Sunday, December 18, 2011

In My Mailbox #8

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

Hi everyone! I'm on my winter break, otherwise known as reading break, since that's how I will be spending most of my time off. I only got one book in my mailbox this week, but it's a good one.

For Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (Thanks, Harlequin Teen!)

That's it for me! What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In My Mailbox #7

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi, the fantastic blogger at The Story Siren.

Hi guys! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I finally was able to come home from college and spend the holiday with my family. It also gave me a chance to open my mail, which included quite a few books!

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton (signed! Thanks Maggie!)

Bought (from Book Depository):
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Fateful by Claudia Gray (The picture does not do the beautiful shiny cover justice!)

I also found out earlier this month that I was chosen by RandomBuzzers to be an ambuzzador! I'm really excited! If you don't know what RandomBuzzers is, than I highly suggest you check it out. They have awesome book giveaways and interviews with some of YA's top authors. I love it, and I hope you will too. As an ambuzzador, I received some awesome books.

Sphinx's Queen by Esther Friesner
The Death Cure by James Dashner

That's it for me this week! What did you get in your mailbox?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch

Summary(from Goodreads): Nina Sankovitch has always been a reader. As a child, she discovered that a trip to the local bookmobile with her sisters was more exhilarating than a ride at the carnival. Books were the glue that held her immigrant family together. When Nina's eldest sister died at the age of forty-six, Nina turned to books for comfort, escape, and introspection. In her beloved purple chair, she rediscovered the magic of such writers as Toni Morrison, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ian McEwan, Edith Wharton, and, of course, Leo Tolstoy. Through the connections Nina made with books and authors (and even other readers), her life changed profoundly, and in unexpected ways. Reading, it turns out, can be the ultimate therapy.
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair also tells the story of the Sankovitch family: Nina's father, who barely escaped death in Belarus during World War II; her four rambunctious children, who offer up their own book recommendations while helping out with the cooking and cleaning; and Anne-Marie, her oldest sister and idol, with whom Nina shared the pleasure of books, even in her last moments of life. In our lightning-paced culture that encourages us to seek more, bigger, and better things, Nina's daring journey shows how we can deepen the quality of our everyday lives—if we only find the time.

For some reason, one of my favorite things to read about are other readers. I like to learn about their favorite authors, their reading habits, how they organize their books, etc. It may seem boring to some people, but I am addicted to it. I think that's why I enjoyed Tolstoy and the Purple Chair so much.

While the book is about reading a book a day for a year(which I would totally attempt if I had the time and energy), it also incorporates the author's life. Her family, friends, and feelings help move the book forward.

One of the things that the author talks about most is the death of her sister. She finds comfort in books, and I can definitely relate to that. Books at their core are a comfort. You can open a book and get lost in a world completely different from your own. I really appreciate the emphasis on that point in Tolstoy and the Purple Chair.

That being said, I wish the author would have focused on the reading more. I know that she picked certain books from her year of reading to help her explain her own personal stories rather than trying to talk about every book she read. My problem is that the book lacked structure. It didn't follow any sort of chronological order. Books that she read at the beginning of the year would be discussed while she was explaining the end of the year, and vice versa.

Bottom Line: Emotionally poignant and inspirational, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is a fantastic read and a must for book lovers.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Summary (from Goodreads) - NAOMI AND ELY ARE BEST FRIENDS. Naomi loves and is in love with Ely, and Ely loves Naomi, but prefers to be in love with boys. So they create their "No Kiss List" of people neither of them is allowed to kiss. And this works fine - until Bruce. Bruce is Naomi's boyfriend, so there's no reason to put him on the List. But Ely kissed Bruce even though he is boring. The result: a rift of universal proportions and the potential end of "Naomi and Ely: the institution." Can these best friends come back together again?

Happy Halloween everyone! I didn't really have a lot of time to read much this month, but I don't have any homework tonight (YAY!!!!!!!!!!!), so I decided that this would be an excellent time for a review!

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List was a great read. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Naomi and Ely. Ely's gay, but he's very comfortable with it. Naomi is deeply in love with Ely, and it's very hard for her to come to terms with Ely's sexuality.

There are also a lot of side characters: Robin (girl), Robin (boy), Bruce the First, Bruce the Second, and Gabriel (Just to name a few). The book is told from the point of view of not only Naomi and Ely, but these different characters as well. This adds a lot of depth to a relatively short book that deals with many complex relationships.

Naomi and Ely's friendship is really at the core of the story. This novel is about how loving your best friend is just as important as loving your boyfriend or girlfriend. 

