Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Book: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: February 28, 2012
Source: ARC received from Around the World Tours

Summary from Goodreads: Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY.

First impressions: The initial scenes in this book are dark, futuristic, and set up the conflict surrounding the world. Aria and some friends break into a compound in their city of Reverie, where everyone stays indoors for fear of disease and death in the atmosphere outside and communicates through SmartEye devices that allow virtual interaction in various imagined worlds. When the break-in goes horribly awry, Aria finds herself in danger and is saved by a tattooed tribal man from the outside real world, although this has even more profound consequences.

Lasting impressions: I think some more information on the rules of these worlds and societies would have made this reading experience more enjoyable. Though the mix of sci-fi and fantasy elements seemed interesting at first, by the end it all seemed like too many different ideas thrown into a giant mixing bowl, muddying the entire concept.

Conflicting impressions: If you're going to have a book about two characters falling in love, it helps if they have chemistry. I did not connect at all with either Aria or Perry, so their love story became something of a snooze.

Overall impressions: I'm having the hardest time pinpointing what it is that didn't work for me in this book. There were lots of individual elements that were interesting and exciting - the stormy Aether atmosphere, the Blood Lords and the tribal sensory enhancements, the Dwellers and their futuristic SmartEyes - but somehow when it all got put together it created a book that got bogged down by the weight of all of these Big Ideas.

Aria is a nice enough main character. She's strong, gets by mostly without complaining, despite some pretty awful situations. Perry is more interesting in that he has this heightened sense of smell and is constantly at odds with his Blood Lord brother. He spends most of the book nobly trying to save his nephew, but treats Aria pretty brusquely. I knew at some point these characters were going to fall in love, because that's the way things work in books, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out why they would want to be together. They didn't seem to connect in any realistic way.

At the end there are some reveals that are a bit predictable, and set up some action for the future, but overall this book didn't pack enough punch for me. I didn't have enough information to fully invest in either the characters or the worlds they were fighting, so it ended up falling a bit flat.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Friday, December 30, 2011

Book: Crossed
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release date: November 1, 2011
Source: Ebook purchased from Amazon

Summary: (from Goodreads) In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

First impressions: I was so excited to get back into this world, and it picks up almost immediately after we left off in Matched. I admit I had to take a minute to think back - now where were we? I think this is one of those series that is better read close together.

Lasting impressions: While I won't go so far as to say this was a disappointment, it did suffer a bit from middle book syndrome. We didn't learn a whole lot of new information about the Society, and a majority of the book revolves around Cassia trying to reunite with Ky.

Conflicting impressions: I was so invested in Cassia and Ky's relationship in the first book that having to spend so much time with them apart made the story lose a little magic. The chemistry that connected me to these characters was missing, so the book dragged for me.

Overall impressions: This was probably my most anticipated book of the year, so it's too bad that it turned out to be just okay for me. Good, not great. I loved Matched so much that it's not likely the sequel would have measured up, but this felt like an entirely different story.

Cassia spends most of the book trying to sneak her way to the Outer Provinces by pretending she's not a Citizen and joining work camps. Ky, meanwhile, is faced with the grim reality of being used as bait in an ongoing war with the people outside the Society. He makes a few friends and bolts with them into the surrounding canyons.

There is a bit of tension surrounding the blue pills and whether or not Cassia will survive and/or be reunited with Ky. She also tries to find out more about the Resistance and what kind of role she wants to play in it. Similarly, Ky must also determine whether being with Cassia is worth accepting a prominent position in the Resistance.

With just enough nuggets of new information to merit this sequel, there's still a lot left to discover in book three, out next year. I think it's worth a read for fans of the series, but would wait to read it until closer to the release of the conclusion book, so you can move straight into what will hopefully be the more exciting end of the story.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

2011 Challenge Wrap Up

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reading Challenge Addict

As 2011 comes to a close and I reflect on my many reading challenges attempted this year, I've learned some valuable lessons for 2012. I was most successful reading books in categories I already read a lot (duh), and where I found the easiest access to the books (double duh). Although there were some surprises, for the most part it's not hard to see why I failed at a lot of these.

Debut Author Challenge - 12/12 books read, and then some

Lesson learned: This one was the most surprising - I was on track for most of the year and found I was more excited to read some of the debut books than I was for books by known and beloved authors. I discovered this year that I love supporting debut authors and reading books with fresh voices. Because I don't know the authors, I don't really know what to expect, which made reading fun and exciting.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Already signed up.

YA Historical Fiction Challenge - 11/15 books read

Lesson learned: I love historical fiction, but not all of it is YA. I had a lot of books I wanted to count, until I realized they were adult fiction. Still, I love the genre regardless of age group and wish I could have completed this one.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Definitely signing up, but at a lower level.

Shifter Challenge - 11/20 books read

Lesson learned: Really? With one of the easiest lists to put together, I still couldn't make this happen? I think I just got distracted by other reads, and had some disappointing experiences on some new series that prevented me from filling up the list with their sequels. I think I prefer my shifters in moderation.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Slim.

