Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Vacation Time!

red & green bells gif Pictures, Images and Photos

Hey, everybody... Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from me (Cathy) at Abnormally Paranormal Reviews!

It's been one interesting and fun year for me, as I only started this blog back in June of this year. It's been really great getting to meet so many really cool book bloggers and readers, and discovering all the incredible BOOKS out there and their authors... Wow! It's the best part about it all, right?

I'll be going on a Holiday vacation from blogging, so I won't be posting any blog posts for the next week, or so. I plan on returning to blogging action on Monday, January 2, 2012, so I hope y'all have a very Happy New Year, as well!

Peace out... er--Peace on Earth!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens 

Genre: Fantasy/Christmas (novella)
Reading Grade: Adult
Publication Date: December 17, 1843
Source: purchased paperback
Age Rating: all ages

Ebenezer Scrooge is a heartless old miser who hates everything, especially Christmas. Then one mysterious Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by three spirits who take him on a fantastic journey and teach him the true meaning of the season. 




 
My Review

Here's a review of an old classic that I bet a lot of people these days don't actually sit down and read much anymore, like I do sometimes. Which is a shame because reading the actual novella of this well-dramatized tale is so much more insightful and fun than getting it from some modern adaptation. Reading from The Master himself, Charles Dickens, is like being transported back in time to when he lived and breathed and celebrated Christmas the way people did back then.

People threw parties and invited over their family and friends and played 'blindman's bluff' and 'yes and no,' and drank spiked punch, knowing it was spiked, and ran around in the snowy streets of London buying the fattest Christmas geese they could get from the nearby street vendors. It sounds like it was all so festive and lively. And, Dickens is the best at describing things in a way that makes it feel real, which is like having a freakin' time machine! I'd give anything to go back in time to his day, and thankfully, we sort of get to because of his writing legacy.

Probably one of the best preserved records of how people lived during Queen Victoria's reign of Great Britain are contained in anything Dickens wrote, but what makes this one so special is how it captures their Christmas, and how the way we modern people celebrate it today was only just starting to take shape back then. In fact, they began the tradition of sending each other Christmas cards that same year, in 1843, when this story was published. And, in 1841, Prince Albert popularized the Christmas Tree, bringing that tradition to all the English-speaking world from Germany.

And, to think that Christmas and how we celebrate it is really not so different than it was back then kind of touches my heart. If only I could tell Mr. Dickens that his ghostly little story—which he liked to call it—is still so popular to this day. That we can't even separate it from Christmas at all! We still cry when we think of Tiny Tim and what Scrooge did to prevent his untimely death—becoming one of literature's greatest villains-turned-heroes. Hopefully, our modern society will continue to keep A Christmas Carol in our hearts for several more generations yet to come….

My score: 5 out of 5 stars. (I LOVE this.)

 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings (TTT #8)

"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly book blogger meme hosted by

This week's list topic is...
 
 
 
TOP TEN BOOKS I HOPE SANTA BRINGS ME

 
1. Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles, #3) by Kevin Hearne
I know I'm getting this one because I already ordered it from Book Depository for myself. I'm completely crazy over this series, so I had to get the most recently published book. Call me a nerd, but this book series is so amazing! I love how quotable it is, and the characters are friggin' ridiculous in the good way. I only say 'ridiculous' when something is so amazing, I can't even qualify it. I just don't want to do anything else but read it.

2. Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2) by Cassandra Clare
I'm really excited to read this, so as for what gifts I want to get for Christmas, this tops my list. I'm dying to read more about, well, mostly Jem… and, Jem and Tessa together.

3. A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2) by Beth Revis
I loved Across the Universe—one of my favorite books from 2011, so I'm eagerly awaiting when I'll be able to get the sequel in January.

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1) by Laini Taylor
Everybody seems to think this one is so great, and I'm just feeling like I'll be left out if I don't read it. It sounds like it'll be awesome.

5. Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1) by Tahereh Mafi
Again, another book that people are raving about, so I need to jump on this bandwagon, or get left behind.

