Friday, May 31, 2013

Clean Sweep ARC challenge wrap-up

Clean Sweep ARC Challenge

I finished 4 eARCS: Towering by Alex Flinn, Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike, School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins, and Wild Song by Jane Eagland. All four have been reviewed and I sent the publishers feedback. I also complete a few mini-challenges and found more books I would like to read by looking at other bloggers' reviews. This was a really fun challenge. Thanks to Kimba from Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Kimberly from The Windy Pages for hosting!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

I received this as an eARC from Harper and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Jeff never expected to see a ghost on the first day at his new school, but when he sees a boy step through Kimberlee Schaeffer, he knows he is about to have an interesting time. Kimberlee has unfinished business, a whole cave full of unfinished business. She was a kleptomaniac in life and she also stole items that had personal value to her victims. She feels she needs to atone for her crimes and she wants Jeff to return all the items to her fellow classmates and teachers. With a vindictive principal and several boxes full of stuff, Jeff feels he will never accomplish the tasks, but with a little help from the wrestling team, particularly help from Khail, the brother of Sera, Jeff's love interest. Sera, one of Kimberlee's main victims, is harboring secrets from Jeff, secrets that could wind Jeff in a lot of trouble.

Pike's modern take on the Scarlet Pimpernel is full of action, lies, and redemption. Full of twist and turns, readers will stay up late wondering if Jeff will be caught or if he can escape. I really did not get that attached to any of the characters, although I did enjoy the secondary character, Khail.

Favorite Character: Khail. Khail is a great brother, a good friend, and an all around good guy, even if he is a wrestler. :)

Favorite Quote: "I always think it's weird to see people who order a dessert and a Diet Coke."

I liked the storyline and the fact that this was a modern take on the Scarlet Pimpernel, but I just could not get attached to the characters. It was a fun, quick read though. 3 cups of cocoa.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

I received this as an eARC from Netgalley and Disney Book Group. This is a spinoff of the Hex Hall series and while you would not have to read the Hex Hall series first, there are a few sentences in School Spirits that will give away the ending of the other series. This review will not have spoilers for Hex Hall.

Disney Book Group

Izzy is a Brannick and she knows her job is to defend the world from monsters. aka Prodigium (teens who are witches, vampire, fae, etc.) and sometimes ghosts. On her first mission solo, she tries to capture a vampire that is wrecking havoc and almost gets herself killed. Her mother saves her, but Izzy would not have needed saving if she had been thinking about her duty and not her missing sister. Finley disappeared when the two were capturing a coven of dark witches. Izzy and her mother try to carry on without Finley, but things are not the same, then Izzy's mom suggests they try an easy task, capturing a ghost that has attacked a teacher at a school in Ideal, Mississippi. For this task, Izzy will have to go undercover as a high school student, something she and Finley always wanted to try. With cheesy high school soaps and Torin, a centuries old warlock trapped in mirror to guide her, Izzy hopes to blend end. She manages to dislocate a jock's shoulder with a kickball and befriend the Paranormal Management Society (PMS) members, so not exactly blending in. Izzy will have to use her skills to protect her new friends, including Dex, a possible love interest and likely Prodigium, from a malevolent ghost. In the end, she may have to sacrifice lives in order to stop a ghost, but Brannicks have to do their job at all costs or do they?
This has the same snarky humor, clever puns, and suspense as the Hex Hall trilogy and leaves you eager for the next book in the series. Izzy is both a true Brannick and girl with the same hard choices as her cousin Sophie.

Favorite Character: I loved both Izzy and Dex. Dex has a sense of style and pizzazz that is all his own. Pizzazz is actually the perfect word for him. Izzy is complex, strong, and out to make her own way.

Favorite Quotes: " Romy, I don't think Havard is going to be very impressed by your membership in something called PMS." I actually laughed out loud at that one.

"I don't know what heaven smells like, but if it doesn't smell like freshly baked cookies, I will be really disappointed."

"But the person you are is delightful, and they will like you if you'll just ... be that."

With a warlock trapped in a mirror, an angry ghost, PMS, a monster-hunting heroine, and a male love interest who looks great in purple, this book has everything, especially laugh out loud moments. I like this even more than the Hex Hall trilogy. 5 cups of cocoa for me!

Wild Song by Jane Eagland

I received this e-galley from Netgalley and Myrick Marketing and Media in exchange for an honest review. I was intrigued by the Stoke Books premise that it is geared toward children who have dyslexia and reluctant readers. It is difficult to find books for those who do have learning disabilities that are on their level and have material that will appeal to them. Wild Song is on a 3rd grade reading level, but does have teen appeal. I also liked that this is inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest. I could see the potential in using this particularly in a Read 180 class as a way to relate to the classic.

