Friday, April 29, 2011

The Friday Five

For this week's Friday Five, here are five things I'm excited about.

1. The trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

2. The cover for James Dashner's The Death Cure. Remember when I said that the Maze Runner was kind of like Inception? Guess the cover artist was listening.

3. This handy dandy Hunger Games tribute casting Facebook page.

4. Some day I will own an e-reader so that I can read this book by Nicole Williams. I heard about Nicole through book blogs, read her clever bio, and decided I needed to read more of her writing. Some day, people, some day.

I love this cover. Kindle owners, do you get to see the cover?

5. This isn't book related, but I loved Kate Middleton's wedding dress. Behold the pretty:

Picture from

What are you excited for this weekend? And what are you calling the forthcoming Harry Potter movie?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mixed Review: The Goddess Test

The Goddess Test
by Aimee Carter

The Short Story 
With Kate's mom in the final stages of her battle with cancer, the two move back to the small Michigan town where she grew up. After a mean prank goes very wrong, Kate makes a deal with Henry, who claims to be the Greek god Hades. If she can pass seven tests she'll become a goddess, queen of the Underworld, and prolong her mother's life. Or she could die trying. Interesting take on Greek mythology, but I just couldn't buy the story.** 

Come for the...
mystery. Like Kate, I wanted to figure out what was going on, who the bad guys were, and what she would be tested on. This is definitely a page turner. I flew through the book, even as I began to solve most of the mystery and the story became harder and harder to believe.  I expected some action, and just when I was sure there wouldn't be any, found myself surprised.

I was also surprised by the tests themselves. Even after being told what they would be like, I appreciated the fuller explanation near the end. I actually didn't recognize any of those as they were happening. I figured out who many of the key players were early on, but I was still surprised by things as the book wrapped up.

Stay for the
beautiful cover; handy spoiler guide (there's a reason it comes at the end of the book); the sequel, Goddess Interrupted out in 2012.

Why this wasn't a "Read This"

  • I had a hard time staying in the story and wondered why certain things were happening. Why was there a ball? Why was Kate being dressed like she was in the 1800's? Why did Hades talk like a Jane Austen character? (Is this really Pride & Prejudice & Olympus?) I felt like the only answer was "because this is a romance novel."
  • Unfortunately, I had a hard time believing the romance, too. I gues they liked each other because they said they liked each other? I actually went back to see if I had missed something.
  • I couldn't relate to Kate, whose primary motivation seemed to be guilt/wanting to avoid feeling guilty. She beat herself up over things that weren't really her fault, but then didn't hold other characters accountable for their actions.
  • There was no relating to Henry, who I know I was supposed to be sympathetic toward, but who ultimately couldn't quite shake the manipulative creepster vibe.

The Big Three
Language: not an issue
Sex and Stuff: characters have active, but non-descriptive, love lives
Violence: some gore, but nothing too descriptive

**I didn't literally buy the story, either. I received a free digital copy of The Goddess Test from Harlequin via NetGalley.

Want a second opinion? Check out Reading Angel's 5 star review of The Goddess Test.

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's National Poetry Month

so sweet
and so cold

Did you know that April is national poetry month? I was reminded of this as I read notes Rusty sent me while we were dating (yep, I've kept nearly all of them). He says

In the spirit of 6th grade I am including one of my favorite poems:
Have you ever seen a bird hit the window?
A streak, a boom, and even sometimes some blood.
He's a better artist than poet, but I still kind of like it. Especially because it reminds me of one of my favorite poems, This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams.

If those don't do it for you, I also appreciate sappy poems. Like Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 (the "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" one)

And if poetry's not your thing, April is also:
  • Autism Awareness Month (United States)
  • Jazz Appreciation Month (United States)
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month (United States)
  • National Arab American Heritage Month (United States)
  • National Child Abuse Prevention Month (United States)

While there's still some of April left tell me your favorite poems in the comments!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Winner of Where She Went

And the winner for the signed copy of Gayle Forman's Where She Went is...

I've sent out an email. If I don't hear back by Monday evening will pick a new winner. Thanks to everyone for entering.

PS - did you see Kimberly Derting commented on my post about her Body Finder books? I kinda feel like a rock star. 
Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Read This: Where She Went

Where She Went
by Gayle Forman

**Spoilers for If I Stay. If you haven't read that, you've been warned**

The Short Story 
After helping Mia recover from the car accident that killed the rest of her family, she walked out of Adam's life for good. Three years later he's a rich and famous (and so messed up) rocker, and she's giving cello concerts at Carnegie Hall. When they meet up by chance in New York, Adam tries to piece together what happened to Mia, their relationship, and himself. Emotional, bitter sweet story about good people who do some crappy things.

