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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September Zombies: shambling their way to a blog near you! (Line-up)

Well, kitties, September Zombies starts tomorrow, and I thought it only fair to let you know what you're in for.
September Zombies is going to be a month-long zombie explosion (<--- eewww), featuring all the icky zombie goodness that can possibly be compiled by yours truly, Titania of Fishmuffins of Doom, Cecilia of the Epic Rat (<--- rat!  We have to like her!), Lexie of Poisoned Rationality,Celi.a of Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia and of course the lovely Miss V of vvb32 reads, who put it all together and keeps us on track.

What do I have in store?

Week 1:
Day 1: Zombies v. Unicorns TEAM UNICORN  + SZ month-long giveaway (Zombie Grab Bag)
Day 2: Spotlight on Zombies Update
           Zombie Craft Challenge
Day 3: Friday Face Off: Icky Edibles (Canned Unicorn v. Zombie Jerky)
Day 4: Short Story Saturday: Life Sentence by Kelley Armstrong

Week 2:
Day 5: Zombiette Round Up
Day 6: Kid's (Craft) Corner: Zombie Barbie
Day 7: First Pages: Zombie Blondes + teaser about Brian James re:Helluva Halloween
Day 8: Unicorn Moment: Robot Chicken
            Wishlist  Wednesday
Day 9: Forest of Hands and Teeth
Day 10: FFO: Zombie Locomotion
Day 11: SSS: "Lazarus" by John Connolly

Week 3:
Day 12: Zombiette Round Up
Day 13: Kid's Corner: My Mama Says There Aren't Any Zombies...
Day 14: First Pages: Hater + teaser about David Moody re:Helluva Halloween
Day 15: Unicorn Moment: Unicorn vs...jellyfish?
              Wishlist Wednesday
Day 16: Boneshaker
             Unicorn Giveaway Spotted
Day 17: FFO: Zombie DIY
Day 18: SSS: "The Perfects" by Jennifer Allison

Week 4:
Day 19: Zombiette Round Up
Day 20: Kids (Craft) Corner: Zombie Sheep
Day 21: First Pages: Zombie Haiku + teaser about Ryan Mecum re:Helluva Halloween
Day 22: Unicorn Moment: Unicorns and Narwhals
             Wishlist Wednesdays: High School Zombies edition
Day 23: Dead Tossed Waves <-- didn't happen; instead: Short Story [Not] Saturday:
            "Bougainvillea" and "Hare Moon" by Carrie Ryan
             "Inoculata" by Scott Westerfeld and "The Highest Justice" by Garth Nix
Day 24: FFO: Zombies vs. Unicorns Final Battle
Day 25: SSS: "Children of the Revolution" by Maureen Johnson

Week 5:
Day 26: Zombiette Round Up
Day 27: Kids Corner: Bone Soup
Day 28: First Pages: Breathers + teaser about S.G. Browne re:Helluva Halloween
Day 29: Unicorn Moment
             Wishlist Wednesday
Day 30: Wrap Up

As you can see, there are some recurring memes throughout the month.  The Zombiette Roundup will be a links page to my favorite zombie posts from the other gals (and if you post for SZ, you may make the cut, too!)  There will be a weekly unicorn moment, as I am the leader of Team Unicorn in velvets ZvU smackdown. (Come back tomorrow and I'll make my case).  Short Story Saturday will be a review of some delightfully sick zombie shorts.   And you all know FFO.

Make sure you check out the other gals blogs -- they have a lot of cool stuff planned, including author interviews and giveaways galore.

And don't forget to limber up, kittens.  The zombies are comin'!

Monday, August 30, 2010

In My Mailbox: August

Should have posted this yesterday, since it was the last Sunday of the month, but I forgot.  Also, I know I am missing some, 'cause I got more books at the library book sale than I have listed, but I've already put them away, so I can't remember...  I'll try to get a video with the books and the ratties up soon. :)

For Review:
Billie Girl by Vickie Weaver (thanks Leapfrog Press!  Read this already, review coming soon!)
Hater by David Moody (teaser coming for September Zombies, good stuff coming for Helluva Halloween!)
In Dreams Begin by Skyler White (for Helluva Halloween!)ke

For sheer awesome:
Brighid's Quest by P.C. Cast and Dirty Job by Christopher Moore  from Tanja, as part of a bookmark swap on Goodreads (bonus!)

