Friday, September 30, 2011

"Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Blog Award"

Thanks to Sullivan McPig for nominating me for this awesome award.

According to Gini Koch's site here's what the award is all about:
"The award was created to honor those whose blogs who exemplify the qualities Katherine “Kitty” Katt has -- those who always stay cutting edge, who always find the fun, the funny, and the cool, and who are always one step ahead of the competition.

The “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Award” is only given to the amazingly awesome, so get down with your bad self, you’re deemed worthy to run with the A-C’s! And you’re also one step closer to being in the running for some cool prizes. (Contest is international.)

Now you get to spread the awesome by nominating other bloggers who are also harder, better, faster and stronger than the average blog bear. Not everyone’s as cool as you, so choose carefully!"

Find out all of the info here

5 People that I feel deserve this award are:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

First Thought:  Why isn't it Friday yet????

Second Thought:  I love my job but this remodeled space we're in is driving me crazy.  Here's some evidence of all the "lovely" design decisions.
These crazy lights hanging down practically blind me throughout the day.
So many patterns in one place kind of burns the eyes but at least students seem to like the chairs.  :)
Here's a great view of the crazy carpet.  It kind of makes me dizzy when I look at it.
Third Thought: I've been reading a lot of books lately but am a tad behind on reviews so some quick impressions - 

Haunted by Kaleidoscope-chan - This story is supremely weird but also supremely fun.  

The Future of Us by  Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler - It's a fantastic look at how technology has had an effect on every part of our lives.

Blood Drive by Traci Houston - This book was a surprise.  I liked it a lot more then I thought I would.  The story is a little loose structure wise at times but the characters are great.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday - Fever

"Waiting On"  Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

This week I'm waiting on... 

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

* Book will be released February 21, 2012

I can't wait to read this book.  The first book Wither was a crazy read but I loved every second of it, as you can see from my review
After the ending of the last one, I can't wait to see what happens next especially since in this world you don't grow old you just die young.  Rhine has a lot of choices to make and a pretty ruthless enemy to overcome. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Garish Glow

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

* Received ARC from TOR via a post on Twitter where the first 100 people to respond won a copy.

2 gnomes and a gnome hat out of 5 gnomes

This book kind of felt awkward while reading, I don’t think I’ve ever vacillated between loving and hating a book so much while reading. The book has it's good parts but there is some stuff that it kind of hard to get through. I found myself wondering throughout why the book is titled Glow. It's a good title but doesn't seem to connect anywhere in the story so far.

Books set in space always interest me just because there is so much that can be done with this environment. My love for all things Star Trek probably also influences my love for space books. It's easy to have lots of tension when people are stuck in one environment and have nowhere else to go. 

In this book the main tension though is pretty predictable when in the first chapter you find out that they aren't the only ship out there. No one knows what to expect and then of course things go awry. It was surprising how fast things went wrong and how ill prepared the adults of the ship were when there's big troubles.

I usually like books that have two points of view.  This book though, not so much.  At first I really liked Kieran but then I got to the chapters from his point of view.  They just bring the action in the story to a screeching halt. Waverly actually grew on me as a character while Kieran just made me madder the more it switched to his chapters. I would love this story a lot more if it was all told from Waverly's point of view.

Waverly by far is the stronger character of the two. She becomes the defacto leader of the girls because she's the oldest. They all look to her to see what they should do when they are separated from everybody but each other. She is actually a believable leader for a rebellion I just wish more time had been spent showing all the planning that Waverly and the girls have to do to escape.

The two love interests couldn't be more different. If we're picking teams though, I'm definitely Team Waverly over any of the guys. Kieran seems to be to pliable and like he might go power hungry eventually. Seth, the other love interest, seems like a good guy at first but as the story progresses isn't exactly a stable guy. 

There's a lot of craziness in this story and that's what kept me reading. Plenty of uncomfortable moments abound and will make you question if there are any good guys. Another bit that is kind of all over the place is the view on religion. Even in the future I don't think that ships would be separated purely by religion (that's just asking for trouble). Even though I'm not the most religious person I'm not sure that religion should be shown to be the answer to or the most evil thing all in one novel. I guess I just like a bit more hope in stories.

