Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I read this for the R.I.P challenge and because Neil Gaiman's books tend to creep me out, in a good way. This was a short novel and a fairly quick read, but as usual it is a really deep read too.

The male protagonist returns to his old country neighborhood, because of a funeral. He goes to where his old house used to stand and walks down the road to the Hempstock farm. There he remembers an incident in his childhood, when magic and evil collided and he became friends with Lettie Hempstock. The boy starts the tale with the death of his kitten and the suicide of an opal miner. This leads him to meet the Hempstock women and to go on an adventure with Lettie that ends with an evil presence invading his life. To get rid of the evil, it will require a huge sacrifice and the boy will never be the same.

All of Gaiman's books have a deeper meaning to them. This seems to be about the magical Hempstock family, but it is also about the loss of innocence in childhood. It also seemed to me to be about memory and how we choose to remember things in our past. The man in his flashback remembers most of the story, but even that is clouded and he never remembers the story in the same way. You are always left breathless at the end of a Gaiman novel.

Favorite Character: Lettie and really any of the Hempstock women. Lettie is self-sacrificing, her grandmother is wise, and her mother is strong. What great heroines!

Favorite Quotes: "Different people remember things differently, and you'll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not. You stand two of you lot next to each other, and you could be continents away for all it means anything."

"You don't pass or fail at being a person, dear."

A quick deep read with just a touch of creepiness. 4 cups of cocoa!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-thon Wrap-up


Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon is hosted by My Shelf Confessions. I did meet my goals. I finished both Something Borrowed, Someone Dead and House of Hades and hope to review House of Hades soon. I did manage to review two books I read awhile back, so that was good too. I did not interact all that much with people though, I only made a few comments and found two new blogs to follow, because I had a really busy week at work and did not have computer access for a couple of those days. I completed two mini-challenges, which were super fun. Thanks again to My Shelf Confessions for hosting! I hope everyone else had a great reading week!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

I feel very ashamed that I am just now writing this review. I read this about a month ago and loved it and had so many thoughts about it, but I am just now writing this review. I think part of the issue is that I was still grieving the cat and this book has many deep thoughts on the subject of death. Now it is not a sad book at all, but I think Isadora goes through the different stages that people do when they contemplate death. She is mad and angry most of the time, in denial some of the time, and numb part of the time, but she finally reaches acceptance in the end.

I received this as an eARC on Edelweiss from HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. I love the cover!
 The Chaos of Stars

Isadora is the daughter of Isis and Osiris. As a child of gods, she assumes she is immortal too, so when her parents inform her she is working on designing her own tomb, she realizes just how impermanent her existence is. She is angry at her mom for loving Whore-us as she calls Horus, immortal, but leaving the rest of her children as mortal. When she finds out her mother is pregnant, she feels really abandoned. When her mother senses a dark presence that could destroy Isadora and Isis, Isis sends her to live with her brother in California. California is very different than Egypt, but Isadora makes some good friends Tyler and Scott and meets a boy, Ry, who could be the love of her life, if she will let him in. Can you truly love someone when you know life is not forever? Isadora learns to let go of forever to embrace today and she learns the importance of family.

The mix of Egyptian mythology with just a hint of other myths was well-done. I loved how Isadora told us the story of the gods and then showed how this was her family. Her snarkiness is great and she uses that to hide her vulnerability. White has the best humor mixed with the seriousness of worrying about the future. She knows how to present family troubles even in an immortal family with the realism of what teens feel and think.

Favorite Character: Isadora- She is angry, loyal, funny, and vulnerable in just the right combination. She may be one of my favorite characters ever. I think she is each one of us, when we realize for the first time that life is not permanent and we want to fight this even if it means being angry and numb. Ry/Orion is pretty great too and we all need a guy like that. :)

Favorite Quote: Well I think I could quote from every single page, I had so many aha moments and tears and feels as people say from this book. I will try to limit it to just a few favorites.

"But none of us is perfect, right? And if you love someone, you have to deal with that. If you ask me, love is what makes everything worth it."

"You can't really love someone romantically unless you're already whole anyway, though."

"I get that you're scared and that you've been hurt. But doing what is easy and safe is no way to live, and a life without passion and love is so far beneath what you deserve."