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Blameless by Gail Carriger
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibottson
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
Rosie Little's Cautionary Tales for Girls by Danielle Wood
Protector of the Small (First Test, Page, Squire and Lady Knight) by Tamora Pierce
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Dead in Dixie (Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, and Club Dead) by Charlaine Harris
Dead By Day (Dead to the World and Dead as a Doornail) by Charlaine Harris
Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer
Artemis Fowl: Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer
A Wrinkle  in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle
Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle
Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle
Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

library booksale:
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
March by Geraldine Brooks
Plainsong by Kent Haruf
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (<-- something special coming...)
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (for giveaway during Back to School Week)
The Monstrous Memoirs of Mighty McFearless by Ahmet Zappa (<--!)
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

From the library:
a whole mess of books for September Zombies and Helluva Halloween!

You know the drill.  IMM is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

B2SW: Kids Corner: Share From the Heart by Marilyn Randall

Share from the Heart
Marilyn Randall
28 pages 
ages 4-6
Share from the Heart is the story of a lonely dragon named Peter who meets two orphaned brothers on a lonely, dark night, as the brothers were on their way home. They were frightened at first of this huge, fire-breathing dragon, but soon learned that even though there were tremendous differences between them, they could overcome those differences and find true friendship that could be beneficial to all three involved. Marilyn brings Peter to life with lots of character in this heartwarming story written to show small children that overcoming differences rather than shunning and avoiding differences can be beneficial and helpful to everyone. It is a lesson about sharing and wanting to find friendship when it might otherwise not be easily found.

Ugh.  I feel bad for what I'm about to do, because this is a kid's book about sharing (or something) and it does have a good message (I guess?  Maybe?).  This was thoroughly unappealing throughout. I'm trying really hard to think of something that I liked that would make me recommend this book to someone, and I just can't.  In Share from the Heart, Marilyn Randall presents a convoluted -- and exhaustively rhyming -- story that is ostensibly about sharing, but until the two parentless children offer for the creepy dragon to come home and live with them (and share their homes/food/life), I would have thought this was a book about open-mindedness and acceptance.  But no.  The message isn't so much open-mindedness (I mean, it is, really, but that's not the professed message) is that "Happiness and kindness  is sharing whatever you've got/ Be it a home or food or just a kind word on the spot."  There's a forward in the beginning (<-- redundant.  Whatever.) that affirms that what I took from the book is infact the goal (compassion, acceptance, non-resistance to diversity), but it's still presented in this blanket theme of sharing, and I just don't get it.  I don't see how it works together, especially in the mind of a small child.

Added to that is the very lengthy text of the book.  Most pages average 4-6 quatrains of forced and often weird poetry; there's a picture for every two pages.  This ration of text to image just doesn't work for small children.  There are so many reasons why this is, and it should have been considered.  It reads like the author wanted really badly to write a cutesy rhyme, but in order for that to work, she had to draw things out longer than necessary to get to the key lines, and she had to throw in stuff that rhymed, but didn't really work.  It's far to long to hold a child's attention, the story is skippy and hard to follow, and the sheer length of it means that a child is going to be prevented from doing one of the key things they need from storybooks at that age: the ability to look at the pictures and remember bits of text and pretend to "read" it.  This is a first huge step toward reading, and it's one they won't be able to take with this book.  [And before I leave the topic of the writing, I'd like to just mention one thing that really bothered me: there is a line after the boys come upon the dragon and are scared, that says "their knees were still shaking, as if they were drunk."  In what world is this appropriate for a pre-schoolers book?]