Bottom Line: This is an excellent book about friendship. I really enjoyed Cohn and Levithan's unique writing style. They really compliment each other nicely. A fun, refreshing read! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast
Summary (from Goodreads) -
View the full version of this book online


In the preface to A Moveable Feast, Hemingway remarks casually that "if the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction"--and, indeed, fact or fiction, it doesn't matter, for his slim memoir of Paris in the 1920s is as enchanting as anything made up and has become the stuff of legend. Paris in the '20s! Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, lived happily on $5 a day and still had money for drinks at the Closerie des Lilas, skiing in the Alps, and fishing trips to Spain. On every corner and at every café table, there were the most extraordinary people living wonderful lives and telling fantastic stories. Gertrude Stein invited Hemingway to come every afternoon and sip "fragrant, colorless alcohols" and chat admid her great pictures. He taught Ezra Pound how to box, gossiped with James Joyce, caroused with the fatally insecure Scott Fitzgerald (the acid portraits of him and his wife, Zelda, are notorious). Meanwhile, Hemingway invented a new way of writing based on this simple premise: "All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know." Hemingway beautifully captures the fragile magic of a special time and place, and he manages to be nostalgic without hitting any false notes of sentimentality. "This is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy," he concludes. Originally published in 1964, three years after his suicide, A Moveable Feast was the first of his posthumous books and remains the best. --David Laskin

Review: This book was great. I really enjoyed Hemingway's simple prose. He wasn't trying to be flashy or arrogant with his writing and I really appreciated that. This book uses several short stories to tie together the narrative. I found it refreshing to have a book told through short stories.

I also enjoyed how Hemingway talked about Paris. You can tell that he thoroughly enjoyed the time he spent there. The city became a very important part of the book. Another important element were the people Hemingway met in Paris. From James Joyce to Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein to F. Scott Fitzgerald, you can see how the amazing people Hemingway met in Paris had a profound impact on his life and career.

Bottom Line: This was my first Hemingway, and I certainly wouldn't suggest reading this Hemingway first to anyone else. He discusses some of the novels and short stories he wrote in this book, and I think I would have appreciated those discussions more if I knew what the novels and stories were about. Definitely a great read otherwise.

That's it for now. I will let you guys know what classics I'm reading for this month once I figure it out myself (I know, it's terrible that I haven't made a decision yet). I won't let this happen again, I swear. In fact from now on I think I'll let you guys know in advance what two classics I'm reading each month. That way you can participate if you want.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In My Mailbox #6

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Here's what I got this week.

From giveaways / For Review

Witches of East End by Melissa De La Cruz (thanks, Mandy!)
Jane Austen Made Me Do It edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (from LibraryThing Early Reviewers)
Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari (from teenreads)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Ophelia by Lisa Klein
A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Bedside, Bathtub, and Armchair Companion to Agatha Christie by Dick Riley and Pam McAllister

 College is keeping me really busy right now, and I'm finding it hard to set aside time for reading. I'll try to make more of an effort to fit some reading time into my schedule.

That's what I got in my mailbox this week. What did you get in your mailbox?

Friday, September 9, 2011

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Summary (from Goodreads): First, there were ten - a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal - and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.
My Review: This book was amazing! It was brilliantly constructed, and kept me guessing at every turn. I really don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say read it. You definitley won't regret it. There, that was really short, but at least it was spoiler free!

I also wanted to let you guys know what's going on. I'll be reading two classics a month for this following year, There are so many great authors and novels that I have wanted to experience, and this will give me that chance. I also will start to review the non YA, non classics books that I read. I will still be reading YA, I'll just be adding different books that you guys might find interesting.  

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In My Mailbox #5

This week I got:
Nightshade and Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer (from Fire and Ice)
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (from Book Chic)
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (From my university library. 4 floors of books!)
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (from Bloomsbury)
The Train of Small Mercies by David Rowell (from Penguin)

That's what I got in my mailbox. Leave links to your IMM's below and I promise I will check them out! Also, I'm thinking about reading and reviewing two classics per month for a year, starting this month. Thoughts?

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In My Mailbox #4

This IMM is a little apologies. I've been pretty busy. I only got two books for review this week.
The first is a non YA book that I won on Booktrib.

Little Did I Know by Mitchell Maxwell (goodreads/Amazon)

The other book I received came in the mail today, and I'm really excited about it.

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore (goodreads/Amazon)
I haven't read I Am Number of Four yet, but I have seen the movie. I don't want to read this series out of sequence, so I will have to wait until I get the first one. Thanks, Harper Teen!

In other news, I am going to college tomorrow! I don't know how much this is going to effect my blogging, but I can say that my IMM posts will be less frequent. I will still try to get at least one review per week on the blog. Please be patient with me as I figure out the logistics of this blogging while in college thing.

That's it for me. What did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Readathon Complete!

I finished the readathon! It was my first, and while I did fall asleep, I bounced back in the end. I'm now more than halfway through The Scarlet Letter and I started The Manual of Detection. It was fun and I enjoyed being a part of it!

Required Reading Wishlist

As a recent high school graduate, I have read my share of required reading over the past four years of my life. I'm sure that the amount will grow as I enter college. While I loved some of my required reading, I despised some of it as well. If I was able to pick my own required reading, this would be my list (I'm including some books that I was required to read. They will be written in green).