The ending does make the set up for the next book look interesting but I don't know if I'll actively seek out the next book or just wait until it's on sale somewhere. Overall an okay read but not as exciting as I originally thought it would be.

Most awkward quote ever:
"He loved her long arms, her strong bones beneath olive skin, and the silken hairs hairs that wandered up her fore-arms."

My thought upon reading the above quote: Who the heck talks like that.  Not exactly what you would want a guy thinking about, right??

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sentence Sneak Peek - Glow

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

The first sentence from each chapter of Glow, it's a mini summary of what you can expect to read.

* Received ARC from TOR via a post on Twitter where the first 100 people to respond won a copy.
* Spoilers are highlighted like so :)

"The other ship hung in the sky like a pendant, silver in the ether light cast by the nebula."

"Everything we have, they have," Waverly repeated under her breath as she marched down the corridor toward the living quarters she shared with her mother."

"Kieran followed the Captain at a frantic clip toward the starboard shuttle bay."

"We just want to move you girls to a safe place," the man with the scar told Waverly as he and six others ushered all the girls down the corridor toward the port side."

"One moment Kieran had been staring at Waverly's slender back, im-ploring silently, Don't go."

"The shuttle lurched as it left the Empyrean, then settled into a smooth flight."

"Wake up."

"When Waverly opened her eyes, she saw the nurse, Magda, standing over her with a syringe."

"Anne Mather's prayer rang in Waverly's ears as she tried to sleep that first night in the dormitory."

"Anne Mather led Waverly to what would be the Captain's office on the Empyrean, but here the room had a feminine quality."

"Waverly met up with the rest of the girls in the tropical produce bay."

"Waverly's hosts for family time were Amanda and Josiah Marvin, and they were more nervous than she was."

"The next morning, the matron turned on the lights and clapped her hands."

"At first, Kieran didn't care about the alarm sounding through the ship, warning of a reactor leak."

"For hours, Kieran, Seth, and several of the older boys watched the crew in the engine room as they worked at an increasingly feverish pace."

"Kieran hadn't slept in over forty hours."

"Kieran woke after a few hours, not quite refreshed but better able to function now that he'd rested."

"For a time, all Kieran could do was hold on to his seat."

"Kieran woke with the side of his face crammed against a metal floor."

"Waverly smiled, half-hidden behind the fruit bowl, leaning her chin on her hands."

"The rattle of glass woke Waverly."

"When Waverly awoke, the swelling in her abdomen had been re-placed by a terrible ache."

"The next morning, Amanda came for a visit."

"Early the next morning, Amanda brought a black smock and a lace handkerchief into Waverly's room."

"It happened strangely."

"On the day of services, Waverly rose, bleary and anxious."

—," Samantha started to say, but the guard tightened his arm around her neck, and she gagged."

"How many hours
—days—had Kieran been lying on this cot in the brig, staring at the ceiling?"

"Kieran slept."

"For the first few days, Kieran could only sip broth and eat bread."

"One evening, after a long day of running the combine in the corn-field, Kieran sat in the Captain's chair in Central Command, watch-ing the com terminal."

"The ship was dark."

"Kieran was running the combine, binding hay into bales."

"He pulled off her clothes and left her sitting naked on the edge of his bed while he ran a bath."

"They slept together until a knock sounded on the bedroom door."

"Kieran got to his knees, thankful that his sermon had gone so well."

"Waverly lay on the floor of her mother's untidy bedroom, unchanged from the way her mother had left it months before as if frozen in time."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Marvelous Mail

Check out my Klout Perk of MOO MiniCards - I love them, they turned out great.  Now I feel all official-like actually having business cards.  :) 

Also received a finished copy of The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton from Tor|Forge Books.  I've been looking forward to this book since the first time I heard about it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weekend Reads

Some great books that I plan to read or start to read this weekend:
This book looks really interesting, especially the concept of knowing in 1996 what would happen to you 15 years latter.