Show Me the Free Challenge - 4/12 books read

Lesson learned: I may get them for free, but that doesn't make them any more appealing, particularly if the ONLY reason I got it was because it was free. I had a hard time making myself read these.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Definitely giving it another go, because 1) Missie is awesome; and 2) if I don't sign up, I'll NEVER read these darned free books!

Paranormal YA Reading Challenge - 12/12 books read

Lesson learned: Very easy to complete, but the blogger hosting this one disappeared, then changed her blog name a bunch of times, and I gave up trying to find her again.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Zero.

Get Steampunked! Challenge - 4/5 books read

Lesson learned: SO CLOSE! I have steampunk galore sitting on my shelves, and having started Soulless there's still a chance I can finish this challenge. I did learn, however, that I love this genre hardcore and can't wait to read more.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Guaranteed!

Morbid Romantica Challenge - 11/12 books read

Lesson learned: I loved that this one featured a different category each month. The variety kept the challenge fresh every month.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Good.

YA Series Challenge - 19/30 books read

Lesson learned: I read a lot more new series books than old ones, and didn't feel the need to finish a lot of series I started. Still, it's so satisfying marking off series books so I'm definitely doing this one again.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Guaranteed!

Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge - 9/12 books read

Lesson learned: I may love reading these, but I don't like reviewing them. I think I'll keep this category as a pleasure read and not a blog read.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Very slim.

Black Dagger Brotherhood Challenge - 6/9 books read

Lesson learned: I got a bit BDB-ed out midway through this challenge. The stories got less interesting, and I wish more people had participated in Bookaholic Does Blogging's book club discussions of the series. So interesting, but where was everyone?

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: I don't plan to re-read any of these, so no challenge for me.

Take a Chance Challenge 3 - 3/10 books read

Lesson learned: The categories were not as fun as I had hoped, and didn't drum up very many books I actually wanted to read. HUGE FAIL.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Very slim.

Fantasy Reading Challenge - 6/6 books read

Lesson learned: Wow, I read more fantasy than I thought I would. I'm not sure I need a challenge to keep me reading in this genre.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Slim.

Gothic Reading Challenge - 3/5 books read

Lesson learned: There's not a lot of gothic fiction out there, and with such a small genre I had a hard time finding books I wanted to read that fit in. I do like gothic fiction a lot, though, but haven't decided if I want to do another challenge.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: 50/50.

Vacation Reads Challenge - 6/6 books read, but not in dedicated time frame

Lesson learned: Short term challenges are even harder for me. I think I'll stick to year-long ones.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Not good.

E-book Challenge - 48/75 books read

Lesson learned: I really overestimated how many ebooks I'd be reading this year. Because of all the tours I joined, I read a lot more physical books than I thought. This easily accounted for my deficit in this challenge.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Not good.

Writer Musings Reading Challenge - 119/100 books read, and counting

Lesson learned: I'm bad at remembering to link up my reviews, but Tabitha gives away great prizes so if she does this again, I think I'll sign up. I was SHOCKED at how many books I was able to read this year, even if some of them are graphic novels. I used the Goodreads challenge to track my numbers this year, so I hope they do it again in 2012!

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Good.

Reading Challenge Addict - 5/17 challenges complete

Lesson learned: Too many challenges, too little time. I need to read more crossover books and be more judicious in my challenge selections next year. I also want to try out some new ones, so I doubt the total volume will decrease much.

Likelihood I'll sign up next year: Almost guaranteed.

I'll start posting my sign-up posts for 2012 in the next few weeks, so consider this a pre-emptive apology for glutting up your feeds. :)

Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin
Release date: November 22, 2011
Source: Review copy received via NetGalley

Summary: (from Goodreads) ‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again.

First impressions: Can Harper be my new book BFF? In the first few scenes she is funny, irreverent, rebellious, and sympathetic. She is the most authentic teenager I've read, perhaps ever.

Lasting impressions: Beautiful. Heartbreaking. Magical. Hilarious. Although this one hit close to home for me, it was wonderfully cathartic.

Conflicting impressions: I can't think of anything that didn't work for me in this book.

Overall impressions: Harper has lived in the shadow of her sister her whole life, unable to understand why she doesn't have June's innate ability to exceed everyone's expectations. Feeling like the loser letdown of a daughter, Harper has carefully constructed a persona to match her perceived failings - black nail polish, a wall of truancy and detention slips, smoking cigarettes. June is the golden child and she is the black sheep, invisible to her warring parents.

When June commits suicide, there is no note, and everyone struggles to understand why she did it. Harper feels the weight of being the one that's left, and has a hard time shaking the feeling that everyone thinks the wrong sister died. While going through her sister's things, Harper finds a mix CD that June had been listening to right before she died, as well as a postcard of California - the one place June had always wanted to go.

Jake Tolan is a boy who seems to have no ties to June, but shows up at the wake. After Harper discovers June was tutoring him, and that he works in a record store, she realizes he made the mix CD. Soon Harper, Jake, and Harper's best friend Laney have concocted a plan to drive to California and put June's ashes to rest in the place where she wanted to belong. June wanted nothing so much as to escape the pressures of life and family, and to be free to do and be whatever she wanted, and Harper is determined to make that happen as a final gift to her sister.