Lastly, so I can wrap this up because I feel horrible bashing it into the ground, I want to discuss the illustrations.  Illustrations are key to kids book, both for the reason I just mentioned above, and for sheer visual appeal.  Kids need something to focus on and enjoy looking at.  These illustrations are not appealing.  In the least.  They are clumsy and awkward, and the colors, sizes and details are insipid. Peter the dragon consistently looks a little...off.  His eyes are always bugged out or rolling back in his head.  And the children look like creepy little Village of the Damned kids + their skin is devil red, and they occasionally have evil eye brows.  At first I was somewhat willing to excuse this as a sign that Randall illustrated this herself because she couldn't find/afford an illustrator, but really wanted to get her "message" out there -- then I flipped to the back and read that she "has an extensive background in the graphic design industry."  WTF?  Even if she herself is not a graphic designer, she must know people who are.  Pull some strings, call in some favors, anything to not leave your book looking as strange and blah as it does.

 Freaky little devil children 
with evil eyebrows --->

<--- Am I the only one who finds this thing creepy? 

This week, why not share some of your childhood favorites with a child?
You never know; years from now, they might be dedicating their book to you...

B2SW: First Pages: Monster High by Lisi Harrison

 They prefer to call themselves RADs, but some call them monsters. So far, the "monster" community has kept a low profile in Salem, Oregon, but this year two new girls enroll at Merston High School, and the town will never be the same.
Created just fifteen days ago, Frankie Stein is psyched to trade her father's lonely formaldehyde-smelling basement lab for parties and friends. But with a student body totally freaked out by rumors of monsters stalking the halls, Frankie finds that life in the "normi" world can be rough for a chic freak like her.
She thinks she finds a friend in fellow new student Melody Carver--but can a normi be trusted with her big secret? 

Why I chose this:  I'd say that's fairly obvious.  It's set in a high school, first of all, but it's also a fun twist on the typical story, as this is a school for the children of famous monsters.  Doesn't get much more fun than that.  As long as the rest of the book lives up to the prologue, I think it's a pretty safe bet that this is going to be a fun romp.

This week, why not share some of your childhood favorites with a child?
You never know; years from now, they might be dedicating their book to you...

Friday, August 27, 2010

B2SW: First Pages: Will by Maria Boyd

THE CRIME: It all started when Will mooned the girls' school bus. It wasn't his finest moment. And it's the last time William Armstrong will sully the St. Andrew's community, says Principal Waddlehead-er, Waverton.
THE PUNISHMENT: That's when a teacher worried about Will's home situation comes up with an idea. Why not let Will, a talented guitarist, give back to the school in a progressive manner? Why not have him play in . . . THE SCHOOL MUSICAL?
THE MUSICAl: Now Will is stuck in the school production of The Boy Friend. He's a laughingstock, and he has to give up his weekends for a show set at a girls' finishing school.
THE PLAYERS: There's the trombone-playing seventh grader who proclaims himself Will's best friend and refuses to leave his side. Then there's the undeniably attractive leading lady. Although she might be in love with her costar, the new football hero (and dazzling singer!).
Sharp-witted, funny, and poignant all at once, this is the story of a boy going through a difficult time who, in a most unlikely way, discovers the person he truly wants to be.

Why I chose this:  There's a good energy to the opening, and I love the tagline, "Death by high school musical?".  I think this will appeal to a lot of girls right now (and some boys), and there's a great potential for humor and wit and just plain fun reading, which is great for the teen- reading crowd.

This week, why not share some of your childhood favorites with a child?  
You never know; years from now, they might be dedicating their book to you...

[Please note: this reading is from an ARC of the book, so the final version may differ.]

Thursday, August 26, 2010

B2SW: First Pages: The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

When a marauder destroys the underground sanctuary that Eva Nine was raised in by the robot Muthr, the twelve-year-year-old girl is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is searching for anyone else like her, for she knows that other humans exist, because of an item she treasures—a scrap of cardboard on which is depicted a young girl, an adult, and a robot, with the strange word, "WondLa." Tony DiTerlizzi honors traditional children's literature in this totally original space age adventure: one that is as complex as an alien planet, but as simple as a child's wish for a place to belong.
Breathtaking two-color illustrations throughout reveal another dimension of Tony DiTerlizzi's vision, and, for those readers with a webcam, the book also features Augmented Reality in several places, revealing additional information about Eva Nine's world.