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora - Neale Hurston

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Paper Towns by John Green

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

That's my reading list. What's Yours? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Read.Chat.Love. Readathon: What I'm Reading

The Read.Chat.Love. readathon starts tonight! This is my first readathon, and I'm really excited. I will be chronicling my experiences on the blog and on twitter (if I can stay awake, that is). Here's my reading list:

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

That's what I plan on reading. If you want to participate in the readathon, check it out here. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

View the full version of this book online


For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.
Review: I enjoyed this book. I have read many reviews about it, and people seem to have mixed feelings about Hush, Hush. I now get why people called it a Twilight rip - off. Patch and Nora are basically Edward and Bella. I did prefer the mythology in Hush, Hush over Twilight's sparkly vampire storyline. I could do without a lot of the terrible lines in Hush, Hush however. Nora keeps talking about the way Patch smells like minty earth. I didn't realize ladies loved this so much. I need to start rubbing candy canes on myself and rolling around in puddles of mud. Also, Nora made terrible decisions constantly throughout this book, so be prepared for that. Overall, I felt that the book moved along at a good pace. It kept my interest until the very end. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.
You can order a copy of Hush, Hush here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In My Mailbox #3

I finally won a blog giveaway! After months and months of entering giveaways, I'm finally validated. Okay, enough of that. On to what I won. Drumroll, please.......................
Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry.
I'm really excited about this book. It is the sequel to Rot & Ruin, which I haven't read yet. I'm planning on reading both back to back in october. Halloween + zombies = awesome!
I won the book here.

That's it for me. What did you get in your mailbox?

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

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Summary (from Goodreads):
Berlin 1942
When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

Review: This book was good, but not great. I felt that the author tried too hard to make Bruno seem naive. At nine years old, he should be able to say Auschwitz and Fuhrer correctly. I found it even more ridiculous that Bruno was the son of the commandant in charge of Auschwitz, but he didn't know what the Holocaust was and had no knowledge of the Jewish people. This book was fine, but Bruno was a terrible character.

You can find more about The Boy in the Striped Pajamas here

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Liebster Blog Awards!

Thanks to Melissa @ Reading By Moonlight for nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award! The goal of the award is to spotlight up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.

The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.

2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

5. And most of all- have bloggity- blog fun! 

My nominees are (in no particular order):

2.Sarah @ The Long Ride Home  
3.Jasmine @ A Room With Books


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Summary (from Goodreads): Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It's true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey's life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.

Everything changes when Joey's mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey's father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey's life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.

Daniel Kraus's masterful plotting and unforgettable characters make Rotters a moving, terrifying, and unconventional epic about fathers and sons, complex family ties, taboos, and the ever-present specter of mortality.

Review: Rotters was a fantastic read.  Full of unique characters and ideas, it was a very enjoyable book. I really enjoyed the amount of detail that was put into the story. Daniel Kraus incorporated many interesting stories about the history of grave robbing. You can tell that Kraus put a lot of time and effort into his research for this book.

I also enjoyed the protagonist, Joey Crouch. It was interesting to see how his life changed dramatically after meeting his father. The character development was terrific in this novel. Kraus's writing style was so brilliant that he always had me rethinking my support of Joey. Sometimes I was rooting for him, and other times I couldn't stand him.

I think my one problem with this book is the size of it. It's almost 500 pages long, which is necessary for some books, but not this one. I felt that the plot would have moved along at a much faster pace if the book was 50 to 100 pages shorter.

Overall, the book was great. the plot twists did an excellent job of keeping my interest. This book was amazingly unpredictable and highly enjoyable.

You can order a copy of Rotters here.

In My Mailbox #2

I purchased some great books at a Borders closing sale this week. I'm so sad that Borders is closing. My heart goes out to all of their great employees. Okay, moving on to the books!

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (Goodreads / Amazon)
This is the second book in the Leviathan trilogy. I haven't read the first book, but it's been on my wishlist for a very long time. It looks amazing!
Elixir by Hilary Duff (Goodreads / Amazon)
I bought this book on a whim. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews on it, but I've always liked Hilary Duff, so I'll give it a chance.
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (Goodreads / Amazon)
I've wanted to read this series for a while, so this has moved to the top of my TBR list.

That's all I got this week. What did you get in your mailbox?
P.S. In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Read.Chat.Love. Readathon!

Read.Chat.Love. is hosting a readathon starting August 19th. It sounds like a lot of fun! I will be participating and I hope you do too! You can find all the details here.

Happy Reading!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox #1

This is my first IMM post! It's not very long. I only received one book this week.

Faerie Winter by Janni Lee Simner (Thanks Random Buzzers!)

This book looks really interesting. It is the sequel to a book called Bones of Faerie, which I haven't read yet. I'll have to hold off on reading this until I can get the first book in the series. That's What I got in my mailbox this week! What did you get in yours?

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Summer I Learned To Fly by Dana Reinhardt

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Drew's a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad's Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom's cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he's there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.

This was an excellent book. The story was very well crafted. I loved how the little details (the Book of Lists, the cheese shop, Drew's pet rat) are what really gave the story heart. Character and plot development are very important to me, and Dana Reinhardt excelled in both with this novel. This is the first book I've read by Dana Reinhardt, but I definitely want to check out what else she has to offer. This is a great summer read. I highly recommend it!

You can order The Summer I Learned To Fly here.