Friday, September 30, 2011

Follow Friday (September 30)

Q. What book that hasn't been turned into a movie (yet) would you most like to see make it to the big screen, and who would you like cast as your favorite character?

I would love to see Beautiful Creatures turned into a movie. It stands a good chance of probably actually getting itself made.

Emily Browning

Zach Roerig

Michael Fassbender

Michael Trevino

Amanda Seyfried

Max Irons

Monica Bellucci

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Erin is a schizophrenic who has long dealt with a violent personality called Shevaun. Institutionalized most of her life, Erin just wants to start fitting in to normal life and get better. But it turns out Shevaun is real and she is linked together with Erin through their minds. And she's not happy about it. She and her lover Adjila are determined to sever her connection to Erin, even if that means killing her. But Erin has made some friends of the shapeshifter variety who are determined to protect her. That is if Erin is willing to believe them and not continue to keep insisting everything is just part of her schizophrenia.

Genre: supernatural

Rating: 3.5/5

Once again I had trouble with not being able to figure out what Rhodes was talking about sometimes. She's a very concise writer, which may not be a problem except for the fact that she seems to have a whole world built in her head for her characters, but doesn't explain it the whole way, which often left me confused as to what was happening. This book WAS better as a stand alone then All Just Glass. The lack of details on why Shevaun had so many split personalities was the confusing part of this one. Or the back story on why Erin didn't know she had special powers. Or how Adjila was involved.

The other issue I have is that the covers of these books are never atttractive. You'd think they could get the author some better cover art. Erin wasn't a bad character, but her insistance that she was crazy rather than believing everyong around her got old after a while. If was probably a realistic response, but an annoying one, none the less. Atwater-Rhodes is a good author for those students who may have trouble reading longer books. Her writing is much shorter and she gets to the point, but that doesn't always make it less confusing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All Just Glass by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Sarah Vida has been turned into a vampire, a mortal sin to someone from her vampire hunting family. Her sister Adia has been sent to hunt her down with the help of their fellow vampire hunters. Yet as the hunt goes on, things start to seem not so clear cut to Adia. Her sister doesn't seem like a mindless monster and the vampires that turned her actually seem fairly reasonable. But it's too late as their mother has set off an ancient blood ritual that has now pit the witches and vampires at war. Adia also starts to realize that her vampire hunting family is hiding more than a few secrets.

Genre: supernatural

Rating: 3.5/5

I probably have a skewed rating of this book. As I was reading I kept thinking "this feels like I'm missing a huge chunk of information". Atwater-Rhodes just sort of plowed along like I should know the back stories of different characters and understand randomly thrown out characters. I kept thinking it felt like the book should be part of a series, but when I picked it up from the library, there was nothing on the book that indicated it was part of a series or if it was, where it even fell in that series. It wasn't until I read the author information in the back that I found out this IS part of a series and not a stand alone book. Yet I couldn't have told that from the book itself other than I felt like I'd started watching a movie in the middle.

The book itself was interesting in the plot department, but I kept having trouble keeping Khristopher and Nikolas apart or figuring out how Sarah actually got turned into a vampire. Or what the deal with Christine was. It's like I could figure out what was going on with the current plot, but when they kept throwing things in they lost me. If this was a series that the BOOK HAD DOCUMENTED ON THE COVER I would have been okay with that. But considering I had to go on a scavenger hunt just to find that this was part of a series, in my mind this book should be able to stand alone and it doesn't really well.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In My Mailbox (12)


From the school library:

The Awakening- Having escaped from Lyle House, Chloe and her supernaturally gifted friends are on the run from scientists, guards, and Chloe's treacherous aunt. The group is trying to find the one adult who can help them and sort out how to deal with each other, Simon's diabetes, Derek's transformations, and Tori's bitchiness.