Why I chose this: Gads and gads of kids (and teens, and adults) went crazy over The Spiderwick Chronicles, and I'm sure the DiTerlizzi camp is hoping to catch that same lightning with WondLa.  They have a really cool interactive set-up to lure you in and keep you, a big push from Simon and Schuster, and of course, the fabtastic artwork of DiTerlizzi himself -- this is poised to be a big hit with the imaginative sci-fi/fantasy kids set.  And I have a feeling from this opener that it won't disappoint.

This week, why not share some of your childhood favorites with a child?  
You never know; years from now, they might be dedicating their book to you...

[Please note: this reading came from an ARC, and the final version may differ.]

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

B2SW: First Pages: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.
Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.
In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

Why I chose this:  The setting, Themis Academy, is enough of a reason to choose this for B2SW.  As is the tagline, "Hush little students, don't say a word."  These were reason enough, but I chose this because I think this book may be one of those that captures the minds of teen girls, helps them deal with the bad in their life, and helps them learn how to take control and be empowered.  I've read some really great, glowing reviews, so I'm hoping this one lives up to my expectations.

This week, why not share some of your childhood favorites with a child?  
You never know; years from now, they might be dedicating their book to you...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

B2SW: First Pages: The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter

The Kneebone Boy
by Ellen Potter

The book's set in a small English town and follows the Hardscrabble kids who are relocated to live with their aunt in London, where they discover they might be living next door to “a horribly misshapen boy who has figured in local legend.” It’s the story of the three Hardscrabble siblings and their search for the legendary Kneebone Boy. 

Why I chose this: Unlike some of the others I've chosen for B2SW, I didn't choose this one because it has something to do with a school setting.  I simply think this one is going to be a hit with kids everywhere, and I this opening that I read for the teaser just further confirms this for me.  I don't know when I'm going to get to read it, but a) I am excited to, and b) I wish I could experience it the way I would have if I had read it as a kid.

This week, why not share some of your childhood favorites with a child?
You never know; years from now, they might be dedicating their book to you...

Monday, August 23, 2010

B2SW: Favorites: Savvy by Ingrid Law

I mentioned earlier in my teaser of The Girl Who Could Fly that I thought the excerpt read like a recent favorite of mine, Newbery honor book, Savvy.  When I read this last year, it became an instant favorite, and one that I want to share with every imaginative school-kid I meet.  Mibs and her family are captivating, the language is interesting and fun, and it's just an all-around joy to read. 

For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a "savvy"--a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn thirteen. Grandpa Bomba moves mountains, her older brothers create hurricanes and spark electricity . . . and now it's the eve of Mibs's big day.

As if waiting weren't hard enough, the family gets scary news two days before Mibs's birthday: Poppa has been in a terrible accident. Mibs develops the singular mission to get to the hospital and prove that her new power can save her dad. So she sneaks onto a salesman's bus . . . only to find the bus heading in the opposite direction. Suddenly Mibs finds herself on an unforgettable odyssey that will force her to make sense of growing up--and of other people, who might also have a few secrets hidden just beneath the skin.

This week, why not share some of your childhood favorites with a child?
You never know; years from now, they might be dedicating their book to you...

B2SW: First Pages: The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester

Today's B2SW Frist Pages Teaser is fairly short, and fairly awesome.  Enjoy!

You just can’t keep a good girl down . . . unless you use the proper methods. Piper McCloud can fly. Just like that. Easy as pie. Sure, she hasn’t mastered reverse propulsion and her turns are kind of sloppy, but she’s real good at loop-the-loops. Problem is, the good folk of Lowland County are afraid of Piper. And her ma’s at her wit’s end. So it seems only fitting that she leave her parents’ farm to attend a top-secret, maximum-security school for kids with exceptional abilities. School is great at first with a bunch of new friends whose skills range from super-strength to super-genius. (Plus all the homemade apple pie she can eat!) But Piper is special, even among the special. And there are consequences. Consequences too dire to talk about. Too crazy to consider. And too dangerous to ignore. At turns exhilarating and terrifying, Victoria Forester’s debut novel is an unforgettable story of defiance and courage about an irrepressible heroine who can, who will, who must . . . fly.

