The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Summary (via the author's website): "Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away.

Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining "wild" humans is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Wanderer probes Melanie's thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer's mind with visions of the man Melanie loves—Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love."

Review: So you may have noticed the Twilight-themed poll in my left sidebar... I'm kind of curious how y'all feel about those books. I fall into the second category. It's the "I recognize that they're poorly written, but something about them appeals to me." Not to say, mind, that I LIKE them, per se, but that when I read them I can't really put them down.

I feel a little better about the Host. I actually do like it. The characterization of Wanda is fairly well done, although I think if I met her in real life she might be kind of annoying in the crème brûlée way (has anyone seen My Best Friend's Wedding??). The story is fairly interesting, high in the "then he looked at me twice" drama that I love. The beginning and ending are slow, but I'm ok with that.

All in all, a pretty decent book. Kind of surprising from the author of Breaking Dawn, n'est pas?

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, i-own-it, is-this-a-kissing-book, pretentious, thought-provoking



Reading My Own Darn Books

Hi guys. Can we talk for a minute? And by "talk," I of course mean that I'll type and you'll read. And if you're not ok with that, well, that's cool.

So anyway, I decided to take on a project. It's kind of epic. Here's the deal: I want to read my books.

I know, right? It seems pretty intuitive... yet most of you know that it's much easier said than done. You buy books, you check them out from the library, you win them, or you borrow them, and you end up with a huge stack of books that you own - paid money for, even! - that you've never even cracked open. What the heck?!

So my goal is to read, if not ALL of them (I have shopped many a book sale in my day), at least a lot. I think it's good to go ahead and read books I actually already have. Who knows, maybe I'll end up trimming my collection down a little. To that end, I'm enforcing a Ban on all books that I don't own, starting... well, about a week ago, actually.

As with all good Policies, there are a couple exceptions. In this case, they're very specific, and are as follows:
  • I already have The Maze Runner out from the library, so I'm gonna read that. Probably.
  • My father-in-law lent me two books about World War II, and I'm gonna read those.
  • Audio books are excepted, because I only have one (Harry Potter 5, if you're curious).
  • Ebooks don't count. I'll buy or download as I see fit, although I won't borrow any from the library.
Other than that,  the Policy, for the forseeable future, is that I'm not going to read or buy any book that I don't already own.

I'm actually pretty excited about this. I have a lot of books I haven't read, and I'm betting I'll find a new favorite or two. :)

I know that we all need solidarity sometimes, so if you want to join in, feel free! It's a good way to curb a book-buying habit, if you have one, or a library addiction, like I'm recovering from. Just link to your blog in the comments. Create your own rules (don't think you have to follow mine!), and go ahead and grab the button! Good luck!


Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold

Summary (via the publisher's website): "Miles Vorkosigan is back!

Kibou-daini is a planet obsessed with cheating death. Barrayaran Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan can hardly disapprove-he's been cheating death his whole life, on the theory that turnabout is fair play. But when a Kibou-daini cryocorp-an immortal company whose job it is to shepherd its all-too-mortal frozen patrons into an unknown future-attempts to expand its franchise into the Barrayaran Empire, Emperor Gregor dispatches his top troubleshooter Miles to check it out.

On Kibou-daini, Miles discovers generational conflict over money and resources is heating up, even as refugees displaced in time skew the meaning of generation past repair. Here he finds a young boy with a passion for pets and a dangerous secret, a Snow White trapped in an icy coffin who burns to re-write her own tale, and a mysterious crone who is the very embodiment of the warning Don't mess with the secretary. Bribery, corruption, conspiracy, kidnapping-something is rotten on Kibou-daini, and it isn't due to power outages in the Cryocombs. And Miles is in the middle-of trouble!"

Review: So... wow. This book kind of makes me sad, because the Big Thing that happens at the end kind of overshadows the rest of the book. So that there's this whole book, but the only thing anyone's going to talk about is the Big Thing. Which comes at the very end.

Other than that, though, good book. The storyline was a little confusing for me, but I'm going to blame that on rushing through the book for the sake of devouring it. Doing that tends to get me confused.

Random thought: On most planets in this universe, you can tell that there's some kind of Earth-based cultural influence (the idea being that everyone originally came from Earth when they colonized all these planets), but the cultural influence in Kibou-dani is the strongest I've seen in this series, from the architecture to the clothing to the way people speak. (It's all Japanese, if you were wondering.)

