Thursday, March 29, 2012

After the Snow Book Report

Title: After the Snow
By: S.D. Crockett
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic
Rating: PG-13 (language and violent/gore content)
Coffee Beans: 2/5. For reals
Spoilers: yes, some.
Favorite Line: The whole world and everything in it shining in the weak sun like it just been born. (pg 277, ebook) & "I'm sorry. I am." I put out my hand. But it's just a flame in that beating rain. (pg 281, ebook)
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for this honest review

To date, there's only one book I've ever not finished, and it's Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement. You can read my BR to find out why. So, I was very discouraged when I started reading After the Snow, and by page 4 I was thinking to myself, DANG IT! This is going to be another book I won't be able to finish. But, I plowed through, and I'm just going to come out and say it:

I didn't like this book.

I wanted to like this book. I really did. The cover's pretty awesome. The summary sounded promising. But for me, it fell far short of being a good book. The first half was boring, slow, and uneventful. The second half was exponentially better, filled with action, substance, and characters, but it was too little, too late and couldn't make up for the first half.

I'm going to save you some valuable reading time.

Ready? Here we go.

Skip chapters 1 – 16. Trust me. You won't miss anything. Only a whole lot of backstory. In fact, to make you feel better, I'll sum up what happens so you feel like you know what's going on when you start reading at chapter 17:

Summary for the first half of the book (Ch. 1 – 16):


15-year-old boy (Willo) is crazy. Like, certifiable. Talks to himself & wears a dead dog's head on top of his to get strength and power. The dog talks to him and he talks back. Willo goes home, finds his entire family and everyone else (it's vague as to who that is) missing and decides to go after them. On his way to the neighbors' (whom he suspects of being involved), he meets and takes with him a girl named Mary. They fight off some wolves, then run and hide. Then he takes her to a cave, then they walk some more (in the snow, of course) towards the neighbor's. 

I have just summed up the first 102 pages.

Now you can start reading the book from chapter 17 on, where it gets substantially better.

The book wasn't all bad, just mostly. And that's strictly my opinion. There are A LOT of 4 and 5 star reviews out there of this book. Go and read them. Some people really liked what was between pages 1 and 304. I, however, was not one of them. Let me explain why I chose the lowest rating I've ever given a book:

  • Let's start with the setting. I know it's snowing. I know it's cold. I know Willo is in the mountains. But that's all I know. What year is it? What's the "world" this story takes place in like? Besides the few vague stereotypical description for a post-apocalyptic setting I had no idea what I was supposed to be picturing, which made it hard for me to be really invested into the story
  • I found the main character, Willo, to be confusing at best. He's insane with moments of clarity, but he's constantly contradicting himself to the point of confusing the reader. And these contradictions happen only sentences apart. Which leads me to believe the author is giving credence to the protag's craziness, but it's not streamlined enough to be smooth.
  • The first 102 pages were a waste of my time that I could have spent reading something else. Absolutely nothing pivotal to the story happened that couldn't have been summed up by the in a few sentences from the protag's POV
  • Willo's 15/16 in this book, but the maturity of the character that comes through is far younger. In fact, Mary, who's 13/14, seems far more mature than her traveling partner. Plus, Willo's one crazy cat (and not in an artsy kind of way). Talks to himself. A lot. Talks to a dead dog that sits on his head. A lot. Hmmm…hard to get around and accept for me. And he seems very unemotional about the fact that his family is missing. In fact, I wasn't invested into any of the characters until page 151. 151, people. That ain't good
  • The voice of the story—the style it's written in—is difficult to adjust to. It's written in a very primitive, uneducated style—which I can understand because Willo's lived in the mountains his entire life and isn't all that educated—but it's overdone to the point of being annoying and distracting. I thought that maybe it would be like Blood Red Road by Moira Young and I'd get used to it and fall in love with it, but here, I found myself skimming over a majority of the narrative, kinda like I did in Spanish class during tests. I got the main idea of the page, but didn't care to understand anymore. And the text is sectioned off weird at times; I still haven't figured out why
  • What the heck is Willo's goal? It's all over the place, and when he does have one, it's unfocused. Meandering. When he discovers his family missing, he wants to find them. Then, when he thinks he knows who the traitor is ("married" to his sister) he wants revenge. Then he comes across Mary, one thing leads to another, and they find themselves in the city. He still has his distracted goal of getting to the culprit (and his sister). Then he gets separated from Mary. Then he bunks with a nice old man and his wife for the winter. His new goal is to find Mary. Wait, what about that goal of finding his family? He gets back to that. Then his goal is escape and heading back up to the hills. But wait, Mary! Once reunited, their goal is to get to the sea to get on the ships with the Resistance to get to some islands. Then they change their minds and want to go south. See what I mean?
  • The ending made me mad. NOTHING was resolved. NOTHING
What I liked:

  • Crockett, at times, has beautiful imagery and a very simple way of saying things that resonates truth (thanks to Willo's simple way of thinking and isolation from the "real" world)
  • The second half of the book was packed with tension and action and all-around great writing and storytelling. If the book had held that impact from the beginning, this would've been a VERY different BR
  • The cover
I almost didn't finish this book. Almost. But, I'm determined not to have one DNF book on my list in 2012, if I can help it.

Look, as always, read it for yourself. It wasn't for me, but it may be for you. It's never fun writing BR's for books I didn't like. The author worked hard on the book. They love it. I just hope there are more people out there that love it more than me.

Happy reading, my friends!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just Read...

After the Snow
S.D. Crockett

The first half of the book is useless. You can skip it. The second half is better, but still far from making up for the first half. I'll give you more in my BR.


I'm doing it!

The A to Z Blogging Challenge.

I didn't think I was going to. Figured I wouldn't have the time. But I'm making myself do it. :) And I'm excited about it.

I'm gonna have a theme, too. A fun theme. Just haven't figured it out yet....

Can't wait! Who else is with me?


Friday, March 23, 2012

Freebee Friday! Special Edition – the Hunger Games

Normally, I steer clear of books made into movies (especially the ones I like) because I don't want to see Hollywood butcher something so great. But, I figured with the fan base of HG being so large the director couldn't risk disappointing them and the fact that they brought in Suzanne Collins to write the screenplay and help pick the cast, I figured the movie was in safe hands. And I was right.

Hunger Games was freaking awesome. I'm not even kidding.

The entire two-and-a-half hours were packed with wicked cinematography, emotion, action, violence (though not really direct gore), and really good acting. The combination of all this made me not regret going to the midnight premier.

I'm on the left, my friend
is on the right
The only other midnight premier I've ever gone to was back in college for one of the Harry Potters. Last night (or this morning) I pulled out my nerd card and went to see the premier. One of the local, smaller theaters has twelve screens, and I figured since they were all showing HG at midnight and they were all sold out, I should probably get there early to get a good spot in line. I've never done this before and didn't know what to expect (other than what happens in other, bigger cities I see on TV), so I packed a camping chair, a blanket (it's still a little chilly out at night), and my Nook to help pass the time.

I showed up at 9-ish and was a little disappointed there wasn't a line. None. Not even a hint of one. I have to admit I felt a cheated by the lack of experience. Anyway, all twelve theaters were named after the districts. My friend and I were in District 3 while my boss was in District 12. Let me tell you, we got the short end of the stick. District 12 was where it was at. Not only was it a bigger theatre, but they were having a party down front (as evident from a picture my boss texted to my friend) along with paper airplane flying contests. District 3 was lame. Wanna know what we had? Lame, uneducated 7th grade girls who felt the need to kick the back of my seat every three minutes or so. Example:

Example 1 (While playing a game of Monopoly on an iPad)

Lame, Seat-Kicker Girl: What's this say? Forfate….forfite…..
More Intelligent Girl: Forfeit?
LSKG: Laughs. I can't spell very good.
MIG: You mean read well?