Anna has been trapped on an island with her father, his assistant, and two servants. Her father barely clings to his sanity, driven to hate the outside world by the theft of his life's work. He will not let Anna study anything but math and recoils when she suggests subjects like geography. Anna begins to think she is falling for her father's assistant Max, even though he is a good deal older than her. She believes Max brings her secret books, books her father would not want her to read. As she begins to have feelings for Max, a boy is shipwrecked on the island. The boy, Rob, is allowed to stay until he can recover from a broken leg, but Anna is not to go near him. She sneaks to meet Rob and as he tells her of the outside world, she longs to break free of the island. As she gets closer to Rob, she learns she may not know Max at all and this could prove dangerous for herself and her father.

The story reads like a gothic story, but with a very easy to read structure. The sentences are short, but not choppy. The story has a sort of cliffhanger, so it could have a sequel. The books is only 69 pages long, which makes it the perfect size for a struggling reader and could work for both a middle school or high school student. This is a definite purchase for the library and I think it will appeal to reluctant teen readers.

Favorite Character: I think the character of Anna was well-developed and even in the short number of pages, you grow to care for her. She is strong and determined to do what is best for herself and her father.

Favorite Quote: "But for Anna, math was like a big, black cloud hanging over her." Haven't we all felt this way! :)

This was a quick read and perfect for a reluctant reader. 4 cups of cocoa.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Clean Sweep ARC challenge update 3

Clean Sweep ARC Challenge

I have finished Wild Song and School Spirits, but I still need to write the reviews. I have been really busy this week, but hopefully I can write the review to School Spirits tomorrow. I am waiting to see the finished product of Wild Song, which I ordered for the library. I think my egalley was possibly just a sneak peek of it. I am 70% of the way through Life After Theft. I hope I can finish it before the end of next week. I did both mini-challenges this week, so I feel like I accomplished something. Hope everyone else is having a good reading week!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bout of Books Day 7 and Wrap-up

Bout of Books
Day 7
Books I am currently reading: Life After Theft, Onyx
Pages/Percentage finished: Life After Theft 14% or 42 pages and Onyx 55 pages
Books finished: 1 School Spirits
Mini-challenges: 1
Comments on others' pages:1
New blogs to follow:0

I met all of my goals, except for my reading goal. I commented on 12 blog posts and my goal was 10. I found 6 new blogs to follow and my goal was 5. I participated in 4 mini-challenges and my goal was 2. Overall not too bad! I only finished one book, instead of two, but I am over halfway through Life After Theft and have made a dent in Onyx. I am sad it is over, but August will be here soon!
Thanks to Amanda @ On a Book Bender & Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal for hosting!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

If you like...then you'll enjoy...: Snarky Bird Uber Nerd

Today's challenge is hosted by Snarky Bird Uber Nerd. A big part of my job as a librarian is to do reader's advisory work. We have people say I really liked this book, what would be like it. For example when 50 Shades came out, all sorts of women wanted read-a-likes. I haven't read the books, but I knew the storyline, so we would recommend Sylvia Day, particularly Bared to You, Reflected in You, etc. I also love to do this with YA books. Sometimes it is not a match and other times they come back for more.

If you like Hunger Games...try Legend by Marie Lu, Divergent by Veronica Roth, or Maze Runner by James Dashner (boys in particular seem drawn to Maze Runner). If they have read all of these, try Barcode trilogy by Suzanne Weyn or Pure by Julianna Baggot.

If you like Twilight...try City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout, Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, or Evermore by Alyson Noel.

If you like Harry Potter...try The Unwanteds by Lisa McCann, Magyk by Angie Sage, and The Hound of Rowan by Henry Neff.

If you like Rapunzel...try Towering by Alex Flinn and Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy Bennett.

If you like Paranormalcy...try School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins.

Thanks to Kellie for hosting!

Bout of Books Day 6

Not too bad today. I think I have met at least two of my goals. I am not going to finish two books at this rate, but at least I finished one!