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, funny, i-have-the-ebook, i-own-it, thought-provoking



A Matter of Magic by Patricia C. Wrede

Summary (via Goodreads): "When a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into a traveling magician’s wagon, Kim doesn’t hesitate. Having grown up a waif in the dirty streets of London, Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. A hard life and lean times have schooled her in one lesson: steal from them before they steal from you. But when the magician catches her in the act, Kim thinks she’s done for. Until he suggests she become his apprentice; then the real trouble begins.

Kim soon finds herself entangled with murderers, thieves, and cloak-and-dagger politics, all while trying to learn how to become both a proper lady and a magician in her own right.
Magic and intrigue go hand in hand in Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward, two fast-paced novels filled with mystery and romance, set against the intricate backdrop of Regency England."

Review: So I'd already read both the books this one's made up of, several years ago. But it was nice to revisit them, since it's been a while. I was a fan. The stories were fun, and the characterizations were pretty well done. Also, because I was looking for it, I caught all of the instances where Mairelon was subtly unhappy about Kim having suitors and stuff. So that was fun.

I had a hard time keeping track of what people looked like, though. This interfered with how well I was able to visualize things, so I wish there had been more description sprinkled in.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, funny, i-own-it, is-this-a-kissing-book



Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Summary (via the author's website):  "When 16-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld,where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all."

Review: So here it is... it took me forever to finally read it, but once I got into it, it only took about two days. So hooray!

Can I talk about Will for a minute? Here is the actual "Bad Boy." Jace is not really a bad boy, he only pretends to be. He's sarcastic and impertinent and stuff, but when it comes down to it he's nice to the people around him, loyal, and a genuinely good person. Will, on the other hand, is rude and sarcastic too, but when it comes down to it he has a lot of psychological damage and he's not very nice to people. Ever. I'm proud of Ms. Clare, because so many people create these characters they say are "bad" who are actually just Jaces... teddy bears on the inside. But Will is an actual jerk. So, you know, props. Also, if you couldn't tell, I'm on Team Jem. But I reserve the right to change my mind when I read the next book(s) in the trilogy.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, funny, i-own-it, is-this-a-kissing-book, pretentious



New Awards

I've won a couple awards in the last few weeks!

Thanks to Missy at Missy's Reads & Reviews and Jennifer at Book Noise for the One Lovely Blog award!

Here are the rules:
1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.

3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.

And thanks to Tina at Book Couture for the Life is Good award!

Here are the rules:
1. Thank and link back to the person that gave this award.
2. Answer the 10 survey questions.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic.
4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked to let them know about the award.

Here are the questions:
1. If you blog anonymously are you happy doing it that way; if you are not anonymous do you wish you had started out anonymously so you could be anonymous now?
I'm semi-anonymous; if you were intent on finding me, you could, but it's not super easy... question mark? I'm happy with the way it is, though. :)

2. Describe one incident that shows your inner stubborn side:
Um... I dunno! Maybe one time I insisted on where to eat dinner?

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?
Hm... blond hair, hazel eyes, and a nose I'll probably never like. lol

4. What is your favourite summer cold drink?
There's this Korean drink called Milkus... it's pretty much carbonated milk. It sounds gross, but it's actually very tasty.

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?
 I watch TV, especially "guilty pleasure" shows like Buffy.

6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it?
 Of course! What good would life be if there weren't anything I wanted to accomplish?? Right now I'm working on getting a job... some time in the future I want to start a family.

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever , the shy person, or always ditching?

I was the smart one, I admit it. Also, my senior year I took a bunch of classes that didn't involve much academia, so my teachers didn't care if I left. That was nice. :)

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment of your life what would you see?
Hm... probably my wedding day.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?
I guess I'm more comfortable talking about other things (you know, like books and stuff...) because I don't know if people care about my personal life. I think there's an important balance to strike between talking about my life and talking about books, and I think I'm a little skewed towards the book side. I'll try to work on that, eh?

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?
That depends on who was on the phone! I wouldn't hang up on someone just to read, but if I had the choice between reading and just calling some random friend for the heck of it, I'd probably read.

I'm afraid I'm going to cop out in the "passing these along" category and give them to everyone! Feel free to take these and pass them on! :)


The Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart

Summary: "Ruby is back at Tate Prep, and it’s her thirty-seventh week in the state of Noboyfriend. Her panic attacks are bad, her love life is even worse, and what’s more: Noel is writing her notes, Jackson is giving her frogs, Gideon is helping her cook, and Finn is making her brownies. Rumors are flying, and Ruby’s already-sucky reputation is heading downhill.

Not only that, she’s also: running a bake sale, learning the secrets of heavymetal therapy, encountering some seriously smelly feet, defending the rights of pygmy goats, and body-guarding Noel from unwanted advances.

