Monday, September 30, 2013

Teacher's Pest by Charles Gilman

This is another book I read for the September is for Sequels challenge. It is the third in the Tales of Lovecraft series, so there are spoilers for the first two books.

Lovecraft Middle School appears to be your average state of the art middle school, but behind its facade lurk demons and monsters that are straight from nightmares. After defeating the twins and a teacher, Robert and Glenn face down their next challenge, the class president, Howard, who is a gigantic bug. Howard plans on creating a bug army for the evil Tillinghast and causes wave after wave of insects to invade the school. Couple with this, Glenn begins acting strange and Robert fears he has lost his friend forever. To try to discover the evil plan, Robert sends Pip and Squeak down a tunnel. When the two-headed rat does not return, Robert will stop at nothing to save his friend and the world from the buggy invasion.

The book is full of gross situations and mild horror, perfect for a middle grade read. The series has the chills of Goosebumps with the grossness of the Rotten School books by Stine. Each one has an ending, but they all build up to the next story in the series. Each demon seems worse than the last and you wonder what is going to happen to those who are taken over and if Robert and his friends will be able to stop Tillinghast from destroying the world.

Favorite character: Robert. He is a good and loyal friend and apologizes for his mistakes. He is mean to Karina in this one, but apologizes for his rudeness. He manages to defeat the evil minions of Tillinghast, but never gets too cocky.

Favorite quote: "'If we were strangers? And I saw you standing in a crowd of others kids? I wouldn't even notice you.' 'That's very sweet,' Karina said, shaking her head. 'That's probably the nicest thing you've ever said to me.'" That is the perfect thing to say to a ghost girl. ;)

The horror is perfect for 5th grade and the grossness will definitely appeal to boys. 4 cups of cocoa!

Dream Dark by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Dream Dark is the novella following Beautiful Darkness. This is 2.5 in the Caster Chronicles This review will have spoilers for the first two books in the Caster Chronicles. I read this for the September is for Sequels challenge.

Link is adjusting to his life following the circumstances of his encounter with John Breed over the summer. Link is now a quarter Incubus and with that comes superior power, but also an aversion to food and a need to feed on dreams. Link is able to discuss his problems with Macon Ravenwood. Macon gives Link a task to test him, but it may prove to be impossible.

This novella is from Link's point of view as compiled by Ethan. It has most of Link's humor, but from Ethan's perspective. I liked seeing more of Link's relationship with Ridley through Link's perspective.

Favorite Character: Link. Link seems to hold to his religious beliefs in his own way, while adapting to the Caster life. He also has a sense of humor even in the darkest situations.

Favorite Quote: "Small towns are known for lots of small things, but they're known for some big things too. Like stories that start out as small as the town itself, until folks grow them." I love Garcia and Stohl's descriptions and the way they set the scenes.

This makes me want to start Beautiful Chaos soon. Nice short story into the life of Link with a hook at the end to get you geared up for BC. 4 cups of cocoa!

FrightFall Read-a-thon Starting Line



This challenge is hosted by Michelle @ The True Book Addict and Castle Macabre and the signup link is here. All you have to do to participate is read at least one horror/scary book.  For the faint-hearted among you, it can be a spooky mystery, a scary thriller, or something classically gothic.  Children's books are also allowed.

My Reading List:
Finish The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Finish Dream Dark by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

The Nevermore Poe Collection by Kelly Creagh and Edgar Allan Poe
Teacher's Pest by Charles Gilman
Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Risked by Margaret Peterson Haddix


I hope to finish the Gaiman book and Dream Dark novella and read at least two of the Poe short stories. I would love to finish at least one of the other book. My goal is to try to read at least 250 pages.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

This is the sequel to Once A Witch and will have spoilers for the first book. This is another book I read for the September is for Sequels challenge.


Tamsin will do anything to protect her family and friends. She gave up the Domani to protect her sister and even though her family did not tell her about her talent, she forgave them. Tamsin can stop other people's talents from working on her and she can absorb talents used on her three times. Tam hopes this ability will help her in her journey to the past. For her family to survive, Tam must stop Alastair and the Knight family from destroying the Domani. With Gabriel's help, Tam feels she can succeed, but her success may come at a high price. Just what is she willing to sacrifice for her family?