As Harper experiences impromptu protests, concerts, and landmarks, and shares these exciting adventures with new people, she begins to find herself. The road trip experience is full of powerful moments that reveal things about her desires and strengths, as well as her feelings about her sister. We don't watch Harper change as a result of the trip, we watch her discover that the person she has been all along is nothing less than her sister. She has always been strong and capable, but her fears and insecurity colored her perception of herself.

Harper is without a doubt one of the best characters I read this year. I related to her and her struggles on so many levels, from her inability to cry at a funeral, to her need to just run away from it all and so something meaningful for the person she feels she failed the most. Hannah Harrington has written a girl so complete that I had a hard time believing she wasn't real. Harper lives far beyond these pages, showing us the way teenaged girls really think and feel.

This book is one that will definitely stick with me. With a love story that seemed genuine in its slow growth, and an exploration of music through the eyes of Jake Tolan that provides a perfect soundtrack to Harper's journey, this one is full of life and memories. For anyone who's lost someone close to them, especially from suicide, this is a cathartic story that allows us to process our feelings alongside Harper. This is a powerful treasure that should not be missed.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Doubleday
Release date: September 13, 2011
Source: Borrowed from local library, then bought

Summary: (from Goodreads) The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

First impressions: Opening a debut novel in 2nd person narrative is ballsy. But, oh man, did it work in this case. By introducing the reader to the wonder that is this night circus through gorgeous prose and the immediacy of the perspective, we are hooked from the first sentence. The circus arrives without warning.

Lasting impressions: I relished this book in a way that rarely happens for me - slowly. For the week I spent reading it, I rarely thought of anything else, yet I prolonged the reading experience in order to get the most out of it. This is a book that inspires reflection in all of the best ways, and rewards you for taking the time to read every word carefully. The story builds slowly, but purposefully, until the exciting climax threatens to turn the entire world of these characters upside down. It's a beautiful journey to witness.

Conflicting impressions: I confess that I read all of the negative reviews of this book first. Surely no book could live up to the kind of magical hype this book has had heaped upon it, right? So I read the most blistering, scathing reviews, preparing myself for a slow, boring, overly dense novel with wooden characters and little action. And you know what I got? Subtle characters deftly written by a master puppeteer. Erin Morgenstern fills the pages with lush details, yes, but they all serve to inform us about the characters and the setting. I understood this world so well that I wanted to live in it for as long as possible, which is why I took so damn long to finish it. And why I bought a copy for my shelf the day before I returned my library book. I didn't want a single day to go by without having this book in my possession.

Overall impressions: This book is magical, but not because it contains magic. This is not Harry Potter. Our young protagonists learn magic through natural ability and frustrating lessons by their parental figures - no straightforward schoolteachers to be found. They learn through trial and error, cruelty, and their own perseverance and curiosity.

Celia and Marco do not spend a lot of time in each other's company, and as readers we are often much more knowledgeable than our characters. For me, this made the plot that much more enjoyable, as I had an inkling of where the story was going, but no idea how it was going to get there. As the story unfolded, I was more than willing to go along for the ride. This is a novel you either succumb to completely, or resign yourself to frustration. I think by the end of the first few chapters any reader will be able to tell if this is the book for him/her.

The Night Circus has rich period details, lots of colorful characters, and more than a handful of intrigue. This was not only one of my favorite books of the year, but one of my favorite books, period. If you're looking to be entertained by something truly fresh and surprising, you must get your hands on this one.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book: Tempest
Author: Julie Cross
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release date: January 3, 2012
Source: Borrowed ARC from Gone with the Words
Series: Tempest #1

Summary from Goodreads: The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy. . . he’s in college, has a girlfriend. . . and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is. . . until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit. . . or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly. . . and possibly the entire world.

First impressions: I completely fell in love with Jackson. His voice is strong, sweet, and funny. You can't help but root for him as he jumps to save his girlfriend and reconnect with his dead sister.

Lasting impressions: This is a book about second chances, and Jackson's journey is a heart-wrenching one full of mystery, loss, and love. It definitely brought a few tears to my eye.

Conflicting impressions: I wasn't totally feeling the connection with Holly. Because we see her in two different times, and most of that time is in the past, I wasn't able to piece together exactly who she was or why she was so perfect for Jackson. Since their love story is what drives the plot, at times I felt a bit distant while reading.

Overall impressions: I do love a good time travel story, and this one has the interesting perspective of being about small jumps. No centuries here - we're talking minutes, hours, and in a sudden twist, a few years. Jackson has never been able to travel far, so when he witnesses Holly's shooting and winds up stuck two years in the past, he's stumped.

The book follows Jackson as he tries to explain his presence in New York when his two-years-ago self is supposed to be studying abroad in Spain. He sets out to find 2007 Holly ("007 Holly" as he calls her) and through her meet Adam, who becomes their mutual friend in the future and has been helping Jackson study his time traveling. He needs Adam's help if he's going to jump back to 2009 and save Holly, and he uses the new time with 007 Holly to get to know more about her. In the midst of his travels, he also gets the chance to see his twin sister, who died from leukemia, as her younger self. Those scenes are beautiful and touching, sorrowful and sweet, and were some of my favorite moments in the book.