6. Darker Still (Magic Most Foul, #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber
This one looks really good and has a pretty interesting premise. I love the Victorian era, and it sounds so captivating.

7. Blood (Mercian Trilogy, #1) by K.J. Wignall
I know this title hasn't received the best reviews, but I still really want to give it a try. I want to read it for myself and see if it has any merit. Usually, I like my intelligent vampires.

8. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
This is still yet to be released, but early reviewers are already raving about it. I figured it'd be a nice one get a jump on in my anticipation of it being a big hit in 2012.

9. Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1) by Orson Scott Card
Yeah, I've got to read this one, since I do love sci-fi and this one is considered a classic in the genre.

10. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Maggie Stiefvater is such an amazing writer, and I loved Shiver, so I figure I'll love this title, too. I hear it's so good, it's like a classic waiting to happen, bordering on the literary. Sounds really good.

What books do you all want Santa to bring you?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent


My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers, #1)
by Rachel Vincent 

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: August 1, 2009
Source: Kindle store purchase
Age Rating: 14+

She doesn't see dead people. She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next. 


My Review

This is a series that I had given up on after reading the prequel short story, “My Soul to Lose,” but I decided I should give the regular novels a try, after all. I didn't think it was completely fair of me to judge an entire novel series based on one little prequel short story, since authors rarely put very much effort into writing them. I'm glad I decided to try the novels out because the first one really is far more interesting than the prequel.

Kaylee Cavanaugh starts out having already been to a mental hospital because she couldn't stop screaming when she sensed the imminent demise approaching a boy in a wheelchair at the shopping mall. She has no idea why she did that, and in this volume, she starts doing it again when some teenage girls start dropping dead all around her, and her urge to scream continues.

This novel is well-written and carries you along with its quick pace—which I like because it makes me read faster. I'm a pretty slow reader, so any book that can make me get through it faster automatically becomes more likeable. Never a dull moment, even when nothing terribly special is happening, because once a little lull in the plot starts becoming evident, some wild and crazy thing happens. It keeps you moving right along with an actual plot, which earns more points from me.

The characters are interesting, too—especially Kaylee. She's a good person who is brave and won't just let other characters do everything for her. And, she won't let them keep things from her, either. She wants to know what's going on and what she can do to help. Nash, her love interest, is not as interesting as she is, to my dismay, but he's a good guy. I sort of wish I felt like the two had more in common with each other, or had a realistic reason to be so into each other. To a degree, their relationship feels too shallow, and I'm not a fan of characters hooking-up so early on in a story with each other. Although, it may be justified in this story.

Tod was my favorite character. Because he's a guy who deals with the dead, he can't be completely trusted, and he's as wily as a fox. I like him for being the trickster that he is, and he's the type who will help people usually if they make it worth his while. He was just cute and intriguing, so I'm interested in seeing what role he'll play in the rest of the novels. Hopefully, there is a lot more of him, as there wasn't much of him in this installment.

Overall, I think this series has strength in its great story-telling, which never lets you get bored, and its dramatic characters. Because death is the subject of the story, there is plenty of that, too. It kind of forces you to wonder all the time you're reading, who will die next? You never know, and that keeps the suspense alive and well.

My score: 4 stars out of 5. (I really liked it.)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Quick Bookish Survey

This is something I saw on The Broke and the Bookish blog, and they invited others to participate, too. I figured that'd be fun, since I've got not much to blog about for the time being.

Do it if you feel like you're getting the midweek blogging sag...


The book I'm currently reading: 

Finally! I'm reading Kevin Hearne's Hounded, which is so funny and lovable and fantastic. Atticus is like no other hero, even if he's not your typical Puritanical American hero-type. But, hey, he's an ancient Druid. They were no Puritans. And, Oberon... Wow. What an amazingly cute dog. I want to squish him forever. Can I have your dog, Addy? If you don't want him anymore, that is... (Yeah, right. That'll happen.)