I enjoyed MacCullough's fast paced style and the humor in her stories even in dire circumstances. Tam is a strong heroine who knows the meaning of sacrifice and love and it was great to see her mature as the story progressed . I loved the time travel in this book too and it was nice to see how Tam dealt with the 1880's New York. I only wish the story was a little longer and I hated saying goodbye to the characters.

Favorite Character: Tam. No matter what life throws at her, she manages to deal with. She is a strong heroine, but knows when to allow others to help her.

Favorite Quote: "Only the very young seem to think that we can avoid death. We cannot. We can only perhaps choose how we meet it."

Nice twist on witches and their powers and a neat little time travel piece. I wish there were more books in the series! 4 cups of cocoa!

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

This is the second book in the Gallagher Girls series and one of my read for the September is for Sequels challenge. There will be spoilers for the first book in the series, which is I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You.


Cammie and her friends love going to an all girls spy school, but at times the spy life can cause complications. Cammie has to endure question at the CIA about her relationship with Josh and the troubles it caused last semester, but she easily passes. Cammie is not over Josh, when she and the girls get an unwelcome surprise; their school will be invaded by boys from the Blackthorne school, a school for boys much like their Gallagher Academy. The boys seem to be a bit better at espionage than the girls, but the girls attempt to spy on the spies with hilarious results. One boy in particular, Zach seems to like Cammie, but after everything with Josh, Cammie is a mess and not for sure if she can trust Zach. As every good spy knows, things are often not what they seem. With a couple of Code Blacks, the girls learn that someone may be out to steal their biggest secret of all, their true identities, but who can they trust?

I love the humor and the girl power of the Gallagher Girls books. At first I did not like that Carter threw boys into the mix, because it appeared the girls were just going to be weak and drooling over all the "hot" guys, but the end showed the importance of this decision. The girls can still kick butt all the while wearing perfume and makeup. I love all the training and funny tips the girls give each other and that they really are typically girls that just happen to be spies. Carter's humor is great and there are several laugh out loud moments, including one involving a strapless bra. I had forgotten how much I loved Carter's writing and both of her series, so I will need to start the third book very soon.

Favorite Character: Cammie, she is strong, but also vulnerable. She can blend in, but really wants to be seen. She is also loyal to her friends, but knows when to keep a secret. She is good at what she does, but can be shaken, so basically she is a typical girl with an atypical life.

Favorite Quote: "...maybe I didn't want to admit weakness; maybe I wanted to wallow in my solitude and grief. Or maybe crying is like everything else we do- it's best if you don't get caught." I think most girls go through this type of emotion and we often hide what we feel so that we appear strong.

I love the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society novels! Carter does a great job creating strong, likeable female leads often with strong female secondary characters. 4.5 cups of cocoa!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Austenland by Shannon Hale

I bought this book 2008 and am using it for the Dusty Bookshelf challenge. I love Shannon Hale's twist on fairytales and folktales, so I was excited to read this book.

Poor Jane is waiting for her Mr. Darcy and tries to hide her affection for Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version of course) anytime she has visitors. When her great aunt sees her problem, she concocts a scheme that will lead Jane to Austenland. When her great aunt's will is read, Jane has inherited a three week stay at a home where everyone pretends to live in the time of Jane Austen. The place is complete with Austen actors and three handsome men. Will Jane finally overcome her Darcy dilemma or will she fall victim to her own "Mr. Darcy?"

This was a really cute story with a predictable ending, but it was the perfect way to fill an evening. I think all of us can relate to Jane and her desire not to just settle and most of us probably have or have had a Mr. Darcy daydream. I love Hale's writing style and while this is not my favorite book of hers, it was still a good read.

Favorite Character: Jane. She is easy to relate to and she tries so hard to conquer her fantasies. She reminds me of Bridget Jones and even a little of Elizabeth Bennett.

Favorite Quote: "'And if I don't make you feel like the most beautiful woman in the world every day of your life, then I don't deserve to be near you.' Jane breathed in, taking those words inside her. She thought she might like to keep them for a while. She considered never giving them up." Isn't that what we all want!

A very nice story with a sweet ending! 4 cups of cocoa.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hero by Althea Kontis

I received this as an eARC on Netgalley from Harcourt. This is the companion novel to Enchanted, although you could read this without having read Enchanted, I recommend reading Enchanted first.I love the cover!
Hero (Woodcutter Sisters #2)
Harcourt

Saturday is sixth daughter out of seven in the Woodcutter family. She wants to lead an adventurous life like her legendary brother Jack and she wants to be a warrior. Her fairy gift from her aunt was an ax, which she put to great use in her sister Sunday's story, but now it is a magic sword. When another of her aunts dies and her cousin raised as her brother leaves, Saturday breaks the world by throwing a magic mirror. On her quest to find her brother, Saturday is stolen from her sister Thursday's pirate ship and dropped on top a mountain. There she meets Peregrine, a boy half turned into a girl, and she learns she has a quest and mission just as fantastic as Jack's.