In this companion novel to The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book, Ruby struggles to secure some sort of mental health, to understand what constitutes a real friendship, and to find true love—if such a thing exists."

Review: I think I'm having a hard time reviewing this one because I read all three of them right in a row. I feel like pretty much everything I have to say here has already been said, but I'll give it a try.

So. I like Ruby's movie lists in her footnotes. I especially like when she's illustrating something that never happens in the movies: "Movies where [something that has happened to her/might happen]: none." In fact, now that I think of it, I like all of her footnotes. Even though a lot of the ones give definitions that I already know, which I'm going to pretentiously attribute to the fact that I'm a college graduate reading books aimed at high school students.

I like seeing Ruby's growth. She goes from the girl who kisses her best friend's boyfriend at a dance to someone who can say no to boys, stand up to her friends, and objectively admit that the people she was once close to aren't actually very good friends at all. So hooray for character development!

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, thought-provoking, to-own



The Boy Book by E. Lockhart

Summary: "Here is how things stand at the beginning of newly-licensed driver Ruby Oliver's junior year at Tate Prep:

 • Kim: Not speaking. But far away in Tokyo.
 • Cricket: Not speaking.
 • Nora: Speaking--sort of. Chatted a couple times this summer when they bumped into each other outside of school--once shopping in the U District, and once in the Elliot Bay Bookstore. But she hadn't called Ruby, or anything.
 • Noel: Didn't care what anyone thinks.
 • Meghan: Didn't have any other friends.
 • Dr. Z: Speaking.
 • And Jackson. The big one. Not speaking.

But, by Winter Break, a new job, an unlikely but satisfying friend combo, additional entries to The Boy Book and many difficult decisions help Ruby to see that there is, indeed, life outside the Tate Universe."

Review: I liked this one as well. Ruby is still awesome, and still doing her thing. I like that things with boys happen the way they do in real life: Sometimes it's not meant to be, and they start dating other girls, and that's ok.

I like Ruby's therapy sessions. Doctor Z is pretty cool, and I like reading about them and about mental health and stuff. (Can you tell that I like my reading to be slightly educational? Because I do.)

I'm frustrated by Ruby's friends sometimes. Like how Kim and Cricket won't let Ruby have a side to the story, and won't give her a chance to slip up and make mistakes sometimes. That's frustrating.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, thought-provoking, to-own



The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

Summary: "Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it’s unusual, but give her a break—she’s had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days she:

lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list),

lost her best friend (Kim),

lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket),

did something suspicious with a boy (#10),

did something advanced with a boy (#15),

had an argument with a boy (#14),

drank her first beer (someone handed it to her),

got caught by her mom (ag!),

had a panic attack (scary),

lost a lacrosse game (she’s the goalie),

failed a math test (she’ll make it up),

hurt Meghan’s feelings (even though they aren’t really friends),

became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)

and had graffiti written about her in the girls’ bathroom (who knows what was in the boys’!?!).

But don’t worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists."

Review: So. It's been a while coming, but it was inevitable, ever since I read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. I finally read the Ruby Oliver books. And, as expected, they were pretty much awesome.

I like Ruby... rather a lot. Mind, I don't agree with all the choices she makes, but she herself is cute, smart, funny, and basically a pretty cool chick. I think Ruby's a tad more relate-able than Frankie, since Frankie, even though she wants a boyfriend and acts on that desire, also admits that she doesn't need a boyfriend and pretty much just likes having one. Ruby, on the other hand, has that passion and teenage angst, wherein she loves Jackson and needs him and pretty much can't live without him.

Fun fact: I was talking about E. Lockhart and her feminist ways earlier, and someone commented that she subscribes to the "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" school of thought... and that quote was totally mentioned in The Boyfriend List. So good call.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, thought-provoking, to-own



Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Summary: "WHY CAN’T YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU FORGET . . .  AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER?  There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four- year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.  But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug."

Review: I'm not gonna lie. I hated a lot of this book. Zoey is just wandering around, having no idea what's going on at all, not telling anyone she has no idea, and therefore looking like an idiot. And I have a problem with people looking like idiots. I wanted to slap her.

Also, the Brandon thing. Zoey's in the classic "you knew what he was when you picked him up" situation, and I was appalled that she kept trying to pretend she was with him when she definitely should have known that she wasn't.

And one more thing. The summary says that Zoey tries to appear perfect and put up a show of being flawless. But I didn't see that at all. There was no character development in that department, besides the fact that she talked about her manicure all the time. (But I'm afraid that noticing the state of a manicure doth not a fully developed character make.)

