Monday, January 31, 2011

And the Winner Is......

Well for my first giveaway I had 3 entries. I know I said I would post this by January 29th but I didn't end up getting to it. Sorry things have been insane here. I had report cards and I am in the midst of wedding planning and also packing for a trip I'm taking next week. Without further ado here is the winner.....

Robyn from You Think Too Much

Congrats! I will send you an e-mail to get your address soon. Anyhow it's bedtime for me now. Hope you all have a wonderful night!

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Publisher: Razorbill
Publishing Date: August 16, 2007
ISBN: 9781595141743
Pages: 332 pages

My Rating: 4 Stars

Summary from GoodReads:

St. Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school—it's a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St. Vladimir's—the very place where they're most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy's ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world's fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

My Review:
This is another one of those series that everyone seems to have read and I hadn't. I thought that this book was really well written and gave a different spin on vampires. I like that there are 2 different kinds of vampires- the living vampires and the undead vampires. I also like how there were guardians/protectors. I really like Rose's character and I thought that she stayed true to her character the whole way through the novel. She was driven, opinionated, outspoken and best of all she is devoted and kind to her best friend. I also liked Lissa who was the most genuinely kind character in the book. I have to say that something about Lissa's cousin always screamed desperate but I didn't really realize how desperate she actually was. I also wasn't sure how to read Lissa's uncle and I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at how the novel ended. The whole romance between Rose and Dimitri was quite intriguing as well. I have to say though that the whole teacher/student relationship has been done many times before. I sometimes wish they would come up with something different. I will say that though the vampire thing has been quite popular as of late, I really like the way Mead came up with something unique in this genre. I will definitely be reading the rest of this series and I can't wait to see how they develop the characters. Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Chunky Books

btt button

Here is this week's question:

What’s the largest, thickest, heaviest book you ever read? Was it because you had to? For pleasure? For school?

This is a tough question because I've read quite a few books with many pages and that were quite heavy. I would have to say the top four would have to be:

Drood by Dan Simmons
775 pgs
Read for pleasure but I have to say this book could have been much shorter.

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
912 pgs
I read this book for pleasure and I enjoyed every page of it!

The Passage by Justin Cronin
766 pgs
I read this book for pleasure and it was so good it didn't even seem like it was that long.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
1488 pgs
This first time I read this was for school and it was broken up into chunks and it was in French. I re-read it a couple of years ago and I ended up abandoning it because it was quite drawn out and I was too excited to read other things.

Well that's mine. How about you? What is the longest book you have read?

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publishing Date: August 24, 2010
ISBN: 9780439023511
Pages: 398 pages

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads:
Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding.

***This review contains SPOILERS***

My Review:
I will start this by saying that I have seen many reviews over the blogosphere with people saying they were disappointed by the last book in the trilogy. I wholeheartedly disagree with that. I loved this book just as much as I loved the other two. I can see how people might be disappointed in the book because it is quite glim but that being said I think that it was a realistic portrayal of what would happen in this story. It is unrealistic to expect Katniss to change her personality and have the story turn into a love story. This is a story about survival and rebellion pure and simple. It is a story about the atrocities of war and the innocent casualties that come from it. I couldn't help but feel horrible for Peeta when the Capitol completely brainwashes him through torture. At times I have to admit that I felt like yelling at Katniss to say "He can't help it! Chill out!" Yes, I would be irritated and I would have a hard time reminding myself that Peeta is acting this way because he can't help it but I would do just that, remind myself. Katniss can be a loose canon and in those times I had to remind myself that Katniss herself is a teen who was forced to grow up too fast but at heart she is still just a teen. Like with Catching Fire, I really wanted to see the relationship between Katniss and her mother and sister develop more. Mockingjay had little glimpses of it at times but most of the time Katniss is wrapped up in getting revenge on Snow. The ending of this book was bitter sweet. I never really saw Katniss with Gale; I viewed him more of a big brother type. It was nice to see Peeta and Katniss together and with children. It was nice to know Katniss did not have to worry about her children participating in the Hunger Games. The ending also made me a little sad. I felt a big like there really is no bright future for the remaining survivors. It shows the corruption of power and in the end the leader of the rebellions was every bit as corrupt as the leader of the
Capitol. Overall I really enjoyed this novel and I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: February 1, 2011
ISBN: 9780061726828
Pages: 440 pages

Summary from GoodReads:

