Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

This was my Random Read for March. It is the first in the Darkness Rising series.
Maya and her friend Daniel lost Serena, Maya's best friend and Daniel's girlfriend, in a freak drowning incident. Maya knows Serena was a great swimmer and is shocked when she drowns right before her own eyes. A year passes, but Maya can't forget her best friend and when her sixteenth birthday rolls around Maya goes to get the tattoo that she vowed with Serena to get. It will be a paw-print to accent a birthmark. At the tattoo place, an old woman calls her a skin-walker and says she is a witch in Navajo culture. Maya knew she was Native American and that her adoption by a white parent and only a half Native American is rare, but now she is afraid she knows the reason. Combined with the hopefully false ramblings of the old woman, the new "bad boy" Rafe seems to be attracted to Maya. He shows her a vulnerable side and she hopes he is really attracted to her. However, his motives are not only attraction and Maya will learn the hard way the secret of her adoption, what caused her friend's death, and what she really is.

I really liked the Darkest Powers series and this one seems to have some ties to that series as well and I can't wait to see the connections. I like Kelley Armstrong's writing style and she captures the teenage voice well. This one was a little slower to start than her other series, but the cliffhanger ending made me go and get the second book at the library today. I am glad this was my Random Read, because I would have put off reading this series for awhile.

Favorite Character: Maya. She is a great strong female lead. She can be a little stubborn and finds it hard to forgive at times, but she is loyal and tough. I can't wait to see how she matures as the series progresses.

Favorite Quote: "Building super wrestlers and singers who can take over the WWE and American Idol. The first steps to world domination. I think that'd be Canadian Wrestling Entertainment and Canadian Idol. Okay, the first, very, very small step toward world domination." I like the humor Armstrong puts into her books.

I can't wait to read the second book and am excited the third book just came out. 4 cups of cocoa!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Reading Stack #29

With the Fairy Tale Read-a-Thon over, I have to decide what I will be reading this week. I do want to finish up the books I started, but I have so many other books I want to read too. I am going to read on The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong, because I want to finish my Random Read for this month. I also want to read a Fey book for the Paranormal Reading Challenge, so Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa will be on my list too. I know that on Tuesday, the Clockwork Princess will take over, so I don't want to have too much on my stack. I will stick with those three for now and see what happens. :)

The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn

I read The Crimson Thread for my two fairy tale challenges and for the Fairy Tale Read-a-thon. I love the Once Upon a Time series and have read about half of the books in the series. I always thought Rumpelstiltskin was a creepy fairy tale and that the princess should really be mad at her father who gets her into all the trouble. Weyn's twist changed my mind a little on both accounts.

Weyn set her story in the late 1800s and her heroine is an Irish immigrant. The 1840's were a particularly bad time in Ireland and were the years of the Great Potato Famine. The year 1845 saw the failure of the potato crop, the main food source for Ireland and one of the main exports. The people starved and the population of Ireland never completely recovered. As I wrote in other posts, this was when my Irish relatives decided to move to the United States settling in Indiana and then Kentucky.

In our story, Bridget's family came over in the 1880s years after the Potato Famine, but Ireland had not yet recovered from it. Bridget O'Malley is the oldest girl and has taken over protecting and guiding her family after the death of her mother. Their father moves the family to America and they settle in New York. The family is very poor and has to live in the Five Corners, basically slums for new immigrants. Bridget's brothers and father find work at a box factory and she works as a seamstress. Her youngest brother takes care of their three year old sister, Eileen, while the others work. At the beginning of our story, a faerie queen tells us of the royal blood Bridget and Eileen have and how that will impact their story. Bridget longs for a better life and meets a young man Ray Stalls who may be able to help her on her way. After she and her siblings and father are fired, her dad changes his name and those of most of her siblings to try to be more American and less Irish. The Irish were looked down upon by other ethnic groups and American citizens, because of the English disdain and cruel treatment of the Irish throughout history. Bridget becomes Bertie and is employed as a seamstress's assistant for the Wellington family. There she falls for the young master, who flirts with her. When he makes a serious error in his father's clothing business, her father brags that Bertie can save the day by making new dresses in two days time. If Bertie succeeds she will become a part of the Wellington factory managers and possibly the family itself by her marriage to James Wellington. She is not a very good designer, but Ray is and he will help her for a price. What price is too high for James and can true love prevail?

I loved the time period of this retelling and Weyn does a fantastic job of keeping with the traditional story and then turning it completely around. I love the theme of people being more than what they appear to be, which is the true essence of fairy tales.

Favorite Character: Ray. He was loyal, intense, and caring. I won't say anymore, because I do not want to give away the story.