Go and Come Back- Alicia is a young Indian from the Amazon whose tribe is subjected to two "old lady" anthropologists. Her community wants nothing to do with the women as they are arrogant and stupid and Alicia decides that it's her duty to set them right.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian- Arnold is a bright Spokane Indian who decides to go to a more exclusive, mostly white school. He soon finds himself an outcast in his community on the reservation as a result and a curiosity to the kids at his new school. He's faced with even more problems when his family life begins to fall apart.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ashes of Roses by Mary Jane Auch

Rose and her family have come from Ireland in search of a better life. Things get off to a bad start though when her younger brother is not allowed in the country and her family is split up again. Convincing her mother she needs to stay, Rose and one of her sisters continue on in America trying to make a living for themselves. After struggling to figure out how to live in their new country, Rose and her sister befriend a kind Jewish girl heavily involved in the union who gets Rose a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Baffled as to her friend's dedication to the union, Rose tries to find her own spirit until tragedy strikes.

Genre: historical

Rating: 4/5

Notes: #6 for the YA Historical Fiction Challenge

I managed to read this book in about a day mainly because it was a fast read. It was interesting from the perspective of looking into immigrant behavior from the early 1900s. The unions are generally difficult for me to relate to teenagers, so Auch does a good job in stressing their importance. The main fault I had with the book was some things just didn't seem believable. I'm not sure if it's just because I don't know the details of whether families really did leave teenage children in America or not, but some things just seemed like a stretch. I also wasn't the biggest fan of the use of dialect in the writing, but that's more a personal pet peeve of mine.

The history seemed very accurate and the story itself was interesting. It's a good addition to any library trying to encourage reading of historical fiction, though it's only going to appeal to girls and the cover art leaves something to be desired.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Follow Friday (September 23)

Q. Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it?

I've never really read a whole series more than once other than the Chronicles of Narnia. I've read that series a couple of times mainly because I was really young when I first read them and then the movies came out so I wanted to read them again. I've read Voyage of the Dawn Treader several times just because I like that one in particular. Who doesn't like Reepicheep?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Chloe is a normal spoiled but neglected rich girl until she suddenly starts seeing ghosts and gets herself shipped off to a home for troubled teens. Chloe slowly comes to realize her condition is not medical, but that she really can see ghosts and soon realizes that there's something strange about the other teens at the group home as well. Meeting the handsome Simon and his hostile brother Derek, she starts uncovering secrets about Lyle House that have terrifying implications about her and her powers and those of her friends. Suddenly escape seems to be the only option.

Genre: supernatural

Rating: 4.5/5

I've speculated with my best friend about how when a person is presented with two options for a love interest, it is always possible to tell who is going to be chosen in the end. I still hold that in the male love interest department, whoever the author describes fully and emotionally first and who ever has a decent story line is the ONE. Based on that assumption, I'm proud to say I haven't been wrong yet. This leads me to saying that I've never honestly liked a love triangle mainly because I've ALWAYS seen the deck stacked in the favor of one of the men.

I bring this up because there are two boys presented for Chloe to like. One is handsome, nice and the boy Chloe likes. The other is hostile, terrible looking, and initially starts out fighting with Chloe. My money is already on her ending up with the second boy. Simon is a passive, one dimensional character. Derek has already shown himself to be complicated, smart, and very aggressive. He's going to win in the end. My money is already down on that.

The book itself is well written supernatural fiction. Of course there are witches and werewolves and the traditional supernatural beings, but Armstrong tries to take a fresh spin on them. There's an overwhelming sense of urgency as the teenagers are always in peril whether they know it or not. Chloe can be sort of dense seeming sometimes, but she's a believable character. May the thing that stands out is that the kids seem to be in a no win situation. They are so out numbered and out maneuvered, their situation is desperate. And Chloe's powers are terrifying. She can literally raise people from the dead and it's not something fun to watch.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In My Mailbox (11)

Hello to all the new people following me! I try to follow back as much as I can, but sometimes I forget who I have or haven't followed.


From the school library:

Audrey, Wait- Little did Audrey know that dumping her band boyfriend would lead to her becoming the subject of his hit song and target of the paparazzi.

Fall of a Kingdom- The country of Farsala has always been peaceful until the invasion of a powerful new force and forcing several unconnected young people to join together in freeing their country.

From Booksfree rental:

Early to Death, Early to Rise- Madison has got her hands full as a dark timekeeper responsible for keeping reapers in line and thwart a smorgasbord of shady characters.

Why Do Men Have Nipples?- All the questions you'd like to ask a doctor but don't want to be looked at like a crazy for asking.

