Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is:

The Top Ten Characters I’d Like to Switch Places with for 24 Hours

From Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Bella Swan—Who wouldn’t want 24 hours with Edward?

From The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

Clary Fray – You get Jace and cool demon-killing abilities?  Yes, please!

From the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Hermione Granger – It would be so awesome to be the smartest at everything and be able to cast spells.  Plus, I have a soft spot for gingers.....

From the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

Diana Bishop – She’s a smart Oxford scholar who is also a witch and has a smoking hot vampire husband!  Sign me up!

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

Puck  – Wouldn’t it be fun to be a fairy for 24 hours and totally mess with everyone?

Emma by Jane Austen

Emma Woodhouse – I was going to say Lizzie Bennett, but really Emma is the better choice.  She isn’t as poor as the Bennett’s and I would still get to play in Regency England.

Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout

Katy Swartz – 2 words.  Daemon.  Black.

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica Packwood – For heaven’s sake, she marries a hot vampire prince and moves to Transylvania to rule all the vampires!  Awesome sauce!

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy Curry – She gets to go on an awesome cross-country road trip with Roger.  ‘nough said.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna Oliphant – Paris for a year and Etienne St. Clair?  Mais oui!

So what do you think about my choices?  Who would you want to be for 24 hours?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday

Feature and Follow Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.  You can click on the button to find out more about it. 


This week's question:  


Summer Reading:  What was your favorite book that you were REQUIRED to read in school?


I'm going to actually choose 2, one from high school (in the stone age!) and one from my recent graduate degree in Library Science.


High School:  Lord of the Flies by William Golding

I can remember being simultaneously horrified and fascinated with this book.  Some of my students just loathe this book and I cannot understand why.  This is a book that examines the worst of human nature and even in high school, I could not put it down.



Library Science Degree:  Playing with Matches by Brian Katcher

When this book arrived and I looked at the cover, I have to admit that I groaned and rolled my eyes.  I could not believe that I had to read.  Then I started reading it and I could not stop.  This book is amazing.  It's deep, it's relevant, it made me think and it had real spirit.  This book is like the opposite of Lord of the Flies.  It examines parts of the worst of human nature, but then it also shows how the human spirit can triumph in the face of adversity.  If you have not read this book, you should put it at the top of your TBR pile.

What about you?  What were the gems of required reading that you found in school?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

Book: Dreamless
Author: Josephine Angelini
Date: May 29, 2012
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: purchased
My grade: A+

Can true love be forgotten?

As the only scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out--a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies' cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen's sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

Josephine Angelini's compelling saga becomes ever more intricate and spellbinding as an unforgettable love triangle emerges and the eternal cycle of revenge intensifies. Eagerly awaited, this sequel to the internationally bestselling "Starcrossed" delivers a gritty, action-packed love story that exceeds all expectations. (cover and description from www.goodreads.com)


 Initial reaction
::cries:: No! I don’t want the book to be over yet? Can’t it just go on and on forever??

Title and Cover 
The title is perfect, especially after reading the book. I don’t like this cover as much as I liked the first one. I love the girl in a toga look, but in this one, the girl looks, well, uncomfortable. She looks like she’s standing in a contortionist pose or something. Looking at it makes me uncomfortable.

Plot, characters, etc.
First of all, I have to ask…..OMG, Josephine Angelini, have you been taking lessons at the Cassandra Clare school of total heart fail relationships???? Or the Stephenie Meyer school of love triangles with 2 perfect options????

Ok, now that I got that off my chest, let me say that this book was phenomenal. I didn’t know if she could do it again, but Josephine Angelini really delivered on this second novel. The story was still intense and such a mixture of romance, action and adventure and mystery. Plus, Helen has her own quest this time, which is perfect for a book based on Greek mythology, right? Everything that made me love the first book was here in the second book, done as well or better.

This book picks up exactly where the last one finished. Helen is making her trips to the Underworld, trying to figure out how to stop the Furies. She and Lucas are trying to leave one another alone and the whole situation was breaking my heart. Then, lo and behold, one night, another Scion hottie shows up in the Underworld to help her in her quest. Enter Orion.

Orion is a wonderful character. I loved, loved, loved him. He was sent by Daphne, Helen’s mother, to help her along in the Underworld. At first, I wasn’t sure that I should trust him, but as Helen learned to trust him, I did too. Then I fell in love with him! He was so thoughtful and protective of Helen and just an all-around good guy. Plus, he has this childhood full of heartbreak that he’s carrying around and yet, he remains solid.

And herein lies the problem. Now that Josephine Angelini has created the king of all love triangles, I don’t know which team I’m on. Every other page I was changing up. At first, I was Team Lucas all the way. Then as the story moved along, I started leaning toward Orion. Of course, there’s also the whole cousin thing, but that never stopped me from rooting for Jace, so why should it stop me now?? I’m so confused!!!!