The last book I finished: 

I won't say too much about this one because I will be reviewing it on my blog here, but I will say that it took quite a bit of effort to finish this one, and it was only 226 pages long. You interpret that however you want to.... <whistles>




The next book I want to read: 

I bought this recently because my mom likes this series more than I do, and she really wanted to borrow it. Of course, I like this series, too, so I want to get into before too long. She said it was really exciting compared to the first one...




The last book I bought: 

The most recent book I purchased was Samantha Young's Blood Will Tell for my Kindle. Can you even NOT look at this cover?! Lord have mercy... I nearly paid 9 times as much for this book (it's a 99-cent indie) just to have the paperback with this amazingly, craze-balls hot guy on the cover! But, since he looks like he'll burn my house down if I so much as breathe wrong, I decided to stick with the ebook version. (There is no cover in that doc.)


The last book I was given: 

Technically, I was gifted this book by the author because she saw that I had it on my wishlist. How sweet of her! I really need to read it soon because it's so short--how could I not get to it right away? This was the last book someone gave me, although Andrea @ The Bookish Babes is giving me an ARC of a graphic novel she has already read and reviewed. But, this is past tense, and, if I'm remembering correctly, I'm sure this was the most recent book I was given.  


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top Ten Books to Give as Gifts (TTT #7)

"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly book blogger meme hosted by


This week's list topic is...

 
TOP TEN BOOKS I WANT TO GIVE AS GIFTS


1. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins
I was trying to figure out what to give my brother and his wife for a Christmas gift this year, then I realized they probably have never read The Hunger Games. They're not huge on reading, since they've got two little tots to worry about, so I already got this for them.

2. The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht
I got this one for my sister, figuring this would be up her alley. She loves reading contemporary literary fiction and nonfiction. I've never read it, but it's become such a huge hit since its release this year.

3. The Soul Screamers, Volume 1 by Rachel Vincent
This one has a funny story behind it. I purchased this omnibus on my Kindle, right after it came out, then got an email the VERY next day telling me I had won the paperback in a giveaway! Yeah, I kind of wished I had held out for one more day. But, since I have it and don't need it, I'm giving it to my sister's teenage daughter, who is a big reader.

4. Raggedy Chan (The Illustrated Edition) by Camille Picott
The author, Camille Picott, sent me an illustrated version of her Chinese Heritage Tale, Raggedy Chan, after I had already reviewed the ebook version (it's great). I figured I would give it to my two nieces, who were raised in China, and only recently moved back to the States. I don't have any kids of my own, and it would be the perfect book to give a child.

5. Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth
Destined to become a household name, I'm sure a bunch of people are going to put this book on their “TTT” lists this week. It was an awesome read, and I'd give it to someone if I had enough spending money for gifts. But, I don't, so maybe that will have to wait until next year for someone.

6. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra Clare
If I weren't already equipped with a book to give to my teenage niece, I'd buy her this one for Christmas (provided I had the money, too). This was such a fantastic read with really fun and hilarious characters. Plus, I'm sure she hasn't read many historicals.

7. This Dark Endeavor (The Dark Endeavor Chronicles, #1) by Kenneth Oppel
Here's another one I'd give my niece, so long as she likes reading historicals, after all. This was one of my favorite books this entire year! I love it to pieces, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is at least a teenager, or older.

8. The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1) by Julie Kagawa
Of course, this series is pretty much my favorite one, so naturally I'd give this book to a reader who fit the bill. Not sure I know anyone off the top of my head, but if I had loads of cash, I'd be trying to fit it with somebody just so I could give it away as a gift.

9. Matched (Matched, #1) by Ally Condie
This book is perfect for anyone who appreciates teen romance novels, as it is thoroughly engrossing and engaging. I found myself so lost in the story, I forgot that I was just reading fiction. I had to remind myself, “None of this is real—none of this is really happening!” I'd give this to any niece, or friend of mine.

10. The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, #1) by Clay & Susan Griffith
This is one I think my sister-in-law and maybe even my oldest brother (her husband) would like. They are both pretty avid readers (not like me, but close), and she would like the sweet romance, and my brother would like the political intrigue. I love the vampires and how unique they were. This is a great story with a very realistic adult romance couple. 


