Friday, July 29, 2011

Hop To It!

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads! This week's question:

Character Envy: If you could be one character from a book, 
who would you choose & why?

I would pick Kat from Heist Society by Ally Carter. I don't think I'm really that much like her, but she goes on some of the best adventures! I love that she can travel anywhere in the world at a moment's notice - mostly because she's backed by her super rich, (is he more than a) friend Hale. She has all kinds of cool technology, and super heisting skills. And, if I were her, I could totally be A LOT smarter about the boy situation.

At least, that's what I'd like to think!

This week at Read This Instead:
5 stars for Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
WWW Wednesday - help me pick my next read

Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy For Books. This week's question is:

“Highlight one book you have received this week (for review, from the library, purchased at the store, etc.) that you can’t wait to dig into!”

I actually got several books this week (so you know it's the week I'm supposed to be working on my Sunday School lesson!) Supernaturally by Kiersten White came in the mail. And then I got Possession by Elana Johnson, Illusions by Aprilynne Pike, I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter, and Happyface by Stephen Emond from the library.

I've been excited to read all of these! But I'm really looking forward to Possession because it's something new. I've tried to go into it knowing as little as possible, but I hope I like it!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WWW Wednesday

Each week Should Be Reading hosts WWW Wednesday.
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I'm currently reading two books - which just means I don't really like one of them. First, Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Peña. This is for the 10 book boy summer.  I'm having a hard time relating to the characters but it's a short book, just under 250 pages, and I'm nearly done with it. Oh well.

The second is Supernaturally by Kiersten White. I'm not very far into it, but it's funny and a quick read and just as good as Paranormalcy. Kiersten is coming to my library next week so hopefully I'll finish this before then!

I recently finished Heist Society by Ally Carter. It was a cute story. For some reason I was expecting it to be a little funnier (maybe because Ally Carter was hilarious when she visited my library). But it was suspenseful and a fun caper story. I definitely recommend it.

Up next I have a couple of galleys to choose from. There's Goliath by Scott Westerfeld. I confess I skimmed through parts of this one to see what would happen with Deryn and Alex. And to see the amazing illustrations. 

Or I can read Variant by Robison Wells. I could go for a good dystopian book right now, and this one sounds like it's going to be amazing. Plus it's little tag line reminds me of the X-Files, which always gave me a good scare as a kid. 

What are you reading?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Read This: Bruiser

by Neal Shusterman

The Short Story 
Four narrators combine to the tell the story of "Bruiser," the scary loner who is hiding some big secrets. When twin siblings end up befriending him and figure out what's going on, the only people left to hide the truth from are themselves. Basically, just read this book.

Come for the...
story unlike anything else I've read. Bruiser was a really good book with fun, unique characters. I don't think it's difficult to figure out the "mystery" of the story, but that's sort of inconsequential. The interesting thing is not what's happening, but that it continues to happen even when people know about it. I felt so much for Bruiser. I think he had one of the best hearts of any of the characters I've read about.

The other characters were just as enjoyable and realistic for me. Tennyson and Bronte were funny and sad and good intentioned and selfish. (Although I thought Bronte was probably the least developed character in the book) Cody was innocent and naive and acted exactly like a kid who had never had consequences for his actions. The uncle was really bad, and then very human, which made him the most horrifying character in the book. I only wished we got a little more at the end.

Stay for the
mix of funny and sad; high-stakes little kid adventures; ending (if you are uncomfortable with allegory)

Don't think about this too hard
  • I thought the ending was a little abrupt, but otherwise I had no complaints about this one.

The Big Three
Language: not an issue
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: some violence, including abuse, but nothing super graphic or gory

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Friday Five - Harry Potter Style

I may be the only person on the planet who wants to see Harry Potter the lastest and hasn't yet. But I (probably) will this weekend. (probably). So here are five Harry Potter things that have been on my mind.

1. I've never gone to a midnight movie of Harry Potter, but I did go to midnight book releases for 6 and 7. For Deathly Hallows Rusty and I dressed up as the snack trolley. We loaded up a wagon with goodies and went around selling them for a modest price to all the snack hungry people waiting to get their book. It was fun.

2. My friend Ashley is a pretty kick-butt artist. A few years ago she made a piece called Harry Pottery. Get it?

3. Remember when I said BYU was my Hogwarts? Apparently I'm not the only one who thought that.

I think Provo, Utah Girls is even better, but makes less sense if you've never been to BYU.