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My Review:
I received this novel as an advanced reader copy from NetGalley and I was quite excited when I got it. I had been looking forward to reading this for some time. This dystopian novel was amazing. This is the first novel that I read from Oliver and I absolutely adored it. It was such a different idea for a novel. I had never really viewed love as disease but I suppose I could see how it may be interpreted like that. There are some terrible things that are a direct result of love. That being said, as you read further into this novel you can see that when you take away love you are taking away what it is to be human. There are also many different types of love and by curing someone of them all they are missing out on so many aspects of life. The idea is to get rid of all the suffering but I believe that suffering is an integral part of human life. There are many life lessons learned and much growth done while suffering. I really liked the character of Lena. She struggled throughout the entire novel. She was unsure whether to stay with the norm and what she has known her whole life or whether to wade into the realm of the unknown. She has been told so many things her whole life and she finds it difficult to question the norm. When she did begin questioning things in Portland she begins to notice things that aren't quite right. For example, during a raid she witnesses a guard bash in a dog's head. She begins to notice that without love there is also indifference and no passion. She also notices that her relationship with her best friend and sister may suffer if she undergoes this procedure. I don't want to give away the ending but it ties things up nicely but also leaves it open to a sequel. I highly recommend reading this novel. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Review: Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Publisher: Harlequin/Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: February 1, 2011
ISBN: 9780373210282
Pages: 208 pages

Summary from GoodReads:

Heroine, Bridget Duke, rules her high school, but when she crashes her car and ends up in limbo, she must confront the people she has wronged, all of whom want her to go to hell. The outcome of these meetings will decide her final destination.

My Review:

I received this novel as an ARC from NetGalley. I have to say I wasn't sure about this novel at first but when I started reading it I really wanted to know more. It only took me a few hours to read this story. Bridget is essential a spoiled brat. She treats everyone incredible rudely. She has absolutely no compassion for others. When she gets in an accident she is brought to limbo where there is a jury of her peers and she is able to view herself as others see her. The plot and the characters are quite interesting but one flaw in the novel is that it has already been done before. Also, while I do believe people can change I do not believe that it is something that can be done overnight. If you go into this book reading it for what it is, a light read with a good moral then you will enjoy it. Overall I give this novel 3.5 stars out of 5.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and it is a weekly meme where bloggers post what books they got that week. So here it goes. I finally got my books from LibraryThing's SantaThing which is essential a Secret Santa type thing. I got the following books from my
Secret Santa:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand
Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie

I also got some books for my Kindle from a friend's computer:

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Room by Emma Donoghue
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

I am looking forward to reading all of these. I am actually in the process of reading Barefoot and it's not too bad. I'm also on a book buying ban and I haven't done too poorly thus far. I have not bought new books since Boxing Day (Dec.26th for those of you in the States- it's the equivalent to your Black Friday in Canada) and I even got those with gift cards. I'm pretty happy and so is my fiancee. I guess we will see how long it lasts. Well that's what I got in my mailbox this week. What did you get in yours?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Publishing Date: September 1rst, 2009
ISBN: 9780439023498
Pages: 391 pages

My Rating: 5 stars

Review from GoodReads:
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the annual competition described in Hunger Games, but the aftermath leaves these victors with no sense of triumph. Instead, they have become the poster boys for a rebellion that they never planned to lead. That new, unwanted status puts them in the bull's-eye for merciless revenge by The Capitol. Catching Fire maintains the adrenaline rush of Suzanne Collins's series launch.

My Review:
**This review contains SPOILERS****
I can't even begin to explain my feeings for this book. From the beginning of the book I felt irritated for Peeta and Katniss. I couldn't even fathom "winning" a game like that and then having to travel around to every district on parade. What are you supposed to say "Hi, sorry I had a part in killing your children."? They have to relive their trauma in the games over and over and over again over the years. Then they throw a twist at them and throw them both back in the games with seasoned vets of the games. I was actually getting extremely angry with the Capitol while reading this book. At points I just wanted to yell at them "If you don't want people to rebel don't do things to anger everyone!!!" Of course people are going to rebel if you send their children/loved ones into the games not once but twice. Some people say that the second book was a little slow in the beginning but I didn't find that at all. I really liked reading about Katniss' difficulty trying to readjust to life in District 12. I also liked seeing the dynamic of Katniss' relationships with Gale, her mother, and Prim. I have to say I was a little shocked at the ending but I felt like something like this might be coming. There were too many things that happened in the book that were unexplained (like all the tributes who allied themselves with Peeta and Katniss). Collins really knows how to tell a story that draws people in. She has created vivid characters that leave a lasting impression. Even her minor characters left me wanting to know more about them. She has so many ideas that I don't think I would ever think of. The idea of the arena being like a deadly clock was so amazing. I couldn't believe all the ways someone could think of to kill someone. Amazing! Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and I can't wait to read the last book in this series.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin/Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: 01/25/2011
ISBN: 9780373210183
Pages: 384 pages

