Top Ten Tuesday #14

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created & hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Posts…
That Give the Best Picture of ME 

Hrm. This is a hard one. I’ve got a fairly bold personality and it seems to, at least most of the time, show in my posts.  But, well, let me see what I can pull up.

  1. Any post about the Thirst series by Christopher Pike - Since this series is probably one of my favorite of all time (partially because of pure nostalgia but mostly because it’s just awesomesauce vampire yumminess) and is one of the series of books that got me interested in Fantasy sorts of stories, I feel like my fangirl giggliness over this series is a fairly accurate picture of the Ree.
  2. My review of The Selection by Kiera Cass - Because I am a blunt, honest person and sometimes my snark gets a little out of control. I’m also OCD and I tend to write things down as I’m reading if something annoys me enough. This review is a prime example of how nitpicky I can get.
  3. The post about the super-pretty Penguin classics covers - I’m a tomboy, but I have some serious girlie girl moments. These incredibly gorgeous froo froo covers make me gleeful and happy.
  4. This post about YA love triangles - Because, yeah.  Ugh.
  5. Any Banned Books Week post - Mmhmm. I am passionate about this.
  6. Where I announce the arrival of Baby Literary Obsession - Do I need to explain this one? ;)
  7. My “Why I Don’t Like Twilight” post of doom - This post used to get me a lot of hate mail. I haven’t gotten any in a while, though…how odd!
  8. This review of Speak - It’s a powerful book. It touched me, and I say as much in my review.
  9. This speaking up for Speak post - This kind of ties into my review of Speak, and the Banned Books Week posts.
  10. For the life of me, I cannot find a #10.  Oops!
Leave me a comment with a link to your Top Ten list…I’ll pop by and have a look!  :)

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle HodkinTitle: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Hardcover: 464 pages

Where’d I Get It: Purchased

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

My ThoughtsYou know those books that are talked about and spotlighted and there’s so much hype that every time you turn around you’re hearing about the bloody thing…so you buy it because OHMIGOSH everyone loves it…and then it SUCKS?  Yeah, this isn’t one of those books.  The hype was there, the twittery fluffy hyper flurry of crazy talk was there, and the book kind of lived up to it.  Was it perfect? No.  Was it pretty awesome, anyway? Yes.

The funny thing is, I didn’t buy this book until I received an ARC of the second one.  I kind of felt like I might as well read the first so I could read the second, and, well, here we are.

To be honest, I had some mixed feelings about the book as I was reading it.  There’s a lot of backstory, but not a lot of action. However, Michelle Hodkin’s writing is such that I really didn’t care. As a reviewer, I was aware of the lack…but as a reader I was engaged enough with what I was reading that it just didn’t affect the experience.  I wanted to know more, I wanted to keep reading, and I got frustrated every time I had to put the book down.

As a busy woman with a 14 month old little boy who is constantly on the go and a house that seems to always need cleaning and errands that always need running…for me to want to just block everything out and read is pretty rare nowadays.

One of my favorite parts of the book is that the story is so FRESH.  It’s not just the same old YA story parroted back in a slightly different style with renamed characters and a few frilly details tossed over to camouflage the lack of creativity – it’s ACTUALLY a good, new, exciting story. Yay!

This book makes you run the gauntlet of feelings and I sympathized with Mara so.very.much. as we got further into the book.  I became invested in the characters and in the story and boy was I glad that I had the second book in the series to start immediately after.

As I write this, I’ve already finished the second and I am wishing I’d waited to read both of them til the third was out..but, alas, I did not. And I will have to sit and stew and think and wait…

You can better believe, though, that if I don’t receive an ARC, I’ll be buying it the day the thing’s available. This story rocks.

Buy it. Buy 2 and give one to a friend.  Just make sure you read it.

Rating: 4.5 of 5

SeriesMara Dyer, Book 1 | Second: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Review To Come)| Third: TBR November 4, 2014 The Retribution of Mara Dyer

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarryTitle: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Hardcover: 416 pages

Where’d I Get It: For review from the publisher.

Synopsis (From Goodreads): “I won’t tell anyone, Echo. I promise.”Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins?His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. “You didn’t do that-did you? It was done to you?”No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

My ThoughtsThis book was unique in its deliverance. Each chapter is from the viewpoint of either Echo or Noah, and I’d have to say that it worked for me.  Most of the time you only get one point of view and by doing it this way I was able to grow closer to both main characters and understand where each one was coming from.