Why I chose this:  It's about a group of kids at a school for those with magical abilities -- like a tiny-tots X-Men; who doesn't want to read that?  As I said in a previous IMM, I received this from the Polish Outlander, who is super cool and thought I'd enjoy it.  I think she's right; though I haven't read the book in its entirety yet, I am excited to -- I am completely smitten with this opening bit.  It reads like Ingrid Law's Newbery honor book, Savvy, which I adored.  I have a feeling that the minute September Zombies and Helluva Halloween are over, I will be picking this up.

This week, why not share some of your childhood favorites with a child?  
You never know; years from now, they might be dedicating their book to you...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

B2SW: First Pages: Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe, but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself. Soon she'll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Pheobe's ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn't been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself? 

Why I chose this:  Extraodinary revolves aound a high school, so that's kind of a given; I also think it's going to be pretty popular with high school girls, and I was impressed enough with Werlin's Impossible to want to see where she's going in this one.  And just look at that cover!

[Please note: This reading is from an ARC, so actual quotations may change in the final printing.  Also, this is not completely technically a "first page" -- there is a prologue of sorts which I chose to skip over in favor of the first chapter.]

This week, why not share some of your childhood favorites with a child?
You never know; years from now, they might be dedicating their book to you...

Back to School Week: Wind in the Willows GIVEAWAY

The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame 

The tales of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad. When Mole goes boating with the Water Rat instead of spring-cleaning, he discovers a new world. As well as the river and the Wild Wood, there is Toad's craze for fast travel which leads him and his friends on a whirl of trains, barges, gipsy caravans and motor cars and even into battle. 

This story captivated my child-mind in a way few others did.  From the moment I picked it up I was completely enthralled, and it was a constant childhood companion.  And you may notice one of the main characters is a rat -- I think Rat may very well have paved the road to my slight rattie obsession, as well as this very blog.  So when I saw a beautiful copy at my Friends of the Library book sale, I knew it was meant for a giveaway for one of you -- what better way to share my love of reading and children's literature than with one of the books that started it all?

Just fill out this form for your chance to win.  
Ends Aug 31.

This week, why not share some of your childhood favorites with a child?  
You never know; years from now, they might be dedicating their book to you...

Back to School Week

I had a very last-minute stroke of genius the other day.  I was trying to decide what to do with myself in this last week of August before September Zombies kicks off, and I have a few kids books that need reviewing, as well as some neato kids books from ALA that need spotlighting -- and suddenly, I knew what I had to do: a thoroughly spur-of-the-moment Back to School Week, highlighting some of my favorite books from my school days, as well as some new ones coming out you may want to look into.

So stop in all week long for news and reviews on kids books of all age-ranges, and make sure to enter to win one of my all-time favorite childhood books, The Wind in the Willows!

Want to get in on the action?  Link up your posts below; they can be about your favorite school-days books, the new books coming out that you're pretty sure you would have fallen in love with, sharing books with your children or class -- whatever you'd like!

This week, why not share some of your childhood favorites with a child?  
You never know; years from now, they might be dedicating their book to you...

1st Blogoversary winner!

Thanks to everyone who positively lavished me with praise and lovin' on the Blogoversary entrance form.  I ♥ you guys hardcore.  But lets get down to business, shall we?

According to the Random.org gods, our winner is...

Congrats, Liz!  A spankin' new copy of Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin will be on its way to you soon!  I'm excited to read this one myself, though I don't know when I'll get a chance, so I look forward to your review!

Sad you didn't win?  Don't fret.  Not only am I going to have a monthly giveaway from here on out, but I also have a feeling you may want to check back in with me later for the start of Back to School Week(ish)...Just sayin'...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Arbitrary Giveaway End-date + news

Hey, lovelies.  I just realized that I never gave an end-date for the Blogoversary contest, so I'm going to give you an arbitrary one of this Saturday.  That means you've got a little over a day to enter to win your choice of book from the Prize Pool.

