Category: Books


The Scorpio Races Review

Maggie Stiefvater makes horses scary.

This is The Black Stallion with fangs, a book that’s ready to sink its teeth into your shoulder and drag you kicking and screaming through the pages.

Stiefvater’s use of imagery leaves readers with a frantic drumbeat in their head and the insistent feeling that one should be checking for sand in their shoes. This book is dubbed a love story and rightly so, but the love readers will find here won’t be in stolen kisses and awkward gropes on the beach. Instead, Stiefvater’s words stir up a mixture of feelings that will have readers looking at the ocean in a whole new way.

This is not a book for cynical adults. For people who look around and hate the world, hate their job, and have too many obligations that a 404 page journey through Thisby is about as impossible as jumping on a plane and trying to find Thisby, put this book back.

Highly recommended to teen readers, fans of The Black Stallion, and bad faeries.

My favorite book of 2011.

Original review found here

Baked Goods and Books

My first favorite part of October is the smell. The cold, dying-leaves-and-sun-dried-plants smell sticks to my clothes. Even now, wearing my favorite jacket, I can still smell that fall-scent and I get a shiver of excitement. That October-smell conjures memories of eating dinner and having Dad opening the garage door, the musky smell of hunting fatigues and dead animal mingling with  the warm scent of soup. Deer steak and jerk would soon follow. It was hunting season.

After a trip to the local library and bakery, I opened the garage door to catch a whiff of something sticky-sweet.  The oven chimed as I closed the door behind me. The sticky-sweet smell quickly turned into something fresher and spicier: lemon and pumpkin. Mother was baking. This is my second favorite part of October.

The picture on the right is a prime example of why my mouth quickly filled with drool. Unfortunately one can’t appreciate the full beauty of what was once a mini-loaf of Lemon-Poppy bread, because I ended up eating about a million pieces. Unfortunately, my camera lacks a macro-setting so I have a bad feeling the pictures a little blurry.

Five thousand pieces of lemon-poppy-bread unfortunately quenched my appetite for the baked goods I had picked up. The tiny bakery in the center of town will never go out of business. I can walk in with $5, come out with a box filled with deliciousness and still have change left over. If only the home-made chocolate place was still open.

 

  I stopped at the library to continue my decision to read non-fiction books. I ended up picking up Paul Dobransky’s The Secret Psychology of How We fall in Love. The book claims to have “nine proven steps to lasting love” but I’m less interested in seeing the steps and more interested in the psychology. I have a feeling I’ll have this finished way before Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones. There’s something incredibly slow-going about this book. It’s only 400 pages, but it might as well be 4,000 for the progress I’m making. I can’t bring myself to care about the characters. Nothing has happened, though the plot is moving along. This is my second attempt at reading this book. If I wasn’t already invested in it, I’d put it down and give up. I definitely won’t be reading the sequels.

 

Oh wait. Maybe, to make myself feel better, I’ll have some delicious raspberry-filled-white-cake from the bakery. They almost never have these puppies. I don’t know if I’m missing them, or if they’re an October-only thing. Either way, I have a feeling that this will be my (unhealthy)breakfast the next few days.

 

 

 Oh, and the cutest cookie in the entire world.

Maybe the sugar rush will give me the boost I need to finish that damn chapter in my novel. I’m on re-write number 4.

 

Review: Voices of Dragons

There are some books that grab me by the shoulders and say, “Remember. Don’t you remember?” These books make me think back to restless Christmas nights, where I wondered how I could fall asleep when magic was going to happen. The joy of waking up and discovering my entire yard was covered in snow. Possibilities, these books tell me. Remember when there were possibilities?

There’s a bag of young-adult romance novels in the corner of the computer room, lent to me by a friend who loves hardcovers but hates the actual covers. I didn’t read the back flap; I didn’t know what a treat I was in for. I picked up the book because it was raining and I wanted something to do.

Tom-boy Kay hikes to clear her mind from the incessant nagging of her best friend. She can focus on the rock face instead of whether she should accept the home-coming date from her hiking buddy. She’s too close to the border that separates human-kind from Dragon, the out-of-bound areas given to the creatures during a treaty after world-war-2. All of this changes when her life is saved by the young dragon Artegal. Now it’s up to Kay and Artegal to stop human and dragon kind from ripping each other to pieces.