4. If you love Hermione, then you'll enjoy six movies' worth of her words of wisdom.

5. And last, but not least, this is one of the best summaries of Harry Potter I've seen.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Divergent Review, In Pictrues

Veronica Roth

What Divergent Is Not:

I loved the characters in The Hunger Games. I would read about them doing just about anything. I didn't quite have the same love for the characters in Divergent. It wasn't until closer to the end of the book that I felt like I could relate to Tris. She actually has some really funny, human moments, and I liked that. But she's not Katniss. If she were anyone from the HG series, she'd be Johanna. And Four is far more Gale than Peeta. But if those characters worked for you, I think the ones in Divergent will too.

There's a character named Four in this book. I spent more time than I should have wondering who One, Two, and Three were. And also wondering if some bad guys were trying to take them out. (If you've read the book feel free to laugh at me). I would recommend against that line of thinking, as this is not I Am Number Four, either.

Divergent wasn't the best book of the year for me, either. I'm afraid it may have suffered from a bit of over-hype. Or maybe my expectations were just too high. A lot of people said Divergent was their favorite read this year, and that got me very excited. But I just couldn't relate to Tris for a very long time and I didn't like her attitude or her choices.

I think I may have liked the book better if I hadn't wanted so much from it. But, expectations aside, I thought there were a couple of problems with pacing and consistency in the story.

What Divergent is:

a page turner! There were a couple of times where I wasn't sure what the conflict would be, but I couldn't stop reading. Divergent is nearly 500 pages long, but didn't feel like it at all. I felt the pacing went weird for the final 100 or so pages, but I wanted to read, read, read until I got to the end.

violent. I know violence is common in dystopian books but the fighting here seemed especially vicious to me. Most of it is fist fighting, but it's brutal and personal and felt excessive. I don't like reading about people being beaten until they're unconscious, or descriptions of bleeding/bruised body parts. I thought the author could have toned that down and still gotten her point across.

Chicago. (the picture is my high school, which I'll just claim as Tris's too. Look at all the windows) Being a Chicago native gets me some funny questions. Like, did you ever meet Oprah? Or, isn't it kind of dangerous? Or, there must have been so many fun things to do all the time! Or, isn't the food there supposed to be really good?

Guess what. Chicago is all of those things, all at the same time. It's violent and dangerous and beautiful and artsy and rich and very poor and fun and boring. But sometimes people only see it as one thing. Which makes it the perfect setting for the story and its factions. I really liked the idea of the factions.

fearful. My absolute favorite thing about the book was being with the characters for their different fear simulations. It was an interesting display of character development. Some of Tris's fears were generic (who isn't afraid of not being able to breathe/drowning/etc.) But others were more telling, and that was around the point where I finally felt like she was a three-dimensional character.

And then I thought about what would show up in my fear simulation, and was happy no one was around to watch!

Overall, I'd still tell people to give Divergent a chance. It was more mixed for me, but I'll most likely read the sequel. What did you think of Divergent? Anyone else old enough to remember Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The 2011 Book Blogger's Cookbook Tour & Kindle Giveaway

I'm happy to host Christy Dorrity, author of The 2011 Book Blogger's Cookbook. I love deliciousness as much as reading, so I was excited to hear that Christy was creating a book combining them! The cookbook features reviews on 20 books and a corresponding recipe for each. Christy was nice enough to answer a few questions about the cookbook and her taste in all things tasty.

What made you decide to do a book-themed cookbook?
A book-themed cookbook is natural for me because I love both reading and cooking.  I often want to live longer in the world of a book I've finished and I have found pleasure in concocting recipes that extend the experience.
Did you come up with the recipes while you were reading the books?
When I started a book review blog, I matched each review with a companion recipe.  Now when I read, I watch for foods that influence the main characters, or themes that could be turned into recipes. I like the recipes to have significance and relevance to the messages that come across to me in a book.
Have you ever tried to make any of the food the characters eat in a book? (like the lamb stew from The Hunger Games...)
In The Revenant by Sonia Gensler, Willie serves her guests gingerbread, a recipe I include in the cookbook.  And the characters in Alvor by Laura Bingham and The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal eat breads that I duplicated on my own for the cookbook.  
If you could have any fictional character be your chef, who would you pick?
I would have to pick Sadie Hoffmiller from Josi Kilpack's culinary mysteries.  She is always cooking up something delicious and putting her whole self into it.  Lemon Tart, Josi's first Sadie adventure, is featured in The 2011 Book Blogger's Cookbook, along with Sadie's recipe for "To Die For Lemon Tart."
Which recipe is your favorite?
That's like asking which child I'm attached to most.  I can tell you which recipe I would make right this minute--"Harmony Hominy Soup" that accompanies The Maze Runner by James Dashner.  The combination of broth, fresh veggies and lime juice is perfect for a hot summer day. 

