Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011*

1. Divergent -- I loved this Dystopian, the four nations and the choice! It was enthralling. I read it on a road trip to an interview and it was distracting enough to take away my nerves. (I got the job and finished the book that day.)
2. Awaken -- There were some extreme moments that I didn't quite agree with. I mean, I love my computer and I work manufacturing processors. BUT with those extremes aside this was a very moving story.
3. Hourglass** -- Time-travel, fated love, super-hero stuff. Lots of fun.
4. Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to NOT Reading -- Hilarious! wonderfully balanced, great voice.
5. Anna and the French Kiss** -- Lovely, delicious, Paris, and romance. There is so much good in this book it can't be described. Its popularity is well deserved.
6. Will Grayson, Will Grayson -- Again with the popular, Tiny Cooper is captivating. Will Grayson #2 is pretty awful until he meets Will Grayson #1, who is funny and sweet, though shrouded in avoidance. This book was like a good hug, it was comforting and supportive of your inner being like a true friend This book isn't the most exciting, drop everything story but it is beautiful and worth your time.
7. Shit My Dad Says -- Lacking in the segue department but fantastic. By the time I finished I wanted this dad to have been my father growing up.
8.Before I Fall**  -- Some trite moments at the beginning, but in the end a great journey; one I'm glad to have gotten to go on. Worth the time.
9. Midnight Sun -- I don't want to analyze Twilight you guys! This series is pure escapist entertainment to me and I will always love them. This one didn't get a love only because it's unfinished.

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
10. Anna Dressed in Blood** -- Just everything I could have wanted this book to be when I read that title and saw that cover it surpassed. So great!

*TBTB Top Ten Tuesday
** I've reviewed these books! Check it out

Ok, I know this is going to make me sad, but tell me, What books did I miss out on this year?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mini Review: Envy by Gregg Olsen

Both wondered how it was that with the inevitability of death, no one really had anything to say about it. It was as if one of life's pivotal moments---- the final moment--- was devoid of potential small talk. pg. 51
The writer is inriguing but something about his dialouge and text speak turns me off. I can't tell if he is too out of touch with popular 15 year olds, or if I am. And I abhor text speak. I mean it took me 30 minutes to figure out what 4COL and when I did it was my exact sentiment*. And they're using it while talking about a dead friend - to me that feels cold and inappropiate and a lot of other words that make me feel old and motherly to say.

The twins who end up being the center of the story are supposed to have distinct personalities and gifts but those lines blur until the two are indistinguisable as the story goes on. Also the beloved family dog goes missing and the twins kind of brush over it. They mourn for a couple minutes then it's back to the mystery. That's just weird, what was the point of that plot twist?

The reveals are fairly obvious, I saw 70 percent of them coming far too early.
The author is repeatitive like a highschool teacher trying to portray an important subject. As the story goes on the author starts offering information without using the characters. In my opinion the last thing a thriller/mystery writer should do is leading, which is what the final quarter is full of.

* For Crying Out Loud!!!

Anyone else read this? Anyone have an opinion about text speak or my out-dated abilites to understand it?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Please Santa send me these 10 books.

I am so late with his because I forgot it was Tuesday *major head desk* but here is my top ten, these have all been on my TBR for years.

  1.  Youth in Revolt -- actually when I got my belly-button pierce I gave the piercer Perks of being a Wallflower and he suggested this. That was 6 years ago.
  2. Tithe -- Since I became a Francesca Lia Block fan this has been continually recommended.
  3. The Sky Is Everywhere -- I've seen this on many author blogs as one of the best reads they've read.
  4. A Monster Calls -- I have seen this everywhere recently and it sounds great.
  5. Lola and The Boy Next Door -- I loved Anna and the French Kiss so much; I need to read this.
  6. Bumped -- Loved Jessica Darling series so this is a no brainer.
  7. Beauty Queens -- Loved the Gemma Doyle Series but I didn't like Going Bovine. Tell me should I get this one?
  8. The Last Little Blue Envelope -- Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes was my first Maureen Johnson book and I could not have more love for this lady. I haven't bought this because I want to reread the first, but I still want it, come on Santa ; ).
  9. The Scorpio Races --  I feel I should read a Maggie Stiefvater bookbecause I am addicted to her blog and this is the one she is most proud of, so...
  10. Love (And Other Uses For Duct Tape) -- I love this author, she is very sweet, and I love this title.
*TBTB Top Ten Tuesday

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

    Can we say Cover Love?
    This is my favorite cover of the year!
    Hourglass (Hourglass, #1)
    Published: April 2011, Egmont USA 
    Pages: 390
    Part of a Series: Hourglass #1
    Read For a Challenge: 2011 Debut Author's Challenge**
    Teaser: "Sighing , I stuck my hand through her stomach to turn the knob, meeting no resistance. I rolled my eyes as she gasped, fluttered her eyelashes, and disappeared in a puff of air."
    In a sentence or so: Crazy or a time-traveling hero?
    *Rating: 9/10
    GoodReads Description:
    One hour to rewrite the past . . .