Go dip your toes, I'll wait.


Alrighty, in other news, since I've got a lot of books to unload and pretty much always have a giveaway going, I've just decided to make it a monthly thing (name TBD), beginning on the 1st, and ending when the next begins.  I'll work this into the other things I do, like Helluva Halloween and September Zombies (more on that coming tomorrow...), and new books will be added to the prize pool at random intervals.  So make sure you stop by on the 1st and enter!

Also, I'm going to be reviving some things that I've let fall by the wayside, so keep an eye out for that.

Lastly, I have a few (more than a few) kids books I need to review + I got a lot of ya books that take place at schools from ALA, so I've decided what better way to do them all than in one fell swoop?  So I'm going to wrap up the month of August with a back-to-school week(ish) featuring multiple Kids Corner reviews and First Page readings of said ALA books, as well as discussions of some of my favorite books from my school days and a giveaway of one of them! 
Make sure you stop by, I give good schoolmarm. ;p

Oh!  and (okay, so the last one wasn't really "lastly") -- I'm still looking for participation for Helluva Halloween, on any level, so if you're interested, make sure to stop by the post, find out what it's all about, and join me for some ghoulin' good time.

Okay.  Class dismissed.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey, #2)
by Julie Kagawa
from Goodreads:

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey, iron-bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's alone in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

You may recall from my review of The Iron King that I felt a little let down.  It's not that I disliked it, really, but everyone had absolutely raved about it that I had high hopes -- and they weren't quite met.  This time around, I still don't feel like my original expectations have been matched, but Kagawa has come a damn sight nearer.  I still had a few of the same issues, but to a lesser extent, and on the whole I found this one better developed and more enjoyable all around.

Basically, I still sometimes questioned Meghan's choices and her learning curve; she does make fewer ridiculous deals with faeries, but I wonder at her making any.  She should know better by now.  I also buy her relationship with Ash a little more, and her general humanness when feelings for Puck also come into play.  It's something that would normally annoy me because it seems like too much of a gimmick, but in this case (for the most part, for the time being), Kagawa actually seemed to make it work in a way that felt authentic.  Meghan doesn't feel like both men are her soulmates and how will she ever choose, she feels like she likes Puck and really likes Ash, but lust and pure I-shouldn't-be-doing-this are factors, and it all comes off as more authentic and teen and true than I was expecting.  (Please note I am still opposed to all of the "team" BS.)

I still had a bit of an issue with the fumbling-then-suddenly-allpowerful thing that I mentioned in TIK.  It's a crutch, and it can be wishy-washy.  I'm not going to believe your person who was so damsel-like then suddenly discovers she's got kick ass powers, then...forgets?...and is a damsel, then discovers, then has them blocked, then discovers, latherrinserepeat.  Yes, self-discovery is cool and teen-appropriate.  But I want to buy in, and I don't want to think that everything impossible is going to be cleared away at the end with a sweep of a hand that, oh look!, has magic in it after all.  Especially when I can see it coming a miiiiile away.

But beyond that, I found this one pretty enjoyable.  It was still visual and current like the first one, but with a good deal of growth, and some interesting developments where the characters are concerned that impressed me.  Kagawa wasn't afraid to embrace the gray area in this, and showing that things aren't black and white, and that there is good and bad, darkness and light, in everyone did a good deal to make this more mature.*  I don't know that I am going to put #3, The Iron Queen (who didn't see that coming?) at the top of my To Read pile, but I certainly will read it, and if the growth from Kagawa continues, I may even be impressed.

*Of course, there are still stock characters present to undermine this.  Her villains don't seem to get the same treatment to layer them and add depth, they are simply Bad, capital B.