Summary from GoodReads:

My name is Meaghan Chase.

I thought it was over.That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stay by my side. Drag me into the core of a conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

My Review:
I was super excited to get this as an ARC from NetGalley. Well at the end of the second book I thought for sure that Meghan would be going back to the human realm and spend some time with her family. I really wanted to see how those relationships would develop and in the first novel I felt that she was quite close to her younger brother especially considering she risked her life to save him. Well, I got a bit of a tease for about maybe 10 pages and then it became apparent that there would not be much of this in the third installment of the Iron Fey series. I was slightly disappointed but the rest of the book made up for that. I really like this series. It is full of adventure and also mystery. Kagawa is extremely creative but also embraces folklore. I don't want to give much of the ending away but there are some pretty intense moments that actually made me tear up a bit. There was still the whole Ash/Puck love triangle (if you can even call it that). I am still unconvinced that those are healthy relationships; however I can still see how someone might find that kind of thing endearing. Again, like the other two novels, I couldn't put this book down. I am looking forward to reading more in the series especially now that it looks like there is a lot of change that will be occurring. Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Giveaway: The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly


Alright this is my first giveaway on the blog. If you remember from my review I really enjoyed The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly. I received this as an ARC from LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program and I figured I would pay it forward. If you are interested in entering it will be quite simple. Just leave a comment telling me about a book you recently read that you quite enjoyed. If you are an old follower of mine you get 2 extra entries and if you are a new follower you will get an extra 3 entries. Let me know if you are a follower (either new or old). The deadline for the giveaway is January 28th. I will announce the winner on January 29th and hopefully get the book in the mail by the following Monday. Good luck!

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Publishing Date: October 1rst, 2008
ISBN: 9780439023481
Pages: 374 pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary from GoodReads:
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

My Review:
Well, I think I may have been the last person on earth who hadn't read these books but now I can check that off my list. I am not usually one to read books while there is a huge hype about them. I wait for a while for the hype to die down. I just find that I am sometimes disappointed by a book if there is a too much hype; I find myself setting my expectations way too high. That being said, the hype with this book is right on. It is an amazing book about a girl, Katniss, who is forced into an arena where she has to kill 23 other children/teens for the amusement of her government. I have to admit that I am partial to dystopian novels and this one really hit the mark. It is years after our society has been practically wiped off the map and what is left of the US has been divided into 13 districts. The 13th district rebelled against the Capitol and as a result it has been wiped off the map. To remind citizens that the Capitol is in charge they designed The Hunger Games, a game in which one boy and one girl from each district is put in an arena and forced to kill eachother. The last man/woman left standing is the victor. This book reminded me a bit of the short story The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell which is essentially about someone who likes to hunt human beings in the jungle.

From the moment the book began, I fell in love with Katniss. She was just so naive and had a great sense of responsibility towards her family and friends. Throughout the entire novel she is oblivious to the fact that both Gale and Peeta are in love with her. She believes Peeta is playing the game and she has no idea how Gale feels for her. I have yet to decide which team I'm on for this one. They both have so many amazing qualities but at times I wonder if she would be happier on her own. She is just a strong character and she has mentioned a few times that she doesn't want to be married in the future. I love that while she was forced into this killing game she kept her sense of integrity and all her kills were in self-defense. She never went hunting for people in hopes of killing them. The novel is touches your heart and there are a few parts where I found myself close to tears. I don't want to give too much away in case you haven't read it.

Collins is a fabulous writer and I loved the concept for this book. I have already finished Catching Fire (I'll post a review tomorrow) and I am currently reading Mockingjay. I haven't been able to devour these books fast enough. I would definitely recommend reading these books if you haven't already. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My First Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

Well this is my first time participating in the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy For Books. The question this week is as follows:

Why do you read the genre that you do? What draws you to it?