The story gets a little convoluted with the dual Adams, Hollys, and bad guys. Jackson's dad, Kevin, has a role to play in this mystery, and he comes with a cadre of other gun-wielding people that Jackson isn't so quick to trust. Around this point is where I started to see this book sort of similar to The Adjustment Bureau, with lots of guys in fancy hats running around and trying to stop Jackson and Holly from being together.

The book is very cinematic, so it's no surprise to learn that it's been snapped up by Summit Entertainment. As the trilogy continues, I hope we find out a lot more about Kevin's involvement in his son's time travel, and what consequences result from him traveling into the past. This is an exciting and fresh new story in young adult fiction and I highly recommend it.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Mini-Reviews: Werewolves

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book: Vesper
Author: Jeff Sampson
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release date: January 25, 2011
Source: Borrowed ebook from library
Series: Deviants #1

Summary: (from Goodreads) Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

Overall impressions: I posted a status review for this book on Goodreads that said "this is the most exciting boring book I've ever read." That pretty much sums up my feelings. While the story itself was full of promise of exciting things to come, they never fully materialized. I couldn't wait to see where the story was going, but the plot never fully went anywhere. It felt like a very slow build to what is sure to be an exciting next chapter. If you can hang with the slower pace, I think the payoff will be big.

I really liked the fresh take on the supernatural characters here. We know there are mysterious things going on, not only because Emily is acting so strangely, but also because we see hints in weird behaviors in other minor characters. Additionally, chapters are broken up occasionally by transcripts from a future discussion Emily is having about the events happening in the book. We never got complete answers, but the action and mystery were just interesting enough to hook me. By the time I finished this one, I was dying for the sequel. More please!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Book: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel
Release date: October 19, 2010
Source: Borrowed from local library
Series: Nightshade #1

Summary: (from Goodreads) Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Overall impressions: From the beginning, this felt like a chore to read. I felt like I had walked in on a lecture mid-class and was struggling to keep up having missed some important revelations. The lore and history of this world is definitely intricate, but Cremer never bothers to clue us in. Instead, we have to make our own deductions and assumptions about how things work. I'm not the world's laziest reader, mind you, but I do think that in complex fantasy worlds we need a bit more hand-holding.

The characters in this book were not very likable. BFFs we will not be. Calla seemed too willing to roll over and submit for being an Alpha, and neither of the love interests were that, well, interesting. Ren was overbearing but ultimately seemed to care for Calla, yet he kept doing such awful things that I couldn't really fall in love with him. Shay was just too boring. I felt like with such rich mythology and settings, this could have been a home run, but the lack of info and frustrating characters ruined this reading experience.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

It's aliiiiive!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm not dead. At least, I don't think I'm dead. With the way I've been staggering around my life's path in a malaise-induced half-coma, most of the people around me might not be as convinced that I am, in fact, alive.

It's been almost exactly a year since I started blogging, and the daily grind of it is catching up to me. Where did the joy go? When did the excitement disappear? Once I gave myself the out to focus on NaNoWriMo this month (which turned into a Big Fat FAIL), I sort of gave up the whole blogosphere. I wanted to come back refreshed and ready to tackle reviews for all of the books I've read in the last month. Instead, I find myself dreading the backlog and wondering if I can even offer coherent thoughts on any of them.

It's the blogging blues, babe.

I can't bear to close up shop, but I think that daily entries are only going to burn me out again. Moving forward, I'm going to try out a three day per week schedule. I'll aim for one or two reviews each week, and one or two discussion or meme posts. Maybe if I put less pressure on myself, I'll get the joy back.

What do you all do when you get behind on your blog? Or if you don't blog, how do you find the passion in your hobbies when the going gets rough?

Series Review: Darkest Powers by Kelley Armstrong

Friday, November 18, 2011

Book: The Summoning
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: July 1, 2008
Source: Borrowed ebook from library
Series: Darkest Powers #1

Summary: (from Goodreads) After years of frequent moves following her mother’s death, Chloe Saunders’s life is finally settling down. She is attending art school, pursuing her dreams of becoming a director, making friends, meeting boys. Her biggest concern is that she’s not developing as fast as her friends are. But when puberty does hit, it brings more than hormone surges. Chloe starts seeing ghosts – everywhere, demanding her attention. After she suffers a breakdown, her devoted aunt Lauren gets her into a highly recommended group home.

At first, Lyle House seems a pretty okay place, except for Chloe’s small problem of fearing she might be facing a lifetime of mental illness. But as she gradually gets to know the other kids at the home – charming Simon and his ominous, unsmiling brother Derek, obnoxious Tori, and Rae, who has a “thing” for fire – Chloe begins to realize that there is something that binds them all together, and it isn’t your usual “problem kid” behaviour. And together they discover that Lyle House is not your usual group home either…

Book: The Awakening
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: April 28, 2009
Source: Borrowed ebook from library
Series: Darkest Powers #2

Summary: (from Goodreads) If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl — someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I'm as far away from normal as it gets. A living science experiment — not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization called the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters, I'm a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control; I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

Now I'm running for my life with three of my supernatural friends — a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch — and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

Book: The Reckoning
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: April 6, 2010
Source: Borrowed ebook from library
Series: Darkest Powers #3

Summary: (from Goodreads) Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I'm on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We're hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We'll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we'd left behind and take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope.