Exploring the dephts of communication and the roles of friendship, Voices of Dragons leaves the reader aching to grab onto the back of their own dragon and soar into the sky. The flight scenes are heart-pounding (the cat jumped onto the couch and I gripped onto the edge, terrified I’d fall off and plummet to my death!) and the tension is delicious. This is the kind of book I wish I had when I was younger, when I still looked for dragons in the clouds.

 

Even though I slacked on writing this summer, I didn’t slack on my goal of reading 50 books in a year. Actually, I reached that goal yesterday when I finished James Barclay’s Shadowheart. I only read 22 books this summer, but I must say I enjoyed them. I challenged myself to read 3 nonfiction books outside of what I’d usually read. I came home with a dating book, internet sex psychology, and useless trivia. And the some more.

  • St.Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (Karen Russell)- A collection of delightful short stories. Biggest complaint was that many of the short stories felt unfinished. It was like reading the first chapter in the book; It raised more questions than answers. None the less, the short story that gives the book it’s namesake was probably my favorite and made the entire book worth it.
  • Wolfsangel (MD Lachlan)- Vikings, werewolves, and sorceresses, oh my! An interesting take on the Norse myth that promises for the next two books in the series to be equally as captivating.
  • Zombie Blondes (Brian James)- One of my least favorite books I read this summer. Those high-school cheerleaders really are soulless.
  • A billion Wicked Thoughts (Sai Gaddam)- One of the nonfiction books I read this summer. Experiments on human sexuality based on the internet. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this one. There are quite a few assumptions on sexuality that make me go ‘ehhhh’ (Girls don’t like to watch porn. What about the girls that do?)
  • Elfsorrow (James Barclay) The Chronicles of the Raven. A review told me that they lost track of the body-count by page 10. Great for fans of RA Salvatore. I hate elves and mages, but for some reason I keep reading about them.
  • Given up for Dead (Flint Whitlock)- A book-shelf raid from a close friend. Told me a whole part of WWII I didn’t know about. Short, personal, and descriptive.
  • Retail therapy (Amanda Ford)- Library book picked up on a whim. It’s rare I say a book is useless, but I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.
  • The Catcher in the Rye (JD Salinger)- It seems like everyone in the word, except for me, has read what’s considered the first YA novel. Finished this one instead of sleeping. enjoyed it.
  • Lament (Maggie Stiefvater)- Read the sequal first. Stiefvater has got to be one of my favorite authors. Faeries, and with none of the glitter.
  • Forever (Maggie Stiefvater) I’ve been waiting for this book since I finished Shiver. The perfect ending to the trilogy. And guess what, Ms.Stiefvater? I didn’t cry.
  • Three Black Swans (Caroline B. Clooney)- one of the most boring books I’ve ever read. see how many times they drop the title.
  • Legacy of the Drow Collectors Edition (RA Salvatore)- 4 books in one “slender” book. Finished this in a weekend. How I missed high fantasy and Cattie-brie being a badass.
  • The Silent Blade (RA Salvatore)- Look what Legacy of the Drow made me buy? The series I was missing. Did not disapoint.
  • The Spine of the world (RA Slavatore)- Me Wulfgar. Me drink. Me Smash. Not my favorite, but its Salvatore so it didn’t kill me.
  • Sea of Swords (RA Salvatore)- Lesbian pirates and the reunion of the Companions of the Hall.
  • Bird Flu: Everything you need to know about the next pandemic. (Marc Seigal)- A very repetitive book telling me not to panic and drink lots of fluids, oh and to beware of SWINE FLU! Nonfiction book number two for the summer.
  • Pox Americanna: (Elizabeth a.fenn)- While I love history, I’ve never been great at linking events together. The small pox epidemic was mentioned in a footnote in my history books. This helped fill the void I was missing and put everything in perspective. Nonfiction #3
  • The Automatic Second Date (Victoria Rodgers) If you have money and goodlooks, it’s easy to get a guy. If you don’t have goodlooks, its still easy to get a guy if you have money. Actually it was pretty insightful. I know several girls I could recommend this to. Nonfiction #4

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats ( Mario Acevedo)- A Birthday present from my best-friend. Surprisingly, there was pretty much zero sex in here, but lots of aliens.

  • What to do if a bird flies into the House (Elizabeth Nix)- I’m a sucker for useless knowledge books. Because of this, I learned how to set a formal dinner setting, help jump-start my car when it died (a week after reading this book!) and crack open oysters (even if I don’t eat them). Presented in a way so the advice sticks.
  • Writing for Children and Teenagers (Lee Wyndham)- This book assumes all teenagers are 12. Not terrible, but I’ve come across better writing guides. Felt a bit…dated. Nonfiction #5.
  • Sacrifice of the Widow (Lisa Smedmen)- D&D, Drows. Spiders. another birthday present from a friend who knows me.

