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Sunday, February 26, 2012

In My Mailbox #9


It's been another pretty good week for books for me! I'm beginning to run out of room here, lol!
First, are the books I received in the mail for review:

Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick (thank you, Tyndale! Will be doing a giveaway for this in March as well!)
Swipe by Evan Angler (thank you Thomas Nelson publishing!)

Next are books I purchased:

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (my Books a Million had them in early - YAY!)
House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo (clearance at Mardel)
The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy (clearance at Mardel - sounds really interesting!)
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray (book fair)
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (book fair)
Also Known as Harper by Ann Haywood Leal
The Anybodies by N.E. Bode
The Magic Half by Annie Barrows
Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt

These, I also bought, but I had to do spine views, because they are missing their dust jackets:


Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
Angel by Cliff McNish

Believe it or not, I did not get any new Netgalley's this week! Wow! And I only got one lonely Kindle freebie...
Evernight (Evernight, #1)

Well, that's it for this week! What did you get this week? Leave me a link so I can check it out!

Review and Giveaway: Easter's Lilly by Judy Serrano

Easter's Lilly


Published by Black Rose Writing
Release Date: December 16th, 2010
Number of Pages: 296
Where did I get this book: from Ever After PR for blog tour for review
My rating: 3/5

I received this book as part of Ever After PR's blog tour and received no compensation other than the book itself. 



Goodreads Summary:

"It was Easter Sunday; the day Lilly's life went from safe and comfortable to dangerously unfamiliar. Her transformation takes her from a small town girl having an affair with a low ranked gangster in the Montiago crime syndicate, to a woman of grace and fortitude married to the head of the organization.Easter's Lilly is an inspired journey from the idyllic to the darker side of self-discovery. Read as the over-privileged brothers embark on their journey that twists and turns down the road of unbridled passion in this first book of the series."

Wow! This was a page turner for sure! It was extremely fast paced (sometimes it seemed almost too fast paced - I felt like my head was spinning in parts of it!) Lilly, the main character, was the daughter of a police officer. Yet she falls in love with a drug dealer and gets pregnant with his baby. But then he is killed. Another drug dealer offers to marry her and take care of both her and the baby so she agrees, but she falls in love with someone else...basically, she's kind of a mess!

Honestly, this was not my usual reading fare. I found it a little too dramatic and too violent for my tastes. BUT....if you like a thrilling action packed page turner - then this is definitely a book for you!! Also, it is the first in a trilogy! Brother Number 3 and Relatively Close are the next two in the series.

And now here is your chance to win a copy of this exciting read - 1 copy of the e-book:


Friday, February 24, 2012

Reading With Class #4







Reading With Class is a (ahem, not-so-weekly) meme hosted by yours truly where I feature the books I've been reading for my library related classes. I have been slacking on the posting, so this will be a "catch up post".
The following are all for my YA Lit class...


The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
Yay! Got to re-read Hunger Games! That made for an easy, enjoyable week!
Fahrenheit 451
This was alright for me - not outstanding - just alright. I like the underlying message, of course - how precious the written word is. The story just didn't have me enthralled. Good writing, good message...but it just didn't grab me. I gave it 3/5 stars.
Gifts (Annals of the Western Shore, #1)
Let me start by saying I am not really a fan of high fantasy to start with. So, I did not go into this with big expectations. I was pretty much right. All the names were confusing. The story was very hard to get into. I literally kept falling asleep while reading it....I just did not care for it at all. It only got a 2/5 stars from me.

That is what I have been reading for school. I will try to be better about staying on top of it! :) Have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think?

Follow Friday #8


Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. For those who are new to the meme, the rules are pretty simple - you follow me, I'll follow you back! Just leave me a link to your blog in the comments, and I'll return the follow! It's a great way to find new blogs to read, gain new followers and make new blogger friends! :)

This week's question is more of an activity which is kind of fun!

