Monday, May 30, 2011

Award Winning Reads Challenge: Starting Post

This is a great challenge hosted by The Reading Housewives and Books from Bleh to Bascially Amazing. The goal is read 3 to 12 books that have won a Printz or Newbery Award or Honor. I've decided to read 12, 6 being books I've read before and 6 being ones I haven't, 6 being Newbery, 6 being Printz.

(Except I didn't read the rules right, and I'm only allow to reread 4. But I'm just going to add two I haven't read to make it even, because I'm pretty pumped about these rereads ;) )

So, here's my list!

6 Newbery Awards
  • Rereads
    • Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
    • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
    • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  • New reads
    • Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
    • The Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin
    • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo 
    • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
6 Printz Awards

  • Rereads
    • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
    • The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
    • Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
  • New reads
    • A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
    • Going Bovine by Libba Bray
    • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
    • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
I think that this is going to be a great challenge. I can't wait to dive back into some of my old favorites, such as The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, and I've been eying A Northern Light and Going Bovine for ages. I'll probably do some short recaps when I finish two or three of them. 

Go check out Ashley or Jacinda's blog for more info on how to sign up and the awesome prizes they are giving out :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Directions

(No, this isn't a post about Glee, although I do adore that show :) )

On Saturday, I took a step that I've been waiting to take since I graduated college...I applied to grad school. If everything goes as plan I will have my masters in May of 2013 in Library Media & Information Technology! I'm very excited at the prospect of finally being able to do what I want to do! Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Krisi at The Story Siren

I haven't done a IMM in ages, so this is more of books I've received in the last month or so, rather than the week :)

From Net Galley:

The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly (This isn't YA, but I loved Revolution so much that I really wanted to read this one)
Hereafter by Tara Hudson (I've finished this one and I love, love, love it. I'm so pumped to get to meet Tara in June. YAY for Oklahoma authors!)

The Iron Daughter (Harlequin Teen) The Kane Chronicles, Book Two: The Throne of Fire

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (Side note: Does anyone have the complete series? Can someone tell me why Iron Queen is like half an inch taller then the others? It bothers me so much!)
The Kane Chronicles, Book Two: The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan (I love these books so much.)

The Great God Pan Dark Goddess (A Devil's Kiss Novel)
The Great God Pan by Donna Jo Napoli (I won this through Fairytale Fortnight Night. And it's signed, which makes me quite happy)
Dark Goddess (A Devil's Kiss Novel) by Sarwat Chadda (Bookalicious Pam asked for reviewers for Chadda's book, and I received the second one in the series. I have a review going up this week about it!)

Book Tour:
Sass & Serendipity

Sass & Serendipity by Jennifer Ziegler (My first book tour from I Read Banned Books, review coming soon. But isn't this cover too cute?)

That's some of the stuff I've gotten in the last month or so, what's in your mailbox?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quick Reviews: Bumped and Wither

Do you ever feel like you've read a million reviews on the same book? I know I felt that way when Wither came out--by the end of the week I could tell you the first few lines of the summary from memory. Sometimes I just feel like I have nothing new to say about certain books because most of what I want to say is already out there. So instead I going to do a quick review on why you might want to read it call it good :)

First up, Bumped by Megan McCafferty and Wither Lauren DeStefano!

 Why you should read this book:
  • Great satire
  • Crazy lingo
  • Interesting concept
Lingo was one of my favorite parts, and the satire of our need to chronicle and report our every move with social media is spot on. The concept was new and unique. 
 Why you should read this book:

  • Great writing
  • Discusses human need to be perfect and what could be the eventual outcome of that process
  • Despair/Hope
Absolutely lovely writing, quite poetic. Takes the "I-need-to-be-perfect" topic to a whole new level. The competing emotions of hope and despair are beautiful

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

The Rival by Daisy Whitney

Summary from Good reads: When Alex Patrick was assaulted by another student last year, her elite boarding school wouldn’t do anything about it. This year Alex is head of the Mockingbirds, a secret society of students who police and protect the student body. While she desperately wants to live up to the legacy that’s been given to her, she’s now dealing with a case unlike any the Mockingbirds have seen before. 
It isn’t rape. It isn’t bullying. It isn’t hate speech. A far-reaching prescription drug ring has sprung up, and students are using the drugs to cheat. But how do you try a case with no obvious victim? Especially when the facts don’t add up, and each new clue drives a wedge between Alex and the people she loves most: her friends, her boyfriend, and her fellow Mockingbirds. 
As Alex unravels the layers of deceit within the school, the administration, and even the student body the Mockingbirds protect, her struggle to navigate the murky waters of vigilante justice may reveal more about herself than she ever expected

I absolutely love The Mockingbirds, with its blunt outlook. Whitney is an excellent writer and I'm excited to see where she leads the Mockingbirds in this book! It comes out sometime this year!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
Coming out on May 24, 2011
Published by Harlequin Teen
Received from NetGalley

From Goodreads:

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.