 A good looking book that I'm part of a blog tour for.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lovely Liesl

* ARC read via Around The World ARC Tours  
* Book will be released October 4, 2011

5 out of 5 gnomes

Loved this book so much.  It reads like a classic fairy tale and I know it’s something that I plan to read over and over.  The story is full of strong characters, mystery and magic.  This is my kind of ghost story, it has more hope then sadness or scary times.  It deals with death and the afterlife in a rather unique way that is once again more hopeful then sad.

First of all, the illustrations are fantastic and really bring the story to life.  I wish my drawings using crayon could look half as good as these do.  Having kind of child-like drawings add more of an air of whimsy to this well-written book.

The characters in this story are intricately intertwined and every single character is important.  All the pieces fall together and it feels like the story couldn't have gone any differently.  The multiple perspectives and intriguing locale really help the reader immerse themselves even further into the story.

The story starts with Liesl who  is locked in the attic, she’s been locked in there for a long time now.  She's not doing well at all because her father has recently died.  The atmosphere perfectly fits her mood.  The world is dark and grey because the sun has not been seen in over a thousand days.  Then one night Po and Bundle are drawn to her.  These two appear and she quickly accepts them even though they are ghosts that she can barely see.

Events are quickly set into motion when a fateful mistake leaves Liesl unknowingly with the greatest magic in the world.  This magic has an effect on everyone but remains elusive to those who search for it.  

Liesl's quest quickly brings her into contact with a whole host of characters as she tries to bring peace to her father.  Every single event is important and every character has a part to play.

This is a magical story filled with darkness and ghosts but also full of life.  The tone reminds me a bit of Coraline.  Lauren Oliver writes so eloquently that you'll find yourself caring about the fate of all the myriad characters.  These characters just burst of the page and you'll find the pages just flying by.  I highly recommend this story and can't wait to read more of Oliver's books.

It looks like there are a lot of fun extras with this book that can be found at:

Check out the beautiful book trailer:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Marvelous Mysterly

Thanks to Tor|Forge Books for a finished copy of Down the Mysterly River.  This means I now have an ARC and a finished copy so I've decided to have a giveaway for the ARC.

This is a great book, you can see my review here

September 22-29
Open to US for this book
If your name is drawn and you're International you'll win $10 to The Book Depository just make sure you live in a country that the Book Depository ships to.

Rules to enter:
1.) Just leave a comment with your name and email address.  If you don't want to leave your email address leave your Twitter, or Facebook details.  Just make sure I'm able to contact you if you win.
2.) You don't have to follow the blog to win, but feel free to follow if you like what you see and leave any comments on reviews or posts that you find interesting.  :)
3.) For an extra entry you can write a haiku about your favorite character from any series or story.
4.) Giveaway will end on September 29th at 11:59 PM. (Central Time)

* Winner will be posted sometime on September 30th

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Band Bonanza

 4 out of 5 gnomes

This book was really funny, especially for anyone who's been part of marching band.  I practically had flashbacks of marching and the smell of astroturf while reading.  This story reads like a primer on what marching band and music can mean to a person.  

Elsie is kind of a brat and know-it-all at first.  She is redeemed though because she grows into a more likable character as the story progresses.  At first she kind of reminds me a little bit of Frasier because she's very particular and believes that she should be the best at what she does.

The story is fun and relatable to what everybody goes through when they start high school.  She's just pushed headfirst into the process when she has to add band camp to her activities.  Elsie is thrown for a loop on the very first day of band camp when she finds out what exactly she signed up for.  She seems to have a knack for getting into embarrassing situations and the very first day gets the nickname Chicken.  The group has lot of chants and rules that she knows nothing about and has to learn as fast as possible.  She finds herself not being the star player that she's used to being and this bugs the heck out of her.

