Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another Wonderful Contest


     Dominique over at The Book Vault has brought us another wonderful contest for her birthday. She has a ton of books that she is giving away!
     Be sure to enter to win here by September 1st! Good luck to everyone!
     I'm really looking forward to The Haunted by Jessica Verday. I'd love to win that for my best friend! So, what are you hoping for?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (7) ~August 27th-30th

     Another week, another Friday (can you hear the sigh?). I actually had a pretty good week though. I just didn't have enough time to read as much as I would have liked.
     Mockingjay came out Tuesday, can you believe it? I cannot wait to read it! Lucky for me, I won my second contest ever and the prize was... Mockingjay! Thanks so much to Mrs. DeRaps over at DeRaps Reads.
     How was your week? Fantastic I hope.
Book Blogger HopThanks to Crazy-for-Books!
Question of the Week:
     Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?

     I do use a rating system. I think it helps give readers a better understanding of just how much I liked or disliked a book. It goes from 1 (being the worst) to 10 (being the best). You can see it in my left sidebar. Notice how witty I was trying to be? Yeah, we all know I failed miserably at that one...  ;)

     Have a great weekend! Happy hopping and reading!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

So Very Close...

     2 days. I can wait that long can't I? I'm not so sure though... It's already been torture waiting since Catching Fire came out, but knowing that Mockingjay is just 2 days away makes it even more excruciating!
     What makes it even worse, I think, is that I am too broke to pre-order it.  :(  So, my only salvation is my best friend. She better get it, enough said. I'm just kidding. Well, I'm sort of just kidding. I'm hoping, praying even that my best friend will get Mockingjay, but I'm not sure. If she does, whcih she must, she better read it immediately so that I can then have it. ;D
    I guess that's more than enough ranting about how much I need Mockingjay. Is anyone else as excited about the upcoming release as I am? Are you Team Peeta or Team Gale? Personally, I just want Katniss to be happy (I guess that makes me Team Katniss?) and I like both of her choices.
     Let me know how you feel and what you might be doing to celebrate the release of Mockingjay!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

     I'm sure many of you have heard of this book. I read it in eighth grade, just to see what it was all about and then again in tenth grade for English class. I think I was just as impressed by Lee's writing the second time as I was the first time.

     To Kill a Mockingbird is set in Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1930's. Scout Finch lives with her brother Jem and her father Atticus. In the beginning of the novel Scout is just like any other child at that age. She plays make-believe games with her friend Dill and Jem. She gets in trouble and generally has a good time.
     When Tom Robinson is accused of rape, Atticus is appointed as his lawyer. This changes Scout's life forever thereafter. The book follows her, Jem and the rest of Maycomb as the trial progresses.
     There are very few books that have ever made me cry; this was one of them. Lee is just an amazing writer. She makes you see everything in detail. There were a few slow spots, especially the first few chapters as Lee sets up the book, but that's alright.
     I love that the story is told in the eyes of Scout. She's hilarious, I'm telling you! The tomboy of Maycomb, Scout is quick to anger and get into a fight. She defends her father when the trial starts. Her antics concerning Boo Radley (poor Boo!) are funny but at the same time a bit mean. Of course you can't blame her, she's just a curious child. It makes me proud how wonderfully she grows up throughout the book. At first she is a naive child, but by the end she is wizened little girl.
     Atticus is absolutely wonderful. Somehow he always knows exactly what to do and what to say. Scout is beyond lucky to have a father like him. He is an honorable character. There are a few moments in the book where Atticus is vulnerable and it makes me weep. The way some of Maycomb's residents treated  him during the trial is just despicable! Despite everything, Atticus works tirelessly for Tom.
     I feel so sorry for Tom Robinson. He didn't deserve the treatment he got, simply because he wasn't a white man. I wanted more for him, but of course life just isn't fair.
     Mayella Ewell makes me sick. I realize that her father is horrible and she's known nothing else, but accusing Tom of raping her is just plain wrong. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't feel anything for her. I don't hate her, but I most certainly do not like her either.
     Lee handles the racial issues in this book beautifully. Even this many years after the fact, racial tensions still do arise. None the less, it is at times difficult to understand just how horrible people were to each other, until I walk outside, at least, and then it all comes rushing back. I think Harper Lee did a great job about explaining things though. I can understand why because of the way she words things and how she shows us what is going on. It just makes me so sad, so very disappointed in how we treat each other.
     To Kill a Mockingbird is fantastic. If you haven't read this yet, you need to! I'm sure you will be just as awed by the writing style as I was.
     Rating: 10
     To Kill a Mockingbird can be found in most bookstores and Amazon.