My thoughts: 
This book made me completely fall in love with steampunk, a genre I was completely unfamiliar with. Steampunk is defined as " a genre of science fictions set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power." Science fiction isn't really my thing, but in the setting of one of my favorite time periods I find it all very intriguing and mysterious. Which is also a great way to describe Cross's novel. 

Finley Jayne, the "gifted" main character, pulls the reader in right from beginning. I immediately wanted to know more about her dark side--what it was and how it came to be. And with each new character added more questions are raised and the mystery ensues. However, Finley's condition is only one of the plots in this well-written novel. 

There's the love triangle between Griffin, Finley and a devilish cad named Jack Dandy, the origins of tiny organisms which effect those who come into contact with them and finding the Machinist before he commits his biggest crime yet. 

The plots are woven together nicely, the characters are fleshed out and the book ends leaving the reader wondering. Overall it was a great read and I will be picking up the second book as soon as it comes out.

The Girl in the Steel Corset will be released one week from today!

Rating: 4 Stars :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Review: Devil's Kiss

Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
Published on May 27, 2009
Published by Puffin

From Goodreads:

As the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn't normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a soldier in her order's ancient battle against the Unholy. 
Billi's cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He's ready to reclaim his place in Billi's life, but she's met someone new: amber-eyed Michael, who seems to understand her like no one else, effortlessly claiming a stake in her heart. 
But the Templars are called to duty before Billi can enjoy the pleasant new twist to her life. One of the order's ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have protected for hundreds of years -- a cursed mirror powerful enough to kill all of London's firstborn. To save her city from catastrophe, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than any of the Templars could have imagined.

My thoughts:
Have you ever seen Harry Potter Puppet Pals video "Wizard Angst"? If you haven't you can check it out here: Wizard Angst. When I finished Devil's Kiss it was the first thing that came to me, Harry smacking his head going "Angst, angst, angst." I'm surprised Billi SanGrael, the book's main character, didn't do the same.

There were many parts of the this book I loved, like the fact it's about the Knights Templar and how the first paragraph is so surprising I don't think I could have put the book down if I had wanted to. Billi is definitely a kick-ass character and her days of battle, sword lessons and demon killing were pretty awesome.

BUT OMG THE ANGST. It fills the entire novel and effects every decision that Billi makes. Hell, it made me hate the world at times. I wanted to adore this novel, in its crazy modern/historical fiction/religious-ishness. But I just couldn't get over Billi's attitude. 

While I didn't adore Devil's Kiss, I still really enjoyed it. Billi proves to be a different kind of heroine and I liked the unique view on the Knights Templar. And the second book, Dark Goddess, really shows how Chadda's writing and how Billi have developed. Read Devil's Kiss to catch up and then enjoy Dark Goddess.

Rating: 3 Stars

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Review: The Goddess Test

The Goddess Test  by Aimee Carter

One of the trends I've really been digging in YA and something I think is missing in adult fiction is the revival of mythology.  Greek mythology, in particular. Aimee Carter's retelling of Hades and Persephone myth, The Goddess Test is one of those revivals. The first in a trilogy, The Goddess Test, introduces us to Kate and Henry and the new world of the Greek gods and goddess.

Kate is a strong-willed teenager on the brink of adulthood whose has been dealing with the fact that her mother is going to die for the last few years. 

Henry, well, Henry's been dealing with his own problems... like losing his very existence. 

So when Henry offers Kate a deal that will help both of them, she must decide is if living half a life is worth it. 

This was a perfect retelling--enough of the old story to make it familiar, but a new story in its own right to make it engaging and had me turning the pages as quickly as possible.

The characters were easy to love AND to hate. I found myself getting frustrated with several of them :) In my book, if an author can make you feel that much for the characters, it's a keeper. Kate was a great character who was insightful and her loyalty to those around her was commendable. Henry was by far my favorite. He was so mysterious and had a sense of sadness around him that you kept waiting for Kate to remove.

This book discusses friendship, love and loyalty, while engaging the reading in thousand year old myths. It's great for those who are looking for a retelling, a sweet romance or a story about being put to the test.

The Goddess Test is out now!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Literary Tattoos

And I'm back to posting. April was a crazy, insane month and I'm happy it's over. Ahola May. Stay awhile.

I have some reviews going for this week but I wanted to post a question about literary tattoos. As a lover of words and books I know if I where to get any permanent ink on my skin it would be a quote of some sort. I've even managed to narrow my list to only two:

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me. 
(from the most amazing book of all time--Jane Eyre)


(from Walt Whitman's O Me! O Life! )

There some websites that post literary tattoos, like Contraiwise and Tattoo Lit and both sites rock some pretty sweet tattoos.

But my questions is this... has a sentence or phrase every struck you so hard you would be willing to tattoo it to your body? Which one? Tell me! I'd love to know :)