Example 2, playing madlibs

Girl 1: Okay, I need an adverb.
Me: Scrunching my forehead in pain while saying in my head, burnt? Really?

Now, it was probably the fact that it was late and I felt I was sitting through earthquake intense turbulence, but my patience for the girls behind me was pretty thin. Which, tipped my feelings about them to the humorous side.

The theater staff came in and did some fun trivia for us, the winners getting posters, and I was surprised to find out that the majority of the people who answered the questions were male. I think that's why this book/movie works so well and crosses gender lines without a second thought. Even though the protagonist is female, she's tough and kickass, which appeals to both male and female. And even though there's a "romance", it's forced. Katniss does what she needs to do to live. That's what is so appealing about HG; it's a book about survival and strength, everything else is secondary. (But, when Katniss and Peeta did kiss, every young girl in the theater started cheering.)

I was completely satisfied with this movie. More than satisfied, ecstatic. (Which is why I'm going to see it a second time with Hubby). It's kind of hit and miss with YA movies; so easily is successful strictly for the obsessed entertainment value (i.e. Twilight). But HG will be successful because they have the obsessed fan base, but even more so because the movie is GOOD. It stuck to the book so well and, like I said earlier, the cinematography was fantabulous and the acting was phenomenal. I must admit, I was a little uncertain about Josh playing the role of Peeta, but now I'm convinced. He was the best choice.

What about you? Did you go to the midnight showing? If you have, what did you like most? What was your experience like? And if you haven't seen it yet, (why the heck not?!?!) and are you planning to go see it?

Happy Friday my friends, and happy Hunger Games. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Life is But a Dream Book Report

Life is But a Dream
By: Brian James
Genre: YA Contemporary
Coffee Beans: 3.5/5
Rating: PG
Spoilers: No
Favorite Line:It's too hard…when all of the things I believe stop being true…it just hurts too much. PG 233 (ebook version)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.

Publisher's Summary:
Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it's the world that's crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? her decision may have fatal consequences.

Brian James calls Life is But a Dream "the most intense book I've written. Bringing this unique character to life and seeing the world through her eyes, with all its beauty and confusion, was an immense challenge that I hope is just as rewarding to read as it was to write." Intense--yes. Unforgettable--definitely.

My Review:

This was an interesting book and I tossed around around for a while about how I wanted to write the book report. Sabrina, the main character, has schizophrenia and this story documents her journey through discovering what she has and how she handles it. I know nothing about this disease other than what I read about it in books or see in movies (and we all know how reliable those sources can be) so forgive me if some of my comments are a result of my lack of education. 

Let's start with what I appreciate about it.

This book is told 100% from Sabrina's point of view. And let me tell you, reading it, exhausted me. To constantly be in her world--in her mind--thinking what she thinks, experiencing and seeing what she does--it left me speechless; that there are actually people out there in the world living with this day in and day out. It's just amazing. I have a whole new appreciation for the amount of strength those people possess. Now, saying that (and I'm assuming James isn't pulling from experience, but I could be wrong), I can only imagine the strength and patience and talent James has to write Sabrina's story from inside her head for 239 pages. And in such constant detail. There wasn't a page or a paragraph that we weren't in her head, experiencing the colors or images. The details were amazing.

Throughout the story, Sabrina is struggling to find her way through her disease. Coming to terms with what it means to have schizophrenia and deciding how she wants to handle it. Deciding if the doctors know best or if she does or if a stranger does. I really enjoyed the way James played that entire internal struggle and the way he had the events unfold. To me, it was believable and fitting. James gives the reader great insight into why these people do what they do. You understand it and their actions start to make sense. 

Now, onto the things I didn't appreciate so much.

I was so scattered inside Sabrina's head that I didn't get a chance to connect or empathize with her. Not until the very end, when my hopes and heart crushed along with hers. But that was only for a page or two, max. The relationship with Alec, to me, was entirely unbelievable. Now, that could be due to my ignorance of the disease (for example, I don't know if being schizophrenic makes you fall in love immediately, etc), but I have a very hard time believing she fell in love with him and he her in a day. I felt cheated, especially since Alec was such a driving force in her decisions and the propulsion in her story.