Take a picture or describe where you love to read the most…


So, I'm a little embarrassed because I don't have really nice furniture...I've been petitioning for a new recliner for awhile now...gotta remember we are both in college with one in grad school, so, yeah...imagine the budget. Anywho... this is my reading chair. Kitty Katniss decided she had to be in the picture but refused to stop taking her bath - that's how she rolls. She is often on my lap while I'm reading. Next to my chair is my basket full of books that have my current reads, and books that I need to get to soon. Also my Kindle is in there.

That's my reading spot. What does yours look like? Leave me a linky ! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi


Published by: Harper Collins
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Number of Pages: 338
How I got this book: purchased hardback from Books-a-Million
My rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

"Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel."

Wow. Where do I even start??  Let me start by saying I loved this book so much that I did a presentation on it in my YA Lit class. I loved it so much I read excerpts from it to members of my family and made various people and my professor of my Materials for Children class read paragraphs from it. Yes, it's true...I was quite obnoxious about it!

Mostly what I loved so much was Mafi's writing style. It was SO different from anything out there. I know there is a lot of criticism out there about it. I personally found it refreshing. I usually am not one who is big on writing that is overly poetic...but it worked in this book. It was beautiful, and emotional, and just made me re-read lines over and over savoring the words. Let me give you an example. This is one of the paragraphs that I was making everyone read...it was just so achingly beautiful to me...

"I always wonder about the raindrops.
I wonder about how they're always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It's like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn't seem to care where the contents fall, doesn't seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors.
I am a raindrop.
My parents emptied their pockets of me and left me to evaporate on a concrete slab."

Another writing style that received a lot of criticism that I liked was the frequent use of the strikeout feature. The reason for this is that the book is written kind of like Juliette is writing in a journal. She crosses stuff out....this feature makes me feel like I am more "in her head." It's kind of like getting access to those thoughts that she doesn't even want people to read - thus she's crossing them out.

Ok, on to the characters. Other criticism that I have read is that Juliette is "insane." Um hello? She has been locked up in solitary confinement for the better part of a year...with NO human contact at ALL. And even before that, her own parents wouldn't even touch her! She was considered a monster. I thought she was quite well adjusted considering the circumstances...then after 264 days, Adam joins her as a cell mate. From being completely alone to sharing a tiny space with a really hot guy...mmmmm. I looooooooved me some Adam. He was so, so sweet to her. We find out in the book that they had gone to school together, and he was pretty much the only kid that was not mean to her. And that she had witnessed his abuse at the hands of his own father. That endeared him even more to me. I liked Juliette too. She was strong, but not unrealistically so. She was scared, but brave enough to do the things she needed to do. I felt like I could identify with her. Then there was the villain - Warner. I felt guilty for feeling this way, but for a short time, I actually thought I kind of liked him. I don't know why. After reading other reviews, I see I'm not alone in this feeling, so I don't feel so guilty now. But I can tell you that I got over this feeling really quickly! Team Adam all the way, baby! :)


It is so hard to go into the plot without spoiling...And I feel like my review is getting pretty long anyway, so I'm going to leave you with this trailer:



video


Read this book! It is fabulous! My only regret is having to wait a WHOLE YEAR for the next one - Unravel Me! I'm sure it will be worth the wait though!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday - Books Worth Saving?


Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is the top 10 books that I would run and save in the case of alien abduction, fire, nuclear catastrophe, whatever. And let me front this by saying that this is PURELY in fun...if alien abduction, fire, or any of the like were to happen, I would just take my babies and run...I love my books and all, but I can buy more!

But if aliens were to attack, these would be my top 10 rescued books....(and I'm not going to count photo albums or baby books, because that should go without saying...)

1. my personalized, signed copy of Abandon by Meg Cabot - I got to meet her last summer and she was so sweet and funny!

2. my personalized, signed copy of Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle - When I was a teenager, I volunteered at the local library and was chosen to help present an award to Ms. L'Engle. I then got to meet her and get my book signed. It was a lifetime highlight for me, and I've treasured that book!