That's my list, folks. What's on yours this week? Hopefully something just for me...? 
 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Review: Nine-Tail Fox by Camille Picott


Nine-Tail Fox: A Chinese Heritage Tale (Vol. 2)
by Camille Picott 

Genre: Fantasy/Mythology (novella)
Reading Grade: Middle Grade
Publication Date: September 28, 2011
Source: paperback from author
Age Rating: 10+

When fifth-grade Emma Chan-McDougal is ridiculed by her classmates for being part Chinese, she's devastated. To ease Emma's wounded self-esteem, her aunt, a Chinese immigrant, spins the mythical tale of a brave little Nine-Tail Fox named Ainu who lives in San Francisco.

In a parallel animal world that comes to life when humans slumber, Ainu Nine-Tail and her mother face off against Chih Yu, an ancient demon who feeds on hatred. As the last of their clan, the Nine-Tails are honor-bound by a family oath to defend the Chinese animals from the demon. When Chih Yu kills her mother and leads an angry mob against Chinatown, Ainu is left to complete the task alone. Raw with grief and only partially trained for battle, Ainu must reach deep inside herself to find the wisdom and courage to save her people.

Will the journey of Ainu Nine-Tail help Emma find the strength to confront the school bullies and win back her confidence? 
 
My Review 

Oh, wow—another awesome Chinese heritage tale by Camille Picott! I like this one even better than Raggedy Chan. It has all the excitement and thrill of a big-budget classic Disney animated film with cute Chinese fantasy animals as its main characters. 

This story is all about teaching kids how to deal with racially motivated bullying, as it draws from the annals of San Francisco's history of Chinese discrimination. I don't know anything about it, but apparently, back in the 19th century, Americans wanted the Chinese immigrants to leave because they were taking away jobs, food, and commodities from San Franciscans. 

In a gorgeous and wonderfully creative allegory using white nine-tail foxes and black, horned leopard-like creatures, Picott tells the story of how a young female fox named Ainu manages to defeat the evil and deceitful Chih-Yu, a spirit-world monster that feeds on and grows stronger from the hatred of the corporeal world's inhabitants. His purpose is to destroy all the descendents of General Nine-Tail, which Ainu Nine-Tail happens to be. 

In the story, this allegory is being told to ten-year-old Emma Chan-McDougal, who is half-Chinese-half-American, by her Auntie Gracie, a Chinese immigrant living in San Francisco. In her own loving and tolerant way, Auntie tells Emma not to get discouraged by the bully at her school who calls her a squint because she has the physical features of a Chinese. That “friend” has only been tricked by Chih-Yu, who makes Americans hate Chinese people, and in the tale, she relates exactly how Ainu defeated Chih-Yu so Emma can do it, too. 

Needless to say, it does the job wonderfully for the young girl. I really enjoy this story, as it flings you right into the action and devastation of the first Act, which left me in early tears. Then, more tears as Ainu leads the way for her fellow Chinese animals, and helps to ensure that Chih-Yu will never regain the power of hatred ever again. 

I think anyone who loves epic tales of heroism, much like what you see when you watch a classic Disney cartoon, will adore this novella. Although this is completely different from Mulan, Ainu displays a very similar sort of courage and bravery to Mulan's, which will leave you feeling proud and satisfied in the end. It's a fabulous read for any child, whether bullied or not, Chinese or not. In fact, people of all ages would enjoy this and should read it. 

* I received this complementary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

My score: 5 out of 5 stars. (I loved it!)



Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Classics Reading Challenge 2012



The Classic Reading Challenge 2012 is a bookish challenge hosted by


Since I've always had a healthy interest in the classics, and I still want to read many of them that I haven't yet, I figured this challenge would be perfect for me this upcoming new year. I'm only going to start out challenging myself to read 3, which is the Level One category. I may end up reading more than that--who knows! 