ARC Giveaway

     I found an absolutely amazing giveaway from Carolina at Carol's Prints! In total I think there are 12 different possibilities. 12! Not just 12 lame books, 12 ARC's!
     The books you can win are:
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle (This cover scares me to death!)
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
Dark Water by Laura McNeal
Radiance by Alyson Noel
Jane by April Lindner
Dark Song by Gale Giles
Keeper's School: Fear Itself by Andrew Clements
The Diary of Piper Davis (Dear America): The Fences Between Us by Kirby Larson

     I'm most excited for Immortal Beloved. I read the Sweep series by Cate Tiernan and it was wonderful, so I have high hopes for this book!
     Be sure to enter this contest here! Good luck to all who enter and if you wouldn't mind entering me as the person who referred you I would appreciate it!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (6)

     Thank goodness it's Friday! I think I was dying from sleep deprivation (I despise you homework) and if any of you knew me you would know how much I love my sleep. Reading is great and all, but I think some good ol' sleep gives reading a run for its money! How was your week? Did you get plenty of rest?
Book Blogger Hop
     As usual, the wonderful Jennifer at Crazy for Books has given us a new question to answer this week!
Question of the Week:
     How many blogs do you follow?
     I follow 52 fantastic blogs. I just went and counted. :)  It's sad, I know, but I don't usually get to keep up to date with all of them. Didn't I just explain about my love of sleep? That may not sound like very many, but I tell you, 52 is more than enough to occupy my time plus that which I don't have. Besides, I try to make my visits count. If I visit your blog, I really do try to look around, read a few reviews, and just get a sense of what we have in common.
     How many blogs do you follow?

     Have a fantastic weekend filled with lovely books and restful sleep! I'm off to visit those who hopped on my blog last week and hopefully get to bed soon (yes, I do realize that this post was more about sleep than books or blogs, but that should tell you something...).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell

     I won this book from Elie at Ellz Readz for her Book Extravaganza giveaway awhile ago. You have no idea how ecstatic I was! I've never won anything before and to get three books in one shot was amazing! Now on to the actual book.

     The summer Iris turns fourteen proves to be quite different than previous summers for her and her best friend Collette. The two are dragged into an unsolved mystery when Iris hears a voice call out to her in the cemetery. She thinks the voice belongs to Elijah Landry, a boy who had disappeared years before she was born. Together with Collette, Iris tries to figure out what really happened to Elijah and in the process she learns more about her small town of Ondine, Louisiana.

     I really enjoyed Shadowed Summer. It was predictable in some parts, but in others I was completely taken aback by the events. I loved how Mitchell described everything as well. I could see her Daddy making dinner for her and smell the food he was cooking. It all took on a real quality in my mind.
     Iris was a great character. She was much more interesting than her best friend, Collette, seemed. I liked how deep her thoughts were. Iris was definitely not your everyday bratty fourteen year old. She cared about her father and wished she had been able to remember her mother. I could actually see how we were similar in some ways.
     I wasn't very impressed with Collette. She acts too regal for my tastes. If she had been such a good friend to Iris, she wouldn't have been so cruel or demeaning to Iris. I wanted her to be more understanding than she had been. Ben was a nice guy, but Collette didn't have to ignore Iris because he was around.
     I found the plot to be intriguing. I had to do dishes one night while I was reading, which made me mad. I had just finished a chapter and it was a cliff hanger. I had to know what happened! So, I hurried through the dishes just to see if my predictions were right (they weren't). Through the whole book you can't help but go back to the stuff about Elijah. What happened to him? Was he really dead? If so, was he murdered?
     Shadowed Summer was interesting. I'm most certainly glad that I won it!
     Rating: 7.5
     Look for Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell at Amazon and other book stores.

Book Blogger Hop (5)

Book Blogger Hop     It's been a crazy week of starting school, homework, chores and not nearly enough reading time! I'll survive though. At least I have a good chunk of time for reading during my hour long bus ride home...
     As I'm sure you know, Jennifer at Crazy for Books hosts this event every weekend. Thank you for this great opportunity!

Question of the Week:
     How many books do you have on your 'to be read shelf'?
     I honestly have no idea! :) This 'shelf' is currently just a figment of my imagination since most of my books are packed, but I'd say I have quite a few on my list. If I were to estimate I would guess over 100 books.
     How many books are on your to be read shelf? I bet you have tons of awesome books that you should let me read!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (4)

     I'm hopping a bit late this week,  but only slightly so it's all good. I'm hoping you all had a lovely week filled with fantastic reads! I finished my summer reading assignments which I was happy about.
Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books!
Question of the week:
     Do you listen to music when you read? If so, what are your favorite reading tunes?

     Nope, I usually prefer peace and quiet when I read. Sometimes when it's too loud and I have to get some reading done for school or something similar, I do pop in my earphones to block out the other noises. I know this sounds strange, right? If I can't concentrate with people talking or watching television how can I concentrate while listening to music? The only way I can explain it is that the music I listen to are favorite songs that I know the words to, therefore I'm not curious as to what is being said (nosy, I know, but I can't help it) and can block it out.
     I now realize that the last paragraph was just a bunch of rambling, but if you can understand it props to you!  ;D  To answer the question in a more straightforward way, no I don't normally listen to music while reading. It makes it too difficult for me to really understand what is going on. I like to be able to just read and relax, since that is my escape.