She feels like quitting after the first day but she needs to be in marching band or she won't be able to try out for or attend a prestigious music camp that she's dying to get in to.  It's great to see her slowly make friends and realize that being perfect is not all it's cracked up to be.

Her parents are in the picture but they just seem to add stress to the already overly stressed Elsie's life.  Her father has the job that she wants, he plays French horn with the Boston Symphony.  He doesn't overtly pressure her to play perfectly but she still feels this innate need to succeed as soon as possible.  The mom is nice but not as strong a figure as the father, she's more of a peace maker between the two.  They are also both way overprotective.    

There are plenty of misunderstandings and boy trouble.  There seem to be two potential love interests and this makes Elsie plenty confused.  The reader has to wonder if Elsie will even pick a boy over her French horn, which seems to be the most important thing to her. 

Elsie grows so much as a person thanks to marching band.  The choices she makes and the journey she goes through are great to read about.  By the end she is a better more relaxed person one that would make a good friend and has a better grip on what she wants her future to be.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sentence Sneak Peek - Notes From an Accidental Band Geek

Notes from an Accidental Band Geek by Erin Dionne

The first sentence from each chapter of Notes from an Accidental Band Geek, it's a mini summary of what you can expect to read.

* ARC read via Around The World ARC Tours
* Spoilers are highlighted like so :)

"Dad, seriously."

"I hoisted my stuff and stepped away from embarrassment ground zero."

"That first rehearsal?"

"Ensemble was just as tortuous."

"I let myself in through the kitchen door and plopped the seven zillion tons of brass instruments, papers, and embarrassing memories on the floor next to the bench at our table."

"Over the next week, I attended every band camp session and doubled my practice time at home to learn the hateful mellophone."

"Later that night, I tore through my closet, trying to figure out what to wear for the first day of school."

"After French, I ran into Jake outside of my history class."

"After three days of freshman-only lunchtime orientation sessions
—meet your guidance counselor, here are good ways to manage your time/deal with stress (ha!), and an intro to the computer lab and library services—the school finally let us have a regular lunch."

"Three weeks into the school year was our first major marching band performance."

"One afternoon a couple of weeks later, Sarah met me at my locker before lunch."

"I wish your father wouldn't hide his peas under his mashed potatoes."

"At the end of the day, I stopped by the front office and picked up the ugly plastic shako box."

"If I thought the first day of band camp was chaotic, it was nothing compared to competition day."

"Let's say there's such a thing as "sneaking" a delicate sneeze during parade inspection—which is nearly impos-sible anywaythere'd be no mistaking the lion-like sound I make when it happens.

"Right after the collapse, it was total chaos for what felt like two hours, but was really only about ten minutes."

"The next couple of hours flew by."

"My parents found me back at the buses and congratulated me."

"I sulked over the competition for about a week."

"That Saturday, before my private lesson, Mom brought me to Sarah's house to work on our costumes."

"By Friday night I was a jangle of nerves."

"We'd been at the dance for an hour, but I hadn't danced at allinstead I'd spent most of the time playing name that tune with Hector and reminding myself to relax and have fun.

"I didn't know what to do."

"My day didn't improve at school."

"After getting my horn and band buddy, I found a piece of floor away from Hector and Sarah where I wouldn't get trampled and waited, alone."

"Around me, the excitement built as Mr. Sebastian and AJ ushered us out for practice."

"Wrapped in a fog of worry, I went home wishing there was someone I could talk to about my Darcy's/Shining Birches dilemma."

"I hid in my room for the rest of the night, rejecting my mother's two attempts to talk."

"I spent all of lunch blowing my brains out on my horn, work-ing those audition pieces like it was my job."

"I joined the rest of my section in our customary practice spot by the oak tree."

"I saw the next few days through a near-constant blur of tears."

"My dad had a concert that night, so we didn't have round two of our fight over the dinner table."

"I thought prepping for a field show took a lot of work; working on a parade routine for a nationally televised cel-ebration made any rehearsal before this look like a nursery school music class."

"School dragged by slower than a mouse towing a concrete block across a football field."