I usually read contemporary adult fiction but that being said I also read a lot of mysteries and lately quite a bit YA.
The draw to contemporary fiction is that I love to hear people's stories and what better way to hear it than from multiple points of view. I love that I can, depending on the narration style, see/hear the same story from different perspectives. I find it fascinating how different people can view the same thing in such a variety of ways. I do realize I am reading fiction but most fiction comes from somewhere and usually it is people's experience.
Mysteries tend to hold my attention because I love the suspence of not knowing. I spend the entire novel trying to figure out who the killer is or to figure out what kind of weird thing has occurred in the plot. I like trying to figure it out and I always feel a tiny bit satisfied when I get that right.
I have been reading a lot of YA lately because I find that a lot of blogs are dedicated to YA. I tend to read reviews and think that I have to read the book they're talking about. Most times I quite enjoy the books that are recommended and I have continued to add books to by tbr pile. I also find it useful as I'm a teacher. I teach elementary school from kindergarten to grade 6. A lot of the grade 6 students are reading these types of books.
Anyhow, that's my answer for this week. I will try to continue with this weekly meme. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays- Resolutions

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's top ten is our Reading/Blogging resolutions. I have already posted something similar to this but I will repost some and add some others. Sorry for those that have already read this once. Here it goes:

1. I woud like to be more proactive when it comes to writing my posts. I can procrastinate a bit and then I feel like I have a bunch of reviews to do. I would like to pre-write some of my posts and that way I don't have to worry so much about it. This is especially true when it comes to my weekly memes. I usually end up adding my entries much later than others. Prime example: this post right now is being written at 5:15pm on Tuesday. I should have written it yesterday and had it set to post automatically.

2. I would like to host a giveaway or two or three this year. I have yet to have one and I think that it would be nice to give something back to the blogging community. I think I will posting my first giveaway within the next week or two.

3. I would like to comment more on the blogs that I do read. I also need to comment back to those that comment on my blog. I follow quite a few blogs and read others sporadically yet I only comment maybe 1/8 of the time if that.

4. I would like to up the readership on my blog. I have 29 followers right now and I am greatful for them but I would like to reach more people. This being said, if it doesn't happen it doesn't happen. I didn't start blogging to have a million followers.

5. I would like to learn how to do more things on my blog. I know how to do basic things but I don't know how to for example add surveys or forms for giveaways. My goal is to learn how to do more than just the basic.

6. As for reading, I would like to actually hit my 100 books a year goal. The last 2 years I have read exactly 97 each time. I have been 3 books off and I would like to actually hit the mark this year. Thus far, I have read 5 books and it's only January 11th so I don't think that's too bad.

7. I need to put a dent in my tbr pile. It has grown to astronomical proportions. I think I have over 200 books I haven't read here on my shelf. That goes hand in hand with resolution number 8.

8. I will try not to buy anymore books. The only exceptions I will make are if I get a gift card and also if they are free books then I can bring them home. As it stands I have over 400 books in my tbr pile and to me this is just a bit ridiculous.

9. I would like to read more classic books. As of last year I think I only read like one classic book. I hold an English degree and I think after I was done my degree I went a little crazy reading mysteries and easy-reads.

10. I would like to review every book I read. Sometimes I leave out some books but I'd like to review them all. I guess I will see what happens.

Well there they all are. As I previously stated some of these are repeats from a post I made not long ago. Enjoy and if you have any other suggestions don't hesitate to let me know.

Review: The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publishing Date: January 6th, 2011
ISBN: 9780670022403
Pages: 336 pages

Summary from GoodReads:
It is the sweltering summer of 1997, and Karen is a strait-laced, straight-A university student. When she meets the impossibly glamorous Biba, a bohemian orphan who lives in a crumbling old mansion in Highgate with her enigmatic brother Rex, she is soon drawn into their world - but something terrible is about to happen, and someone's going to end up dead .