"I was thinking about framing, and how so much of what we think about our lives and our personal histories revolves around how we frame it. The lens we see it through, or the way we tell our own stories. We mythologize ourselves." "It's all a matter of perspective. And maybe we thought we were living one story, when if we look at it a little different, we can reframe everything-all our memories and attribute and experiences- and see that we're actually living a different story."

"I didn't fall in love with you. I walked into love with you, with my eyes wide open, choosing to take every step along the way. I do believe in fate and destiny, but I also believe we are only fated to do the things that we'd choose anyway. And I'd choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I'd find you and I'd choose you."

With a dash of Egyptian myths, fear of death, and a touch of romance, White wove a story that captures your heart and is complete with a dreamy guy and strong heroine. This is my front runner for my favorite book of the year! 5 cups of cocoa!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-thon Starting Post/Updates


Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon is hosted by My Shelf Confessions. I am getting my starting post up late, because I was away at a friend's house most of the weekend and without a computer. I hope to finish at least two books this week and two Poe short stories.

October 11-Day 1 update:
Currently reading/listening: House of Hades
Pages/Percent/CDs: I listened to two CDs, which was around 133 pages

October 12- Day 2 update:
Currently reading/listening: House of Hades
Pages/Percent/CDs: I listened to two CDs, which was around 133 pages

Day 3 update:
Currently reading: House of Hades, Something Borrowed Someone Dead,
Pages/Percent:House of Hades- 8 pages, SBSD- 15 pages
Commented on three blogs, now following Daisy's Place

Day 4 update:
Currently reading: House of Hades, Something Borrowed Someone Dead
Pages/Percent:House of Hades- 1 and 1/2 CDs around 49 pages, SBSD-  122 pages
Commented on one blog, now following Listful Booking

Day 5 update:
Currently reading: House of Hades, Something Borrowed Someone Dead
Pages/Percent: House of Hades- 1 CD about 35 pages, SBSD- 51 pages and finished!
Books finished-1

Day 6 update:
Currently reading: House of Hades
Pages/Percent: House of Hades- 44 pages
Mini-challenges: Jigsaw Cover Love hosted by My Shelf Confessions, Wicked Title Trouble Challenge hosted by Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

Day 7 update:
Currently reading: House of Hades, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Pages/Percent: House of Hades- 99 pages and finished!, Miss Peregrine's- 26 pages

Day 8 update:
Currently reading: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Pages/Percent:Miss Peregrine's- 13 pages

Day 9 update:
Currently reading: Every Day, Just One Day, Gone Girl
Pages/Percent: Every Day- 6 pages, Just One Day- 16 pages, Gone Girl- 13 pages

Day 10 update:
Currently reading: Nevermore Poe Collection
Pages/Percent: William Wilson, Poem-Alone

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon


Wonderfully Wicked Read-a-Thon is hosted by My Shelf Confessions and will start on October 11. Their read-a-thons are always a blast. You can read any books on your TBR, the point is just to read. They also host Twitter parties and mini-challenges. I will be picking a reading list very soon. I will not be reading much on October 11 and 12, although I will be listening to an audiobook those days since I have a three hour drive to a friend's house. I am hoping to be listening to House of Hades if it comes in at work before I leave on Friday.

Reading list:
Audio: House of Hades- I already have it from work and hope to start it soon!

Finish: Something Borrowed, Someone Dead by MC Beaton

Miss Peregrine's School for Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Read at least 2 more Poe short stories from Nevermore Poe Collection
Finish at least two books
Do a mini-challenge
Comment on a few blogs and find a few to follow

I may add a few different books to the list, but I will wait to see what kind of reading mood I am in.

FrightFall Read-a-thon Wrap-up

This challenge is hosted by Michelle @ The True Book Addict and Castle Macabre. I did read mainly "scary" books, well scary for me anyway. I did finish both Dream Dark and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I also read Teacher's Pest by Charles Gilman and reviewed it. I still have to review The Ocean at the End of the Lane, hopefully I can get to that this week. I read 5 Poe short stories, so definitely reached my goal there. I read 381 pages total, so way more than the 250 pages goal I set. I was sick most of the week, so that is why I had a higher number of pages! I had lots of fun and thanks again to Michelle for hosting!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede

I read this for the Book Bingo Challenge, New Authors challenge, and for the Paranormal Challenge: dragons category.