"A little while later, Jake took out a deck of cards from his bag."

"As soon as the group saw me peek out the window, the chanting began."

"Luckily, the rest of the ride to New York was nowhere near as interesting or entertaining."

"AJ, Mr. Sebastian, and the band parents corralled us and ushered us back to the buses so we could change and have breakfast."

"The review stand was packed tighter than a whale in a bikini."

"I don't remember much after the disastrous end to the solo."

"By the time we boarded the bus to go home, I was feeling just as good as everyone else about our performance, and had even managed to accept a few compliments regarding the solo."

"That night, after I enjoyed some of Aunt Denise's dry reheated Thanksgiving turkey, my mom and I sat on the couch together and watched coverage of the parade on the news."

Coda - "So, that Saturday, Dad and I drove to Chestnut College for my Shining Birches audition."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Marvelous Mail

Had a happy weekend when my Honorary Mention prize from Gini Koch's Comic Con Swag Pack contest showed up.  :)
Lots of cool posters, postcards, excerpts from upcoming books and other miscellaneous stuff.

Gotta love these postcards and now my magnet collection is complete. :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Borders Bargains

My latest bargains from my last two trips to Borders.  There was still some great stuff left and I even  saved some of my favorite books for a contest I'll have later featuring favorite sequels in series.  Also with all the savings I saved almost $100 according to the receipt.

16 books for under $33= a great day for savings but a bad day for my favorite bookstore.  I was sad to find that my favorite location that I've gone to forever was already closed down.

.  Receipt savings of $291.59.  Also bought two ereader cases that said Borders kind of as a souvenir.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

We have a Winner

Congrats to Sullivan McPig, winner of  a PDF version of Tales from Frewyn.  I'll e-mail the author and let her know that you're the winner.  Hope you enjoy the stories.  :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Woebegone Why

Why We Broke Up by  Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman

* ARC I read via Around The World ARC Tours
* Book will be released December 27, 2011 

3 out of 5 gnomes

This is one of those stories where I like the concept much more then the actual story and characters.  This story is like a picture book but for young adults.  The whole picture book for young adult's concept was what interested me in the book.  I'd love for more pictures/illustrations in a book to become a trend.

This whole book is written supposedly as a letter from Min (short for Minerva) to Ed, listing the reasons for their break up.  Once again I love the idea but the book could stand to be a lot shorter.  Not to sound harsh or anything but I did find myself wondering at times when it would end.

The drawings are really the best part of the story, they give the book a fun quirky quality.  I found myself looking forward to what would be drawn next.  I may have to check the book out from the library just to see all of the drawings in full color. 

The writing at times feels like a really long epic poem.  Like I am about most poetry though I just wanted it to get to the point.   It has great writing but it just wasn't one of those books that could draw me in and keep my attention.  

Min's a good character but kind of awkward.  She is the kind of person that if I saw them in real life I'd probably steer clear of them.  She has a pretentious quality to her that makes her hard to like at times. 

Mina and Ed, the kind of couple you look at and wonder how it would ever work out between them.  Even thought from the title of the book, you know what happened, if you're like me you'll look for ways that they could have made it work.  Their relationship is strange from the start but it seems to work for them.  The saying is that opposites attract but Min and Ed are almost polar opposites.

Seeing this whole relationship laid out like this kind of feels like some anthropological experiment that just got unearthed.  It shows how fast a relationship can form and then just as quickly go sour.  The whole book kind of feels like one of those wrecks that you know you should look away from but can't.

Overall, an experimental feeling type book that is worth reading at least once.  I wasn't the biggest fan of this book but I can't wait to see what Daniel Handler writes next.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lovely Lola

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

* ARC I read via Around The World ARC Tours
* Book will be released September 29, 2011

5 out of 5 gnomes

Wowser this book was such a great read.

Lola’s character really grows on you as the story progresses.  She makes a lot of mistakes but she's also someone that you'll find yourself rooting for.  I was wondering at times whether she would get through everything okay.  I know I was envisioning all kinds of crazy scenarios, so I’m very glad that it ended the way it did.