Come for the...
he said, she said. I love reading books where you can see events from different points of view. But unlike a book like Flipped, where you see the same event twice in a row, in this series you see the before from Mia's perspective (If I Stay) and the after from Adam's (Where She Went). You don't technically need to read If I Stay first, but you'll miss out on a lot of the goodness of Where She Went if you don't. Spending so much time with Mia makes her choices at the beginning of Where She Went almost inexplicable.

And I think that's what made me relate to Adam, even though he isn't very likable for much of the book.  I wanted to know why Mia made her choices, and I loved finding instances where it was obvious that she had messed up. I also liked the moments where it was obvious that Adam was taking things the wrong way. Mia and Adam were both flawed but still sympathetic.

Stay for the
closure, the New York tour, the song lyrics

Don't think about this too hard
  • There really wasn't anything that stuck out to me in a bad way for this one, other than that there was a lot of profanity. If this hadn't been written by an author I was already comfortable with the language might have kept me from finishing it.

The Big Three
Language: So, so, so many bad words.  There's maybe 10 different instances of the f-word
Sex and Stuff: nothing too descriptive
Violence: not an issue

I'm giving away a signed copy of Where She Went. Today's the last day to enter, here.

Follow Friday!

This week's question, brought to you by Parajunkee's View

Q. What is on your current playlist right now?

I love this question because even if you're not into books, it still applies! I like a lot of random stuff. Take a listen, in list form.

What are you listening to? Have you entered my giveaway for Where She Went? Contest closed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Making Fictional Babies

In my high school Biology class we got to play a little genetics game where we partnered up to make fictional babies. Roll some dice, mix and match eye color or right handedness, draw picture of Frankenchild. It's the only thing I remember from freshman Biology, and I guess I've never recovered. Because I ended up with some strange ideas on genetics ever since. (I've mentioned my abilities to mix unrelated things up before, which often leads to my combining unrelated things.)

I don't mean this kind of genetics, like if these two had a baby
Look, it's Rusty & me!

he'd look like this
The little guy from my profile pic is actually 2
And a thumb sucker

It's more like this:
If Melissa Joan Hart and Idina Menzel had a baby,

it would be the girl that got cast as Glimmer in the Hunger Games movie.

But it doesn't just work for looks.
What would you get if John Green and Hank Green had a baby?
witty, swearing angst

 witty, sweary music (not in this clip)

Ben Folds, obviously.
Witty, swearing, musical angst

It works for books, too.
So, if Twilight and The Sixth Sense had a baby

it would be Kimberly Derting's Body Finder series.

I'm serious. I'm reading Desires of the Dead right now and enjoying it, but I don't think I'll have time to do a full review. So that's my take on it. Violet sees dead people, likes the slightly overprotective Edward Jay, and  has just met the dark, mysterious Jacob Black Rafe. Plus The Body Finder has some twists that could rival the whole Bruce Willis is actually dead plot line.

If you liked Twilight or The Sixth Sense (and especially if you liked them both), give these a look.

I can't be the only one! Come make up fictional babies in the comments.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm Biased

First off, THANKS to all my followers! I can't believe I cracked 100 over the weekend. You all rock.

Second, have you entered the giveaway for a signed copy of Where She Went?  Enter here.

She could totally be a fantasy character
Now, on to some bias. I read a great post over at My Friend Amy's blog about how high fantasy books are not her thing. She says,
But whenever I try to read one, I just...can't. There are usually too many things for me to think about, too many names like Aaaeeddywna that I can't pronounce and then get confused because there's also Eeeadwyna.
And I laughed heartily because I have the same problem. I've read four different fantasy books this year (Graceling, Fire, Beyonders, Incarceron; you can see my other reads here) and I didn't like any of them. I couldn't even finish Beyonders.

Sure, I have my reasons. Kristin Cashore's books had more soap operay sexual content than I cared for. Brandon Mull is a wordy, wordy writer. Catherine Fisher's book was just confusing, start to finish. But I wonder if I would have been more forgiving if the books weren't fantasy. So when I label a fantasy book as "Skip This" know that I've yet to find an old school fantasy that I liked.

How about you? Are there any genres that just don't do it for you?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Follow Friday & Blog Hop

Thanks to Parajunkee's View and Crazy-for-Books for this week's fun questions.

Q. Do you have anyone that you can discuss books with IRL? Tell us about him/her.

Thankfully yes! My husband likes to read, too, so he talks to me about books a lot. Plus there are a few women in my neighborhood who are big readers. We keep trying (unsuccessfully) to start a book club. But we still share suggestions.

Book Blogger Hop

 Pick a character from a book you are currently reading or have just finished and tell us about him/her.

