Sunday, August 26, 2012

Reading Stack #20

I was able to finish one book while on my trip to Missouri to go to my cousin's wedding. Tiger Lily is done and reviewed, so the only book left for my challenges this month is Princess Academy: Palace of Stone. I decided The Perks of Being a Wallflower would be my next read for the Dusty Book shelf challenge. I also plan on starting For Darkness Shows the Stars very soon, so that I can finish the Classics challenge while Persuasion is fresh in my mind. Enshadowed comes out on Tuesday, so that is another book I would like to read very soon, but probably the library will not get a copy until the first part of September. For now I will try to stick with the first three and add others as time allows.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I finally got around to finishing my Random Reads book for this month! I really enjoyed Tiger Lily and will try to read the Peaches series, because I enjoyed Jodi Lynn Anderson's writing.

Tiger Lily is Anderson's take on the story of Peter Pan, before Wendy. It is told from the perspective of Tinker Bell.Tiger Lily is the daughter of Tik Tok, shaman for the Sky Eaters. She is wild and unkempt and not your usual girl and her tribe both fears and respects her. As daughter to the shaman, her life and marriage is important to the tribe. In Neverland, no one ages, except for Englanders and others who land on the shores. For fear of the aging disease, the Sky Eaters and other tribes do not help the Englanders, so when Tiger Lily saves one of them, the tribe determines to tame her. She is to be forced to marry Giant, the worst man in the tribe at the end of the dry season and in the meantime, she escapes to the forest and meets Peter Pan and the feared lost boys. Tiger Lily learns that Pan is not what everyone fears and falls for him and him for her. Pan has his enemy in Captain Hook, who is angry at Peter for stealing away his cabin boys aka the lost boys. As Hook plots for Pan's life and Tiger Lily's marriage draws near, their relationship and their lives are in danger, but the main danger may lurk where the two least expect it.

I enjoyed Anderson's take on the Peter Pan story. She also deals strongly with the themes of good and evil and decides no one is truly good or evil. The romance between Tiger Lily and Peter in the story did not appeal to me as much as Tiger Lily's character and the struggles of some of the minor characters. Tinker Bell is a great narrator and it was nice to see her as not an irrational female as she is often portrayed, but as someone who cares for her friend Tiger Lily enough to overpower her love of Pan. Pine Sap, one of Tiger Lily's few friends, was another great character, because he truly loves her for who she is.

Her theme of good and evil often flips what we see as good and evil; she shows how 19th century "Englanders" used Christianity to replace native beliefs that lead to some evils occurring to the natives. At times the book seems anti-Christian, but I think it is really just a judgment on 19th century expansion and colonization and not necessary Christian beliefs. The one character of Tik Tok was an interesting way to show transgender people and talk about why saying things like, just change one thing and you are great are not ok. The ending shows the danger of this. There are many different topics that could be discussed with this book.

Favorite Character: Tinker Bell. I loved seeing a side of her that wasn't just a jealous, for lack of a better word, cougar woman. She has feelings and her love for Tiger Lily and Tiger Lily's for her was one of the best friendships I have read lately.

Favorite Quote: There were several I liked. "Sometimes I think that maybe we are just stories. Like we may as well just be words on a page, because we're only what we've done and what we are going to do." "Sometimes love means not being able to bear seeing the one you love the way they are, when they're not what you hoped for them."

There were a few things I had to think about with this book, before deciding on a rating. I did enjoy it, but a few things mentioned early did bother me. I give it 4 bars of chocolate, because I think it would generate interesting discussion and I loved Tink as the narrator.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Demigod Diaries by Rick and Haley Riordan

Demigod Diaries: The Heroes of Olympus is four short stories with a few puzzles and pictures in the middle.  The first story is the Diary of Luke Castellan and chronologically takes place before the Lightning Thief. This is a story from Thalia and Luke's time before finding Camp Half-blood. Thalia and Luke follow a sheep's advice and end up trapped in a house with a cursed adult demi-god.

In Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes, the story occurs following the Last Olympian. In this story Hermes's caduceus has been stolen and he asks for Percy's help. Percy and Annabeth agree to help and Percy needs to find a way to celebrate their one month first kiss anniversary while trying to recover the staff.

In Leo Valdez and the Quest for Buford, Leo's desk has walked away, taking with it a part he needs for the Argo II. If Leo, Jason, and Piper cannot find the piece in an hour, Half-Blood Woods will explode. Throw in the dryads crazy cousins and Leo will be lucky to make it out alive. This story takes place after the Lost Hero.