Favorite Book this Summer:

YA: Forever (Maggie Stiefvater)
Adult: Legacy of the Drow Collector’s Edition (RA Salvatore)

Least Favorite Book this Summer:

YA: Zombie Blondes (Brian James)
Adult: Retail Therapy (Amanda Ford)

For the rest of my Goodreads reading Challenge, follow the link

http://www.goodreads.com/user_challenges/96213?page=1

Review: Deadline

Rating: 3.8/5 Stars

It’s really, really hard for me to not give this book 4/5 stars. I found it in my school library a few days ago, picked it up, put it down, and then came back the next day to grab it. It’s one of those books that stuck in my mind after reading it, a trait I usually give 4 stars to in a book.

Funny, quirky, and an interesting take on the end-of-life scenario, this book seems to have everything. In fact, it’s almost hard for me to say anything bad about it.

But here it is: The football focus.

Not a reason to stop me from recommending this book, but there where so many lingering descriptions of random plays and practices that I found myself skimming over paragraphs. I hate skimming over paragraphs.

Maybe someone more educated on football would find this more enjoyable, but I felt like it really made some parts tedious.

THE PROS:

X Funny. I found myself reading lines of the book out loud to friends just because they where quirky.

X Characters who talk like teens talk. Always a plus in YA. I was worried that with the “real” subject matter, the dialogue was going to be ridiculous.

X A happy-sad book.

X Protagonist who changes over the course of the book, and creates change within the secondary characters.

THE CONS:

X Lengthy descriptions of football scenes.

X Random connection between events. I don’t really remember hearing about Rudy and then BAM, random chapters with him in it. This happened with a few other things in the book. The transitions aren’t always so smooth.

X “Read this book” references the entire time.

RECOMMENDED TO: Fans of If I Stay, Speak, etc. While not a terribly long book, it may require a few sittings to finish.

OVERALL, I really enjoyed this book. I kept waiting for the book to get sad, and when it did, it was the good kind of sad that makes me happy I read the book. Definitely pleased with it, though I’m not sure I’d want to re-read it immediately.

For the Goodreads Review, click below:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/166169398

I can’t tell you how excited I am for the release of Maggie Stiefvater’s final installment in The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ms.Stiefvater this past November at FaerieCon 2010. While speaking to her, she asked if I had cried during the two books. I acknowledged that it was close, but I made it through it without crying. (Bah! Me, crying?!) She left me with a challenge: “I’ll get you in the last book, then.”

Well, the last book is coming out this July, several days before my Birthday.  Will  be pre-ordering this book, and then stalking my front porch all week and hoping that every UPS van that stops by is for me?

You can bet your sweet butt cheeks I will!

To Preorder Maggie Steifvater’s Forever, follow the link below:

http://www.fountainbookstore.com/autograph-maggie

(Link will open in a new tab.)

Rating: **/***** 2 out of 5 Stars.

Instead of reading this book, turn on the sci-fi channel and save yourself the trouble. The blurb on the back of the book reminds me very much of a sci-fi movie (Death Tunnel  was the name, I believe.) It’s not that this is a bad book. The ending is satisfying, the humor is aimed for teens (so as a teen, I was amused), and the plot is enticing.

However, it was very disappointing. I kept waiting to see some sort of ghostly presence or feel a sense of danger for the cliche-characters, but I didn’t. I tore through the parts of Derek, Mimi, and Chet, but the other characters I could care less about. I feel as though they were added in simply to add them in.

PROS:

– Quick Read.

– Enticing beginning.

– Spooky, paranormal element to it.

– Satisfactory conclusion.

-Lovely descriptions.

CONS:

– No real sense of danger. Creepy haunted asylum, should have plenty of opportunity for insanity, but everything turned out to be anticlimactic.

-Unrealistic setting. The grafiti was the only thing that seemed realistic to me. The building has been closed for tons and tons of years, but they still found all this equipment/props/etc lying around.

– Cliche characters. Some of them felt useless.

RECOMMENDED TO: Bored library visitors. Good book for a dark, rainy day with thunderstorms. Glad I saved this one for my summer read.