First impressions: It doesn't take long for Chloe to start seeing scary ghosts, and she's quickly shipped off to Lyle House. Kelley Armstrong wastes no time ramping up the action and easily hooks us on sweet, friendly Chloe.

Lasting impressions: These books are best consumed in rapid succession, as the endings leave you wanting MOREMOREMORE. That said, the final book left too many unanswered questions and I felt a little gypped after finishing it.

Conflicting impressions: The pace is so fast and the timeline so short that there is little room for growth among the characters. They jump from one conflict to the next, always on the run, and at times I wanted things to slow down so we could learn more about these kids.

Overall impressions: For a series with so much squeaky-clean fun, these books felt sinfully bad to devour. They were so addictive that I would get twitchy when forced to stop reading. I passed up lunch dates and stayed up into the wee hours. I kind of feel like a drug pusher telling you about these books.

When I started the first one, Ruby warned me that I should go ahead and get the others. She was right. It's highly improbable, nay - damn near impossible, to finish one without reaching for the next. I'm not kidding. These books are like crack.

Chloe Saunders is a nice little wisp of a girl. She's barely past puberty when she sees her first ghost - an encounter that scares the crap out of her and leads to her being sent to a group home for the mentally ill. She's diagnosed with schizophrenia, and does her best to get along with the handful of kids in her new home, Lyle House.

But of course, things are never what they seem in good paranormal books, are they?

Chloe soon learns that her fellow housemates have secrets of their own, and when they realize their lives are in danger they start to band together to escape. This conflict takes them across all three books as they discover more about their captors, the Edison Group, and try to get a handle on their growing supernatural powers. I loved that each of them had such different strengths and weaknesses, so that as a team they became stronger than they could ever be as individuals.

True to life were the interpersonal conflicts that arose among these teens. At times vain, socially awkward, naive, overconfident, and nearly always impulsive, all of the characters read like real people caught in this heightened reality. The action is intense and neverending, so you can't help but keep turning the pages to see what happens next to this ragtag group. There is a slow burn romance that develops across the series as well, which I especially enjoyed. As a reader, you can see it coming, but it takes a looooong time for the characters to figure it out, which was just the cutest thing ever.

The thrill of their escape and ensuing chase sequences are nothing compared to Chloe's gift to communicate with and raise the dead. She's a powerful necromancer who has a hard time learning to control her gift in a way so she doesn't draw souls back to their bodies and create an army of zombies. When she does accidentally create a zombie (best. idea. ever.) it's absolutely horrifying and grotesque in all the best ways possible. Armstrong is a genius at creating the ick factor without wandering into stomach-churning territory.

My only real complaint came with the ending of book three. I was frustrated with the lack of answers and resolution. Throughout the series, Chloe's necklace is a bit of a mystery, and its changing colors and purpose are sources of intrigue (not only for the story, but evidenced in the covers as well). Yet we don't find out what it all means! The story also just stops, without a full ending that provides these characters with direction for the future. It was too abrupt for my taste, but since the overall reading experience was so satisfying, I'll forgive it.

Series Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Trailer Tuesday (2)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shhhhh. Let's not talk about NaNoWriMo. We won't discuss my paltry word count (~5,600) or the fact that I'm considering scrapping it this year to work on the book that actually needs to get finished. We'll just table that discussion for another day.


Because, because, because, because, because!

It's here!

It needs no introduction, really. Kids, the day has finally come for the theatrical trailer of The Hunger Games, and I admit no shame in the fact that tears were shed upon viewing this magical trailer.

Is it March yet?

A near victory

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo lumbers along for me. I had an out of town trip scheduled this past weekend, so I fell behind in my word count. This was expected, so not upsetting. I have Friday off from work in observance of Veterans' Day, and I may join some other NaNoers in the crazy challenge to try and get 11,111 words done on 11/11/11.

Can I do it? I'm scared to find out!

My real excitement for the weekend came from our drive. It's a long, boring 8-9 hour drive when we go back home to visit friends and family, and occasionally we listen to audiobooks. In general, I'm not a fan of the format because I can't pay that close of attention when people are speaking to me and I can't see them or take notes. I'm an extremely visual person, so things don't sink in when I have to just sit and listen. My mind wanders and I don't retain the story well.

My husband, however, is a fan. He has the opposite problem where books are concerned. He has a hard time sitting and reading a book because he can't engage with the material. Then he gets bored and nods off to sleep, or reads the same sentence fifteen times without actually gaining anything from it.

Yesterday we were both bored with our music selections and I offered up the audiobook option. After perusing through a bunch of choices, The Hunger Games popped up. I didn't think the hubs would go for it, but when I mentioned it he surprised me by saying he'd like to give it a try. My enthusiasm for the series and the upcoming movie is rubbing off on him, but he admitted he would never sit and read it despite the fact that he believes it's awesome.