    For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

    So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
    Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

    1. Type of story: YA Paranormal/ Sci-fi (Free 1 point)
    2.Consistency: Mostly. Though the reason Michael is introduced seems to be solved by his very presence, which is a little too convenient. (1/2 point)
    3. Flesh: Connected through their gifts and destined to be close, Emerson is being driven crazy by Michael's insistence to be professional and her suspension of another woman vying for his attention. (1/2 point)
    4. Flow: Hourglass was actually written to be a series! I could get excited about reading the series as opposed to feeling an obligation to finish what I've started. Anyhow, in the first half of Hourglass we learn all about Emerson and, to a lesser degree, Michael. The second half is superhero stuff and building an enemy who is charming an manipulative -- he has the power to gain minions and be a Nemesis that last. (1 point)
    5. Character Growth: Emerson must go from thinking she is crazy, to accepting her visions as part of an amazing gift, and then build that gift into a power she can use to help others. (1 point)
    6. A Point/ Purpose/ Journey: Getting through the grief of losing her parents, Emerson must decide to live again and accept her gift.  (1 point)
    7. Witty Dialogue: In a defensive way. Emerson thinks he's crazy because of the things she sees and it makes her guarded. So to keep herself going she makes sharp quips and enjoys her surprising "ninja" skills by expressing small out bursts of  violence that are more amusing than hurtful. But when she opens up she knocks more people off their feet than martial arts ever could. (1 point)
    8. Love: Two gorgeous young adults that literally make sparks when they come into contact (OK, that's kind of corny) star in this story. It is no wonder they can't keep apart. Em and Michael are as inseparable as time -- they flow together, it is the way they were made. (1 point)
    9. Evoke Realistic Images: The story-telling is amazing. I feel like a by-stander to the journey. It's like being close enough to give a first hand account but enough in the background not to effect the outcome. (1 point)
    10. Writing/Story telling: The writing was simplistic, leaving the focus, appropriately, on the characters. (1 point)

    Reread Worthy: Yes. Not soon, but maybe when the series is finished and I want to read something I know is easily enjoyable.

    Recommendation: Anyone who wants to believe in time travel.

    *Click Rating to see post about my 10 aspects of a great book.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Ten Books I want to give as gifts...

    I wish people in my life loved literature as much as I do, but...
    1. Connor: my fiance's son will do anything to get out of reading so I picked The Boxcar Children for him. Everyone I talked to, including the guys, loved these as kids.
    2. Maddie: my fiance's neice has so many toys she doesn't know what to do with herself. I think the lessons in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle would be perfect for her.
    3. Shane: My Fiance who doesn't like reading anything fictional, I think, would be more open after trying American Gods.
    4. Nikki: My cousin (I know I gave her a copy before that she didn't bring to college) should have the ultimate love books book, Fahrenheit 451.
    5. Marissa: My cousin (Nikki's little sister) I want her to love words and Ella Minnow Pea ia a sweet story about words.

    A new phase in life
    6. Deacon: My best friend just had a baby and I think Love You Forever should be that little boy's first book.
    7. Randy: The new dad (who I have gotten to read some great books) should have Shit My Dad Says because when I listened to the audio book I wished that guy was my dad.

    I wish I could get a message across
    8. Verna: I wish my fiance's mom would love learning and read Ella Minnow Pea, and then a lot of other books.
    9. Claudia: I want my mother to realize the bad feelings you contribute to dont just go away when you stop talking about them, so I'd give her 13 Reasons Why.

    I don't know who I would be without her.
    10. For the person who made me love boks I would give Denise Anna Dressed in Blood because it was a favorite read this year and something different than I usually see on her (virtual) shelves.

    *TBTB Top Ten Tuesday

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Review: Liar Society by Lisa & Laura Roecker

    Published: 2011, Sourcebooks,Inc.
    Pages: 358
    Part of a Series: #1
    Read For a Challenge: 2011 Debut Author's Challenge**
    Teaser: "I unbuttoned the top buttons on the shirt of my uniform, adjusted the "girls" to achieve maximum attention, and licked my lips. ... 'I'm going in.'"
    In a sentence or so:  After Grace dies in a fire her best friend, Kate, sends emails to remember their connection and keep getting through each new day alone; then one day, about a year later, Kate receives a response.
    *Rating: 7.5/10
    GoodReads Description:
    Kate Lowry didn’t think dead best friends could send e-mails. But when she gets an e-mail from Grace, who died mysteriously a year before, she’s not so sure. When the emails continue, Kate is forced to confront her school’s resident druggie, a sketchy administrator, and even her own demons.

    As Kate moves closer and closer to the truth, she teams up with a couple of knights-in-(not so)shining armor–the dangerously attractive, bad boy, Liam and her love-struck neighbor, Seth. The three uncover an ancient secret lurking in the halls of their elite private school with the power to destroy them all.