3. my ARC of Fever by Lauren DeStefano - this was one of my first unsolicited ARC's for a major hit. I remember opening it and LITERALLY squealing! It is precious!

4. my childhood collection of Beverly Cleary books - my Ramona books are some of my most beloved possessions. I read them so many times as a child. I still have my original copies.

5. my childhood collection of Judy Blume books - same as my Ramona books

6. my childhood set of Little House on the Prairie books

7. my childhood set of Anne of Green Gables books

8. The Hunger Games - because it's my favoritest book ever!

9. the copy of the Bible that I received in 4th grade that had my name engraved on the front. It is so marked up in it and highlighted with all the passaged that I've memorized. It is very full of memories :)

10. my personalized, signed copy of H2o by Austin Boyd and Brannon Hollingsworth - do you see a pattern here? I really treasure my signed books!!

So, what about you? Which books would you rescue? Leave me a link!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Musing Monday - Book Learnin'


Musing Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. This week's question:

What is the last book that you learned something from? What book was it, and what did it teach you?
Ohhhhh, goodness. Let's see. Considering I'm in college, you'd think this would be a pretty easy question. Thing is, when it's an "educational" book, I don't usually read it straight through, know what I mean? Since it wasn't specified "cover to cover" I will have to say that the last book I learned something from was:
Marriages & Families: Intimacy, Diversity, and Strengths

my Family Development text book! I was using it for my homework tonight! I can't say I really learned anything new from it tonight (I HAVE been married for 15 1/2 years!) but I read about the components of a successful marriage and stuff like that tonight. I developed a handout as if I was giving a workshop for soon-to-be wed people about important things to know before getting married.

So, what have you learned from books lately? Leave me a link! :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In My Mailbox #8


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, and probably my favorite time of the blogging week, where we get to show off all of the bookish goodies we got during the week!


Bought:

Hunger Games T-shirt to wear to the movie premiere! :)
Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Received from author for review:

H2o by Austin Boyd and Brannon Hollingsworth (signed by Brannon -THANK YOU!!)


also received from author for review as e-books:

From Netgalley, I received:

Interrupted: Life Beyond WordsOrdinary MagicSwipeIllusion

Didn't get many freebies this week - I used incredible restraint!! Just one this time:
Breathless

That is it for this week! What did you get this week? If you are a new follower, leave me your link and I will follow you back!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Invisible by Jeanne Bannon




Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Release Date: September 30,2011
Number of Pages: 186
Where did I get this book: ebook as part of blog tour from Ever After PR
My rating: 4/5

Goodreads summary:

"Lola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear … and then one day she does just that...

For seventeen-year-old Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more in than she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her best pal Charlie and Grandma Rose.

Not only is she freakishly tall, Lola’s a big girl and when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a camp counselor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new “ability”.

Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused, too…

Then, when tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power.

A coming-of-age story that will warm the heart."


This is a really great book for high schoolers to read that deals with the issue of bullying. I really felt for Lola and Charlie. Lola is bullied for her weight issues, and Charlie for her sexual orientation. I thought that Lola was a very likeable character - despite the way she was treated by not only her peers, but even her own family, she really didn't want to hurt anyone back - and I liked that about her. I liked her acceptance of Charlie - she expressed that she wasn't entirely comfortable with her homosexuality, but loved her anyway, and this made her more endearing to me. I loved her relationship with her grandma, and was so happy that she had the encouragement from her. I also really liked Jon and was happy that he was able to look past Lola's exterior and get to know her. The ending is very nice and heart-warming, just like I like, so my hat is off to Ms. Bannon for that!

I would highly recommend this book for ages 14-18 or so. There is some language, and quite a bit of homosexual references in it, which makes it hard to recommend for the younger set.

Be sure to check out the other stops on the Invisible Tour hosted by Ever After PR. http://everafterpr.com.

And now for the giveaway - for one free e-copy of of Invisible:


Friday, February 17, 2012

Follow Friday #7


It's that time again!Another Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. If you don't already know the rules, it's pretty simple. Follow my blog, and I'll follow you back! This meme is a great way to gain new followers, find new blogs to read, and make new friends!