We ended up not getting to listen to it because I needed a WiFi signal to download the large file and by the time we stopped for gas and found WiFi there were only a few hours left to drive. I still consider it a victory that I have him intrigued enough that he's willing to listen, so we may end up borrowing or buying it to listen to over the holidays. I think I would enjoy an audiobook of something I've already read because then I won't feel as pressured to pay such close attention.

Do you like audiobooks? Have you ever been so excited about a book that you got a person interested in it that would not normally have liked it?

NaNoWriMo, Round 2

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November is officially upon us, boys and girls! I can hardly believe it. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and this is the second year in a row that I will be participating. Although last year I procrastinated for much of the month and finished in a down-to-the-wire sprint, I'm hoping to be a bit more on top of things this time around.

I highly doubt that I will be posting regularly around here over the next 30 days, but I hope to give updates on my progress as I suffer through this crazy endeavor. I'm going for my first steampunk story, which I'm very excited about (even if I don't know exactly where the story is going yet). The plan is to try and front load my word count as much as possible so I don't wind up spending my entire Thanksgiving break holed up in my room glued to my laptop. My goal is 2,000 words a day. Fingers crossed!

Any other NaNo participants out there? Want to be my writing buddy? Or maybe chat with me on the NaNo forums? Then check out my NaNoWriMo profile page! I'll also be tweeting my misery (@loganturner) and getting in on those excellent @NaNoWordSprints motivational writing sprints.

Basically, don't worry if you don't hear much from me this month. It means I'm holed up being creative...or crying in a corner at my failures. Either way, it's bound to be interesting.

Bout of Books 2.0

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's here! Bout of Books 2.0 is going on all week over at On a Book Bender and I'm going to try to actually follow through this time. I completed a short read-a-thon over the weekend that ended in an epic fail when I spent Sunday buying things and then having to update all of my technology through lengthy upgrade downloads, but that's a story for another time.

I'll be updating all week on this post. Here are my goals for the week:

1) Read at least three books start to finish.
2) Read at least one review request book.
3) Read at least one library book.

I hope to get more than that, but we'll start conservatively since my weekend is mostly taken with Halloween activities.

I'm copying Amanda's format for updates, but I'm changing it to tracking page count and not book count since I won't be reading that many whole books.

Number of pages I’ve read today:
Total number of pages I’ve read: 299
Today #insixwords: First one down, two to go.
Books: When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen; The Devil Colony by James Rollins

Number of pages I’ve read today:
19% on Kindle; roughly 60 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 359 or so; more to come
Today #insixwords: I'm not sure about this book.
Books: Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett

Number of pages I’ve read today:
40% on Kindle, roughly 128 pages; 20 or so pages from library book
Total number of pages I’ve read: 508 pages
Today #insixwords: Had to DNF a boring book.
Books: Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett; The Devil Colony by James Rollins

Number of pages I’ve read today:
On Kindle, roughly 100 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 600 pages or so
Today #insixwords: My love of steampunk reinforced.
Books: The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong; Soulless by Gail Carriger

Number of pages I’ve read today:
90 pages
Total number of pages I’ve read: 700 pages or so
Today #insixwords: Why is this book taking forever?
Books: The Devil Colony by James Rollins

Number of pages I’ve read today:
Total number of pages I’ve read: 700 pages or so
Today #insixwords: Too many plans, none for books.
Books: N/A

Number of pages I’ve read today:

Total number of pages I’ve read:
Today #insixwords:

In My Mailbox (14)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme devoted to sharing the new books we've received, borrowed, or bought. For more information, visit IMM's fantastic host, The Story Siren. You can visit other blogs that are participating in this week’s IMM here.

I got an awesome haul of books through the library, gifted, or on sale this week. This is the frugal edition of IMM!

The Iron Duke (Iron Seas #1) by Meljean Brook
Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Deception (Haunting Emma #1) by Lee Nichols
First Draft in 30 Days and From First Draft to Finished Novel by Karen S. Wiesner

Received for ARC tour:
When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen from Around the World Tours

I make a habit of checking Amazon's Bargain Books every few weeks to see if anything good pops up, and this week I jumped on sale prices for The Iron Duke, Prophecy of the Sisters, and Deception. I've wanted to read all of them for a long time, so I'm glad I got them on the cheap. :) Dearly, Departed was a pre-order that arrived on Tuesday (happy release day to Lia Habel!), and the two writing books are for outline help pre-NaNoWriMo. I had a coupon for Writer's Digest Shop, so hooray for discounts!

Borrowed from the library:
Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa M. Klein
The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Graphic novels borrowed from the library:
Criminal Vol. 1: Coward, Vol. 2: Lawless, and Vol. 3: The Dead and the Dying by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Fables: Legends in Exile (Vol. 1) and Fables: Animal Farm (Vol. 2) by Bill Willingham, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Mark Buckingham
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned and Vol. 2: Cycles by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, José Marzán Jr.