So, to sum up: Zoey was an idiot, I didn't like her, I didn't like her dad (which I didn't mention because there's not much to do besides call him a big old d.b.), and I pretty much just didn't like this book. Although it still gets two stars, because at least I read the second half in one sitting.

Goodreads Shelves: fluffy, is-this-a-kissing-book, pretentious

Rating:plus a frowny face, for good measure :(


Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Goodreads Summary: "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: Ok... what's the deal with Nora and Patch? He humiliates her, goes out of his way to make her life difficult (hey, Patch? just because you're not mortal and don't need to get good grades and go to college, doesn't mean other people don't. Stop interfering with Nora's bio grade. kthxbai), and is rude and cryptic whenever he talks to her, which is all the time. BUT WAIT! For reasons she can't explain, she's drawn to him!!!

There's "then he looked at me twice" drama, and then there's ridiculous drama. And this was definitely the latter. Besides which... I liked Elliot a lot better. You know, before he started being all creepy. Prior to that point, he definitely counted as one of my Likeable Bad Guys (because I had heard enough about it to know that she was going to end up with Patch, thus making Elliot a bad guy).

And yet... I still liked it. It was pretty good. It didn't, thank goodness, have Twilight Pacing, which is Relationship Drama for the first two-thirds/three-fourths of the book... and then an inexplicable dangerous situation that Has To Be Resolved for the last third/fourth. It was one book the whole time, which actually had a fairly coherent storyline, so... props for that.

Probably going to read Crescendo.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, is-this-a-kissing-book



Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - Spoiler-free!!

Summary: This is the third book in the Hunger Games series. If you haven't read the first two... you should go read them. And if you have, Mockingjay picks up where Catching Fire left off, ok?

Review: So I didn't read this one until a week and a half after it came out... I didn't want to buy it (especially since I don't own the first two), and I was a million years back on the hold list at the library. Luckily I have some sisters-in-law who like the series, so I borrowed a copy from them and read it over the weekend. Hooray!

I ... don't know. It was ... pretty good? It was a good conclusion to the series; I feel like the characters were true to their previous actions and to the direction their development had lead them. My favorite relationship in the book was between Katniss and Haymitch... They really get each other, and I like that.

Events led themselves to a logical conclusion, I think. I'm pleased with where it ended up.

Something I didn't like: I don't really feel like it blew my mind like the others. There was always something horrifying or crazy about the other books, and once this series hit the larger scale I feel like that stopped. The plot, for the most part, was fairly predictable.

And one more thing - because I had to mention the love triangle at some point: I feel like this was an unusual love triangle, because of the complete lack of a preference on Katniss's part. (I'm referring here to the first two books.) And it's not that she felt the same amount of emotion/love for each boy... it's the lack thereof. I honestly don't think she needs either one of them, and that's part of what makes me like her. If it weren't for the fact that the boys are so in love with her (and thus her ending up with one of them is strongly foreshadowed), I would have been pulling for the "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" philosophy and wanted her to end up alone... because she wanted it that way.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, is-this-a-kissing-book, pretentious, thought-provoking



Book Blogger Hop #7

Book Blogger Hop
Hey y'all! Friday generally equals Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Jen at Crazy for Books, so... here I am, hopping. :)

As Jen puts it,
In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!  

She puts a question to her bloggers every week, and this week's question is

Do you judge a book by its cover?

I've noticed a lot of people saying yes, which, given the creativity all over book covers today, doesn't surprise me at all.
My answer is also yes. I'm more inclined to read a book if I like its cover, although if I've read enough good reviews about a book (or even just one solid rave), I'll overlook a blah cover and give it a try.

All those who are visiting from the Hop, welcome!!


Read Your Own Books August: Return and Report

SO. Here's the list of books I read this month -

- Point Blanc - eBook that was already checked out from the library
- The Battle of the Labyrinth - Book on CD that was already checked out
- The Lonely Hearts Club - Book that was already checked out
- Artemis Fowl - Book on CD that was already checked out
- Love You Hate You Miss You - Book that was already checked out
- The Last Olympian - Book on CD that was on hold

I didn't read much, did I? I'm on a bit of an anti-reading, pro-TV kick right now... I expect it'll wear off soon. :)

Thanks for hosting this event, Mel!

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Summary(via the author's website): "All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows.

While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time. In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate."

Review: So, out of the whole series, I think my favorite running joke is how Dionysus doesn't know Percy's name (or rather, refuses to say it correctly). He usually starts out with "Peter Johnson" and goes from there, with every iteration turning out a little more wacky and creative.*

Anyway, this book was pretty awesome. The stakes were bigger, there were more gods running around, and it was definitely a nail-biting conclusion. Yay Percy!