My Review:
I received this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program. This book jumps between the past and the present but is told from the perspective of Karen. Karen is currently the mother of Alice and is anxiously awaiting the return of her boyfriend Rex, who is serving time in jail for murder. It is not explained who Rex killed or why he did so. In the past Karen is a soon-to-be college graduate who has never really lived on the edge. She has travelled and studied but she has never done anything against the rules. She then meets Biba and Rex and is drawn into a summer of partying and sex. I have to say I was instantly drawn into Karen's world. I wanted to know more about her and I couldn't stop reading to find out more. As you read further there are several mysteries. Not only are you wondering who Rex ended up killing but you also want to know more about Biba and Rex's family life. I don't want to give away any spoilers but you will be blown away by the ending; the twists just keep on coming. Throughout the entire novel there is quite a bit of foreshadowing so you know the novel won't end in the way you think it will but I never really guessed what did happen in the end. I wasn't sure what to think when I was done reading. The entire time I had felt one way about a character and then at the end I started to rethink the way I felt about that character. I won't tell you who or why but this will become apparent once you read the novel. I found myself really frustrated wth Biba from the very beginning. Even when we first meet her I can tell that she is a destructive force and while this may be alluring it is only fun for a short time. This may be the reason many people live with Biba and Rex for short periods of time and then leave. To be honest Biba reminded me of someone I used to know and be friends with. Needless to say I am no longer friends with them because I found it all to be too much. Anyhow, overall I give this book 5 out of 5 and highly suggest you read this book.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Review: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

Publisher: Vintage
Publishing Date: June 4th, 1991
ISBN: 9780679731146
Pages: 207 pages

Summary from GoodReads:
A funny--and often hilarious--month-by-month account of the charms and frustrations of moving into an old French farmhouse in Provence and adapting to a very different way of life.

My Review:
This was a book club pick. This year we decided to pick a different genre for each month and this month is non-fiction. This book is a literary travel book. Mayle gives a month by month recap of his life in Provence, France. Most of this book centers on food and at times I found the description to be way too much. While I like a bit of description I found that this went overboard. I almost felt like the author didn't have anything else to write about. It seems that Mayle spent a quiet year relaxing, renovating and hosting guests and when it came time to write a book he needed a little filler. This means pages upon pages of listed different foods that he ate and at times he even goes further by explaining where some of the food comes from (ie truffles). I ahve to say that there were a few cute parts to the book but overall I found it to be a bit boring. The book is not long so it didn't take me very long to read otherwise I may have abandoned it. One positive thing I can say is that it did make me want to visit Provence. It just seems like a place were one can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and really relax and enjoy a few glasses of wine. Overall I give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer

Publisher: Hatchette Book Group/Grand Central Publishing
Publishing Date: 01/11/2011
ISBN: 9780446577892
Pages: 400 pages

Summary from GoodReads:
There are stories no one knows. Hidden stories. I love those stories. And since I work in the National Archives, I find those stories for a living.

So says Benjamin January, a young archivist who spends his days working with the most important documents of the U.S. government. When Clementine Kaye, his first childhood crush, shows up at the Archives asking for his help tracking down her long-lost father, Benjy tries to impress her by showing her the secret vault where the President of the United States privately reviews classified documents. It is also where Benjy and Clementine accidentally happen upon a priceless artifact-a 200-year-old dictionary that once belonged to George Washington-hidden inside a desk chair. Eager to discover why the President is hiding this important national treasure, the two soon find themselves entangled in a web of deception, conspiracy, and murder that will reveal the most well kept secret of the U.S. Presidency.

My Review:
I have been a fan of Brad Meltzer for a while now so when I was given a free ARC from NetGalley for his newest novel I was super excited to read it. Meltzer did not disappoint. His books are usually fast paced and filled with tidbits from the pages of history books. That being said, I'm never sure how seriously to take the history information in his novels. This book centers on Washington, DC and the presidency. A young architect gets sucked into the world of a secret society that has been around since George Washington's days. In the midst of all this he is unsure who he should trust and there is also a bit of a love interest involved. I don't want to give too much away as this is one of those novels where there are new twists and turns in each chapter. That being said, you will want to read this. I couldn't put this novel down and I found some of the information fascinating. This novel is mostly plot driven so there isn't a whole lot of character development. The focus for character development is on the main character, the archivist, and I feel that there could have been more information given about himself. We know that his mother or sister calls to check in on him every day and we know that his father is dead. We also know that he had a horrible breakup from his fiance. That being said, I would have liked to know just a bit more. The pieces of information that we do get I feel are glossed over a bit to get back to the plot. That being said, I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars. It kept me entertained and also had me questioning whether or not something like this could actually happen. This book is definitely good for conspiracy theorists.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pretty Little Liars #1-4 by Sara Shepard

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: 11/01/2009
ISBN: 9780061801310
Books in the Series: Pretty Little Liars, Flawless, Perfect, Unbelievable

Summary from GoodReads:

Among the mega mansions and perfectly manicured hedges of Rosewood, Pennsylvania, everyone has something to hide—especially four very pretty little liars.