I'm trying to make better use of my library, considering it is so close to my house. They have a well-stocked young adult section for a small branch, and this week I stumbled upon an excellent stash of graphic novels that included some titles I've been DYING to read but wasn't sure I wanted to buy. I've been getting a bit crazycakes with buying comics, so I'm happy that I can get a lot of great titles from my local library instead of spending money on them.

Fall Book Exchange:
Grave Witch (Alex Craft #1) by Kalayna Price
Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville #1) by Carrie Vaughn

I participated in the Fall Book Exchange hosted by Ruby's Reads and I received these two ebooks gifted through Amazon from my Santa: Mickey at imabookshark! I told her to surprise me from my wish list and I was so happy to receive these titles as I've been meaning to read them both for a reeeeeeally long time. And just in time for next week's Bout of Books Read-a-thon!

A huge, mega, universe-sized thank you to Mickey for these books and to Ruby for hosting the exchange!

That's it for now. What books did you get recently?

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: November 15, 2011
Source: ARC received from Around the World Tours
Series: Shatter Me #1

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.

First impressions: Juliette is a beautiful character. From the beginning, we are alone in her thoughts, as she whiles away her time in isolation. Her touch kills people, and for the last 264 days she has been alone in a wreck of a psychiatric hospital/jail with only a window and a notebook to pass the time. I fell in love with this sweet girl who dreamed of birds in flight and wished for a taste of fresh air.

Lasting impressions: Never has a title of a book been more appropriate. The writing and the characters and the world all made me want to shatter into pieces. Though the ending of the story went a different direction than I anticipated, it was not unwelcome. I'm excited to see where the next chapter in Juliette's life takes us.

Conflicting impressions: At times the stylistic prose pulled me out of the story. How many ways can Juliette describe falling to pieces? A lot. I also wish that we'd gotten more of the history of her world in order to understand Warner's motives as the villain. He kidnaps Juliette for his own purposes, but we don't really know what those are because Juliette is so in the dark about the world outside her cell. I felt like I was flying blind a lot of the time.

Overall impressions: Despite the aforementioned flaws, and a perhaps tired plot that feels like a re-tread of the X-Men, I still absolutely loved this book. Tahereh Mafi fills her plot with such incredible characters that I couldn't help but be captivated by all of them.

Juliette is one of the most sympathetic characters I can remember reading recently. She has been neglected by her parents and forced to avoid human contact for her entire life. My God! I would die! Yet she has remained kind, thoughtful, and perhaps most surprising, sane. She never gives up, and I admired that about her.

Adam is a bit of an enigma. He starts off almost cruel toward Juliette, but later reveals himself as a Peeta-like admirer from afar. Working for the enemy, it takes a while for Juliette to fully trust him, but he is so pure of heart and full of love that he ultimately wins her, and the reader, over.

Warner is a great antagonist. We may not be sure of his motives, but we know he wants to have Juliette as a pawn in his war against The Reestablishment's enemies. He will do anything to achieve this goal, and forces her to do some pretty awful things along the way. For such a smart and sadistic guy, however, he seemed awfully gullible when it came to Juliette's feelings.

This is an interesting paranormal crossed with a dystopian setting that never failed to keep my interest. Powerful characters are all seeking to find their destiny, and the new direction Juliette's life takes at the end of the novel will have profound consequences for the next book. I'll definitely be looking forward to the sequel as one of my most anticipated books of 2012.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Top Ten Tuesday (2)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I love lists, so I'm excited to dip my toes in the listy fun that is Top Ten Tuesday. This meme is run by The Broke and the Bookish and each week they post a new list for us to complete and share.

Just post your own list, link back to The Broke and the Bookish, and add your link to the linky tool to participate!

Top Ten Books Whose Titles Or Covers Made Me Buy It:

For me, it's all about covers. I rely on covers to communicate the tone, theme, or genre of a novel. If it grabs my eye and tells me it's exactly what I'm looking for at that moment, then I'm going to read it. Bonus points if it's purty. These are 10 books that got me interested because their covers promised a story or tone I was going to love.

1. Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel.

2. Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon.

3. Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan.

4. The Espressologist by Kristina Springer.

5. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson.

6. Huntress by Malinda Lo.

7. The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell.

8. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain.

9. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin.

10. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.

What books have you read based on covers or titles?

Comic Book Review: American Vampire Volumes 1 & 2

Monday, October 17, 2011

Book: American Vampire Volume 1
Author: Story by Scott Snyder and Stephen King
Publisher: Vertigo
Release date: October 5, 2010
Source: Bought from Graham Crackers Comics

Summary: (from Goodreads) From writers Scott Snyder and Stephen King, AMERICAN VAMPIRE introduces a new strain of vampire – a more vicious species – and traces the creatures' bloodline through decades of American history.

This first hardcover volume of the critically acclaimed series collects issues #1-5 and follows two stories: one written by Snyder and one written by King, both with art by future superstar Rafael Albuquerque. Snyder's tale follows Pearl, a young woman living in 1920s Los Angeles, who is brutally turned into a vampire and sets out on a path of righteous revenge against the European monsters who tortured and abused her. And in King's story set in the days of America's Wild West, readers learn the origin of Skinner Sweet, the original American vampire – a stronger, faster creature than any vampire ever seen before.