My choices for classic literature to read that I haven't yet for this challenge will be:

1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (in time for the movie by December 2012!)
2. Persuasion by Jane Austen (always wanted to read it.)
3. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (this one should be totally fascinating.)

___________________________


Here are the parameters of the challenge. Click here if you're interested in signing up for yourself!

You have 5 levels to choose from:

Level One: 1-3
Level Two: 4-6
Level Three: 7-9
Level Four: 10-12
Level Five: 13-15

Of course, you can read whatever number of classics you would like to. This is just a guideline if you want to have one.

Here's the details:

1. This challenge starts January 1st 2012 and ends December 31st 2012.
2. All books read for this challenge can be counted toward all other reading challenges.
3. All books chosen for this challenge must be books you have NEVER read or NEVER finished that were written prior to 1980.
4. Choose a level or number of books you would like to read.
5. Create a sign up post for your blog including the Classics Reading Challenge picture above and the books you would like to read (you can change your mind at any time).
6. Sign up for the challenge with the link to that post (at the original blog).


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Review: "Blink" by Bradley Convissar

"Blink"
by Bradley Convissar

Genre: Contemporary/Fantasy/Horror
Reading Grade: Adult (flash fiction)
Publication Date: November 8, 2011
Source: Kindle freebie
Age Rating: 15+

Meet dentist Brian Mallory. He's always considered himself a grounded man. A rational man. A reasonable man. But what he finds in the mouth of nineteen year old Amy Gladwell one afternoon during a routine cleaning makes him begin to question his own sanity.

It's amazing how quickly everything can change in a a blink of an eye.

From the author of the Pandora's Children collection of short stories, the novellas
Dogs of War and King of the Merge, and the short story “Last Dance of a Black Widow,” comes “Blink,” a chilling, 3,500 word short story about a simple day gone horribly wrong. 

 
My Review

I found this flash fiction for free in the Kindle store and it caught my eye based on a few reviews stating how shocking and horrific the big plot twist is. I read the premise and found myself wanting to discover just what these reviewers were talking about. Plus, I had the time to read something only 3,500 words long, and had the money to buy something free—just barely. <wink>

But, I gotta say, the big scary reveal that is supposed to freak me out really didn't. As the main character realizes he's seeing something really bizarre in the tongue ring of his female dental patient, he feels disturbed. He examines it a little more closely, and I had an idea of what I thought it most likely was. Then, he finds out exactly what the weird thing in her mouth is, and it ends up being exactly what I figured. Not much of a surprise for me. Had it been something I never saw coming, then I would have been shocked, of course.

So, while this story was very well-written and held my full attention from beginning to end, it just didn't 'wow' me the way I expected it to. Still, it was good. I'm not sure there is a sequel, so don't expect the story to continue elsewhere, even though it seems like it ought to, judging by how it ends. But, read the story and see, when you find out what the tongue ring really is, if it surprises you, or not.

My score: 3.5 stars out of 5. (I liked it.)



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Future Reads #14: Existence by Abbi Glines

Here's where I babble about a book yet-to-be-released, but is about to be, that I want to read very badly. This one comes out in a week, so I'm just barely doing this post in time!


Existence (Existence, #1)
by Abbi Glines

Publication Date: December 13, 2011

What happens when you are stalked by Death? You fall in
love with him of course. Pagan Moore doesn’t cheat Death, instead, she falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore, has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn’t let them know she could see them, they left her alone. Until she steps out of her car on the first day of school and sees an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he's dead. Not only does he not go away, when she ignores him he does something none of the others have ever done; he speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What Pagan doesn’t realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul. He is Death and he is about to break all the rules.


Okay, that cover.... <falls down dead> Some covers just make you stop breathing, and this is one of them. Yikes! But, even so, this books sounds totally amazing, if the early reviews are any indication. The main hero character may be one of those dangerous bad boy types, but I don't mind them if they are written right. I loves me some anti-heroes with big hearts. I'm just assuming he'll be like this since this guy Pagan, the main character, falls for is Death. Or, Dank. Something like that...