The novel is told in the present tense, from the Wellness Center, and then in flashes from Sabrina's past—events that led her to where she is today. But the flashbacks aren't linear, and while that wasn't life-shattering, it was a little confusing and jarring when I had to sit and try and place a memory in the timeline of Sabrina's life.

Like I said in my little blip for this book under Just Read…, the story didn't start getting interesting for me until the very end. And then it was over. The beginning was a little slow, and I felt a good chunk of the book was set up. It wasn't exactly boring, but I wasn't reading it because I just had to know what was going to happen next. It was more like, I needed to get to the end and write a review. It wasn't bad or boring content, but neither was it exciting or snappy. It was just everyday stuff that kept the story churning at a steady pace.

This next part could also be attributed to my lack of knowledge of schizophrenia, but throughout the story, I got this overwhelming feeling of immaturity from Sabrina, even though she's a senior in high school. If this is how the disease effects its victims, then WELL-STINKIN'-DONE, James. Well done indeed. Great job. If, however, it's not, then there needed to be some hefty work done on that. PS – I want to let you know that I called the ending of this book (or pretty stinking close to it) by page 90.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel. It was an interesting look into a unique topic. There was a nice little lesson/warning to be heeded at the end and a cute bow with a HEA tag. It fit the story, so I was happy, even if I wasn't overly obsessed with the book. Pick it up, I think it'd be worth your time if you have some spare hours to fill with a book.

Happy reading, my friends!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Just Read...

Life is But a Dream
by: Brian James

A YA Contemporary about a girl with schizophrenia that finally started to get good right when it was ending. I should have a BR up soon.


Sunday, March 18, 2012


You know back in high school, the morning after a wild party and you wake up with a groan just knowing you did some embarrassingly stupid things the night before? Yeah, that was me with my friends and Hubby and my decision to order EIGHTEEN boneless Asian Zing Wings along with my overly competitive streak at trivia (which I lost miserably at). Sorry if I embarrassed anyone. :)


Friday, March 16, 2012

Freebee Friday!


I'm out, dancing my little heart out today and will be doing the same tomorrow. In honor of this fantabulous holiday, here's a clip of the school I dance with at one of our past performances. Enjoy!

(it won't let me embed it. :( grrr ) 


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wanderlove Book Report

Genre: YA Contemporary
Coffee Beans: 5/5 
Spoilers: No way and I ruining this for you
Favorite Line: Tonight, I am the bohemian beach fairy of my fantasies. pg 277
Disclaimers: I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for this honest review. 

Reading a book like Wanderlove always makes me stop and sit quietly after I've finished. I think about what I've just read, what it means, what might happen next, but mainly just think, "Wow. That was really good." Books like this also make me strive to be a better writer. To see what good writing really looks like and to experience the impact a book can have on a reader. They also make it hard to pick up another book right away because nothing will be as good as this book I've just finished.

At the same time as Wanderlove being so AWESOME, it also sort of made me depressed. Depressed that I didn't do more traveling in my youth before I settled down. I wish that I would've packed a bag and left for Guatamala like Bria did. If you're young and reading this, travel. I did a bit before college (Amsterdam, Spain, France), and am glad I did. It's worth the money and the time. Be adventurous and make some amazing memories and create some great stories for yourself.

Publisher's Summary:

It all begins with a stupid question: 

Are you a Global Vagabond? 

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America--the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path. 

Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan's found, is to keep moving forward. 

But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back. 

Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry into this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.

