Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mini-Reviews on Love

So Halloween is in a week, and other than my giveaway, my blog hasn't been very festive. This post won't be either. But let's pretend like there's nothing scarier than love.

The Lover's Dictionary
by David Levithan

This is one of the most creative books I've ever read. It's a love story told in dictionary format. I didn't know what a lot of the words meant, but it was definitely worth it to look them up. There's so much irony and word play as the dictionary entries match up with the story. It's also in a sort of "500 Days of Summer" format, with the story not being told in chronological order. But where 500 Days lets you know which things happened before or after other things, this book doesn't. My big complaint was that I couldn't tell how it ended.
That's kind of important. So, super creative idea, but points off for having an ambiguous ending. I couldn't even tell if it was purposefully ambiguous, or if I had just missed something in there somehwere.
Mixed 3.5/5

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
by Jennifer E Smith

I wanted to like this so much, and I just didn't. It starts off cute enough, with Hadley and Oliver meeting at an airport. I wanted a silly love story, and there are some fun moments with them flirting and getting to know each other during their flight. But then they land and the whole book went downhill for me. I didn't care why they were on the plane, who they were meeting up with, etc. So when lots of time gets devoted to family trouble and things that are not cute fluff, I was disappointed.
In the end I just didn't care about a large chunk of the book.
Skip This 2.5/5

love? maybe
by Heather Helper

This was a fun romance that did exactly what I expected/wanted it to do, and I really liked it. Piper works in a candy store, so there's lots of deliciousness, too. I probably could have done with less of the family issues here (I just don't like family issues in my love stories) but there are still lots of sweet moments. And candy!
This was exactly the kind of fun, fluff romance I was wanting to read.
Read This 3.5/5

Have you read these? Did you figure out how Lover's Dictionary turns out?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

It's a Giveaway!

I'm giving away Marsipity, the children's Halloween book my husband illustrated. I try to do this every Halloween, but I'm slow on it this year! So it'll be a short giveaway.

See the rafflecopter? You know what to do.
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 18, 2012

On My Mind Lately

Just so you know, most of these don't have much to do with books. You've been warned.

First up, Code Name Verity.
Have you read this? I don't know what to make of it. I got really caught up in the story and wanted to know how it would all turn out. But it was really hard to read. Not difficult language or anything, just difficult content. The main character is captured by the Nazis and gets interrogated/tortured. I thought there would just be a torture part that I could skip over, but it's actually interspersed throughout the whole book.
I hate reading stuff like that. So I read it, and I was definitely invested in the story. But I don't know how much I liked it, or if I would recommend it.

Next, October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. And Infant and Pregnancy Loss Remembrance month. They're not at all related, but the bullying thing is on my mind after this tumblr post by Cassandra Clare (of The Mortal Instruments books fame). How terrible! I don't really have much life experience with bullying, but I feel for anyone who did/does.
I have a little more life experience with the whole pregnancy loss business. I wish there wasn't so much shame around miscarriages/stillbirths, and that people felt like they could be open about their experience without being afraid they would make other people uncomfortable.

So, Kathy's guide to what to say to someone who's had a miscarriage/stillbirth:
"I'm (really/very) sorry." Or, "I'm thinking about you."
That's it. All the other nice or comforting or inquisitive things people had to say to me didn't help much.
I don't have a similar guide for what to say to someone who's being bullied. Sorry.

Last thing, family history.
Is anyone else into family history or genealogy stuff? I love it, but sometimes I think I have some of the most complicated ancestors to find. Lately I've called Vermont, made friends with an intern at the Illinois Regional Archives Depository, and will be emailing a pickle company in Michigan. All to try to find out more about my great, great, great grandfather.
And no, I'm really not kidding about the pickle company. Anybody ever heard of the Freestone Pickle Company in Michigan? I'm distantly related to them.

That's what been on my mind. What's been on yours lately?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Read This: The Reluctant Bachelorette

The Reluctant Bachelorette
by Rachael Anderson

The Short Story
When Taycee's town is on the brink of bankruptcy, her best friend devises a plan to bring in some money. They'll host a reality bachelorette show, where people across the country can pay to vote for their favorite bachelors to stay in the competition. And though Taycee didn't know it, she is going to be the star. Her unlikely situation gets worse when Luke, the love of her tween life, returns to their small town and gets drafted for the show himself.
A cute, clean romance.

Come for the....
cute. Luke and Taycee have great chemistry. There are swoony moments, and funny moments, and angry moments, and everything in between. I liked watching Luke change from being the older brother's best friend, to a reluctant game show participant, to someone who really cared for Taycee. And Taycee was funny, and had a good heart. I thought it was sweet (and maybe slightly naive) that she would worry so much about the other bachelors having real feelings for her, and that it'd be her fault if the whole town went under. But she was a genuinely good character and a fun narrator.