I love Kontis' twists on different fairy tales and the humor and depth of her stories. Saturday is a fun character who refuses to use her beauty and focuses instead on her strength. This had not really a cliffhanger ending, but the story is continuing on into another book, for which I am glad. I love the Woodcutter girls and can't wait to see how they deal with the fairy issue that occurred at the end of this book.

Favorite Character: Saturday. She is strong, stubborn, and not afraid to fight. She is also innocent and naive at times and Peregrine is a great match for her.
Favorite Quotes: "'You cannot call yourself a proper warrior if you refuse to use all the weapons in your arsenal.' 'Pshaw,' sputtered Saturday. 'Beauty is not a weapon.' Peregrine squinted at her, 'Come now Woodcutter. I thought you were cleverer than that.'"

"'I look forward to hearing new tales, once word gets out about the witch and the mountains and all,' he went on. 'Instead of batting their eyes at idiots, young girls will start taking up stick swords to slay a dragon and save the prince.'"

Filled with romance, a dragon, and a girl who saves the boy, this is a great twist on traditional damsel in distress stories and will leave you eager for the next book. 5 cups of cocoa!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

FrightFall Read-a-thon Signup



This challenge is hosted by Michelle @ The True Book Addict and Castle Macabre and the signup link is here. All you have to do to participate is read at least one horror/scary book.  For the faint-hearted among you, it can be a spooky mystery, a scary thriller, or something classically gothic.  Children's books are also allowed. I will be posting goals and a reading list soon! I know a Poe short story collection will be on the list.

Liebster Award



Joana from Joana in the Sky with Books nominated me for this award. I hadn't really heard of it, but it is a neat idea!

The Liebster Award is a way to help blogs you like with less than 200 followers. It's a way to give them some deserved attention so our followers can discover them as well.

Rules:
  • Link back the blogger that tagged you;
  • Nominate 10 others and answer the questions of the one who tagged you;
  • Ask 10 questions for the bloggers you nominate;
  • Let your nominees know of their award.
 I am going to look through my list of blogs that I follow and see if any are interested in the award. I have a few people in mind. I don't know that I will have 10, but I should be able to find a few.
Here are the questions Joanna asked: 

  1. What are you currently reading? I am reading Always a Witch and Ocean at the End of the Lane. I am trying to read a few sequels this month, but haven't finished one yet. Ocean at the End of the Lane is amazing though!
  2. Do you have any weird bookish habits? I never just read one book at a time. I have attention issues and so I need to have multiple books going at once. I also like to fuss at the characters as I read.
  3. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which one would it be? Definitely one of the Harry Potters and probably the first one. I still pick this book up all the time as a comfort read.
  4. Which is your favourite secondary character? This is so hard, because I tend to fall for the secondary characters, but probably Hermione. She is smart and brave, but still down to earth.
  5. What is your main blogging goal at the moment? To post regularly. I can go a week without posting and then post three times in one day, so I really need to work on my posting skills.
  6. Do you prefer series or stand-alones? Series, because I get attached to the characters and want to stick with them.
  7. What made you decide to create a blog? Originally to keep track of the books I read, so that I could booktalk them to patrons and students. I still do this, but it is more for my enjoyment now.
  8. If you could meet any author, who would you choose? Gosh, this is going to be an HP themed post, but definitely JK Rowling. I admire her for overcoming her depression and for never giving up.
  9. What has been your happiest moment as a blogger? Meeting people who enjoy books as much as I do. I love seeing how other people interact with books and how they share and support each other.
  10. What made you want to start a blog? I wanted to keep track of the books I read with short summaries to help with reader's advisory and booktalking.
People I am nominating: These are three of my favorite blogs to follow!
Rachael @ Rachael Turns Pages
Jenna @ Book Beats
Francine @ Bookworm in Boots Always Lost in Books

If anyone else is interested in being nominated let me know. I didn't want to nominate someone who does not want to do awards and if I nominated you and you are not interested, that is completely cool! 