So, what are the events that lead Bria up to taking this trip by herself? Well, she and her boyfriend, Toby, broke up. We don't know a lot about Toby, except for a few scattered mentions by Bria. She was supposed to take the trip with her two best friends, Olivia and Reese, but they bailed on her, citing the fact that it was too soon after Bria's breakup for her to be a good travel partner. Great friends, right? She was going to go to art school, got accepted and everything, but for whatever reason, she doesn't go. So, Bria decides to book herself an all-inclusive, group travel session for three weeks on the Mayan Road. But things don't go as she plans. 
As readers, we're dumped right into Bria's story. Here's what we know:
  •  She's 18
  • She applied to art school but didn't go
  • She had a boyfriend, but they broke up
  • She's stopped drawing completely
  • She's going to Guatamala. Alone

As the book goes on, we discover (through small flashbacks) about the things that have driven Bria to make the decision she has. Her boyfriend was royally screwed up and she's trying to escape everything she can. Hubbard is one of the most talented and brilliant writers of YA Contemporary I've come across. I'm not kidding when I say that I was with Bria every moment of her journey.I felt what she felt, experienced what she did, and wanted to be along with her, backpacking through Central America alongside Starling and Rowan. The beaches were beautiful and the experiences more so.

Hubbard's talent at EVERYTHING is spellbinding. The voice she gives to Bria is funny, snarky, and instantly likable. I wanted to hurry up and read this story to know everything that happened, but at the same time, didn't want it to end (there was actually a day my Nook didn't work and I thought I was going to die because I didn't get to read any more Wanderlove! Yes, I realize that's slightly pathetic). She didn't have to go into long descriptions or heavy scenes showing the reader what a complete jerk Toby was. She did it by dropping small comments made by Bria or quick memories. She did the same thing with the relationship between Bria's parents. In one line I knew EXACTLY what kind of home life she had and the dynamics between her mom and dad. 

The ending is complete and fits the character and story perfectly. I found myself with Bria and feeling her anxiousness and then disappointment.I felt her reluctance and joy. I smiled and sighed with contentment. I have never been more "there", both mentally and emotionally, in any book than I was in that one scene. 

Then, I thought to myself, "I'm lame! Sitting in an office all day, every day, when I could be out there--backpacking! Discovering the world! Agh. It's just a book, real life isn't like that." 

Then I looked at Kristen's blog and felt worse about myself than I did before. 

It is possible! And Kristen's living it! Seriously, though, if you get a chance, peruse through her blog and travel adventures (did you know the drawings in the book are her very own?) This girl is kick. Ass. Youth is wasted on the young, as they say. If I could do it all over again, I'd backpack around the world. Meet amazing people and make priceless memories. The travel bug has hit me hard and the more I think about it, the more possible it seems that I can still make that dream come true.

Wanderlove is a beautifully written coming of age story about a girl who's lost so much of herself in a boy who didn't deserve it, that she couldn't find who she was anymore.It takes a journey through Central America with a complete stranger for Bria to remember who she is and what she loves and to learn to trust again.

I am picking up her other book, Like Mandarin, now. As in, it's already sitting on my Nook, waiting to be read. Oh! And I read on her blog that she has two book ideas she wants to do off of Wanderlove. Wouldn't that be amazing?!?! I think so. :)

I always tell you to pick up the book and make the decision for yourself, but in this case, I strongly urge you to read Wanderlove. It really is one of the best books I've read in a long time. :)

Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Completely Random

Wanna know what the number one thing of people search for and end up at my blog is?

Sailboat Racing.



Monday, March 12, 2012

There You’ll Find Me Book Report

There You'll Find Me 
By:Jenny B. Jones
Genre: YA Christian Fiction
Coffee Beans: 4/5
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Minor
Disclaimers: This book was provided for review by Netgalley
Favorite Line: You sounded down on the phone yesterday. You can talk to your old dad about anything, you know. Except boys. And bras. And that Bieber fellow.

I was supposed to be reading another book, but opened this one by mistake. Once I started reading, though, I couldn't stop. I have to say, I didn't know what I was getting into when I picked this book up, but I'm glad I did. There You'll Find Me is a YA light romance about a young girl who's still trying to cope with the loss of her older brother and at the same time trying to renew her faith and relationship with God.