This book was a real page turner. I could not put it down. It was this bad—We went canoeing yesterday with my 4 year old and I took the book in my backpack, hoping I could read some when we stopped for lunch. Needless to say, of course we had an accident and a bunch of water ended up in the canoe, and all over my book. It was ruined. But I couldn’t stop reading it. I still sat down with a SOAKING WET BOOK and continued reading during lunch. Then, as soon as we got in the car, I pulled out that ruined book and read until I finished it. I just couldn’t bear the thought of having to wait until I could get to some wifi with my Nook or get to a Walmart to buy a copy. (We were stuck in the mountains of NC, miles from civilization!)

 (see my poor book!)

Oh Josephine Angelini! I know you are sitting on high just reveling in the torture that you inflict on us mere mortals who read your books! Perhaps I need to go on a quest to help you stop torturing your readers!

Of course, it is the best sort of torture. The torture of a fabulous story that you cannot put away because you are so engrossed in the storyline and the lives of the characters that you feel like it has become your own life. That is one of the things I love so much about reading and Josephine Angelini is the master of creating a new world in her books for me to inhabit.


Vanilla Twilight by Owl City

I chose this song because it made me think of Helen and Lucas.

Crash and Burn by Savage Garden

This song seemed almost perfect for Orion.

In the Shade of Poison Trees by Dashboard Confessional

This song seemed to fit Helen's whole situation in general and the title made me think of the Underworld.

The Final Grade
My grade for this one is an A+. If possible, it may have been better than the first one. I am so in love with this series. I think I may camp out at the bookstore the night before the 3rd book releases so that I can get it first thing the next morning. And I’ll lie there and dream of Lucas and Orion. : )

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My New Rating System.....

.....was epic fail!  I hate using it.  It doesn't feel natural to me.  So I'm going back to what I do best--GRADES!  But let me clarify what each grade will mean.

A= Oh my God!  This book was so fabulous that I couldn't put it down.  I ignored my family all day.

B=I really liked this book--a lot.

C= This book was pretty good.

D= Meh.  This book was ok, I guess.  It would be better than reading a 2 year old copy of Sports Illustrated in the dentist office.

F= I really did not like this book or I didn't finish it.

Of course, I can add plus or minus, just like on your report card!

Whew!  I feel better already.  I guess you just can't teach an old dog new tricks. : )  I will put this up in the sidebar for reference as well.  Hopefully you will like the old rating system better also.

Drain Me by M. Beth Bloom

Book:  Drain You
Author:  M. Beth Bloom
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Date:  July 24, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My rating: 2 moons

Every night I'd lie there in bed and look out at the hills behind our house, listening. I knew there'd be consequences.

Actions meant reactions. Sunrises meant sunsets. My fear was too permanent, lasting longer than eyeliner, something I wore every day and didn't wash off.

Quinlan Lacey's life is a red carpet of weird fashions, hip bands, random parties, and chilling by the pool with her on-and-off BFF Libby. There's also her boring job (minimum wage), a crushed-out coworker (way too interested), her summer plans (nada), and her parents (totally clueless). Then one night she meets gorgeous James, and Quinn's whole world turns crazy, Technicolor, 3-D, fireworks, whatever.

But with good comes bad and unfortunately, Quinn's new romance brings with it some majorly evil baggage. Now, to make things right, she has to do a lot of things wrong (breaking and entering, kidnapping, lying, you name it).

There's normal, and then there's paranormal, and neither are Quinlan's cup of Diet Coke. Staying sane, cool, in love, and alive isn't so easy breezy.  (Cover and description from www.goodreads.com)


Initial impression

Title and Cover
The title is good, especially for a vamp novel and it has the Nirvana tie-in, which was cool.  The cover is so-so.  It’s not great, but it’s not terrible.   The title would make me look at it because I would know it’s a vamp book.

Plot, characters, etc.
At first, I hated this book.  As in, didn’t even think I would bother finishing it.  At the end, I still don’t like Quinn, the main character.  She is the type of kid that grates my last nerve when I have one in my class.  She is pretty much lazy and worthless.  She makes dumb choices and she knows it but doesn’t care.  She is so apathetic that I just wanted to slap some sense into her.  So, reading her voice was extremely irritating to me.

Somewhere along the way, though, she started to grow up a little bit.  For a small while, she was less irritating and more normal and together.  Of course, it didn’t last long.  By the end of the book, she was back to being her stupid, worthless self.

It was the other characters that saved this book for me.  Morgan was such a sweetheart.  I loved him!  While I wanted to strangle Quinn for not seeing what was plainly in front of her face, I was sort of glad too because Morgan deserved better than Quinn.  The same was true with Whit, the brother of Quinn’s vamp bf, James.  Whit was everything that James was not and once again, Quinn was too stupid to see what was so evident.

The plot sort of dragged for a while.  Since I was reading this for a book marathon, I had to make myself keep going.  But it was hard.  Quinn was so stupid to not see all the signs that provided evidence about James and the twins and all the other vamps.  But that was ok, I could forgive her for that.  It was her day to day stupidity that was infuriating.