Who else is excited about this one coming out?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Review: Wildefire by Karsten Knight


Wildefire (Wildefire, #1)
by Karsten Knight 

Genre: Fantasy/Mythology
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: July 26, 2011
Source: purchased hardcover
Age Rating: 15+

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm. 
 
My Review

Wildefire is a pretty wild(e) ride—a great story replete with everything you need to have a satisfying read. The world-building feels complete, the characters are well-developed and interesting, the plot has enough going for it to keep it moving along at a good pace, and it manages to shock you a bit here and there—not to mention the megawatt shock of the cliffhangery, plot-twisting conclusion! Whoa… Didn't see that coming.

Ashline Wilde is a Polynesian teenager who was adopted by white Jewish New Yorkers at a young age along with her older sister, Eve. Both of these young ladies are temperamental to say the least, but Ash is inclined towards remorse and guilt in a way that seems to evade Eve. Eve does something so severe to show her love for Ash, it only makes Ash terrified of her, and Ash ends up transferring to a private high school in Northern California just to escape the trauma. Eve is constantly on the run, popping in and out of Ash's life like a ghost she can't fully escape.

Ash ends up meeting other kids with abilities like herself at her new school, which sounds implausible, but the way it's written is completely believable. They all find they have a 'Professor X,' if you will, a ring leader who understands their purpose better than they do, individually, and Ash is informed that she and her unusual friends are all reincarnated gods and goddesses of myth and folklore from all over the world. Pretty darn cool if you ask me.

The complication arises from, who else but Eve, the unscrupulous older sister who reminds me of an evil Kim Kardashian—always beautiful, glamorous, and a total diva. She's a fun character who actually does seem genuinely interested in turning Ash to the dark side so they can be together, but Ash will have none of that. She just wants to be as normal a teenager as possible, sans the crazy sister, and this seems to be the prevailing sentiment with most of her gang of supernatural friends.

But, Ash realizes she needs to watch out for the quiet ones, the friends who don't stand out, nor seem suspicious. She needs to remember this because it's those people who will turn on her, providing a good amount of the shock factor in the story. Of course, I won't spoil who any of these traitorous people are, or who really is just playing the part of a friend to her. You'll just have to read it to find out for yourself.

Some of the most enjoyable aspects of the novel are, for one, the very funny narrative voice, which doesn't surprise me, since I've been watching Karsten Knight's vlogs since a year before this book was published. He's hysterical and I was very happy to find the story written with his delectable sense of humor. The other aspect I love is the origin story of the universe and the concept of The Cloak. They are very odd, mysterious beings that Ash encounters a few frightening times, and I still don't know what to make of them. Good? Bad? Neutral? I just don't know yet, but I look forward to finding out in future installments.

My score: 4 out of 5 stars. (I really liked it.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Follow Friday #2 (12/2/2011)


Follow Friday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by 
Rachel @ Parajunkee & Alison @ Alison Can Read


This week's question:


What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don't like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it!



1. My biggest pet-peeve is usually located within the YA reading grade of books. It really bugs me when the female teenage protagonist can NEVER even look at the "best friend" boy that's always by her side, and is totally in love with her. She ALWAYS has to be so entranced by the other boy, the mysterious bad one that treats her like dirt, but is SO sexy and good-looking. I'm rolling my eyes. Can't the lesser-attractive boy be the one she falls for, once in a while? Why am I NEVER seeing this? Examples are every YA I read, and ever have.


2. My other one is lack of a plot in any book. It never ceases to amaze me that authors just don't plot their stories, like at all! Wow. Maybe this trend is newer, but some authors are looking to the screenwriters of Hollywood to get info on how to do this, because it makes a big difference. No more sagging middles and stories where nothing is actually happening the entire way through. The most plotless one I read this year was Fallen by Lauren Kate. Nothing happens in that book. NO-thing.  