Books I am currently reading: Life After Theft, Onyx
Pages/Percentage finished: Life After Theft 14% or 42 pages
Books finished: 1 School Spirits
Mini-challenges: 0
Comments on others' pages:4
New blogs to follow: 2 Writing My Own Fairy Tale and The Grown-up YA

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bout of Books Day 5

I focused mainly on reading and finally finished a book!
Books I am currently reading: Life After Theft, Onyx
Pages/Percentage finished: School Spirits: 48% or 144 pages
Books finished: 1 School Spirits
Mini-challenges: 0
Comments on others' pages:2
New blogs to follow: 1 A Daydreamer's Thoughts

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bout of Books Day 4

I feel better and finally had a good reading day!
Books I am currently reading: School Spirits
Pages/Percentage finished: School Spirits: 14% or 42 pages
Books finished: 0
Mini-challenges: 1
Comments on others' pages: 1
New blogs to follow: 1 Music Plus Books

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bout of Books Day 3

One word: Migraine

I did terrible yesterday and I felt terrible for most of the day. I went to bed before 8:00pm, which I haven't done since maybe grade school. Hope everyone else had a better day!

Books I am currently reading: School Spirits
Pages/Percentage finished: School Spirits: 2% or 6 pages
Books finished: 0
Mini-challenges: 0
Comments on others' pages: 0
New blogs to follow: 0

Acrostic Poem Challenge: Harley Bear Book


The Acrostic Poem Challenge is hosted by Harley Bear Book Blog. Pick a book title and write an acrostic poem. I chose Towering by Alex Flinn.


Towering
HarperTeen



Teen romance

Outside their comfort zones

Weather permitting visits

Extreme danger

Rapunzel retelling

Interesting twists

Never give up

Great story!

Thanks to Melissa for hosting!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bout of Books Day 2

I attended the board meeting tonight, so I read very little today. Bad day overall, but at least I did one mini-challenge!
Books I am currently reading: School Spirits
Pages/Percentage finished: School Spirits: 1% or 3 pages
Books finished: 0
Mini-challenges: 1
Comments on others' pages: 2
New blogs to follow: 1 Penmanship Smitten

Soundtrack Challenge by Medusa's Library

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5)
Margaret K. McElderry
This challenge is hosted by Medusa's Library. Pick a book and pick a soundtrack to go with it.
I chose City of Lost Souls and the following songs:

Just Give Me a Reason by P!nk for basically any couple in the book, but particularly for Jace and Clary

A Thousand Years-Christina Perri for Magnus and Alec

Love, Sex, and Magic- Ciara and Justin Timberlake for the club scene

Radioactive-Imagine Dragons for Sebastian/Jonathan

Stay-Rhianna for Izzy and Simon

Too Close-Alex Clare, because it just seems to fit

Clarity-Zedd, again for all the couples

I thought about this challenge all day and I seemed to listen mainly to current pop music today, so this is what I came up with.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bout of Books: Day 1

So far today I have completed the mini-challenge hosted by Escape Through the Pages.

Books I am currently reading: School Spirits
Pages/Percentage finished: School Spirits: 11% or 33 pages
Books finished: 0
Mini-challenges: 1
Comments on others' pages:2
New blogs to follow: 1 When Books Attack

Book Spine Poem hosted by Escape Through the Pages


Today's mini-challenge is
Book Spine Poetry hosted by Escape Through the Pages
Here is my poem:

Girl Stolen
Splintered and Spoiled
I Will Save You
I Am the Messenger
or
Just Another Hero
Out of My Mind
Perception is Magic or Madness

I used 9 books and three extra words. This was a really fun challenge!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Clean Sweep ARC challenge update 2

Clean Sweep ARC Challenge
I reviewed Towering by Alex Flinn, which was a 5 cups of cocoa book for me!
I am 34% through Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike. I didn't realize it was part ghost story. It is an interesting contemporary read so far.
I am also reading School Spirits and I just reached the 14% mark. It has the same humor as the Hex Hall trilogy and I like Izzie and her spunk.

I also completed Thuy's @ Nite Lite mini-challenge and Kristen's @ My ParaHangover mini- challenge.

Hopefully I can finish at least one of these this week and participating in Bout of Books should definitely help!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Towering by Alex Flinn and Rapunzel by Brothers Grimm

Towering
HarperTeen
I received this as an e-ARC from Edelweiss and  HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. Note: Kendra is not in this book and not part of the story, but this is a fairy tale retelling of the Brothers Grimm's Rapunzel. I read this for the ARC Cleanup Challenge. I am also using this for the Classic Double Challenge. The cover is beautiful!