Publisher's Summary:

When Finely books her trip to Ireland as a foreign exchange student, all she wants to do is let her heart heal, see the sights in her brother's favorite country, and work on her college audition piece for a prestigious music conservatory. She plans to use her brother's journal from his time in the Emerald Isle as her guide during her stay, yet from the moment she boards the plane and sits next to Beckett Rush, teen star of the hottest vampire flicks, nothing goes according to her well-ordered plan.

The peace and beauty of the Irish village are no match for the chaos that soon becomes her life. When she gets roped into working as Beckett Rush's personal assistant, she finds this famous wild child is not quite what he seems. And as she grows closer to the mysterious actor, her own secrets refuse to stay put.

I love how Jones "rips from the headlines" her characters. I got a good chuckle out of the fact that Finley is the daughter of a hotel mogul who's got herself in a bit of trouble with her partying ways after the loss of Will, her brother. And that Beckett is a teen heart throb actor who's currently filming a vampire movie in Ireland. It's the typical Girl-is-not-impressed-by-hot-guy-every-other-girl-wants-so-as-a-result-guy-really-wants-plain-girl. But I was okay with that. The bantering relationship between Finley and Beckett was fun and didn't grow boring. I found myself laughing quite a few times out loud.

Jones does a good job slipping in the reality that everyone has their secrets for whatever reasons, and some are more dangerous to keep than others. Jones slipped in some subtle hints throughout the book that Finley might have an eating disorder, but it leaves you guessing one way or another until well into the book. The book goes into depression and body image and self-esteem that every young girl goes through, and Jones does so in a very believable, natural-to-the-story way. I found myself nodding many times thinking, "yup, been there before, plenty of times".

The story is smooth and believable with the protag's internal struggle with her own depression from beginning through the climax to the end, and shows just how easy it is, with the right conditions, for a person to spiral down certain paths. There were also many emotional points throughout the story that made me tear up a little. Mainly Finley's own struggles (been there, done that) as well as her relationship with others.

Now for the bad. And it's really not that bad. Finley was a well-rounded, deep character. Beckett was pretty okay, considering we're seeing him through Finley's eyes. The others? Not so much. I felt they were pretty flat and could have been a little more intricate. Like Beatrice. Yeah, she's the queen bee biotch, but there could have been more complication with her than there was.

Anyway, it's a fun, sweet, good book. Worth the read and kept me turning the pages, always thinking about what was going on between Finely and Beckett when I wasn't reading. Even though the only character I found 3-D enough was Finley, the author did such a good job weaving the story together and making me want to get back to it whenever I was away. Because of that, I gave it a good, solid 4 coffee beans.

Pick it up and give it a read. Decide for yourself. Happy reading, my friends!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Just Read…

There You'll Find Me

By Jenny B. Jones

Fun, light romance for YA that kept me turning the pages when I was supposed to be reading an entirely different book. Here's the BR

Friday, March 9, 2012

Freebee Friday!

I've found my next new pair of shoes. Now I need to start saving. They're both Christian Louboutin covered in hand-placed Swarovski crystals.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dying to Know You Book Report

Dying to Know You
By: Aidan Chambers
Genre: YA Contemporary fiction
Coffee Beans: 4.5/5
Spoilers: No
Rating: PG

I've always loved contemporary fiction, especially in YA. You seem to get that little something extra that stops and makes you think. Not necessarily about big things, but just think. It's no surprise that I fell in love with Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers from the very first page.

It's not a prolific book. The meaning of life isn't discovered. But the change that happens in the lives of the narrator (an unnamed old man) and Karl (an 18 year-old boy) is so real and moving in a very....I'm trying to come up with the exact just a very natural and simple way. It's beautiful, really.

I can't pinpoint exactly why I liked the novel so much (probably the writing style, the characters, the voice of the older man, the story line, the character development--I could go on). It was fresh. It's written by an English author (and I admit, this is the first one I've read in YA fiction), so that was a unique experience. Their writing style is so different from ours in the US. For one, they love exclamation points! Like, a lot! There's a few other grammatical and punctuation differences, and the fact that they use an "s" instead of a "z" or "c". And I loved reading new words and hearing new sayings.