The first three stories were written by Rick Riordan and the last story, Son of Magic is by his 16 year old son Haley. Son of Magic is the story of Alabaster, son of Hecate, a demigod who sided with Kronos. Alabaster is hunted by Lamia, a daughter of Hecate and a monster who wants only to kill him. Alabaster befriends Dr. Claymore, a man who scoffs at religion and myths and studies the afterlife. Alabaster needs Dr. Claymore to help him find a way to keep Lamia in the Underworld, because for some reason (see Lost Hero/Son of Neptune for answer) she cannot be killed.

All the stories were just as good as the other books in Riordan's series, but Haley's surprised me the most. I loved his take on how the Mist was created and why monsters can find demigods. His writing was excellent and maybe even more mature and definitely a little darker than his dad's. I like that he did not shy away from the religious questions myths often create and even though he did not show his own beliefs, he did not attack others. If he is writing this well at 16, I can't wait to see what he writes as an adult.

Favorite Character: I could pick a character from each story, but I will just pick two. I have always liked Annabeth and her loyalty to Percy. She is all the good traits of Athena, with a few of the flaws, but she always is drawn to Percy and the two complement each other well. I also liked Alabaster, even though he chose the wrong side. He believes strongly in his causes and seems to want what is best for demigods and he wants to make his mother proud. I hope he shows up in other books.

Favorite Quote: "That is not the Bacchanalian Jingle! That is the theme song for Psych!"

I loved this short story collection, but then I haven't read a Rick Riordan book I didn't like yet. 5 bars of chocolate for sure!

Holding on to Zoe by George Ella Lyon

I received an e-galley of this from Netgalley.com, that is the only compensation I received for this review.

Jules's life has never been easy. Her dad left when she was really young, leaving her with a mom who selfishly ignores Jules's problems. On top of her bad homelife, now her boyfriend has left town. Unfortunately for Jules, he left after he found out she was pregnant. For Jules, Zoe offers her redemption, Zoe is her baby. Jules would do anything for Zoe and anything to keep Zoe safe, even when holding on to Zoe means putting her own health and sanity on the line. Jules will need her friend Reba, Reba's mom, Dr. Douglas, and even her own mother to put her life back in order.

This book was not what I expected at all. Without being too spoilery, Jules has problems on top of problems. Her problems run the gamut of selfish mom, absent father, sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy, abandonment issues, and mental health issues. I picked this up as a book about teenage pregnancy and it is so much more. At times her problems seemed like too much, but it was nice to see her mother finally start acting like a mother in the end, which made her problems seem more real. Thankfully Jules's best friend, Reba sticks by her and Reba's mother is like a real mother should be.

I love George Ella Lyon's picture books and her author presentations are great as well. This was a very different book compared to her usual stories, but it was still well-written.

Favorite Character: Reba was an ideal best friend. She was willing to stick by Jules no matter what and there was so many things she had to deal with regarding Jules.

Favorite Quote: "And what if the babies grow faster? What if they outgrow their moms? Can that happen?"

This is not my usual kind of read and at times Jules's problems seemed like too much, but overall it was well-written. I give it 3.5 bars of chocolate.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bout of Books wrap-up

I enjoyed participating in this read-a-thon. I wish I could have done more challenges and kept more regular update posts, but maybe next time. I did finish The Strange Case of Finley Jayne and Persuasion, which surprises me. I should probably do more read-a-thons, because I tend to read more during these events. Thanks to  Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal for hosting the event!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Persuasion by Jane Austen thoughts

 I did finish Persuasion today, but will save most of my review for when I finish For Darkness Shows the Stars. This is the first Jane Austen book I have ever read. I know, I know, how could I have not read Jane Austen before! I have watched Pride and Prejudice (mini-series and movie) and Emma (movie), but never actually read the books. I had one friend tell me I started with the worst one, but I really liked Persuasion. The romance seemed mature and well developed and I enjoyed the characters. Anne and Captain Wentworth have a relationship that stood the test of time and influence. I liked the setting and I love reading books from this time period when people worried about silly things like social standing and talked about poetry. There are some great quotes in this book as well. I hope to read more Jane Austen at a later date, but for now I have other books waiting to be read.

The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross

Finley Jayne wonders if she will ever be employed again, after punching out the governess at her last place. Granted Finley was only protecting the little boy the governess was continually abusing, but no one will want a girl with superhuman strength. At least that is what she thinks until meeting Lady Morton. Lady Morton needs a companion for her daughter Phoebe and even though she knows Finley's past, she wants her. The job is one seems to be too good to be true, and it just might be as Finley finds out the upper class has problems of its own.

This is a unique twist on the story of Frankenstein and Finley is a take on Jekyll and Hyde. I loved seeing more into Finley's character and learning how deep her loyalty runs. I also liked seeing her with her mother without the feelings of betrayal that were in The Girl in the Steel Corset.