I couldn’t really relate to either of the characters as I’ve never been in either of their positions before but the pain they felt seemed real to me. I do feel like Echo and Noah were almost too mature for high school students in some aspects and then the author would turn around and “dumb” them down a bit. There was a bit of inconsistency there.

One aspect of the book that I loved is in the back of the book where the author listed songs she listened for inspiration for each of the characters and some of the scenes in the book. It was really neat to get some insight into the mind of the author.  There will be another book coming out with Beth’s story and I will read it based on what I read in Pushing The Limits.

Rating: 3 of 5

Frost – Wendy Delsol

Frost by Wendy DelsolTitle: Frost
Author: Wendy Delsol
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
Hardcover: 384 pages

Where’d I Get It: For Review from the Publisher

Synopsis (From Goodreads): In this sequel to STORK, Katla Leblanc has to employ her grit, spirit, and special gifts to rescue the boy she loves.

After the drama of finding out that she’s a Stork, a member of an ancient and mystical order of women, and that her boyfriend, Jack, is a descendent of the Winter People able to control the weather, Katla Leblanc is delighted when all signs point to a busy and peaceful Christmas. That is, until the snowstorm Jack summons as a gift to Katla turns into the storm of the century, attracting Brigid, a gorgeous scientist who, in turn, attracts Jack. Between the school play, a bedridden, pregnant mother’s to-do lists, and keeping an eye on her aging grandfather, Katla doesn’t have time to question Brigid’s motives or deal with Jack’s increasingly cold behavior. But Katla’s suspicions mount when Jack joins Brigid on a research expedition to Greenland, and when the two of them go missing, it becomes clear that Katla is the only one who can save her beloved Jack from the Snow Queen who holds him prisoner. Adventure, romance, and myth combine in this winter escapade for teens who like a bit of fire with their ice.

My Thoughts: After not entirely falling in love with Stork, the first book in this series, I was hesitant and skeptical when diving into the sequel.  I do love a good fairytale retelling, and this book is…of a sort.  There’s some hints of The Snow Queen by Andersen, but what could have been a lovely story was bogged down by smatterings of other tidbits of folklore from different cultures and times.

Katla has only grown up a little bit. To me, she seemed to still come off as the shallow little chit she was in the first book. I cannot believe someone like that would be tasked with such a hugely important thing.

Also, why in the world is this series called the Stork series? It’s not about babies being given to families, it’s about a teenager’s love affair.

I can still appreciate the author’s writing style.  I finished the book even though I didn’t really love the story – and it’s all because she knows how to weave words nicely.

Anyway, I’ll just stop there.  I probably will not read the third in the series, Flock.  Or maybe I will, just to see if there’s ANY focus on the actual business of storks.  You know, the baby bit that was promised?

Rating: 2 of 5

My review of the first in the series, Stork.

Top Ten Tuesday #13

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created & hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Characters…
I’d like to Switch Places With for 24 Hours 

Bahaha, fun! Let’s see if I can come up with 10…

  1. Sita from The Last Vampire/Thirst series  by Christopher Pike - Because oh my gosh, how freaking awesome is SHE!
  2. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter - Oh come on, you knew that was coming! I’d pick a 24 hour period when there was nothing scary happening, though! I’m a wuss. ;)
  3. Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre - Yep. Would love to experience her life for 24 hours. How eye opening would that be?
  4. Bella from Twilight - Because I would tell old Eddie to STOP BEING A STALKER and tell him to take a long walk off a short pier, just like that twittery little fussbudget should have done about 3 pages in. UGH!
  5. Nancy Drew - You know you want to be her for 24 hours…you just can’t admit it!
  6. Elphaba from Wicked - Mmhmm, sure enough. Green and all.
  7. Jacinda from Firelight - I love dragons. I want to fly around for 24 hours and eat sheep and stuff.  Ok, maybe not the eating of sheep, but still.
  8. Amy Harper Bellafonte from The Passage - She is made of awesome.
  9. Alice from Alice in Wonderland - How trippy would that be?
  10. Daenerys Targaryen - Told you, I have a thing for dragons. :)
Leave me a comment with a link to your Top Ten list…I’ll pop by and have a look!  :)

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

My Name is Memory by Ann BrasharesTitle: My Name is Memory
Author: Ann Brashares
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Hardcover: 324 pages

Where’d I Get It: Purchased

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has “the memory”, the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he’s previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.