PS:  Here's my teaser reading of the book, if you want to check it out or refresh your memory.  It was posted awhile ago...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Pages: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Alrighty, as I said in my little update post on Teasers, I intend to share with you some of the first pages of the books I will be reviewing at some point (probably), but not necessarily soon (ie. the hugemongous ALA haul).  I'm starting with Firelight, which is one I was pretty excited about getting.  There is a flub; I've been having trouble with my webcam, so I had to record this on my camera, and didn't want to rerecord it, so I'm afraid you're just going to have to deal with the flub.  Also, please note this is an ARC, so this first page may not be the same as the final first page.  Um, also...*
(*Also, holy boob-shot, Batman!  Sorry about that.  But at least it gets covered with a book fairly quickly...)

September 7th 2010 by Harper Teen 
336 pages
With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the draki—the descendants of dragons who can shift between human and dragon forms. But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness leads her family to flee into the human world, she struggles to adapt, even as her draki spirit fades. The one thing that revives it is Will, whose family hunts her kind. Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him, even though she knows she’s risking not only her life but the draki’s most closely guarded secret.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Teaser Shake Ups

Alrighty, you lovelies should know by now that I like to shake it up on occasion.  One of the things I felt was in need of a shake-up was Teaser Tuesday.    I felt confined by the original meme hosted by Should Be Reading, so I changed it from two lines from a random page to whatever bit of the book I wanted to share.  I then later changed that  to being a vlog teaser where I read you a more sizeable chunk of one of my favorite parts of the book.

Well, I had a few more issues with it that just weren't working for me, so I had to ask myself a few questions -- and I even answered!

Q: Why stick to Tuesdays?
A: There are other times through out the week that I want to tease you.  So I'm going to.  From now on, a teaser can happen at any time, any day of the week.  I obviously can't call that "teaser tuesday" though, so it will just be Teaser: [book title].

Q: What about all of the great books that I intend to review for you eventually, or maybe know I won't review, but still want to share with you?  And all of those ARCs I got at ALA, what about them?  I want to give you guys snippets of their release before it happens, but there's no way I can review them all by then.
A: There's going to be a second style of Teaser called First Pages.  All of the books that I get that I can't wait to share with you, even if I won't be reviewing it soon or ever, and even if I won't even be reading it soon or ever, can still be used to tease you mercilessly.  My solution is to read you the first page or so.  This way, I can tease you with a reading, you can find out about some good books before they come out, and you can gauge whether you want to read it based on the style of the writing.  I very often know whether I want to read a book based on its first page, sometimes even its first line.  So when you see "First Page: [book title]" that will be a vlog teaser reading, akin to Teaser Tuesday (without the Tuesday).

Q: Should I shake-up my readings for September Zombies and Helluva Halloween?
A: Hell yes!  I will  be doing some zombie readings, and I will be doing some costumed readings, and that's all I am going to say on that...

Hope you guys like the shake-up.  You all are welcome to appropriate them for yourselves and post your own First Page readings or discussions, and I would love if you link them up (or your reviews of books whose first pages I share!)

And hopefully soon I'll have a button and a go-to page for all of this teasing. :)

Edit: After posting this, I had intended to post the first First Pages teaser, and I proceeded to record it -- only to discover that there is some wonky weirdness going on with my webcam.  Spent all day fussing, to no avail.  Grr.
So teasers coming soon.  Hopefully.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Iron Butterflies: Guest Review from my buddy Melissa!

Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and the World
by Birute Regine 

partial summary from Goodreads: 

A profound transition is taking place in our society, a revolution that is largely hidden, and led predominantly by women. A society once based on domination and power over others is beginning to crumble as an era of cooperation and community emerges, founded on the principle that power should only be exercised with and for others.
This is the inspiring, central message of Iron Butterflies, a compelling narrative that weaves together the stories of sixty successful women from all walks of life and throughout the world...

When I was offered a copy of this for review, I knew that I'd be a bit too busy, and not quite interested enough to want to review this, but I immediately thought of on of my best friends, Melissa -- this book seemed right up her alley, and may even come in handy in her chosen field (social work).  So I asked her if she'd be willing to review it for ya, and this is what the lovely M had to say:

Me and Melissa -->

Iron Butterflies by Birute Regine provides several stories of women who've empowered themselves politically, socially, economically, and personally. It provides a detailed look at the ways women are succeeding with femine power in a male-dominated society. She tells the stories of businesswomen, community organizers, entrepreneurs, and caregivers who are progressively changing the way their organizations work.