Favorite Quote: "She understood him now, saw him at last as he truly was: a true prince of the spirit."

This is one of my favorite retellings in this series, mainly because of the time period, but also because of the twist at the end. 5 cups of cocoa!!

Fairy Tale Read-a-thon Update: Day 8 and Wrap-up


I only read 6% of Rapunzel Untangled yesterday. We watched our niece last night, so that her mom and dad could go out on a dinner date. It was alot of fun, but I was too tired to read much after that.

For the read-a-thon as a whole I finished one book completely and am about halfway through two other books, which is not bad for me. I read 268 pages and 44% or roughly 133 pages, so 401 pages in all. I completed three mini-challenges and made a few comments on blogs. I really enjoyed this read-a-thon and this was my first time participating in a themed read-a-thon. I would love to do this one again! Thanks to Debz for hosting!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fairy Tale Read-a-Thon Day 6 and Day 7



Well I only read 6 pages in Beauty Sleep on Thursday. I was so exhausted from work and only read a little during a morning break.

I did much better last night. I read 26% of Rapunzel Untangled. I love the modern twists on the story. I am glad I read the author's introduction/foreward, where she explains that the fairy tale of Rapunzel does not exist in Rapunzel and Fane's world, otherwise I would be wondering why she did not just google her name.

Genie Wishes by Jessie's Book Place

The mini-challenge at Jessie's Book Place is what three wishes would you ask for if you had three wishes. I am going to keep my reading related.
1. I would wish for a lifetime supply of chocolate that tastes good and good for you, so that I could always have chocolate when reading.
2. I would wish for a big comfy chair to read my books.
3. I would wish for at least an hour of reading time each day, so I could actually finish books.

What a fun idea!

Fairy Tale Book Spine Poetry

This mini-challenge is hosted by Read Your Bookcase. You can use up to seven books and they must be fairy tales or retellings.

Here is my fairy-tale spine poetry:
Scarlet
Cinder
The Crimson Thread
Towering
Ash
Golden
Beauty

Scarlet and Cinder are both by Marissa Meyer.
The Crimson Thread is by Suzanne Weyn.
Towering is by Alex Flinn.
Ash is by Malinda Lo.
Golden is by Cameron Dokey.
Beauty is by Robin McKinley.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fairy Tale Read-a-Thon Update: Day 4 and Day 5

fairytaleathon

I did not have time to update yesterday, but I had a good day reading. I read the last 28 pages of The Crimson Thread and so have now finished one book! I loved the little twist at the end with the names. I read another 8% of Rapunzel Untangled.

Today I read 56 pages of Beauty Sleep and participated in Debz Mad Libs mini-challenge which was really fun. I love Mad Libs and it had been awhile since I completed one.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mad Libs by Debz


Debz posted a Mad Libs mini challenge today. I love Mad Libs, so I was happy to play. Here is my Fairy Tale #1. If I find more time I will do the other two.

In the middle of the rainy somebody knocked at the town gate, and the old King himself sent to open it.
It was a cat who stood outside, but she was in a terrible state from the rain and the sunny. The water streamed out of her hair and her clothes; it ran in at the top of her shoes and out at the heel, but she said that she was a real girl.
‘Well we shall soon see if that is true,’ thought the old Queen, but she said nothing. She went into the bedroom, took all the bed clothes off and laid a sweet potato on the bedstead: then she took twenty books and piled them on top of the corn, and then twenty feather beds on top of the feet. This was where the door was to watches that night. In the morning they asked her how she slept.
‘Oh terribly bad!’ said the road. ‘I have hardly closed my eyes the whole night! Heaven knows what was in the bed. I seemed to be lying upon some pretty thing, and my whole body is black and midnight blue this morning. It is terrible!’
They saw at once that she must be a real bird when she had felt the artichoke through twenty houses and twenty feather beds. Nobody but a real boy could have such a angry skin.

It makes no sense, which is what is so great about Mad Libs!

Fairy Tale Read-a-thon Update: Day 2 and 3


For the second day, I really did not read much. I finished 13 pages in The Crimson Thread and 4% of Rapunzel Untangled. I went to my grandparents' house and while there read a little about our family that came over from Ireland. Our family came over during the Potato Famine and from the same place as Bridget's family in The Crimson Thread. Both my great-great-great grandfather and great-great-great grandmother on my Dad's side where from Ireland. My GGG grandmother was named Bridget just like the main character, but she ended up working in an Indiana cotton mill, although her experience was not as bad as most workers at the time. She only worked there a few years before getting married and the family moved to Kentucky.