Lola’s relationship with Max is crazy, he's twenty-two years old and going out with a teenager.  This situation feels like one of those times where you’ll find yourself wishing that you could talk some sense into a character while reading.  Their relationship just made me cringe at times and hope that not too many mistakes would be made.  With all that said though the relationship was believable even though Max seems like a real jackass.

Cricket, the boy next door mentioned in the title of the book, may have a strange name but wow he’s quite the guy.  Well if I may use old timey speak, Cricket seems like one heck of a tall drink of water.  He has beauty, brains, and is always making new inventions.

I love Lola’s dads Nathan and Andy.  Her whole family situation is more then a little crazy and her two dads seems to be the main anchor in her life.  Seeing her mom will make you hope that Lola is not like her.  The family dynamic is a breath of fresh air because both of her parents are attentive and actually are a very active part of Lola’s life.

I like how the relationships in the book are represented.  There is nothing easy about the choices that everyone makes.  Trust has to be built and there's no instamatic connection where love triumphs all right away, it has to be earned.  Cricket and Lola are unique characters and a lot of fun to read about.  Once again I really enjoy Stephanie Perkins writing because even the side characters in her stories are interesting and important.

It’s so much fun seeing more of Etienne and Anna.  They are still a pretty swoon worthy couple and I like how they were integrated in the story.  I love how characters from Anna and the French Kiss blend so seamlessly into the story and I think there was a clue to who the next book will be about.  This companion novel was extremely well written because now this world has even more characters to care about.  Sometimes companion stories can spend all their time on the old characters and forget the new but in this story they are vital in their own right to the current story being told.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about fun, quirky characters, and all the craziness of their lives.  Overall this story is full of surprises and will leave you waiting impatiently for the next book.

My Favorite Quote/Line
"Just because something isn't practical doesn't mean it's not worth creating.  Sometimes beauty and real-life magic are enough."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sentence Sneak Peek - Lola and the Boy Next Door

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
The first sentence from each chapter of Anna and the French Kiss, it's a mini summary of what you can expect to read.

* ARC read via Around The World ARC Tours
* Book will be released September 29, 2011
* Spoilers are highlighted like so :)

I have three simple wishes.”

She’s just as beautiful as she is on television.”

My supervisor is rearranging the saltshakers.”

He’s sitting in his window.”

Max picks his black shirt off his apartment floor and pulls it on.”

When I was five years old, Cricket Bell built an elevator.”

He was doing it right there in the open!”

I should’ve wished for the gumball.”

It’s embarrassing to admit, but whenever Max and I are on a date, I want to stay out longer, walk farther, talk louder, so more people will see us together.”

The moon is fat, but half of her is missing.”

The more I think about our conversation, the more frustrated I get.”

Andy said that?”

It’s been years since I’ve been here, but Muir Woods still makes me feel as if I’ve stepped into a fairy tale.”

Skin and bones.”

I shouldn’t have come here.”

Nathan wakes me up early so we can talk before school.”


I’m encouraging him.”

I’m ambushed as I pass the Bell house the next morning, but not by the preferred twin.”


I love watching Max onstage.”

I’m discussing Max with the moon, but it’s supremely unsatisfying.”

I like to try new things.”


I’m dizzy.”

The rational side of me knows that I need some kind of release.”

Nathan grabs Cricket by the shoulders and throws him off my bed.”

Cricket isn’t the only thing I have to earn.”

It’s the Sunday before school resumes, and my parents are on a date.”

Max has always known what to say—and when to say it—to make it hurt the worst.”

The doorbell rings early the next Saturday.”

I work all day and night on Calliope’s costume—seam-ripping the old ones, stitching new pieces together, adding flourishes from my own stashes—only stopping for a quick break at my window around midnight.”

The wig comes on, and I’m . . . almost happy.”

Moonlight shines into my bedroom and reveals his fragile state.”