The book begins by detailing the history of feminine power and explains the important roles women have played in tradiational societies. It exposes the myth of the submissive women who was powerless in early civilization and also looks at spectrum of respect and value placed on women in the past. The author explores several different societies and institutions and explains the roles women played, the power that they had, and how they used their feminine wisdom.

The author explains the importance of traditionally feminine traits in creating better relationships in both personal and professional areas. She argues that compassion, vulnerability, and a willingness to listen are cruical to forging effective and strong relationships that allow women to make positive changes that affect their lives, the lives of others, and entire communities. By using the stories of women in vastly different situations, Regine illustrates how these traits can be used to break down barriers and create more beneficial and meaningful relationships. These changes ultimately make workplaces, communities, and organizations function more efficiently and effectively, and result in women feeling more empowered and satisfied with their lives.

This book calls women to embrace their feminine power, to use their vulnerabilities and compassion to develop stronger relationships, and to reject the masculine, impersonal status quo that dominates todays society. Regine describes the stories of over fifty women who have used their feminine power to create better workplaces, communities, and experiences for both men and women fortunate enough to be involved in such progress. 

It was inspiring to hear the stories and thoughts of women who have used their feminine power to overcome harsh, impersonal and masculine functioning and make their lives more productive and enjoyable.

The women she writes about come from a variety of situations. Some were uneducated, poor, and had access to very few typical resources, and other were educated, wealthy, and had many resources at their disposal. This made it easy to see different ways women can use their tendency toward compassion and listening to open themselves up to create more fulfulling, and consequently more efficient and effective relationships.

The author gave several tips for women on how to draw on their feminine power to help begin making similar changes in their lives and relationships.

It was also inspiring to see a history of women that explained their positive roles, and to hear about different societies that valued the women's maternal wisdom. 

Well done, Melissa!  Her first non-school-related book review, folks, give her some love!
Thanks. =D

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In My Mailbox: July

You know the drill.  IMM is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

Here's mine for July!

Random ALA ARCs for the reviewing (eventually) and the whatnot:
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (ARC)  <-- currently resides in the prize pool
Monster High by Lisi Harrison (ARC)
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (ARC)
The Witches' Kitchen by Allen Williams (ARC)
Fixing Delilah Hannaford (ARC - I think the final is just called Fixing Delilah) by Sarah Ockler
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan (ARC)

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford (swap w/ Kristen for my Ranger's Apprentice ARC)

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

From JG of The Introverted Reader:
Captain Wentworth's Persuasion, Regency Dance Card notebooks, magnet and sticker (all Jane), as the prize for her JnJ Character Connection giveaway; plan to read CWP for JnJ2fast2furious

For bookclub:
Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore

Last but not least, for sheer awesomeness, from the Polish Outlander:
The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith (signed!)
Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Nary E. Pearson
The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski
Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern
The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester
This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas

Not that I needed any more books after ALA, but I got a pretty good haul of awesome, thanks in large part to people who are full of it (awesome, that is...).  And next weekend's the annual library booksale, and some time in Aug I'm supposed to take a trip up to King's (huuuuuuuuuge), so August is probably going to be pretty full too.  And then I think I'll have enough to last me about a century or so...

CSN Bookshelves WINNER!!!

Alrighty, folks.  The CSN Cube bookshelves giveaway ended yesterday, and though I love to make you wait until you're dying with anticipation, I thought I'd be nice and let you know who won.
So with no further dudes*, I give you THE WINNER...



Thanks to everyone who read the review and entered, sorry you weren't as cool as Amanda. :p
Amanda, I'll be emailing you to confirm!  You have 24 hours to respond, at which point someone else may become really cool...

*without further dudes courtesy Peter Griffin. ;p


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