3. Last one (but, there are others) for this post is poor world-building. I hate when authors just don't put any real effort into their story's world-building when they're writing sci-fi, dystopia, or fantasy. If they're not giving us the details in book 1, I'm inclined to think those details don't exist. Maybe they do, but put them in book 1, so I know. The worst is when those details make no sense. Wither by Lauren DeStafano is a good example of a book that just had poorly thought-out world-building. Some was there, but it made no logical sense. It was obvious the writer wasn't ready to write sci-fi, because that is what the genre of dystopia is. (Although, maybe it can be without sci-fi elements?)


What are your pet-peeves, fellow blogger & readers? I'd love to find out, so comment away!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Best of the Bunch #2: November 2011 Pick



"Best of the Bunch" is a monthly book blogger meme hosted by Lyrical Reviews
Once a month, participants pick the best book they read for that month and give it the "Best of the Bunch" award!


Here's my "Best of the Bunch" winner for the month of November 2011. And, it was really hard to choose this one! (Just kidding...big time.)


_____________________________________________



The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, #4)
by Julie Kagawa




As if any of the others I read in the past month could compare? This is my favorite book series, so of course it beat out all the others. It's very different from all the other books in the series, but because of that, it functions perfectly as a wind-down, sums-every-thing-up way to end the Iron Fey books. It's beautiful, hypnotic, dreamlike, magical... Just an overall humanly amazing read. 

Read my review of it here: [review of The Iron Knight]


What's your "Best of the Bunch" pick for this past month?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Top Ten TBR Books for Winter (TTT #6)

"Top Ten Tuesday" is a weekly book blogger meme hosted by
 
This week's list topic is...

 
 
TOP TEN BOOKS ON MY TBR LIST FOR WINTER


1. “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens
I've read this novella before, but I wanted to again, since it's been, like, ten years since I last did. It's just awesome and Charles Dickens is the author all authors should aspire to write like.

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Yes! I'm finally going to be reading Harry Potter in January of 2012! HP gets featured more than any other book in my “TTT” posts. I will no longer be in the dark about this series…

3. Halflings (Halflings, #1) by Heather Burch
This is an eARC I just received through NetGalley, so I plan on having the review ready right around release day on February 1, 2012. It sounds really good, which is why I requested it.

4. Borrowing Abby Grace (The Shadow, #1) by Kelly Green
I've read some positive reviews of this series of short stories, and it sounds really interesting. I loved Quantum Leap as a kid/teenager back in the day, and this sounds like a girlie YA version. Love that idea!

5. Crossed (Matched, #2) by Ally Condie
Not a fantasy title, but one of my favorite dystopia series. I bought it early for my mom to read because she is a big fan, but I won't be able to read it until early next year.

6. Hounded (Iron Druid Chronicles, #1) by Kevin Hearne
I've had this book around since last summer and still haven't been able to find time to read it. I'm dying to, though! Reading the prequel made me laugh so hard! I cannot wait. All other books just need to get off my back for a week so I can take care of this one.

7. Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1) by Gail Carriger
This one looks so interesting and fun to read, and I've had it since the Kindle sale, which was kind of recent. It's one of those perfect-for-me titles, all historical, witty, and Jane Austen-like. And steampunk!

8. Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1) by Richelle Mead
I obtained this title, or will be obtaining it, from Swap.com, which is a way to get media by trading your own media for it. Really excited about reading this one, since everyone seems to love it so much.

9. Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2) by Cassandra Clare
As soon as I can get my hands on this title, I'll be reading it! All other books need to shut up when this one comes home because I need to read about my book boyfriend, Jem, and see what crazy things he's going to get caught up in this installment. Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait…

10. Dark Seeker (Seeker, #1) by Taryn Browning
I have an eARC of this book and have been meaning to read it for a while, but my other ARCs keep getting in the way. They need to step-off! Seriously, I can't be the only book blogger who thinks her books talk to her, yell at her, whine, cry, etc., can I? The more I get, the noisier my room gets with all their incessant “Read me! I'm next!” Okay, maybe it IS just me…


So, what are you all going to be reading this Winter?
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