Favorite Character: Finley is a great character, both strong and loving.

Favorite Quote:"'If there's anyone in here, just clear your throat and I'll go back where I came from,' she said. Better to feel foolish for talking to an empty room than accidentally spy a gentleman's naked backside."

I liked this novella and the insights into Finley's past. I give it 5 bars of chocolate, because I do like the character of Finley.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bout of Books update

So I should never say the week will not be busy, as busy, etc. I ended up having three late nights this week in a row, but tomorrow is the last one. I did however finish the novella for the read-a-thon. I also did the book word search at The Musings of ALMYBNENR. I enjoyed it and it took longer than I originally thought. I love word searches though. Hopefully I can review The Strange Case of Finley Jayne tomorrow. I have made progress in Persuasion, but not much. However, now it is time to go to sleep!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bout of Books 5.0

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

This is a read-a-thon hosted by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal and can be found at this blog. Technically I am supposed to be reading books for my other challenges, but this looked like fun. So the challenge is to read more books than you usually would in a week, but to go at your own pace. I am going to use at least one of my other challenge books in this one. I usually do not even finish a book a week, so I think I will make my goal two books for this week. I want to read Persuasion by Jane Austen as the first book. I am having a hard time getting into it, so I think using it for the read-a-thon will help. The other one I am choosing is a novella and that is the Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross. I really enjoyed The Girl in the Steel Corset, so I would love to learn more about Finley. Hopefully I can finish these, since this week is not as busy as last week.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Reading Stack #19

I finished my Summer Reading Wrap-up books and one of those was also my Dusty Bookshelf Challenge book. I also read Holding on to Zoe and I will review this soon. I am trying to figure out my thoughts on this book, because I am not for sure what I thought about it. I like to take a few days to think about the difficult to review books to try to decide if what I thought was bad is really bad, or if I didn't get it at first. This one is difficult, because the main character had so many problems and at times I felt like there were too many to try to tie up at the end. For now though, I am going to keep reading Tiger Lily, Princess Academy: Palace of Stone, and Persuasion, which I have neglected. I have so many others I would love to add, like some series books and new e-galleys, but I am just lucky to have finished what I had started. I will be choosing another book for the Dusty Bookshelf Challenge very soon, so I will add that on when I have decided.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

This is my final review for Summer Reading Wrap-up. I can't believe I was able to finish both books. This is also my first review for the Dusty Bookshelf Challenge.

The cover first attracted me to this book. I love how the font looks alive, like it is part of a tree. Since the book was described as a gothic romance, I thought I would give it a try.

Ethan Wate's one goal in life is to leave Gatlin and go anywhere else. His mother has recently died, his father has become a recluse, and Amma, their housekeeper, is the closest thing to a parent he has. Amma practices her form of magic, using bones to talk to her ancestors, and leaving protective charms around the Wate's house. Ethan eagerly awaits graduation, although he is only a sophomore, so that he can escape his life. However, Ethan begans being haunted by a dream and a girl he cannot save. When a new girl, Lena, comes to town, Ethan sees her as the girl from his dreams, but she is the daughter of the town's "Boo Radley," Macon Ravenwood. Despite Lena being shunned by the town, Ethan is drawn to her and she is drawn to him. If their only problem was town prejudice, the relationship might last, but Lena has a bigger problem. Lena is a Caster, a family that uses either Dark magic or Light magic, and she is almost sixteen. For Casters, sixteen is the year they choose their paths, or in Lena's branch's case their destiny is chosen for them. Lena and Ethan must find a way to break her sixteen year curse or risk losing each other.

I loved the setting and the way Garcia and Stohl described Gatlin and its residents. Ethan is also a great narrator and it was nice to read from a male point of view, since lately many of the series I have read are from the girls'. The romance was sweet and innocent and although it was a little love at first sight, the authors gave the characters time to grow together by starting the story over 170 days before Lena's birthday.

Favorite Character: Ethan was my favorite. He really wants to get out of his small town, which is what most of us from a small town dream about doing. He is also very loving and loyal to his family, his best friend, and Lena.  His best friend Link was also a great character and very funny.

Favorite Quote: "'Just because you live in the middle of nowhere, doesn't mean you can't know where you live.'" This was said by Marian the librarian of Gatlin and another really neat character.

I loved the characters of this book and its setting and I can't wait to visit it again with the next book! This was another 5 bars of chocolate book for me!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Endlessly by Kiersten White

Since I finished Endlessly before Beautiful Creatures, I will start my reviews for Summer Reading Wrap-Up with that one.
Endlessly is the last book in the Paranomalcy series, so this review could have a few spoilers for the other two books.