And now, for some extra fun. Want to win a Kindle? Or a copy of The 2011 Book Blogger's Cookbook?

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post or any of the great blogs that are participating. You can find out about other participants and extra entries here Winners will be drawn using on July 21st and posted on the tour site. 

But that's not all folks!  Every person who purchases the cookbook during the launch will receive a free bonus recipe booklet.  Just enter the coupon code BONUSR in the comment form at

If you'd like a comment topic, tell me your favorite food from a book. Good luck!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Half-awake Hopping!

Book Blogger Hop

How/Where do you get your books? Do you buy them or go to the library? Is there a certain website you use like paperbackswap?

I get like 99.99999% of my books from the library. I actually won a book of my choice from the Freedom Giveaway Hops and had no idea what to pick. The only books I actually own are (most of) the Harry Potter series and the Hunger Games series.

(But I picked Supernaturally for the giveaway. Kiersten White is coming to my library in August so I'll get her to sign the book, read it, and then probably give it away).

Q. What do I do when I am not reading?

I feel like I'm lame this week, but my answer is honestly "everything else!" But I think the point was, what do you do for fun? I love everything summery... being outside, going to the pool, picnics, the park. So I try to spend as much time outside as life allows. And I love to dance, but I don't do that as often as I used to (especially now that going dancing requires a babysitter!)

Happy Friday! What do you do for fun?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Best of 2011, Take 2

Now that the year is half over, it's time to do my best of 2011 awards again. And I've been inspired by the different categories from Ink Crush's blog so there are more awards this time around.

Best book I read and reviewed:
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I dare another book to try to one-up this.

Best book I read and didn't review:

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Sandiford

Best books you probably haven't heard of:
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

Best boy book:
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Best book boys:
Jonah from Jellicoe Road
Alex from Delirium
Peeta from The Hunger Games I dare another book boy to try to one up Peeta.
Joe from The Sky is Everywhere
Eric from Fire of the Covenant (an LDS historical fiction book)

Unlike anything else I've read (and I liked it):
This Girl Is Different by JJ Johnson 

Unlike anything else I've read (and I didn't like it):  
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

"I wasn't expecting to like you so much" award:
Wings by Aprilynne Pike

What are some of your favorite reads this year?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Read This: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
by Morgan Matson

The Short Story  
After her dad dies, Amy's mother moves the family cross country. Amy isn't thrilled to leave home before her senior year, and even less excited to make the drive with Roger, an old family friend she hasn't seen in years. She's shut herself off from everyone since the loss, but knows she won't be able to keep it up on the trip. As they make the long, eventful drive, Amy learns more about Roger and herself. Cute, scrapbooky summer read.

Come for the...
vicarious adventure. I love a good road trip, and this has all the essentials: maps, quirky stops, postcards, random landscapes, regional deliciousness. I liked that the book had an occasional scrapbook quality to it. Even the receipts tell a story, and the little details added a lot to the book. Plus I just got back from a long-ish roadtrip from Utah to California, so much of the beginning of the book was familiar to me. (And no matter what road you take across the width of Nevada, you're not going to see much.)

But if you're not a roadtripper, you can still enjoy the book. The characters are excellent. Amy reminded me a lot of Macy from The Truth About Forever. She's in a very similar circumstance, and an older, artistic guy helps her out (while they eat various tasty things). Amy's a good character who can't really deal with her situation. But even when her thoughts felt illogical she was still likeable.
Stay for
Roger, who has a dumb name but is a good guy; Graceland; the little illustrations; haiku; and the playlists (youtube version here)

Don't think about this too hard
  • The relationship in the book moves pretty fast. It's not exactly insta-love, but I was surprised by that since the book is only supposed to happen over a few days. Also, Roger = over 18. Amy = under 18. I just told myself they were both over 18 so I wouldn't have to contemplate Roger going to jail and all.

The Big Three
Language: there isn't much swearing, but when characters do swear, they really swear. Several f-words
Sex and Stuff: sleepovers, kissing, and some sexual content (see Don't think about this too hard)
Violence: not an issue

Friday, July 8, 2011

Follow Friday and TGIF

Q. Let's step away from besties...What is the worst book that you've ever read and actually finished? 

The worst book I've finished of all time would be One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. I read it as a sophomore in high school and just remembered thinking it was really perverted and weird. I wonder if I would think differently as an adult, but I'm not interested in finding out!