Over the series, Percy's become a lot more confident with himself and the sort of things he can accomplish. Even though he's still kind of dim (which I STILL think is more a plot device than anything), there was a lot less of that in this book, which I really appreciated. In this book it was more of him being confused about girls, which I'm given to understand most boys are, so that was ok. :)

I haven't mentioned this before, but I'm very impressed with the prophecies. They're always awesome and cryptic and then make perfect sense by the end, and that is awesome.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, to-own


*Fun fact: It very much reminds me of Scrubs, where Dr. Cox is always calling JD by a girl's name.


Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott

Goodreads Summary: "You know, I always thought I told you everything, but there are some things I should have said but never did. I should have told you about the time I lost your new sunglasses. I know you really liked them. I should have apologized the time I ruined your brand-new skirt, the one with the beading. I should have apologized for a lot of stuff. 

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything.

It's been seventy five days. Amy's sick of her parents suddenly taking an interest in her, and she's really sick of people asking her about Julia. Julia's gone, and Amy doesn't want to talk about it. No one knew Julia like she did. No one gets what life is without her.

No one understands what it's like to know that it's all your fault.

Amy's shrink thinks she should keep a journal but instead, Amy starts writing letters to Julia. As she writes letter after letter, she begins to realize that the past holds its own secrets--and that the present deserves a chance."

Review:  I've heard that Elizabeth Scott is a YA staple, as it were, so I decided that I needed to read one of her books, seeing as how I'd never even heard of her before I started this blog. It was... huh.

During this big thing in Texas, one of the things I heard about this particular type of YA is that it helps people, specifically teens who are going through similar situations. I can see that. While I haven't been in most of Amy's specific situations (being a squeaky-clean Mormon girl doesn't generally lend itself to alcohol problems or unsupervised teenage-drinking type parties), there were themes I could relate to. Guilt. Learning that the hero you have on a pedestal isn't necessarily perfect. Dealing with parents.

However, a lot of the Big Issues (alcohol/drug use, teenage sex, abusive friends) are stuff I never did have to deal with as a teen, and it just... wasn't something I could relate to. Instead of being therapeutic, it felt a little more like voyeurism, if you will.

In a sentence, the book was well executed, but not my cup of tea.

Goodreads Shelves: is-this-a-kissing-book, pretentious, thought-provoking



Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Summary: "From a strikingly original voice in fiction comes the story of Artemis Fowl, a very unusual hero. Artemis combines the astuteness of Sherlock Holmes with the sangfroid of James Bond and the attitude of Attila the Hun. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories. These fairies are armed and they're dangerous. Artemis thinks he's got them just where he wants them, but then they stop playing by the rules..."

Review: So. Thoughts. I started this one on a strong recommendation from my sister, with the caveat that, "I didn't think they were amazing until halfway through the second one." (Which, admittedly, is kind of how I feel about Percy Jackson.)

I liked Holly better than I liked Artemis, so I'm glad I spent so much time hearing about her.

The whole thing felt rather like a "first episode of" something. I feel like the other books are going to be more of the Exciting Adventure type, and this is more of a Here's How These People All Know Each Other Type.

And that's all I really have to say about that. Oh wait, one more thing: I DO have The Arctic Incident on hold at the library, so, y'know. There's that.

Goodreads Shelves: fluffy, funny



The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

Summary (via the author's website): "Love is all you need…or is it?

Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating, so she vows: No more. She’s had one too many bad dates, and has been hurt by one too many bad boys. It’s a personal choice…and soon everybody wants to know about it. It seems that Penny’s not the only girl who’s tired of the way girls change themselves (most of the time for the worse) in order to get their guys…or the way their guys don’t really care about them.

Girls are soon thronging to The Lonely Hearts Club (named after Sgt. Pepper’s band), and Penny finds herself near legendary for her non-dating ways – which is too bad, since the leader of The Lonely Hearts Club has found a certain boy she can’t help but like…"

Review: This was a cute book, I'm not gonna lie. I liked the story, and I liked the characters. I admit, I thought the "perfect boy" was a little too perfect, and I thought the "perfect girl" was a little too perfect, too. But overall, it was a really good feelgood book.