     Do you listen to music while reading? What genres do you enjoy?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cassandra Clare Mega Giveaway

     Have I ever mentioned how much I l-o-v-e the Mortal Instruments series? Well, I do! They have to be some of my favorite books ever, to be quite honest. My best friend handed me the first book in the series (City of Bones) randomly one day last year. Thank goodness she did, otherwise I would have seriously been missing out.
     Now, on to something more fantastic than my boring life... Paperback Dolls is giving away some major prizes. I mean, huge, fabulous, wonderful, to-die-for prizes.  ;)
     As I understand it, there will be three winners: two runners up and a grand prize winner. Among the goodies to be claimed are signed copies of the entire Mortal Instruments series (Yes!), a signed copy of the soon to be released Clockwork Angel (be still my beating heart), and some other things including engraved bookmarks (absolutely amazing). If you'd like to enter this contest (who wouldn't??), simply visit the Paperback Dolls giveaway.

     I should have reviews of these up soon! Good luck entering the contest!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I am so honored...

     I've been awarded my first ever book blogger award! I can now call myself a Versatile Blogger. Does it sound conceited to say that I feel kind of special now?  ;)  Anywho, thank you so very much to Sarah at The Book Bee (make sure to visit this amazing blog)! I truly appreciate the gesture.

     So, there are just a few things to do:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason.
4. Contact the bloggers you've chosen and let them know about their award.

     Seven things about me, right?
1.  I am painfully shy (seriously, if I don't know someone I just can't speak to them). It's so bad that at restaurants I sometimes have to get my mom to order for me because the waiter/waitress can't hear what I'm saying.
2.  As crazy as it sounds, I love school.
3.  I'm a relatively slow reader. It usually takes me a few days longer to finish a book than it does most of my friends.
4.  I have two dogs (Duchess and Stir Fry; don't ask)  and a bunny (Rex).
5.  Eventually, I hope to become a veterinarian.
6.  I can't decide which dessert is my favorite: cheesecake or pumpkin pie.
7.  I despise tomatoes (yuck times a million!) and yet spaghetti, lasagna, pizza and all kinds of other dishes including the fruit (vegetable?) are some of my favorite things to eat.

     Now on to the best and most difficult part about this, awarding other people! By the way, these aren't in any specific order.
     I know I am supposed to pick 15 bloggers, but I really haven't had enough time to explore more blogs than the above mentioned 8. These blogs are really great though and they definitely deserve the Versatile Blogger award!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

"They took her.
 It was a dumb thing to do but it wasn't that dumb. There hadn't been any trouble out at the lake in years. And it was so exquisitely far from the rest of Sunshine's life; she just needed to be alone with her thoughts for a little while. But then the vampires found her. Now, chained and imprisoned in a tumbledown mansion, alone but for the vampire shackled next to her, Sunshine must call on skills she didn't know she had if she is to survive. But her fellow prisoner is not what she expected of a vampire, and soon Sunshine discovers that not only does she need his help, he needs hers..."
--Summary taken form back cover of Sunshine

     I thought Sunshine was a great take on vampires and other creatures of the dark (though mainly vampires). McKinley created an interesting plot, if not a bit slow at some points. It did pick up though!
     The different twists in the plot were really quite creative. I kept expecting Sunshine (Rae Seddon) to just give in and give up. She didn't though, much as she wanted to. After all, who wouldn't want to?
     For some reason I wanted more from Sunshine though. I wanted her to have more of a life instead of almost everything revolving around Charlie's bakery. Don't get me wrong, Sunshine was a deep, complex character, but I couldn't connect to her as much as I needed to. I do wish I could try some of her bakery creations! Cinnamon rolls as big as your head, chocolate death... yum!
     I loved the cast at Charlie's. They were a family, literally and figuratively. Charlie himself was one of my favorites. He always seemed to know just what everyone was in need of. I couldn't make heads or tails of Sunshine's mom. I know she cared about her daughter, but they always seemed to be so standoffish. I have such a close relationship with my own mother and I guess I wanted the same for Sunshine.
     When Sunshine is kidnapped by vampires we learn more about the history of her hometown New Arcadia and the role that other-worldly creatures play in it. It is relatively intricate at times and even a bit difficult to understand, but McKinley weaves her story well and everything falls into place for the most part.
     I recommend this book for ages 14 and up (because of some pretty gory fight scenes and some promiscuity, though nothing graphic or in detail at all). All in all, I liked this book and I recommend it to those who enjoy vampire or supernatural type books!
     Rating: 6
     If you'd like to read Sunshine, try Amazon.