Cimorene is an improper princess. She wants to learn Latin, magic, cooking, and fencing and does not want to learn embroidery and etiquette. She does not want to marry the prince picked out for her and instead of running from dragons, she goes out to find one. Cimorene becomes the princess of the dragon, Kazul and when knights and princes come to take her away, she asks them to leave. Through Kazul, she mets Morwen, a witch, and while exploring Cimorene also meets evil wizards. The wizards want something from the dragons and it is up to Cimorene to stop them, before it is too late.

I loved the characters in the story, particular Cimorene and Kazul. I like how both of the main leads were female and strong and independent. The story was a very quick read full of adventure and humor. I love how Cimorene's habits were referred to as not proper, because no one could really give her a reason for why princess could not do all the things she wanted to do.

Favorite Character: Cimorene was a great heroine. She takes the initiative to find the dragons to escape being forced to marry the prince. She does not shirk from danger or adventure. She does what is best for her friends and for herself.

Favorite Quote: "'He doesn't seem very impressed,' Cimorene commented in some amusement. 'Why should he be?' Kazul answered. 'Well, you're a dragon,' Cimorene answered a little taken aback. 'What difference does that make to a cat?'" I thought that was a fitting description of a cat's attitude to most large things, particularly humans.

This was a great quick read with a great heroine. This is perfect for upper elementary and lower middle school and for adults who like middle grades fiction. I can't wait to read the rest in the series. 5 cups of cocoa!

Stacking the Shelves # 8


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is a meme for sharing books you've purchased, borrowed, or been sent for review. They can be physical or e-format.
It has been a long time since I posted one of these! I went a few weeks without new books and so I thought I would wait until I had a few new things to share. I was also really sad about the cat, so little blogging, reading, and buying done in the last month.

Fangirl  Searching for Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #2)  Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover (Gallagher Girls, #3)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell ( I have seen nothing but positive reviews about this book, so I am excited to read it.)
Searching for Dragons by Patricia Wrede (I hope to review the first book really soon. It was a fun read with a strong heroine.)
Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter (I love both of her series and she is another one who creates really strong female leads.)

 Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated  My Own Mr. Darcy
Confessions of a Prairie...by Alison Arngrim (1.99 Amazon Kindle Monthly Deal) Even though it has one of my least favorite words in the title, I had to purchase this. I read Melissa Gilbert's biography and loved learning more about their lives on and off the set.

My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White (I have seen this on several blogs with really good reviews, so I had to purchase it.)

Teardrop (Teardrop, #1)
Teardrops by Lauren Kate from Jen at YA Romantics. I loved the Fallen series, so I am super excited to receive this one! I participated in the Tackle Your TBR read-a-thon and Jen hosted a Book Pairing challenge, which was really fun. Thanks again Jen, you are awesome!

Review: Thanks to Harlequin Teen, Abrams, Entangled, Dial, Netgalley, and Edelweiss for these great books!

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1) The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #2) Unhinged (Splintered, #2) Olivia Twisted What I Thought Was True

Pawn by Aimee Carter (Harlequin Teen) I loved the Goddess Test series and read them all as egalleys and read them all before they released, so I was super excited to see this one.
Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin Teen) I am getting close to the end of the Iron Fey series, so I can't wait to start the Call of the Forgotten series.
Unhinged by A.G. Howard (Abrams)  and I was also auto-approved for Abrams, so very exciting! I read Alice in Wonderland and I really want to start reading all the great retellings and twists on the story. I know this is a favorite series, so I was excited to get this one.
Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes (Entangled) This is a retelling of Oliver Twist, one of my favorite classics!
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick (Dial) The teens that come into the library love The Boy Next Door, so I just had to request this one, so I could booktalk it!

I also received a paper galley of Rags and Bones from Little, Brown. I think this will work as a great pairing with the original tales. This has some great authors and I will have to read some classic short stories to see how they compare.

I hope you got some great books!

