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles

By: Merrie Destefano

Published by: Eos

Publication date: September 28, 2010

336 pages

I bought this book

3 stars

From Goodreads...

Chaz Dominguez is a professional Babysitter in New Orleans, helping to integrate the recently deceased into their new and improved lives. Though Fresh Start has always been the only game in town, resurrection isn't all it's cracked up to be. Nine lives are all a person can get—and a powerful group of desperate, high-level Nine-Timers will stop at nothing to possess the keys to true immortality.

Now the only hope for Chaz and his family—and the human race—lies in the secrets locked away in the mind of Angelique, the beautiful, mysterious Newbie he must protect . . .

Why I picked it up: One of my favorite bloggers, Pam over at Midnyte Reader, gave this one a dazzling 6 out of 5 stars (read her review here) and since I usually agree wholeheartedly with her opinion, I decided I had to have it.

Why I couldn't put it down: Oh forgive me Pam, but this one was pretty much a take it or leave it for me. I kind of had to force myself to finish it. (ducking for cover!) I WILL say this in its favor, the storyline was completely original and is the one thing that kept me reading. Afterlife takes place at some vague time in the future where scientists/one family in particular have discovered how to resurrect a person after they die into a clone body (what they are cloned from I am not quite sure because they don't resemble the original body) with 50% of their memories intact. This can be done nine times before the DNA breaks down completely and resurrection is no longer possible. Most people choose to get the implant for resurrection, but some people choose to remain one-timers. This aspect was very interesting for me and raised questions and thoughts about religion and choice and I thought this aspect of the book was quite brilliant.

Where it all fell apart for me though was in the characterizations and the world building. I never quite got a complete grasp on the world this story took place in. Terms particular to this world were thrown out without explanation and left me feeling a little bit lost. But the worst thing for me was that I never really cared about any of these characters nor did I ever feel like I really got to know them. My favorite character in the book was actually a dog if that tells you anything. (the dog really was pretty darn cool =)

Destefano DOES have a lovely writing style and there is a very real beauty to many of the passages in Afterlife. I just wish the world and the characters had been more fully developed. That being said, in the interest of fairness here, I DO feel that I should point out that this one has a ton of 4 and 5 star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads and truth be told, I'm not really an urban fantasy girl so while it may not have been a good fit for me, I have no doubt many of you will be fans of Afterlife =)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New On My Shelf: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

So excited to find this one in the mail today!!

From Goodreads....

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

Publication date: March 22, 2011

Monday, December 6, 2010

New On My Shelf: The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer

From Amazon....

Sovereign Power. Eternal Pleasure.

Revealed at last in this new vampire saga for the ages: the true, untold story of the “Virgin Queen” and her secret war against the Vampire King of England. . . .

On the eve of her coronation, Elizabeth Tudor is summoned to the tomb of her mother, Anne Boleyn, to learn the truth about her bloodline—and her destiny as a Slayer. Born to battle the bloodsucking fiends who ravage the night, and sworn to defend her beloved realm against all enemies, Elizabeth soon finds herself stalked by the most dangerous and seductive vampire of all.

He is Mordred, bastard son of King Arthur, who sold his soul to destroy his father. After centuries in hiding, he has arisen determined to claim the young Elizabeth as his Queen. Luring her into his world of eternal night, Mordred tempts Elizabeth with the promise of everlasting youth and beauty, and vows to protect her from all enemies. Together, they will rule over a golden age for vampires in which humans will exist only to be fed upon. Horrified by his intentions, Elizabeth embraces her powers as a Slayer even as she realizes that the greatest danger comes from her own secret desire to yield to Mordred . . . to bare her throat in ecstasy and allow the vampire king to drink deeply of her royal blood.

As told by Lucy Weston, the vampire prey immortalized in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this spellbinding account will capture your heart and soul—forever.

This one will be released December 21...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King

By: Julie Kagawa

Published by: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: February 1, 2010

368 pages

I bought this book

5 out of 5 stars!

From Amazon....

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Why I picked it up: This one had been in my TBR pile for awhile and I just randomly grabbed it one day.

Why I couldn't put it down: In a word, magic.

Reading The Iron King was like being a kid and going to Disneyland for the first time, it filled me with a sense of wonder and awe and left me craving more (yeah, I've already picked up the next book in the series.) Julie Kagawa's descriptions of the world of Faery were lush and lyrical and I was completely transported and checked out of housecleaning and TV watching and those darn Facebook games for the two days it took me to devour this book.

The Iron King opens with the main character, Meghan Chase, remembering her father's mysterious disappearance on her sixth birthday and we get the hint that secrets will be revealed as she discloses that it's not until ten years later that she finds out exactly what happened that fateful day. We are then introduced to the important people in her life, her family and her best friend, the devoted practical joker Robbie. From the beginning, things seem a little off in her world...her family reacts strangely to her at times and she starts seeing things that just shouldn't be there. Then her little brother starts acting odd and things finally come to a head when his behavior gets completely out of control and he viciously bites Meghan on the leg. At this point, her friend Robbie has no choice other than to reveal the truth to Meghan...that he is the famous Puck of legend and lore and that her brother has been taken to the land of Faery and replaced here in our world with a changeling.

Puck and Meghan enter the Nevernever and begin their quest to rescue the boy. And, as in all good tales of quests and adventures, they encounter danger and magical creatures and their strengths, weaknesses, and convictions are challenged along the way. Meghan discovers she is the daughter of Oberon, King of the Summer Court and we meet the handsome and dangerous Ash, prince of the Winter Court, sworn to bring Meghan to his mother, the evil Queen Mab. But of course, what he didn't count on was his attraction and growing feelings for Meghan and soon he joins her and Puck on their search for her little brother. Now personally, I'm not completely sold on the budding romance between Ash and Meghan. Their feelings developed a little too quickly for my tastes and and some of his emotions were a little hard for me to buy into. Plus, I like Puck!!! But hey, I'm willing to reserve judgment until I read the rest of the series (but seriously, go Puck ;)

As for the rest of their journey, along the way we discover Puck and Ash have one heck of a history, we are introduced to the amazingly fabulous talking cat Grimalkin (love him!) and we learn the secrets of the Iron King and the effect our modern technology and dreams of progress are having on the world of Faery. Danger lurks around every corner and one must choose their words carefully in the Nevernever, but magic is most definitely afoot. All in all, Kagawa has done a brilliant job of creating a world that is rich and detailed and just may leave you whispering "I do believe in fairies, I do..."

I'm not a fan of the official trailer for this's basically just various clips of the cover image cut with some text. BORING (why oh why do they do that???). But, I found this fan made trailer that I thought was really pretty cool and does a much better job of making you want to read the book....and I want you to read the book!!! So here you go...

I've joined a new challenge for 2011!

I've always wanted to read the Immortal After Dark series, so yay for this one! Here's the reading schedule:

January 21: "The Warlord Wants Forever"
August 19: "Untouchable" in DEEP KISS OF WINTER

This challenge is being hosted by Twimom at That's What I'm Talking About Click the pic to sign up!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to....

MONA P!!!!!

She has been contacted and confirmed....thanks to all who entered!!!