Here are my questions:
1. Who is your favorite author?
2. What book do you wish you had read as a child?
3. What is your favorite reread?
4. What are you currently reading?
5. Why did you start blogging?
6. What popular book has been one you just couldn't stand or was hard for you to finish?
7. What book would you love to listen to as an audio and who would be your ideal narrator?
8. When do you read the most?
9. What is your favorite book and drink combination?
10. What book or author do you wish more people would read?

Thanks again to Joana for nominating me! 



   

Tackle Your TBR Wrap-up





My goals for this read-a-thon were to finish 4 books, read 500 pages, and participate in at least one mini-challenge. I completed two fun mini-challenges, so goal met there. I read 499 pages, so I almost met my goal of 500 pages and if I had been paying attention, I would have read one more page! :) I only finished two books, but I should finish Ocean at the End of the Lane on Sunday, so I am not too bummed out. I forgot how busy work would be when I set my goals and that really cut down on my reading time, since I worked a couple of 12 and 10 hour days. We also went to our university's homecoming and alumni programs, so that took away most of my Friday and Saturday reading, but it was fun. Thanks again to Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings and Laura @ Colorimetry for hosting and I really enjoyed the posts and challenges so thanks to those bloggers and authors too!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tackle Your TBR Reading Challenge: Book Pairing

This challenge is hosted by Jen at YA Romantics. You choose one book from your TBR or one you read for this challenge and pair it with some other object you love. Make sure your object matches your book in some way like through the cover or content.

I chose Chaos of Stars as my book:
The Chaos of Stars
HarperTeen

This is one of my favorite paintings:
File:VanGogh-starry night ballance1.jpg
Wikipedia: Public Domain

The night sky is an important part of the story,  because Isadora loves the stars, particularly Orion.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tackle Your TBR Mid-week check in



So far I have read 336 pages and finished two books, Dealing with Dragons and Chaos of Stars. I have also completed one mini-challenge and wrote one review, which I cannot publish until the first of October (It is for Hero, which releases the middle of next month). I think I will reach my page number goal, but probably not finish four books, however I am happy with my progress so far. Thanks again to Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings and Laura @ Colorimetry for hosting!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tackle Your TBR Week 2 updates



Day 8 update:
Currently reading: Always a Witch, Ocean at the End of the Lane
Pages/Percent read: Always a Witch- 48 pages, Ocean at the End of the Lane- 19 pages

Day 9 update:
Currently reading:Always a Witch
Pages/Percent read: Always a Witch- 10 pages

Day 10 update:
Currently reading: None
Pages/Percent read: None

Day 11 update:
Currently reading:Always a Witch
Pages/Percent read: Always a Witch- 6 pages

Day 12 update:
Currently reading: Ocean at the End of the Lane
Pages/Percent read: Ocean at the End of the Lane- 19 pages
Mini-challenge: Book Pairing hosted by Jen @ YA Romantics

Day 13 update:
Currently reading: Always a Witch and Ocean at the End of the Lane
Pages/Percent read: Always a Witch- 12 pages, Ocean at the End of the Lane- 4 pages

Day 14 update:
Currently reading: Ocean at the End of the Lane
Pages/Percent read: Ocean at the End of the Lane- 45 pages

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon Week 1 updates



Day 1 update:
Currently reading: Chaos of Stars, Dealing with Dragons, Code Name Verity
Pages/Percent read: Chaos of Stars- 6%, Dealing with Dragons- 63 pages, Code Name Verity- 12 pages

Day 2 update:
Currently reading: Chaos of Stars, Dealing with Dragons
Pages/Percent read: Chaos of Stars- 1%, Dealing with Dragons- 60 pages

Day 3 update:
Currently reading: Dealing with Dragons, Code Name Verity, Graceling
Pages/Percent read: Dealing with Dragons- 88 pages and finished!, Code Name Verity- 10 pages, Graceling- 4 pages
Books finished- 1 Dealing with Dragons
 

I had lots of time between work and our staff meeting, so I picked up Dealing with Dragons and devoured the end of it. What a great main character! I am so behind on my reviews, but I hope to maybe write a couple tonight (Wednesday)

Day 4 update:
Currently reading: Chaos of Stars
Pages/Percent read: Chaos of Stars- 3%

Day 5 update:
Currently reading: None
Pages/Percent read: None
Mini-challenge:  Joana @ Joana In The Sky With Books – Book Covers Challenge
I worked over 12 hours today and had no time to read, but we did have a great reading program for the kids.