I'm also super pleased that even though Penny's family were total Beatles fanatics, and it had the potential to get really wacky and awkward and unrealistic, it actually wasn't. It was realistic enough that even though Elizabeth Eulberg was poking fun a little, it wasn't a caricature at all. It was just cute. :)

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book




Thanks to Rosie at East for Green Eyes for this cute award! This is to be passed onto five other people; I'm giving it to:

Missy @ Missy's Reads and Reviews
Elyssa @ Broken Day Dreams & A Literary Odyssey
Kathy Martin @ Ms. Martin Teaches Media
Rex Robot Reviews
Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

Also, thanks to Ash at Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing, Rosie at East for Green Eyes, Joni at Lost in Y.A. Wonderland, and Ava at Book Infinity for the Versatile Blogger award again! My original post accepting that award can be found here.


The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Summary (via the author's website): "Percy Jackson isn’t expecting freshman orientation to be any fun, but when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears, pursued by demon cheerleaders, things quickly go from bad to worse.

Time is running out for Percy. War between the gods and the Titans is drawing near. Even Camp Half-Blood isn’t safe, as Kronos’s army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop them, Percy and his friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth — a sprawling underground world with surprises and danger at every turn.

Along the way Percy will confront powerful enemies, find out the truth about the lost god Pan, and face the Titan lord Kronos’s most terrible secret. The final war begins . . . with the Battle of the Labyrinth."

Review: So, it's never bothered me before, but it occurs to me now that Percy's not very bright, is he? Annabeth has to explain pretty much everything to him. I realize that this is kind of expositional, but it's also kind of annoying... Are most boys like that? Am I just more of an Annabeth than a Percy?

I can sympathize on the 'boy-girl stuff' front, though. Looking back, it seemed pretty clear what was going on for a while, as an outsider looking in, but near the end there things got... complicated.

I'm still liking this series a lot; I'm thinking I'm gonna go back and read it all in print, once I'm done, since so far I've listened to the whole thing on audio. It's got a good "read it again" quality.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book



Point Blanc by Anthony Horowitz

Goodreads Summary: "When an investigation into a series of mysterious deaths leads agents to an elite prep school for rebellious kids, MI6 assigns Alex Rider to the case. Before he knows it, Alex is hanging out with the sons of the rich and powerful, and something feels wrong. These former juvenile delinquents have turned well-behaved, studious—and identical—overnight. It’s up to Alex to find out who is masterminding this nefarious plot, before they find him."

Review: What a great popcorn book! It's light, it's relatively low-stakes (yes, he's getting shot at and stuff, but we all know he's gonna be ok, ok?), and it's a quick read.

I like Alex. He's smart, he's clever, he's calm under pressure. Sometimes he's a little too much like an adult, but then other times he goes and does something that's a little more teenagerish, so that's ok. :)

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, funny



Read Your Own Books August

Mel over at Mel's Books and Info is hosting Read Your Own Books August; basically, for those with a book-buying addiction, it's acting as an excuse/support group to stop buying books and read the ones you already have. :) I don't have a book-buying addiction, but I DO have a library addiction (and a DVD buying addiction... but this isn't a DVD blog), so I'll still get something out of it. Also, I like supporting people. :)

Here are the books I can read this month:
- Books and eBooks I own right now.
- Books and eBooks checked out from the library right now.
- Books and eBooks that are on hold at the library, as long as they can't be renewed. If the due date is after August 31, I have to wait.
- Audiobooks I have checked out from the library right now.

If you want to participate, just head over and sign up!

Eat Pray Love Book Club - Final Post

Finish Indonesia and discuss general feelings on the book. How did it affect you? I read this book at a time in my life when I was really struggling and it had a profound effect on me so I am curious to see what others thought of something so deeply personal.
Will you go see the movie? Will you read Committed which is Gilbert’s follow up to Eat Pray Love?
What are some of your favorite quotes from the book?

Ok. So. The book.

The love section was... I'm not sure. I'm gonna call it my least favorite section. I don't know what it was about it, but it just... didn't do it for me. And I'm pretty ok with that.
I was sad about the part where her friend was trying to con her for more money; I mean, Liz somehow managed to get this huge donation from all of her friends, so that this sweet lady could finally have a place to live, and then she tries to swindle her and get more! That was pretty awful to me. I like the way she handled it, though. That it meant enough to her to maintain that friendship and try to still be on good terms with her. So... way to be, Liz.

As a whole, I think I got the most out of the Pray section. It's kind of inspired me to try to delve a little further into my own spirituality. I was raised religious, and I've been religious all my life, but I feel like I'm getting complacent in what I do, and that I need to work more to be closer to my Heavenly Father. Liz's spiritual growth makes me want to find that in my own life, and I think I'm going to start figuring out what I can do that will help fulfill those needs in my own life.