A more recent read would be Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. It was darker than what I usually read and I felt confused a lot. 

What book did you finish but not like?

Blogger Confession: What's the last book you could not finish? 
(or had a hard time finishing?)
 I love that the TGIF question is so similar! The last book I didn't finish actually reminded me a lot of Incarceron, which is why I stopped reading it. It was Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith. I picked it up as part of the 10 (book) Boy Summer but wasn't enjoying the dark, can't win no matter what, tone. I want to enjoy all the books I read for the book boy challenge, so I took it back to the library. 

Guess sci-fi evil prison books just aren't my thing.

This week on Read This Instead:
I reviewed The Knife of Never Letting Go. Why did I wait so long to read it?
Waiting on Forever and Supernaturally
The Freedom Giveaway Hop winner!

Freedom Giveway Hop Winner!

And the winner of Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn't have) is:

Email has been sent. Thanks everyone for entering!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Summer Blockbusters

Each week Breaking the Spine hosts Waiting on Wednesday.

I love a good summer blockbuster. I think just about everyone is excited for something coming out next week...

But here are my two book blockbusters that we won't have to wait for much longer.

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater, also coming out next week! I'm excited to read this one as part of Banned Book Tours. It just means I have to wait a while longer to get my hands on it.

And Supernaturally by Kiersten White, out 7/26. I'm almost tempted to buy this one because she's coming to my library at the beginning of August.

What summer books are you excited for?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Read This: The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go
by Patrick Ness

The Short Story 
Todd is the last boy left in Prentisstown, a colony on New World. Before Todd was born his group fought with the natives and all the women were killed via germ warfare. The same germ made all the men able to hear each others' thoughts. Now that Todd is a month shy of the birthday that will make him a man something happens that makes him question everything he's known. Wild, fast-paced, cliff-hangery read.

Come for the...
nearly non-stop adventure. I took me a bit to get into this one, but once I did it was hard to put down. This story is just really good. It reminded me of The Hunger Games, in that it felt like the story was about much more than just a teen going through a difficult circumstance. (And there are cliff hangers at the end of many chapters) I really enjoyed the themes of knowing things for yourself, doing the right thing, and looking out for other people.

And I really liked Todd. I didn't expect to relate to him, and his phonetic spelling drove me bonkers for the first 100-ish pages. But he surprised me with his depth and goodness. I loved his relationships in the book, with Ben, Manchee, and Viola. I appreciated the commentary on men and women, and how women are this big mystery that they actually aren't. And I (gasp!) completely enjoyed the lack of a romantic storyline (for now).
Stay for the
talking animals, like Manchee; the interesting type faces used in the book; the varying ideas on gender and gender roles; the sequel, The Ask and The Answer.

Don't think about this too hard
  • This book is gory. There are crocodile attacks, fist fights, stabbings, and more, and most of it is described in bloody, gruesome detail.
  • The book started to feel repetitive to me, with fairly similar events happening every 60 pages or so. I thought the book could have been a bit shorter if some of that had been cut out, as it didn't seem to add anything.

The Big Three
Language: swearing throughout the book, including the f-word and "eff," Todd's profanity of choice.
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: fairly constant, descriptive violence and gore

Friday, July 1, 2011

Everybody's Looking Forward to the Weekend....

Don't forget to enter my Freedom Giveaway here!

Mr & Mrs: Who are your favorite book couples?

Can I just say that I had so much fun thinking about this question! I love a good like story. And I know I'm leaving couples off the list, but here are five favorites. And they're not all "together" but there's something there.

5. Noel & Ruby from the Ruby Oliver books by E. Lockhart. They're so flawed and so cute.

4. Ron & Hermione. Anyone else excited to see them (finally!) kiss in a couple weeks?

3. Cameron Quick & Jenna from Sweethearts by Sara Zarr. For the plastic ring alone.

2. Jonah & Taylor from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. "Because being part of him isn't just anything. It's kind of everything."

1. Peeta & Katniss (big surprise, right?) I think it was "Thanks for the tip, sweetheart" that made me realize they were going to be interesting.

Who are yours?

What keeps you reading beyond the first few pages of a book, and what makes you want to stop reading a book and put it back on the shelf?

A book that keeps me reading is either funny, or has characters I can relate to. (Or both) Right now I'm reading Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and laughing my tail off. Plus, who doesn't love a good road trip?

I'll put down a book if it's overly detailed, or if the characters are whiny. I guess I don't really care much about world building. I'd rather get to the plot, or spend more time with the characters.