Nice and Mean- Two girls, one nice and one mean, have to team up for a video project, revealing the ins and outs of clothing when it comes to peer pressure and fitting in.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Follow Friday (September 16)

Q. It's that pesky magic book fairy again! She has another wish: What imaginary book world would you like to make a reality?

There's something about the world of Howl's Moving Castle that I've always liked. There's a blend of modern, some undefined historical peasant era, and magic. There's danger and threat going on, but it also seems like fun. A lot of Dianne Wynn Jones' worlds I wouldn't mind living in.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende

Shipped off to join his grandmother on a trip to the heart of the Amazon, Alexander is out of his depth and worried about his cancer stricken mother. But after meeting Nadia, a girl who can talk with animals, he begins to experience more and more unexplainable things and becomes fascinated by the People of the Mist, a legendary group of Indians. As the group looks for a mythical creature known as the Beast, Nadia and Alexander begin to suspect someone is trying to harm the Indians. When they are kidnapped, the two begin a mystical quest to come of age.

Genre: contemporary, supernatural

Rating: 4/5

While this book isn't exactly action packed, it is very enjoyable. Allende weaves the plausible with the mystical and addresses real issues of coming of age. Perhaps the biggest flaw is some of the situations are unbelievable (a teenager being allowed in a delicate mission into the Amazon?), but then there was also a good deal of the supernatural and existential in the book, which makes the areas fuzzy. The characterizations are alternately charming and over the top. The anthropologist on the mission is severely one dimensional and only exists to spout backwards and misinformed statements. This seems at odds with anthropologists I've known. Yet Indians are fierce and calm personalities that are alternately dangerous and fascinating. Alexander grows from a timid boy into a man in the jungle and he and Nadia effectively use their brains to thwart the wiping out of the Indians.

There's a lot going on in this novel, and for it trying to blend so many things and in such a sort of mythical way, it succeeds.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Curiosities of Literature by John Sutherland

Odds and ends of literature from who ate what to whose habits were the oddest to who died where and who put product placement into their books. A little bit of everything and all of it fascinating.

Genre: non-fiction, history

Rating: 5/5

A lovely book for book lovers. If you've ever wondered about the criminal records of some authors or which author had the biggest brain, this is a great read. Truth is often stranger than fiction and the more you read about some literary figures the more the world of the writer looks like a strange, crazy place.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In My Mailbox (10)

Not much this week, but I had a butt load last week, so we're taking a break.


Thwonk- Lovelorn school photographer AJ gets her romantic wish when a toy cupid comes to life and gives her a wish. Unfortunately romance is not one of his specialties.

Raised by Wolves- Bryn is a human taken in by werewolves after her parents brutal deaths. When she meets a caged Were who seems to have answers about her past, the two take on the whole werewolf world.

Blind Descent- A young woman has been injured caving and it's up to park ranger Anna to save her except for the fact that her claustrophobia has long kept her out of caves.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Title Deeds by Gary Dexter

Dexter looks into the process of naming novels and how their genesis evolves over time. Going through 50 books that are very well known for the most part, he ends up not only looking into the trivia of literature, but also giving insight into how literature is actually created.

Genre: nonfiction

Rating: 5/5

Exceptional book that I read in about a day on a flight back from vacation. It's fascinating how things fall together with authors and writing and what makes a book work. Some of the most famous book titles almost didn't come into being just like many novels have a strange and twisted tale about how they finally come to light. From legal troubles over names to clever titles to titles that publishers insisted be changed, everything is part of the genesis of literature. This book did finally convince me to read some more classic books such as Cold Comfort Farm, In the Name of the Rose, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and H.P. Lovecraft though.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Follow Friday (September 9)

Q. Have you ever wanted a villain to win at the end of a story? If so, which one??

Murtagh in the Inheritance series. The more Paolini tries to make him bad and selfish, the more I like him. Considering his horrific upbringing, I want him to punch Eragon in his smug, self righteous face every time they cross paths. Murtagh is a survivor and if everyone is going to judge him for not sacrificing himself for the greater good, they can get bent. No one ever sacrificed themself for him, so expecting him to live by a set of rules he's never experienced or understands is ridiculous.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

After accidentally attracting the attention of Britney Taylor, who rules the social scene at school with an iron fist, April Bower is at first flattered. What can going along with some of Britney's more ridiculous social quirks hurt? But the more April is involved with the high school queen, the more she's uncomfortable with Britney's vicious social maneuvering. After accidentally getting on the wrong side of her former friend, April finds herself the target of cruel bullying by Britney and her entourage. Rather than let Britney win, April starts a counter attack, leading to battle lines being drawn at school and April needing to decide whether she wants to be known as a nice girl, or get even.