I'm actually pretty excited about the movie now. For one thing, now that I've read the book, the trailer makes a lot more sense. At first, I wasn't too stoked about it, seeing as how most Hollywood movies are really crappy these days. But after I'd finished the book, I watched the trailer again and remembered how Julia Roberts is actually a fantastic actress. So I think now I'm ready to watch it. :)

I may or may not read the follow-up book, Committed; I definitely want to pick it up and see what it's all about, though.
As far as my favorite quotes, most of them were from the Pray section and can be found in this post.

Thanks, guys, for participating in this book club! It's been a lot of fun to be a part of. :) In closing, here's the video that began my experience with this book.


Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White

Goodreads Summary: "When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door, Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn't so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out. In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum. Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher. When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others. But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her. And her bouquets don't always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin. Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she's soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom."

Review: So the thing that stood out to me here about this book was the plot. The characters were all just kind of around to add to the plot. Which was pretty good; I like that the premise is unique, and the whole "flowerspeaking" thing is something that's always intrigued me.

I kept waiting for Laurel to end up with one of the other boys, although that's probably just because he's the stereotypical Boy The Girl Ends Up With. I don't think Justin had much of a personality, though. Because he was just there for plot purposes, as they all were.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, is-this-a-kissing-book



Book Blogger Hop (6)

Book Blogger Hop

Participating in the Book Blogger Hop hosted at Crazy for Books!! This is a great chance to go find new blogs to love. :)

This week's question:

Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year?

Well. Hopefully I've already raved sufficiently about Catherine Gilbert Murdock and E. Lockhart (both of whom I discovered this year). An author I've read recently whose work I really really liked was Phoebe Kitanidis, author of Whisper. This is the first book in a while that, I felt, was really good at being both an introduction to the series AND a book in its own right, instead of just a setup or a really long-winded introduction. I felt like the plot was complete, and I LOVED the character development, as Joy becomes comfortable and honest with the people around her, as well as with herself.

If you're here from the Hop, welcome!

Forbidden Sea by Sheila Nielson

Goodreads Summary: "When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, she is convinced that the mermaid means her harm. After all, the island is steeped in stories of mermaids' curses and the ill-luck that they bring. But Adrianne is fierce-willed and courageous and is determined to protect her family and the islanders from danger. Yet when the islanders find out about Adrianne's encounters with the mermaid, her family is scorned. They believe that once active, the mermaid cannot be quieted until an islander sacrifices herself to the sea. But is the legend true? And will their fear make them force Adrienne to test it? This is a haunting story of love, surrender and strength."

Review: This was a fun read. I was drawn into the story, especially the mystery of the mermaid and what her deal was. Random thought: Adrianne reminded me of Katniss from The Hunger Games, and I was also reminded of Sammy Keyes (mostly because of all the times Sheila's preached those books to me).

SPOILERS: I do have a beef with the book though, and it has to do with the ending. I felt like the two chapters she spend in the sea kingdom were really truncated. Like, really? She only spent a couple hours there? I see how that's convenient for the sake of her mother and aunt not knowing what happened, but it's a little too convenient, in my opinion.

Also, I have a problem with Denn. I did catch hints of him caring about Adrianne more than he realized, but then all of a sudden... it was the card I hate. The "I love you, and I've always loved you, but I never realized it until now!" card. (Bonus points if paired with the term "hapless fool.") Up until the very end, he as much as admitted that he had a crush on the pretty-and-rich Cora Lynn girl. But suddenly... Oh no! Adrianne is wearing a form-fitting dress! Gotta fall in love with her now. SPOILERS OVER

So other than that, I liked the book. I liked the character of Adrianne, and her devotion to her family (even though her aunt is a bitter and hateful hag and her mother is a spineless pansy). Also, I really liked the settings and how the island felt like a real place to me; the descriptions were vivid enough to draw me in, while not being too distracting.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, i-own-it, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book



Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Goodreads Summary: "Coraline lives with her preoccupied parents in part of a huge old house--a house so huge that other people live in it, too... round, old former actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible and their aging Highland terriers ("We trod the boards, luvvy") and the mustachioed old man under the roof ("'The reason you cannot see the mouse circus,' said the man upstairs, 'is that the mice are not yet ready and rehearsed.'") Coraline contents herself for weeks with exploring the vast garden and grounds. But with a little rain she becomes bored--so bored that she begins to count everything blue (153), the windows (21), and the doors (14). And it is the 14th door that--sometimes blocked with a wall of bricks--opens up for Coraline into an entirely alternate universe. Now, if you're thinking fondly of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, you're on the wrong track. Neil Gaiman's Coraline is far darker, far stranger, playing on our deepest fears. And, like Roald Dahl's work, it is delicious.