I'm reading Incarceron right now and have no idea what's going on. So I'll go with the book I just finished, Where She Went by Gayle Forman. (I'm giving it away here) Adam is the main character, and he is bitter, bitter, bitter about the choices other people have made. That makes him less than likable, but I was still sympathetic to him. It's hard to say more without spoiling, so I'll just say that I ended up really liking being in his head - almost as much as being in Mia's in If I Stay.

Who are you reading about now?

Giveaway: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Did you know that Gayle Forman is awesome? Because she is. A couple weeks ago she ran a Twitter contest and gave away 10 singed copies of Where She Went. Guess who won?

Maybe you did! With me as your middle(wo)man.

Want to win a signed copy of Where She Went? This is how to enter:
  1. Follow the blog
  2. Leave a comment with your email and tell me somewhere you went recently. (I just got red highlights at a hair school yesterday. It took 4 hours but I like them)
  3. Be at least 13 years old (especially because Adam, the protagonist, swears like a John Green character. And that's a lot)
  4. Have a US shipping address
Giveaway ends on Friday, April 22 at midnight Mountain Time. Winner chosen by  **I did read this book, but it basically looks like it did before I took it out of the package.**

Contest closed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Variant

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

My pick is Variant by Robison Wells
Expected publication date: 10/1/11

Here's the hook from Goodreads:

Benson Fisher thought a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible

Read This: This Girl Is Different

This Girl Is Different 
by JJ Johnson

The Short Story 
Evie has been homeschooled by her "power to the people" hippy mom her whole life, but decides to spend senior year at the local high school. But she gets more than she bargained for as she realizes that not all adults treat teens like adults, and that she might buy into stereotypes and labels more than she thought. Quirky, novel read that appealed to my social justice loving, education major side.

Come for the...
social justice activism. Evie's mom sends her off to high school ingrained with the idea that she needs to fight the man, without seeming to know much about Evie's specific school. It's somewhat convenient that Evie does find a cause to fight for. But I enjoyed Johnson's critiques on the American high school system. (I was not surprised to read that Johnson has a Master's in Education.) It was fun to watch Evie struggle with rules that were pointless, power struggles between students and teachers, and feel the pressure of jumping through hoops just to get into a good college.

But what made me really like the book was that it wasn't the story of a free-spirited thinker who goes into a backward school and shows everyone the light.  Even Evie has things to learn, and I think her growth is some of the most satisfying.

Stay for the
quotes at the beginning of each chapter; Evie's house; the graphic novel-esque cover.

Don't think about this too hard
  • Sometimes I had to remind myself to suspend my disbelief, especially when it came to a couple of the high school teachers.
  • My "it's getting cheesy" radar went off at times

The Big Three
Language: some swearing
Sex and Stuff: fairly descriptive making out; intentionally cringey innuendo
Violence: not an issue

Just so you know
I got a free copy of this book from NetGalley and Peachtree Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 11, 2011

How Do You Make Time For Reading?

The other day a friend emailed with an interesting question that I've been having a hard time answering. Maybe you can help?

Here's what she had to say:
I just had a quick question for you if you don't mind me asking. My question is how do you read so much? No, I do not mean that negative like you read too much...I mean it like do you have ideas/suggestions/tips on how to fit more reading into your schedule? . . .  I just love reading and I have a hard time fitting it in.

I definitely didn't start out as a reader; it's really only been in the last couple of years, and then because of a few circumstances.
  • I have a toddler that goes to bed at 7.
  • I have a husband who works from home most nights of the week, after the toddler has gone to bed.
  • We only have like 12 TV channels. 
  • It snows where we live, making indoor activities preferable.
So I became a reader. And then I really started to like it. And then I started reading during my sons naps, too, instead of doing things around the house. (And now I justify that by having him help out around the house.)

That's what works for me. What works for you? If you have a longer answer, email me (kathyreadsthis at gmail dot com) and I'll do another post soon with everyone's ideas. Thanks for your help!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Friday Five

This week I'm borrowing a lovely idea from Archimedes at Do Not Disturb My Books: The Friday Five.

1. Have you heard about the "what the heck-y-ness" going on between Forever Young Adult (a YA book blog) and a lawyer claiming to work for Lionsgate (the people making the Hunger Games movie)? Let's just say it involves vague comments about a potentially fake movie script and threats of lawsuit.

Real or not real? I don't know. But a controversial controversy just the same.

2. For the life of me I have not wanted to read my library book, and it's due on the 13th. I've read three other books in its place (Jellicoe Road, This Girl Is Different, and Treasure Map of Boys - all good). Wonder if I'll ever get past page 10.