Wyatt is sent by his mother to live in the middle of nowhere with the Mrs. Greenwood, mother of his mother's friend. Slatskill, NY does not even have its own movie theater and Wyatt is going to go to school online for the year, but Wyatt does not mind. He is trying to escape bad memories from his past and he is unable to move on from a tragedy that took away his best friend. He enjoys his time with Mrs. Greenwood, who mourns her daughter who ran away years ago. Rachel lives in an old tower kept away from the world, because "Mama" is afraid that the people who killed Rachel's real mother will try to kill Rachel too. Rachel learns about the world from books like Wuthering Heights and Little Women and remembers little of the outside world. However she begins dreaming of a boy and when her abnormally long hair begins to grow even quicker than usually she cuts it and makes a rope. Wyatt keeps hearing this beautiful voice that no one else seems to notice. When their two worlds collide, both Wyatt and Rachel must have the strength to fight for each other and fight the real villains in the town who are targeting teens. With magical tears mixed with the tears of grief, the two may overcome the losses of the past, to have a real future.

I love Alex Flinn's retellings. She stuck with the traditional element of Rapunzel with healing tears and long hair, but she gives Rachel the power to cut her hair and become the heroine instead of the damsel in distress. On their first meeting, Rachel using her cut braided hair as a rope swings down and rescues Wyatt from drowning. Awesome! Rachel is naïve based on her many years locked away, but she is brave. I also liked that the villain is not the person you would think. In the traditional Rapunzel, Gothel steals Rapunzel away, based on her parents' greed for the plant, but in Flinn's story the "Gothel" character is actually one who is trying to save Rachel from the true villains. I don't want to give too much away, but the use of the plant as a hallucinogenic drug was really clever, since in the original tale, it was the mother's desire for rampion that cost her the child. Both Rachel and Wyatt and Rapunzel and her prince find a way to be together despite all the odds.

Favorite Character: Wyatt. Wyatt is strong, a typical teen boy, and dealing with guilt he should not have. He is a good guy, who made a bad choice, but a completely understandable one. He lost a friend based on this. He does typical guy things too, like leading one of the girls on, but then Rachel turns him around. He learns from his mistakes and learns to forgive himself.

Favorite Quote: "If the world was gone wrong, would you be one of the people fighting against the problem or one of the people ignoring it?" "If you're not a hero, does that make you a villain?" "I don't think so. That would make just about everyone a villain then. The real villains are the one who are actually commanding the evil robots to destroy the hero." Actually this is probably more a conversation than a quote, but it was a wonderful way to look at guilt. Inaction does not make us a villain, even if we are not the hero and things don't end well.

With magic and grief rolled into one, this retelling shows the beauty of the original tale with a modern twist. 5 cups of cocoa!

Fictional Dinner Party: Thuy at Nite Lite



This is a mini-challenge hosted by Thuy at Nite Lite. You have to decide who you would invite to a fictional dinner party.

First up I would invite Hermione from the Harry Potter series and Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series. They would clash at first, deciding who knows the most, but they would end up bonding over their sometimes clueless boyfriends.

I would also invite Clary from the Mortal Instruments series and Meghan from the Iron Fey series so that they could dish about how evil Faery Queens are.

Finally sticking with the girls only theme I would invite Rachel from Towering and Rapunzel from Rapunzel Untangled and get them hooked on bad reality TV shows, because they've been locked up in a tower and would not know any better.

Thanks to Thuy for hosting!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bout of Books 7.0 Goals post

Bout of Books

My reading goals are to try to finish two books. I would also like to comment on at least 10 blogs, do at least two mini-challenges, and find at least 5 new blogs to follow. Since this will be a busy work week, I won't set my goals too high.

My reading list will include the following:

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout
School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
The Girl With the Iron Touch by Kady Cross
The Elite by Kiera Cass
Prodigy by Marie Lu

All of these are books I am reading for various challenges. A few of these I have started and a couple I hope to start soon. Good luck everyone!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Clean Sweep ARC challenge update week 1


I have finished Towering and hopefully will review it sometime this weekend. I am reading Wild Song by Jane Eagland and Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike. I am going to try to do one of the mini-challenges soon. Towering was a great retelling of Rapunzel. I loved the twists and surprises throughout the story. Now I want to read the actual Rapunzel fairy tale, so that I can compare it to the two retellings I read.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May 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 267 books on my Kindle, which means I only add three books last month! My random number was 193, which was a book I have actually read on my Kindle, so I went to the next one down which was Prodigy by Marie Lu. I loved Legend and for some reason have put off reading Prodigy, so I am excited it was this month's choice.
This series has some of the qualities of Hunger Games and Divergent, so it works for a read-a-like for both series. I may actually like it better than the other two. Since I received this as an e-ARC, it will also work for my two ARC challenges.
Prodigy (Legend, #2)
Penguin