Don't miss out as Snyder and King set fire to the horror genre with this visionary, all-original take on one of the most popular monster stories!
This beautiful collection features a new introduction by Stephen King and bonus art including character sketches, variant covers and more!

Book: American Vampire Volume 2
Author: Story by Scott Snyder
Publisher: Vertigo
Release date: May 31, 2011
Source: Bought from Graham Crackers Comics

Summary: (from Goodreads) While trafficking in a bestselling sub-genre, AMERICAN VAMPIRE introduces a new strain of vampire — a more muscular and vicious species, born of the American West.

It’s Las Vegas circa 1935, and Skinner Sweet and our gal Pearl are about to learn the hard way that the bloodsuckers in Hollywood were nothing compared to what awaits them in Sin City.

In just a few short years, young police Chief Cash McCogan has watched his native city of Las Vegas go from cow-town to wild, glittering boomtown. And when the bodies of prominent businessmen start showing up drained of blood, Chief McCogan finds himself facing a threat much darker and deadlier than anything he could have imagined . . . and the only sure bet in town is that Skinner and Pearl are right in the thick of it.

Features issues 6-11.

First impressions: Scott Snyder and Stephen King did not set out to make a sparkly vampire tale. This is dark, scary, disturbing, and violent. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down.

Lasting impressions: This has become my most anticipated monthly comic. Skinner Sweet is deliciously evil, and reading his progress from being turned in the Old West, to taking over a Vegas brothel in the '30s, to battling vampire genocide in WWII is terrifying and compelling.

Conflicting impressions: Multiple readings make this one a bit easier to follow. The history of vampires is somewhat re-created here, and the large amount of information and competing story lines can get confusing.

Overall impressions: American Vampire is a monthly comic, currently on issue 19, supplemented by a 5 issue miniseries, American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest. It follows Skinner Sweet, the first American vampire, and the vampire he creates, Pearl.

Stephen King jumped on board with this comic to tell Skinner's backstory. Through the first 5 issues, he trades panels with series creator Scott Snyder, interspersing Skinner's origin as a new strain of vampire born in the Wild West with his present saving/turning young actress Pearl in the 1920s. The back-and-forth in time works well for the most part, as I enjoyed seeing how Skinner became a vampire, but it also seemed to read like two different stories that didn't need to be told simultaneously.

Pearl is an interesting character who goes through the most significant changes across the arcs of these volumes. Though Skinner saves her from a gruesome death by turning her, he does little to help her navigate her new life as a vampire. Determined to not turn out as sadistic as Skinner, she allows herself to fall in love with jazz singer Henry, though they are often on the run from the Vassals of the Morning Star (VMS), a group determined to kill vampires.

Volume 2 fast forwards through time to the 1930s, where we meet Cash McCogan, Las Vegas police chief, investigating a string of murders that make him cross paths with the VMS and vampires. Cash and the VMS are the subject of the spin-off miniseries, which puts them in contact with Nazi vampires out to purify the vampire race.

This series is beautifully illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque, who manages to deliver creepy and grotesque content without the images themselves becoming overly graphic. The vampires are drawn to achieve the effect the writers wanted - scary, not seductive. These vampires are more monsters than they are humans, and the cruelty of Skinner Sweet is a constant reminder that these vampires are not exactly woeful about the loss of their humanity. Although Pearl is more human than the rest of them, she can still attack with little regard for the pain she causes, particularly when she or Henry is threatened.

The unique history of vampires and the setting in varied important periods in American history make this a joy to read. This is pure horror at its best, with twists and turns full of scary things ready to jump out and spoil the party. Skinner Sweet is one of my favorite fictional characters right now, because despite his nasty and cruel ways, he is still lashing out at a monster he never wanted to become. Sure, he's a bad guy, and was long before he even became a vampire, but he's unpredictable and clearly has a soft spot for Pearl. I can't wait to see where his story takes us next.

I highly recommend this series to all horror, vampire, and Stephen King fans.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

TGIF at GReads! (15) & Weekly Recap

Friday, October 14, 2011

This Friday blog hop is run by Ginger at GReads! (who also created this beautiful button). Each week she posts a new question for us to ponder. Click the button to join in!

This week's question is:

Show & Tell: Where do you grab a book and get lost in it? Show us your favorite spot you like to read at.

Photo credit: Carolyn Surh/MEDILL

As weird as it may seem, I actually love reading on the train. My commute is one of the few times during my day that I can spend time alone and uninterrupted. I find it much harder to concentrate on my reading when I'm at home with the husband and the dog. Plus, the train noise and rocking is kind of soothing.

My weekly recap is inspired by the phenomenally talented, kind and generous Small Review. If you are not already following her, you are really missing out. Also, have I mentioned how much I love Cool Text? They're the folks that allow me to make these cool (and simple) text buttons - for FREE!

If you're a first time visitor, or just didn't get the chance to stop by this week, here's what you missed:

LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins
4/5 stars

13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES by Maureen Johnson
3/5 stars
Vacation Reading Challenge

Trailer Tuesday - Anonymous
Writing Wednesday - The Struggle to Revise

Enjoy your weekend everybody!
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