High school juniors Spencer, Hanna, Aria, and Emily have been keeping secrets ever since their best friend, Alison DiLaurentis, disappeared three years ago. But when the girls begin receiving threatening notes from someone named “A,” their secrets—the big ones, the little ones, even the long-buried ones—no longer seem so safe.

Unravel the Pretty Little Liars’ wildest mysteries in this special box set. But remember, nothing is as it seems in Rosewood . .


I was really excited to get these books when I used my giftcard from Christmas. I read The Lying Game by Sara Shepard as an ARC and I really enjoyed it. I have also been watching the show on television and I got hooked. Shepard keeps you wanting more by always ending the book with an air of mystery. I have fallen in love with these characters too. I can't decide which one is my favorite. I think it's a tie between Aria and Emily. I love that Aria is this free spirit who doesn't really care what people think of her. She is also always worried about her family. I feel for Emily because she is going through an identity crisis and is always worried about how she'll be seen. The books differ quite a bit from the series. The first couple of episodes mirrored the books but then they slowly diverged. Now that I know who A is (don't worry I won't reveal), I'm curious to see if it will be the same in the show. I have the rest of the series as well for my Kindle and I can't wait to devour them. I definitely ate these books up quickly; I read all 4 of them in like 3 days. Overall I give this series (thus far) 4.5 stars out of 5.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's edition is about the top ten books you resolve to finally read in 2011. I have quite a few books that have been on my shelf for years and I keep buying other books instead. Well here is my list:

1. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen- I've heard lots of good things about this but I still haven't read it.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald- Most of my friends had to read this for school but I didn't. I have it on my shelf and I can't wait to read it.

3. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins- I just got this for Christmas and I think I am the last person alive who hasn't read it.

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak- Again I am the last person to read this.

5. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb- I bought this for full price as a hardcover because Lamb is my favorite author. That being said, it has been sitting on my shelf.

6. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens- This goes with my resolution to read more classic literature.

7. Audition by Barbara Walters- This goes with my goal to read more non-fiction.

8. The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein- I have started this several times and because it's not fiction I end up abandoning it. I need to actually get through this because it has such interesting points.

9. The rest of my Margaret Atwood novels. I have read most of them but I still need to read a few of them that are on my shelf. Again she is one of my favorite authors.

10. Cassandra Clare's novels. I have them all and I vow to read them.

Well those are my top ten. What are yours?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In My Mailbox (10) Christmas Edition

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

I decided to do a vlog for this edition as I had quite a few books to get through. Without further ado here is my vlog:

The books that were mentioned in the vlog are as follows:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay
Whiter Shades of Pale by Christian Lander
Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
Flawless by Sara Shepard
Perfect by Sara Shepard
Unbelievable by Sara Shepard
Wicked by Sara Shepard
Killer by Sara Shepard
Heartless by Sara Shepard
Wanted by Sara Shepard
Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky
Hope in a Jar by Beth Harbison
Audition by Barbara Walters
Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook
Acid Row by Minette Walters
The River Midnight by Lilian Nattel
The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger
Night by Elie Wiesel
Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
A Compromising Position by Carole Matthews
The Geometry of Sisters by Luanne Rice
Push by Sapphire
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
One Day by Dave Nichols
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
Heidegger's Glass by Thaisa Frank
The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

Well that's what's in my mailbox. What's in yours?

New Years Resolutions

Well, I haven't really been on since the New Year and I think that it's important to list a few of my resolutions here. I will be posting some blogging/reading goals and also some personal goals.

Blogging/Reading Goals:

1. I woud like to be more proactive when it comes to writing my posts. I can procrastinate a bit and then I feel like I have a bunch of reviews to do. I would like to pre-write some of my posts and that way I don't have to worry so much about it. This is especially true when it comes to my weekly memes. I usually end up adding my entries much later than others.

2. I would like to host a giveaway or two or three this year. I have yet to have one and I think that it would be nice to give something back to the blogging community.

3. I would like to comment more on the blogs that I do read. I also need to comment back to those that comment on my blog.