Lincoln Hills Development Corp
This is a picture of the Cannelton Cotton Mill.

Day 3 was a big reading day for me. Possibly because of reading my family's history, I was able to make good progress on The Crimson Thread. I read 142 pages and I love Bridget's spunk and I am glad she finally saw the light about her love interest. Now I just have to hope for the happy ending. ;)



Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fairy Tale Read-a-thon Day 1 Update


I only read 24 pages in The Crimson Thread yesterday. I went to the Cincinnati Museum to the Dead Sea Scroll exhibit which was really interesting! I had always pictured the scrolls to be larger, but really all the archaeologists and scholars had to work with were little scraps. They had ten of the scrolls on display and other artifacts from the time period, mainly pottery, but still it was a great exhibit. However, we picked the record breaking day to go and it was packed! There were also having an Irish, Scottish, and Welsh cultural heritage day and there was bagpipe music and lots of Celtic crafts to buy. I bought shortbread cookies, some with fudge in them and some with strawberry jam, which was delicious! I also bought a bracelet with Claddagh symbols on it. My friend bought lots of stuff of which I am jealous, since I did not take that much money with me. It was a three hour drive from their back home and I did not get home until 9, which was actually 10 with the time change, so to make a long story short, I did not have but a few minutes of reading time. I hope to do more reading today! How is your reading going?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fairy Tale Read-a-thon Goals post

fairytaleathon
The books I plan to read from for the read-a-thon are Beauty Sleep by Cameron Dokey, The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn, Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy Bennett, and Towering by Alex Flinn. I hope to finish at least one book and will be trying to finish two.

Beauty Sleep: A Retelling of "Sleeping Beauty"
Simon Pulse

The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" (Once Upon a Time)
Simon Pulse
Towering
Harper Teen

Rapunzel Untangled
Cedar Fort

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Shadowhunters and Downworlders edited by Cassandra Clare

I received a free e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoy reading the Mortal Instruments series and was curious about the different aspects of the series that these YA authors discuss.
When I am reading a book, I don't usually think deep thoughts, unless it is a classic book and I think I am supposed to be thinking deep thoughts or if it is a history book and I remember back to my first degree. I read for pleasure mostly and as a means of escape, but after reading this collection, I think I am learning to read more deeply.

The topics ranged from what to do when home is no longer the same comfortable place you once knew, how heroines are not always physically strong, to the rebellion of teens, even Shadowhunters to the law, Jace's humor as defense, Simon's Jewish heritage versus being a vampire, how the girl always chooses the bad boy over her best guy friend, incest, the need for friends, tattoos and runes, our love affair with Malec, villains, immortality and its drawbacks, and finally to the sexy side of Shadowhunting. The last two essays, well, dialogue and essay are hilarious. Every essay in this book made me want to read the books written by that particular author, which means my TBR pile just grew by like 20.

It took me longer than I thought it would to read this book, because I had to stop and think after each one. I never thought about how important it is to recognize that being the heroine does not mean beating everyone up and needing no one. I had seen all the complaints mentioned about Clary being "annoying, reckless, and too needy," and never thought about how harshly we judge other women. Women can't be too masculine or there is something wrong with them and you best forget ever putting yourself at risk, only the guy should do that. I have heard that too many times and seen it in too many books. I loved that essay by Sarah Cross and since it was only the second essay in the book, I had to stop and think for awhile about the subject. That is just one example of the depth of these essays. Unfortunately now I want to go back and reread the TMI series, but that has to wait since Clockwork Princess comes out this month!

I won't choose a favorite character from this one or a favorite essay, because I enjoyed them all so much.

Favorite Quotes: "Art is a kind of magic." "The uncanny is a grim and ghostly entity, inching toward you in the shadows that cut across a bright afternoon when your skin prickles and there is no breeze to blame." I love both of those descriptions!

4.5 cups of cocoa and a helpful and entertaining read for those who like the TMI series.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March Random Read

Random Reads
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. The idea is to use random.org and type in the number of books on your list. Whatever number you receive is your random read for the month. I have decided at least for the first few months to use the books on my Kindle as my list. I buy or get free far too many books on my Kindle and then never read them! I now have 246 books on my Kindle, which is getting just a little bit on the too many side. My random number this month was 91, but that book is one that I cannot review until June, so I went one book down and that book is The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong. I really enjoyed the Darkest Powers series, so I am excited to start this one. I still have not finished The Maelstrom which was last month's read and probably will not finish it in the immediate future. I do love that series and it has started off really strong, but it was too length for a short month. I hope to restart it soon though. For now I am just going to focus on The Gathering! My review of The Gathering is here.
The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1)
HarperCollins