Evie barely survived Jack's attempt to leave her on the Faerie Path, but she did find her way back to Lend. She wants nothing to ever separate them again, but that decision may be taken out of her hands. Evie wants so badly to live a normal life and help plan the Winter Formal. She is a little bummed that they will not go with pink as the color for the dance, but she can deal with that. Unfortunately that is not the worse news in her world. IPCA is under new command, Anne-Laurie LeFevre or Anne Whatever Whatever, as Evie calls her, is now in charge and she wants to use Evie to destroy other paranormals. Raquel disappears and Evie cannot get in touch with her. The elementals, including Cresseda, Lend's mom, finally reappear, wanting a favor from Evie. They along with the Seelie Court fae, including Reth, Evie's ex, want her to open another gate. Opening the last gate almost killed her, so Evie really does not want to do this. While trying to make a decision, Lend is kidnapped by the Unseelie Court and their evil queen, and unfortunately, Evie is kidnapped by IPCA and freed by Jack and Reth. Evie will do anything to free Lend, including work with Jack and Reth. When unforeseen circumstances occur, Evie will have to make some difficult choices in order to save her love, herself, and possibly paranormals everywhere. This is a great and action-packed ending to the series.

I love the humor in White's work and her insight into what makes paranormals/people really human. She touches on deep ideas without preaching which is difficult to do and she makes the story hilarious and fun at the same time.

Favorite Character: I love Evie! She reminds me of myself as a teen, sarcastic, but kind and not fully comfortable in her own skin. She is very loving and at times obsessed, which is her biggest flaw.

Favorite Quote: I could quote off almost every page. I love the sarcasm and White's insights both. Here is one of my favs. "Great, glorious unicorn, beloved of oblivious girls everywhere, please heal me." To fully understand this, you have to read what unicorns really look like, according to Evie. :)

I thought the ending was just right for the series, not completely happy, but just enough. I also liked that the main characters did not all have to die at the end, which lately seems to be too much of a trend in fantasy books. I won't say any more, because I don't want to have too many spoilers. This was definitely a 5 bar of chocolate book for me. I will miss Evie and her world, but I am looking forward to Mind Games. It is supposed to be edgier than this series, but hopefully it will have some of the same humor as Evie's story.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Reading, hopefully reviewing soon

I finished both Beautiful Creatures and Endlessly! I just need to find time to sit and review them. I am also almost halfway through Holding on to Zoe, which I was supposed to start after Princess Academy 2. Something about the book just drew me in. I have also started Tiger Lily, which I am enjoying; Tink is a great narrator. I participated in the SummerTeen webinar today, so I have several new e-galleys to read as well, but they will have to wait for a bit. The publishers have some great new titles coming out this fall, like Venom and Origin, which I was able to get e-galleys for both of those. For now I am sticking with Tiger Lily and Holding on to Zoe.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Review Copy Cleanup

BBT
I am going to be really ambitious this month and sign up for another challenge. This one is the Review Copy Cleanup hosted by Nyx Book Reviews and Books, Biscuits, and Tea. The goal is to read as many review books in e-book or print form as you can. I know I have requested several books and have only finished a handful this year. Since this is an extremely busy month for me, I won't be able to read several books, but I will make a list of the ones I would like to finish. First up will be Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale. I loved Princess Academy, so I really want to read the sequel. For my second read, if I am able to finish the first, I am going to try Holding on to Zoe by George Ella Lyon. I was able to listen to her speak at the McConnell Conference a few years ago and I enjoy her picture books. The idea sounds interesting, like maybe the protagonist is imagining having a baby. If I finish these two, I will update later with more books.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Summer Wrap-up Read-a-Thon

Read-a-thon Signups
I am going to try to do this challenge as well. It is hosted by Some Like it Paranormal and InBetween Writing and Reading. I signed up on Some Like It Paranormal's site. I will put Beautiful Creatures and Endlessly on my pile. I hope I can finish those two this week. I would love to read more books, but this will be an extremely busy week! I will be at several open houses for the schools, since school in our area starts on the 11th. Good luck to everyone on your piles!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Random Reads-August

”Random
Random Reads
I enjoyed doing this last month, so I thought I would try it again. This is a meme hosted by Sarah at imlovingbooks.com. You can choose to use Goodreads or create your own list or use your bookshelves. This month I created a list of books at the library I wanted to read. It was 16 books, then I went to random.org and my random number was 11 which matched Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. This is a fairly new release, but I knew I would not get around to reading it for awhile, unless it was my random read. I am excited about this twist on Peter Pan and I think reading a book from Tinkerbell's perspective will be fun!