Genre: contemporary

Rating: 4/5

Not a bad book mainly on the strength of the main character. April is a likable girl. She's no saint, but she's not so blindly stupid that she's sucked in to Britney's superficiality without questioning what's going on. She enjoys the popularity, but is bothered by Britney's meanness. And rather than this turning into a book about a girl cruelly bullied, April gets even. She's smart and tough enough to organize her own group of friends and actually ends up finding girls like her who are also loyal and unique. Not only does April end up getting the greater revenge, but she also comes out being the bigger person, but it's not without being honestly tempted to humiliate Britney. In other words, this book was light and cute and had a likable heroine who may have been sucked in by a high school piranha, but who is smart enough to stand up for herself.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In My Mailbox (9)


After a week of traveling, I'm finally back home and with a pile of books I found on discount. SO many books on discount. I almost couldn't fit them in my suitcases.

From Booksfree rental:

Possessed- Rayne's summer job at a creepy mansion takes a turn for the paranormal.

The Secret Keeper- After the death of his father, Wil uses a world of magic to try to cope.

Swan Maiden- A retelling of the Irish Helen of Troy mythos.

From Williamsburg Visitor Center Bookstore:

Doing Nothing- A study of leisure and its place in American culture.

Rag and Bone- A look at religious belief through the strange history of religious relics.

Founding Myths- How the myths of the founding of our country take away from the patriotic reality.

Loose Cannons- Strange mishaps, myths and misadventures from military history.

The Dead Beat- A writer looks into the making of obituaries and the writers of them.

Traitors & Turncoats- A look at the most notorious traitors in history.

The Red Prince- The strange and complicated life of one of the Hapsburg princes at the beginning of the 19oos.

Curiosities of Literature- Strange trivia from the world of literary figures.

Give Me Liberty- An indentured servant is introduced to a more cultured world by a schoolmaster, but they are both forced to choose sides in the coming Revolution.

The Essential Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde- The definitive annotated version of Stevenson's novel.

Founding Mothers- A look at the women in the lives of some of the greatest founding fathers of our country.

The White- Kidnapped by Shawnee, Mary Jemison gives an account of both cultures as someone who is neither one nor the other.

Unwise Passions - An account of the first real sensational trial in America as 18 year old Nancy Randolph is accused of killing her child.

Queen, Empress, Concubine - Tales of 50 ruling women from history.

Casanova - A biography of one of the most notorious lovers in history.

Ballyhoo, Buckaroo, and Spuds - Tales of the strange origins of words.

Presidential Wives - A look at the wives of the presidents through poignant stories that shed light on the history of the presidency.

Revolutionary Mothers - A look a women during the Revolution and the major part they played.

The Heartless Stone - Fueled by a broken engagement, the author goes on a journey to find out the cold truth about diamonds.

50 Facts That Should Change the USA - Things that if Americans knew and acted upon, would change the country.

The Art of Cheating - The definitive hand guide on how to get away with anything and those who did.

The Ransom of Mercy Carter - Captured by an Indian tribe, Mercy Carter becomes a part of the culture and wonders whether she wants to go back to an English settlement.

From Yorktown Battlefield Bookstore:

The General & Mrs. Washington - A loving look at the first first couple and their devotion to each other.

From Yorktown Victory Center Giftstore:

The Ninth Daughter - When Abigail's husband John is accused of murder, the Revolutionary lady sets out to clear his name.

A Marked Man - Abigail Adams' is shocked when one of the Sons of Liberty is accused of murder and she sets out to prove him innocent.

Barnes & Noble:

The Secret History of the Mongol Queens - A history of the female descendants of Genghis Khan.

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Dark Tales - Lovecraft's stylized horror stories.