Day 6 update:
I did not read much at all and I just read some on the Lightning Thief, which I am rereading.

Day 7 update:
Currently reading: Chaos of Stars
Pages/Percent read: Chaos of Stars- 23 % and finished!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tackle Your TBR goals post



This challenge is hosted by Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings and Laura @ Colorimetry.
My goals for this read-a-thon are to read at least 500 pages and I would like to finish 4 books. I would also like to do at least one mini-challenge during the read-a-thon. I really need to finish a couple of books that I have already started and since I am doing the September is for Sequels challenge, I need to read a couple of sequels.

My reading list:
Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White (I have around 30 % left of this, so I definitely want to finish it.)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (last month's Random Read I still need to finish!)
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede (Paranormal Challenge)
Always a Witch by Colleen MacCullough (Sequels, Paranormal, RIP VIII)
Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund (Random Read, Sequels?)
Infinityglass by Myra McEntire (Sequels)
The Nevermore Poe Collection by Kelly Creagh, Edgar Allan Poe (RIP VIII)
Origin by Jennifer Armentrout (Sequels)
Graceling by Kristen Cashore (New authors, Dusty reads)
Frostbite by Richelle Mead (Sequels, RIP VIII, Paranormal)
Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (RIP VIII)

I am hoping to finish the first two books on the list and maybe two others. What are your goals?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon



This challenge is hosted by Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings and Laura @ Colorimetry.

The Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon begins September 8th and ends September 21st. They will have author guest posts, giveaways, and challenges. It is a no stress read-a-thon with the goal being to tackle your TBR books. I will post goals and a reading list tomorrow!

Monday, September 2, 2013

R.I.P. VIII Challenge

RIP8main300

This challenge is hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings and runs from September 1 through October 31. You read stories with the right atmosphere for Fall. They can be mysteries, thrillers, suspense, horror, dark fantasy, gothic, or supernatural. There are different levels of participation and you can also do short story challenges and on screen challenges.
This is my first time participating in the challenge. I am going to try for Peril the First, since I need to catch up on my paranormal reads and I have a few mystery novels I want to read. I am also going to try for the Peril of the Short Story and read some Edgar Allan Poe.
Progress so far:

1. Always a Witch by Colleen MacCullough
2. Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
3. Teacher's Pest by Charles Gilman
4. Something Borrowed, Someone Dead by M C Beaton- no review


Nevermore Poe Collection:
32% of the way through

September 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  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 370 books on my Kindle, which is shameful! I did not finish Code Name Verity yet, because I got too depressed at the end of the month to finish it, although it is very good. I hope to finish it this month. The first two random number ended up being books I have actually read on my Kindle. Finally the number 15 matched up to Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund, which releases October 15. I plan on reading it and releasing the review in early October. I loved For Darkness Shows the Stars and cannot wait to start Across a Star-Swept Sea! Beautiful cover!
Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2)
Balzar + Bray

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #8

Stacking the Shelves

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. Just a small stack this week.
All book links go to Goodreads.

Bought:
Origin (Lux, #4)
Entangled Press

Origin by Jennifer Armentrout

Review:
From Edelweiss and Scribner for review:
Scribner
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
Thanks to Scribner for this title!
I love Alice Hoffman's books and she is one of the few adult authors I read. I think everyone bought Origin this week, especially after Opal's ending. Hope you all got some great books this week!

Kitty's passing



This last week was a hard week. We had to say goodbye to our cat, Giada. We had her for almost three and a half years and she was the sweetest cat. She was only 4 and a half when she passed. She had asthma with diabetic complications when we gave her steroid shots and we had to try other methods like inhalers and liquid and pill form steroids. We had been treating her for about three years and she was one of the worst cases our vet had ever seen. She had been sick for the last month and on Monday she could no longer breathe without constant oxygen. The vets tried everything and we did not want to keep her suffering so they put her to sleep Thursday, which just so happened to be my husband's birthday. We are really sad, but we know she is no longer suffering and in a better place. She was my favorite reading companion and I miss her terribly. Rest in Peace, sweet Kitty!

ARC August Wrapup

ARC August Banner

Well, I did finish three ARCs, although two of them I had started before the month began. I finished and reviewed Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike and The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross. I also finished Hero by Althea Kontis and will review it closer to release date. I am over halfway through Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White, so I hope to finish it this next week. Thanks to Octavia for hosting this challenge!