This week's question is:

I like unique names for characters and am looking forward to coming up with some when I start writing. What’s the most unique character name you’ve come across?


Hmmm, that's a good question! I really love names.Maybe some on my list aren't terribly unusual, but I still like them...

Rhine - Wither by Lauren DeStefano
pretty much all the names in Hunger Games: Katniss, Primrose, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Rue, etc.
Lina and Doon - City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Cassia - Matched by Ally Condie
Zara - Need by Carrie Jones
Grimalkin - The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Aria - Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi


There are so many good ones out there, and my mind is going blank!! What are some names that have really caught your attention? If you are a new follower leave me a link so I can follow you back! Happy hopping!:)


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday - Books that Broke my Heart a Little


Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's edition - in honor of Valentine's Day is the top 10 books that made my heart break a bit.

1. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

2. Before I Die by Jenny Downham

3. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

4. Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Matthew Logelin

5. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

6. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

7. Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

8. I Will Carry You by Angie Smith

9. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

What books broke your heart?

Valentine's Day with Victoria Foyt - Interview and GIVEAWAY!!!

Happy Valentine's Day to all my lovely readers!!

Today I am pleased to feature my very first ever author interview with the very talented Victoria Foyt, author of the awesome Revealing Eden: Save the Pearls (click here for my review). I really appreciate the time she took out of her busy schedule for me! She has also agreed to give one lucky reader a print copy of Revealing Eden! More about that after the interview!




So, first let’s get those typical questions out of the way…I’m sure you’ve been asked a million times, but, hey, inquiring minds want to know!
Tell us a little about your personal life? Married? Children? Furry Children? Hobbies?
My children are no longer furry, alas. My daughter is a sophomore at NYU film school, my son a budding thespian in high school. I feel so grateful to be their mom; it’s an extraordinary journey. I live with another artist, a very talented sculptor, who understands why I disappear into my studio for long hours and my passion for writing. Like the romantic hero of Revealing Eden, he’s beastly, in a good way. In fact, I dedicated the book to him!
Hobbies—who has time? Reading is my favorite pastime, at least two books a month. And after sitting at my computer for long stretches, I like to exercise, mainly walking along the seaside bluffs or playing tennis. I’m hoping to learn to sail as soon as I finish the third book in the Save The Pearls series.  
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer, and what was the first thing you remember writing?
I always wanted to be a writer; I couldn’t not write. I wrote a lot of poetry in high school, a practice I returned to whenever my heart was broken.  One in particular, a sonnet, was my favorite, and I’ve included it in a novel that I’ve been working on for a while. Later, I wrote screenplays, which were turned into indie movies: Déjà Vu, Last Summer in The Hamptons, Babyfever, Going Shopping, Festival In Cannes. Of all the forms of writing, novels satisfy me the most.
Who were your favorite authors growing up, and who are your favorite authors now?
As a youngster, I tended to read the classics, perhaps because that’s what I found on my parents’ bookshelves: Margaret Mitchell, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dickens, Dumas, Nabokov, Dostoyevsky. Heady, great stuff! In college, as a foreign language major, I fell in love with Cervantes, Lorca, Camus. Now, my favorite authors include Jane Austen, or course, and Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jeffrey Eugenides, and the languorous Haruki Murakami. To me, each great book is like a small, exciting master class in writing.
In Revealing Eden, people are given “mate rates” – the darker their skin color, along with wealth and social status, the higher the mate rate. Tell us what celebrity (real or fictional) would get the highest mate rate from you and why.
What a great question! Actually, I modeled Ronson Bramford on Sir Richard Branson, the head of Virgin, who funds visionary research in air and space exploration. I figured that if he were faced with a similar situation on Earth that caused people to die from the extreme solar radiation, he might develop a technology to save the world. Of course, like Eden, Branson’s white skin would brand him a Pearl with a low mate-rate. The highest rating might go to someone like Jay-Z, who is young, rich and dark.
Eden’s father combines the DNA of 3 animals to alter Bramford’s DNA in an experiment to make him a more “superior” species. If you could do this to yourself, which animals would you choose and why?
Perhaps, like Eden’s father, I would take something from the same three great predators—the jaguar, harpy eagle, and anaconda—which would give me an edge on land, water and air.  In Bramford’s case, the primary donor is the black jaguar, and I would choose the same. However, I would go for the more familiar russet-coloring. Love that print!
Can you tell us anything about the next book?
Gladly. In Adapting Eden (Save The Pearls Part Two), the past comes back to haunt Eden Newman. If she thought life and love challenged her in Revealing Eden, the stakes ratchet even higher in the next book. She must fight to save those she loves against impossible odds, testing herself beyond her limits—in love and physical strength—while the countdown to humanity’s extinction continues. I’ll tell you, being in her head is a wild, exciting ride! Overall, her journey takes her from oppressed, fearful girl to an alpha babe, or Jaguar Babe.
And now for some random questions:
It is Valentine’s Day – do you have any special plans?
My boyfriend and I are going out to dinner at a local Italian restaurant I love. That sounds so prosaic, but now that I have love in my life I really enjoy all those silly rituals I once disdained. I’m sure we’ll find something inventive to do afterwards!
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Despite my intense love affair with chocolate, I prefer coffee flavored ice cream. Although in Italy, I had a pistachio gelato that was out of this world.
Any weird obsessions or quirks?
Tons, but I wouldn’t reveal most. I can tell you I would make a lousy vampire. I love to rise at the crack of dawn. Everything about the morning delights me: the quiet freshness, a feeling of renewal, and the first slant of daylight give me a powerful feeling. Also, because of my acute memory, I get bored watching the same movie twice so immortality would be a drag.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
I’ve given up my guilt over my love for dark chocolate. I don’t care whether or not it’s good for me, or fattening, or whatever. It gets me through the day.
Thanks for your interest. By the way, I love to hear from readers. Please visit me at VictoriaFoyt.com or at Facebook.com/VictoriaFoyt and check out the awesome, dynamic interactive site SavethePearls.com or on Facebook.com/SaveThePearls. You make it all worthwhile.