3. My son turned 2 this week! (Yes, my profile picture is actually my son. It's just kinda old) True to terrible two-ness he is destroying the baby gate as I type.

4. I just started watching The Biggest Loser (online of course. I couldn't imagine trying to watch it take 30 minutes to weigh 10 people). It's kind of inspiring. Except today I watched while eating oreos.
5. Josh Hutcherson is actually starting to grow on me. At least he looks less like this in my mind:

Admit it, this is the most flattering picture of this kid you've seen. He looks less like a 12 yr. old (even if he's trying too hard to flex)

Maybe I've had too many oreos today.  What's on your mind?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Read This (International): Jellicoe Road

Jellicoe Road
by Melina Marchetta

The Short Story
Taylor, a junior at an Australian boarding school, tries to solve the mystery of her past and fight the yearly "border war" against the town and military high schools. Just as things get complicated, the only adult Taylor trusts disappears. But she may have left behind more help than Taylor realizes. Interesting, emotional, and very sweary read.

Come for the...
trip (the journey?) It might take a bit to remember who's who in the flashback story, but everything fits together so well once you get what's going on. Pick this one up when you have a lot of time to read because you won't want to put it down.

I loved how Taylor struggled with trying to figure out why people did what they did - especially when they hurt her. She has to decide whether to give second chances without knowing the reasons for people's actions. I especially liked watching her deal with people who didn't really have any. And I loved that not everyone had a noble motive for doing bad things. Sometimes bad things just happen.
Keep your tissues handy; this is the first book to make me cry since Mockingjay.

Just so you know
apparently singlet means tank top in Australia, not wrestling outfit. (But wrestling outfit is the funnier visual) You can use your context clues sleuthing to figure out what pashing means.

Don't think about this too hard
  • You will figure out what's going on before the characters do, but there's really only one time where it happens long before the characters do.
  • The content in this book is pretty mature and sometimes disturbing. I would recommend it to 16+

The Big Three
Language: there is a lot of swearing in this, including many f-words. I would have rated this as 5/5 if it weren't for all the swearing.
Sex and Stuff: characters have sex but not descriptively
Violence: some fist fights; a character gets shot

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You May Already Be A Winner

Guess who won a copy of Marsipity?

Nikki, who dressed her son up as a chili pepper.

Please email me at kathyreadsthis (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and I'll get that sent out to you!

Thanks to everyone who entered. If everything goes according to plan, I'll have another book to giveaway soon.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tween Girls (and their moms) Facepalm With Me

I promise this will be my last post on this issue.

Check out who got cast for Peeta and Gale in the Hunger Games movie:

I believe I can fly; Mmm, raw squirrel
Kind of surprised, kind of disappointed. At least Josh Hutcherson has that "didn't even notice him" quality going on. It'll be easy to believe that Katniss didn't pay much attention to him. And the scene where she digs him out of the mud (assuming it makes it into the movie) will just be gross. Really gross.

And Liam ("Last Song") Hemsworth has Gale's... eyebrows? He and Jennifer Lawrence are both blond, so they could pass for cousins, right? And Australian and southern accents are so hard to tell apart. I know I confuse them all the time.

ETA: Here's a video to show that anyone can play Peeta as long as they stick to the book and use a little hair product

Best of 2011, So Far

2011 is already a quarter over. How does that happen? So far I've attempted 22 books, and finished 21.

Time to give out the 2011 first quarter awards!

For books I reviewed:
Favorite read is: Matched by Ally Condie.
Anna and French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins takes a close second.

For books I didn't get a chance to review:
Favorite: If I Stay by Gayle Forman (companion book out tomorrow!)
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting, runner up.

I'm always looking for new books. What's the best thing you've read this year?

Don't forget, you have until midnight tomorrow 4/5 to enter the giveaway.

Friday, April 1, 2011

No Foolin' GiVeaWaY! (US/Canada)

In honor of April Fool's I'm giving away a book about trick (or treating), Marsipity. Marsipity is a children's book about two kids' adventures on Halloween. It's like Christmas in July, only it's Halloween in April.

To enter:
Become a follower of this blog, over on the side.
Leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite Halloween costume.

US/Canada only, please.
Giveaway closes Tuesday, April 5 at midnight Mountain Time.

Friday Blog Hop

It's that time again! Stop by to get in on the fun.

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question is: Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR that someone has played on you?

I am so not an April fooler. A year or two after my husband and I got married we told everyone we were expecting for April Fools. But now that our son is nearly two, everyone already asks us when we plan to have another. So that's the end of that joke.

Since I'm not big on tricks, this year I'm doing a giveaway on April Fools! Check out the post above to enter. Or share your prankster-liness in the comments.