What's on the other side of the door? A distorted-mirror world, containing presumably everything Coraline has ever dreamed of... people who pronounce her name correctly (not "Caroline"), delicious meals (not like her father's overblown "recipes"), an unusually pink and green bedroom (not like her dull one), and plenty of horrible (very un-boring) marvels, like a man made out of live rats. The creepiest part, however, is her mirrored parents, her "other mother" and her "other father"--people who look just like her own parents, but with big, shiny, black button eyes, paper-white skin... and a keen desire to keep her on their side of the door."

Review: This book is super cute. Also, very creepy. And I feel like it's the kind of story where, if I watch the movie, I'll wish I didn't already know the plot. Because I read the graphic novel a couple years ago, and I liked the book a little less because I knew what was going to happen. That said, I still read the book pretty quickly, so there's something compelling there.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, is-a-movie



Cake Wrecks by Jen Yates

Goodreads Summary: "Have your cake and laugh at it, too, with the sweet treat known as Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong. From the creator of the ultrapopular blog CakeWrecks.com, here are the worst cakes ever, including the ugly, the silly, the downright creepy, the unintentionally sad or suggestive, and the just plain funny. With witty commentary and behind-the-scenes tidbits, Cake Wrecks will ensure that you never look at a cake the same way again."

Review: If you don't read CakeWrecks, you probably should. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, the book is better than the blog in some ways, and the blog is better than the book in some ways. I like the blog better because she gives more examples of the types of cakes she's talking about (I'm thinking specifically about the infamous Baby Shower Pregnant Belly cake), and I like the book better because I think it's funnier.

Goodreads Shelves: fluffy, funny, i-own-it



Eat Pray Love Book Club - Post #4

Finish India, where she prays a lot. Richard is a major character in this part of the book. He really is a true friend and is brutally honest. I think everyone has a Richard, maybe write a post about that person in your life as well as any general discussion about this section.

Liz's spiritual journey is fascinating, and I started thinking of it in the context of my own religion. The idea of God I've been taught growing up... I don't know. The words "infinite" and "loving" and "powerful" and "omniscient" are different from the concepts they represent, and I think Liz's time at the ashram put her in touch with those concepts. It's something I daresay I would like to look into.

As far as having a friend who gives me straight talk, that would be my friend C. She lives her life in a constant state of fabulous, not content with mediocre things or people. Or attitudes, which is why sometimes it's difficult hanging out with her, because she cuts right through all my crap. I know I can count on her for honest opinions of all my decisions, from the small things like what I'm reading or wearing, to the big things like who I married (she approves, by the way) or how I'm coping with things.

Quotes I liked from this section:

The other problem with all this swinging through the vines of thought is that you are never where you are. You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in this moment. It's something like the habit of my dear friend Susan, who -- whenever she sees a beautiful place -- exclaims in near panic, "It's so beautiful here! I want to come back here someday!" and it takes all of my persuasive powers to try to convince her that she is already here. If you're looking for union with the divine, this kind of forward/backward whirling is a problem. There's a reason they call God a presence -- because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find Him, and now is the only time. (p. 132)

He says, "Give it another six months, you'll feel better."
"I've already given it twelve months, Richard."
"Then give it six more. Just keep throwin' six months at it till it goes away. Stuff like this takes time." (p. 148)

"See, now that's your problem. You're wishin' too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be."  (p. 150)

It was only after a few verses that I caught my breath and was able to think my normal, instinctive morning thought: I don't want to be here. After which I heard Swamiji burst out laughing in my head, saying: That's funny -- you sure act like somebody who wants to be here. (p. 168)

Of course God already knows what I need. The question is -- do I know? Casting yourself at God's feet in helpless desperation is all well and good -- heaven knows, I've done it myself plenty of times -- but ultimately you're likely to get more out of the experience if you can take some action on your end. (p. 176)
In fact, I like the entire 58th bead. It talks about being proactive in prayer, and not just asking for help but being specific about it and doing your part afterwards. Then she goes on to talk about the control over her life she has and how much of her life is based on her choice. And also, how many of her thoughts are based on her choices and how she can control the thoughts that are allowed to dwell in her head.

Constantly he was teaching that austerity and renunciation -- just for their own sake -- are not what you need. To know God, you need only to renounce one thing -- your sense of division from God. (p. 192)

This installment of the Eat Pray Love Book Club is hosted by Erika at Kiss My Book. Go see what the others had to say!
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