And seriously, guys, Revealing Eden:Save the Pearls was an awesome book! Go check it out! Click the cover below to look at it on amazon!

And now for the giveaway...Contest is international, and one winner will receive one hardback copy of Revealing Eden: Save the Pearls. Contest will run for 2 weeks and winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In My Mailbox #7



In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where we get to feature all the lovely books we got in the previous week - whether it be in our mailbox, on our e-readers, from the library, or whatever. This week brought me a BUMPER CROP of goodies!! Wooo-eee!

First off, here is my trip to the library. Small, but good!
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

This is the result of Barnes & Noble sending me a 50% off teen books coupon! Well, a couple books I did get at Walmart, but mostly it's B&N's doing!

1. Blood Red Road by Moira Young

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer (from Walmart, purchased for book club!)

3. The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez

4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

5. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

6. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

7. Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz

8. Vesper by Jeff Sampson

9. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson 

10. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

11. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

The following are Kindle freebies that I received:

Gifts of the Blood (Gifted Blood #1)Farsighted (Farsighted, #1)Before You GoShattered Soul
 
The following I received from Netgalley:
Unbreak My HeartThe Year of the BeastsStruckAll These Lives
The Girl Is Trouble Before You GoOf PoseidonMonument 14
Shadow & Bone (The Grisha, #1)The RaftMonstrous BeautyShayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale
The Good FatherMe, You & the Kids, Too: The Ultimate Time-Saving Cookbook with Recipe Variations for the Whole Family
 
Not pictured from netgalley (no pictures found on goodreads):
 
2. Holding on to Zoe by George Ella Lyon
3. Gift by Andrea J. Buchanan
 
Phew! Wowzers, what a good week for new books!! What was in your mailbox this week?