And then there were the other bachelors. They're introduced so quickly that it gave me that same sense of "how am I going to keep all these people straight?" that Taycee had. Quite a few of the ones I got to read about more in-depth were pretty funny. And I liked that some of the stinkers stuck around for a loooong time. Because you know some people are trolls and would invent a sort of "vote for the worst" for the town's little reality show.

Don't Think About This Too Hard
  • The pacing slowed down a bit about two-thirds of the way through the book, especially as Taycee seemed to learn some things and then forget them after 20 or so pages. But it picks up again as the book goes on.
  • There were a few times where the writing distracted somewhat from the story; characters occasionally using words that seemed too formal, chapters from another character's perspective here and there.

The Big Three:
Language: not an issue
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: not an issue

Just So You Know: I received a free copy of The Reluctant Bachelorette as part of the blog tour hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Read This: Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky
by Veronica Rossi

The Short Story
When Aria is banished from her safe home in the pods, she has to try to make it in "The Death Shop." It's full of savages, aether storms, and other things that could kill her. Along the way she meets up with Perry, a "savage" who has his own reasons for being interested in Aria. The two work together to stay alive and find the people they're looking for. Adventures and kissing ensue.
A slow start to a really excellent book.

Come for the....
truth in advertising. The book really is as good as everyone says it is. I was afraid my expectations were way too high - I'd seen lots of five star reviews. I had to be patient with the beginning, but the rest of the book really is that good! I especially enjoyed the characters. Perry is kind and caring, and tries to put what's best for everyone ahead of what he wants for himself. Aria is smart and also caring, but flawed. I enjoyed how she and Perry interacted together. There was maybe a bit more banter than I would have expected at first, considering Aria thought Perry was a killer savage, but their alliance/friendship/romance grows gradually and makes sense. And it's a lot of fun.

The world building is really good, too. I liked reading about the other "savage" tribes, especially the freaky cannibals. Perry's tech-savvy friend was bizarre and overly helpful, but also really interesting to read about. The characters seem to come from the Hunger Games school of names (Roar, Talon, etc), which was odd but get over-able. And there were just enough twists and turns at the end of the book to make me want to read the sequel right away.

Don't Think About This Too Hard
  • The slow beginning nearly sent this book into DNF territory more than once for me. I'm happy I stuck with it because I ended up really liking it. But it honestly took me about 100 pages to really get into the story.

The Big Three:
Language: I don't remember this being an issue
Sex and Stuff: nothing described
Violence: fighting, people being killed, cannibals (but no one gets eaten), a fire

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's Maggie Stiefvater. And She's Coming to Utah!

Did you know Maggie Stiefvater is coming to Utah? 

She'll be at The King's English next week, Tuesday Oct. 9 at 7 pm. And she'll be reading from her new book, The Raven Boys.
I hear it's just as good as The Scorpio Races, so you know I want to read it.

You can find The King's English at 1511 South 1500 East in Salt Lake.

Or, if you can't make it, you can order her *signed* books from TKE here.
So, who's going on Tuesday?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Reluctant Bachelorette Book Blast

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson

Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town’s charity event, Taycee Emerson wants out. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it's up to the viewers--not her--to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Coerced into participating, Taycee does what any self-preserving girl would do. She launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. Unfortunately, Luke's an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she's up to, it means revenge.

But when their pranks go south, will they screw up any chance they have at a future together, or will they be able to forgive and forget and prove that love really does conquer all?

About the Author:
Rachael Anderson is the author of four contemporary romances: Divinely Designed, Luck of the Draw, Minor Adjustments, and The Reluctant Bachelorette. She's the mother of four, can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

FB fan page:
Amazon author page:

Giveaway Details:
$50 Amazon Gift Code compliments of Author Rachael Renee Anderson
Ends 10/31/12

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Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bloggiesta: That's A Wrap

Well, I finished one and a half of my goals! That's something, right? So, here's what I actually got done:
  • Linked all my reviews to my master list. This took a lot less time than I was afraid it would. (possibly because I haven't read a ton this year)
  •  Completed one mini-challenge.  I like the gravatar I picked. Also now I know the word gravatar. 
  • Came to the Friday night twitter party for a little while. Those are so fun. 
I'll write some reviews this week. I have to have my review of The Reluctant Bachelorette up by next Wednesday for a tour, so sometime between now and then I'll write it. Maybe I'll write the other two, maybe I won't.

How did your bloggiesta go?