    But the truth doesn’t always set you free. Sometimes it’s only the beginning.
    1. Type of story: YA mystery (Free 1 point)
    2.Consistency: the authors time table's are distracting. They do that past-present switch thing and then lose track of their days in the present... it's distracting. First Kate tells nerd boy I'll see you on the bus tomorrow but then tomorrow turns out to be a Saturday and then the next day in the present is a school day. (0 Points)
    3. Flesh: Kate is moving through a grief that keeps kicking her the ribs with the unknown and she just wants someone who can understand and help her through her journey but she no longer knows how to trust. And she's a decent detective, following the clues and staying on her toes, a little ahead of others; at least until the end when the entire character profile falls apart leaving loose ends for a viable sequel. (1/2 point)
    4. Flow: The story reads pretty quickly. This is good and bad. Good because the pace kept things light and entertaining, but bad because the relationships could have benefited from more development. (1/2 point)
    5. Character Growth: Kate's story is about living with grief and survivor's guilt, and she makes strides to reclaim her life in this story. The growth is believable and well expressed. I felt for her in the beginning and was proud of her as the story went on. (1 point)
    6. A Point/ Purpose/ Journey: Working through grief by investigating the truth.In my opinion the truth always helps, so this is  very worthy journey for Kate to take. (1point)
    7. Witty Dialogue: Did you read that teaser? Kate's inner monologue is sardonic, dark, intelligent, and all of this is tied together inside a sincere and sweet personality. (1 point)
    8. Love: Since her best friend, Grace's, death Kate has been weary to let anyone in. All of a sudden there is a rush of contenders for her attention and she has to work through who is sincere and worth her time (1 point).
    9. Evoke Realistic Images: The ladies have done very well with spatial awareness. They describe the details of a scene just enough, most authors who try this go to far and become tedious but the Roecker sisters have got it right. (1 point)
    10. Writing/Story telling: Thought it would be more exciting and less predictable. But I have no idea what's coming in the next installment, and I'm still intrigued enough to find out. I guess that's what mystery writer's aim for. I have to say though, I'm not hungry for the next book, only curious so other books may push it down in the TBR. (1/2 point)

    Reread Worthy: No, this is only OK. I don't wish I never read this but once was enough.  
    Recommendation: Mystery junkies.

    *Click Rating to see post about my 10 aspects of a great book.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Eight Childhood Favorites*

    1. Black Beauty: I read this over and over in 1st grade.

    2. A Light In the Attic: I still own this. I carried it around and read the poems to other children so they could love them too. I still love this work, and I remember crying as a child when I learned of Shel Silverstein's death.

    3. Falling Up: See above. (Also, this was given to me by the nicest old lady who ever rode a bus one Christmas holiday that wasn't turning out very merry until that moment.)

    4. Where The Sidewalk Ends: See #2. (My first Shel Silverstein book.)

    5. Wayside School Stories: enormously amusing.

    6. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle: After a stint of not reading a friend shared her favorite childhood set with me. These are whimsical and have great lessons hidden in the fun.

    7. Oh, The Thinks You Can Think: I love all Dr. Seuss, but I think this one is fun and inspiring. As an adult the message is still valid.

    8. Joan Of Arc: I think this was the last bonding moment I had with my mother growing up. This was the last book she read to me, she read it 3 times in a row. I found Joan's strength inspiring.

    Did you read any of these? Know any childhood favorites that are still valid to your life today?
    *TBTB Top Ten Tuesday

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    Mini-Review: Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard*

    This is a mini-review: I did not write full review but I still want to warn tell everyone about this book.

    The narrators voice often sounds much younger than 17, then there is talk about sex to make him seem older. Sometimes his thoughts remind me of an 8 year old. Also the timeline began to degrade with his flashbacks. That could be the author trying to show the discontinuous thoughts of someone feeling grief and guilt.

     As far as the "journaling/noveling" goes this writer apologizes for her bad writing far too often through the narrator and tries to use her extensive knowledge of the "great books" to brush over it. Over and over it's like, "Hey, I kind of suck, but these guys don't, if you don't like me just read them." I'm paraphrasing, but I want to say to the author if you think you suck that badly, and point it out repeatedly, your story will suck, and all of us will agree with you.

    pg.79 "You could write about that, a poem about writer's block." I love the idea of turning your problem into your solution. This is said by the English teacher in the story, Haley Avis Dovecott. She is also the focus of the main characters affection. She is fresh out of college and has intense interaction with the lead character, she is much better written than Is Male.

    Also what is this hidden identity thing. While journaling he says just call me Is Male, but he paste in papers from his English class and repeats comments from peers with his actual name. What is the point of making up an identity if you constantly reveal yourself?

    The only other line worth remembering in the book: "You have to stop and freeze the moment..." You have to make yourself remember by repeating it in your head over and over. You have to write to preserve your sanity." There you go, now you don't have to read it. Skip this because all that's left is  baseless guilt, a self-effacing and ingenuine narrator, and better secondary characters.

    *This is a 2011 Debut Author Challenge book, click here for more information about The Debut Authors in 2011