Once the plot picked up, the book got better.  Actually, once Whit showed up, the book got better.  I was really aggravated with Quinn’s insta-love for James, though.  And she just jumped right in and had sex with him, no problem.  So now she’s a lazy, apathetic slut. Really????  I never did understand why she thought that James was the cat’s meow, but she totally blew off the other 2 boys.  And I’m not saying that having sex makes a girl a slut, because it doesn’t, but if you have seen a guy only 3 times and then the first time he kisses you, it ends with sex and you’re 17 and it happens on a mattress in a closet, then, yeah, probably you are.

I was just so irritated by Quinn through most of this novel.  Then there was the big non-ending ending.  What was that?  The whole thing was just left there, hanging.  Sort of doing nothing, like Quinn.  I don’t know if there’s supposed to be another book or what, but this one doesn’t really wrap up at all.

This book is set in the 90’s, like in the middle of the grunge era.  I loved the 90s, but I’m not really sure why the book was set during that time.  There was no reason, plot-wise for that to happen, so it ended up just being kind of confusing when there was talk of a Discman and no one had cell phones and such.  Maybe the author likes the 90s, but at least make it important to the plot if you are going to use that time setting.


Drain You by Nirvana

This song is quoted multiple times in the book, so it seemed to make sense to put it here.

Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus

This song reminded me of poor Morgan.  Also, I kind of think that Quinn is a teenage dirtbag.

Lazy Day Afternoon by The Plain White T’s

It’s not the right decade, but this song is Quinn’s theme song.

The final score
My rating for this book is 2 moons.  It was okay.  It wasn’t very long (218 pages), so I didn’t waste too much time on it, but if I had it to do again, I don’t know that I would read it.  There are better vamp books out there.  Even Bella Swan wasn’t this aggravating and Edward Cullen was a much better vampire than James.   But honestly?  I’d ditch the vamps totally and make out with Whit.

Now, this book was not my cup of tea, or cup of blood, as it may be.  However, other people have liked it a lot.  Check out these reviews on goodreads to see what others think of the book.


Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for allowing me to read a review this book.  I received nothing for my honest review, not even a black and white milkshake with Whit.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is:

Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings

I actually cheated and put 11 this week, but the last 2 are from books that I read a really long time ago and I can still recall things from the setting that are so vivid, so I knew they had to go on the list, right?

Also, I deliberately left off Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Twilight because they seem so obvious and they are so popular.  But JK Rowling really wins this award, right?  So, I wanted to put some stuff out there that wasn't quite as popular.

      Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter world (City of Fallen Angels, City Of Lost Souls, Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince )

If you've read these books, you know what I'm talking about.  She has built this whole secret world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders and it is so vivid that I wish it were real!  It feels real when I read it.  The world building in this series is phenomenal. 


Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Even though I love the world in both of these books, the world that she created in Elizabethan England is the best!  Not only is there the supernatural, but she has these vivid descriptions of the way life would have been in the Renaissance in England and on the Continent.  It was just breathtaking.  And of course, if brought this to my mind...... so if that's not a vivid setting, then I don't know what is!

           Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

     The world building in this book is freaking unbelievable.  It felt sort of like Russia, but totally different and I felt like I could actually see the places she described.

       Divergent series by Veronica Roth (Divergent, Insurgent)

       If you haven't read this series yet, what are you waiting for??  This is the best dystopian world I've found since The Hunger Games and in many ways, this world surpasses The Hunger Games because it is so much more complex.

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Did you really expect to NOT see Julie Kagawa on a list like this?  Her Iron Fey series is also vivid world-building, but I loved this one best.  If you think you can't stomach another vampire book, think again!  Pick up Julie Kagawa because this is not your average bloodsucker story!

      Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

       The world-building in this novel left me speechless with its beauty.  

      The Pledge by Kimberly Derting 

      This is a dystopian/fantasy sort of world.  But it was a very interesting    world that she created and I'm still thinking about it almost a year after reading it, so I would say that qualifies as vivid.

      The Goblin Wars series by Kersten Hamilton (Tyger, Tyger, In the Forests of the Night)

      I am so thankful that I won the first book of this series on a Goodreads giveaway, because otherwise I might never have read it.  If you like Irish mythology and folklore, you will LOVE the world-building in this series.  Especially the descriptions of going into the Faerie realm and all the creatures.  Plus Finn is pretty yummy! : )

      The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

      I'm going to be honest and tell you that the thing I liked most about    this book is the world it is set in and the way Victoria Schwab describes it.  The story was not one that I really cared for, but the author creates this almost dream-like world with her words that is magical.

      The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
      It has been over 20 years since I first read this book and I can still        recall many parts of it with perfect clarity.  Marion Zimmer Bradley is a master world builder and her creation of a magical Celtic Britain is beyond compare.

      Anne Rice's New Orleans
      I cheated and added number 11.  The New Orleans that Anne Rice creates in her novels is so incredible.  I have wanted to visit there since I first read Interview with a Vampire.  She goes into great detail about the places but also the smells and the sounds.  Her description of bougainvillea alone makes me want to go to New Orleans as soon as possible.