One of my favorite things Chambers did was turn real-life situations, that were pretty subtle, into extremely hilarious scenes. I think it was the fact that I could actually see them happening in my head and know that events would really play out the way he described. Now, I was going to go back to my Nook notes I took to give you more examples, but the lending period has expired and I don't have them anymore. :( So take my word on the fact that this is a book worth your time. It's a beautiful story that was stunningly written.

I don't know if I agree wholeheartedly with the categorization of this book being YA. Yes, there is a YA in it, Karl, and his girlfriend, but the voice/narrator is that of an old man. The more I read, the more I started questioning if it really should be labeled as YA. I don't want to tell you too much because I don't want to spoil it for you, but the way Chambers uses Karl's faults and story/character arc to shape the narrator's and bring him back full circle was simply brilliant. I will be picking up more of Aidan Chamber's books, that's for sure!

That was a little jumbled, but I really didn't want to spoil anything for any of you. As always, pick it up for yourself when it comes out in April and decide for yourself. :) Happy reading, my friends!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Just Read...

Dying to Know You
by Aidan Chambers

Great, great, great book. Liked it so much, in fact, that I'm working on the BR now! I know, it's hard to believe!


Cinder Book Report


By: Marissa Meyer

Genre: YA Sci-fi/dystopian

Rating: PG

Coffee Beans: 4/5

Spoilers: Some minor-ish ones


Publisher's Summary:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.

My Review:

I got this book as an ARC and was so entirely thrilled when it showed up in the mail. The cover was awesome and the premise was exciting. Cinder is an interesting dystopian/sci-fi telling of a classic fairytale. I must admit, I'm a sucker for books that do this, and do it well. Cinder is a book that came so close, but in the end, fell a little short. But that doesn't mean it didn't offer a lot between the front and back covers.

The world Cinder lives in is industrialized and cluttered. Technology abounds but not in a futuristic "everything is completely awesome" sort of way. China rules the globe (Cinder lives in New Beijing) ruled by an emperor with a handsome son. There's also a colony of Lunar people who are evil and bent on over-taking earth (the hardest part of the book for me to swallow), and there's that nasty disease that's spreading through the city.

Cinder is a cyborg, a thing to be shunned and spit on in the streets, and she has a gimpy foot. Her step mother and two step sisters treat her as if she's worthless and force her to slave every day in the market, where she has the reputation as being the best mechanic in all of New Beijing. You guessed it, one day the prince comes to her shop, disguised, and asks her to fix his robot. As she's working on it, she uncovers some secrets the prince has been trying to hide—he's looking up information and contacting people he's not supposed to.

When Cinder's youngest step sister contracts the disease, and she gets blamed, her stepmother sends her the palace to be experimented on (as what happens to a majority of the cyborgs). So much happens at the palace and in the labs, that if I tell you, I'll spoil a lot of secrets. Let's just say it's pretty intense and, surprisingly, pretty unpredictable. Lots of twists and turns in this story. Meyer did really well on interpreting the classic fairytale and then warping it into her own story. I loved finding the parallels and seeing how she filled in the holes.

Meyer did a fantastic job really building up the characters. All of them are round, like they've never missed a meal a day in their lives. I felt like I knew each and everyone. She did a great job setting up the world and the characters and the story in the beginning of the book. I knew it was going to be deep and rich and layered and just overall, amazing. But as the story went on, I felt that Meyer kind of broke her promise to me. I felt like the last part of the book was rushed and not as detailed and woven as the beginning. It was good, and answered a majority of my questions, but I felt it could have been so much better; like Meyer didn't live up to her or her book's potential.

What's my usual disclaimer, folks? Pick it up and read it for yourself and form your own thoughts. It was a good book and I'll for sure be recommending it to others. I'll even pick up the second one to see what happens because I like the characters enough to see what Meyer's going to put them through. Happy reading, my friends!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!