Overall, this isn’t a book I’d go out and buy. I picked it up on a whim and got pretty much what I expected out of it. I can think of 10 books I’d rather recommend before this one, but it could easily entice a younger reader with its short size, creepy-factor, and satisfactory ending.

I finished this book May 6, 2011. For my original goodreads review, follow the URL below:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/166168973

Books I want to Read

There are some books I want to read because they look good. There are some books I want to read because it feels weird to call myself a book-geek and have never read them. Then, there are those books people want me to read because I will absolutely love them. I challenged myself to read 50 books in 2011 on goodreads.

I picked 50 because it seems a reasonable number. Truth be told, I have no idea how many books I read in a year. It’s hard to keep track, especially when I spend time re-reading favorite books. (I know for a fact I’ve recently reread The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, Werewolf Haiku, Shiver, and Linger.) So, I decided that I’m only going to count new books towards my goal. With this in mind, 50 is still a good number.

Books I want to Read because they Look good:

  • The Replacement
  • Blood Magic
  • Wicked Woods
  • Katurah and the Death Lord
  • Forever
  • Nightshade
  • Grey dogs: Zombie Survival
  • The reformed Vampire support group
  • Mortal Kiss
  • Red Glove
  • City of Bones
  • Ship Breaker

Books I want to read because I’m a book-geek and should read them:

  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • The Joy-Luck Club
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Old Man and the Sea

Books Recommended to me:

Get Well Soon Review

3.5/5 stars

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

Comments:
I finished this book in one sitting, which surprised me.The back cover blurb describing the character as ‘so depressed’ made me apprehensive.
I like teen angst, but I wasn’t sure if I could handle listening to
melodramatic whining. It wasn’t bad at all.

PROS:
– Amusing, almost witty voice.

– Cast of character is easy to remember and distinguish.

– Melodramatic parts are short and rather amusing.

– Creepy, dehumanizing setting that made the characters all the more
real.

CONS:
– The ‘Justin’ back story on his hand is kind of disappointing. It’s
not that it’s bad, or that it was done poorly, but it seemed like
the author tried to combine a lot of elements at once.

– I’ve never actually been to a mental rehab facility, but

– Placement of the title ‘get well soon’ in the book felt a little
forced. She didn’t really wonder about cards or anything until she
already had them. Not a bad thing, but I didn’t feel it was very effective.

– The Satanist/seizure girl plotline felt rather useless.

Over all, I can think of a few people who would enjoy this book,
but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. I’d recommend it to teens
in a bad mood looking for some light reading to cheer them up

Review: The Dark Divine

I didn’t think I could find a Young-Adult Paranormal Romance story I would hate as much as Twilight. Then I read ‘The Dark Divine’. I realize that I will not always sympathize with the main character, so a YA Reader who can sympathize will probably find this book less of a headache. However, this is not a book I would recommend to others.

PROS:

– Interesting cover. I received a jacket-less hardcover on loan from a friend, so I didn’t see the cover until afterwords, but it’s quite interesting.

– Paranormal influences aren’t revealed immediately.

– Subtle religious allusions.

– Explanation of characters last name. Made the name seem less forced.

CONS:

– Little action. Normally, I wouldn’t mind, but I never felt suspense or fear for the main character. I kept reading only to see if something would happen.

– Overly naive protagonist. I can accept naivety, but this felt over the top. The main character was highly irrational and let her feelings get in the way, but this never stopped. She was very hypocritical, and I was supposed to feel sorry for her, but I didn’t. There was no development of the character during the story.

– Stereotype characters. The angry older brother, jealous friend, pious religious father, etc. The characters felt ‘fake’.

-Little coherence in plot.

-Underdeveloped idea of werewolves.

– Melodrama. I can’t even call it ‘teen angst’ anymore.

– Not so subtle religious allusions. (Her brother, ‘Jude’ as an example.)

Overall, I found this book painful to read. I don’t like to complain about the font or text in the book, since I believe it’s the story that really matters, but I found myself taking out my contacts and holding the book far away so the bolded font didn’t hurt my eyes.

While I disliked the main character, I didn’t feel like I hated her. That would have given me some sort of feeling or reaction to the book. Instead, I was bored, disappointed by the plot and werewolf concept.

I felt like the author wrote a story, went ‘Oh, werewolves are popular’, and then tried to make her werewolves ‘original’. I was highly disappointed, and will not recommend this book.

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/152459912

 

**Read this book some time ago, tried to upload review, but internet has been hatin’.