My Thoughts: If you’re looking for a not-so-typical love story, this is the book for you. Ann Brashares brings to life a story of love, redemption, faith, and retribution.  It’s a story full of twists and turns with a lot of lovely detail, but flows smoothly and easily enough to keep the attention of even the most casual of readers.

I was drawn into the story from the beginning and became invested in the characters almost immediately.  They are likable and believable and they grow through the story. Daniel is deep, Lucy is sweet, and the villain is just villainous enough to make you want to scratch his eyes out.  Totally love it.

What I think truly got me, though, was the beautiful prose.  Brashares quite possibly could have written absolute drivel and made it sound good; she’s able to weave words into a gorgeous tapestry of literary goodness that really must be acknowledged.

Now, despite all that glowing happy lovie yayness, I have to say I -hated- the ending. I loathed it. It was a cliffhanger of epic proportions…and there’s absolutely no promise of a sequel in what was once proposed to be (and apparently written to be part of) a trilogy.  Were it not for the ending, it’d have been a 4 star review; since there’s absolutely no resolution to the story, however, I knocked one star off.

You should still read it – just don’t expect the ending to be tied up in a nice little bow.

Rating: 3 of 5

Feature & Follow Friday #7

First things first…what is the Feature & Follow Blog Hop? Well, it’s a weekly meme hosted by Rachel @ Parajunkee and Alison @ Alison Can Read. The meme helps to launch new book bloggers and also makes it easy for quite a few already established (and new!) bloggers to get together once a week and go on a commenting-frenzy. Make new friends, get in touch with old ones…it’s a win/win for everyone!

  1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
  2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  5. If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
  6. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  7. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
This week’s features are: Alisa @ Books Are My Reality & Michelle @ Concise Book Reviews
The question is:

What was your favorite book that you were required to read when you were in school?

Well, it absolutely was NOT The Great Gatsby. Ugh.
I think my fave would have to be Of Mice and Men.  I loved that book.  Brave New World was second.  :)

Please follow via the Linky Follow on the sidebar; if you despise the Linky, there’s also Feedburner, WordPress Email, and Twitter here. :)


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The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagan

The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe PaganTitle: The Art of Forgetting
Author: Camille Noe Pagan
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit
Publisher: Dutton/Penguin Group
Publication Date: May 14, 2011
Hardcover: 284 pages

Where’d I Get It: Bought it.

Synopsis (From Goodreads): Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and enjoying the benefits of being best friends with gorgeous, charismatic, absolutely alpha Julia Ferrar.

And then Julia gets hit by a cab. She survives with minor obvious injuries, but brain damage steals her memory and alters her personality, possibly forever. Suddenly, Marissa is thrown into the role of alpha friend. As Julia struggles to regain her memory- dredging up issues Marissa would rather forget, including the fact that Julia asked her to abandon the love of her life ten years ago- Marissa’s own equilibrium is shaken.

With the help of a dozen girls, she reluctantly agrees to coach in an after-school running program. There, Marissa uncovers her inner confidence and finds the courage to reexamine her past and take control of her future.

The Art of Forgetting is a story about the power of friendship, the memories and myths that hold us back, and the delicate balance between forgiving and forgetting.

My Thoughts: You know your favorite pair of slippers?  The one where they have been worn in just right for superior softness, the ones that are molded to your foot?  Well this is how I perceive writing this book was to the author.  Ms. Noe Pagan has experience in every topic that she wrote about in this book and conveys it in a natural way.  When describing brain injuries, she didn’t make it sound text bookish or boring, but wrapped it in to the story, keeping the plot interesting while sneaking in some learning.

Marissa is a likeable character that any non super model can relate to, we’ve all been there, done that and can appreciate the emotions the character feels during different periods in the book.  Julia becomes a love/hate character, you hate that she seems so perfect, you love that she is brought down a peg, you hate yourself for thinking that about someone going through a catastrophe and then we all grow up in the end.

Overall I’d say that this was an enjoyable book, although nothing in it is all that new or exciting.  Get it at the library.

Rating: 3 of 5