Friday, October 4, 2013

FrightFall Read-a-thon Mid-week Update

I finished both Dream Dark and The Ocean at the End of the Lane and I managed to review Dream Dark already! I also finished Teacher's Pest which I reviewed too, so reading has been great. Unfortunately the reason I have read so much is that I have a sinus infection and have no energy, but at least I can read so there is that. I hope to review The Ocean at the End of the Lane soon and to catch up on the other two books I need to review. I also jumped off list, because I forgot I had a book that needs to go back to the library soon, so I added Something Borrowed, Someone Dead to my reading stack for this week. I hope everyone else is having a good week!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

FrightFall Read-a-thon Updates

Day 1 update:
Currently reading: Dream Dark, Teacher's Pest, Something Borrowed, Someone Dead by MC Beaton
Pages/Percent read: Dream Dark- 10 pages and finished, Teacher's Pest- 176 pages and finished, Someone Borrowed, Someone Dead- 15 pages
Books Finished- 1 novella-Dream Dark, 1 book-Teacher's Pest

Well I did not have as much left of Dream Dark as I thought, because most of what was left was the first part of Beautiful Chaos. Teacher's Pest was a middle grades creepy read and it was very fast-paced. And yes, I already jumped off the list, but I forgot about the new release MC Beaton book I had checked out for the library. I need to finish it soon, so I am adding to my reads this week.

Day 2 update:
I only read on my reread book, so no update here.

Day 3 update:
Currently reading: Something Borrowed, Someone Dead, Ocean at the End of the Lane
Pages/Percent read: SBSD- 18 pages, Ocean- 40

Day 4 update:
Currently reading: Ocean at the End of the Lane
Pages/Percent read: Ocean- 33 pages and finished!

Day 5 update:
Currently reading: Something Borrowed, Someone Dead, Fangirl
Pages/Percent read: SBSD- 9 pages, Fangirl- 5 pages

Day 6 update:
Currently reading: Nevermore Poe Collection
Read: Masque of Read Death, half of Ligeia

Day 7 update:
Currently reading: Nevermore Poe Collection, Something Borrowed Someone Dead
Read: rest of Ligeia, Cask of Amontillado, The Tell Tale Heart, The Black Cat, SBSD- 20 pages

September is for Sequels Wrap-up

September is for Sequels is hosted by Lisa @ Lisa Loves Literature. This was the second annual challenge. Well I did read 3 books and a novella, even though three of them were not on my original list. I was in quite the reading slump until the very end of the month. I am starting to love reading again, but I still miss my little reading cat and that had me depressed most of the month. I love doing the sequels challenge, because I suddenly remember just how great particular series are and that I should actually finish the series. I ended up reading Always a Witch, which was on my list and I thought it was a fitting ending to that short series. I read the second Gallagher Girl book, Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy, which I loved and I need to finish that series and read the third Heist Society series book. I read Dream Dark, a novella in the Caster Chronicles, and now I want to start Beautiful Chaos. I also read Teacher's Pest, a middle grades novel, that is part of the Tales of Lovecraft series. It was a perfectly creepy read for fall and now I am just one book behind in that series. Thanks again to Lisa for hosting!

Book Bingo Oct 1 Update

2013 Bingo Challenge Button-01

In the TBR category I have read a total of 11 books.

Always a Witch

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
Achieving Apollo

Monstrous Beauty

Once a Witch

The Will of the Empress
The Night Dance
The Red Garden
Crimson Thread
Beauty Sleep
In the Series category I have read a total of 12 books.

The Girl with the Iron Touch

Full Moon Kisses
Professor Gargoyle
Iron Daughter
The Gathering
In the Books released in 2013, I have filled all my squares, except the Free Square for a total of 12 books.
Life After Theft
School Spirits
Wild Song
Rapunzel Untangled
The Art of Wishing
The Dead and the Buried
Goddess Inheritance
Shadowhunters and Downworlders
Mind Games
Day of Doom
In the Books that Everyone but You Has Read category I have only finished 5 books.
Vampire Academy
Pretty Little Liars

My Soul to Take


Dealing with Dragons
In the Rereads category I have finished 7 books.
The first six Harry Potter books
The Lightning Thief

I still need a book for my free space and I will have a bingo line complete at that point.