I had a great surprise yesterday! Heather over at Into the Cuckoo's Nest (a great blog with YA book reviews sprinkled with Heather's funny personality) nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award! Yay! Thanks, Heather! You all should go check her out.

Who me? You're sure? Positive? Why THANK YOU!

Now, I know a number of you are asking, "What the heck is the Liebster Blog Award?" Well, let me tell you. It's an award handed out by fellow bloggers to blogs with fewer than 200 followers. The goal of doing this is to recognize stellar, lesser-known blogs and hopefully get their blogs out there to become more known.

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award
2. Nominate up to 5 other bloggers for the award
3. Let them know you've nominated them by putting a comment on their blog or sending them a tweet
4. Post the award on your own blog
5. (this one was added by Geeky Tendencies via inspirenordic) Follow my blog and consider signing up for the A to Z Challenge. It's a great way to find new and interesting blogs, it helps people find your blog, and you meet new bloggers. Who knows? You might just meet (and cross) that 200 followers mark!

I'm gonna try for the 5th one, but no promise. I'm busy folks. I'm sure you all can relate. Okay, here are my five nominations:

Beth Albright over at The Sassy Belle. This is a genuine belle from 'Bama who roots for the Crimson Tide all the way. I first met her at SFWC 2011 and since then, she's been like a sister to me. Her blog is full of fun southern stories from her childhood. Look out for her, 'cuz when she hits the publishing world, she's goin' to be a storm to reckin' with!

Dave over at Dave DiGrazie. This is another amazing writer I met at SFWC back in 2011. His blog is amazing and really shows off his skills as a talented writer and always something interesting to say. While you're there, check out his recently published book, Von Lagerhaus, and keep an eye peeled for his soon to be released, See John Play.

Pam Brewer over at Reading Fun. In to romance books? Check out Pam's blog. Chances are, if it's out in the market, she's read it. Her reviews are concise and spot on.

CM Talbert over at Water on Rock.I met Clint at (you guessed it) SFWC 2011 and instantly became fast friends with him. He'll probably be one the the smartest, well-rounded, funny, easy-going, individuals you'll ever meet. Actually, he earned two nicknames that year, Jack of all Trades and Chief Imagination Officer. And while his blog is mostly technical, it's 100% him, talking about all things under the sun with his own charm and humor. Check it out.

Madison Paige over at The Writer's Chronicles. While it's a newer blog and she doesn't post very often, what she does post is always worth reading.

So go forth and check them all out. They're are, in one word, FANTABULOUS. :)


Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Magical Qualities of Free Time

As a writer, I always have deadlines. Finish the book by this date. Complete the revisions by now. Send the requested manuscripts by tomorrow. And so on. It feels like, for the better part of a year to year and a half, I live under those deadlines, but once those deadlines are over….


Yesterday was that day for me. All of a sudden, I was looking around the kitchen saying to myself, "What am I going to do with all this free time?" So, I picked up a book. It was so nice knowing that I wasn't reading at the sake of putting something else off. I was reading because I actually had time to do so. This will only last about a week or so, but I relish every second. Now I can get some decent blog posts in (hopefully—and "decent" is entirely interpretable), and start running again (because that really does go out the window when I'm in "the zone"), and just be able to breathe. I also get to sit back and enjoy the wedding planning that's going on in the family right now (two).

Ah, free time. Enjoy it while it lasts, right? And remember it when you don't have it. It'll keep you going.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Another Conference! Yay!

Just registered for the @scbwi writer's conference in April sponsored by the Utah/Idaho chapter! Woot-woot!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Freebee Friday!

Friend's just introduced us to Eddie Izzard this last weekend. I know, I know; where have we been, right? Anyway, better late than never. Here's a clip from his Dress to Kill show in San Francisco. Caution: F-bombs. :) Just for the faint of heart. But it's funny as heck!


Do You Have a Flag? an afterthought, I'd like to add this one as well. :-)

Where the History Comes From