4. I would like to up the readership on my blog. I have 23 followers right now and I am greatful for them but I would like to reach more people.

5. I would like to learn how to do more things on my blog. I know how to do basic things but I don't know how to for example add surveys or forms for giveaways. My goal is to learn how to do more than just the basic.

6. As for reading, I would like to actually hit my 100 books a year goal. The last 2 years I have read exactly 97 each time. I have been 3 books off and I would like to actually hit the mark this year.

7. I need to put a dent in my tbr pile. It has grown to astronomical proportions. I think I have over 200 books I haven't read here on my shelf. That goes hand in hand with not buying anymore books. The only exceptions I will make are if I get a gift card and also if they are free books then I can bring them home.

8. Finally, I would like to read more classic books. As of last year I think I only read like one classic book. I hold an English degree and I think after I was done my degree I went a little crazy reading mysteries and easy-reads.

My Personal Resolutions:

1. I would like to gossip a little less. I find that when I am around my group of friends I tend to gossip a bit more. I don't know why I do this but I know that it is not the best thing to be doing so I would like to curb that.

2. I would like to be a little less of a procrastinator. I oftentimes leave things to the last minute and this makes things so much more stressful than they need to be.

3. I would like to be more healthy this year. I would really like to start and stick with some sort of physical activity regimine. I also need to get my eating habits in check. I have a wedding dress to fit into and then hopefully afterwards some babies to have. This requires a bit more in the health department from me.

Well, these are my resolutions/goals for 2011. What are yours?

A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French

Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publishing Date: 10/28/2010
ISBN: 9780718156046
Pages: 352 pages

Summary from GoodReads:
Mo is about to hit the big 50, and some uncomfortable truths are becoming quite apparent: She doesn't understand either of her teenage kids, which as a child psychologist, is fairly embarrassing. She has become entirely grey. Inside, and out. Her face has surrendered and is frightening children.

My Review:
I received this book as part of the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing. The book is told in the form of diary entries. They are written by the mother Mo, the daughter Dora and the son Peter who goes by the name Oscar (yes, as in the Oscar Wilde). I have to say that at first I wasn't sure what I thought of this book. It starts off with a diary entry from Dora who has the dirtiest mouth of anyone I have ever encountered before. I found that character a bit irritating but then I thought about what it was like to be a teen; Dora is about to turn 17. I feel like although I don't want to admit this, I was probably very much like Dora at that age. I was unsure of myself, insecure, trying to fit in by maybe adding a few new swear words to my vocabulary, embarrassed of my family and I may have thought that I was the center of the universe. Anyhow, after reading a few chapters I began to really like this family. They were disfunctional at the best of times but if you think about it I don't know a family that isn't. The mother at one point contemplates having an affair with her co-worker who ends up being a complete loser. She felt unnoticed and quite plain after years of marriage with the same man. During this point I just wanted to yell at her and tell her she was being dumb but in the long run she came to that conclusion all on her own. The character that I disliked the most was the son Peter/Oscar. He took on the personality of Oscar Wilde and had this gregarious personality. I found it hard to follow his story as he seemed quite deluded. Overall, I am not a huge fan of the diary entry style book. I wouldn't say that I disliked the book, it just isn't something I would normally read. There were some really great, hilarious parts of the book that made it worth reading but I don't think this will be on my re-read list. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Publisher: Harper Collins/Harper Teen
Publishing Date: 01/04/2011
ISBN: 9780061996160
Pages: 448 pages

Summary from GoodReads:
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees. . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place--and out of place, at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make--between honesty and deciet, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

My Review:

I received this novel as an ARC from NetGalley. I loved this book and I can't wait to read more from this author. Unearthly is about a girl named Clara who is an angel-blood. She has received her mission and the only thing she really knows is that she has to save some incredibly handsome boy named Christian. I don't want to give away too much but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Hand's writing style. She keeps you wanting more. She also did a great job with character development. Clara seems like an easy-going teen who like many her age has many, many questions about her identity. This is further complicated by the fact that she is not just a human teen but also part angel. She struggles with her relationship with her mother and also in her friendships. She feels in the dark about her angel heritage and is constantly looking for the answers. She also gets herself involved in a bit of a love triangle. I couldn't put this book down because I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. What made it more interesting is the fact that Clara herself has no idea what is going to happen next either. There were many surprises along the way as well. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and I will definitely be reading the follow-up book or books to this novel.